Splashing around in theology.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cause for concern?

I know that I run the risk of being dismissed by 97.34% of any readers of this blog, for placing the following link on this page.
I run the risk of being labelled a non-thinking, no-mind, conservative.
Anyone who knows me, would literally LAUGH out loud at anyone calling me a "conservative" though.
But, they would also [at the same time] have a real difficult time pinning ANY sort of downright descriptive and applicable label upon me, and that is because [in my opinion] I maintain a rather thoroughgoing disinterested stance toward things religious and/or political.
I am not partisan, about much.
It is maybe the only thing I am proud about, about myself.
As far as I am concerned, if something makes sense and is true, I don't care what the hell ideological stripe or political party has discovered that it is true.
It ought to be rightfully DECLARED as true.
In my opinion, a good 50% of our over-spending in the political realm is due to our not being able to admit [because of partisan policy commitments] that the other guy has a pretty good idea, when it comes down to it! In fact, he's pretty much doing what we would [or should] do, except that we are paid to argue against him!

All of this, to say that I think there is a danger of profound absurdity emerging into the realm of terrorist-logic, as of late.
Or "terrorist-speak" as it were. [Or is].
We are so fearful of saying ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS, that we are in danger of not realizing that very nearly ALL TERRORISTS ARE MUSLIMS!
There is a tremendous difference in these terms, OK?
The former [capitalized] phrase has no truth to it whatsoever.
But, the latter statement has a tremendous amount of truth to it. And we need to take a damn hard look at this truth.
Muslims, and non-Muslims alike, need to look at it, if we all [together, as human-beings sharing a planet] want to to continue living while alive, on this planet.

Ann Coulter, [shown above] you can love her, and you can hate her.
Yeah. Yeah. Don't waste my time by telling me how that she is a long-legged, sexy, opinonated bitch, exploiting the furthest realms of her blonde-haired, long-leggedness.
I already know that part.
And the first portion of her speech can [admittedly] be seen as quite flippant and even uncalled-for.
The really important thing though, to ask, as you listen to this blurb is..... is what she is saying in the latter 3/4's of it, TRUE?
If it is [and BTW, it is].... then is it a cause for concern?
And my mind and my heart says that it is.
And that is why I post it, here.



Blogger Cold Molasses said...

I so agree!

7/20/2006 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With which part of this entry do you agree, Cold Molasses?
Just wondering.

Show me where Coulter is even considering giving us hard core evidence that it is NECESSARY to put forth this view in the particular venomous in-your-face way that she so deliberately cultivates. She has reduced herself to a stereotypical persona. The Rush Limbaugh of 2006.
What I am asking you for is documented rationale behind Coulter's premise that she must illuminate the obvious? That is, upon what does she build the implied assumption that people en masse DISAGREE with her idea that nearly all of the terrorists are Muslim?
And, further, to what end does she feel such an indictment will lead us? Let's establish this concept, then.
Now what?
How will this "information" help the civilized world remedy this increasingly volatile situation?

Coulter exhibits an attitude that is very dangerous and increasingly manifest in America.
In an effort to draw attention to herself (Miss Ego Personified) she prefers to shout her ideas (I use the term loosely) rather than to attempt to come up with any rational solution.

Much more difficult indeed.

She is confrontational, rude (just what many Americans want to see), and appears to be more interested in sarcasm than in any real solution. Whatever sells to your rabble-loving audience.

The medium IS the message...and Coulter's "medium" (yes, I have watched her in action...) serves as a poor example for a country that is supposed to be a leader in the CIVILIZED world where our best minds are telling us that our only hope for survival is dialogue, not name calling and tough swagger.

Her words (often unsupported rants in sound bite delivery) become less important than her stance which I would describe as argumentative rather than interested in honest, constructive debate.

Ok. All of this is NOT to say that I count myself as numbered among the 97.34% of readers who will quickly "dismiss" what this blog is saying.
That would be Coulter's approach.
Instead, I simply suggest a dialogue on the subject. Is Coulter's approach helpful? I see her as an intelligent woman who has sold out for pop culture celebrity-personality status with her disappointing reductionist language.
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" is a great movie line. But this isn't a movie...even though Coulter likes to play to the crowd.

When you, cipriano, say that
"Muslims, and non-Muslims alike, need to look at it, if we all [together, as human-beings sharing a planet] want to to continue living while alive, on this planet," I couldn't agree more.

Let me ask you though, don't you think that Coulter could put her considerable talents and brain power to a more effective way of pursuing this worthy goal if she was really interested in peace? And surely this is what must be the goal of all of us...despite GWB's trigger-happy reign.

This view is respectfully offered, without raising my voice or resorting to sarcastic sound bites,

A Reader

8/01/2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger Cold Molasses said...

Anonymous...a question that wasn't clear to me after reading your comment: Do you agree with the premise of Coulter's argument (regardless of whether you like her style or not)? Your response was a well written slam of Coulter's approach, but after reading it, I still wasn't sure whether you agreed with the spirit of her argument. Just curious...

8/04/2006 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cold Molasses,

Thanks for the response.
Even though you have not answered the question that I pose in the opening of my first post, I am glad to answer yours. (Just messing with you. No offense, please.)
I’m afraid I am not good at giving yes and no answers.
So please be patient. I will give you a short and a long version. Ok, Cold?

You ask me if I agree with Coulter’s premise.
Before answering, could we establish whether we are discussing the same thing? In all sincerity, I would ask you: what do you call her “premise”?

If you believe that her premise is this: We have people screaming, “That’s [Racial] Profiling!!” when it isn't actually racial profiling but instead is a well-reasoned [though by no means foregone, I hope] assumption based on logic and statistical evidence…
Then yes.
I do agree.

And it has frequently been the case (have you flown lately?) since 9-11.
Some call it taking security measures. Some call it profiling.
Maybe it depends which side of the fence you are standing on. [You can ask cip about what happened to friends of my daughter (who were not even Arab or Muslim) after 9-11.]

I sense that you may be concerned that a person’s fear of being labeled a Racial Profiler will stop him from accusing a person who is in fact a valid (worthy of suspicion) suspect?
Well, yes. Of course.
This happens.
Ok. That is the short answer, Cold Molasses. If you are satisfied with it, you are perfectly free to stop there, of course.
If, however, you want more, the rest of this message is the “real” answer. And it addresses not only Coulter's "premise," but also her "purpose" which I think IS the issue of this whole discussion.
So if you want more...the full meal deal...read on.

You see, as I said above, I feel that the injustice of allowing the valid suspect to “escape', although it is unfortunate (even dangerous – yes) and should be avoided if at all possible in the interest of safety, IS A POINT THAT NEED NOT BE EMPHASIZED. (I am not shouting at all….I would rather italicise there for emphasis, but I am unable to do that in this medium.)

That is, we don’t really NEED Coulter to tell us this.
We (Americans) all know this happens.
No one is particularly happy about it.
We want the bad guys in jail.

But (bear with me because here comes a key point) the fact is, a premise isn’t always a purpose. And I think that recognizing that fact is an important element in any communication. We need to get to the REASON for the thing’s having been produced: that is, to find its purpose or the intent of the speaker/writer.

Herein lies the essence of my argument against Coulter, America’s queen of jargon and invective. It's more than simply talking about her approach. The reason I cannot simply look at the “declared truth” of her speech is because the issue she is “addressing” ISN’T that simple.

It may look like more fun to MAKE it seem simple. Black and white. Our primal gut response may endorse this kind of appeal more quickly. It’s the stuff of slogans and battle cries. (“Let’s roll.” “Shock and awe.” Etc.)

It seems to me (could be wrong) that Cipriano thinks that what we are to take away from the speech are mere rational, documented facts.
But I (and I am sure Coulter herself) could think of a dozen ways she could have done that more effectively IF that were indeed her purpose.
And I bet you can too. (I have read your reasoned, sensible, and balanced responses to various of cipriano’s blogs.)

So you see, when cipriano says that the only thing we need to be focused on in Coulter’s speech is whether or not what she says is TRUE, that is where I have to disagree with him. He wants the truth “declared.”

Well, ok. But there are many ways to “declare” a truth. Directly. In your face. Piece at a time. Slaphappy. Raw.
All these “ways” come to mind. But I am not quite sure that all of these “truths” SHOULD BE “declared” - let alone be declared abrasively or at the top of our lungs – especially in these volatile and confusing times. That’s just my view, of course: I am merely explaining it, not prescribing anything.

Call that view naïve. Others have.
But I guess I believe that to couch your truth in a civil, non-inflammatory delivery is not cowardice. It’s a display of intelligence. Diplomacy. Humanity. Respect.
All that good stuff.

It is, as cipriano has said elsewhere, surely a matter of emphasis: that is to say, I am looking at Coulter’s approach.

Other viewers - perhaps more rational than I - may look only at the facts.

But even then, I admit that I doubt it.

I do doubt that such an absolutist evaluation is possible.
Why? I’ll tell you. It’s because I am of the persuasion that the human is not simply a rational animal. We ARE influenced by how a thing is said. Attitude colors content.

Cipriano asks us not to look at what she is saying or how she is “exploiting” aspects of her sex and her flippancy.
But how is this possible when it is part and parcel of the message?
I CANNOT ignore those aspects.
Nor (from the looks of them) could the audience, who – is it inaccurate to say? – seemed worked to a mild frenzied mob by the end of the speech.
Nor SHOULD we be. (Not shouting. Not shouting, Cold Molasses! I just can’t italicize.)

Again: No one that I know is disagreeing with her facts. What is the point of reiterating them?
This is an important point. Racial [and religious] profiling exists.
And civilized people DO deplore it.

Don’t they?
How could any fair, compassionate person not be against racial profiling – at least in theory?
Those people who are speaking out against it are speaking out in support of the INNOCENT victims of it.
To me, this is commendable.
Noble, even.
Certainly courageous in times when we want any method available to insure that we are going to be kept “secure.”

This is what the news journalist that Coulter refers to in her speech was saying.
[It’s Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes – the article alluded to is “Fly Naked”]

When Coulter says Friedman “sniffs” that racial profiling is uncivilized, does not her use of the highly connotative word "sniffs" relegate his entire stance to the depths of what she must find ridiculous?
That is, she is SNEERING there at an attitude that most of the civilized world would agree is deserving of praise (I hope).

And so, I’m ticked (at her.)
Which is exactly what she wants me to be, of course.

In a London newspaper she (yes, Coulter herself) was quoted as saying, "I am a polemicist. I am perfectly frank about that. I like to stir up the pot. I don't pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do."
Whew! Good for you, Ann. Isn’t this just what we need in these troubled times?

Here’s the thing we cannot ignore in Coulter’s speech – and many others like this one that she has made. (My view only…)
When a person speaks or tries in any way to communicate to another, the respect that is shown, the attitude, the tone, the stance. . . all become important parts of the message.

They DO matter. They are not some extraneous bits that exist OUTSIDE of the message.

Let me ask you if Coulter had you riled up at all?
Did you enjoy her slam at the Hollywood folks who travel in jets and traffic in cocaine?

Did you feel set up for the rest of the speech?
And was it the emotional content or the factual that buzzed you?

If you are 100% rational, rather than emotional, (yes, cipriano, you rational being, I know you’re reading this. . .) then you looked only at the facts.
But research shows that audiences are generally just as emotional (if not moreso) as they are rational on heated issues.
It’s natural.
Isn’t it?
Or am I just a mass of out of control emotional preposterousness? (That’s rhetorical, cipriano.)

An audience responds to how the speaker uses volume, pitch, rate, gesture….yadda yadda Yes, yes. You’ve taken Rhetoric and Speech 101, I am sure.
So you get it.

How we take in/absorb/process a message comes not only from the words but from delivery. Robert Frost said “There are tones of voice that mean more than words.” Sounds right to me.
If you can believe a poet.

What I have tried to explain here, Cold Molasses, is why I find it difficult to let go of this issue. I am not just being stubborn. I care about reasoned argument. Civil discourse. A civil tongue.
And – shall I tell you honestly? – as a residual motive for my comments, I feel that cipriano deserves better than Coulter to hang his quality blogsite on.

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where we approached thought without a chip on our shoulder?
Where we were interested in humane treatment of all people more than in how clever we can be in setting forth our own views...playing to the crowd.

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where people were not being glib?

See? Civil discourse.
I hope I have answered your question, Cold Molasses without too much confusion.

Even though YOU (still not shouting) still have not yet answered MINE.
That’s ok, though. ( : It probably wasn’t very clearly asked.
I was wondering which particular part of cip’s blog entry you “so agreed” with…that’s all.
I appreciate that you asked your question in a spirit of civil discourse in an age when many do not.

And I apologize (but just a little --) for the length of this answer.


8/04/2006 7:09 PM  

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