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...
I’m seeing quite a few posts in blogs like mine to the effect of “I think I might have pissed off this liberal friend of mine on Facebook and here’s how.” This has been on a hockey-stick upswing now that President Obama, showing an apparent fondness for the idea of getting re-elected, has thrown His entire platform of “end war forever by unilaterally deciding not to participate in it” under the bus by taking action on Libya. The lefties are ending friendships, or threatening to. They’re feeling like they’ve been painted into a corner; they feel that way because that’s exactly what has happened.
Well, my lefty friend wasn’t ending a friendship, but he was making it known that something stung and I had brought the friendly and jocular tone of the discourse to an end, or at least endangered it. How did I do that? I called him out. He’d offered these rejoinders to me of the form “you misunderstand, I am not saying A, I am saying B.” Then he did it again and again and again…each time, I took it seriously, resolving to sharpen my pencil of discussion and place a greater effort on the task of staying within the lines, to understand the other side. But after awhile it stopped making sense. In truth, it had been quite awhile since I began to suspect this was either some tactic being lifted out of a written-or-unwritten Alinsky playbook, or was simply a nervous tic. Either way, I wasn’t taking it as seriously as I did before. How could I?
I should note that he isn’t a lefty, he’s anti-war and anti-Bush. But, you see, there we go again. Quite easy to take at face value if that’s the first protest to arrive fitting this template; when it’s the latest of many, you have to look at it differently.
Sometimes, even if it might be entirely sincere it’s altogether unreasonable. When you deal with real life, there are consequences. You can’t say “No no, I’m not saying I want to get into an accident, I’m just saying why can’t we go 70 miles an hour even though it’s a windy backroad and it’s icy.” You can’t say “I’m not saying I like the idea of losing a finger or that’s what I want to do, I’m just saying why do we have to power off the electric knife before we pick things out of the blades.” Sometimes you have to avoid A to avoid B. Which means — this “I’m not saying this, I’m saying that” can be effectively used, even without the knowledge of the person using it, to avoid reality.
Nor is it lost on me that there’s a soft, subtle dig being tossed out to the other party. Ah, look at this dimwit; he misunderstood what I said here, too! He keeps misunderstanding me! Fits right in to that narrative about only stupid people vote for, or support, candidates or office-holders who happen to be stupid. I should hasten to add this might not be the case with my former work colleague; he’s tossed out lots of flattering bromides about my brainpower, et al. But you see, this is how it’s gotten awkward. There’s really nothing else being said. You’re so smart Morgan, no no, you keep misunderstanding me, I’m not saying this I’m saying that. Well, we agree on the awesomeness of vintage teevee shows, maybe that’s what we should be talking about.
Now, this other guy who was talking to me about it back in ’04, when it was a much more exciting thing: This was the first time I had ever heard of anyone say “No no, I’m not saying Saddam Hussein wasn’t a problem, I am in fact agreeing to the idea that he was quite dangerous, all I’m saying is we had no right to go in and do something about it.” That creeped me out. It creeps me out to this very day. Because I know why that guy said it; this was a chameleon, someone who acted on each new situation for the sole purpose of making his popularity greater than it was before. I worked with him for five years and never saw him once go against the perceived majority, nor do I expect I ever would’ve if I’d worked with him for another twenty.
I think these two agents — lust for positioning oneself with the popular frame of mind, and denial of the consequences of reality vis a vis “I’m not saying A, what I’m saying is B” — combined together, present a danger much greater than the sum of the parts. I think what we’re looking at here is the Epoxy of Doom. Don’t we then act out the mythos of the lemmings, rushing together as a crowd up to, and over, the brink of a cliff? Have we not then eliminated any factor that might stop us from doing such a thing? Avoidance of reality provides the lack of direction and ignorance, and then peer pressure provides the drive. “No no, I’m not saying I want that bad thing to happen, what I’m saying is…whatever all these other people around me are saying.” Okay then, we’re big and we’re moving. Momentum by definition. But who’s driving this bus?
Right versus wrong is measured according to whether lots of “cool” people are doing the same thing. Any logical pondering about actions versus consequences is brushed aside with “I’m not saying that I’m saying this.” And wherever the mob goes, it goes. We then become just a tumbleweed in the windstorm of random chance, do we not? What, then, anchors us or directs us? Have we not then abjured anything that would?
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