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Insert Comma • A Portfolio of Leigh E. Rich
Categories: Ethics, Feminism, Health, History, Media, Politics, Television, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on “Men Against Fire”

The bureaucratization of dehumanization is nothing new. Examples can be found in many eras and places and during both wartime and peace. Modern warfare, however, has meant innovations in the techniques of killing as well as the “framing” of those being killed, whether accomplished by separating the act through distance or technology or training soldiers (and the public) to “see” the enemy differently. The U.K. anthology series Black Mirror revisits this question in an episode titled “Men Against Fire,” a direct reference to S.L.A. Marshall’s controversial 1947 book of the same name, Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command. Marshall observed the battlefield as a lonely and traumatic place and portrayed this isolation—and an individual’s moral upbringing—for soldiers’ hesitancy to fire on an enemy, even when ordered or in danger of losing their own lives. What was needed, according to Marshall, were “well-trained foot soldiers” freed from such burdens. While bureaucratic techniques that dehumanize or obscure the Other can be particularly “useful” in war, they are perhaps more insidious beyond the bounds of war. Primary examples include Jim Crow and eugenics, with reverberations of both still felt today. Examining the Black Mirror episode, not in relation to war or Marshall but when men are not “against fire,” sheds light on why health disparities and other inequities persist and the need for movements like Black Lives Matter or new waves of feminism. In civil society, the “problem of battle command” has been understood by certain policymakers and powerbrokers as a hesitancy to limit safety nets (“entitlements”) or reproductive and civil freedoms of the “undeserving” in the name of protecting the financial and corporeal health of the social body. Viewing “Men Against Fire” through examples such as eugenic thinking reveals how discriminatory rhetoric against poor, minority, and other stigmatized populations has lingered during peacetime through the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. Unlike Marshall’s conclusion, the answer to ending such policies and practices is rooted not in overcoming a sense of morality but engaging in it.

Categories: Editorials, Ethics, Film, History, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Two Deaths and a Birth

Reminiscing and rehashing principles in biomedical ethics By Michael A. Ashby and Leigh E. Rich Two anniversaries and one notable death have been observed in the last two months of 2013: the 50th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the centenary of the birth of French Algerian Nobel Prize-winning author and […]

Categories: Books, History, Politics, Religion, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Scientology as case study

What the ethical and legal history of Scientology can teach us about religion By Leigh E. Rich Though in many ways still shrouded in secrecy, Scientology could be said to be one of the most “accessible” religions in the world—that is, in terms of documenting and understanding its origins. Part of this has to do with its young age, […]

Categories: Ethics, Health, History, Media, Politics, Television, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Heidegger and “House”

The twofold task in working out the question of American medicine By Leigh E. Rich and Jack Simmons “To the things themselves!” — Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, 1927 “How can I tell what’s real and what’s not?” — Dr. Gregory House, “No Reason,” episode no. 224, May 23, 2006 In 1927, Martin Heidegger published […]

Categories: Books, Ethics, Health, History, Media, Social Science, Television, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on The afterbirth of the clinic

A Foucauldian perspective on “House M.D.” and American medicine in the 21st century By Leigh E. Rich, Jack Simmons, David Adams, Scott Thorpe, and Michael Mink Mirroring Michel Foucault’s The Birth of the Clinic (1963), which describes the philosophical shift in medical discourse in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Fox television series House […]

Categories: Books, History, Politics, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Revisiting dark days in Iran

Books on the 1979 hostage crisis pertinent to today By Leigh E. Rich The Crisis: The President, the Prophet, and the Shah—1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam By David Harris Little, Brown and Company October 2004 432 pages $26.95/$39.95 (Can.) Dateline: Nov. 4, 1979—After a group calling themselves Students Following the Line of the […]

Categories: Books, History, People, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Criminal’s life stranger than fiction

Whiskey Robber’s ballad a page-turner By Leigh E. Rich Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts By Julian Rubinstein Little, Brown and Company September 2004 304 pages $23.95 ($34.95 CAN) Perhaps few in the United States know much about Hungary, a […]

Categories: Books, History, Music, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on The ‘Black Mozart’

Rediscovering the life of the Monsieur de Saint-George By Leigh E. Rich Monsieur de Saint-George: Rediscovering the Life of the “Black Mozart” By Alain Guédé Translated from French by Gilda Roberts Picador December 2003 304 pages $26 U.S./$39 Canada “The more perfect a thing is,” so wrote Dante in The Divine Comedy, “the more it […]

Categories: Books, History, People, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on On ‘Death’ and awakening

Remembering Emmett Louis Till By Leigh E. Rich Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America By Mamie Till-Mobley and Christopher Benson One World/Ballantine December 2004 320 pages In 1976, Mamie Till-Mobley witnessed the unveiling of a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Denver’s City Park. In the sculpture, […]

Categories: Books, Health, History, Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Slow death of a monster

Arizona author documents historical battle By Leigh E. Rich The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox By Jennifer Lee Carrell Dutton June 2003 451 pages $24.95 Today, 23 years after the World Health Organization confirmed the worldwide eradication of smallpox, there are only two places one might bump into the Variola virus that […]

Categories: Books, History, Religion, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on A mystery of biblical heft

The (now discredited) story of the first archaeological link to Jesus By Leigh E. Rich The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story and Significance of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus and His Family By Hershel Shanks and Ben Witherington III HarperSanFrancisco April 2003 254 pages $24.95 Physicist Saul Perlmutter, upon discovering in 1998 that […]

Categories: History, People, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Author finds past in present

Pearl Duncan traces 400 years of ancestry using DNA By Leigh E. Rich “My mother’s ancestors used to own my father’s ancestors,” joked author and educator Pearl Duncan Thursday when she spoke at the Auraria campus as part of the Metro and CU-Denver combined Distinguished Lecture Series. Duncan, whose decade-long research into her family tree […]