Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Got a family matter going on, the details of which are entirely irrelevant. As is typical of family matters, lots of involved/related people get a “vote” in what’s going on, but not really; you’ve probably had some family matters, and you know how it is. People make it clear they’d like to have your buy-in, but nobody has veto power, the thing is going to happen no matter what. So, you go through the motions of gathering information…after awhile, you start to feel like the doctor must feel when he’s giving an examination to a patient who’s eating or smoking himself to death, and won’t do what the doctor says. Just performing an autopsy a few months early.
So I have made the acquaintance of a professional who was selected by someone else. The thing that interests me is not that my questions are unwelcome; it was the way she went about letting me know she doesn’t like my questions. Reminds me of when we had another family matter about something entirely different, and my brother started making e-mail inquiries to a professional he did not select, the conversation went pretty much the same way.
After those experiences, I see this clip of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, avoiding questions that compare the cost of the White House tours — an expense that is a victim of the dreaded “sequester,” demanding as it does some $74,000 a week — to President Obama’s vacations. Again, the focus of my interest is not that Carney wants to avoid the question. It’s an awkward subject, and hey, it’s Jay Carney, this is what he does. He does very little else, from what I’ve seen. The focus of my interest is the technique:
I would summarize it thusly:
You: I’m concerned about [blank]. Since I have that concern, [question].
Other person: I don’t care about [blank]. [Topic change]
Like the first YouTube comment points out: “I wouldn’t say he avoids the question. He just makes it clear that he doesn’t care.” Precisely, and actually what he did was both of those things.
It is more than evasive. It is controlling. It is dishonest. It is intellectually lazy.
And I’m going to come up with a name for it right now: Transparency Deficit Disorder. Maneuvering of the focus of the discussion away, consciously or otherwise, from inspection or disclosure of some matter whose opacity is strategically desirable to the speaker, by means of bullying. The forceful imposition of one person’s attention-deficit problems upon another, at an opportune time.
I see it outside of politics just as much as I see it within politics. It is now about as widespread as a text-messaging acronym among high-school age kids, and it seems to have reached a popularity crescendo at about the same time. “I don’t care about that, and neither should you” is the sentiment. It is the opposite of inquisitiveness. Over a longer period of time, it is bound to make us stupid. There is no other outcome possible.
The time frame must have been fairly recent. Had Tony Snow or Ari Fleischer been asked something, and practiced such maneuvering, there would have been a full-blown scandal. So if this was on the rise during the Bush years, it must have been kept separated from politics. But, maybe it started within our nation’s politics. Perhaps when the anti-war movement sort of dissipated and drifted off into the ether, with the election of a democrat White House, this made non-inquisitiveness the order of the day.
Either way, I’m not liking it. I certainly don’t like bumping into it, several times a day, over entirely unrelated matters.
So many times when I have to contend with some kind of screw-up, on my part or on someone else’s part, it really doesn’t matter which one…as I triage the wreckage and try to figure out the point of failure, time after time it all comes back to a lack of access to, or availability of, or pursuit of, information. Someone did not disclose something, or someone did not take the time to learn it. In one form or another, information was not given the respect that it deserves, as an enabling agent of productive and discerning human effort. Again and again and again, this emerges as a root cause of some disaster, great or small…
I’m taking it as a tip-off that the people engaging their TDD are representative of, and accustomed to dealing with, a wholly different sort. What they mean to say is, of course, “that was a bad question.” But what they signify to me is that it wasn’t a bad question at all, it was a good one, and a little bit too good of a question. And they’re signifying something else to me as well: Insincerity.
I’m going to be pretty happy when we’re done with this fad. It’s going to demand a lot of patience.
Meanwhile…I don’t care if other people don’t care. It’s not answering my question.
Update: Actually, I see from my written archives this has been getting under my skin for, off-and-on, somewhere around seven years…
Thing I Know #112. Strong leadership is a dialog: That which is led, states the problem, the leader provides the solution. It’s a weak brand of leadership that addresses a problem by directing people to ignore the problem.
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