My Blog Week: March 14 to March 20
A Word on the Week
With a Capital T
If you’re familiar with The Music Man, you understand something about our current dilemma. In this story, a swindler arrives in a town where the people are complacent and contented, and looks for a terror to shake them up. His objective is to sell them a safe haven. Salesmanship is not so far from propaganda.
Harold Hill’s objective is money. What if his objective was to destroy this town, weaken the people until they despised and attacked each other, then take over anything of value they possessed? That would be the international goal of a propagandist. The fundamentals are alike. The proofs of a threat have to be discovered before they can be shrieked over. (Thinking less Harold Hill, and more Tucker Carlson.)
The cancel culture aspect of social media is easily exacerbated by trolling, raising the noise level until it becomes point-outable. Next comes the response: Don’t be surprised if you get cancelled too. Something you tweeted as a teenager could cost you your job today…where can you turn to be safe from these ricocheting bullets of the left, constantly striking the innocent?
While all this plays out, very much like a lunatic spray of bullets finding random targets, many kindly liberals are dismayed. They don’t themselves feel this intolerance. They know how little good it does to approach any problem this way. They don’t know who it is, exactly, who keeps popping up to insist on these things. They believe in respectful listening, and so, under the onslaught of fault-spotting, they cave at times. They shouldn’t. But they could do better at decision-making with the clear understanding that this fear, division, and paranoia are literally—in the sense of literally—byproducts of an organized threat to our national security.
What we need is a conference, since the federal government has every reason to address this, with national security experts, news and social media leaders, members of congress, maybe even foreign delegations, to map out definitions and processes, raise and answer important questions.
In the courts, we have a plaintiff and a defendant, neutral terms that carry a certain dignified reserve. In the court of public opinion, we have accuser and accused, two loaded words that imply guilty doings, and a strong lean towards presuming the doer of them. In court, the judge can dismiss a case, if the defendant can’t get a fair trial. And this is where process, a set of guidelines that the above conference would establish for private employers, elected officials, etc., matters so much.
The head of a tribunal or panel should have that same right, to dismiss the case if too much damaging speculation, too much intrusive publicity, muddies the waters. The press restrains itself in criminal cases, because a circus environment could benefit the defendant. Anyone with an official commentator’s role ought to practice self-restraint in a “woke” preceding as well.
We can’t afford to elevate “person telling a story” to “victim”; then confer on victims a sanctity that prevents their being questioned or investigated. Plaintiffs have responsibilities as well as defendants.
Consider, do kids at an Abraham Lincoln high school believe themselves indoctrinated whatsoever by the legacy of Abraham Lincoln? But nevertheless, is symbolic purpose invested in the selection of another name? And does it work? And if you prove that one name has indoctrinating power and another doesn’t, what are you really contending? Otherwise, what specific harm is done to whom?
What company has lost great sums of money, or important contracts, because they didn’t fire someone who wrote bad tweets before being hired, and has been circumspect in conduct since? (Fox News has lost advertisers because they haven’t fired racist haters who continue the same patterns of behavior…a somewhat different scenario.)
Your case, under the rule of law, needs evidence to have merit. The evidence provided needs to be investigated for verity, and if you claim damages you need to demonstrate them. Also, you have to be the plaintiff to bring the complaint; you can’t be an awareness-monger assuming yourself spokesperson for a stranger.
The rule protects plaintiffs as well as defendants. That also matters, and this is where Andrew Cuomo is right. He may well pledge to resign, if a panel, after a thorough review, its members made known to the public, its proceedings transparent, its powers defined, recommends that he resign.
Backroom deals, secret agreements, all circumventions of full disclosure and full process, are privilege. Some people get these protections, and most don’t. Political parties’ avoidance of embarrassment is not reason enough to disappear a case with a handy resignation. Withdrawal of the defendant means withdrawal of the plaintiff, her position unaired, no genuine resolution for her, and none for the suppressed plaintiffs of the future.
On Monday, a randomly chosen Haunt of Thieves, and on Tuesday a reissue from Rattus, “The Lengthy Story”. It’s springtime, and I have gardening preoccupations: also, I’m editing a book and writing a short story (trying to make money), so keeping up my schedule has been challenging. On Wednesday, The Sword Decides!, Giovanna conferring with her adviser. Thursday, part thirty-five of Shine! by Mathilde Alanic, Annie dressing for the festival and finding a new side to herself. Saturday, a craft post, to satisfy plant love as well as do a tiny part for the environment.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: March 14 to March 20