The post was about the possibility of a second Cold War, and he was complaining about the communist government of China, as he later clarified. But that wasn’t immediately clear. There are lots and lots of people who would mix racist rhetoric into their political rhetoric. In a case like this, it is important to distinguish between the Chinese people and the Chinese government, and the author didn’t.
I picked the wrong one. So Lib accused me of having poor reading comprehension skills. Fuck you, Lib. I got damn near 800 on my English SATs, since you bring it up. [I know, the SATs aren’t an accurate measure of much. He brought it up.]
I’m sick of seeing the hypocrisy between your ‘we are brothers in Christ, go in peace’ and your snide remarks towards people. You are not automatically smarter than anyone you disagree with. [Actually, that’s something for everyone to keep in mind.]
Ok. That’s it. Lib pissed me off, and I didn’t want to disrupt the tone of GD by yelling at him there. Talk among yourselves, whatever, I probably won’t have much more to add.
I think it’s a fair, though overly sensitive, criticism.
Bigotry — especially racial bigotry — is one of the things that I consider so vile that I usually avoid threads in Great Debates that are started by bigots because I don’t imagine myself capable of proper restraint. I am descended from a people who marched on foot from Georgia to Oklahoma at gunpoint so that racist bigots could have the land they had occupied and mine its gold. When I was a child, we were referred to as “those people”. We were the minority with no political clout.
I learned from school that my ancestors were “given” reservations, but I learned from my father that they were abandoned to infertile deserts and dry plains like criminals shipped to Australia. I witnessed my father being denied credit because “you just cain’t trust Injuns”. You know, we’re Indian Givers. I think my very spiritual interpretation of God (as in “the atoms aren’t real”) comes essentially from his teachings. He died of his fourth heart attack when he was 43 and I was 11.
The thing is that I find a charge of bigotry to be a whole lot more weighty than a charge of say, careless reading comprehension. If you call a man a racist, you ought to be damn sure because it means he is down there with the child abusers as far as I’m concerned. For what it’s worth, I saw no racism in Shag’s post, but I did see a lot of weaseling, and I told him so. I probably should have just told you that I thought you were mistaken, rather than go the round about way that I did, and for that I apologize. My problem with racism is not your problem to bear.
As a general point, I want ot add that the whole “You must be an idiot not to have understood what I meant from what I wrote” thing drives me crazy, and we see it alot here.
It is the job of a writer to write in such a way that they are understood, not the job of the reader to magically puzle out what hte writer “really” meant. So few people understand this. I think this is the result of clumsy English teachers who make it sound like it is your job to “get” an author and if you don’t, you must be an idiot.
A good debate demands that all participents recognize that no one is being willfuly ignorant, that everyone’s argument is at least worth considering, and that everyone is making a good faith effort to understand what the other person is getting at. To assume that one’s writting is always so eloquesnt, so crystal clear, so self-explainitory that anyone that misunderstands you must be lying or an imbecile is the worst sort of arrogance. If, after being misunderstood, you can’t restate your point in several other forms that may be easier to understand, well then, you don’t understand your point that well yourself and probably need to spend some more time thinking aobut it.
Now, we have all met people who truly did seem to be willfully ignorant–people who have had the same basic idea explained to them a dozen different ways by three different posters, but who continue to attack arguements that aren’t being made. The technical term for these people is “assholes”. In these cases, my own policy is to simply disappear–you can’t prove they are being willfully ignorant, you will never make any progress, and usually thier asshole tendencies are so self-evident that there is no reason to linger and make sure any lurkers got the point.
Wow! Thanks for the kind words, guys. It is nice that after 2 years and almost 1000 posts that I am starting to come across as a persona. (Though I suppose gradual recognition is best: it is the serious idiots that everybody recognizes by name 3 dayys after they register.)
well, if nothing else Manda, polite in GD lately is getting to be a rare commodity, and that alone will get you noticed. Is it my imagination or are personal attacks the ‘debate tactic’ du jour there lately?
Yes, it’s the writers obligation to be clear, when asked for clarification, even if it’s a rude way (the latest done to me was “English is your third language?” :rolleyes: ), I generally will respond by clarifying w/o calling their reading comprehension into question. I will, also, though, ask what’s up with the rudeness.
this is an odd thread. Here, in the pit, and as civil (well mostly), as I always hope GD to be.