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March 13 2002 1:28 PM

Recovering Humanity

Readers were anxious to talk about pedophile priests and literature: Read on to find out which book is most often mentioned in the Fray, and where to find a brand-new novel.

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Subject: Good Shepherdesses
Re: "Frame Game: Booty and the Priest"
From: The Bell
Date: Thu Mar 7 10:51 a.m. PT

Rather than allowing male priests to marry—which much research suggests would not deter true pedophiles—[the Catholic Church could] try another out-of-the-box solution and allow celibate women priests. The pool of potential candidates is immediately doubled. … Surely, whatever historical objections the Catholic Church may hold toward women priests, they cannot view them as less desirable than pedophiles. A Good Shepherdess sounds infinitely better to me than a Bad Shepherd.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: A Historian's Crime
Re: "Culturebox: Farewell to Mini-Me"
From: BML
Date: Mon Mar 11 5:26 p.m. PT

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The evidence against [Philippe] Aries' [theory] is overwhelming—child-care books were in huge demand after 1100, schools specifically for children were sprouting in cities … and the cult of the child Jesus proves Europeans were able to see something precious in pre-pubescence. And yet his stinking, dehumanizing thoughts remain. In a single book, Aries deprived the people of an entire millennium [of] the most basic human trait, turning them into something slightly higher than animals. A historian is supposed to recover the humanity of lost ages, not destroy it. That's what Aries did. The [Culturebox] author was much too easy on him.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Supremes in Palestine
Re: "Other Web Sites: Grand Inquisitor Scalia?"
From: Neal
Date: Tue Feb 26 8:11 p.m. PT

The real irony of [Justice] Scalia's originalist view of Christianity is that Christ Himself was hardly an originalist. He opposed (or at least reinterpreted) Mosaic law about stoning adulteresses, performed miracles on the Sabbath, and committed other acts that ran afoul of tradition. Why, He was practically the Earl Warren of first-century Palestine. I suspect that if Justice Scalia were there at the time, he would have sided with the Pharisees.

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Subject: Equal Access to Inconvenience
Re: "Readme: Equality at the Airport"
From: Joann Prinzivalli
Date: Thu Mar 7 7:42 p.m. PT

Special lines once you get through security, fine. But the security checkpoints ought to be all first come, first served, regardless of flight frequency or ticket price. If people are not equally inconvenienced by the checkpoint procedures, then it's more likely that this travel feature might become a lot more permanent. If the rich and powerful get inconvenienced, then something will get done about the whole nuisance.

[Find this post here.]

Fray Notes:
Readers participated in the "Culturebox" on books for a whole city to read: Check out the check marks for some great suggestions, and enjoy History Guy's recommendation of a book notable because "one character launches a successful campaign to become the ruler of all of humanity by making pseudonymous posts in Internet chat rooms." It's Ender's Game, which is second only to the Bible in citations in the Fray. (The works of Ayn Rand come third.)

Mind you, counting those citations is difficult because a search will bring up the many games invented by the Fray poster Ender. Right now his best-ever effort is running here: Regular posters are writing a Fray Novel, a chapter each. We will report back as it proceeds. And Ender is also claiming that the Fray is more important than Slate and that "What is needed is a revolution in thinking, a sea change from Slate's The Fray to The Fray's Slate."

It's generally agreed that the most inflammatory post title ever was "Jesus had it coming" by Joey Giraud. Frayster ratSoN launched a contest for equally shocking subject lines: There were a huge number of entries, most of them unrepeatable, but we did like locdog's  "Here are the ten best races, in order."

Stuart Turner, who'd been reading this week's "Book Club" on Todd Gitlin's Media Unlimited, had this to say on Fray comments: "Who really cares about this opinion of mine, this little gem dredged up and presented? No one. Not even me—I recognize its transitory aspect." But his dark view wasn't shared by Book Club participant Nell Minow, who said, "Look at Slate, where Fray comments are often lively and incisive and where they cross the fine line between reader and writer when they migrate to the main pages through the all-knowing power of the Fray editor." We admire her discernment.