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Culture

Local Candidacies in Whitewater, 2020

There are six public seats up for election in Whitewater this spring (three on the Whitewater Common Council and three on the Whitewater Unified School District’s board.) It seems there are six candidates for these six offices (five incumbents and one former officeholder). This is what one would expect of government in Whitewater over these…

‘Bothsiderism’

Gina Overholser, a writing about a liberal paper, remarks of the New York Times that Its investigative and enterprise work rises to today’s unprecedented challenges. But in day-to-day political reporting, the Times is hopelessly stuck in the past. Its proud allegiance to presenting “both sides” in a time of political breakdown renders it a handmaiden…

Truth-Telling and Tale-Weaving

In conditions of real injury, in which truth-telling is important, tale-weaving about irrelevant matters is worse than wasteful: it’s a misdirection from the significant to the insignificant. Three recent stories illustrate the critical difference between these approaches. As a truth-telling story, Hope Kirwan of Wisconsin Public Radio reports ‘Students Deserve To Be Heard’: UW-La Crosse…

Integration of University and Community

In Whitewater, where a campus of the UW System represents a majority of the city’s residents, the integration of campus and community is an obvious need. One thinks of this when reading Deborah and James Fallows, The Choices Facing Community Colleges. (These authors are describing two-year programs, not a comprehensive four-year program as with UW-Whitewater,…

‘Deep Fakes’ in a Deeper Context

In the video Op-Ed above, Claire Wardle responds to growing alarm around “deepfakes” — seemingly realistic videos generated by artificial intelligence. First seen on Reddit with pornographic videos doctored to feature the faces of female celebrities, deepfakes were made popular in 2018 by a fake public service announcement featuring former President Barack Obama. Words and…

Speaker Vos’s Distorted Idea of Respect

One reads that Assembly Speaker Vos believes it is disrespectful to allow a physically disabled legislator to telephone into legislative meetings: A state lawmaker who is paralyzed isn’t allowed to participate in committee meetings by phone under a legislative rule that he says keeps him from performing his job as well as he should. Democratic…

The Biggest Story of Our Time

In life – at least life in a well-ordered, free society – the highest matters are not political. They are familial, cultural, social – involving greater pursuits than contending over the role of the state. Under this view, one contends over politics (as libertarians do) not because it is too important but because it must…

Into the Void

Across Wisconsin, newspapers have not distinguished themselves since the Great Recession. Most have descended into a cautious, center-right boosterism. They acted on their publishers’ own politics, and on the politics their elderly (but dwindling) readership. Doing so has only exacerbated their problems. The time to break from this was before – or even during –…