Values Build Empires 

Values Build Empires 

Values Build Empires 

Recent posts from our readers forum.
Oct. 31 2001 12:18 PM

Values Build Empires 

 

 

The big topic was “The Earthling” on Muslims, and Hedgehog’s take below—under the splendid title “If you can read this, thank a dead Pope”—produced one of the best discussions of the week. Meanwhile, posters had a rough few days getting used to Slate’s re-design …

Advertisement

Subject: Money and Religion

Re:
The Earthling: Muslims and Modernity

From:
Hedgehog

Date:
Fri Oct 26 2:10 p.m. PT

[Robert Wright] lets Islam off the hook too easily when he suggests that Islamic societies were simply unlucky to have their progress thwarted by some "quirk." Christian Europe went from being a backwater to a world center of trade and education, once it decided that pursuit of money was no longer the root of all evil, but a virtue. … The religion evolved. … The few Islamic societies which flourished after the fall of the Ottoman Empire were ones which integrated a lot of secular values. It's not a quirk that a system which believes that half of the human population should not be educated or work outside the home can't compete in a global marketplace.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Putin Stands Alone

Re:
Assessment: Russian President Vladimir Putin

From: Tom R.

Date:
Tue Oct 30 7:22 a.m. PT

I'd dissent vehemently about comparing Gorbachev's foreign policy "initiatives" with Putin's latest moves. Gorbachev affected the course of history about as much as a surfer affects the course of a wave. … A better parallel would be Lenin's negotiation of the Rapallo Treaty with the Weimar Republic in 1922 which … ushered in 19 years of Soviet-German military cooperation in Eastern Europe. Putin is dealing effectively with the geopolitical events accruing from the end of the Cold War and the demise of the USSR, which neither Gorbachev nor Yeltsin were competent to deal with.

[Find this post here.]

Advertisement

Subject: Who Lived in Contentville?

Re:
Moneybox: The Two Brills

From: Trevor Butterworth

Date:
Mon Oct 22  1:32 p.m. PM

The model town used to advertise Steve Brill’s e-commerce venture, "Contentville" contained no signs of human life. There were a couple of model cars motoring away without drivers, there were, I think, a few plastic cows, but there were no miniature people. The absence of a visible citizenry turned out to be oddly prophetic. ... Still, it’s hard not to feel a little sorry for the only figure in American journalism worthy of being called larger than life. He was a combination of Gordon Gekko and Christopher Hitchens, and in another era he might have been a William Randolph Hearst. I can see him now, cradling his empty model town, the word "content" barely a whisper on his lips.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: KidLit and LitCrit

Re: The Book Club: Stories and Poems for Highly Intelligent Children of All Ages ” 

From: BML

Date:
Wed Oct 24  11:42 a.m. PT

Children’s literature is wasted on children. The key is mindlessness. The Third Planet From Altair may not be uplifting art, but it had a good plot that set my imagination afire. That's what brings kids to the Harry Potter books—the fact they're well-written is nice, too—and that's probably what makes Captain Underpants so popular. Wanna get your kids to read? Give them something entertaining, and keep the intelligent stuff at arm's length. That'll spoil the fun. If they love reading, they'll find Dickens on their own.

[Find this post here.]

Advertisement

Fray Notes:

OK, OK, yes, we had a few problems this week. Slate’s redesign ruined some people’s posting day. We hope most of the difficulties have been resolved now (write to us if not). Thank you for your patience, sorry about all that—and we’re glad to see that you do seem to be back posting in large numbers.

Best Fray of the Week was for “Moneybox” on the Jetta Ad: Click here and scroll down for some cool deconstruction. Added joy: We decided Michael Massie’s line, “I hate to argue just for the sake of it—actually I don't; it's the closest thing I have to a hobby,” could be the definition of a great Fray poster.

BML got a star:See above, or any of his three mentions (a record?) in last week’s “ Best of the Fray.” 

There’s usually at least one magnetic thread running in the “Best of the Fray,” pulling in posters like iron filings, and right now it’s the one on Fray history. Butterscotch started it here. Yukon decided to spill some deadly secrets: “I'm confused about what people think stars mean. I got mine for hosting Windows XP parties and selling Microsoft products to my neighbors. Didn't everybody?”