April 16, 2003

Death penalty and soccer

Yesterday, I went to a talk by former Illinois governor George Ryan and Northwestern law professor Lawrence Marshall, about capital punishment. Verdict: Ryan is a terrible speaker (he repeats himself and he rambles), but whatever else you may say about him, he sincerely and honestly believes that the death penalty is Just Wrong. Larry Marshall (whose daughter is a Brown undergrad) is a pretty good speaker, though. Together, they presented so many arguments why we shouldn't have the death penalty: aside from being racist and classist in practice, and in violation of norms of human rights even in theory, in the last decade we have demonstrated that even for murder convictions, even with all of the safeguards in the system, we actually convict innocent people with some regularity. Bad enough to send them to prison, but how can we even think about killing them? And finally, about the only real reason to carry out the death penalty is to make the victims' families feel better. And it doesn't even really do that.

Later on, I saw the movie Bend It Like Beckham, which was fantastic. It's a funny, witty film about an Indian Briton who really just wants to play football (er, soccer). But her orthodox Sikh parents don't want her to become a footballer, now that she's a grown woman and should be learning things like how to prepare a full dinner (aloo gobhi et cetera); and she should be helping out with the preparations for her sister's upcoming wedding. It actually came out last year, but is just hitting its American release---probably won't hit the main theatres, I'm guessing, but worth seeking out in the smaller ones.

"Hell, yes, I support our troops! I support them so much that I want them safe at home. I support them so much that, if it were up to me, they would never have been put into danger in Iraq in the first place." --Chronos Posted by blahedo at 9:02am on 16 Apr 2003

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