Gay adoptions, Muhammad Ali, and the ethics of reprinting e-mail were among the big topics this week. You are invited to guess which story brought these (amalgamated) comments: "cad … sleaze … no ethics … shocking."
Subject: The Evolving Family
Re: "Frame Game: Adopting Premises"
Date: Fri Feb 8 10:02 a.m. PT
What fascinates me is the emphasis on "family values and the good of the children" and its theoretical derivation from our centuries-old religious traditions and precepts. This simply isn't true. For much of history, at least some children have been … bred and sold in slavery, relegated to sweatshops, and abandoned on the doorsteps of foundling homes. "Family Values" is an evolving concept, not a divinely inspired, time-tested certainty. If the good of the children is the key issue, then perhaps a broader construction of "family" is warranted.
Subject: Capturing News on the Internet
Re: "Press Box: Who You Calling Mediasaurus?"
From: The Bell
Date: Wed Feb 6 8:12 a.m. PT
The great myth of the Internet is that (beyond an access fee) it is free. … Most, if not virtually all, Web sites are underwritten by corporate sponsorship. As with network television or newspapers selling ad space, those sponsors exert influence, both direct and indirect, over content and presentation. … All of these news purveyors are tailoring their sites to encourage regular subscription and discourage casual browsing. Regardless of whether they levy a surcharge for access, all want exclusive control over readers' access to news.
Subject: The Wrong Case
Re: "Chatterbox: OPEC and the U.N.—How To Tell Them Apart"
Date: Thu Feb 7 10:51 a.m. PT
OPEC has been so unbelievably ineffective since 1979 that it's patently ridiculous that any American consumer try to pursue a legal claim against it. In fact, if there is an economic case against OPEC, it's for not being enough of a cartel: Oil prices have been so low (and supply so high) in the past two decades that the rate of global depletion has accelerated while research and development of non-fossil fuel alternatives has languished, at least relative to where it would be. Perhaps cheap oil fueled the 90s economic boom but at an economic cost over the longer run.
Subject: Misplaced E-Mail, Misplaced Pride
Re: "Chatterbox: David Frum's 'Axis of Evil' "
From: Paul Lynch
Date: Wed Feb 6 11:55 a.m. PT
Since the whole point of the phrase was to make it easier to kill people in North Korea, Iran, and Iraq—some of them foes of the United States, some of them schoolchildren, housewives, people operating food stalls in open marketplaces—Crittenden's wifely pride seems entirely unconnected with any moral sense, insight, or intelligence. Little surprise that she doesn't understand that when you put an e-mail into the Internet, you abandon it to any use that its recipients care to put it to.
The "Assessment" on Muhammad Ali produced an enormous Fray, but one with an odd distinction: No stars posted to it. This is certainly the largest Fray to be star-free—these people have views on everything—and we hope to hear some explanations/excuses (you want us to start having roll calls?).
If you want to see a really mystifying Fray, go to the hard-to-find "eBook Reader," where off-duty posters play around. (Did you eBookers think we didn't know about it?) Poster Denny thinks there should be a page for Fraysters' biographies, and perhaps this is the place to share them.
"The Slate 60" list of philanthropists brought a neat "glass half-full/half-empty" pair of posts: Stephen was shocked that there were no famous Hollywood entertainers on the list; while THeczar found it "surprising and … gratifying that I only recognize a few of the names. These people give because they can and feel they should. They don't seek publicity."
In "The Book Club" this week, Kassandra kicked off one of the great Fray discussions on literature: Start here to get hooked. There are arguments, suggestions for film casting (J. Lo as Isabel Archer), jokes, and the game of Humiliation.
The Ghost of a-z is a controversial and important figure on the Fray. Apart from running her own threads (see the extraordinary "Six Degrees of Evil" here), she is also surely the single most discussed poster—a recent contest was called "roast/toast the Ghost." Arthur Stock says, "Ghost's privileging of reasonableness over other criteria for good posts puts her at odds with some Fray Editor choices," which is one way of putting it. She adds hugely to the entertainment value of the Fray, but we don't think she'd want a star for that reason, so we'll just say it is for her many excellent and provocative posts.