Sometimes two people watching the same video see it as supporting opposite points of view. We seem to be quick to pick up on elements that support our biases but sometimes miss elements that can be interpreted to oppose them. This is a phenomenon I have written on before. Recently, I encountered another example.
I recently read Create Your Own Economy by Tyler Cowen. It is an interesting book touching on many subjects, including how the internet might be changing the culture, and on the neurological roots of aesthetic opinions. In it are two interesting quotes about autism-spectrum disorders on page thirty-three.
Sometimes the arguments people make cut both ways. What is especially amusing is when they seem completely oblivious to the irony of it.
It seems like everybody is picking on Obama for his remark during the third debate he made about the navy. Some point out that bayonets (and horses) are still used in our armed forces, while suggesting that Obama claimed they weren’t (he actually just claimed we used fewer). Others claim Obama was rude and condescending and that he suggested Romney was unaware things had changed since the days of chariots and spears, but I didn’t take his comments the same way.
During the Republican primary of 2007, shortly before Christmas, candidate Mike Huckabee released what on the surface appeared to be a campaign ad.
Obama insulted the Polish, some claim, when he referred to a Polish death camp while telling a tale of individual bravery. The Poles were quick to point out that it was a NAZI death camp that just happened to be within the borders of NAZI-occupied Poland. The implication that Obama was somehow perpetuating an erroneous belief that the Polish were somehow in on the attempted genocide, rather than simply representing geography, I find to be questionable. I speak of the death camps the same way, after all – by geography. I know they were all NAZI-managed, and I assume that everyone else knows this already as well.
One thing I have long had a hard time understanding is how two people of differing political persuasion can look at the same article and find it supporting their own point of view. Sometimes pundits that seem to clearly lean one way are accused of leaning the other way by others. When it comes to comedy, where the message is less explicit, and nothing is to be taken literally, this phenomenon is even more pronounced.
Does Mr. T promote incivility? An event several months ago got me thinking about what truly drives incivility. It’s not simply calling people names or shouting at them. It’s certainly not pointing out the flaws of your opponent in the context of a political campaign; this is expected. The problem has to do with thinking the worst of people.
People complain that our leaders in Washington can’t seem to get along well enough to get much done, but the real problem is what their rhetoric does to the rest of us.
I was recently perusing RealClearPolitics and came across this video of a man (perhaps unknowingly) setting up a new narrative to current events that opposes the one I have found personally more useful.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was once married to a woman named Cheri. In 1994, she left him and moved to California. Three years later, she came back and they remarried. They are still together. Since Mr. Daniels is a public official, and his name was once even floated as a possible presidential candidate, there have been speculations as to his character. Does this divorce-remarriage incident tell us anything?
Some guy burned a Koran. Then there were riots. Many people (including Sean Hannity) blamed the book-burner for putting our troops in further harm by provoking Muslims. The question nobody seems to be asking is, who provoked this guy into doing the burning? Past rioters? If it makes sense to blame someone other than the rioters for rioting, doesn’t it make sense to blame someone other than the burner for burning?
Why? There are legal ways to do these kinds of sneaky political tricks. Why did they have to resort to breaking the law?
Some nut named Jared shot twelve people including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Perhaps unsurprisingly, people went looking for someone to blame.
There has been talk of the EPA wanting to regulate CO2 emissions as an impetus to pass cap and trade as a less costly alternative. Why would the EPA want to regulate CO2? Is it poisonous?
Since long before he was even elected there have been those claiming that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Personally, I don’t think he’s a Muslim, nor do I particularly care, but I think I can understand why some do.
I recently read the article Climate Heretic by Michael D. Lemonick in the November 2010 issue of Scientific American. The author profiled Judith Curry and told of what she’s been up to lately. Judith Curry heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is known for her work on hurricanes and arctic ice. Lately, she has been engaging both skeptics and believers in the global warming debate.
I recently read this article about why simply properly informing the misinformed often backfires, leaving things in a worse state than before.
I recently came across this blog post claiming that Sarah Palin (and the right wing in general) were consistently more violent in word and deed than the left. I think that perhaps the author read a bit too much into Palin's words and assumed that she was inciting violent activity. I think maybe she was speaking metaphorically. The author also went on to claim that the right often gets a free pass in the media while the left gets called out for every little outburst.
According to some, if you oppose President Obama, or think his policies are dangerous, you're a racist.
Sometimes those we hold up as examples of everything that is wrong with the other side have merely been mischaracterized, or grossly misunderstood. I recently came across an opinion piece claiming that Glenn Beck had erroneously stated on his show that the Jews had killed Jesus. It was further implied that Mr. Beck was fomenting anti-semitism.
As I wrote before in my entry Partisan's Disease, members of both parties are quick to see the worst in the other side.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.