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Speaking of Rabid Mobs — Why Now?
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Speaking of Rabid Mobs

Karen has Questions and More QUESTIONS… at Peripetia, but unfortunately Blogger doesn’t know me at the moment, so here’s the comment I was trying to make on sexism and racism:

It may be a defensive mechanism to explain personal deficiencies, real or imagined. It’s easy to blame “others” for your problems, a lot easier than taking a realistic look at yourself.

There are a lot of possible reasons why: you didn’t get the job or promotion; you aren’t making a lot of money; you didn’t get the date you wanted. Some of them may be the result of discrimination, but it could just be you.

These people just need to start their own version of the NAACP – the NAAFMJ. Let’s face it, there is a lot of membership potential for a National Association for the Advancement of Foul-Mouthed Jerks, and they already have media access.

[The article, Examining the alpha male at work, available via CNN, also sheds some light on the problem. I would note that many of the worst are “alpha males” in their own minds, not in reality. The phrase, “with all due respect,” covers the situation where none is due.]


1 Jack K., the Grumpy Forester { 04.16.07 at 9:56 pm }

…I have always, for my whole adult life in the quasi-military culture of my agency of employment, been a big fan of “with all due respect”. The sad thing is how often it has had to be deployed…

2 Bryan { 04.16.07 at 10:30 pm }

I get so tired of people who think they are entitled to “respect” because of their job title. Authority and responsibility might come with the job, but you have to earn respect every day.

A popularity contest is not a great way to hire someone, and that’s what an election amounts to anymore. After they are in office, they have to show they can do the job.

Talking on the radio or television is no proof of anything other than you can talk. It doesn’t entitle you to any special privileges or consideration.

3 Steve Bates { 04.17.07 at 12:55 am }

I know it’s no laughing matter, but I couldn’t help chuckling at how often I’ve rendered “with all due respect” in precisely the meaning you describe. Now if only other, more genuinely respectable advocacy org’s could gain the access to the media that NAAFMJ already has…

I am always astonished at how much power the talking heads and radio jocks, shock and otherwise, have just because they’re on the air. I don’t podcast because I write far better and more fluently than I talk, but that doesn’t mean the fast talkers have well-reasoned opinions more often than I do. I can welcome an audience and announce the next piece to be performed (and, with more reluctance, make a fundraising pitch for the sponsoring org), or conduct a software design review meeting, but that’s about the extent of my public speaking skills. Public speaking is an art and a craft, respectable in itself, but not deserving of more respect for the speaker’s ideas.

4 Bryan { 04.17.07 at 11:08 am }

This is the fearsome taint of Scholasticism – if you have a microphone you must be an “authority” because “they” wouldn’t give you the microphone if you weren’t an authority. “If it’s printed in the Times it must be true” was dealt with handily by Terry Pratchett in The Truth.

What have these people done in life that qualifies them to be considered any better informed or worthy of notice than carnival barkers?

5 Karen { 04.17.07 at 5:49 pm }

Ah…just catching up to your comments on my questions. Good points (and sorry bout Blogger not recognizing you…it must just periodically botch itself UP for no good reason).

These folks are not deserving of respect – nor the Microphone to amplify their poor attitudes (or Money thrown at them for doing so!) And whether they assuage their guilt with good works doesn’t excuse the racist comments or allow them a license to spew!


6 Bryan { 04.17.07 at 7:53 pm }

I think people might want to do a compare and contrast on the “good works/charity” bit. Who benefits more, the kids or the wealthy guy who gets tax breaks. It’s a terrible way to be, but I once worked for wealthy doctors in SoCal and they had a lot of side businesses that were solely based on tax advantages.

It’s all image for people in the media.

7 Steve Bates { 04.18.07 at 2:23 am }

I know something of carnival barkers, having worked for about six years in the fall at one of the larger commercial Renaissance festivals, because I needed the money. I’d do it again: what I did, performing music, was at least less thievery than most of what goes on at some church events… and certainly less outrageous idiocy than what is said on talk shows. Carnival barkers are at least honest pitch men: they know what they’re doing, everyone else does too, and nothing is hidden. I wish the same could be said of these People with a Microphone. I prefer my BS to be overtly acknowledged as BS.

8 Bryan { 04.18.07 at 8:30 am }

Exactly so, a carnival barker is encouraging people to spend money on entertainment, and that is all s/he is. There is no pretense to greater value or virtue.

The FMJs are claiming moral authority and/or expertise that just doesn’t exist in their experience or education. Some guy with a microphone has no more standing than some guy with a web site, when it comes to authority or knowledge. The Biblical test for a false prophet is pretty good advice, no matter your religion – is what they say true?