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Nov. 7 2001 12:07 PM

The Luxury of Worrying

William Saletan's "Bad News Bearers," about media coverage of the war in Afghanistan, was the most popular article of the week, drawing praise from readers with very diverse political views. Ananda Gupta managed to get this splendid line into his post: "British pacifists were simply a bunch of narcissistic, lazy ingrates who were perfectly oblivious to the notion that their harebrained activities might have real adverse consequences for the war. That doesn't sound at all like the typical American journalist."


Subject: Getting It Wrong

Re: "Frame Game: Bad News Bearers"

From: Hedgehog

Date: Thu Nov 1  9:43 a.m. PT

We're all braced for a big war. So, what do our fearless leaders do? Change the name of the campaign; consider suspending military actions … due to Ramadan (as if our foes would give us that consideration); use careful pinprick strikes rather than massive force; worry about the ethics of the Northern Alliance, the only friends on the ground which we have; hold press conferences where they wring their hands over the death of every single innocent, real or made-up by the Taliban, rather than simply stating it's the terrible cost of a necessary war.  That's what's making us uneasy. If we have the luxury of worrying about these kinds of things, maybe we shouldn't be there in the first place.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Women and War

Re: "War Stories: Fire When Ready"

From: Zeitguy

Date: Thu Nov 1 12:41 p.m. PT


We are ignoring the people who could do us the most good, the women of Afghanistan.

The beauty and horror of the Afghan character is such that it is perfectly capable of fighting to the last boy, without whimpering or having any second thoughts. We cannot touch that adamant resolve. Mothers and wives and children can. Empower them. If we don't know how, we should start figuring it out. There isn't really much time before the suitcase nukes become the mantra of the news hives. 

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Paying the Price of Fear

Re: "Chatterbox: John Ashcroft Briefs the Press on the Terrorist Threat"

From: Nick Carbone

Date: Wed Oct 31  8:23 a.m. PT


Maybe there's method to Ashcroft's seeming madness. Stoking fear takes our minds off all those detainees who are being held without access to lawyers, makes us more willing to put up with airport security by underpaid, undertrained amateurs that basically boils down to asking you more slowly if you packed your own bag and looking at your photo ID a few seconds longer, and lets us feel relief that our e-mail might be carnivored for our own good.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: How To Spot Them …

Re: "Diary: Moira Redmond, Fray editor"

From: Dave Norris

Date: Fri Nov 2 2001 7:33 a.m. PT

You may be a Fray addict: If your last and first waking thoughts are about your post in "Today's Papers"; … if you've pounded the keyboard and yelled "hah" as you end your reply to a post; if you've startled your cubicle neighbors with a string of profanity when reading a post you don't like …

[Find this post here.]

Fray Notes:

The Fray team was very busy writing its Diary this week, and we'd like to thank you all for dropping by, especially those of you who were still experiencing redesign problems and who said, "I'm only here out of loyalty." (Most of those problems have been solved by now: Keep on us if yours hasn't.) We liked RonK's perfect reminder of the Fray difficulties "100 emails a day, huh? But far fewer Fray posts to read! Things always work out for the best, don't they?" and we particularly recommend a discussion on How To Read the Fray, which starts here with a post from Keith M. Ellis.

There are two contests running in the "Best of the Fray" this week. One is the Flame Game from JBLC. The other is a call to judgment by Wake: Who is the best Fray poster? Add your comments now, and we'll take a look next week.

There was some good "Culturebox" action this week: Read through the Fray for strange juxtapositions of comments on classical music, Buffy, poets, and Oprah's Book Club. Visit the ends of the articles for more organized reactions.