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Breaking the suspense
Well, when we last left off, I was about to find out whether my bag had arrived. If you haven't already done so, you should read here and here fist. I walked into the hotel, and there was the baggage information. Right where I had left it. Fortunately, however, my bag had arrived and the hotel staff had put it in my room.
I quickly showered, dressed and out I went. It was so good to be clean. I walked to the banquet hotel and got there in time for a drink or two at the cocktail reception. Dinner was nice, as was the conversation.
At some point the discussion turned to America's insularity. I made the comment that America's population is about the same as Europe's and there aren't many more American states than European countries. Therefore it is as reasonable that the US has its humanities focus on US history and geography as any European country has on Europe. Let's face it. The sins the US is condemned for are those that are tolerated in many others and lauded in ourselves. I'll return to this theme some other day.
We also had a discussion on whether the levels of intellectual dishonesty so prevalent in journalism would be tolerated in academia. The answer we eventually came up with was that the system weeds out such people whenever it finds it. With examples. I also made the statement that true, honest, unbiased journalism is one of the most important parts of demoracy and what we have is now is at best farce and at worst presiding over the denigration of society. (I may also have said that such journalists should be shot on sight, but you'll appreciate that I don't mean that literally)> I was asked what the future is. The future is that, with the broadening availability of voices on the web, we primarily read (for purposes of enlightenment, not denigration) those sources we expect to agree with. They reinforce our prejudiced beliefs and when we end up just doing what we would have done anyway.
We also had some non-political discussion over dinner, too. I was asked why I didn't eat clams. I said, "cos the book says". My co-conversationalist asked if it said always and I said yes. She then said it was silly of religion to forbid things always. That you miss out on trying things. I asked would she try human. She said yes. I took half a step away...
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.