June 28, 2008

"Oppo Research in the Tradition of Einstein."

Byron York finds a WaPo article "unintentionally amusing."

And disturbing:
But the article has a pretty clear subtext, and it is that the exchange of such information on the Internet should be controlled.

ADDED: The phrase "a scholar with two Ph.D.s" impresses some folks more than others.


Spread Eagle said...

Me, I'm not finding it all that far-fetched or even erroneous to conclude that Obama is Muslim. He certainly has some very strong ties to Islam and a case can be made that Muslims consider him Muslim.

PatHMV said...

That "genius grant" researcher is remarkably ignorant of history. Rumors, slurs, and gossip have an EXCEEDINGLY long history in American politics. Anybody who took even a single college course in American political history should know that. It's much older even then the slur against Grover Cleveland: "Ma, ma, where's my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!" The accusation that Cleveland had sired a child out of wedlock and abandoned mother and child came from everywhere and nowhere. There were anonymous fliers everywhere. Heck, even our most important political arguments in favor of adopting the new Constitution was published anonymously (The Federalist Papers by "Publius," to clue in the ignorant researcher).

The only thing actually new about the internet is that it is much more technically feasible to track such the people who say such things, allowing for those who engage in Doublespeak to promote "free speech" by regulating who can say what and when.

On a deeper level, beyond her primary ignorance of history, she conflates free speech and open debate with the criminal process right to confront one's accusers. That right has nothing to do with the First Amendment or political speech. There's no great need to require such in general civil speech. Arguments can be judged by their merit, not who makes them. Facts asserted can be judged on the basis of whether they are documented and supported, not on who makes them. Sen. Obama and his supporters don't need to know who started the rumor that he is a Muslim (not that such things ever have a clear starting point) to combat it.

It's sad that they've lowered the standards of a once-prestigious award so much.

AllenS said...

Barack Hussein Obama II, isn't derived from the Algonquin language.

rhhardin said...

Barack Hussein Obama II sounds Roman to me.

rhhardin said...

she works alongside groundbreaking physicists, mathematicians

Newspaper code for actual geniuses.

LarsPorsena said...

"she works alongside groundbreaking physicists, mathematicians.."

This means that she may or may not be in the cafeteria with them at the same time.

fabius.maximus.cunctator said...

Wonderful clich├ęs in the WAPO article "razor-sharp" mind, the times of Machiavelli. ...

WAPO has come a long way since Woodward and Bernstein. Any journo worthy of the name wd have asked the razor-sharp lady whether this kind of thing should be controlled and how in her opinion. And one may wonder why the lady was not questioned about any impact of political bent on her research

Any input from my esteemed transatlantic lawyer colleagues as to the 1st amendement and the laws of libel on that one ? 1st amendement goes quite far I have been told.

Fully agree as to the lowered standards. "...most vexing problems in the universe" indeed.

Incidentiall in Machiavellis time people had other rumours:
incest (Borgia pope Alexander the umpteenth and his daughter), Don Cesare Borgia having his little brother murdered, people stabbed in church with glass daggers that disintegrate in the wound ...

Any opinion as to whether McC was actually scuppered by the "love child" stuff in 2000 ?

Finally, for those who like historical details on rumours, the SD (the special secret service of the SS) reported rumours very accurately and even started experimental false ones in order to measure how fast and how far they travelled.... now that is science :-)

Palladian said...

The MacArthur Fellowship is for "geniuses", i.e. environmentalist crab pickers, "community organizers", basket-weavers, an occasional scientist or computer programmer, installation artists, all choices with an emphasis on "diversity", you understand.

Bissage said...

If you loved Woody Allen (back when he was funny), and you want to gain a complete understanding of the motivations and methods of the smarties who inhabit the Institute for Advanced Concepts (from the comfort of your very own home, yet), Bissage recommends this fine movie.

You'll laugh.

You'll cry.

You'll hit the "pause" button, get up and ask if anyone else wants another drink as you make your way to the kitchen.

Okay, I fibbed.

You won't cry.

former law student said...

"Award-winning" RS McCain? The man's a smug self-satisfied smirker of whom I have never heard.

While not criminal, spreading harmful shit someone made up about other people constitutes four different torts.