Archive for April 5th, 2012

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Tempered Response… On Second Thought!

April 5, 2012

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, by Honoré Daumier

When I was younger, I had the bravado to jump right into situations I really did not understand.  As I’ve said before, I was like Don Quixote, filled with half-truths, marching off to slay some dragon.   Worse yet, it was often a dragon of another’s making.  Over time, I’ve learned to let time temper my thoughts, my actions.

When I was in the Navy and had a few guys working for me, it was easy for me to get fired up when one of them had an issue like a pay problem.  So, I’d suit up and march off to war – me against the Navy paymasters.  The first few times, my unsophisticated attacks were easily repelled, more so by my lack of truth’s armor than anything my mystical foe did.  I’d go back, defeated, and explain why they were right and we were wrong so we were going to do things their way.  This did not sit well with me, but I learned from it.

I learned the dragon is not always wrong, the dragon often had valid reasons and cause for its actions.  I learned that people tell you what they think will influence you to take action on their behalf, while omitting pertinent facts that did not support attack.  I found I needed to weed out those with real issues, worthy of battle, from those that simply did not like a situation they often put themselves in.  Then when I found myself at the dragon’s lair, my thrusts and parries hit the mark and soon the dragon was subdued.  I learned to solve problems and gain the respect of my subordinates as well as from the dragon.

That is not to say I have given up tilting at windmills, all together, far from it.  All you have to do is read a few of my blog posts over the last two-years to see that is true.  No, I just don’t suit up for the urbane talking points of a particular issue.  In other words, I do a little digging to get below image someone else wants me to see.

Now days, there is a new minion whispering in my ear to suit-up and ride off to war.  It is one I invite in each morning with my coffee; it seems to know no bounds or limits on partial truths pushed forward.  Of course I am talking about the internet.  You can find support for most any opinion you have, but the question is the quality of that support.  Recently, I was accused of marching off to war with just such data or armor is you will.

In a recent blog post (read it here) I asked for a New York Times article[i] to be read on the subject of the sex-trade advertising in Backpage.com, owned by the parent company of another of New York City’s newspapers, the Village Voice.  I further called for people to vote on the matter by not supporting the Village Voice, and to that end the parent company, until they stop the practice.  Given the feedback, I had to wonder if I played Don Quixote one more time.

As I rule, I do not post responses to my posts that are obscene or outright vulgar.  Most regarding this blog were just that.  Still, there is one response worth pointing out.  It was by Clarence in Baltimore.  His response reads:

“I’d link you to plenty of refutations, but since you are too lazy to do any actual googling yourself (but simply accept these kinds of serious accusations at face value) I won’t bother.

Monkey see, monkey do. Perhaps I should be more charitable, but then it occurs to me that this is most likely a pattern for you and you’ve probably been a member of many a metaphorical lynch mob in your time.

The Village Voice deserves more intelligent, or at least more SKEPTICAL readers than yourself.”

This one made me ask myself if I’d been tilting again.  If is very hard to be impartial when self-refection is called for.  It is always easy to cut yourself too much slack.  Still, when juxtaposing my words and Clarence in Baltimore’s, I think I am not guilty of his accusation.  While my post deals strictly with the New York Times Op-Ed, there is plenty of material supporting its position.  Furthermore, I make a call for action based upon a reference.  I even supply a link to that reference, allowing the reader to make up their own mind.

The Village Voice’s response seems to be based on a First Amendment Right[ii].  Nowhere is it refuted that the Village Voice’s parent company profits from such ads placed in Backpage.com.  That is my point – I will not knowing support a newspaper owned by a company that profits off the misery of others.  Clarence, on the other hand, seems to have no problem, at all, with a company making money literally off the backs of exploited women.  It is not the Village Voice reporting at issue; it is the business practice of its parent company.

Another point, this one just for Clarence, I have done the research.  Your refusal to post the source of your opinions shows the weakness of your argument as well as your own laziness.  Clarence, please do not feel you need to be “charitable” with me, I am more than capable of defending myself.


[i] KRISTOF, NICHOLAS D. “Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 17 Mar. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2012.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/kristof-where-pimps-peddle-their-goods.html>.

[ii][ii] Powers, Kirsten. “Sex-Slavery Facilitators: Backpage’s Sleazy ‘Adult Ads'” The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 30 Mar. 2012. Web. 05 Apr. 2012. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/30/sex-slavery-facilitators-backpage-s-sleazy-adult-ads.html>.

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