Today is the first day of the fall semester.
Expectations run so high that the beginning of the new academic year takes on a sacramental quality. Incoming freshmen look forward to beginning the rest of their lives. Returning students anticipate catching up with friends after three months at a monotonous summer job. No one has fallen behind in any class yet, and the illusion of academic responsibility will endure a couple of weeks without tarnish.
The new semester also brings the promise of relief from Houston’s relentless summer heat, and I’m sure that the temperature will be at least ten degrees cooler merely because the university has decreed that it is Fall. It must be time to break out the sweaters.
Fall also brings the sublime feats of strategy and strength that characterize college football. Some of us can actually smell and taste the approaching season. The new academic year offers many charms, but let us not forget that we have returned to this place for the education that the university provides.
With that in mind, here’s a run down of the classes that I’m teaching this semester.
At The Federalist, I’ve got an essay on the difficulties of interpreting the history of the end of WWII.
Seventy years ago, the American military dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, obliterating the center of the city and killing about a hundred thousand people. The world had never seen this kind of destruction. America wanted to end the war quickly, but this time did the cure turn out to be more devastating than the disease?
So far no one has used an atomic bomb in combat since 1945, which makes the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki unique historical events. These are the kind of historical moments that humans want to find meaning in, but the meaning of historical events is notoriously difficult to pin down.
Twenty years ago, in commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing, the Smithsonian commissioned an exhibit about the Enola Gay that caused a firestorm of its own. The exhibit’s designers believed that the anniversary should be used to tell the history of nuclear weapons and their proliferation. The original script for the exhibit hailed the bomb as the beginning of a new, more precarious age for mankind, but many Americans wanted an experience that focused on the bomb being the necessary close of the Second World War. A power struggle ensued with two sides laying claim to the Enola Gay.
You can read the rest here.
Thanks to Planned Parenthood, we have finally turned a corner in our political discourse. After more than half a century, politicians and media personalities have learned enough nuance to talk sensibly about Hitler. For decades we’ve heard nothing but stories of Holocausts and invasions of Poland. But is this all that Hitler was? Is that the real story of the man? I think we’re ready to set the record straight.
Hitler was a decorated war veteran and accomplished public speaker. He was a man of vision who led his party to electoral victory in Germany. He used this victory to transform Germany and Europe during the time of crisis known as the Great Depression.
What did Hitler do during the twelve years he led the German people? Twelve years is a long time, and Hitler worked tirelessly to better his country.
A new Planned Parenthood video came out today. These doctors know exactly what they’re doing. They know they’re selling a product. The doctor featured in this video explains how her legal team works hard to make what they’re doing sound like something else. But in a closed meeting, these people admits that they’re selling a product.
Baby about the same age as the baby in the video.
They also know that product is dead babies. Towards the end of the video, the doctor looks at her “samples” and says, “It’s a baby.” Later she says, “Oh! Another boy!”
She also says that maybe they could get some samples that aren’t so “war-torn”—her words. She’ll claim that she was just joking about the war-torn body. But the truth has a way of making its way out. She knows that she’s in a war. I’m sure that she thinks she’s fighting on the side of the angels. She thinks she’s fighting for women.
She’s deceived. Even as she claims to fight for women, she slaughters baby girls every day. In the video, we see her delighting over the crushed and scattered body of a baby boy. She’s fighting on the side of evil. Look away if you can’t stomach the war, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that this isn’t a war or that Planned Parenthood fights for justice.
it’s a war on the unborn. It’s a war on America’s most vulnerable residents. It’s a war on people who can’t defend themselves.
It’s a war, and these doctors know exactly what they’re doing.
Another week, another video exposing the horrors of abortion. This video features an interview with a medical technician who used to collect the babies’ organs for StemExpress. StemExpress is one of Planned Parenthood’s partners in the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood performs the abortion, and the StemExpress technician digs through the remains for intact samples.
In the video she tells how the clinic she worked with attempted to make sure she received good samples. She claims that they did this because they knew they would get paid more.
The end of the video is particularly gruesome. The actor involved in the sting and the abortionist look at a dismembered baby and discuss how much monetary compensation the clinic should expect.
I think there are two main lessons to take away from this video.
I have an essay at Reformation21 on how abortion advocates talk about their cause.
In 1946, George Orwell wrote “Politics and the English Language,” an essay in which he complains that people had begun to speak and write without clarity. Laziness is sometimes the culprit, but too often people use pretentious diction and meaningless words to intentionally hide the truth. Orwell wrote, “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.” The same seems true in our time as well.
People try to shape political reality with their words, and nowhere is this more true than our debates about abortion–er, excuse me, reproductive rights. The two camps self-identify with “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life.” No one wants to be seen as being anti-anything. Political language becomes a kind of legerdemain which pretends at conjuring reality through illusion and misdirection.
A week ago the political battle over words erupted again. A group called The Center for Medical Progress released a video provocatively entitled “Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts.” Pro-life outrage began trending on social media almost immediately, but the rebuttals were not long in coming.
You can read the rest of it here.
Lots of us had our doubts about Ant-Man. He’s a decidedly second-tier character with complicated origins, and Marvel seemed to have some difficulty filling the director’s chair. Was Ant-Man going to give Marvel Studios its first flop? It turns out that Marvel managed to pull off another score with Ant-Man.
Sure, the movie has its faults. The writers contradict their own supposed science a few times, and the plot recycles too many elements from Iron Man (2008). Even so, Paul Rudd’s amusing depiction of Scott Lang carries this movie that gently mocks the super-hero clichés we’ve come to expect in this kind of film.
If you’re tired of super-hero blockbusters, you might still want to give Ant-Man a chance since Ant-Man is really a heist movie. Try forgetting that Ant-Man was originally a comic book character, and instead enjoy this movie for what it truly is, a movie about a likeable rogue who needs to steal something.