URLs du Jour

2007-01-15

  • No major wisdom here for MLK Day, and I would have great difficulty doing anything comparable to the tributes at Power Line, Joe's Dartblog, and (above all), Bill Gnade at Contratimes who remembers what most forget.

  • Of course, one of the other features of MLK day, all too predictable, is for op-edders to arrogate Dr. King's legacy to their own pet causes. It's always a safe bet that you can catch at least one example in the Boston Globe, and this year's arrogator is James Carroll. We like to say, being optimistic, that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, but Carroll's clock stopped back in the sixties.

    We honor King today not as a way of recalling the past, but as a way of resuming his campaign in the present. A dream, yes. But equally a three-sided political movement. No racial justice without economic justice! No justice, period, without peace!

    Carrolls' column is worth reading for its hallucinatory recall of the past and its rambling tendentiousness in its view of the present.

  • The WaPo, for its part, has an article on how unaware college students are of MLK:

    In a recent survey of college students on U.S. civic literacy, more than 81 percent knew that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was expressing hope for "racial justice and brotherhood" in his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

    That's the good news.

    Most of the rest surveyed thought King was advocating the abolition of slavery.

    Oh well. College kids. The article goes out of its way to indict the federal No Child Left Behind law for this travesty.

  • But the "recent survey" described in the Post article has a whole website devoted to it, worth checking out if you're feeling inordinately cheerful about what college students know about American history and government. (You can also take a small quiz yourself. <pandering target="reader" option="shameless">I'm sure any Pun Salad readers would score 100%, though.</pandering>)

    It turns out that the MLK question is actually one the students surveyed did the best on. Among the dismal results:

    Fewer than half [of college seniors], 47.9 percent, recognized that the line "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," is from the Declaration of Independence. And an overwhelming majority, 72.8 percent, could not correctly identify the source of the idea of "a wall of separation" between church and state. … Nearly half of all college seniors, 49.4 percent, did not know that The Federalist Papers … were written in support of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Seniors actually scored lower than freshmen on this question by 5.7 percentage points, illustrating negative learning while at college.

    Kids, negative learning is not normally supposed to occur until … uh, you get to be somewhere around my age.

  • Speaking of negative learning, Ronald Cass pens an incisive essay on What We Don't Know about Sandy Berger's theft of classified documents from the National Archives. He's especially stinging on the indolence of the watchdog press:

    Those who wrap themselves so frequently in the mantra of the people's right to know should want to know the truth - all the time. Sadly, today's would-be Woodwards and Bernsteins look more like ostriches than hawks, showing no curiosity about what Sandy Berger was hiding. Had that been the attitude when Watergate first appeared as a minor news story, Richard Nixon would have served out his full second term. The rest, as they say, is history.

  • In the same vein, Instapundit points out the AP flat-out misrepesenting the history and status of the Kyoto Protocol, in a slam at the Bush administration. Glenn's mild, as usual:

    Anyone can make a mistake, but the AP's seem to lean heavily in an anti-Bush direction.

    Glenn apparently hasn't heard that AP changed its name to "Abject Partisanship."

  • But it's just not the American MSM you can't trust; Language Log catches the BBC deleting evidence of its past credulousness as diligently as Stalin once erased Trotsky from historic photographs. A psychic parrot is involved, so I know you'll want to check it out.


Last Modified 2012-10-21 6:47 AM EST