by David Edmonds – twitter @DavidEdmonds100
Since my last blog post, there has been a decision within the BBC “to start to move” to calling ‘Burma, ‘Myanmar’.
Burma has always been an interest of mine because it was the big story in the first few weeks when I began in journalism. Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband (now deceased) lived in Oxford and when the demonstrations broke out in Burma in September 1988 I would deliver news wires to him: in those pre-internet days he had virtually no other means of finding out what was going on. Continue reading
Here is the sequence of events. 1. Richard Dawkins tweets that all the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College Cambridge. 2. Cue a twitter onslaught – accusing Professor Dawkins of racism. 3. Richard Dawkins writes that a fact can’t be racist. Continue reading
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Thinking only of your career prospects now, is it better to be sexy or unsexy? This person was said to be too sexy and lost her job. But at Abercrombie & Fitch the allegation is that you can’t get a job unless you’re good looking. The A&F image of glamour has helped the company make enormous profits: I once bought a T-Shirt for a godless child at an A&F store, to pay for which I had to sell my wardrobe. Continue reading
by David Edmonds
Follow David on twitter @DavidEdmonds100
Are you a Fox or a Hedgehog? In practical ethics, far better to be a hedgehog.
Isaiah Berlin drew a famous distinction when discussing great writers and thinkers of the past. The hedgehog knew one big thing. The fox knew many things. Continue reading
Is it a White Man’s Court? I went to a talk recently in which the International Criminal Court, the ICC, was accused of racial bias. The evidence seems pretty damning. Virtually no non-African has been targeted by the Court. Yet nobody believes Africa is the only continent in the world to experience grave war crimes. The Chairman of the African Union, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, recently made a similar claim: he talked of the ICC “hunting” Africans. Continue reading
Well, they say of Mussolini, at least he made the trains run on time.
Actually, that’s disputed, but that’s by-the-by. While watching the telly, I was struck by a remark of Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, on the resignation of the leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholic community, Cardinal Keith O’Brien following allegation of sexual misconduct. “It would be a great pity if a lifetime of positive work was lost from comment in the circumstances of his resignation”, said Salmond. Continue reading
I have a relative who faces the following dilemma, though he doesn’t see it as a dilemma. But I do.
My relative is involved in the charitable sector. He has been approached by some representatives of a foreign foundation. He doesn’t know anything about the foundation – those who run the foundation want to keep all substantial details about it secret, for reasons unknown (they may have honourable motives). The foundation has a bank account in the UK, with money transferred into it from abroad: my relative assumes that the money is legally kosher (since the British bank would have had to check for money laundering and so on). Continue reading
The Greek statesman and poet Solon, who lived in the sixth century BC, said “count no man happy until he be dead”. His thought seems to have been that a person’s luck can change at any time. Aristotle went further. He believed that things can happen after one’s death to affect whether one is happy.
Initially, that seems an odd idea. Because the modern conception of happiness is that it is purely a subjective state.
But compare two lives, recently in the news. They concern two men – a few years ago both would have been regarded by most people as having lived highly successful, even exemplary lives. Continue reading