Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Yesterday I got a lot of errands done - mail checked, e-mails sent, money deposited, presentation planned for a class - but the only real bit of work was a good chunk of CT editing I did last night. I played quite a bit of Magic. My black/red deck has sort of gone back to how it was before we went to Toronto. The Ogre/Demon combo does have potential, I think, but I just don't have the ogres and demons I'd need to make it work well enough. So I'm going back to basics with it, which in this case means "Burn! Kill! Bend, spindle, mutilate! Destroy!"

Rob Clemm's editorial about Terri Schiavo really got me pissed off. I was seriously tempted to do something about it, maybe write him a "polite" e-mail pointing out some problems and factual errors in it and "asking" him to fix them before it got published. But I got distracted and easily forgot about it for several hours, which made me realize it wasn't that important to me after all. Mocking him about Dean was fun and, hopefully, made him look dumb. (I'd say it would hopefully make him more careful about what he writes, but I might as well wish for the moon.) But I can't make a habit of debunking him - doing it in a way that doesn't make me look as bad as him would take more research and be more effort than it's worth.

Speaking of which, though, I Googled "Terri Schiavo" a minute ago, not really to do any of that research but just to hopefully find mainstream confirmation of what I've read on some partisan blogs. And in the process I found a sentence in a article that I thought was simply disgusting in general, let alone in a respected news outlet. Here's the quote: "Lower courts have ruled that she is in a "persistent vegetative state.""

I've read that might be inaccurate, but I'm not going to try to find sources, if for no other reason than the fact that I'm about to be late for class. But what the fuck is going on when a court rules about someone's medical state? I mean, this isn't a matter of opinion, this is as reliable a fact as anything doctors can show. Next week: there are thousands of people detained without trial or access to a lawyer, hundreds of pictures of torture, a handful of whistleblowers, several dozen dead bodies and not one single transcript of trial proceedings, but in a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court rules that the Bush Administration, because it only encouraged torture and never actually ordered it, can't be held responsible for all that. So we don't have to worry about it any more! (Or, to choose an example that's less charged and more relevant, but less fun - I got in a car accident and my arm is now bent funny and I think I broke it, but a lawyer pulls over and says I just sprained my wrist, so that's OK?)

Does the truth, The Truth, matter, or it is just what we say it is? Are we going to outlaw teaching evolution again?

Call me crazy, but I think the truth is important. Don't get me wrong, I tell lies. White lies to spare peoples' feelings, at least sometimes, and I've lied to my parents about how much work I've done, and more. But I think that efforts to discover the truth about the world around us instead of relying unquestioningly on dogmatic beliefs - science and, dare I say it, tolerance - is how we went from the despotic, disease-ridden Dark Ages to today. And I think that watchdogs of all kinds - media, police, moral authorities who are actually moral - with a concern for some principle other than their own personal interests is the only thing that kept George Orwell's 1984 from being prophetic. So when one of the most relied-on news outlets gets answers to medical questions from courts instead of doctors, I can't decide between being pissed-off and being panicked.

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