Tag Archives: newspaper article review

Philosophical investigation of education

“I’ll teach you differences,” said King Lear as his motto of philosophical investigations in Shakespeare’s eponymous play. I imagine the ghost of King Lear would utter it again when he deigned to come to our realities of universities in this time. The importance of responsible education to remove the social ills and carbuncles resulting from dissentious political domination has never been more conspicuously called for in our high learning institutions as a recent consequence of the George Floyd incident, and the following the Black Lives Matter movement. However, this doesn’t mean that universities should be a breeding ground for training gladiators equipped with political syllabuses and dogmatic agendas to fight against the public foes. Instead, education should disabuse the ignorance of the unenlightened for our society’s universal betterment.

Professor Benjamin Y. Fong, in his NY Times article “Teaching Racial Justice isn’t Racial Justice,” addressed the issue of education as the fighting tool. It has become fashionable that most American universities have competingly added courses on social injustice to the Black Lives Matter movement. However, the idea of education is to provide students opportunities to learn and actively engage with conflicting thoughts and various real-life issues in a place enriched with knowledge linked with the fellow members of the human race from antiquity. In this environment, a university is a place for education that can improve social conditions in the fight against social, political carbuncles, not for the battle itself, training students for social gladiators.

Many universities are focused on the quantitative quota of educational syllabuses aimed for the universities’ reputations as the most liberal and forward-thinking higher-learning institutions for the socially recognized prestige, not the qualitative aspect of the education of the minds. It is not the textual syllabuses filled with political ideologies and social campaigns. Still, the practical teaching of various conservative and progressive considerations enables students to incorporate the learning to their perspectives. Education serves to articulate ideas based on the standard of reason and taste universal in all human creatures regarding the principles of judgment and sentiment common to all humankind.

Suppose we want our higher learning institutions to remedy the existing ills of our social and political realities by implementing more social justice courses. In that case, we must first understand the fact that education itself is not the fight itself. Neither Plato’s academy nor Aristotle’s lyceum was a place for the battle against the absurdities of Man. Or even the beloved, peripatetic Socrates did not use his open universities in Athens as a place for campaigning against the government hostile to his philosophy. Remember that there is no new thing under the sun as long as we as the collective enterprise called Humanity continue to voyage in the Universe.

Modernization of Fishery is no about-face

RE: July 30th 2018 article of “A Fight over Amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act” by Robert F. Bukaly of The Los Angeles Times

photo (4)Ever a voracious reader of good books and sensible, informative articles of The Los Angeles Times, Paul Collie is immediately steeped in a headline of today’s newspaper; that is, an article he has just read in the Times about a fight over the present fishing laws. It is reported that some amendments were made to the laws, which are called “The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act”, a 42-year old rules regulating over-fishing of New England Sea Scallops and Bering Sea Crabs, and that they were approved by the House of Representatives on Monday. Subsequently, these changes have stirred a projected friction between fishermen and environmentalists mostly consisting of researchers, scientists, and radical natural/animal conservatory activist whose viewpoints are normally out of touch with realities.

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As Paul is perusing  the article word for word as if he were tattooing it on the cerebral globe of his brain,  Paul’s thoughts are embroiled in a swirl of agitation and indignation that begins to brew a collection of words in a form of cogent opinion. ‘The amendments were favorable to many people and will promote business growth, especially commercial and recreational fishing groups that need to hire many more people.  The changes relate to a provision of managers with flexibility and refocus of the Act on sound science. It’s all about modernizing the management of recreational fishing! But those recalcitrant opponents who know nothing or little about dealing with constraints of daily task think that it is a rollback of the landmark law! There is no risk of over-fishing delaying the re-population of depleted fish! Logical Fiddlesticks!’

Paul has cogent reasons for his argument for the amendments to the Act: the purpose of the changes is to remove unscientific time frames that unnecessarily restrict access to fishery, which encompasses an revocation of a requirement for annual catch limits for certain fish species as aforesaid as well as amending rules about requirements to rebuild the stocks. He strongly believes that reauthorizing of the Act seems and is believed to be long overdue. As a matter of fact, Paul cannot help but link the article with The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley that he read last year with relish. In it, Ridley tries to enlighten the reader about the necessities of changes as part of cultural evolution for the betterment of mankind and the world itself. However, Ridley lays bare the the pressure of militant environmentalists who are evermore against any changes made to the agricultural as well as fishing industry. To Paul, their flagrantly truculent opposition to any such changes is a luxury disguised in the package of humanity/nature that only pampers their far-flung elitist attitudes that disregards or overlooks the need of everyday life.

Such is Paul’s axiomatic opinion on the article that he feels strongly. It’s not because he has a means of business, nor is his conservative tendency, nor his hereditary solidification of genes in the Proud Scottish Collie Family; but because the Act was unnecessarily binding the hands and feet of independent fishermen and other proprietors of the business tied to and related to fishery to overtly harsh conditions in which their households suffered under the strains of financial hardship. Which also brings Paul back to Act I, Scene 2 of Hamlet that illustrates the the hypocrisy of environmentalist dogmatism:

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?




One World Less, One Mind Less: Goodbye to Mr. Jonathan Gold

RE: July 22nd 2018 Article of “He Gave us the Keys to a hidden city” by Ruth Reichl of The Los Angeles Times

I never thought about being interested in a food critic in my life. What’s more, I never thought about writing about a food critic or anyone associated with the word “Food.” Being a believer of food as a a means of providing energy to keep my body going to live, I never paid attention to anything written by a food critic whose audience I thought would involve bon vivants only. That was until I read the article written by Ms. Reichl, a former food critic and food editor at the Los Angeles Times about the death of beloved food critic Jonathan Gold that graced the front page of the Sunday edition of the paper.

It is said that Mr. Gold died of pancreatic cancer on Saturday evening at St. Vincent Medical Center, the illness that had been so rapidly progressed since its diagnosis in early July that none of his close friends knew about it. The death of this Pulitzer Prize winning restaurant critic was beautifully recited in a one-of kind eulogy by Ms. Reichl’s vivid memory of him in her own words evocative of the simple but consequential writing impacts that I had seen from the writings of George Orwell, Stephen Crane, and Chris Bohjalian. Through her photographic writing, Mr. Gold came to life once again, driving with her to their destined food places, be it ever taco trucks, distinctive restaurants, or just any other places where the food that grabbed his attention was waiting for him. Ms. Reichl’s fine writing in combination with the discovery of Mr. Gold as a revolutionary figure in the genre of food criticism was indeed a fresh breath of the air.

Ms. Reichl’s heartfelt presentation of this likable and democratic food critic drew me into another great writer with brain and heart who tried to democratized gastronomic experiences usually reserved to a certain strata of people and to break down the social and cultural barriers existing among the classes in our society. And certainly it would be a great loss not to read a book by this witty, vivacious food critic with a milk of human kindness who elevated the value of the taco truck and revered it more than the tasting menu of any high star Michelien approved snobbish New York City restaurants that were so overrated by rote.


Inside American’s Tomb for Illegal Wildlife Trade

RE: July 16th, 2018 article of “On the Grounded in Commerce City, Colo. : Inside America’s tomb for illegal wildfire trade by David Kelly of the Los Angeles Times

Imagine the vistas: a cornucopia of a mounted tiger fetus with its tiny ears, a grand giraffe head, a pair of shiny python skin-made thigh high boots, a black bear’s toes coupled with its gallbladders, and many more artifacts made out of animals that will never cease to blindside your vestige of humanity and overawe your tactile senses. If your mind tells you to think that the imagery is but a visceral affectation of a surreal painting of Salvador Dali, you just think yourself awake in the stupendousness of dreamlike morbidity. They are just a few illustrations of taxidermic animals confiscated in the course of international illegal trafficking of endangered animals exhibited in the National Wildlife Property Repository (the “Repository”) located in Commerce City, Colorado.

My opinion on the report of the Repository as to its existence and nature is threefold: First, I can’t believe that there is such a horrendous and macabre exhibition of the animals killed and stuffed – and in the shoddiest way – open to the public, especially aimed at school students. Second, the grim underworld of a huge illegal trading market where a great demand of the coveted animal products is constantly met with a colossal supply of the dead animals is a stark reality even in this age of technological supernova. Third, it shudders me to think the wantonness of avarice and gluttony for which the sinners would find themselves in the third and fourth circles of Dante’s Inferno. What’s more, the fact that the Repository of such abhorrent kind is located not in the outpost of civilization where the artifacts of the sorts would be regarded as a cultural tradition but in Commerce City in Colorado chills me to the bone.

It is reported that the purpose of the Repository is to educate the public on the gravitas of poaching and trafficking of endangered animals systematically perpetrated in global criminal syndicates of Chinese origin active in South Africa. However, I am concerned about the effects it intends to produce, however noble it may seem, which will likely work at cross-purposes, even counter-productively, pace its original intention to raise social awareness and ethical context of the issue. It might be all over but the shouting that rather than promoting awareness of destruction of the ecological system and its inevitable adverse impacts on mankind as well as the nature itself, the sight of the mutilated dead animal bodies and/or parts may be regarded as a freak show for those who have bizarre tastes of necrophilia and/or sadism emanating from the perceived sensual pleasures of watching animals torn apart from rib to rib, ear to ear, or head to toe in perpetual torture.