Thursday, June 01, 2006

Short Take Catchups

Thanks for hanging in there with me while I was on the road. Now, let’s play some catchup!

Demonstrating his uncanny ability to snatch inanity from the jaws of reason, Hyman manages to comically contradict himself in
his editorial about a librarian at The Ohio State University at Mansfield. The librarian, Scott Savage, was on a committee deciding on possible books for inclusion on a freshman reading list. Savage, a conservative, suggested four books including The Marketing of Evil. Among other things, the book says homosexuality is wrong and a moral failing (it also suggests evolution is a fraud, that Bush’s failed prescription drug program is somehow the fault of Al Gore, and that the rise of divorce can be traced to the assassination of J.F.K.). Two gay faculty members filed a grievance, claiming they felt threatened by Scott’s views.

Hyman correctly notes that attacking Savage for suggesting a book for a reading list contradicts the basic mission of academia, deriding the complaint as a “witch hunt.”

Hyman’s right about this. No matter how inappropriate a book is, the mere suggestion of it shouldn’t be cause of disciplinary action. Hyman is on the verge of making a decent argument, but then goes off the tracks. Having denounced “witch hunts,” Hyman labels the faculty who filed the complaint as “neo-fascists” who should be “sanction[ed].”

Note to Mark: freedom of thought and speech works both ways. Savage had the right to suggest the book. The faculty members had a right to complain. The administration had the right to decide which claim was more valid (they sided with Savage).

In an editorial about dwindling oil reserves, Hyman says, “This brings us to a point I've been making for years. When will the U.S. adopt a sensible long-term energy plan?”

To answer your question, Mark, I’d say that it would be at some point after the end of the Bush-Cheney administration. As you well know, both Bush and Cheney have long-held ties to oil producing companies, and have crafted an energy policy more or less drafted by these companies. I’d also remind you that any sensible long-term energy plan can’t rely solely on nuclear energy. If you’re serious about your question, how about editorializing in favor of markedly higher fuel efficiency standards, aggressive funding of alternative energy sources, and against ridiculous and counterproductive stop-gap measures like drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

Hyman’s Memorial Day commentary is a fine example of warm fuzzy words about the importance of honoring those who have fallen in service to their country, but raises again the question of why Sinclair refused to air ABC’s tribute to the fallen of Iraq.

An organization that comes in for almost as much abuse from Hyman as the ACLU and academics is the United Nations. Sometimes, the U.N. deserves it. Hyman rightly notes in a recent editorial that the U.N.’s Human Rights Council was ridiculed in the past for its inclusion of states infamous for their lack of concern for human rights. Recently, the U.N. reformed the Council, requiring states to be voted onto the council by the majority of U.N. membership. Hyman protests that the reformed council still has some dubious members. Given that the council has 47 member countries, it’s perhaps impossible to have nothing but paragons of virtue on the council. Still, it’s worth pointing out that there are some question marks on the council.
But what Hyman fails to mention is that the United States, although strongly encouraged to run for membership, refused to do so. The Bush administration’s cryptic rationalization is that the U.S. can contribute more “from the outside.”

I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. Perhaps it means that the administration, in the wake of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, fears the embarrassment of not garnering the votes needed to get elected. In any case, Hyman buys into the isolationist mindset of the administration which attacks the U.N. while refusing to do anything to improve and lead the organization.

And those are The Catchup Counterpoints.


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At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just wanted to say "Thanks" for continuing to highlight incident over indcident of the utter stupidity of Mr. Hyman.

The only way he could be on TV is if he (or his pals) owned the station.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...


Thanks for the "thanks." I greatly appreciate it, and I hope you keep reading and posting.




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