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Twenty-eight years ago me and my horrible hair graduated @sunyplattsburgh, thanks to the mentorship of Professor David Mowry. We lost him yesterday. Read my very emotional tribute to him at #philosophy #collegife Hi listeners! Do you want to see our host Jack Russell Weinstein (@diasporajack) in person as he deejays fun and exciting music? Come down to @ojatadogmahal records this Saturday for the fourth installment of Ska and Waffles! Rehearsing for Tuesday night! Want to hear #Klezmer music live? Come to Why? Radio’s 10th anniversary party, Tuesday at 6:30. Details at @prairiepublic @diasporajack @empireartscenter Above two folds! Thanks @gfherald @prairiepublic ❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩
#philosophy #ask #morals #advice #questions #help #curious #hardquestions #anything #podcast #discussion #currentevents #philosophyiseverywhere #whynot #politics #ethics #art #metaphysical #religion  #myund #questionoftheday WHY? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life, the Prairie Public radio show is celebrating its 10th birthday and we’re all invited to think philosophically about music with them!

Join the party for food, an interview with legendary Jazz flutist Mark Weinstein, and live Klezmer music! All for free!

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Award winning Jazz Flutist Mark Weinstein plays World Jazz and Straight-Ahead with world-class musicians rooted in the music of Cuba, Brazil, Africa, Argentina and his Jewish heritage. A Latin Jazz innovator, Mark was among the first jazz musicians to record with traditional Cuban rhythm sections in an epic album, Cuban Roots, released in 1967 with Chick Corea on piano. He also has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a professor of Education at Montclair State University, in New Jersey. His music is the soundtrack to Why? Radio. You can learn more about him at 
Stay after the recording for a live concert, as Mark joins the Balkansi Klezmer Band for a jazz-infused exploration of the classic Jewish folk music, Klezmer. Balkansi is an ensemble based in Grand Forks that specializes in traditional music from one of the richest and most diverse musical regions in the world. The members of the band include Tamara Auer on violin, Haley Ellis on clarinet, Edward Morris on guitar, Zephaniah Pearlstein on cello, Michael Ferrick on bass, Rachel Agan Muniz on percussion.

And then stay even longer for an informal Q&A with Why? Radio host, Jack Russell Weinstein. 🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼
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President Obama pardoned the Thanksgiving turkeys yesterday. For our foreign readers, this is a White House tradition in which the American President finds two turkeys and declares that they will not be eaten, sending them off to live a life of ease in a petting zoo or some national monument. This year’s birds were named “Liberty” and “Peace,” so needless to say, he couldn’t have killed either one.

This tradition is dumb. First off, the turkeys can’t be pardoned because they haven’t been convicted of a crime. Maybe they could be rescued or saved, but that’s not the same thing. More importantly, there are no consequences of the pardon. Obama (and most of America) are still going to eat other birds, so there isn’t even the symbolic value of swearing off the slaughter of millions of living creatures.

Conservative philosophers from Edmund Burke to Tevye the dairy farmer have argued that traditions are goods in themselves and that there is virtue in doing certain things simply because they have been done in the past. There are moments when I’m sympathetic to this argument, but what happens when the ritual is empty and just plain silly? Does the virtue of it being a tradition outweigh its senselessness?

I love Thanksgiving. I love the meal (including the turkey). I love having huge crowds at my house and cooking obscene amounts of food for people I care about. There are many arguments against the holiday worth discussing, including those that examine the slaughter of Native Americans and the immorality of a gluttonous holiday that exists in the shadow of world poverty and starvation. But I’m not discussing those now. Instead, I’m looking specifically at the ridiculous and self-contradictory nature of the turkey pardon and asking, does the fact that it’s a tradition mean it’s worth doing? Arguing yes would be, I think, a hard case to defend.

Of course, the West Wing got here first:


3 comments on “Are stupid traditions worth preserving too?

  1. SRS says:

    I notice nobody has commented on this post… would you like a comment?

  2. We love comments, even on older posts! Comment away!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I Like These Ideas

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