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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, January 31 2002

Educational television

Many of my friends roll their eyes when I let them know I'm not a big fan of the Public Broadcasting System, though I'm not as close to boycotting PBS as I am Disney's ABC network. I do love the Do Wop concert specials on PBS and some of the other things they use to get people tuning in to the pledge campaigns.

I'm liberal Democrat enough to believe rent control is a legitimate public justice exercise of government authority, but I'm conservative Republican enough to believe government has no business in the news reporting industry (beyond employing public information officers to explain things to reporters and spin them for their employers), no matter how thorough and "objective" the Lehrer Report and "All Things Considered" may be.

Neither am I much persuaded that providing entertainment to the public is a proper use of taxpayer funds. I'll leave unopposed state and federal museums and art galleries, especially when the best of them have been founded on donations (to the government) from a Smithson and a Mellon, but I see no compelling reason for government support of television programming, no matter how highbrow it tries to be.

In fact, the very high-browness of PBS is one of the anomalies about it underlying my reservations. Who are we the American people trying to impress or compete with in the programming of PBS, the Chinese Communists? The BBC? At the very least, wouldn't you expect that a public broadcasting entity by definition should play to the broadest public tastes (can you say "Do Wop"?) rather than the high-falutin' interests of the most educated highest-income-bracket cross-section, if the idea of democracy has any content? Are the Simpsons, or the West-Enders, better representatives of American values and everyday living?

You can roll your eyes now, too. Or you can email your own take on this and/or your concerns about television now, before this series is gone.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Kids' views on marriage

HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE
MARRIED?

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.

—Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?

Both don't want any more kids.

—Lori, age 8
Sent by Mike Harrison

Believing, on authority

I have explained why I have to believe that Jesus was (and
is) God. And it seems plain as a matter of history that He taught His followers that the new life was communicated in this way. In other words, I believe it on His authority. Do not be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on
authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so.... Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. None of us could prove them by pure logic as you prove a
thing in mathematics. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.

—C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

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