Lefty Hypocrisy on Free Expression

Oh, I know: what could possibly be interesting about lefty hypocrisy on free expression? Isn't that kind of dog-bites-man?

Well, maybe. This is entertaining mainly because it involves Cathy Siepp, who probably can make anything interesting, turn the world on with her smile, etc.

Start with her LA Times op-ed here (free registration required, I think). It recounts a trip with a friend to the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, famed for stocking controversial books that no one else will touch.

But then the friend thinks …

… perhaps the long-delayed English translation of Oriana Fallaci's new book, "The Force of Reason," might finally be available, and that because Fallaci's militant stance against Islamic militants offends so many people, a store committed to selling banned books would be the perfect place to buy it. So he asked a clerk if the new Fallaci book was in yet.

"No," snapped the clerk. "We don't carry books by fascists."

Oops.

Cathy points out that it's "particularly repugnant that someone who fought against actual fascism in World War II should be deemed a fascist by a snotty San Francisco clerk." And she demonstrates that, at least in some quarters, free speech is only worth protecting if it's in service to correct causes (To requote a British Muslim: "peace or social justice", for example.)

Continue on, if you wish, to Prof Volokh's blog entry pointing to Cathy's article, which I will quote in its entirety:

A very good piece (as usual).
This one-liner has gathered, as I type, nearly 100 comments with an unusually low light/heat ratio for the Volokh site. Feel free to check them out for yourself, but I'll do my own summary of the anti-Cathy ones: in a conflict between free expression and certain "progressive" goals, we'll be happy to jettison free expression in a scant second, and how dare you criticize us for doing so.

Finally, check Cathy's own brief article on the hurly burly, both funny and smart.

Flightplan

[Amazon Link] [3.5 stars] [IMDb Link]

This movie got poor reviews (37% on the Tomatometer), but it's really not that bad. Maybe it's that movie critics tend not to be parents of small children, and haven't recently had that sinking feeling of losing track of a kid.

That's what happens to Jodie Foster here, and it happens, of all places, on a transatlantic jet flight. And unfortunately, the other passengers and flight crew soon have their doubts whether the child was on board at all. Nobody seems to have noticed her except Jodie!

Jodie Foster is a fine actress, and the other cast members are pretty good too. To go into detail would require major spoilers here, but the real problem is that the plot becomes more and more farfetched the more you think about it. Well, that understates things: it becomes completely unbelievable. (If you're so inclined, check the IMDB message boards where they fly jumbo jets through the plot holes.)

But it's pretty easy to suspend disbelief while watching the movie; things move along at a decent clip once the child disappears.

I guess when you make a movie like this, you're pretty much giving up on selling it as an in-flight movie.


Last Modified 2012-10-25 2:34 PM EDT

I Saw This Coming …

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

You belong in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
You value freedom above all else.
You would fight and die for your family and your home.
Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
Brought to you by Quizilla

Via Ms. Passey, who got the same results, at which neither she nor I was surprised.


Last Modified 2012-10-25 2:39 PM EDT

Blogiversary

It's been a year since the first entry at Pun Salad. So a few notes are in order to mark the occasion.

  • It's been fun. It's still fun. I plan on sticking around.

  • If I had to come up with some other reason besides "fun" for blogging, I'd guess that it's somewhat worthwhile to get one's thoughts ordered enough to HTMLize, and discipline oneself to blog on a semi-regular basis. Otherwise, one could find oneself doing … what? Well, probably something less reputable.

  • I got into it with no expectations other than having an outlet for random thoughts. Readership remains small; I'm pretty far out on the long tail. That's fine. What my readers lack in numbers, they make up for in their intellectual qualities, outstanding senses of humor, and good looks. (Yes, you there. I'm talking about you. You're smart, funny, and cute.)

  • People link to the darndest things. I've put a lot of work into postings that, as near as I can tell, went unread except by some IP address in South Africa, and various web spiders. But a near-throwaway comment about meeting Richard Feynman long ago got a link from the Blogfather, and an accompanying spike in hits. (I had visions of coming in the next day to find the web server melted down into a gray plastic puddle. But it muddled through.)

  • Despite all the high-minded seriousness exhibited here, Pun Salad is currently at the top of a Google query for "girl Bob's discount furniture ads". I'm glad to provide this service for the Internet community.

  • Incoming mail has been 100% positive, kind words, illuminating comments. Polite corrections. It's much appreciated.

  • Thanks specifically to the good folks who've found it worthwhile to blogroll me: Shawn Macomber, Joe Malchow, Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey, and Katie Newmark. Now, there's a talented group.