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Why old books get new attention and other commentary

Why old books get new attention and other commentary
on Apr 07, 2021
Why old books get new attention and other commentary
It’s “odd to find progressives defending capitalist values, as if there were no considerations other than property rights where culture is concerned,” snarks The Nation’s Katha Pollitt. Yes, Dr. Seuss Enterprises owns the rights to the six books it discontinued over a “few offending pictures and words.” But if “we insist on holding cultural history to contemporary standards, what will we have left?” And let’s face it, “of all the racist, sexist, classist things children are exposed to, decades-old children’s books seem pretty low on the list. Consider our de facto segregated public schools and neighborhoods, our crumbling de facto segregated public housing” and “the shocking violence of everyday life to which so many children are exposed.” But ­“attacking old books is easier than making the ­social and economic changes that would improve the actual lives of real children and their parents.” Conservative: The Big Tech ‘Conspiracy’ Would Adam Smith shrug at cancel culture if it’s private corporations doing the dirty work? Many conservatives think so, assuming “free-market purity” is on their side, observes Daniel McCarthy in Spectator USA. But in fact, the Scottish sage “warned in ‘The Wealth of Nations’ that ‘people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and ­diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.’ ” That’s what’s happening with Amazon’s censorship of books like “When Sally Became Harry” and the Big Tech collusion to destroy Parler. “The tech companies that control and constrain online communications in the United States are indeed ‘a conspiracy against the public,’ not to raise prices — though that warrants a closer look — but to impose their politics and morals on everyone.” To push back, Americans need a “new philosophical critique of this power and of the commissars who wield it” — “a critique as radical as the thought of Adam Smith was in 1776.” Media watch: Always the Same Frame “The first step to reform is admitting you have a problem. And the press simply can’t do it,” sighs National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke. The ­media insist on seeing every story as “the reaction of the Republican Party.” Take “Axios’ summary of Sunday’s ‘60 Minutes’ debacle.” Axios said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is “seizing on a juicy chance to ingratiate himself with the GOP base by bashing the media.” That’s the story — “his reaction to being so brazenly lied about” — not “the press’ penchant for deliberately spreading baseless conspiracy theories.” What matters “is not that CBS’ flagship ‘news’ show has exhibited such unyielding corruption,” but that the show’s “victim” has received “a political gift.” Legal beat: Biden To Rapidly Flip Courts Back “Almost certainly by the end of this Congress, the majority of lower-court seats will be filled by Democratic appointees,” reports Bill Scher at the Washington Monthly. Yes, former President Donald Trump got a record 231 judges confirmed (not counting the Supreme Court) and “left office with seven of the 13 appellate-level courts staffed by a majority of Republican appointments.” But “the federal judiciary has 97 current and future vacancies,” 52 of them last GOP-held, and Democrats’ narrow Senate control will be enough to let Biden have his way now that filibusters don’t apply to judicial confirmations. The reality is “full partisan and ideological control of the federal judiciary is elusive. By design.” Iconoclast: Videos Don’t Tell the Full Story People are suggesting we “skip” trials when videos capture crimes, like Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd — but, warns The Week’s Bonnie Kristian, that’s “fascism.” As “digital surveillance expands,” we should “commit ourselves to due process” and reject the “arrogance and naiveté required to imagine we have a right to forever alter a man’s life because we think we absorbed the unfiltered truth from a camera.” When watching a filmed event, we don’t consider the context or what might be missing. Sure, video can add “to our understanding,” but “even the clearest footage is no substitute for due process.” Source: https://nypost.com/

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