Subject: Easy Cases Make Bad Ethics
Re: "Frame Game: Collateral Damage—The Argument Against Killing Timothy McVeigh"
From: Devil's Advocate
Date: Thu May 17 4:38 p.m. PT
The McVeigh case represents the worst possible argument against the death penalty. If anybody deserves the death penalty, it has to be a McVeigh ... an unrepentant, self-confessed mass murderer. Morally, this is beside the point. The death penalty is wrong, because it's wrong to kill a person—even an unrepentant, self-confessed mass murderer—if a more humane alternative exists. Killing in war or in self-defense may be justified, but strapping a prisoner to a gurney for a lethal injection, in this society, is a moral abomination.
Killing McVeigh is wrong because of what it does to each of us. Ethically, it turns every American citizen, every man, woman, and child, into McVeigh's executioner. If we have a decent respect for human life, we should be ashamed of taking it—even if the human life is McVeigh's.
Subject: Sympathy for the Devil
Re: "Culturebox: Ainsley—Now More Than Ever"
Date: Wed May 16 12:27 p.m. PT
Why does The West Wing need more of a balance? Is it fair that Touched by an Angel makes God's side good but portrays the Devil's point of view in a bad light? Should Who Wants To Be a Millionaire show the perspective of people who don't want to be one and couldn't care less about quiz shows? Should Ben Stein be forced to say good things about liberals? Should NYPD Blue show a balance of sympathy for the criminals? Should M*A*S*H have given equal time and sympathy to military hawks who think war is a good thing?
Subject: Bush II = Henry V
Re: "Ballot Box: Bush So Far"
From: Charles B. Tiffany
Date: Thu May 17 9:08 a.m. PT
Bush is following in the footsteps of Shakespeare's Prince Hal. Both men surprised others by their ability to rise above a dissolute youth. Henry V won England's greatest victory at Agincourt. I wonder what victories Bush has in mind?
Subject: Role Model
Re: "Moneybox: Money for Nothing"
From: Joseph Britt
Date: Thu May 17 4:01 p.m. PT
What Webvan should have done is offer [George] Shaheen a compensation package, before he was hired, not to work for the company. They could have gotten away with a lot less than $375,000 for life. I can think of numerous public corporations that would be making a mistake if they appointed me CEO. They could save themselves from Webvan's fate by simply paying me now not to run their companies.
Breaking records, again. The post above about Timothy McVeigh has received more than 1,000 replies, just a couple of weeks after a Fray post set a new record of 700-plus replies (see the notes in this "Best of the Fray").
Three posters got stars this week: Mangar (and not only because he managed to get Ayn Rand and Satan into a post title, here); LT (showing exactly why she got it above, discussing TheWest Wing); and Thrasymachus (see last week's Best of the Fray for his post on Pearl Harbor, and here for another winning title, for his post on TheSopranos, "Deconstructing the Bing").
Hot news: Good discussions are possible in the "Movies" Fray. In the thread that starts here there are some great posts; entries from David Edelstein, Slate's movie critic; and the promise of even more Fray interaction.
There was enormous enthusiasm for the slide show in "Culturebox: The Decline of Fashion Photography." This from Ed Batista was a typical rave: "I really liked the form she used—it seems perfect not just for her subject, but also for Slate and the web in general. How about making this a regular feature? Thanks to Lehrman for her entertaining and informative work, and thanks to Slate for running it."
On no account miss Whit's "Zen and the Art of Fray-ism," here. It contains instructions on how to reach "Fray-varna" and very valuable rules, such as "4. Please, for the love of the Buddha, learn the difference between 'your' and 'you're'," and "7. If the best you can come up with is 'who cares?' don't post at all."