We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, May 19. 2008
This is not my blog.
I contribute things, but that's it. I'm not in charge. So I am not responsible for what is said here. I'm simply responsible for my own behavior, and to choose my friends wisely. But as my father often told me, nothing good happens in a bar after midnight; so if you choose to stay in there, whatever happens is partly your responsibility.
I have sharp Internet elbows. I say outrageous things for effect from time to time. When you try to use humorous turns of phrase, it's easy to piss people off. In general, the Internet could easily be renamed: A Pigpen for Pissed off People anyway. If I woke up tomorrow and everybody's URL began with PPP instead of WWW I'd be down with that. I still say we should call a "call a spade a spade."
But some people like to find offense where it isn't because they've got nothing else but outrage. They're willing to manufacture outrage to suit their crabby worthless worldview. If someone didn't care for my politics, they might take issue with the expression "call a spade a spade," for instance. They're hoping that they could wield a sort of moral Kryptonite they could use to say that any particular argument is settled, because you're obviously not even of sufficient moral stature to dispute with. Political Correctness is the attempt to end discourse by introducing extraneous moral elements that, in general, are imaginary.
This image, among others, was inserted in the comments here at Maggie's, to mock the people in it. But not in just a humdrum way. They were used as a sort of intellectual club to try to beat the political opponents of the person that used the picture. It was an exponential, not just an arithmetical, extension to the insult.
The person that offered it has nothing of any merit to say about anything. If they told me the sun was rising in the East today, I'd check. If they did have anything of merit to say, they wouldn't have to resort to using a picture like that to complain about being enjoined from fantasizing about the murder of their political opponents.
I must be immune to the charms of the urge to mock the mentally disabled. Because I don't see it. I see two people, in every way my equal in the eyes of the creator, looking directly into the camera -- unashamed, friendly, outgoing, sunny, and smiling. They are useful to other people. They are --get this-- happy. Contrast their demeanor with the crabby, xenophobic, greedy, unfriendly, spiteful, whining, paranoid, and anti-intellectual outlook of the person that placed it here, and the cowardly context of the original sentiment expressed.
Yes, indeed, the photo depicts people who aren't "smart enough" to drink their own urine and eat Spam in their bunker while telling people on the Internet they're praying for an apocalypse that never comes so you can say "I told you so."
I'll take a planet filled with people like the picture, please.
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Thanks for the picture. It is moving to see the affection shining out from these two young people. The photographer has caught something beautiful--though that may not have been his intention.
I like that picture, too. Coolest? Those lighted necklaces. They add to the happiness of that couple.
Really great photo, Roger!
Nicely put, Roger.
A few years ago I went from one vast extreme to the other, from the bright lights of Las Vegas to a small rural town in Florida. I was a 'roadie' for a radio station and every weekend we'd head for some car dealership or pizza parlor's grand opening and do a live radio show. Tons of people would show up for the free gifts and food and suddenly I found myself surrounded by rednecks, hicks, hayseeds and crackers, some of who didn't look much different than the folks in the picture.
A greater bunch of people I'm sure I'll never meet.
Warm, friendly, giving, patriotic to the core; the kind of people who would stand in a parking lot with the music blaring and sing along with unabashed gusto songs such as this.
Every morning I read Neal Boortz and see his daily snarky 'Redneck' picture as he belittles these fine people.
And I think,
If only you knew.
"This image, among others, was inserted in the comments here, to mock the people in it."
You would be wrong on this point, Roger. The people in the photographs were not the subjects of the mockery.
Well, maybe not an entire planet filled with only these people. Somebody has to do the scut work after all. But a planet filled with people who celebrate and nurture sweet people like these, for who they are and the joy, their kind of joy, that they bring to the world. Yes...I'd go for that.
Incidental as to whether they were the actual subjects of the mockery or not. They were used in that way. The use of the photographs introduced an entirely new subject, one worthy of its own discussion regardless of the original point. Just my two cents.
Did you mean "Just my two sense."?
Why not rail against the fat girl happily showing off her thong? Is that not worthy of the condemnation of using others to make a point? I wonder what point she makes in this hyperbolic visual display that obviously has a purpose beyond the people in the photographs?
Suppose someone posted photographs of small-breasted women or small-penis men in order to mock the opposite? Would that engender such outrage? I mean, like who would ever mock big boobs, etc. Too many seem to be missing the larger picture here.
Oh.... just shudder..... People who aren't average. Can you imagine?
Actually Meta, I meant my two neurons... with their single synapse. :)
I'm not sure I railed, I just said I thought the use of the pictures were worthy of a separate discussion.
I have no problem with caractiure... of any and all, big or small. Just that those particular photos of 'real' people were used to illustrate a point that may or may not have applied to the individuals in the photos. Based solely and purely on physical attributes. Perhaps I"m overly sensitive about 'groups' of people being singled out due to physical characteristics with no thought given to the individuals involved.
Get a can of WD40, stick the little red stick way deep into your ear? Man. What a rush. Your thinking goes from retarded to genius within seconds.
oops! I said RETARDED. sigh..... I can't remember the PC word for that. "Unfortunately mentally challenged"? "Ain't got enuff sinappses"? Whatever.
Luther, People, groups, individuals are used all the time to make a point. Would it not be un-PC to exclude people because they're not wizard-bright and maybe look funny? Think about cartoons and how they characterize people. The one of Condoleezza Rice comes to mind. And the majority of the time those people ARE the subject of scorn and mockery. In this case, the subjects of the photograph are not. They were used to make a point. But - these photographs seem to have befuddled a few who are unaware of the larger picture and are thus, making a big, embarrassing deal over them.
"WD 40 or Fight!" --the boundary dispute rally cry of Oregon Territory vs Yukon Territory, became the 1844 campaign slogan of James "Rusty" Polk.
Gee Meta, thanks for that tip on the WD-40. I had heard it had millions of uses but little did I know that it could turn a retard like me into a genius. Watch out world!
And yes Meta... I'm well aware that all sorts of people/groups/individuals are used for making points. And actually GWB and those who draw him as a chimp come to mind before C. Rice. Also, nothing I love better than a good and clever editorial cartoonist.
But I'm going to stick with my original premise here, which is that the point that was being made by use of these pictures could have been made just as, or even more, effectively in other and more creative ways. After all... the pictures have done more to detract from the point (of the larger picture) that was attempting to be made than they have lent credence to it. Too clever by half perhaps.
I've seen two posts regarding comments.
I urge the owners to get and keep the comments under control.
It has an effect on the readers on the commenters.
Part of having a blog is having (some) control of the comments, if they are allowed.
I could list the blogs that have suffered through the learning curve of dealing with negative people in the comment area, but it would be too long of a list.
To the moderator of Maggie's Farm: Sometimes you do have to ban a commenter.
Sometimes a commenter takes on a role as a sort of sin-eater, playing the extremist as a sort of mirror in front of the others. When you see your reflection in this mirror, you can better know where you yourself are -- who you yourself is. For example, some warm sentiments are being expressed about the couple in the picture. These sentiments warm both the person expressing them, and the people reading the expressions. So, where did the picture come from, why do we have this object before us, that we may feel better about ourselves because of it?
That girl has my eyes. Only my eyes are colder and are eternally probing for God.
"...are eternally probing for God."
-- I recommend a mirror.
Many years ago, being between jobs and bored, I took the IQ tests offered by Mensa. Among the materials that came back with the test scores was the standard bell curve graph of IQ distribution.
I had seen it before, but now it was personal and real because I had a number to plug into that graph for my own IQ. I realized that to keep the symmetry of the bell curve I had an opposite number on the other side of the graph whose IQ was 54. Mr. 54 and I are a matched set.
Life has all kinds.
Most of the people who have wanted to leave the air to be breathed by only the perfect have gone to the dustbins of history.
Simply showing the imperfect to the perfectionists sure has raised a few good questions.
Should we be culling off those in the picture such that your attitudes will never be challenged by such images?
Should we avoid images of and people like this to insulate us from our own ugly feelings?
Retards are people too, last I checked. Therefore subject to the human condition, and subject to exploitation. Either kill them at birth so you can pretend they don't exist, or admit that they are people and sometimes let them out in public without the house falling down. Oh the humanity.
Sometimes it's hardest to simply deal with what is.
Last I checked, retards pretty much encompassed the whole of humanity, myself included.
Count me in to. Actually I prefer being crazy it gives me alot of leeway for behavior.
hey Mika -- good to see you here -- how's things up you way?
I keeps me company with el-bob. How's Texas treating youz?
well, like the guy who fell off a skyscraper, halfway to the ground thought to himself, "Hmm, so far, so good!"
Years back I had a book of photos with images of mentally and physically challenged people playing sports and doing art. I looked at it often to draw inspiration from their effort. I wish I could find it now, because I'd look to it again to find inspiration.
Now look at the smile of the young lady in this image. All you need to know is her joy is just like yours, her pain is just like yours, her doubts, fears, longings, her happiness, her laughter is just like yours. It's humanizing and humbling to empathize with someone you regard as your inferior, to recognize your humanity in their person, and if you're honest, you'll find they have things to teach you.
amen -- well said -- people is people is people -- all have the capacity to be near-angel or near-demon -- have to hooray the former and boo the latter -- by such small actions turn all of humanity one way or the other.
Well my wife worked in Special Ed for years, and I picked up a lot of stuff. I can tell you this, for me, I would rather spend time with most of those kids than my rich college educated cousins, and that's the truth. Brains are nice to have, but in the end, there's no IQ test for entry into heaven.
First off, you can't tell from the picture just how lacking in intelligence the two people are.
If you didn't know Stephen Hawking and you saw him drooling and twitching next to you in an elevator, you might question his intelligence. And you'd probably misjudge it in the extreme.
Now for a little story.
Many years ago, I worked for a home health agency in Appalachia. My partner and I would go out to the Silvey's house twice a week and help Mrs. Silvey bath her daughter Eudora Dean.
Dora Dean had severe cerebral palsy. She couldn't ambulate to the restroom. She couldn't do much for herself but smile and attempt to create recognizable utterances. She wasn't even coordinated enough to feed herself. Her limitation were not simply physical. She had the mentality of a small child.
Oh, but she also had the soul of small child too. A bright and exuberant soul. She greeted us with warmth and kindness, every visit, without fail, even when she was feeling poorly. Her mother tended to her with the utmost care and diligence, never viewing her task as a burden, never showing any sign of disgruntlement or being put upon. It was just what had to be done. And she did it with grace.
What I haven't mentioned about Dora Dean and Mrs. Silvey was their ages. Dora was 54. Mrs. Silvey was in her 70s.
One day my co-worker, who was a rather sour woman if truth be told, wondered why God would put someone like Dora Dean on Earth, burden her mother and stepfather. I mean, really, Dora didn't contribute anything at all and never can.
It took me half a minute to think of an appropriate response, but I did.
Dora Dean was here to teach us - To teach us grace and humility. To teach us compassion for those less fortunate. To teach us that if she and her dear mother can maintain a good and happy life, who the hell are we to complain about our simple, manageable problems.
And if her mother can manage to keep a smile on her face day in and day out of 54 years, than by God, I could at least count my blessings and acknowledge how great a feat that is, to face life's challenges with a positive attitude, no matter what you were dealt.
I count knowing Dora Dean and her mother a blessing. If all she ever did was provide a lesson for me and my co-work her existence was a value without measure.
The person that offered it has nothing of any merit to say about anything.
I have to beg to differ with Roger on this. The man has much to offer albiet sometimes in a crude manner. I think on his last tantrum I was referred to as "pussy boy", but heck I deserved it for egging him on. The man is intelligent, resourceful, sometimes rude, insane and fun. Its too easy to get on a high horse and show your empathy for the handicapped and then trash another human being. When he went on his last sabbatical because he was pissed over something, I missed him. He adds a lot to the comments section at Maggie's. He just has to take his meds.
Besides, most of those photos were photoshopped. The face on the girl was photoshopped in and distorted. We are empathising over something that is not real. But we feel good about it.
Habu did this? No soup for you.
Ya' know, the photo does look sort of liquified. Hahaha. But still...
Roger's correct of course: We need to look past the obvious. Take this post, for instance. On the surface, it seems to be about fostering tolerance. But as the great Tom Lehrer once said about National Brotherhood Week: 'There are people out there who are intolerant of their fellow man, and I HATE people like that.'
PS: I LIKE Habu
Oh, and Sean: From now on, tell him it's MISTER Pussy Boy.
Photo shopped or not, I agree with Lunacy, that gal might be a hell of chess player, how do we know?
Roger, as a longtime fan of Maggie's Farm, and all of the writers who's contributions make this place so wonderfully sane, pleasant, smart and eclectic, I want to say Thank You for this post.
I comment and write for several blogs that continue to tolerate this sort of nastiness in the peanut gallery without ever calling it out for what it is - flat out ugly and mean spirited.
You're a class act Roger.
:) Talk about leaving oneself wide open for the counterpunch....
haw -- yeh -- bob and weave, bob and weave, as Floyd Patterson and Cus D'Amato would say
Class act? To berate, belittle and besmirch a commenter when you are part of the host gaggle? Classy would have been banning the alleged offending commenter long before this. If the blog hosts don't like something, it behooves them to take care of it privately so that other commenters are not forced to witness the takedown. What Roger did was the opposite of classy.
I'm with Meta. And Habu said it himself: PC creeps in on little cat's feet. (Although in the case of Roger's post, it came in more like the Hulk.)
Frankly, if I ran MF, I'd be a LOT more embarrassed by this post than by anything Habu ever did. What - we despise political correctness - except when we employ it, and pretend it's something else?
Just look at the headline of this post. Think about how condescending and arrogant it is. Think about how this post attempts to stifle dissent (or bad taste, or whatever it was). Isn't this exactly what you folks complain about when the LEFT does it?
Roger COULD have just said let's be a little more sensitive to these folks' feelings, without the (leftist?) need to create and trash a strawman. But he didn't do that. Instead, he gave into that PC siren call and mounted a very, very high horse, the better for us all to observe his superior morality.
Should we now call for the banning of Roger? Of course not. That's kind of the point. But if the commenters and owners here DON'T call the emperor quite naked, they have no grounds to call the left on THEIR hypocrisy. And frankly, if Habu goes, I don't want to be here either.
Good debate. Goes to the very core of something. Debate could stop with the "de gustibus non est disputandum" shake & make up, or it could continue into the antipodal questions: ''should there be a limit to free speech, and who gets to set it?'' and ''is there ever a case for PC, and who gets to say so?''
Right, Buddy. And the questions go even further. If we're supposed to look at the image at the top of this post and presume those folks to be our "superiors in every way", are we supposed to look at the babes who often appear on this site, naked except for clear heels and thongs, and assume they're morally repugnant? Should we also feel badly for responding one way to the images of Penthouse Pets and another way to an image of 'nature's less favored'?
Isn't it true that we are all hardwired to respond to certain pleasing shapes, like a beautiful woman or an iPod? Should we presume now that our basic programming is evil? Or by extension that a handsome-looking product must be evil, because we are attracted to it?
Isn't it true that we all discover things in layers, over time? Don't we first react to situations on the basis of our first impressions, and then develop further insights as we gain more information? Haven't we all met a beautiful woman or attractive man who we eventually found less attractive - or the inverse? And isn't that all perfectly natural?
It was just a photo, Habu was making a point, it was meant to be humorous, and he wasn't really picking on THEM but on the human condition. Those two might be wonderful people (she does seem sweet, right?). They might also be a horror to be around. I can't be certain from the photo. Can you?
Any objection to the use of the image might have been dealt with much more gently. Perhaps a comment in the original thread, to the effect that the girl seems more affectionate than my ex-wife (which, actually, she does, plus I like that blouse off her shoulder). Something in their defense, as it were. But an entire post thundering that Habu has no value as a human being? Well, that does undermine the presumed message of tolerance and understanding.
There's a lot of debate out there re how to moderate a site. Some sites come down a bit heavy-handed, others don't do nearly enough. Others are quite content to let the inmates run the asylum - controversy = site traffic.
Whatever you do to moderate a site is going to be wrong to everyone at some point, or a few at another. A libertarian site like this one probably wants less interference rather than more. NONE won't work. The first rule is probably not to grandstand, or show up a commenter on the site. A private email expressing concern, maybe. Sometimes the moderator learns something that way which takes care of the whole problem. Misunderstandings are common. Much as I hate 'em, 'emoticons' have their purpose.
You guys wanted comments, now you have some. As problems go, it's not so bad. And you have a nice group of people here. You should see the hammer-and-tongs hostility on the Jersey political chat boards. It's the seventh level of hell, and everyone's fighting for the Head Demon slot.
Excellent thoughts Mister Snitch. I did find objection to the photos... but my vision was perhaps clouded by the 'big picture' that is sometimes painted by H. That 'big picture' at times makes it difficult to separate out his individual pieces and judge them on their own accord. I should have listened to Meta to begin with.
I, too, liked the blouse off the shoulder.
Whiners crying censorship sound loke Muslims who cry they must get equal time from the folks in Canada who ran Stayn's article.
MF doesn't censor but it may exercise editorial discretion.
Get a clue, whiners,
Yall are it, boo.
If'n ya see something mispelled ya kno what I'm commuunicating, all the gripes to the contrary.
i know -- your speling's fine -- i wuz just trying to do a humorous parallel construction off'n your 'get a clue, whiners'.