“A confidential informant is not a spy…”

The title of this post is a quotation from US Senator Lindsey Graham, during a recent radio interview — find more details here, in a recent Washington Post report, along with a transcript of that portion of his interview. It concerns the President characterizing someone who is now much in the news as being a “spy” planted in his campaign by the FBI. That others understand this person as an informant — someone who, of their own volition, apparently decided authorities needed to know something he himself knew — is one among many current examples in US politics where it ought to be profoundly obvious that, yes, classification matters. Continue reading

Purity and Danger

If you know of the Panera chain of soup & sandwich shops then you might know about their latest marketing campaign — they sell clean food.

I guess that means that other menus — those of their competitors in the fast food industry, that is — are populated by, well, dirty food.

Apart from the curiously anti-intellectual theme to the campaign (if you can’t easily say the name then it must be bad for you), the initiative makes evident that Mary Douglas‘s work is as relevant now as it ever was.