Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's been fun

Both the media and the blogosphere are so strange. For some of that they are each strange in their own way. There was a lot of criticism of Markos Moulitsas this week when he essentially said “big deal” to vile threats against blogger Kathy Sierra, as part of his dismissal of a code of conduct for the internet. Judging from so many similar dismissals, some bloggers see it as essential that they use the f-word and the worst sexual putdowns they can imagine as well as posting fake photos showing violence to their enemies. Somehow this is not yet an issue with which the mainstream media struggles. They have strayed some from the fairness doctrine and from past standards of obscenity, but no one there seems to think the f-word is necessary to explore any controversy.

In some ways, though, the problems with the media and blogs are exactly the same. Partisanship guides almost everything. It’s not just liberals vs. conservatives, but many subgroups, too, for politics, religion, and other issues about life. There’s no exploring for common ground, little exploring for facts.

What is the morality of all these words? There was no morality that was going to fire Don Imus simply for what he said. If Media Matters hadn’t pointed out his racism, sexism and stupidity, would anyone have cared? It was when public outrage bled through to advertisers pulling their commercials that Don Imus was fired. So some say the public is overly moral, as if the lack of morality among the media is to be preferred. It doesn’t seem that way to me. I suppose it’s arguable. The public may not be that consistent in its morality. But one thing that’s for sure, there’s very little morality in all the partisanship that fuels both the media and the blogs. There’s demagoguery about morality, in service of partisanship, but little real morality.

Both the media and blogs keep fighting a war of words on topics where any unbiased, complete exploration of the subject leads to a simple conclusion. These things really shouldn’t be arguable from a factual point of view, but people pretend to argue facts when really they’re starting with some partisan fantasy. Only false premises cause anyone to deny certain truths.

Abortion is sometimes a good thing. Homosexuality is a natural trait. Evolution is a fact, both biological evolution and cultural evolution. Global warming is a fact. I understand that many disagree with those statements, but it’s only bias that leads anyone to disagree, unless they’re nitpicking about some more perfect way to say them. Fine, be perfect, but that doesn’t change facts. Neither does a public opinion poll. Neither do arguments that go on and on, saying the same false thing from the same false premises. What a waste.

Yet so much of the media and blogs are such a waste, and it’s not just because religious conservatives and political conservatives live in their fantasies. Some media insist that there are two sides to every issue, no matter where they have to dredge up “experts” for one side. Other media like Fox News just go with the fantasies as being some oppressed minority, even majority. Meanwhile blogs on any side go on and on, as if not repeating their arguments again and again with a contemptuous tone toward the other side means something awful will happen. Sometimes it’s apparent what the greater agenda is, such as those who defend that evolution is a fact and also insist that all religion is evil. There are plenty of resources to convince anyone with an open mind that the former is true. The latter is its own fantasy piggybacking on the fact of the former. Everyone is prone to fantasies, not just conservatives.

God is a more difficult topic. I understand that. Good people can have various views about it. Bertrand Russell was a good person. That atheism made sense to him didn’t change that. Gandhi was a good person. Some Christians are good people from any part of the spectrum of Christianity. Other Christians are judgmental ideologues who seem never to have considered that someone else’s way might be God’s way. I don’t just mean conservatives.

God is whoever and whatever God is, not what people say God is. I like that as a place to start about God, but so many people insist their own beliefs are all that matter, unless they are ridiculing those with other beliefs or demonizing them. Both the media and the blogs cater to such people. Why? It’s so repetitive.

I’m at the point of becoming repetitive. I find myself more and more referring to things I’ve already written here. I think I have in fact written everything that’s important for me to write. Unfortunately the search feature here is not the best as just the most recent page related to a search seems to pop up, not all of them. Still anyone who wants to read what I think will find it here.

I firmly believe in what I wrote on April 10, that the way to deal with sociopaths is to turn away from them. That doesn’t apply to patients or clients who are sociopaths and come to me for help. I’ll help anyone. But in my private life I only want to be with people who know what love is. I wouldn’t think it would be that hard to know what love is with so many examples of love in literature and real life, albeit together with many examples of hatred, indifference, and falseness. To know that God is love is hard. But not to know love at all? People have to choose that, I think, and I think some choose that in part by paying a lot of attention to the media and blogs. No, there’s little love here, lots of words, little love.

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