August 23, 2012

About The Doom Files

The Doom Files is a blog I started a few months ago on WordPress.com because I was feeling grumpy. I have now imported that content to Rhetorica. The blog portion of The Rhetorica Network will now be The Doom Files. Here’s the original “about” column:

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doom

NOUN

1. fate or destiny, especially adverse fate; unavoidable ill fortune: In exile and poverty, he met his doom.
2. ruin; death: to fall to one’s doom.
3. a judgment, decision, or sentence, especially an unfavorable one: The judge pronounced the defendant’s doom.
4. the Last Judgment, at the end of the world.

The problem: We do not learn from our mistakes. We show very little capasity for avoiding mistakes that we know we are about to make. We do not think in the long term. We prefer short-term profit over long-term gain. We treat each other as objects. We allow corporations to be people as we stand in the way of letting real people live their lives. We drive too fast. We eat too much. We burn too much oil. We pollute our only home. We allow nearly half the population on the planet to live on $2 per day or less. We let children go to bed hungry. We grumble about paying for education. We prefer our children to be ignorant rather than challenge our assumptions and ideologies. We believe politicians over scientists in matters of science. We have lost sight of the fact that our tax dollars pay for a civilization. We know freedom is not free, but we have forgotten that it also costs money.

And we think technology will save us.

I’ll also mention good things I come across, especially if it involves individuals or small groups working outside the system to make life better. I don’t want this blog to be a complete downer ;-)

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Here’s what I wrote in a blog post earlier today when I announced the change:

I’ll be importing posts from The Doom Files and continuing that work here with commentary on the rhetoric of a people, culture, and country in decline.

Sounds like a real downer, right? Well, that’s where my head is right now, and I’m very excited about it :-)

I will still discuss issues familiar to this blog over the past ten years because, frankly, our dysfunctional politics and dysfunctional news media contribute to our doom. So a few things will remain the same. I will also branch into other areas of concern, but the one constant will be the rhetoric of a culture that refuses to save it itself.

I’ll also be changing the sidebars and other features. The whole process will take a few days.

So, if you need to add a little dark cloud to your day, please drop in often. It’ll be painful.

And so the changes have begun.

I am not a pessimistic person. I see our doom, ultimately, as a good thing because it will require us to change much of that sorry list above. The collapse of an empire or a culture is always painful and ugly. But something wonderful can spring from the ashes. I’m looking forward to it.

UPDATE: The new focus of this blog will also require my updating the blogging policy. Much will stay the same, but the biggest difference will be my acknowledgement that The Doom Files will more overtly favor certain political/social/cultural/economic positions over others.

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August 23, 2012

Returning Soon With A New Mission

The flagship blog of The Rhetorica Network will return soon with a new mission.

I’ll be importing posts from The Doom Files and continuing that work here with commentary on the rhetoric of a people, culture, and country in decline.

Sounds like a real downer, right? Well, that’s where my head is right now, and I’m very excited about it :-)

I will still discuss issues familiar to this blog over the past ten years because, frankly, our dysfunctional politics and dysfunctional news media contribute to our doom. So a few things will remain the same. I will also branch into other areas of concern, but the one constant will be the rhetoric of a culture that refuses to save it itself.

I’ll also be changing the sidebars and other features. The whole process will take a few days.

So, if you need to add a little dark cloud to your day, please drop in often. It’ll be painful.

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August 23, 2012

Just Give Them All ‘A’s

Let’s all just sit quietly for the next 50 minutes.

A top administrator at the University of Colorado says if a professor doesn’t like his students legally bringing guns to class, he’ll have to holster his emotions.

Jerry Peterson, a professor and chair of the CU-Boulder Faculty Assembly, told colleagues he’d cancel his class if a student brought a gun there.

“My own personal policy in my classes is if I am aware that there is a firearm in the class — registered or unregistered, concealed or unconcealed — the class session is immediately canceled,” Peterson said. “I want my students to feel unconstrained in their discussions.”

Shortly after Peterson’s comments were reported, CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said he can’t do that.

“I have the utmost respect for Professor Peterson, who is an old friend and valued colleague, but I want to make clear that if the student carrying the weapon has a concealed-carry permit, the position implied by Professor Peterson’s comments directly violates Colorado law and the operating principles of the campus,” DiStefano wrote in the email to faculty.

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August 22, 2012

Nothing Better To Do

Seriously. This shit is important.

One Oklahoma elementary school has a strict dress code policy — no college apparel that isn’t from Oklahoma.

Last week, Wilson Elementary School’s principal told 5-year-old Cooper Barton to turn his T-shirt inside-out because it violated Oklahoma City Public Schools’ dress code, KWTV reports. The boy was wearing a University of Michigan shirt.

District policy bars students from wearing “clothing bearing the names or emblems of all professional and collegiate athletic teams (with the exception of Oklahoma colleges and universities.)”

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August 8, 2012

Nothing Better To Do?

How to waste time and marginalize yourself as an opinion journalist:

I have news to report: Rush Limbaugh has finally had it with me. He has decided that I’m rooting for America’s decline and that I’m a part of President Barack Obama’s “crop of Democrats.”

None of that is true, but it’s worth recounting how Rush and I got to this point. It is a small but instructive tale about today’s ferociously accusatory political culture.

Once upon a time, we debated.

Now we tweet and rant in a world of sound bites and the sound-bitten.

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August 6, 2012

Hot Pink Might As Well Be Red

That little commie bitch! Or, how FOX News keeps the rubes in line:

On last week’s “America Live,” guest-host Alisyn Camerota discussed how “some folks” noticed that the “famous flag-styled outfits” of Olympics past were replaced by “yellow shirts, grey track suits and pink leotards” at the London games. Camerota and her guest, Sirius/XM radio host David Webb, took particular focus on Douglas’ outfit.

“You know, Gabby had that great moment, and everyone was so excited, and she’s in hot pink — and that’s her prerogative,” Camerota said. Webb, who hosts a program on Sirius/XM’s “Patriot” channel, wondered, “What’s wrong with showing some pride?” He likened the uniform choice to a “kind of soft anti-American feeling that Americans can’t show their exceptionalism.” Camerota pointed out how other nations, like China, wore nationalistic colors.

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May 13, 2012

Rhetorica At 10

I’m ten years burning down the road 
Nowhere to run aint got nowhere to go 

–Bruce Springsteen

The 10-year anniversary of Rhetorica has come and gone without notice. Or, rather, I’m noticing it now almost three weeks late.

Ten years means Rhetorica is one of the oldest, continuously-published blogs on the interwebs. That’s kinda cool.

Moving forward… I’m not sure what that means. I’ve obviously tired of day-to-day blogging here. That was apparent awhile back when I declared that I was no longer interested in examining the press-politics nexus. Part of the reason for that is my belief that political reporting in the United States is broken — hopelessly broken. And politics for that matter is also hopelessly broken. I fear the whole damned experiment we call America is broken.

If we are to fix anything, I think we have to start in our local communities where the insanity of partisan national politics, and the stenographic journalism that enables it, is often an annoying insect buzzing about our heads. We swat it away and get on with the business of making our lives better where it really counts. I’m getting a lot more satisfaction with my local blogging than I am with Rhetorica because, frankly, Carbon Trace makes a difference.

I have occasionally written about local journalism on Rhetorica. And I may do so again from time to time.

I would say “stay tuned” except that I’m not sure what you’d be tuning in for :-) I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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May 10, 2012

From the WTF Department

Our republic can’t work if people are stupid:

After nearly four years in the Oval Office, President Obama is incorrectly thought to be Muslim by one in six American voters, and only one quarter of voters can correctly identify him as a Protestant, according to a new poll.

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May 9, 2012

Kar Kulture

Cars kill community connections for kids:

It turns out vehicular traffic does something else, too, more subtle but equally pernicious: It changes the way children see and experience the world by diminishing their connection to community and neighbors. A generation ago, urbanist researcher Donald Appleyard showed how heavy traffic in cities erodes human connections in neighborhoods, contributing to feelings of dissatisfaction and loneliness. Now his son, Bruce Appleyard, has been looking into how constantly being in and around cars affects children’s perception and understanding of their home territory.

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April 9, 2012

No Cost = OK!

Yadda yadda yadda, as long as the rich get richer:

In other words, economic liberalism is on life-support, while cultural liberalism thrives. The obvious question is why. The simple answer is that cultural liberalism comes cheap. Supporting same-sex marriage or a woman’s right to choose does not cost the wealthy anything or restrict their ability to become wealthier.

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