The Inquirer and John Yoo
Re “The Inquirer and John Yoo,” by Dan Rottenberg (Editor’s Notebook)—
Every time the Inky hits a home run with a series like that on the tax assessment board, they manage to hit a foul ball like Yoo.
Mussolini, with his credentials, would probably have gotten at least a weekly column, but rookie Yoo has to settle for once a month. Now, that’s editorial integrity.
May 20, 2009
Inky editorial page editor Harold Jackson’s unpersuasive effort to defend the hiring of torture enabler John Yoo as a monthly Inquirer columnist, referenced by Rottenberg, revealed the faulty premise in not only Yoo’s retention but in the more wholesale retention of an entire stable of right of center columnists to the total exclusion of anyone left of center. ("Why we hired John Yoo, “ May 17.)
The Inquirer, and not just in the last two years under Brian Tierney, has denied its entire readership the informed views of a host of articulate and brilliant writers, who, yes, are left of center, under a mistaken notion that its editorials and columns “always lean left.” And now this myth is being used to justify the hiring of Rick Santorum, John Yoo and others.
Are we finally seeing the true misguided power of a single, right-wing-minded publisher in Philadelphia?
May 20, 2009
Harold Jackson admitted what many Inquirer readers had assumed: that Yoo had been taken aboard on orders from publisher Brian Tierney (Jackson called it a “suggestion” from the boss— quelle finesse!).
Jackson had thought the editorial page’s “clearly expressed criticism” of torture (quel courage!) would suffice to— what? Indicate the purity and conscience of the editorial board? Distance the left side of the editorial page from the disgrace of the right? Provide a “catalyst for intelligent discourse” (Jackson’s phrase)?
Discourse, precisely, about what? Whether to use the Spanish Inquisition’s torture manual? Or Heinrich Himmler’s? Or Mao Zedong’s? (The Bush 43 administration finally went with Mao, though the Inquisition waterboarded too.)
Jackson pointed out that Yoo is a law professor at Berkeley (surely, Berkeley’s problem rather than ours), that he was invited by the Inquirer to explain the “reasoning” behind his torture memos (a great moment in American journalism), and that he writes on a variety of subjects. I’m sure that Goebbels, had he lived and enjoyed the indulgence that President Obama has thus far extended to the war criminals of the Bush years, would have had many things to say about the art of public speaking.
Professor Yoo is still at large, of course, and still enjoying the First Amendment rights of an American citizen. Personally, I’d sooner read the rantings of David Duke or Louis Farrakhan. They’ve got an awful lot less blood on their hands.
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
May 22, 2009
Bravo, Dan! Incisive and witty.
May 20, 2009
Very immature response; I expected better from you.
May 21, 2009
This is why we love you, despite the fact you’re yoo— oops— you.
The Cheney coda in your piece must have gotten to Mr. Donohue (bove). Mr. Cheney is surely the most blatantly despicable person I have witnessed in American politics.
Center City/ Philadelphia
May 27, 2009
Charles Newman at F.A.N.
Re “Charles Newman oils at F.A.N. Gallery,” by Andrew Mangravite—
I have not seen the Charles Newman exhibit. Therefore I can’t really comment on it. However, I think the last three sentences in Andrew Mangravite’s review say it all: “The artist’s job is to capture what he sees as he sees it. Charles Newman’s visual vocabulary may be plain spoken rather than erudite. But this is his story to be told in his own fashion.”
That could and should be considered about the work of all artists.
Newtown Square, Pa.
May 20, 2009
Re Steve Cohen’s review of EgoPo’s Bluebird—
He could not have missed the mark farther with this review. This show is a highly ill conceived, underdeveloped and overly long production.
Who else takes this kind of time and care to prepare? Many, many other companies in the region. And unlike EgoPo, they don’t prey on young talent that is willing to be paid far less than their creative worth.
This production didn’t remotely fill the space of the Mandell Theatre except for a precious few interesting scenes. Most of the time the underwhelming design elements made so much noise being put into place that it actually made the performers hard to hear. Once in place, scenes were static and clearly under-directed.
If this is what Broad Street Review thinks of as the best theater of the region, I’m looking elsewhere for criticism.
May 21, 2009
Sarah Palin and beauty queens
Re “Jade Simmons: Life after Miss America”—
I found Maria Thompson Corley’s cheap shot at Sarah Palin to be petty and lacking in class. There are probably very few former beauty contestants as accomplished as Sarah Palin. Corley let her own partisan bias blemish what would have otherwise been a decent piece.
May 18, 2009
Maria Thompson Corley replies: It’s somewhat prejudicial to assume that very few former beauty contestants are as accomplished as Sarah Palin. I suppose that depends on your standards of accomplishment—if you consider being elected to be the zenith, then at least in this country, perhaps you are correct. It’s those kinds of assumptions that Jade Simmons referred to as a two-edged sword: the idea that by entering a pageant, you show yourself to be probably less intelligent than most women and/or lacking in depth.
Also, there are a number of people in this country whose partisan bias is the whole point of their fame (Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity, to name just three). I think that we all have partisan bias. Generally, it’s when someone displays a bias contrary to ours that we find partisan bias to be offensive.
You are certainly correct in one respect: the comment was unnecessary. And by most measures, Sarah Palin is a very successful woman, whether or not I agree with her political choices.
Rich Strock replies: I made my assumption that Sarah Palin is probably more accomplished than most beauty contestants on my belief that she is more accomplished than most people in general. This was not meant as a slight on beauty contestants. In fact, I would be inclined to believe that most contestants are probably quite successful, no matter how you gauge success.
I was referring to Governor Palin’s accomplishments in office as evidenced by her high approval rating among her constituents. No matter how we judge success, I don’t think it serves anyone to try to diminish that of others. We all have our biases. How we express them can either raise or lower the level of discord.
Typically, I wouldn’t bother to comment on jokes about politicians, but Sarah Palin and her family have been dumped on so much during and since the election that I felt compelled to defend her.
Maria Thompson Corley replies: Beauty contests are, by definition, superficial. Jade and I discussed this, although that part of our talk didn’t get into my article— the idea that Miss America is meant to be about more than beauty, and yet there’s a swimsuit competition, so how much depth does it have?
As for your leaping to Sarah Palin’s defense: I’m so glad to see that chivalry isn’t dead.
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