A Matter of Perception

By Cyberquill 07/17/201019 Comments

Is our own camp ever engaged in “playing politics,” or is this proclivity exclusive to our opposition?

Do we ever accuse a person of just wanting to get attention or having too much time on his or her hands even if we concur with his or her point of view?

Do we ever bother to highlight that a person may not be a trained expert on a particular subject even if we like what he or she has to say about it, or do we simply tout them for their intelligence and common sense while saving our doubts about expertise and qualification for those whose views we find less palatable?

Do people we respect ever flip-flop, or do they invariably possess the laudable elasticity of mind to adjust to new realities?

Collectively speaking, are the media ever anywhere except in the pocket of our enemy?

Are the minority of ostensibly racist or violent nutjobs within our own ranks ever anything but a few isolated extremists that lurk within every organization, and are a similarly-sized minority of kooks in the opposing camp ever anything but symptomatic and representative of that entire movement?

Are members of our own tribe ever engaged in fear-mongering, or do they always raise legitimate concerns by definition?

Do we ever demand the same amount of evidence to support a claim that happens to jibe with our belief system versus one that does not?

Are we ever willing and able to draw a distinction between full and partial comparison if we consider the individual at the receiving end of such comparison to be our ally?

Will we ever learn to apply our own logic equally in all directions, if only to avoid coming across as capsized wingnuts afflicted with a bizarre predilection to shoot ourselves in the foot with it?

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  • http://www.testazyk.com Thomas Stazyk

    Well said.

    Is it by coincidence or design that you have ten points? Because I thought this could with grammatical reshuffling, be a modern ten commandments of living in a democratic society.

    • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

      Coincidence. I had eight when I posted them, and then I added two more. The list’ll probably grow over time. But that’s fine, ’cause the original Ten Commandments weren’t exactly ten, either. More like 14 or 15, if I recall correctly. (Yes, I was present on Mount Sinai, albeit very young at the time.)

      • Richard

        An informative reflection on bigotry, arrogance and preconception. Marvellous. As you gather, I agree with you in every respect (assuming it is possible to agree with a question), except that I do not understand the final commandment.

        • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

          My final interrogative commandment sort of sums up the previous nine. Imagine a guy whacking himself in the head with a boomerang. Seems like a silly thing to do, yet in a figurative sense, such behavior is quite commonly observed in how people argue their points.

          Say, for instance, someone criticizes another for being recalcitrant and unyielding in his positions, yet the person leveling that charge clearly shows no signs of relinquishing or even modifying his own. Well, that person just bonked himself in the head with a boomerang in the form of his own logic. (Feminists, feel free to replace all his‘s with her‘s.)

          Shooting oneself in the foot is just a more clichéd way to denote pasting oneself in the head with a boomerang, i.e., the dispensing of any criticism that the dispensing party should—but apparently isn’t—aware will come flying back into her own face shortly. (Chauvinists, feel free to substitute his.)

          • Richard

            And what is the remedy?

            • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

              I can’t think of the equivalent civilian term, but in military parlance the remedy is called counter-intelligence. Simply put, the awareness that if I do this, the enemy will most likely respond by doing that. So if I’m about to throw a grenade, and it’s pretty obvious that the enemy will simply pick it up and throw it right back in my face, perhaps I shouldn’t throw it in the first place.

              You’re a jurist. Take the Sotomayor confirmation a few years ago. There was a recording or transcript or something of the woman saying that her hispanic heritage may color her judgment, and all the dopey Repulicans and their spokespeople tore her to shreds over it. That would have been fine, had those very same attack dogs during the Samuel Alito hearings a couple years earlier diplayed similar exasparation over Mr. Alito having said the exact same thing about his Italian heritage. Needless to say, their deafening silence with respect to their own guy and his heritage came flying right back at them the moment they started bitching about Sotomayor and hers.

              The other day, I was watching some Democratic spokesperson toots on MSNBC refer to Republicans as playing politics. Brilliant. And what’s Senator Reid playing every time he opens his mouth in front of a microphone? Pin the tail on the donkey?

              So that’s the remedy. Counter-intelligence. At least in theory. Obviously, there’s no practical cure for human nature.

  • http://andreaskluth.org/ Andreas

    Your ten points are a modern list expressing the timeless difference between “eristic” (bad) and “dialectical” (good) ways of debating and conversing as Socrates clarified them.

    Of course, Socrates, having pleaded for dialectic to prevail, then practiced so much eristic argument that the Athenians eventually put him to death.

    He was human. We’ll write that list of ten question again, in some language, in 2,000 years.

    • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

      Yeah, I often wonder why they still bother to shoot new porn movies. It seems that everything that can be said on the subject has been said—same situations, same action sequences, same anatomies. Nothing is likely change for the next 2,000 years. So what’s the point?

      Your vicarious warning about my eventual execution has been noted. Thanks for looking out for me.

  • http://www.testazyk.com Thomas Stazyk

    Cool new pic! How’s it working out on BP?

    • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

      The cap appears to be holding. Could we get any off-topicer? If so, I’d like to discuss the physics of frozen soda now.

      • http://www.testazyk.com Thomas Stazyk

        Sorry about that--didn’t know where else to comment! Speaking of off-topic, Lois the stink plant has turned into a bit of a fizzle. That won’t be a problem with frozen soda I’m sure!

        • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

          No, the problems with the soda are of a strictly technical nature, such as rigging the inside of the freezer with a light and a camera and setting up the live feed. In fact, I may have to drill a hole in the fridge—a defloration of sorts, as it would be this particular appliance’s first time.

          Regarding your stated confusion as to where to leave out-of-context inquiries and commentary, why do you think I added a CONTACT tab to the navigation bars of all my pages? True, I wanted seven tabs—the mystic number—but that doesn’t mean they’re all just dummy tabs.

          • http://www.cheriblocksabraw.com cheri

            I tried to follow these comments but (it must be I) they don’t seem related.

            Who was smoking what?

            Since when does anyone expect original thought? For the most part, all ideas have been “done.” It’s the shading or highlighting or macrame or molding of the idea that is new.

            • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

              Yes, it’s you. It’s always you. Besides, you came late, and latecomers won’t be seated until intermission.

              I’m not smoking anything. Whoever disagrees with me, on the other hand, is stoned by defnition. If you can’t follow again, search the World Wide Web for a blog post with a giant spliff at the top.

              Not sure what your buddy Andreas expects, but methinks he deemed my remarks a trifle too preachy and regarded them as an early symptom of my inevitable descent into eristic argumentation, so he trotted out some sort of flimsy nothing-new-under-the-sun red herring of an argument as a veiled warning that if I didn’t knock it off, sooner or later I’d be facing the hemlock as did my vaunted Athenian predecessor.

              Macrame? Is that a fish like a herring?

            • http://www.testazyk.com Thomas Stazyk

              Glad you joined the discussion Cheri. We can introduce Spoon River Anthology and have an oblique discussion interweaving at least 4 different and unrelated blog posts simultaneously. We should tweet this.

  • http://www.cheriblocksabraw.com cheri

    In keeping with my literal self, Peter, macrame is a 1970’s art form where hippies tied lots of rope in weird knots and hoops and then hung them on their apartment walls.

    You are too young to remember this art form.

    Who cares whether or not Andreas agrees with anything? He, of all people, values a difference of opinion, preachy or whatever.

    • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

      Sure. I’m also too young to remember the Beatles. No clue who these people were. All I know is that at least one of them has been to a library (to pick up an award or something).

      And I don’t really “care” whether anybody agrees with me. I’m merely saying that whoever doesn’t, is stoned.

  • http://www.cheriblocksabraw.com cheri

    Take care, Peter.

    • http://www.cyberquill.com/about.php Cyberquill

      U2. Yes, the band. Never liked them, but at least I’m old enough to remember. (Incidentally, one of the subway lines in Vienna is called U2, too. It’s all very confusing.)

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