Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Althouse. Or is She?

Firstly, I personally dislike the phrase "Free Speech." We are talking about communication. And as someone who has experience in many forms of communication, I think using the word speech is too limiting, no matter what the judicial definition is. Anyway. Ann Althouse is such an ideologue on non-governmental "free speech" that she bitches and moans about people who communicate in a way she finds offensive and annoying.

More Cowbell! (Althouse On Blogging Heads.)

Now I have been following her blog, and I think her ideological "free speech" ideas are childish and odd. In any event, I have seen her, on her blog, and on various bloggingheads appearances going critical if not batshit crazy on speech she doesn't like. She doesn't like the chanting of the protesters in Madison. She doesn't like the drums. She doesn't like the shouting. She doesn't seem to recognize, never mind like the underlying message being passionately communicated. And at that rally she was attending, the unruly crowd, some of them at least, were communicating what seemed to me a very clear and easy to understand message: shut the fuck up! It might not be a pretty message, but it clearly counts as a clearly communicated message.

Now I am going to get a wee bit personal here. Fuck the being a lawyer/law professor shit. As someone with a fine arts degree, she should not need to have the offensive intent theory explained to her.

Without getting too deep into the sidebar, there was this time in college when I was taking a creative writing course. The last line of the 'protest' poem I wrote (continuing the feud I had with the actually nice and lovely teacher) was,"Art need not be pretty." She had a bias in favor of pretty poetry. I took her down roads she never would have done so willingly. She never admitted my POV per se, but I did knock her socks off so much with my (not at all pretty) imagery in my free verse poem about the Vietnam War, that she asked me if I had been there during the war?

Anyway, point is. Art need not be pretty. Everyone who took any kind of art classes, be they visual, aural, or literary, learns that particularly in the 20th Century, shock value is one of the things that can be deliberately communicated by artists. Or you can just get weird. Or both. Hell, even if one did not take any of the hands on courses, and only took Art History, and really learned their "isms" properly, one learns the theory. (Speaking of isims, I got see this great Dada exhibit at MoMa a couple two-three years back. Damned fine stuff. And after that came the Tim Burton exhibit. I have one word to say about that. "Stainboy!")

So what I am saying here, is either Ann Althouse is a hypocrite, in that she she's all for "communication" as long is it is within her comfort zone. Or maybe she ain't cause she has no problem at all shitting all over communication that rattles her nerves.

I mean I do get it, insofar as there are some people who sincerely, deeply, really believe in that "free speech" ideological bullshit. I reject it. Beyond the inherent problem with such an absolute, and that is the guarantee of hypocrisy when one re sets the boundaries, or carves out an exception that is usually self serving, there is the particular problem regarding communication. Push any fucker hard enough and they will hit the edit button. Or they will say "Enough. Stop the madness!" Or they will happily stifle the 'offending' speech. At least they will whine so much that the expression,"Do you want some cheese to go with that," is likely to come to mind.

Drowning out Mrs. Palin with chants, and cowbells, and horns and what ever is every bit as much genuine communication as what ever moronic dribble Mrs. Palin would have communicated. Anyone who doesn't get that really doesn't get communication. Then again, I am the guy who's grade in Video Production II likely suffered, as with my camera and editing, I made Burlington VT look like a dump. Have you ever been to Burlington? It's utterly charming. Mere fact I made it look like a dump should have secured me an A. Now that took skill.

Anyway, remember, art need not be pretty. Nor does communication have to be to one's liking to be honest communication.

Oh. One last point. A few months ago, I had a discussion with a work mate who had been an Art History major, after starting out at SVA as a film or video major. Jumping to the point, we had a disagreement over a similar idea/issue. Now the conversation was not as bogged down in the mire of ideological stubbornness or hypocrisy, however I made the argument that everyone edits. I said something like the process of creation of any art is one that starts, continues and ends with editing. It's actually the normal way a human mind works, to cut away or ignore some things, while choosing others. Now this might not seem to be that much on point, but it's a nature and process grounded real world argument against the all speech is equal (sorta) line of bullshit. And I am again revealing my bias. I would rather start off honest and deny being a full "free speech" extremist, rather than being caught being a hypocrite, down the road.

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Blogger Meade said...

Do you even know what hypocrisy means?

Ironically, the thing you criticize her for is the very thing you seem to do in this post.

Do you find that embarrassing?

8:04 PM  
Blogger Abstentus said...

I am not a believer in so called Free Speech. I think the philosophy and or ideology of "free speech" is childish and witless. I don't play that shit.

I am, however, a deep believer in my right to tell people to shut the fuck up. No hypocrisy here, dood. I think my right to tell you (or anyone else for that matter) to shut the fuck up is the higher value, than what the fuck you (or in the abstract, anyone else) has to say.

See how that works, dood? I am true to my values. So shut the fuck up!

Oh and yes. I am well aware of the meaning of the word hypocrisy. It's you who need to look up the meaning, dood.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Meade said...

Okay, I looked up the meaning and it confirmed that if she's a hypocrite, then you are a meta-hypocrite.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Abstentus said...

Ok. Try this one more time, Meade.

If I say the higher value is the right to tell people to shut the fuck up, or other wise criticize their stupid communications, and if I do that, if I tell people to shut the fuck up, or other wise, criticize their stupid communications, I am being true to my values.

However what you wife does, is run around preaching the gospel of so called free speech, but she is very critical of speech she does not like. That's classic hypocrisy. Her actions (bitching and moaning about the chanters, and the cow bell bangers, and the shouters, and the horn blowers) are contrary to her professed belief. If someone really believes in that free speech bullshit, they have to value all speech, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Again. Her real problem is not in bitching and moaning and wanting obnoxious people to shut the fuck up. I am a big fan of telling people to shut the fuck up. I am all about that. I do not have any problem with the idea of telling people to shut the fuck up.

Her real problem is that childish, ideology of "free speech." It's detached from reality and the processes of nature, and of practical human life. Either one really believes in that childish nonsense, or one doesn't. If one really believes in that nonsense, one must at least condone the most obnoxious of speech. If one does not really truly condone the most obnoxious of speech they should stop preaching that silly-assed free speech ideology.

Just to make sure you get it, I will be ever more redundant here. I am not criticizing your wife for wanting the protesters to shut the fuck up, to dial it down, all that. Whatever. I am criticizing her childish, extremist free speech ideology. I am saying that in the real world real people want other people to just shut the fuck up sometimes. And that's ok. But running around advocating ideological free speech is incomparable with the very real and very human desire for people we consider to be obnoxious to shut the fuck up.

Get it yet?

11:54 AM  
Blogger Meade said...

"...what you (sic) wife does, is run around preaching the gospel of so called (sic) free speech, but she is very critical of speech she does not like. That's classic hypocrisy."

No, Abstentus, it isn't. I was right - you need to look it up.

And she does not "run around" or "preach" any "gospel" whatsoever.

Free speech is not an ideology or a gospel. It's a value. One major difference between you and her is that she wants to encourage more and better - sharper, smarter, clearer speech, including speech that expresses viewpoints she disagrees with and is critical of while you want to have less speech and, in particular, less of the speech that you don't like.

I think what is frustrating you, Abstentus, is that she criticizes with sharpness and wit because she is intelligent and articulate. Your mind is less intelligent and seems poorly educated and you demonstrate poor writing skills which reflect poor thinking skills. So it's more difficult for you to speak freely and to argue points on their merits with people like her. That leads you to envy which leaves you spouting and sputtering nonsense which causes you to have few readers and almost no commenters except for me - someone who finds you pitiable but not really very interesting.

The only way out of the vicious circle you've created for yourself, Abstentus, is to tell other people to STFU. But that doesn't really work for you and so you're frustrated, angry, obnoxious, and small.

My advice to you, Abstentus, would be to listen and read more and spout and sputter less.

Good luck.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Abstentus said...

Before I finish the rest of your comment, here's a link for ya:


12:50 PM  
Blogger Abstentus said...

Free speech is a "value?" Probably not an original idea there, but it's interesting spin.

I haven't completely finished reading that law review article yet. But it's author goes to great pains to explain what he means when he uses the word ideology. There was one particularly interesting observation early on, and I believe the context (the author uses the word domain) is specifically academia. I can grab the quote:

"To put it more simply, there seems to be, within these domains, little free thought about free thought, little free inquiry about free inquiry, and little free speech about free speech."

Your wife seems to be one of these people who preaches an orthodoxy, an ideological view regarding so called free speech. But not only does reality in general, but the reality of her own life does not support that view.

Honestly, taking your wife out of the equation, I still think that so called free speech (as a "value")is a bunch of bullshit. I just find it fucking funny when people either don't see the hypocrisy of advocating free speech extremism and then criticizing "speech" they don't like, or they just ignore the dissonance. It's sort of a pet peeve.

Give the law review article a shot. It's much better written than my shitty bloggings. It's almost too well written. Granted, I think we (the author and myself) are on the same page. But this is a blog, not a law review. I'm not so much trying to impress, as I am cussing and cussing people out.

Oh. And my repeated use of shut the fuck up goes back to my translation of the "speech" of the protesters. In trying to drown Mrs. Palin out they were communicating the message, shut the fuck up.

I actually have not communicated that message to you or anyone else in passing during this exchange. However you did to me. Kudos there! You did it politely, but never the less the message was fairly clear. "My advice to you, Abstentus, would be to listen and read more and spout and sputter less." That's every bit as much a shut the fuck up as was that crowd was communicating to Mrs. Palin.

And that leads to my last point. And that is repeating what I have been saying since the original blogging post. And that is, it's just human nature to want to tell people to shut the fuck up, sometimes, even if one says it politely, as you did. Thanks for proving my point.

1:41 PM  

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