Sunday, September 28, 2003

Two Cultures: An Update

Forty four years ago C.P. Snow published a book describing a great divide between the sciences and the humanities. See C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures(Cambridge University Press, 1959; reissued, paper, 1993). See also C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures: A Second Look (1963). I wonder if a strong version of this division is now found in the U.S. law school world. Specifically, I wonder: Despite the enormous popularity of "intellectual property" law in the law school world, do computers, computer technology, computer science, and software tools remain, on the whole, an alien beast in the law school world? (Bernard Hibbitts likes to say that law schools are enamored of the law of technology, but not of the technology of law.) Dear Reader, I welcome your thoughts. I particularly welcome the thoughts of those Gentle Readers in Cyberspace who have more than a nodding acquaintance with law schools in these United States.

Who Cares about Human Rights?: Burns (NYTimes Reporter) on Iraq

John Burns, "There Is Corruption in Our Business," Editor and Publisher (September 15, 2003):

Terror, totalitarian states, and their ways are nothing new to me, but I felt from the start that this was in a category by itself, with the possible exception in the present world of North Korea. I felt that that was the central truth that has to be told about this place. It was also the essential truth that was untold by the vast majority of correspondents here. ...


Now left with the residue of all of this, I would say there are serious lessons to be learned. Editors of great newspapers, and small newspapers, and editors of great television networks should exact from their correspondents the obligation of telling the truth about these places. ...

We now know that this place was a lot more terrible than even people like me had thought. There is such a thing as absolute evil. I think people just simply didn't recognize it. They rationalized it away. I cannot tell you with what fury I listened to people tell me throughout the autumn that I must be on a kamikaze mission. They said it with a great deal of glee, over the years, that this was not a place like the others.

I did a piece on Uday Hussein and his use of the National Olympic Committee headquarters as a torture site. It's not just journalists who turned a blind eye. Juan Antonio Samaranch of the International Olympic Committee could not have been unaware that Western human rights reports for years had been reporting the National Olympic Committee building had been used as a torture center. I went through its file cabinets and got letter after letter from Juan Antonio Samaranch to Uday Saddam Hussein: "The universal spirit of sport," "My esteemed colleague." The world chose in the main to ignore this.