Your Weekend Reader for Nov. 26-27

by | Nov 26, 2022 | Weekend Reader | 0 comments

This edition of Your Weekend Reader comes to you on Saturday morning from the heart of dark Corvallis, where the power has been out now for more than three hours. The challenge will be to see if I can get it posted before the computer and the personal hotspot on the phone run out of juice. Let’s see how that goes.

Bill Oram, the new sports columnist for The Oregonian/OregonLive, spent some time recently — maybe too much time — coming up with a new name for Saturday’s Oregon State vs. Oregon football game, which used to be called, you know. After passing on some suggestions that I kind of liked — “The Sometimes a Great Commotion Bowl,” for example, or “The Game That Cannot Be Named” — he came up with this suggestion: “The Bigfoot Ballgame.” Now, I know what I’m about to say will be controversial, but here goes anyway: I kind of like it. It has a definite Pacific Northwest vibe. I like the wordplay. And it’s fun, and — let’s be honest — college football these days could stand to be a little more fun. Click here to read Oram’s full column. It’s available only to Oregonian subscribers, but that’ll set you back only $10 a month.

If you’re a completist about the Game That Cannot Be Named, you’ll want to review the 125 previous gridiron meetings between the Beavers and the Ducks. You likely know that the Ducks have an overall advantage in the series, 67-48-10 — and have won 10 of the last 12.. (It is shocking that the series has included 10 ties, most recently in the well-regarded 1983 game that became known as “The Toilet Bowl,” which featured a total of zero — you read that correctly — zero points.) The Oregonian/OregonLive has put together this entertaining guide to all 125 games. And, as an aside, why does no one use the term “gridiron” anymore?

Let’s stick with sports for a moment: Possibly the most interesting of kernel of news this week about the Pac-12 Conference and the continuing realignment of college athletics was this interview with Nike founder Phil Knight with Dana O’Neil, a reporter for The Athletic, the sports-news site now owned by The New York Times. In what might some readers might think is a touch ironic, Knight told O’Neil he was worried that the current rush for realignment dollars could damage college sports. Knight said he’s had numerous conversations with athletic directors and conference commissioners, “and I can say my total impact so far as been zero.” The story is exclusive to Athletic subscribers, but James Crepea at The Oregonian/OregonLive offered this summary.

In the wake of the latest mass shooting in the United States (words that, unfortunately, you frequently can write these days), The New York Times helpfully brushed off a piece from 2017 that sought to explain why this country seems to have so many of these tragic events. You can argue all you want about the causes of these shootings, you can generate as much smoke as you want, but the Times reports that the evidence is clear: We have so many shootings because we have so many guns. (The story is available only to Times subscribers, but I can send you a gift link if you want — just leave a comment below, and I’ll send you the link.)

Speaking of guns in America, the Times also has a new piece about the increasing number of events in the United States involving armed protesters. The newspaper says that rallies or protests involving armed participants occurred nearly once a day in the U.S. during June. The question is whether these protesters are using increasingly lenient open-carry laws to intimidate opponents and shut down debate — and even some hardline gun advocates say they’re not OK with that.

Climate change is a likely suspect behind a significant drop in the number of Pacific gray whales that pass along the Oregon coast each winter and spring, according to a new assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Alex Baumhardt of the Oregon Capital Chronicle has the story.

Here’s a piece from Joshua Benton at Harvard’s Nieman Lab that I somehow missed when it came out a couple of weeks ago. Benton writes about a new academic paper that makes the case for “creative ignorance” — not just creative thinking — as a vital tool for dealing with misinformation. In other words, the paper’s authors argue, a critical skill for battling misinformation is teaching people to steer clear of sources that traffic in malarkey. Here’s a paragraph from the paper:

We review three types of cognitive strategies for implementing critical ignoring: self-nudging, in which one ignores temptations by removing them from one’s digital environments; lateral reading, in which one vets information by leaving the source and verifying its credibility elsewhere online; and the do-not-feed-the-trolls heuristic, which advises one to not reward malicious actors with attention. We argue that these strategies implementing critical ignoring should be part of school curricula on digital information literacy.

Editor & Publisher magazine covered a recent symposium in which editors, writers and academics hashed out the topic of objectivity in journalism. The story, by Gretchen Peck, offers some provocative observations and is a good place to start if you’re just tuning into the debate over what the proper place for objectivity is in journalism — or, for that matter, what “objectivity” even means.

As I write this, it’s still Thanksgiving weekend, even if the holiday itself has passed. Thanksgiving holds a special place among our holidays in that it’s the only day set aside for gratitude, possibly the most underrated of all the emotions — and possibly the one that’s easiest to ignore. Tish Harrison Warren’s newsletter last week in The New York Times was about ways to nurture gratitude — and she gave it a twist this year, by suggesting that we focus first on noticing how interdependent we are with each other. Again, the newsletter is exclusive to Times subscribers, but I can email you a link; just drop a comment below.

That’s it for this week. As for myself, I’ll be grateful for electricity — or will be as soon as Pacific Power gets it back on. See you next weekend.

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