October 22, 2010

The Extent of Tolerance Amongst the "Tolerant"

All the intertubes, the airwaves and the cablewaves are abuzz with talk about the firing of Juan Williams by NPR. I hadn't planned on commenting on it as pretty much EVERYONE already has, and the notion that NPR is hysterically PC is the definition of dog bites man.

If, by some chance, you are unaware of the Juan Williams story the Anchoress has it pretty much covered with a long post that includes about 60 hyperlinks and asks a question.

Schiller kind of makes me wonder if too many people aren’t in powerful positions these days because of their skills in lockstepping, rather than because of their smarts.


And I think the answer is yes, but more on that in a minute.

One reason this post is here is because of another very similar incident. Today, Elizabeth Moon, was disinvited from a con in Wisconsin. As it happens, it was the same con that was the subject of the post below...clicking on a related hyperlink is how I found out about this.

Like Williams, Moon is a lefty, (in fact she's a full metal Bush hater and she has said some pretty vile things about righties) and like Williams years of doing a pretty good job (she's a superb author) and having, I gather, a  majority of her views in agreement with the left brought no respite when she made a perfectly reasonable but politically incorrect statement , in her case a long thoughtful blog post,  that violated todays unwritten blasphemy laws. That is both made comments that did not sing the praises of Islam, absolve all practitioners of said religion of all responsibility for any unpleasantness and praise merciful Allah.
That is the unforgivable blasphemy.

Greg Gutfield sums this up very well here, pointing out that such obsequious kow-towing to Islamic rabble rousers not only encourages more of the same behavior but is tacitly Islamaphobic in and of itself.

But it gets worse...because neither of these incidents is really about self censorship out of fear, or respect. In fact, I think the defering to Islam issue, while a real issue, is a smokescreen in both these cases.

Both the bureaucrats at NPR and the staff at WisCon are using the Islamaphobia canard (and in both these cases it is truly an idiotic canard)  to mask the fact that they are working very hard to stifle all dissent against their worldview. In NPRs case they were by their own admission upset that Williams appeared on FOX as a ( dissenting ) analyst. The Islamic not phobia is just to cover their asses while they crack the whip and enforce their world view. Williams wasn't even really fired for having double plus ungood thoughts....he was fired for his associations.

Moon got disinvited from the con because the main thrust of her post was that people do not have unlimited entitlement. Even worse, she suggested people have a responsibility to comport themselves well and behave as good citizens. This flies in the face of the total entitlement worldview that I've observed in the upper reaches of fandom over the years. I have long observed that there are few people as tolerant as certain left leaning fans...so long as one is in complete agreement with them.

On their own neither of these incidents will be in any way lasting. Neither Williams nor Moon will suffer from this. Williams will likely go full time at Fox. Judging by this comment thread  Moon will have a weekend free from shrill condescending lectures by bitter, passive aggressive women whose con is an opportunity to lecture, badger and exert control over others and who go all to pieces if someone strays from leftist victim orthodoxy in the slightest.  I hope she enjoys the respite.

The reason these two incidents are worthy of comment is that political correctness is becoming an increasingly accepted bludgeon and cover for ideological purging and power plays. And it is working. It is working in part because, as the Anchoress suggests an increasing number of people are getting advanced in bureaucracies because of ideological purity rather than actual performance. While they may not have the broadest experience or the keenest mind these Parsons Wannabees can, in fact, be quite dangerous to ones career.

"Parsons was Winston's fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended."

 1984 George Orwell
 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:20 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 766 words, total size 6 kb.

1 If NPR pays his wages and he is hired to write for NPR and represent the viewpoint of NPR, what is wrong with NPR asking him to fulfill his contract?

I wonder how much tolerance Fox News would have for someone who came on air and had doubts about the US invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq while they were occurring?

The reality is that most American criticism of Islam and Muslims is based on ignorance and prejudice, amounting to bigotry.  Too many Americans assume that by listening to what the Islamists say and claim about Islam and Muslims, all Muslims are the like that.   Its like suggesting that by listening to the "Reverend" Fred Phelps people will know and understand what Christianity is all about.   Its silly and its wrong.   Just as Phelps is as representative of mainstream Christian thought and preaching, so are the Islamists of mainstream Muslim and Islamic thought and practice.

If this wanker Williams had taken his NPR hat off and made his comments as a private individual, you may have a point.   He didn't though, did he?  He made them as an NPR representative and so it isn't surprising they've put his head on the chopping block (metaphorically speaking).   It isn't nice but it is how modern corporations and modern society work.

Posted by: Bearded Dragon at Mon Oct 25 04:43:38 2010 (dONAr)

2 If NPR pays his wages and he is hired to write for NPR and represent the viewpoint of NPR, what is wrong with NPR asking him to fulfill his contract?

You mean the Taxpayer-funded radio network?  The one that's supposed to represent (but never has) the people?  The one that's firing someone for having an opinion?

You appear to believe that NPR is a normal radio station, privately owned... it's not.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Mon Oct 25 12:29:50 2010 (vW/MM)

3 I wonder how much tolerance Fox News would have for someone who came on air and had doubts about the US invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq while they were occurring?

I'll point out, if the difference isn't obvious, that Fox News (as well as ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN) is a private entity, and therefore can do whatever they want (within reason) with their employees.

NPR is not.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Mon Oct 25 12:36:46 2010 (vW/MM)

4
If NPR pays his wages and he is hired to write for NPR and represent the viewpoint of NPR, what is wrong with NPR asking him to fulfill his contract?


Nothing, but there is no indication that he did not do so.
If there was a contractual issue with him being on another network it would have come up before.
 

Williams said that he felt unease when on a plane with a Muslim loudly proclaiming that he was Islamic first....and that we need to be sure that these feelings don't cause us to discriminate against Muslims.This is rather more nuanced than "How to speak teabag"
or wishing that Jesse Helms's grandchildren would get AIDs, both of which were done with the full sanction of NPR. Now NPR can have an editorial opinion, and be as demonstrably biased as they indeed are (the first amendment rocks) but they really ought not to do it on the taxpayer dime. Indeed govt. financed partisan propaganda may well be illegal under 5 U.S.C. 3107.


I wonder how much tolerance Fox News would have for someone who came on air and had doubts about the US invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq while they were occurring?


Judge Andrew Napoliatano is and always has been loudly, vehemently and unashamedly opposed to both wars and has said so with zero equivocation every time it has come up. He has been with FOX since 1998 and is their senior legal analyst. He is so much of a pariah at FOX that he has been the main backup host for both O'Reily and  Beck, is a frequent guest on all their shows and is now being so ruthlessly censored that he has been given his very own show on FBN.

(This is not to say that FOX is neutral, they wear their editorial direction on their sleeve, but they do tend to have guests and analysts from opposing viewpoints that are mainstream members in good standing of their respective movements.)

There is little more to say on this kerfuffle that hasn't been said elsewhere, as I said in the post it will have little long term effect on Williams or Moon, but the trend of intimidating those with opinions that are the least bit divergent from current leftist orthodoxy is a troubling one and given the leanings of a majority of the media and academia is more pervasive than many seem to suppose.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Oct 25 20:21:55 2010 (EJaOX)

5 Why do you assume that Fox represents mainstream views and NPR does not?

It appears that you would prefer that NPR simply became another mouthpiece for your views.  As I understand the function of a public broadcasting system is to be rather like that of the slave who used to stand behind the parading general during a Roman triumphal procession and whisper in "Respica te, hominem te memento".

By holding a mirror up to your society NPR make it remember its failings.  You should be glad that your society has created such an institution and that NPR is not merely a mouthpiece for the government and its views.

Fox represents one viewpoint - the right wing viewpoint with its jingoistic, over the top yellow journalism.  During the invasion of Iraq and long afterwards it was the government's mouthpiece.


Posted by: Bearded Dragon at Tue Oct 26 07:48:03 2010 (dONAr)

6
Why do you assume that Fox represents mainstream views and NPR does not?
Ratings, dear boy.  Ratings.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tue Oct 26 07:53:17 2010 (PiXy!)

7 As I understand the function of a public broadcasting system is to be rather like that of the slave who used to stand behind the parading general during a Roman triumphal procession and whisper in "Respica te, hominem te memento".

Then I'm afraid you understand incorrectly, dear boy.

The original purposes of NPR, as ratified by the Board of Directors, are the following: Provide an identifiable daily product which is consistent and reflects the highest standards of broadcast journalism.Provide extended coverage of public events, issues and ideas, and to acquire and produce special public affairs programs.Acquire and produce cultural programs which can be scheduled individually by stations.Provide access to the intellectual and cultural resources of cities, universities and rural districts through a system of cooperative program development with member public radio stations.Develop and distribute programs for specific groups (adult education, instruction, modular units for local productions) which may meet needs of individual regions or groups, but may not have general national relevance.Establish liaison with foreign broadcasters for a program exchange service.Produce materials specifically intended to develop the art and technical potential of radio.Show me where political works are to enter into the matter, please? 

Posted by: Wonderduck at Tue Oct 26 23:53:41 2010 (vW/MM)

8 As I understand the function of a public broadcasting system is to be rather like that of the slave who used to stand behind the parading general during a Roman triumphal procession and whisper in "Respica te, hominem te memento".Your understanding is faulty.

I observed NPR's actions during Gulf War I and its actions during the beginning of the Clinton administration. The "loyal opposition" effect disappeared immediately after his inauguration.

(I remember an interesting interview of a college professor who was shocked that his Marine Corps reservist son would actually have to go out and maybe kill someone. Odd branch of service to choose, in my opinion.)

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at Mon Nov 1 16:15:00 2010 (Lbkvv)

9 The first paragraph of my previous post should have been quoted.   The last sentence should have not been part of the quoted material.

(I keep finding the mee.nu commenting system an incomprehensible mixture of BBCode and HTML.  If the commenting system doesn't understand blockquote tags, then it should not attempt to render them.)


Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at Mon Nov 1 16:27:55 2010 (Lbkvv)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
39kb generated in CPU 0.03, elapsed 0.0325 seconds.
66 queries taking 0.0137 seconds, 263 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.