Sunday, February 04, 2007

Toxic People

There is an interesting letter in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin by the governor’s senior communications advisor, Lenny Klompus, noting the distortion in his published letter which was noticeably altered and distorted to give a tone and message other than that which was intended. And while he points out the editors do have the right to edit for clarity and brevity as needed -- it doesn’t give them license to distort the intent, meaning and purpose of that communication.

It is so obviously malicious because all the senior advisors to the governor are so obviously more skilled at writing (communications) than the editors at the Star-Bulletin, that what is the purpose of such heavy-handed editing but personal resentment and retaliation by the editors (most notably Nancy Christiansen -- whose chief delight in life seems to be provoking animosities between everybody else in society from that critical position as letters editor as apparently the singular joy of her existence)?

When I, and undoubtedly many others have pointed this out to the supervising editors, their response has been to go into denial and damage control -- rather than reading their own paper, and recognizing the abuses that go on daily in the travesty of journalism that has caused the implosion of their circulation and credibility -- so that every few years, they have to look for a new owner naive enough to the local scene to take them over and revive them for one more run.

In the old days, multiple daily newspapers might have provided a valued second opinion rather than merely a consistently inferior source of mostly distorted/biased information -- so that the better of the newspapers should remain to compete against all the other viable sources of information now, and we should let obsolete controllers/manipulators of public opinion pass away -- as it would have done a few years ago, if not for the appeals of pity that their writers and editors would be homeless since they had no discernible and/or redeeming skills.

Leaders deserve more respectful tone

I appreciate the Star-Bulletin editorial page printing my op-ed piece, "Setting the Agenda," in last Sunday's paper.

However, it was obvious that many changes were made to my original piece. Of course it is certainly the right of the editors to edit some content as submitted, but some of the alterations made were both uncharacteristic of my writing and inappropriate to form. Specifically, I would never to refer to the governor by only her last name. The position Gov. Linda Lingle holds is one of high honor and respect, and I believe that should always be recognized.

While I understand that the standard style for the Star-Bulletin is to use full names and titles on first reference and last names thereafter, often times rules cannot be simply black and white. Perhaps it is time to revisit the editorial/op-ed guidelines employed to acknowledge the positions of our leaders and grant them their proper distinction.

For those who read my article, I hope you will look past this and focus on the content.

Lenny Klompus
Senior adviser, communications
Office of the Governor


At February 04, 2007 11:58 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

People often ask me why I don't contribute to the local newspapers as obviously the most talented and insightful writer -- and I explain my experiences of suppression, distortion and manipulation that goes on in virtually every mainstream media outlet, as pretty much standard operating procedure for the old media.

They can't escape that legacy -- of being in total and absolute control of the information, news and opinions -- which in this new era of virtual information, is easily seen through by many more. Not everybody yet, but those on the cutting edge of developing the emerging greater consciousness and and unprecedented participation of these times who are the trailblazers of where the rest of society will head eventually.

That is the audience I'm particularly interested in reaching at this time -- which is surprising who that might be -- because they have their own constituencies, networks, and spheres of influence. It is no longer the large, unchanging mass market -- awaiting orders on what to think from all the demagogues of the world, and particularly now, those working in the mainstream media themselves, who have decided to cut out the "middleman."

Shakespeare's famous play, and arguably his best, Othello, is about the "character" Iago who exists for no other reason than to destroy the happiness and life of his lord.

Agatha Christie's last Poirot adventure, is about her concern for this emerging contemporary criminal -- who while never actually committing the crime themselves, cause others to commit the crime -- by misinforming and manipulating them so that they are compelled to their criminal misdeeds.

These are the famous murders, suicides and countless ruined lives of those appearing on "innocent" talk shows on which they are humiliated and enraged in front of the whole country. And now, it has arrived on one's doorstep every morning -- as the poison that corrupts every society with unrelenting hatred, distrust, partisanship, animosity, hostility, resentment, bitterness, envy, under the guise of being one's friend, and "objective" to a fault.

Fortunately, we live in wonderful times that the newspapers won't let us know about.

At February 04, 2007 12:45 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

By the use of the small "g" in reference to the Governor, I mean no disrespect, but to acknowledge that in some cases, the uncapitalized word has greater honor and standing than the honorific, because it indicates the actuality rather than just a label that may not be lived up to, as for instance "democrat" is worthy of higher regard than "Democrat."

At February 04, 2007 1:05 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I can't blame the Advertiser for kicking the Star-Bulletin people out of their building.

The stench was so bad they had to consider burning their clothes each night when they got home from work.

At February 05, 2007 5:14 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

While much is made of the abuses of power and trust by “elected” officials, much more pervasive and widespread are the abuses of power and trust by the many petty despots encountered in daily life -- at the schools, the workplaces, and even in the family, that we really never think to question because it’s always been that way. Abusive people are not going to volunteer that things could be another way -- or that one could have a choice of not being exploited and manipulated.

If that’s all one has known, there is a tendency to believe that that is the only thing possible -- like having a great boss, rather than just somebody who demands that you believe that is so. As long as there was a virtual monopoly of information from the self-designated entrenched information sources, which until the recent past used to be the media, schools and universities, one could live their whole lives with no idea that they could believe freely in what made the most sense to them rather than what was imposed upon them from their earliest days -- as the mandated "correct" ways of thinking and seeing anything.

“Demagogues” are people who exploit prejudices, passions and emotions to get people to do what they themselves would not. They operate in this kind of quasi-anonymity of spreading falsehoods and misimpressions. The prison population is dominated by similar personalities known to the staff and fellow-inmates, as manipulators. Their gambit is always to influence the thinking of others -- and particularly those in power or powerful, who can inflict the pain and suffering they cannot themselves. So in a sense, it is a kind of supreme cowardice.

In the press, they regard the right to remain “anonymous” as sacrosanct -- because it allows them to spread as truth, that which nobody is accountable for. That’s what all that fuss is over having to divulge a critical source of what they insist is true -- that they have a right not to say who told them so.

It’s like having a license to print money -- if one can make up “facts” and “impressions” however it suits one to. The temptation to abuse this “trust” is one that few can resist -- and once they do, it is a downward spiral to the corruption of everything one has contact with -- including and especially other people.

That’s why it is just as important to suppress those who do not operate in this abuse of trust -- so that there is no visible alternative of honorable and ethical practices anymore. All the supervising authorities will be compelled to stick together and support each other’s abuses.

There is no industry more renowned in this country for the exploitation of the young, poor and disabled -- than the newspaper industry, who the way they tell it, are the only protectors of a great American way of life. It is such a noble endeavor and calling, that the young and ambitious from the finest universities in the country, can be convinced to spend a year or two volunteering their efforts so that those at the top of the pay scale have to do nothing anymore but “edit” and “mentor.”

So they are champions in the community that everyone should volunteer their time, energy and talents generously -- while demanding top pay and all the power, fame and glory for themselves -- as “their” public service.

At February 05, 2007 5:36 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The height of this kind of control-freak, manipulative personalities are these people who run blogs and insist on editing (moderating) reader's comments -- or respond in anonymous emails and other comments, how and what one "ought" to be saying.

It's really a mental illness -- often coupled with the delusion that one is "liberal" and "democratic."

At February 05, 2007 12:00 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

In Hawaii, many legislators would like to ban being able to discriminate between the good, bad, ugly, dishonest and malicious -- and the people should believe whatever they're told by the powers that be who always wish to remain so.

The newspapers will run interference for them -- but mostly, one or two people will be conducting their own vendettas against everybody else, in the name of "professional journalism."

At February 09, 2007 5:23 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Here's another dissection of the liberal (press's) tactics:

February 6, 2007
The Offensiveness of Taking Offense
By Selwyn Duke | View comments

If you can’t defeat your adversaries in the arena of ideas, you have to keep them out of the competition; if you can’t refute what’s argued, you must stop it from being spoken.

The voicing of the unpopular, being the very soul of free speech,
the right to give and take offense shall not be infringed.

Sometimes I think it is time to insert the above into our First Amendment. Whether it’s an off-color joke or colorful commentary, it’s now hard to make anything but the most plain vanilla statements without offending somebody. In fact, so ingrained is the notion of being offended that it has become a topic of satire. Just think about Geico’s famous commercials, wherein stone-age characters take umbrage at the slogan, “So easy a caveman can do it.”

Ironically, associating cavemen with being thin-skinned is quite apropos, since it is a frailty born of the more ignoble aspects of man’s nature. As to this, I think about documentarian Alby Mangels who, while visiting primitives in Papua New Guinea, warned against “knocking back their hospitality.” Prudence dictated he be wary, as those less spiritually and morally evolved are ruled by pride, the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins. And, lest we entertain the fancy that it is the superior person who doesn’t give offense, know that it is actually the superior one who doesn’t take it. It’s hard to offend the humble.

In truth, though, our civilization is not as overcome by pride as by duplicity. And this is what is truly offensive (in the way an odor is so) about this offensiveness business: Screaming “That’s offensive!” is nothing but a ploy. Yes, you heard it here first, few who emit that utterance are actually offended.

They just don’t happen to like what you’re saying.

I’ll explain precisely what is going on. Liberals trade on this ploy, using it as a standard response whenever their sacred cows come under scrutiny. If they were tolerant, they would simply accept that some will espouse what we despise. If they were honest, they would simply say what they mean. But tolerance is just another ploy, and honesty, well, it has never served the ends of the Left, and never less so than here. An understanding of what they really mean to say will illustrate why:

“I hate what you’re saying, it makes me angry and you should shut your mouth! [expletives omitted]”

Of course, to exhibit such petulance would do nothing but reveal their vaunted tolerance for the facade it is and demonstrate their moral inferiority. And telling others to shut-up is the stuff of neither polite society nor effective debate, so a different strategy is in order.

And the “Offensiveness Ploy” (OP) is ideal, as it shifts the onus from them to you. A direct command to still your tongue would make them appear the villains, intolerant, immature, imperious clods, incapable of brooking dissent. It would be offensive. But the OP makes you seem the offensive one. And when told to shut-up, we feel transgressed against and know we occupy the moral high ground, a place from which taking the offense is justified. The OP, however, casts us as the transgressors, cowing us as we look up from our valley of disgrace. It works: Accusing others of giving offense is the best offense, as it places them on the defense.

But you don’t have to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to know strategies change with the situation. And this is why, when the bounds of propriety are loosed and the power is all theirs, liberals often show their true colors, resorting to a tactic blunter and less sophisticated but even more effective: Force.

Just think about the “students” – they don’t deserve the designation – who attacked Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist at that institution of lower learning, Columbia University. Think about incidents where other conservative speakers were given the same treatment on other campuses, a phenomenon that prompted pundit Ann Coulter to retain bodyguards. You may think I’m painting the Left with too broad a brush but, I can assure you, the very same spoiled brats would use the OP in any situation wherein the balance of power didn’t favor them. But in a bastion of liberalism, where accountability is as absent as sensibility, they don’t have to. And here’s their message:

“I hate what you’re saying, it makes me angry and you should shut your mouth! And you’re going to shut your mouth whether you like it or not. We don’t have to take it anymore [expletives omitted].”

I suppose it’s one situation where you could say that honesty is definitely not refreshing.

Would that anyone claim I’m wrong, he has much to explain. Like, for instance, why these tolerant, unoffensive liberals, upon achieving institutional power, become similarly heavy-handed and use the principles of tolerance and offensiveness to squelch ideas they dislike. They have given us speech codes at universities and in corporations and hate speech laws in foreign countries. And the sanctimony, oh, the sanctimony. As they ostracize, penalize, terminate and arrest those who sin against political correctness, they tell us they’re just protecting others from hateful feelings when they really just feel hateful.

Can there be doubt of this? This oh-so-sensitive set is the very one that defends the immersion of a crucifix in a jar of urine as artistic expression and the equation of 9/11 victims with Nazis as academic freedom.

If the truth about the OP hasn’t raised your ire yet, understand that it is nothing less than part of the groundwork necessary for social engineering. If you want to effect social and legislative change, you must win the social and political debates so as to garner support for it. But if you can’t defeat your adversaries in the arena of ideas, you have to keep them out of the competition; if you can’t refute what’s argued, you must stop it from being spoken.

So, first you demonize speech refutative of your agenda by labeling it “offensive,” which cultivates social codes and attendant social pressure facilitative of the change you desire. Then, as these social codes become more widely accepted and entrenched, expressing them through rules and laws becomes more acceptable. This leads to the next stage, the organizational expression of them – the speech codes in various private institutions. And once sufficiently inured to these, it’s time for the last stage of this imprisoning of ideas: The legislative expression of these social codes known as hate speech laws.

Case in point: It becomes harder for traditionalists to argue against anti-marriage if they’re scorned and ostracized for saying homosexual behavior is sinful, destructive or disordered. It becomes harder still if those who do are punished within the context of our schools and businesses. And it becomes impossible if the government arrests you for such expression. The easiest way to win a debate is to prevent the other side from debating.

Thus, there is a lesson here we ignore at our own peril. You can have freedom from being offended or you can freedom of speech, but you cannot have both.

This is why I have no tolerance for the Offensiveness Ploy. It is manipulation by the mediocre, victory for the vacuous, derision by the dull. It is the protestation of a child, one with neither the brute force to be a Brownshirt nor the executive force to be a Blackshirt. If someone is offended by truth, the problem lies not with it being uttered. If someone doesn’t want it uttered, he has a problem with truth.

The great victory of the Left is that it has made us apologize for being right. A few may be truly offended, being in the grip of primitive pride. But, mostly, we are in the grip of a primitive ploy. We need more offensiveness, not less. We must offend the liars, the degraded, the darkness, the destroyers of civilization.

So my answer to the offended is, you have every right to be offended. Now, grow up. If you can’t sit at the table of reasoned debate, go back to your bread and circuses. Let the adults figure out the problems of the world.

Selwyn Duke's homepage is The Truth Page.


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