Things That Matter
Charles Krauthammer
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
Chapter 2
Summary

The author begins this chapter by writing about the act of always being determined to be more superior to others. In his article titled “No Dancing in the End Zone,” he talks about a student he calls “Oswald,” who was hated by the other students due to his desire to prove his superior knowledge. He then connects this with his controversial argument regarding American arrogance. For long, Americans abroad have been accused of blinding arrogance and display. Even though he finds this charge generally unfair, he agrees that America has a nation is not humble. He then brings into question American arrogance, noting that his problem with America is that it does not know where to stop. The country should keep what they are good at and let the rest of the world achieve something. In the next article, “Women and Children.” Still? Krauthammer questions why women are always grouped with children, something that he calls “a raging anachronism.” Children are always entitled to special treatment and consideration because of their innocence and helplessness. For this reason, the phrase "women and children" attributes to women the same pitiable dependence as well as moral simplicity that is found in five-year-olds.

Krauthammer’s next column is called “Don’t Touch My Junk.” Here, he addresses a subject that is far more controversial, the issue of profiling in airports. Utilizing the utterance of a man who took a short video of himself being searched at the airport, Krauthammer subsequently makes a case for profiling in airports. To him, the demographic for airline terror is “narrow, concrete, uniquely identifiable as well as universally known,” (Krauthammer 44). Nevertheless, this statement is not clarified by ensuring that the specific demography is stated. Overall, Krauthammer argues that TSA screenings have gotten to a point where they are unnecessary and intruding on several people along with their belongings. People taking off their belts, full-body screenings of pilots, babies being searched for explosives and touching around people’s “junk” is all meaningless and lack a real cause. Within “Accents and Affections,” Krauthammer condemns the existence of the school of Militant Anti-Colonials abbreviated as MACs for asserting that it is necessary to speak in a native accent when pronouncing foreign cities or states. He states that for purposes of linguistic continuity when speaking English, people should seek to pronounce the names of cities or states devoid of an accent. Lastly, within “The Appeal or Ordeal,” Krauthammer develops a commentary regarding the self-validating infliction of suffering. Whether it is the lengthy prospect of film marathons or the tremendous athletic feat of triathlons, survival or experience are the ultimate, most significant results of such events. The cause of this is the ubiquity of materialism and the devaluation of consumer products, all of which cause the price/value implicit correlation to make its way into the enjoyment of film or athletics.

Analysis

In this chapter, Krauthammer makes the reader begin questioning their ideologies as well as morals through the presentation of his own. In the first section of the chapter, he takes a comedic approach to an anecdote regarding “Oswald” auspiciously proving his superior knowledge to his peers, something that made the rest of the students dislike him. He then connects this to the US foreign policy, arguing that America should not work too hard to be “the best of the best” at everything; rather, they should keep what they are good at. Here, he utilizes a series of rhetorical questions to point out that there is no real reason the United States does this other than for gloat. Krauthammer’s candid opinion on this issue forces one to open their mind and question whether the US has to be the best at everything, making them develop their view. This transitions into articles that are more controversial, Women and Children.’ Still?” and “Don’t Touch My Junk.” Krauthammer argues that the phrase “women and children” is quite belittling. Women have come from far, from having no education, no employment and no voting rights, but they are still discriminated against even if some of them turn a blind eye to the fact. Alluding to the historical tragedy of the Titanic, and through the use of a series of polemic and rhetorical questions, he attacks the idea that the survival of women is more important than that of men, leaving the reader intrigued and compelling them to ponder the issue further.

When laying out what he thinks about the TSA screenings, Krauthammer utilizes some sentences that one may deem completely insensitive, e.g., "do you really think I’m a Nigerian nut job preparing for my 72 virgin orgy by blowing my Johnson to kingdom come?” (Krauthammer 38). He does this perhaps to show his disgust with the TSA screenings and try to show how they are intruding and unnecessary. The rest of the chapter follows much of the same persona and voice, furthering Krauthammer’s straightforward demeanor with his opinions. Overall, an individual reader who has experienced any of the problems mentioned will be drawn to this chapter since it utilizes facts and analyzes past ideals to appeal to not only logos but also pathos.

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