Todd M. Sweet

Topics: Champaign-Urbana, higher ed, communications, movies, music, books, running, biking, parenthood. Opinions are my own.

Month: September 2018

Podcast: David French on “The Great White Culture War” from The Ezra Klein Show

Listen to The Ezra Klein Show episodes free, on demand. David French is a senior writer for National Review and one of the conservatives I read most closely. About a month ago, he published an interesting column responding to some things I had said, and to the broader currents cutting through our politics. “Conservative white Americans look at urban multicultural liberalism and notice an important fact,” he wrote. “Its white elite remains, and continues to enjoy staggering amounts of power and privilege. So when that same white elite applauds the decline of ‘white America,’ what conservatives often hear isn’t a cheer for racial justice but another salvo in our ongoing cultural grudge match, with the victors seeking to elevate black and brown voices while remaining on top themselves.”I asked French to come on the podcast to discuss this idea — and the controversies that motivated it — more deeply, and he quickly accepted. The result is a tricky conversation about very sensitive territory in our politics. It’s about how we talk about race and class and status and gender and sexuality and religion, how we understand and misunderstand each other, how our political identities turn conflicts about one thing into conflicts about all things, why groups that are objectively powerful feel so powerless, and much more. I always appreciate the grace, openness, and intelligence French brings to his writing, and all of that is on full display here too. Recommended books: The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt Coming Apart by Charles Murray The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey. The easiest way to listen to podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, smart speaker – and even in your car. For free. Bonus and ad-free content available with Stitcher Premium.

Source: David French on “The Great White Culture War” from The Ezra Klein Show

Book Review: With the Old Breed

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and OkinawaWith the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene B. Sledge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The most raw account of war that I have read in a long time. Sledge’s honesty about his hatred of the enemy can be jarring when read today, particularly given the language used to describe them. That hatred is fueled by atrocities committed by Japanese combatants against his fellow Marines, but he also speaks frankly about similar atrocities committed by American troops. Ultimately, Sledge paints a picture of the horrors of war and the near impossibility of comprehending what we ask servicemen and women at the point of the spear to do on our behalf.

View all my reviews

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