Whorled View

September 5, 2008

Sarah Palin’s a big meany? Yeah, right!

Filed under: Blogroll,Communications,Politics,Sociology — lullabyman @ 12:13 am

I love watching the ridiculous nature of the MSM (mainstream media) when they pull their keystone-cops routine, just like they’ve been doing with Palin lately.  I really do.  Sometimes I can’t decide which is funnier … David Letterman (who mirrors MSM political leanings) while he’s trying to be funny, or the MSM while they’re trying not to be funny.

Never is this more apparent than when things don’t go their way.  When things don’t go their way the double standard they set up is hilarious.  Maybe it’s just because I listen to NPR and watch non-Fox channels but I can’t tell you how many times over the last 24 hours I heard pundits disparage Palin for having remarks that were “belittling” to Obama.

Oh No!  Horrors!  She made Obama seem less than what he thinks he is (that is the definition of belittling incidentally)!  She might have hurt his feelings!  Surely he can’t defend himself so that was dirty pool.  Shame, Palin!  For shame!  As a side note: I seem to remember the MSM saying similar things about Romney for attacking his opponents records .. but in the end the MSM got their favorite Republican candidate: McCain, who’s ironically more likely to beat their favorite candidate than Romney was likely to do.

Of course, belittling the opposition is a VP candidate’s main job, and it always has been – it’s called “Good Cop” vs “Bad Cop” and it leaves McCain the role of playing good cop.  Palin was dutifully playing her part.

Incidentally McCain played the “good cop” very well tonight in dealing with multiple hecklers.  Funny how democrats try to crash republican assemblies, but republicans never do the same to democrat assemblies – but again I’m getting off topic.

Yes, there’s hypocrisy in the MSM … feigning shock that she’d desecrate their idol, Obama.  What I found even more humorous though is the MSM was then so foolish to prove her belittling attitude by showing a snippet where she mocks Obama for saying that small-town people “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them”.

Okay.  All right.  So … apparently it’s okay for Obama to self-righteously belittle half the people in the US  by making a mockery of their faith and their right to personal defense, but Palin “belittled” Obama!  OH THE HORROR!!!  How could she!

What’s even funnier is all the so-called feminists who’ve ever since have been saying the most sexist remarks about Palin imaginable … claiming that either her kids will get the short end of the stick (ha! as if they really care), or the nation will get the short end of the stick.  Meanwhile I’m sure her husband’s thinking “what am I … chopped liver?”, but the most ironic things is nobody on the left has stopped to ask “Why doesn’t anyone say that about any of the men running for office”?

I mean, aren’t liberal democrats supposed to be the last bastion of equal rights?  Aren’t they the ones who pretend to champion the idea that men should be held to the same familial standards as women (a perspective I actually agree with)?  So why would they say that about Palin, but not Obama.  You know … he has young kids too.

And are they so stupid as to think that her kids will sit in squalor without any assistance from White House staff or more importantly without love and affection from a Father who’s been an excellent Mr. Mom for these last few years.  I’m guessing those kids will be doted on no less than Bush’s kids, Clinton’s kids, or any other White House kids and in many if not most cases receive just as much guidance and care from their father as the others received from their non-political parent.  Hey, wait a minute … Chelsea didn’t even have a non-political parent.  Amazing she hasn’t turned out to be some kind of axe-murderer.

Which brings up the other hilarious point.  I loved watching David Letterman last night – being his funniest (maybe “funny” is too flattering of a word … he was more like “ludicrous”) when he was trying to be his most serious.  You had to watch it to see just how clueless he was.  The audience was shocked really at what he said … his guest, Dr. Phil was a deer-in-the-headlights.  Both Letterman and Dr Phil commented on how silent the audience suddenly was, after which Letterman quickly realized he was way off base from all of his viewers.

I don’t remember Letterman’s exact words but in summary, Letterman was very harshly criticizing Palin for letting her daughter get pregnant.  That’s right folks … it was Sarah Palin’s fault her daughter got pregnant according to Letterman (apparently her husband was off the hook – but then I already mentioned the sexist views of the hypocritical left so let’s not delve further into that).  Essentially he went on to suggest that only an idiot would send their 16 yr old daughter out on a date without a condom.

Now I’ve seen Letterman say dumb things before where he’s revealed too much about his ridiculous ideas, but even I was a little surprised at this comment, but what’s more I was really dismayed by Dr. Phil’s response.

There was none.  I kept waiting for it but nothing happened.  I kept expecting Dr. Phil to at least fix things a little.  Dr. Phil is generally pretty straight forward even as a guest and will try to nicely shed some healthy balance in such situations like gently mentioning that perhaps not everyone shares Letterman’s wacky views, but Dr. Phil did nothing of the sort.  Instead they both quickly changed the topic and thereby perpetuated a myth that only idiots believe that morality is more important than birth control, and that a baby born into a very loving home where the mother is only 17 is a horrible horrible thing that should be avoided … perhaps aborted at all costs, even if the father is a good reliable kid who loves the daughter and wants to make it right.

So by-in-large I found the MSM responses to Palin hilarious – with a few moments of disgust here and there where I saw the ugly little underbelly and bizarre beliefs that underlie those responses.  It has been overall, delightful to see the MSM squirm.  Say what you must about the woman, but Palin has been making the MSM and their pundits run around like a bunch of decapitated chickens.

I only wish this show would have started sooner.  Sadly I don’t think she has her guard up or anticipates the onslaught being prepared for her.  She’s not an expert in foreign affairs and that along with other weaknesses she shares with Obama will be exploited by the MSM while Obama will get a pass.  Just you wait and see.

February 15, 2007

Dealing with jerks.

Filed under: Communications,Sociology — lullabyman @ 11:18 am

When it came to jerks I used to think “just you wait … someday you’ll die and then see the video of your life and realize what a jerk you are – and then you’ll feel really bad”. No anymore. Maybe it’s cynicism, growing pragmatism, or maybe I just don’t care anymore, or perhaps justice just isn’t so important to me anymore. Regardless, I don’t think the after-life will provide any chances for smugness.

Chances are that if someone does get a complete overview of thier life after they die, they’ll still think they were in the right when they weren’t. Regardless of their eternal destination they will probably be self-satisfied wherever they are, as they would eventually feel uncomfortable spending eternity with people who were better than them. Besides, although justice may be met, those who plan on feeling smug about it probably will suffer justice for their unrighteous desire to be smug.

I’ve also gone through the pathetic “I know you’re a jerk, and knowing that is good enough for me” phase, and the spiteful “just you wait, what comes around goes around” phase. Both perspectives provide hollow solace though, and they’re both just a little despicable.

But we all observe this, right? You see the victims of henious crimes and they fall into one of two groups – those who seek revenge, and those who don’t. The second group, the “forgivers” who can let go of feelings for revenge, are a rarity because forgiveness for henious acts is so contrary to our nature as human beings. I don’t think any other species does that, although they may carry out vengeful acts out of anger I don’t think it is out of a need to implement justice in order to maintain a certain order or balance. That is a uniquely human need.

But those who master their desire for revenge seem to be the only ones who can carry-on without being consumed with anger. I don’t know if I could do that in some circumstances and I never want to find out if I could.

So why am I rambling on about this? Because it’s a constant daily struggle with me and I wish it wasn’t. I wish I was entirely selfless simply because those who are selfless seem to be the most at peace with the world. And yet that seems strange that my desire for selflessness stems from a selfish desire to be at peace with the world.

Somewhere in there I know that love plays a critical if not the central part. The scriptures certainly seem to indicate that and real life examples of peaceable people all seem to bear that out. And it’s hard to love a jerk, or a person who acts like a jerk. How do you do it?

I had a close freind who was at peace with the world and once he said to me that when dealing with jerks he’d look into their eyes and try to see them as a sibling and say in his heart “I love you”. He said that when he did that his composure changed, enough so that the “jerk” naturally responded in like manner and there were able to find common ground and the “jerk” wasn’t so much a jerk anymore. Of course you have to be in person for this technique to work – and with email, and phone calls, that technique just isn’t possible.

Indeed we’re all jerks about one thing or another, and in every case selfishness seems to be the root cause of it. Which of course makes sense since selfishness is the opposite of love-motivated selflessness.

Stephen Covey says the key to dealing with jerks (not in so many words) is to first seek to understand then seek to be understood. I’ve found that works almost always, but not if the other person doesn’t trust your sincerity. Covey then says to not expect a reciprocation and to even make it clear that you don’t expect any reciprocation on their part – only that you want to understand them, above all other things. Again, the principle enabling this whole technique is a disarming display of selflessness.

It never fails to amaze me how many salespeople are jerks. Apparently being a jerk produces results so for many of them it becomes the modus operandi. Same goes for many managers. Covey’s approach often seems to work with them, but when it doesn’t it’s time to move on.

The worst thing to do though is to lower yourself to their level and be a jerk yourself. It simply provides no useful long term results, even if the short term results are temporarily satisfying.

Okay enough of my rambling. Time to take my own medicine (I’m dealing with some jerks right now).

December 11, 2006

The problem with hoaxes

Filed under: Communications,Sociology,Technology — lullabyman @ 11:12 am

I was thinking about thwarting hoaxes this morning. Many of the e-mail virus filtering software claim to also deal with hoaxes, but do they really? I’d like to send a link for hoax-email-filtering to those I know that get sucked into hoaxes most often, but there’s so much email-filtering-software and none of it seems to make very significant claims about it’s ability to filter out hoaxes.

None of these websites allow comments to be attached to the information regarding each hoax. Any site that claims to identify hoaxes should be confident enough to allow public comments to be posted with each hoax indentification.

There are a lot of websites out there who claim to be the authority on identifying popular hoaxes. Snopes.com seems to be the most popular, and they do seem to have a thorough database – largely because they have such a large userbase who notify the webmaster of new hoaxes. I’m not a big fan of snopes though because I’ve historically seen significant bias in their methods (to the extent of improper identification). Furthermore their forums aren’t visitor friendly, creating and overusing their own acronyms and refusing to define them for thier visitors.

Here’s some other “hoax” resources:
urbanlegends.about.com
hoaxbusters.ciac.org
www.breakthechain.org
www.truthorfiction.com

Hoaxbusters.ciac.org and urbanlegends.about.com seem to be the most complete (at least they seemed to easily find very recent hoaxes I was familiar with).

None of these websites allow comments to be attached to the information regarding each hoax. Any site that claims to identify hoaxes should be confident enough to allow public comments to be posted with each hoax indentification. Other than hoaxbusters.ciac.org there is little to no qualifying information that gives me any warm fuzzies that the information they’re providing is unbiased, and yet nearly everyone seems to believe in them implicitly. Frankly I find that quite dangerous and misleading. Who made these guys the hoax gestapo, and why should we trust them?

… those who ridicule others for believing in a hoax might be just as rediculous if they implicitly put their faith in a hoax-buster of whom they know nothing about.

In short, it seems the whole internet hoax debunking mechanism is woefully innadequate. There is no policing of the hoax police. It seems anyone with HTML skills can establish themselves as an hoax authority, and those who ridicule others for believing in a hoax might be just as rediculous if they implicitly put their faith in a hoax-buster of whom they know nothing about. I challenge self-procalimed hoax authorities to at least allow some public discussion to be attached to each opinion about a possible hoax. Better yet – make it a poll so the public can read the comments and decide for themselves how hoaxable (yes, I just invented a word) it is.

And if there exists a reasonably priced and reliable hoax-filter for email will someone please let the world know about it? Thanks!

November 29, 2006

DISHONEST RESPECT vs HONEST DISRESPECT

Filed under: Communications,Mormonism,Religion,Sociology — lullabyman @ 6:53 pm

I was born into a mormon (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints) family. Just so you know where I’m coming from I should probably let you know that I also believe in the doctrine. Much of it I believe is literal (like Christ being the Son of God), much of it I believe is symbolic (like the world being created in 7 days), and I believe in all of it in one way or another. Some would call me “dyed in the wool”.

Mind you, I don’t think I’m any better than anyone else by virtue of my religion. Neither do I think all non-mormons go to hell nor do I think all mormons go to heaven. On the contrary, the LDS (short for “member of the Church of Jesus Christ of (L)atter (D)ay (S)aints”) doctrine teaches that most all people will go to a heaven-like place that is very similar to the heaven that most other Christian churches believe in – but that’s another often misunderstood topic which I didn’t intend on blogging about today.

One can’t be neutral with respect to “respect”. A person is either respectful or disrespectful. There is no middle ground. Actions alone will prove how respectful a person really is.

Today’s blog is a pre-emptive response to all the negative attention the LDS church will be getting as it becomes more and more evident that Capitol Hill needs people with the morals and integrity that mormons like Mitt Romney and Orrin Hatch have.

You might hear innuendos and lies like “Mitt Romney belongs to a cult”, or “Mitt Romney believes in baptizing dead people”, or “Mitt Romney considers his mormon underwear is sacred”, or lies involving partial truths that will make you think “Gee, that doesn’t sound like that mormon I knew”. That’s politics, and I’m just fine with political jabs. The church and it’s people whom I have grown to love has suffered far worse attacks.

What I am not fine with is when these attackers dishonestly claim to be friendly, supporting, or respectful of others when they know that they can be less offesive in their approach. I can discuss almost any topic with anyone in a disarmingly respectful manner without loosing the power of my arguments. If I have to rely on an offensive approach to win an argument then that speaks poorly of my abilities. If I chose to take the offensive approach and then I claim I’m respectful of the person I’m knowingly offending – then I’m just a liar.

Let me give an example … I recently read a blog by Andrew Sullivan, a Time Magazine writer, who is displaying a photograph that most mormons I know would find obscene and the displaying of it as quite offensive, and then he claims to continues to continue doing it without “disrespect”, even after 100’s, possibly 1000’s of LDS people told him how offended they were. That’s without “disrespect”?

One can’t be neutral with respect to “respect.” People are either respectful or disrespectful. There is no middle ground. Actions alone will prove how respectful a person really is. Jesus Christ put it this way: “By thier fruits shall ye know them”. Someone else said “Actions speak louder than words.”

Don’t confuse dishonest respect with honest ignorance. If someone is honestly ignorant that they were offensive then they are offered forgiveness, but forgiveness doesn’t endow them with a wholesale license to perpetuate the offensiveness withouot being considered rude and disrespectful. It is at that point when they add the label “disrespectful toward certain persons” along with “offender of certain persons”.

… which reveals this Time Magazine writer as grossly dishonest, as are all others who knowingly and needlessly offend those to whom they claim they’re respecting. One cannot claim being respectful of a group of people while intentionally doing something that they know is offensive and obscene to them.

I’ve personally known a lot of Anti-Mormons, and there are many kinds: ex-mormons, fundamental christians, someone who had a bad experience with a mormon, the wanabe-mainstream types, the bash-mormons-for-fun hobbyists, and even the I’m-spending-all-my-$-to-publish-evil-tidings variety. Among them there are a few that I respect … and even some that I like, and might gladly spend time with sharing an enlightening discussion with some of them.

Those are the anti-mormons who are honest, but it seems to me that they’re the exception to the rule. It seems there are few anti-mormons that will either admit that thier approach is disrespectful, or few that will show respect by being considerate of the sensitivities that mormons have for things we hold so sacred that we don’t even discuss them outside our temples.

Although the Muslim-Extremist’s response was shameful, the shameful cartoons were extremely disrespectful of all Muslims – a fact that is completely disregarded by most non-Muslims who thought Muslims were being overly sensitive. Respect, however, means respecting another’s sensitivities with no expectation of receiving a rationale for those sensitivites. It means admitting that sensitivities are justifiably unique to the individuals who must have them for good reason.

Although I’ve used anti-mormons as an obvious example because I see this “dishonest respect” hypocrisy so regularly with so many of them, it’s also become so commonplace everywhere that the phrase “not to be disrespectful” has lost it’s meaning. Remember the horrible backlash when those scandinavian cartoonists portrayed Allah with bombs in his hat? It seemed everyone came to the rescue of the cartoonists without considering how disrespectful it was. Although the extremist muslim response was shameful, the cartoons were extremely disrespectful and shameful as well.

I’m not saying let’s not discuss potentially offensive topics. I’m saying lets be respectful in our approach. Society can use some more honest respect. When that isn’t possible, let’s at least see some honest disrespect (where the disrespectful person at least admits their disrespectfulness instead of hiding behind fake”fact-finding” missions), but dishonest respect (where the disrespectful person dishonestly claims to be respectful) is unworthy of anyone’s respect.

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