The World and Everything in It: March 17, 2023
On Culture Friday, a Federal Judge gets shouted down by law students; Collin Garbarino reviews three movies streaming this weekend that are better than the Shazam! sequel; and on Word Play, George Grant delves into the legacy of Isaac Watts’ hymn writing. Plus, the Friday Morning news.
PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like me. My name is Tim Smith and I’ve been listening to the program for about four years every day while I drive for work in southern California. I live with my wife Lisa and our nine children, and I was motivated to record this preroll when I heard a dear friend of our family, Molly from Blaine, Washington, record a preroll of her own. Hi Molly! We hope you enjoy today’s program.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Today on Culture Friday law students demonstrate contempt of court, or at least contempt for an invited federal judge from a U.S. appeals court.
AUDIO: [SOUND OF CHAOS]
EICHER, HOST: Right, that and a woke lecture from the dean of diversity at Stanford. We’ll talk about it with John Stonestreet.
Also what movies are worth watching this week? WORLD’s Colin Garbarino recommends skipping the theater to watch one of three movies streaming this weekend.
LORETTA: Who do you think our readers are? And that’s just it, why would anybody go around killing three nobody women?
EICHER: And Word Play with George Grant.
BROWN: It’s Friday, March 17th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: For WORLD Radio, I'm Kent Covington.
UN report on Russian war crimes » The United Nations says Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
A UN panel unveiled a new report on Thursday after a long investigation.
Erik Mose is chairman of that panel. He said Russia’s offenses include:
ERIK MOSE: Excessive incidental death, injury or damage, wilful killings, torture, rape.
The U.N. investigators did note what they deemed a “small number” of violations by Ukrainian forces.
Investigators will present to U.N. authorities a list of individuals they believe are responsible for war crimes in Ukraine.
Drone video » Footage released by the Pentagon shows a Russian jet dumping fuel on a U.S. surveillance drone just before the drone crashed into the Black Sea.
White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby:
JOHN KIRBY: It is clear that it was aggressive flying, reckless flying, that they were dumping fuel and that they struck the drone, those three points were clear.
The video shows a fighter jet dropping fuel on the drone twice. The second time, it seems to have hit a propeller blade, forcing the drone out of the sky.
Pentagon Press Secretary General Pat Ryder:
PAT RYDER: The United States does not seek conflict with Russia, we do not seek escalation with Russia and so we’re going to continue to stay focused on our primary mission in the Ukraine area which is supporting Ukraine in it’s fight.
Gen. Mark Milley says the fuel dump was likely intentional, but it’s unclear whether Russia meant to take it down.
Poland fighter jets » Poland is set to be the first Western nation to supply fighter jets to Ukraine.
WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.
ANDRZEJ DUDA: (Speaking Polish)
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN: Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday announced plans to deliver at least a dozen or so MiG-29s.
Kyiv has been urgently requesting fighter jets for months.
Poland also was the first NATO nation to provide Ukraine with German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
The Polish government this week said some other countries also had pledged MiGs to Kyiv, but did not name them. The United States still has no immediate plans to supply fighter jets.
The White House said Poland’s decision to supply the fighter jets is a sovereign decision and lauded the Poles for continuing to—quote—“punch above their weight” in assisting Kyiv.
For WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
Uranium missing in Libya » The UN’s nuclear watchdog says some 2.5 tons of natural uranium have gone missing from a site in war-torn Libya.
Natural uranium cannot immediately be used for bomb fuel as it first must be enriched.
But each ton of natural uranium — in the wrong hands with sufficient technology can be refined into 12 pounds of weapons-grade material.
Forces allied with a warlord battling the Libyan government claimed last night that they recovered the material. UN inspectors said they were trying to confirm that report.
France pensions » Top French leaders are taking an unpopular stand for economic reform. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
ELISABETH BORNE: (Speaking French)
JOSH SCHUMACHER: French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne invoked a special constitutional power to push through a pension reform bill minutes before parliament was set to vote on it.
The bill would raise the national retirement age from 62 to 64.
President Emmanuel Macron says without the change the nation’s social security funds will run out by 2035.
The move has sparked protests throughout the country. Opposition leaders in the government are moving to block the bill by filing a no-confidence motion.
Passing that motion requires approval by more than half of the National Assembly.
For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Treasury Secretary hearing about banks » Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is working to calm the nerves of jittery bank depositors and investors, declaring
JANET YELLEN: That our banking system is sound and that Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them.
Yellen testifying to the Senate Finance Committee days after the collapse of two regional banks. The federal government insures bank deposits up to $250,000. But the Biden administration is backstopping every penny of deposits in those banks.
The top Republican on the committee, Senator Mike Crapo told Yellen:
MIKE CRAPO: I’m concerned about the precedent of guaranteeing all deposits and the market expectation moving forward.
Some worry that could encourage risky behavior by banks with the belief that Uncle Sam will provide a safety net.
By the time her testimony was over, another major institution, First Republic Bank, received an emergency infusion of $30 billion in deposits from 11 banks, according to Treasury to avoid a third bank failure.
Florida heartbeat law » State legislators in Florida have introduced a bill that would protect unborn children from abortion in nearly every case. WORLD’s Elias Ferenczy has more.
ELIAS FERENCZY: Current Florida law allows abortion in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The new proposal would protect the unborn after six weeks of gestation except in cases of rape or incest, when the 15-week limit would apply.
The bill would also prevent the U.S. Postal Service and other companies from shipping abortion pills by mail, and it would restrict the state of Florida from offering funds to help women travel out of state for an abortion.
The bill is expected to be approved by the legislature and signed into law.
For WORLD, I’m Elias Ferenczy.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet. Plus, the hymn writer who taught Puritans how to sing. This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s the 17th day of March 2023.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I'm Nick Eicher. It's Culture Friday!
Joining us now is John Stonestreet, the President of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint Podcast. John, good morning.
JOHN STONESTREET: Good morning.
EICHER: Well, John, I'm a little late to this party. But when I finally did manage to look into that incident at Stanford Law School, I thought it was definitely worth bringing up here, even though it's a little bit late.
In short, the story is that a federal appeals court judge by the name of Stuart Kyle Duncan, he's a conservative Trump appointed judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the school invited him to speak to a law school class. But instead of behaving as one would hope that elite law students would behave, they came instead with signs and shouts of protests, let's have a listen to a bit of the chaos.
AUDIO: [SOUNDS OF CHAOS]
EICHER: So you hear him ask for an administrator to try to take control of the situation. And what he received was a prepared lecture from the dean of diversity, equity and inclusion. She spoke for around seven minutes reading from prepared remarks about the judge's abhorrent rulings that make students feel unsafe. But she did come around to express support for the judge's freedom to speak and that she hoped his comments would be valuable enough to justify all of the harm and trauma that his presence at the school was causing. Let me play a brief edited clip of that.
SCHOOL DEAN: We believe that the way to address speech that feels abhorrent, that feels harmful, that literally denies the humanity of people, that one way to do that is with more speech and not less. And again, I still ask is the juice worth the squeeze?
If you have something so incredibly important to say, that that is worth this impact on the division of these people.
EICHER: So then it calmed down enough, but the protest wasn’t over. Before the judge spoke, he watched as numerous students made a final display of disrespect by walking out.
There you have it, our future lawyers and judges.
STONESTREET: Well, it's not an isolated incident, right? I mean, we remember what happened to one of the most decorated attorneys, at least in terms of arguing at the Supreme Court alive right now, which is, of course, Kristin Waggoner, of the Alliance Defending Freedom has argued now several cases before the US Supreme Court, she had the same treatment at Yale University, maybe even a little bit worse. Of course, if you're buying into the categories of DEI, she should have been granted a little more quarter since you know, she is a woman. And that is a category that should have been treated differently according to their own standards. And she wasn't because again, you don't count, I guess, as one of those oppressed groups unless you agree with the worldview of oppression that gets imposed. Here, though, we're talking, as you said, about a federal judge. This is amazing. And both of these groups, both students, and this dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, are supposed to be grownups. You know, it's one thing when you're talking about college students, and you can argue for extended adolescence, and you know, hey, they're only 19 or 20. And, you know, they're young and idealistic. These are law students, you know, they're, they're college grads, they're working on advanced degrees, they at least theoretically, have achieved some degree of independent and critical thinking. And what they were uttering and what they were yelling was nonsensical. But of course, what the dean of diversity, equity and inclusion said was also nonsensical. And I'm not just saying that's a weird analogy she kept using about, about an orange being worth the squeeze or whatever, that was just kind of weird. But just the idea, for example, that because of an opinion, following his understanding of the law, it has caused actual harm. The talking out of both sides of her mouth about allowing someone to speak and not allowing someone to speak, I mean, it was just childish. And of course, that is what happens when you de-emphasize critical thought and you emphasize feelings and you emphasize experience. That's what you're left with is that this takes the place of thought, assertions take the place of arguments, assumptions take the place of reasons. And it's almost, you know, blinded. I did appreciate that at least the university itself, I believe, if I saw that correctly issued an apology on behalf of the Law School. Good for them. I doubt that there will be any sort of consequences for this Dean. But if this is a dean at a law school, how silly and really sad. And again, these are the people, you know, future clerks, future attorneys, future judges. And it kind of underscores the importance that ideas have consequences, they'll have real consequences and our ability to understand really important concepts for our culture, like justice and truth and purpose and meaning. So, yeah, and again, it is one incident, but these incidents continue to add up and is another example of it's not happening, and then it's happening.
EICHER: Yeah. And by the way, there was an official apology, John, from the President of Stanford and the Dean of the Law School. I've got it in front of me here. It notes that the policy of the school is to support the right to protest, but not disrupt. They gently criticize that DEI Dean for failing to enforce university policy, and intervening instead in inappropriate ways. Now, this must have been a reference to the scolding lecture that we talked about that she gave to the judge.
But just a quick followup. Brad Littlejohn at WORLD Opinions made this point I’d like for you to respond to. He wrote about this incident and said this disruption is the result of the students’ growing up in a world without boundaries. He writes: They’ve been given content “designed to feed them material they already like and agree with, and trained to respond to obnoxious ideas by scrolling past, tapping ‘Mute’ or ‘Block,’ or else ranting cathartically at a faceless opponent whose feelings could be ignored. They’ve been habituated to consume information through feeds of 15-second videos, not the 1,500-word rational arguments that are the attorney’s daily fare.”
STONESTREET: I actually just made the same point to a group of young professionals that I was speaking to that social media, it's sort of catechized and popularized this way of thinking about people who disagree as being harmful, and as people who need to actually be silenced. If that argument is indeed true, though, then this is not a problem merely at Stanford University. It was just two weeks ago, where a excerpt from a book on sexuality from a Christian publisher created a Twitter firestorm and which disagreement quickly devolved into attacking an individual person who clearly had no ill will or ill intent, and in many ways, was not saying anything that church fathers had been saying for years, but was considered to be harmful, and enabling abuse. And not that I agree with necessarily the theological arguments that were made in the piece. But the reaction seemed to be really similar to the ranting and raving, and the anger and the claiming of harm being done. And the demand that essentially this person's career be over that was made by so many. And I'm not saying that everyone that had legitimate disagreements with the piece behaved that way, because they didn't, but very quickly, it all became this snowball that was designed to overrun this person. And you know, like every Twitter storm, it lasted for 72 hours, and went away. But for this pastor, this author, those three days, changed the course of his life. And do we really think that's what was deserved in that situation? So I think that there at least has to be a willingness for those in the Christian community to see something like this Stanford incident as a mirror and say, Where are we at on this?
BROWN: Well, John, next month athletes from around the world will compete in the oldest annual marathon - The Boston Marathon. This year it becomes the third out of the six WORLD Marathon Majors to announce a pregnancy deferral policy.
WORLD’s Lillian Hamman wrote about this in WORLD Digital. We’ll link to it in today’s transcript.
The new policy allows female athletes to submit a request as close as 14 days before the race to defer entry for up to two years. Now some detractors are questioning the new policy, asking why deferrals should be allowed for pregnancy instead of injuries and illnesses.
Now, John, maybe this isn't just a sports story, maybe it's about marathon leaders behaving the way you'd want them to behave, you know, helping pregnant women. So after the negative conversation about college campuses, you know, I want to ask you, are you encouraged, but every time I asked you that, you say "No."
STONESTREET: Hey, that's not true! I mean, I'm encouraged that there's a sports body that recognizes there's such a thing as women. You know, I don't know if this is going to turn around, and they're going to have, you know, men, claiming to be, you know, women and then claiming to be pregnant. I mean, we do have plenty of men in public forums, claiming to menstruate and all kinds of weird things. So who knows? But, and I mean, biological men not anyway, keeping these categories straight. So let me just go back to answer your question. All right. Yes, somewhat encouraging. But there are some incredible stories about the strength of women and how this speaks, especially to the fact that pregnancy is not a disease. And the fact that they're not treating it the same is really important. And we should encourage that it never gets treated the same, because how often is it treated the same? And we have a former president saying that pregnancy is a punishment on a young life, we've had plenty of bodies say that to not allow a woman to end a pregnancy is to remove healthcare. So in other words, just like it's a treatment of disease, it gets talked about as a disease over and over and over even more than that, I think, in so many different ways, good, essential biological realities of how women are made are pathologized as problems to be solved, as things to be overcome. And this is a thing that we should celebrate as much and as often as we can, and uphold it that way.
EICHER: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast … thanks, John!
STONESTREET: Thank you both.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, March 17th.
Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: newly available movies.
It’s the weekend, so maybe you’re looking for something new to watch. Here’s Collin Garbarino with a rundown on your options both at the theater and on streaming.
MUSIC: [SHAZAM! THEME]
COLLIN GARBARINO: This weekend, the only new movie in wide release is DC Studios’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods. It’s the sequel to 2019’s Shazam! Actor Zachary Levi returns as a teenage kid who transforms into a superhero by uttering the magic word “shazam.” In this movie, our hero battles imposter syndrome and some Greek goddesses called the Daughters of Atlas.
HESPERA: You play the part of a man, but you are a lost boy. Give us the powers or we will annihilate everything.
Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu play the bad guys, but there’s not much motivation for their wickedness. Just generic supervillain stuff.
SHAZAM: Look, I might not have as much experience as you because I’m not like super old. But I’ve seen all of the Fast and the Furious movies and it’s all about family. Family! Guys, that was the signal!
The film has some amusing scenes, but it’s at least half an hour too long. We’ve seen generic cityscapes get demolished in similar ways too many times before. The movie’s PG-13 for some unnecessary language, and there’s also the obligatory LGBT box checking.
DC Studios will soon reboot its entire franchise. Unless you’re looking for a mindless popcorn flick, you won’t want to spend your movie dollars on this sequel.
But you don’t need to head to the theater to see something new this weekend.
For adults who enjoy the true-crime genre, Boston Strangler debuts today on Hulu.
The film stars Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon as Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole—the female journalists who broke the story 60 years ago.
LORETTA: Jack. I think I found something. Three women were strangled over the last two weeks.
JACK: I don’t see the interest. These are nobodies.
LORETTA: Who do you think our readers are? And that’s just it, why would anybody go around killing three nobody women?
Boston Strangler is a pretty good movie that explores the dynamic between journalists and police and how each manages public perception.
All but one of the 13 Boston Strangler cases are still unresolved, allowing the film to create its own take on what really happened. There’s some speculation and hedging in the movie, but its explanation seems quite plausible.
Sensitive viewers will want to steer clear of Boston Strangler. It’s rated R for disturbing scenes and some bad language. But it manages to depict its heavy subject matter with a fair amount of restraint.
For the kids, on the other hand, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish recently arrived on the Peacock streaming service. Antonio Banderas once again voices the swashbuckling feline from the Shrek movies.
PUSS IN BOOTS: Relax! I am Puss in Boots. I laugh at death. [laughs] You see? And anyway, I am a cat. I have nine lives.
DOCTOR: And how many times have you died already?
PUSS IN BOOTS: Uh. I don’t know. I didn’t count it. I’m not really a math guy, you know.
Puss wasted his first eight lives, and he becomes afraid of losing his last one. He enlists help from old and new friends to help him find a wishing star that can restore his lost lives.
Like other films in the Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish pushes the boundaries of its PG rating with rude humor and mild language. Younger kids might also find the action a little scary.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish might be a sequel to a spinoff of a sequel, but I think it’s the best animated feature film of 2022—not that 2022 was a great year for animated feature films.
MUSIC: [MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS THEME]
For a quiet and all round pleasant viewing experience, I’ll once again recommend Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris which just hit Amazon’s Prime Video this week.
It’s a wonderful movie about a working-class woman from London who takes a trip to Paris to buy an extravagantly expensive gown from the House of Dior.
MRS. HARRIS: Oh. Excuse me, dear. Where would I find the frocks?
MRS. COLBERT: I fear you have the wrong address, madame. I will call someone to show you the way.
MRS. HARRIS: No, no, no. Sorry. I’m… I’m after a frock. One of them 500-pound ones.
MRS. COLBERT: Please, if you could wait over here, someone will attend you directly.
Along the way she changes many people’s lives for the better with her acts of selfless kindness. It's a modern-day fairy tale in which Mrs. Harris manages to play both Cinderella and Fairy Godmother at the same time.
Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is rated PG, but parents should note that about halfway through the movie, Mrs. Harris’s French friends take her to a cabaret that features bikini-clad dancing girls. For the most part though, it’s the kind of movie families can enjoy together.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
If you are thinking about joining us at this year’s World Journalism Institute … I’m going into mama mode: you better buckle down and get your application in. You have exactly one week. Get it done this weekend, I’m telling you!
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’ll go to dad mode and say, this is a wonderful opportunity for you … you need to be thinking about your future. And here’s something Dad would be paying special attention to: if you’re accepted, you’ll be getting a full-ride scholarship. Think about that? Tuition, covered. Room and board, covered. So get on over to W-J-I-dot-WORLD and apply today.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Now I’ve heard David Bahnsen enough to know this may sound like a free lunch … it’s not. It’s thanks to generous donors who are making this possible. And the application is a task, so please do not put it off. W-J-I-dot-WORLD. And I hope to see you there!
EICHER: Me, too!
BROWN: Time now for Word Play for the month of March. Today, we highlight a hymn writer known as the father of English hymnody. Here’s George Grant.
GEORGE GRANT, COMMENTATOR: Isaac Watts wrote more than a thousand hymns and psalm settings including O God, Our Help in Ages Past, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, Jesus Shall Reign, How Sweet and Awful Is the Place, and Joy to the World. Church musician Mike Cosper has aptly called him, “the reformer you know by heart but perhaps not by name.
In addition to being a prolific poet, Watts was a scholar of wide reputation. A contemporary of Samuel Johnson, Cotton Mather, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards. He was a gifted preacher, a careful theologian, and an ardent apologist. He published more than two dozen theological treatises; essays on psychology, astronomy, and philosophy; three volumes of sermons; the first children’s hymnal; seven pioneering works on educational pedagogy; and a treatise on logic that served as the standard university text at Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard for generations.
Watts was a prodigy, demonstrating early genius: he began learning Latin by age four, Greek at nine, and Hebrew at thirteen. When Southampton, his hometown, took in a surge of Huguenot refugees, he added French to his linguistic arsenal. This mastery of language was evident in all that Watts wrote. His phrasing, syntax, and vocabulary were unerringly elegant but always understandable.
Thus, according to Samuel Johnson, “He was the first who taught Puritan Dissenters to write and speak like other men, by showing them that elegance might consist with piety.”
His carefully worked out theology of language—and its implications for grammar, logic, and rhetoric—enabled Watts to articulately bemoan the devastating effects of the fall, where “sins and sorrow grow.” But he also joyously celebrated the fact that Jesus has come. Indeed, “He rules the world with truth and grace;” and not in just a few isolated corners, oh no: “fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains” all bear testimony to the fact that “He makes His blessings flow as far as the curse is found.”
Watts could not have said it any more simply; nor could he have said it any more profoundly.
I’m George Grant.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Well, it’s time to say thanks to the team members who helped put the program together this week: Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Amy Lewis, Addie Offereins, Whitney Williams, Onize Ohikere, Jenny Rough, Ryan Bomberger, Steve West, Jenny Lind Schmitt, Cal Thomas, John Stonestreet, Collin Garbarino, and George Grant.
Thanks also to our breaking news team: Kent Covington, Lynde Langdon, Steve Kloosterman, Lauren Canterberry, Mary Muncy, Josh Schumacher, Anna Mandin, and Elias Ferenczy.
Making their debuts this week, a special welcome to Jerry Boyer and Travis Kircher!
And thanks also to the guys who stay up late to get the program to you early Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Our producer is Harrison Watters with production assistance from Anna Johansen Brown, Lillian Hamman, Benj Eicher, Emily Whitten, and Bekah McCallum.
Paul Butler is our Executive Producer.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Bible says: “May all who seek you / rejoice and be glad in you! / May those who love your salvation / say evermore, ‘God is great!’ / But I am poor and needy; / hasten to me, O God! / You are my help and my deliverer; / O LORD, do not delay!”
Remember to worship the Lord this weekend with your brothers and sisters in Christ! Lord willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.
Go now in grace and peace.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.
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