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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
I found this a difficult as well as instructive debate (that occasionally left me nearly speechless) precisely because we had virtually no common ground, no relevant, mutual vision of a good society. Since we didn’t share some fundamental moral values or social and political goals, our debate was less an argument than an exchange of opposing beliefs.

— Lawyer and social critic Wendy Kaminer writes in The Atlantic about her debate with Femi Otitoju, a British equality campaigner and diversity consultant, on the moral limits of free speech.

Kaminer’s essay is a provocative and challenging perspective that really makes the reader think. I found myself creating scenarios in my mind and trying to think through all the options. I look forward to hearing from Ms. Otitoju when Intelligence Squared releases the video.

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

[via theatlantic]


On Playing Soldier and Being a Soldier

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Benjamin Busch, a former Marine Corps infantry officer who served two combat tours in Iraq, writes a challenging essay for NPR on the nature of war games — with toy soldiers, in video games, on the battlefield:

"When I was a boy, I was given plastic army men. I arranged them in the sandbox behind our house, and I killed them. I voiced their commands and made the sounds of their suffering. I imagined their war — and I controlled it. But I lost those magical powers as a Marine in Iraq.

We know children are immersed in digital interactivity now, and the soldier of today has grown up on video games. It is becoming a new literacy of sorts. Playing and risking your life are different things. In the video war, there may be some manipulation of anxiety, some adrenaline to the heart, but absolutely nothing is at stake.

I honestly don’t like that Medal of Honor depicts the war in Afghanistan right now, because — even as fiction — it equates the war with the leisure of games. Changing the name of the enemy doesn’t change who it is.

But what nation or military has the right to govern fiction? Banning the representation of an enemy is imposing nationalism on entertainment. The game cannot train its players to be actual skilled special operations soldiers, nor is it likely to lure anyone into Islamic fundamentalism. It can grant neither heroism nor martyrdom. What it does do is make modern war into participatory cinema. That is its business.”

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Busch

(via NPR)