Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 427

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.

427 feels kinda prime-ish, but it’s not. 427 = 61*7.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. ‘Gender-Affirming Care Is Dangerous. I Know Because I Helped Pioneer It.’ (Riittakerttu Kaltiala, The Free Press): “Soon after our hospital began offering hormonal interventions for these patients, we began to see that the miracle we had been promised was not happening. What we were seeing was just the opposite. The young people we were treating were not thriving. Instead, their lives were deteriorating. We thought, what is this? Because there wasn’t a hint in studies that this could happen.”
  2. More Israel/Gaza perspectives:
    • The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False (Simon Sebag Montefiore, The Atlantic): “The decolonization narrative… holds that Israel is an ‘imperialist-colonialist’ force, that Israelis are ‘settler-colonialists,’ and that Palestinians have a right to eliminate their oppressors. (On October 7, we all learned what that meant.) It casts Israelis as ‘white’ or ‘white-adjacent’ and Palestinians as ‘people of color.’ This ideology, powerful in the academy but long overdue for serious challenge, is a toxic, historically nonsensical mix of Marxist theory, Soviet propaganda, and traditional anti-Semitism from the Middle Ages and the 19th century. But its current engine is the new identity analysis, which sees history through a concept of race that derives from the American experience.”
      • Long but good. The author, who is Jewish, is well-known for his history books (perhaps the best way to describe him is as a non-academic historian).
    • Whose Genocide Is It Anyway? (Zachary R. Goldsmith, Quillette): “Since the year 2000, the population of Gaza has nearly doubled; it boasts the 39th highest birthrate among the world’s countries, and the average life expectancy is nearly 76 years of age (the average life expectancy in the US is just over 77 years of age). If Israel is intent on committing genocide in Gaza, it is doing a very poor job.… Since the Middle Ages, Jews have been accused of murdering children and using their blood for ritual purposes. This blood libel lives on today in a new form, as the Jews of the state of Israel are accused of purposefully killing children in a campaign of genocide.”
    • Hamas’ Bid for Revolutionary Legitimacy (Damir Marusic, Substack): “…for revolutionary movements, violence is a political act. Like any number of revolutionary movements, Hamas knew exactly what it was doing. But in my initial read of its cynical calculation, I didn’t give them their due. They weren’t merely trying to torpedo a deal that could be their undoing. They were making a bid for full political legitimacy among Palestinians.”
      • The author is an editor at the Washington Post.
    • Stop helping Hamas win its disinformation war (Sam Wineburg, Times of Israel): “Along with my colleagues at Stanford University, I have spent the last seven years studying how people learn to make better decisions about what to believe online.… Here are four guidelines for seeing through the fog and staying sane in the midst of this current information war.”
      • The author is an emeritus professor of education at Stanford.
    • What Happens When There Aren’t Enough Jews to Lynch? (Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, The Free Press): “…a flight from Tel Aviv was landing on Sunday evening at the airport in the city of Makhachkala. Hundreds of people stormed the airport to greet that flight—of 45 passengers, 15 were Israeli, many of them children. ‘Allahu Akbar,’ they shout in videos that have emerged online, some men waving Palestinian flags. On the tarmac, they attack an airport employee, who desperately explains: ‘There are no passengers here anymore,’ and then exclaims, ‘I am Muslim!’ Some of the rioters demanded to examine the passports of arriving passengers, seemingly trying to identify those who were Israeli, and others searched cars as they were leaving. Another video emerged of two young boys at the airport, proudly declaring that they came to ‘kill Jews’ with knives.”
      • Antisemitism is surging globally and it is terrifying to watch.
    • The Israel-Hamas War Will Reshape Western Politics (Ross Douthat, New York Times): “These [decades-old American] groupings still exist — evangelicals are still very pro-Israel, the Democratic president is a Zionist liberal, the progressive movement is pro-Palestinian — but in the current crisis you can see a more complex alignment taking shape, with implications that extend beyond the Israeli-Palestinian question alone.”
  3. Just the Facts on ‘Geofencing’ (Maggie MacFarland Phillips, Real Clear Policy): “Data brokers, including SafeGraph, insist that their information is anonymized. But it is precisely the lack of specificity that worries critics. ‘There’s no particular individual who the government is suspicious of,’ Adam Schwartz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told RealClearInvestigations. ‘It’s a dragnet.’ Moreover, there is no guarantee that the data collected through geofencing stays anonymous. ‘It is often very easy to take supposedly de-identified data and re-identify a person,’ said Schwartz, ‘And it’s very, very easy to do that with location data.’”
  4. Movies, Moral Revulsion, and a Post-Christian Age (Samuel D. James, Substack): “It seems to me that the idea that you can elicit moral revulsion merely by depicting evil assumes two things. First, it assumes that the realm of the visual can be manipulated to bypass titillation and proceed straight to condemnation. Second, it assumes an audience who possess a moral imagination that would both motivate and equip them to do this. The first assumption could be false. The second assumption absolutely is. Secular society, aided by the liturgical effect of the Internet and the pornographic nature of the Web, has long been feeding itself on images of the morally outrageous.”
    • Christians were famously hostile towards mass entertainment a few decades ago. The next generation of evangelicals rebelled against that and too often became uncritically accepting of all forms of entertainment. We need to get to place of rejecting what needs to be rejected and allowing freedom otherwise. There are shows you should not watch and songs you should not jam out to. And you should be willing to tell people why, “Yeah, I didn’t watch Game of Thrones once I realized how pornographic it was.” Or in a paper about a film you had to watch for a class, “The director made a mistake including [whatever it is]: it doesn’t advance the plot or enhance the theme. It actually undermines the purpose of the work and seems to have been included mostly to appeal to a certain intellectual demographic, thereby making the film’s message needlessly inaccessible to those not already predisposed to agree with it.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have

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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.

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