June 28, 2005

To Change Would Mean to Make an Effort

Words mean things. In the comments here, I'm berated for using the b-word, and perhaps rightly so, though I don't think it's a good debate tactic to hone in on one word you dislike to the exclusion of, well, the point.

When you make a habit of focusing on the one bad word to the exclusion of the overall point, you can wind up sounding like the editor-in-chief of The Age, Andrew Jaspan, who was stunned by a man's use of the word "asshole" to describe his kidnappers:

I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood's use of the asshole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else.

The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.

(To avoid being insensitive myself to lefties who mayn't want to click the above link to the Herald Sun, fear not: The original audio is right here on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website; see link under "June 22." Requires RealPlayer, sadly, but I can't help that.)

We're in sorry times if you can't call men "assholes" in even these circumstances:

Wood’s kidnappers kicked him in the head, tied him up blindfolded for 47 days, and murdered two other captives in front of him.
Hmm. No, I'm not seeing how it's Wood who has the sensitivity problem.

Michael Totten blames it on Jaspan's insular environment:

There are concrete steps you can take to avoid becoming like Andrew Jaspan. Get out of the office. Visit a third-world country – Cancun in Mexico doesn’t count. Work on a shrimp boat. Join the military. Become a journalist embedded with the military in a war zone. Become a cop. Go on “ride alongs” with cops – if you’re a writer, as Jaspan is, they will let you. Work in construction for a couple of months. Next time you go to Europe, visit Bosnia instead of France. If you do spend your life in a rarefied office (and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that all by itself) read books written by people who don’t spend their lives in rarefied offices.
I don't think even Totten really expects anyone to practice these suggestions--not when it's so much easier to suggest instead that you merely watch cartoons and eat at Applebee's to clear out some of that rareified air upstairs, while you try to figure out what could possibly be going on in the bovine, yet unfathomable, minds of the pro-war. Seriously: Why go through the hassle of scheduling a ride-along when you could be out eatin' good in the neighborhood?

(Audio link via Tim Blair. New York Times link via my best pal. Luckily for her, I don't think the concerns of sensitive Aussie journalists affect red staters at all--why, I've scarcely read a thing about it 'til now.)

Posted by Ilyka at June 28, 2005 04:21 AM in news

Keep trying but I'm tired of making tables to compare myself to boring bloggers. I need something interesting, dammit!

Posted by: Amanda Marcotte at June 28, 2005 04:08 PM

...and you would be who again?

And your incoherent comment meant what?

Posted by: Dr Alice at June 28, 2005 04:46 PM

What is she. . .TWELVE?

Posted by: Margi at June 28, 2005 09:24 PM

Ah, it's my fault. I cut in line in front of her at tetherball.

Amanda, the prospect of my very own table is tempting only in that Pandagon is one of my brother's favorite blogs, and he might get a kick out of seeing his sister get trounced there.

But the reason I linked your post was because I give credit where it's due, and your post is indeed how I found the NYT link.

Now I could have been a chickenshit and NOT linked it on account of the, ah, "toe-to-toe" over your Cotillion post, but while I may well be boring, I am not a chickenshit.

Have a nice day. Oh, and very nice work on the Supreme Court domestic violence post. I didn't even know that decision had come down.

Posted by: ilyka at June 28, 2005 10:10 PM

What a childish woman that Marcotte creature is.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 30, 2005 01:02 AM

What a childish woman that Marcotte creature is.

Now, now. Maybe it's just that we haven't embraced the power of HTML tables enough. Maybe it's because we're really sexist assholes at heart?

Posted by: ilyka at June 30, 2005 01:21 AM