Go Palin-Free in February

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has taken a long look in the mirror and come to the conclusion that he has a problem, namely, that he writes columns in which Gov. Sarah Palin’s name appears in amounts out of all proportion to her importance.

And so, I hereby pledge that, beginning on Feb. 1, 2011, I will not mention Sarah Palin — in print, online or on television — for one month. Furthermore, I call on others in the news media to join me in this pledge of a Palin-free February. With enough support, I believe we may even be able to extend the moratorium beyond one month, but we are up against a powerful compulsion, and we must take this struggle day by day.

… I was complaining about the over-coverage of Palin when I found myself saying that “the best thing would be — it’s impossible, of course — that we in the media should declare some sort of a Sarah Palin moratorium.”

It’s impossible, I figured, because Palin is a huge source of cheap Web clicks, television ratings and media buzz.

This is funny, because I said of Palin a year ago that her penchant for media attention reminded me of an episode of The Simpsons in which billboard and advertisement characters were coming to life and stomping around Springfield.  An advertiser realizes that they will lose their power and stop their dangerous rampage if people can bring themselves to stop paying attention to the ads.  Desperate to get this across to the citizens, he writes a jingle, “Just Don’t Look.”  I have been singing this to myself for several months.  I see Milbank has concluded similarly:

Palin clearly isn’t going away: “I am not going to sit down. I’m not going to shut up,” she told Hannity on Monday. But if we treat her a little less like a major political figure and a little more like Ann Coulter — a calculating individual who says shocking things to attract media attention — it won’t matter. Sure, we might lose some Web traffic or TV ratings, but we might also gain something…

And so I pledge to you: Sarah Palin’s name will not cross my lips — or my keyboard — for the entire month of February. Who’s with me?

Ai ai ai, it will be hard, and it means I’d be writing on this blog about serious evils and gendered oppressions, instead of my latest enjoyable rage with Palin’s most recent bid for attention, but… OKAY!  I’m in!  It’s easier to break habits with a helpful social network, so I’d appreciate your help, gang, but no pressure.

Memorial for Philippa Foot

Symposium on Moral Philosophy,
 to honour the memory of Philippa Foot, F.B.A.,
died 3 October 2010.

Dates Friday 18th March and morning of Saturday 19th March 2011

Venue Somerville College, Oxford, U.K. OX2 6HD.

Papers will be given by

Sarah Broadie, University of St Andrews (title to follow)

Anthony Kenny, University of Oxford (title: Morality, Law and Virtue)

Gavin Lawrence, UCLA (title: The Deep and the Shallow)

Anselm Müller, formerly University of Trier (title: Can Virtue be Taught?)

Michael Thompson, University of Pittsburgh (title to follow)

Ralph Wedgwood, Merton College, Oxford (title: Intention and Outcome: Defending Double Effect)

Those wishing to attend should register with the organiser, Lesley.Brown@some.ox.ac.uk . There is no conference fee, and a sandwich lunch on Friday will be available free of charge for those who have registered.
If you wish to attend the conference dinner on Friday 18th March at a cost of approx £25, please book a place by Friday 11th March, mentioning any dietary requirements. 
There will be three sessions: Friday morning, Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning.

Accommodation in Somerville College is available at £48 per night bed and breakfast, and may be booked by emailing Bursary@some.ox.ac.uk. Please mention that you will be attending the Moral Philosophy symposium

 Saturday 19th March memorial occasion in memory of Philippa Foot, 2.30 pm

This will be held in the Dining Hall of Somerville College, and all friends, colleagues, former pupils and anyone who wishes to attend are welcome. Tea will be served afterwards.