On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.
This is volume 375, which can also be written at 3·53. I like the threes on either side of the five.
Things Glen Found Interesting
- Truth Cops: Leaked Documents Outline DHS’s Plans to Police Disinformation (Ken Klippenstein & Lee Fang, The Intercept): “DHS’s mission to fight disinformation, stemming from concerns around Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, began taking shape during the 2020 election and over efforts to shape discussions around vaccine policy during the coronavirus pandemic.”
- This is the article of the week and it’s not close. Wow. Some more excerpts:
- “U.S. officials have routinely lied about an array of issues, from the causes of its wars in Vietnam and Iraq to their more recent obfuscation around the role of the National Institutes of Health in funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s coronavirus research. That track record has not prevented the U.S. government from seeking to become arbiters of what constitutes false or dangerous information on inherently political topics.”
- This bit was wild: “During the 2020 election, the Department of Homeland Security, in an email to an official at Twitter, forwarded information about a potential threat to critical U.S. infrastructure, citing FBI warnings, in this case about an account that could imperil election system integrity. The Twitter user in question had 56 followers, along with a bio that read ‘dm us your weed store locations (hoes be mad, but this is a parody account),’ under a banner image of Blucifer, the 32-foot-tall demonic horse sculpture featured at the entrance of the Denver International Airport.”
- Negative World Arrives in Australia (Simon Kennedy, Mere Orthodoxy): “This was a watershed cultural moment for Australia, and possibly for the West. A man with outstanding credentials was told that, because of some sermons preached by someone else from almost a decade ago, he needed to reconsider his fit for the role he had just been appointed to. For all we know, Thorburn may disagree with these sermons. He may never have been aware of them or listened to them. The bottom line here was guilt-by-association.”
- Black, Christian and Transcending the Political Binary (Tish Harrison Warren, New York Times): “The conservative and progressive approaches are not the only way to approach politics. Everything that doesn’t fit isn’t illegitimate. Once we realize those aren’t the only two approaches, then we open up space for people of color, people of faith and others who are politically homeless to really have a voice and help heal something that’s been broken and won’t be fixed by either of those two sides.”
- Racial Discrimination Is Not the Path to Racial Justice (David French, The Dispatch): “If schools truly want to prioritize diversity, they should focus on class. Fostering greater class-based diversity can help achieve greater diversity across the board: More racial diversity, more economic diversity, more ideological diversity, and more diversity on the basis of religion. Emphasizing diversity of class doesn’t just create a student body that looks like America. It creates a student body that is like America.”
- Somewhat related: Racial Identity Politics: A Warning From Sarajevo (Rod Dreher, The American Conservative): “White racial consciousness is taboo for a good historical reason, but anyone with a lick of common sense has to see that you cannot keep attacking white people as morally bad because of the color of their skin, and punish them in public and private life because they are white, without inviting pushback.”
- We are playing with fire when it comes to race in America and pray we open our eyes before the flames rage out of control.
- Stanford knew about the campus imposter for a year. He kept coming back. (Theo Baker, Stanford Daily): “Stanford administrators and the public safety department have been aware since at least December 2021 that William Curry, the Alabama native who was removed from campus Thursday, had pretended to be a Stanford student and lived in multiple University dorms, according to communications obtained by The Daily.” Very detailed. A well-reported story.
- Imposter recounts his time on campus (Theo Baker, The Stanford Daily): “Curry said he lied to people in high school about attending Stanford and claimed his parents believed he was enrolled in the University. He confirmed many elements of the Daily’s reporting and even messaged a Daily reporter after the interview, saying ‘always my duty to help my fellow students.’ ” — emphasis added. Less interesting than the main story, but still intriguing.
- In other Stanford news, Stanford Tree gets the axe, suspended until January (Caroline Chen & Yana Kim, Stanford Daily): “In the fall of 2020, the Band transitioned from a Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) to being under the Department of Athletics (DAPER). At the same time, its Constitution, which allowed student self-expression such as kneeling during the national anthem and taping ‘Abolish ICE’ on the back of their jackets, was dissolved, according to Band social chair and recruiter Noah Bartlett ’23, who described there being a significant ‘culture shift’ since he joined the Band in 2019.” HOW DARE YOU SAY WE DON’T LIKE FUN! NO FUN FOR YOU!
- NYC judge rules polyamorous unions entitled to same legal protections as 2‑person relationships (Julia Musto, NY Post): “In the case at hand, Bacdayan notes how changes since 1989 play a role, including changes to the definition of ‘family.’ She notes the law has rapidly proceeded in recognizing that it is possible for a child to have more than two legal parents. ‘Why then, except for the very real possibility of implicit majoritarian animus, is the limitation of two persons inserted into the definition of a family-like relationship for the purposes of receiving the same protections from eviction accorded to legally formalized or blood relationships?’ asked Bacdayan.”
- “Two person relationships”
- This is from early last month
- Moderation Is Different From Censorship (Scott Alexander, Astral Codex Ten): “A minimum viable product for moderation without censorship is for a platform to do exactly the same thing they’re doing now — remove all the same posts, ban all the same accounts — but have an opt-in setting, ‘see banned posts’. If you personally choose to see harassing and offensive content, you can toggle that setting, and everything bad will reappear.” The meme near the top made me chuckle.
Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen
- One More Bug (Loading Artist)
- Report: Jesus Is Aware That Your ‘Harvest Festival’ Is Really A Halloween Party (Babylon Bee)
- Zimbardo (SMBC)
- Elbonia The Heckhole (Dilbert)
- C‑H-E-A‑T: Wordle Cheating Is Related to Religiosity and Cultural Tightness (Alexandra S. Wormley & Adam B. Cohen, Perspectives on Psychological Science): “We found that states higher in religiosity and cultural tightness are less likely to search for the answer to the day’s Wordle puzzle, independent of usage, according to Google Trends.”
Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago
Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have S/NC and the purpose of higher education (Thomas Slabon, Stanford Daily): “As a Ph.D. candidate in the philosophy department, I have TA’d or taught eight courses, and I want to let you in on an open secret of post-secondary educators: We all hate grading. Every. Single. One of us. Every TA you’ve ever had has contemplated grading piles of problem sets or papers with dread — and half the reason you had a TA in the first place was because your professor wanted to grade your work even less.” This is a wonderful essay. From volume 245.
Why Do You Send This Email?
In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.
Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it). And to the extent you can discern my opinions, please understand that they are my own and not necessarily those of Chi Alpha or any other organization I may be perceived to represent. Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it. If this was forwarded to you and you want to receive future emails, sign up here. You can also view the archives.