Into that heaven of freedom…

What I want to happen to religion in the future is this: I want it to be like bowling. It’s a hobby, something some people will enjoy, that has some virtues to it, that will have its own institutions and its traditions and its own television programming, and that families will enjoy together. It’s not something I want to ban or that should affect hiring and

It’s a hobby, something some people will enjoy, that has some virtues to it, that will have its own institutions and its traditions and its own television programming, and that families will enjoy together. It’s not something I want to ban or that should affect hiring and

It’s not something I want to ban or that should affect hiring and firing decisions, or that interferes with public policy. It will be perfectly harmless as long as we don’t elect our politicians on the basis of their bowling score, or go to war with people who play nine-pin instead of ten-pin, or use folklore about backspin to make decrees about how biology works.

  • PZ Myers, biology professor (b. 9 Mar 1957)

Off for the day, folks. Back tomorrow; be safe.

 

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Yang Jisheng, author of a book on the devastating four-year-long Great Famine of China, was named for the Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. His acceptance speech is one every journalist needs to print out and keep in their pockets, like a talisman. A brief tasting clip below, but please read the full thing:

The Nieman fellows are all distinguished journalists. I fervently love the profession of journalism. After more than forty years of being tempered in this position, and based on my experience and observation, this is how I evaluate journalism as a profession:

This is a despicable profession that can confuse right and wrong, reverse black and white, manufacture monstrous falsehoods and dupe an audience of millions.

This is a noble profession that can point out the ills of our times, uncover the darkness, castigate evil, advocate for the people and take on the responsibility of social conscience.

This is a banal profession that evades conflict, ignores questions of right or wrong, plays it safe and willingly serves as a mouthpiece of the powerful.

This is a sacred profession that cherishes all under heaven, contemplates eternal questions, criticizes the political situation, monitors the government, communicates with society and makes the news media the Fourth Estate.

This is a shallow profession that anyone can take on, requiring only the ability to write a coherent narrative and a minimum of knowledge, demanding no brilliant insights but only obedience and submission.

The lesson Mr Kher needed to learn

In course of his speech the other day, Anupam Kher gave his thespian skills full rein on the subject of intolerance.

Have you ever heard an ordinary person speak of intolerance, he asked. With that set-up, he spoke of how he had asked so many mango people what they thought of the “intolerance” bogey.

Continue reading

“Delhi’s river, that mangy, smelly, desperate thing…”

Mitali Saran in acerbic voice on Art of Living’s birthday bash:

Delhi’s river — that mangy, smelly, desperate thing — has once more been thrown under the bus by a happy godman backed by a godman-happy government.

Call and (irrelevant) response

The news:

Suicide.jpg

The response (just one among dozens of such):

And below each such response, knee-jerk affirmation from the noddies, as at some profound statement.

In a sense, though, this *is* profound. Profoundly disturbing, that death means nothing more to us than an opportunity to play political gotcha. And no side is exempt — consider the enormous irony of the Congress “protesting” against the government of the day on the issue of farmer suicides.

Meanwhile, our brave jawans in Siachen…

A news report:

A retired officer of the Indian Air Force, Wing Commander C K Sharma — a prominent face in the campaign for One Rank One Pension Scheme — has been arrested for alleged financial irregularities in connection with an organisation for veterans and their widows.

In a Facebook post, his daughter Nisha Sharma said: “My father Wing Commander CK Sharma (Retd) has been very active in OROP fight… 5 police men just half hour ago barged into parents house, threw his phone away and physically picked him and carried him away (sic).”

Additionally: