Monday, January 28, 2008

Debbie Schlussel...

I wrote a long, mean and "funny in that hateful blogger way" post about Debbie Schlussel and some of the positions she's taken on her blog and elsewhere. After re-reading my admittedly hateful screed, I realized that I was assuming a tone nearly as obnoxious as anything Ms. Schussel has offered.

I believe that my original post was "right" about the issues and that she was "wrong". However, there was no question in my mind that attacking her vehemently would be just another example of what's too often wrong with today's political discourse.

I decided not to publish the post. Instead, I'm offering this shorter and less entertaining version.

We live in a world where those who are loud, obnoxious, mean and sarcastic often attract the loudest audiences. We use the shrillest and angriest points of view as start points for our conversations. Our political content so often comes from those who are the most opinionated and "fired up" instead of from those who might be a bit more considerate.

I think that's a problem.

Today I'm not going to be part of it. I make no guarantees about tomorrow. We're all a little hypocritical. We're all very flawed. I'm no exception. We can all try to do better, though.

Maybe Debbie Schlussel will try, too. Maybe not.

There's a reason for my sketch of Ms. Schlussel standing in for an actual photograph. Without getting too snarky, let's just say that she's very protective of her image and copyrights.


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  1. You're right, John. Debbie's rhetoric stinks. Which is too bad, because she seems to have half a brain if it wasn't so hateful.

    I have no clue why people think politics has to mean hatefulness except that it involves power.

    Seems to me that what we should be doing is figuring out the wisest use of power, unless we think it serves no purpose anymore, which doesn't seem plausible to me, as much as I'd love to throw it all away.

    Doesn't it seem stupid that at one time in European history, Protestants and Catholics defined themselves as how much better and more worthy of power they were than one another?

    It seems eminently stupid to me. And it looks just as foolish to me, now, when I watch folks like Debbie and most of the world, sadly, play the same game with different names.

    The whole point of the Enlightenment and reason and all the precursors to liberal and conservative political philosophy was that we engaged in discussions based on reason and not on foolish, arbitray hatreds cast in the mold of "Who gets the power?"

    I thought they had a good point, myself. Wish more people did.

    But it's nice that other intelligent people think so, too, John. It actually makes it all the more real the idea that we could have a politics that was decent and thoughtful and based on reason and empirical understandings of the world as it is, as liberal philosophers like John Stuart Mill and conservative philosophers like Edmund Burke thought it could be.

    With all the pretensions of intellectuals, John, it's so refreshing, isn't it, that you can go somewhere, even if it's one of those old-fashioned books, to find people whose interest in politics seems to be based on how can I reason through life to make it better rather than how can tear this sum-bitch a new asshole to make sure my guy or gal gets power.

    Maybe writing a book, or a blog that takes that same notion - that politics can be reasonable and decent - more seriously, might still make a difference. Makes me take that ambition a little more seriously.

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