Monday, November 14, 2005

N(ice) P(olite) R(epublicans)

It's been a while since I've written about NPR. I guess this is because I don't listen to them anymore. I just finished a comment over at Digby's so I thought I would reproduce it here:

I started by saying:

The fundamental fallacy is this: Nowhere in evolution does it state that God does not exist. ID'ers are makeing a political argument, not a theological one. This is a battle between competing discourses, not competing ideas, since ID has very few of the latter.
I was rightly critiqued by NonyNony who pointed out that Evolution challenges the Bible, even if it does not refute God.

Then I responded:

I wanted to add some finesse to my earlier point that

"The fundamental fallacy is this: Nowhere in evolution does it state that God does not exist. ID'ers are makeing a political argument, not a theological one."

While I maintain that God's existence is not invalidated by Evolution, it is true, as NonyNOny points out, that Evolution challenges the Bible's account of creation.

If I were to rewrite this, I would underline that Evolution challenges certain readings of the Bible, and that it does so overtly. What I think is most important here is not Evolution vs. Religion, but the competing discourses between religious sects.

Jerry Falwell no more wants a modern interpretation of the Bible than the Taliban wants of the Coran. By constantly framing the argument as Evolution vs. Religion, they keep the true debate about biblical interpretation out of public discourse.

I haven't read "Don't think of an Elephant" for a while, but my main point is about framing discourse. By pointing out that Evolution does not challenge the existence of God, it allows one to argue within a religious framework and point out that one can support Evolution and Religion.

I for one have no religious beleifs, but many people I know do, so what is important for me is to bring the discourse into a different field of reference so that it can be discussed differently. The problem, of course, is that NPR time and time again does this sort of thing and lets the debate fall back to the ultra-right-wing framework.

I've stopped listening to NPR in the last year or two and I've done several posts agaist them. I'm not sure whether they are worse than before or whether I've just gotten older and can see through what they say. Who knows? All I can say is that I'm really tired of their schtick.

My point here is that NPR is really sucking and is doing the public a real disservice. I also wrote to Day to Day back in May. I actually got on the air. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Day to Day: I have no problem that Jonathan Last did not like Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. In fact, I agree. The wooden acting, the hackneyed dialogue and the silly plot are, at best, irritating. However, his review made me, well, uncomfortable. I understand that Mr. Last found the transformation of Darth Vader more interesting than the a light-saber-weilding-pseudo-philosophizing Yoda. However, we should separate falling in love with the character from falling in love with what that character means. Mr. Last's review, which lauds the Empire's order, strength and ability to effectively suppress those that disagree with it is, quite simply, praise for fascism and despotism--yes, the same fascism and despostism that can be associated with Hitler and Mussolini. While I hesitiate to convict by association, Mr. Last's employment at the Weekly Standard only reinforces the idea that his review of Star Wars III was a thinly-veiled piece of propaganda that could have emerged from his magazine. Take for example "The Case for American Empire" in which the Weekly Standard's Max Boot argues that "The most realistic response to terrorism is for America to embrace its imperial role" (10/15/2001, Volume 007, Issue 05). Mr. Last's review was not about the politics in George Lucas' movie, but rather those of today and his own vision of political utopia--one where "messy" civil liberties are less important than order, one where the inherent disorder of any democratic republic (read filibuster) make it somehow less desirable than goose-stepping our way to a well-organized, smoothly operating and, ultimately, despotic empire.