Catching my eye: morning A through Z

Here’s what’s caught my eye this morning:

  • More on Juan Cole vs. Lisa Ramaci-Vincent, widow of journalist Steven Vincent who was murdered in Iraq from Mark Kleiman. I found this question from Kleiman particularly relevant:

    If the case had involved a male Nigerian anthropologist studying the culture of the Mississippi Delta and a white female Mississipian acting as his guide and informant, would you similarly blame the Nigerian if her relatives, or the remnants of the local Klan, had decided to string him up? Would he, too, have been culpably “naive,” “foolish,” and “ignorant”? If not, what makes the morally significant difference between the two cases?

    Hat tip: Balloon Juice.

  • Trial lawyer Beldar defends the civil jury trial system. My own experience in life is that technocrats (people who believe in rule by experts) generally believe that people with their own expertise should run everything.
  • There’s journalism, Journalism, reporting, and Reporting. Michael Yon is Reporting from Iraq. Read his best dispatch yet.
  • Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom isn’t being funny in this post about identity politics. But he’s making a lot of sense.
  • Rantings of a Sand Monkey reports there’s been another IED blast in the Sinai.

That’s the lot.

5 comments… add one
  • Well, as impolite as Cole was, he is entirely right. The journo was acting like an idiot, as if he was traipsing around his own back yard. When in Rome, do not act is if you’re in Brooklyn.

    The entire line in regards to his scheme with the marrriage fraud for visa purposes (let us call it by its proper name) was at best a stupid idea, if not flagrently idiotic (if in the abstract, romantic in some puppy dog and flowers world).

    As to Klein’s question, as a non-liberal, I would say, bloody fucking hell yes I would say the same; that were a Nigerian anthropologist to come traipsing into a war torn Missippi where not even the semblance of rule of law existed, and where hard men with guns rule, and he went blundering about arguing with the locals and generally conveying his contempt for local mores (however contemptible they might be), he was a fucking moron. Of course this rather misses the point that in grosso modo, anthropologists and diplomats, and experience war journos all know not to do such things. Whatever cheap moral value they may have, they’re also great ways to get properly fucked, and dead to boot.

    War zones are not the place to be making cheap posturing.

  • I agree with your observations, ‘lounsbury, as far as they go. My gripe about Cole’s response is first, that it’s churlish, and second, that, while it’s reasonable and legitimate to criticize Vincent, the Professor reserves his criticism for Vincent. IMO that’s a lack of balance and it’s paternalistic.

  • Well, yes, his response is churlish, perhaps even demonstrating him to be an ass, which would not be news, in particular. Far be it for me to pretend to be better.

    His comments, unbalanced perhaps, but he’s not a journo, he’s a blog commentator and as I see the Right Bolshy sphere is not terribly good about balance on their own part (which is to say, as bad if not worse in their silly smears against Cole, in particular), I merely shrug.

    The silly, overdone and rather too special attacks on Cole, e.g. Sullivan on Cole’s “credibilty” are childish politics of the most pedestrain sort and demonstrate an attachment more to party politics than clear headedness.

    Regardless, I am not one for namby pamby politeness and thus not particularly offended when others fail at it. Strikes me as once again the set of Right Bolshies who are unhappy their Administration has fucked Iraq over good through its incompetence are attacking Cole for his style, not for his substance.

    They can feel free to, of course, but it’s most unenlightening and superficial. I continue to have little respect for such behaviour and contempt for the howling mob in general insofar as I blame them collectively for having helped enabled failure in Iraq via lack of critical thinking and stupid party political tribalism.

    And of course, I meant to write Mississippi supra.

  • Not much to disagree with in your last comment, ‘lounsbury. And, of course, since I’m a Democrat, didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, and opposed the invasion of Iraq I don’t take your criticisms personally. 😉

  • Very good, my small rant was general of course, largely thining of the utterly petty and childish feuding with, what is Winds of Change?

    It’s not new that Cole can be a jerk, and insensitive, hardly something that says anything about his intellect though. Of course, I say that as an insensitive jerk, so perhaps I am a partisan in this area.

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