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The German experience settling WNC 1 Reply

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History. Last reply by Scott Dockery Feb 16.

The history of Oakley

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History May 13, 2016.

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City Lights Bookstore posted events
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Montreat College Friends of the Library Annual Luncheon at Montreat College, Gaither Fellowship Hall

June 10, 2017 from 12pm to 2:30pm
Author Vicki Lane, who is working on her seventh novel, will be the guest speaker at the Montreat College Friends of the Library Annual Luncheon at noon on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Gaither Fellowship Hall.  Reservations: 669-8012 Ext. 3502Open to the Public.See More
Saturday
Rose Senehi posted an event

Rose Senehi will read from her new novel: CAROLINA BELLE at MALAPROPS BOOKS & CAFE

May 3, 2017 from 7pm to 8:30pm
Belle McKenzie is obsessed with finding the best apple anyone ever bit into and determined to rekindle the love this obsession has nearly destroyed.        Woven throughout Carolina Belle is the fascinating history of Henderson County, North Carolina’s, apple orchards that endlessly unfold on the county’s horizons and still bear the same names as the early settlers to the area. Senehi, known for her historically accurate novels, sprinkles the book with stories of the development of the Southern…See More
Thursday
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Becky Stone Presents Maya Angelou

Chautauqua Alive! Becky Stone Presents Maya AngelouWednesday, May 24 at 6:30pmPack Memorial Library67 Haywood Street250-4700The Buncombe Chautauqua Committee and Pack Memorial Library will present a pre-Chautauqua special event in Lord Auditorium at Pack Memorial Library at 6:30 Pm on May 24.  Renowned storyteller Becky Stone will present “Becoming Maya Angelou.”   Ms. Stone will be appearing as Maya Angelou in the opening program of the annual Chautauqua series that begins June 19.  On May 24,…See More
Apr 19
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Apr 19
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Prize-winning YA author Sedgwick at Literacy fundraiser

Fundraiser for Literacy Council & Book Launch Marcus Sedgwick Tuesday April 25th 5:30-7:30 p.m., Twisted Laurel, downtown Asheville, 130 College Street COST: $45 per person (ticket includes hardcover book, food, and non-alcoholic beverage) All proceeds go to Literacy Council from press release Marcus Sedgwick, author of Saint Death Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville's locally owned independent bookstore for kids and teens, presents a special event with one of the most critically…See More
Apr 17
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Dellinger Mill--sacred place east of Bakersville

A Mitchell County gristmill sifts through 150 yearsby Rob Neufeld PHOTO CAPTION: Book cover, “Dellinger Grist Mill on Cane Creek” by Jack Dellinger.             In 1861, when Bakersville got a post office, locals changed the town name from Bakersville to Davis, after Jefferson Davis, President of the…See More
Apr 17
City Lights Bookstore posted events
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Caroline McIntyre posted events
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Susan Weinberg posted an event

Reading by Poet Al Young at Table Rock Room, Plemmons Student Union, App State University

April 6, 2017 from 7:30pm to 8:45pm
A reading by past California Poet Laureate Al Young in Appalachian State's Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series. The reading will be preceded by a craft talk titled "No Poem, No Home" from 2-3:15 the same day.Both are in ASU's Plemmons Student Union. Free admission; books will be available for sale and signing. See More
Mar 30
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Mar 23
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Citizen science author in Asheville April 6

Eco author in Asheville April 6 Citizen science can foster earth-saving policies Journalist Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, speaks at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 7 p.m., Thursday, April 6 in conversation with Mallory McDuff, Warren Wilson…See More
Mar 23
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event
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Appalachian Authors Book Signing and Reading at Historic Carson House

April 8, 2017 from 10am to 3pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be a featured author and reader at the Appalachian Authors  Book Signing and Reading to be held at the Historic Carson House on Saturday, April 8 from 10-3. She will debut her new poetry collection A Part of Me. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.See More
Mar 23
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Mar 22
Gary Carden posted a video

2012 Award Winner for Literature -- Gary Neil Carden

A literature and drama teacher turned storyteller, Gary Neil Carden is an award winning playwright whose tales are informed by mountain life in North Carolin...
Mar 22
Gary Carden updated their profile
Mar 22

Ethics book presents 82 tough situations

by Rob Neufeld

 

            I wanted to see the book, “Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter,” by Peter Singer, because I think real-life parables are helpful in considering such conundrums.

            I was hoping that the work’s academic origins—Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University and the publisher is Princeton—would not stiffen good storytelling.

            The verdict?  Singer’s “Ethics” is, for the most part, compelling, nagged by a tolerable amount of over-explaining, so it thankfully fills the need for readable case studies of topics you don’t discuss at cocktail parties.

 

Giving to the poor

 

            Let’s start off with a challenge that involves hope.

            The World Bank, Singer reports, said it would cost $50 billion a year to reduce dire poverty in the world by 50%.  This comprises one-tenth of the population.  The expense equals an average donation of $100 from every adult in the developed world.  If everyone gave 1% of their income after expenses, Singer asserts, extreme poverty could be completely eradicated.

            How does this involve an ethical dilemma?  Singer zings the dinger.

            “We tend to think of charity as something that is ‘morally optional,’” he writes, “good to do, but not wrong to fail to do.”  But why not think, instead, he proposes, that not donating at least 1% is “morally wrong.”

            You can tell, this book is going to be a pain.  Yet, for those seeking teaching or self-examining moments, that’s the appeal.  Bring it on; let’s see if we can test ourselves and discuss things without blowing up.

            Before delving in, let’s work with one more hopeful conundrum.

            The nation of Bhutan has as its goal “gross national happiness,” rather than gross national product, Singer reports.  A commission there interviewed 8,000 Bhutanese to determine what determines happiness, and devised policies.

            Happiness may be a no-brainer, but policies are troublesome.  Asheville people will raise eyebrows at Bhutan’s high visa fees, meant to reduce tourism in favor of happiness.

            Regarding best choices, Singer often tips the balance.  For instance, weighing in on happiness versus profits, he notes that unhappiness is monetarily expensive to society.

 

Cheating

 

            As we ease over to the dark side with Singer, let’s begin with something not terribly ominous: “Is it OK to cheat at football?”

            By football, Singer means soccer.  In 2010, you may remember, the German World Cup goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, faked the referee into thinking that Frank Lampard’s ricochet-off-the-top-bar goal had landed outside the goal line.  That’s “win at all costs” behavior, and “cheating,” Singer states.

            Soccer fans can recall similar coups: Maradona’s handball goal in Brazil’s defeat of England, 1986; Thierry Henry’s handball assist in France’s advance to the World Cup versus Ireland, 2009.

            But, then there’s Robbie Fowler, a Liverpool striker who, in a game against Arsenal, told a referee that a foul called against the player defending him was not correct.  The ref said that it was, and to just take the penalty kick; and Fowler complied by kicking the ball softly to the keeper.

              Singer says that a professional sports context makes the moral choice more significant because players are role models with millions of viewers.  Neuer could have promoted good character, Singer asserts.  Who’d have called him a stooge if he’d acted honestly and yielded the goal?

            Some other Singer themes concern: WikiLeaks (a little out of date now); the refugee crisis (he calls refugee camps a least-bad solution); and the Internet (he touts expanding it to every world citizen).

            The issue of renaming commemorations came to his attention when the Black Justice League and others at his university, Princeton, moved to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from a school and a college.

            Wilson had been a Princeton alumnus and president.  As U.S. president, he’d outlawed child labor, restricted the power of banks, injected morality into international affairs with his 14 Points, and—to his discredit—reintroduced racial segregation in the U.S,

            Does commemorating him promote understanding or legitimize hurt?

            Not surprisingly, Singer devotes seven chapters to right-to-life issues.

            “If the fetus really did have the moral status of any other human being,” he posits in one chapter, it would be hard to argue that a woman’s right to choose includes the right to end a life, “except perhaps when the woman’s life is at stake.”  But the anti-abortion fallacy, he continues, “lies in the shift from the scientifically accurate claim that the fetus is a living individual of the species Homo sapiens to the ethical claim that the fetus therefore has the same right to life as any other human being.”

            You can see that Singer engages in logical discussion of views as much as in presentation.  I think the presentations are more effective than the debates, though it’s good to have the talking points spelled out.

            The sanctity-of-life issue becomes excruciatingly difficult to sort out when confronted with the story of what doctors and nurses had to decide at New Orleans’ Memorial Medical Center in 2005.  Only so many patients could be carried down and up stairs to an airlift when Katrina flooded the city and power went out.  Those left behind were, in a few instances, given large doses of morphine to induce painless deaths.

            It reminds me of a parable I once heard in a radio debate.  Ten people climb into a boat that can only hold nine afloat in the ocean.  No one wants to jump off and no one wants everyone to drown, as would happen if no one left.  What does a right-to-life person do?

            I recommend Singer’s book, though, as a holiday gift, it might split rather than inspire families.  I do think it falls short of unqualified excellence.  Some of its arguments are incomplete; and more is needed than persuasion to have someone say, “Oh, my bad, I’m not going to be evil anymore.”

 

Rob Neufeld writes the weekly book feature for the Sunday Citizen-Times.  He is the author and editor of six books, and the publisher of the website, “The Read on WNC.”   He can be reached at RNeufeld@charter.net and 505-1973.  Follow him @WNC_chronicler.

 

 

           

           

            

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