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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Annoying Me Zero to Sixty in Seconds Flat

I get the New York Times digest every morning in my e-mail. Usually I just skim it, as thanks to reading certain blogs like I have OCD, I know most of what I'm interested in. But today, they were doing a Big Question sort of thing with their science section. The second Big Question was "Is War Our Biological Destiny?" (registration required, but free) The author seemed to have fun with it, writing very, hmm, poetically, and in a way that annoyed me in a hurry.

The second paragraph goes like this:

"Was Plato right that "Only the dead have seen the end of war"?

In the heartening if admittedly provisional opinion of a number of researchers who study warfare, aggression, and the evolutionary roots of conflict, the great philosopher was, for once, whistling in a cave."

For once? FOR ONCE? Maybe it's my level of Plato-dislike getting to me, but wrong once? Even Plato wrote a dialogue where he admitted he might be wrong about, well, everything. And virtually every philosopher since has debunked Plato. As I said in my friendster testimonial of Plato, as Lao Tzu, "He did western philosophy a favor it's still recovering from."

And speaking of only paying attention to westerners...a few paragraphs down, we get this gem:

"Admittedly, war making will be a hard habit to shake. "There have been very few times in the history of civilization when there hasn't been a war going on somewhere," said Victor Davis Hanson, a military historian and classicist at California State University in Fresno. He cites a brief period between A.D. 100 and A.D. 200 as perhaps the only time of world peace, the result of the Roman Empire's having everyone, fleetingly, in its thrall. "

Hi, my name is Victor Davis Hanson and I'm a racist. Rome possessed half of Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa. This is "the world?" Nevermind northern and eastern Europe. Never mind sub-Saharan Africa. Never mind almost all of Asia. Never mind all of north America. And South America. Cause those places have brown people, and everyone knows they don't count. This, kids, is what the textbook calls Eurocentrism.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe the author of the article was misinterpreting this guy, who had disclaimers about other areas, and perhaps said all evidence indicates that there wasn't any war in any other part of the world, and it got dumbed down by the media. Right?

In 184 AD, a group of peasants rebelled in China, setting off 96 years of civil war, documented in their famous (Romance of the) Three Kingdoms. But I guess they don't count, cause they're not white, huh?

(note the use of pro-union Powell's instead of anti-union Amazon).

I'd tell you more about how bad the article was, except that was the point that I clicked it off. Stupid NYT.

EDIT: No sooner do I praise Powell's pro-union stance than I randomly come across a petition from their union asking for a boycott of Powell's until their negotiations get back on track. This is what I get for trying to be socially responsible.
- Rowan Kaiser, 2:59 PM
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