Sunday, September 25, 2005

Renewed Sense of Optimism

As you probably noticed, before I went away, I was feeling a little burnt out on having public opinions. I mean, really, what was left to say about Katrina or our misguided idiocy in Iraq or our failure to find Osama bin Laden or whatever that hadn't already been said? The thing I like about Blogistan--that everyone shares their opinions on the exact same things--is also the thing I hate about it. And sometimes it feels very much like you're just shouting into the wind. But I've been thinking a lot about hope. I've been trying to formulate some ideas about hope, but I haven't really come up with anything coherent. Hope is, on its surface, an utterly stupid thing. It only thrives in uncertainty and most people hate uncertainty. ***** Let me try to get at this another way. I've also been thinking about life versus not-life and how many of us focus all of our attention on not-life, on denying or vilifying the very accoutrements of life. Think of how much our culture trains us to turn our backs on life. Just think for a minute how often you hear that the things you enjoy are "bad" for you. Too much TV, too much food, too much sex, too much sitting on the couch. If you walk, you should be jogging. If you jog, you're hurting your knees. Your own self is not good enough; hack it open, break it apart, expand this part, reduce that part. But over all, don't trust your own experiences. If you aren't suffering, you aren't doing it right. If you aren't sufficiently suffering, you don't deserve help. We reward suffering and punish enjoying life. ***** Think of how many churches teach you to turn your back on life and put all your faith in being rewarded in the afterlife. Of course, the afterlife and not-life walk hand in hand. ***** "Choose life," the anti-abortionists say. But how many actually have? How many have not placed their hope in some place they believe to be better than this? Some place not life? ***** I think of this, too, with the abstinence-only crowd, how anti-life that world-view is. How it denies pleasure, denies connection, denies life itself. It's this twisted world-view that sees pleasure as inherently evil and children as the proper punishment for sex. But clearly, the default is pleasure and happiness. The default is pregnancy and children and fucking, fucking, fucking. None of these things is evil. And yet, of course, those things are not always desired. And so we take active steps to prevent them. We stop the pregnancies; we use birth control; we are careful about when we have sex and with whom; we wait until we are married; we don't have sex at all. But that--abstinence--is not the default. It's the most extreme choice we can make. Self-discipline we call it, this learning to deny ourselves pleasure and happiness, learning to deny ourselves life. ***** The certainty of the not-life crowd has no use for hope. Everything is already known. On the other hand, life and hope are intimately entwined. If one chooses life, then one always has hope. This time, things might be better. And why not? Nothing is certain. There are always exceptions. ***** The scariest way most people choose not-life is to say "If I might have to sometimes say 'no,' I refuse to ever say yes." ***** I think that's my problem with operating on a metaphor of economy. Is it "worth" it to invest money in public education, for example? Is it "worth" it to make college education as widely available as possible? In a purely economic sense, no. Most people don't make the most of their opportunities, so continuing to supply them with opportunities is a "waste." And yet, clearly, that's not sound social policy. ***** Life versus not-life. Whether you're going to invest in the present or whether you're hording your resources for the future. The problem with the future is that it's such a slippery thing. The present is, instead, always with us. Hope, I think, straddles those two places in ways that make both those of us who live in the present and those of us who live for the future uncomfortable because hope lives both places. Hope says, "I can make a choice now that will change things, and in ways I can't know." Operating from a position of hope is hard, then, because hope requires uncertainty. It exists only because most of the time it is dashed. And yet, those times when hope triumphs are magnificent enough to make hope very worth-while. ***** Anyway, obviously, this is going someplace. I don't know where, yet, but it's churning around in my brain. So, we'll be back to it, I sure.

32 Comments:

Blogger HUCK said...

Preach on Sister "B".

9/25/2005 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Welcome back B!
Did I give you my one and only Augustine lecture yet? It's about faith, hope, and love and how hope is actually the hardest one, the most future looking one that works on having faith that people in the past have worked for our benefit, to make a world where love is possible and it is our job to continue to love, to continue live.
Such good stuff!!

9/25/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

Aunt B, you manic-depressive blogger...you're back and better than ever. You're like a sequel to a Michael Keaton movie I never watched.

9/25/2005 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Aunt B, I completely disagree with your assessment of the wait-until-marriage-to-have-sex/pro-life folks. The against "life" people in this post. I am one. I should know. What's missing from your thinking out loud here about hope and your view that the Christian religious (my words, not yours) are against "life" in a way is the necessity of paradox in Christianity. You're seeing the restriction on behavior as a "bad" and making no mention of the good or the freedom it releases. "Religion" after all means to be bound. Yet this binding, this slaveship, is true freedom, It's paradox: To gain life you must lose it. To be first you must be last. To be greatest we must be a servant of all. "Take up your cross" we're told and "deny yourself" and the burden on you will seem light. The way to life is narrow and few will find it but wide is the road that leads to death. Etc. Biblical paradox. Beautiful and complex. So many Christians forget that their faith is middle eastern not American.

Jesus is eccentric and insane and counter-cultural precisely because he preached a paradoxical view of life, one with death as it's front door. I could blabber on and on and maybe I'll do that soon on my own blog, but for now I just want to say good luck on your rabbit trail about hope. I like how your brain works so keep thinking out loud here. It makes me think in new ways along with you.

SG

9/26/2005 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Shaun,

I don't think you and I disagree as completely as you think we do. I've written a lot on how I think many Christians miss Jesus' message of radical transformation.

And I honestly think this is one of those ways. Jesus says, over and over, give up everything you think you can't live without and see what happens.

And, shit, if you're giving up sex or certain methods of birth control because you want to give yourself over to Jesus' transformative power... well then, wow. That takes a lot of faith (in a way I don't use that word in this entry) and I respect that.

But you know as well as I do that the world (heck, your blog even) would be a much different place if Christians understood that. Many, if not most, aren't giving themselves over to anything; they're using their religion as an excuse to hide from life.

Jesus, by example, doesn't really seem to hold much stock in hiding from life. There he is with the tax collectors and the prostitutes and the uppity women and the fishermen and the crowds and the kids.

His exemplifying paradox doesn't seem, if you look at his life, to require removing yourself from life, but becoming more engaged with it.

Isn't this just a way of getting at what you were mulling over before I left? Would you still live this way if it turned out there was no heaven?

Because I would. I don't know what happens to us when we die. I hope I'll be with my family. I suspect I'll rot in the ground and become food for worms.

But if I'm wrong and you're right, as much as that would suck for me, I have no regrets. I try to love life and the people who surround me and I try to act with compassion towards them, even when they piss me off, and not because I think I'll get some reward for it in the end, but because I really love y'all and that's what love is--fierce and radical respect and compassion.

(Shoot, hasn't this been a year-long love letter to you guys?)

And I have a lot of compassion and respect for folks who try to follow Christ's example. But again, I come back to the fact that you and I both know--perhaps better than most--that most people don't interrogate their beliefs and get defensive when they find themselves put in positions where they have to question their beliefs. Most people are not Christian because they understand things the way you do. Most people are Christian because they were raised that way and the church provides them with firm rules and structure and a community.

Who's going to begrudge folks that?

Not me.

But you know as well as I do that there's a way in which this translates into "Live your life how we say and you can be a part of our community" instead of "Dare to give yourself over to the transformative power of Jesus and share in a life with others who are doing the same."

9/26/2005 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Most people are not Christian because they understand things the way you do. Most people are Christian because they were raised that way and the church provides them with firm rules and structure and a community.

Christianity is a personal journey. When the Libertarian Elite makes statements about your personal journey and how we perceive it you get in high heather. Brittney hates it when other people make a statement about what their opponent thinks on an issue. It's apparantly a cardinal sin to make generalisations. Unless you are doing so about Christians.

Here's the thing. There are a lot of people who have a lot of assumptions about Christianity as a culture and what it means to those who follow it as a creed. Ultimately it is a journey. There are undoubtedly many people who started as cultural Christians. At some point they have realized the transformative power of Jesus Christ and have put that power into practice.

I think you are viewing only one side of the elephant.

9/26/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Yep, we're not that different from each other Aunt B. I love your brain and what it does to mine. Thanks for blogging.

9/26/2005 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Kat,

As you may recall, you were the one who threatened to leave in a huff, saying, "It's not my intention to be insulting and I shouldn't have said anything since I couldn't say it correctly." I said repeatedly that I thought the whole conversation was funny. So, let's just be accurate about who's wandering through what plant life.

To even suggest that I don't have a sense of humor about my own idiocy indicates that you misunderstand me. And to suggest that I don't know what I'm talking about... well, if a lifetime of experience isn't enough to draw from in order to have an opinion, we're both in trouble.

9/26/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/26/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Whoa. THIS is what I said:
Then I'm sorry. I really am. Didn't mean to be dunning your background and experience. Meant to be having a conversation about points of view. It's not my intention to be insulting and I shouldn't have said anything since I couldn't say it correctly.

Apologising for hurting someone's feelings is different (in my mind) from threatening to leave in a huff.

peaking from personal experience is great, and is the point of writing.

BUT...do you not think you're generalising just a tad here? Do you honestly know why "most people" are Christians or what form their personal journey has taken?

9/26/2005 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Yes, of course I'm generalizing, and what of it? So what? I shouldn't generalize because Brittney doesn't like it? Because it's not "nice"? Because it goes against your sense of fair play?

Tough.

Of course, you're right. There are two billion Christians on the planet and I don't know why one billion and one of them do anything. But I certainly can see what motivates most of the Christians I know and extrapolate from that.

If that approach bothers you, you can continue to complain to Brittney or write about it yourself or just stop reading me.

I mean, seriously.

You have to know by now what you're going to get when you read me. You must also know that you aren't going to change my mind. And you must know that everyone who reads me knows that these are just my opinions. I'm not setting public policy or running the country or handing out marching orders to some secret liberal cabal of bloggers.

So, really, why continue to come here and point out all the ways you think I'm wrong? What, exactly, are you getting out of this?

9/26/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

You have to know by now what you're going to get when you read me. You must also know that you aren't going to change my mind. And you must know that everyone who reads me knows that these are just my opinions.

I think that the level of inconsistancy is very interesting. You have opinions and I have opinions. You like that this is a place where people can come to disagree...except when they do it too much.

You like that you are part of the liberal blogging community...except when you aren't. My issue with the Brittney thing is that she's smacked me down for it on Friday and smacked Mark Rose down for it today. Yet I know she reads your blog faithfully and hasn't said one damn word to you. Why? Is it because she agrees with you? Is it because you are part of the Blessed Liberal Community? Is it because she's pissed at me and pissed at Mark Rose? Who the hell knows? Yet, I point it out because it strikes me as a huge inconsistency, much like the other issues in your post.

You write a post about your interpretation of Christianity which I found to be a gross oversimplification. Sure, there are some people whose Christianity is as you've described. There are also some people who are bad drivers. Does that mean that it's a crime against humanity and hope and life and all these other high-flying ideals for people to own cars? Who gets to make that decision?

You celebrate hope in this post, yet seem to refuse to acknowledge that for BILLIONS OF PEOPLE THROUGHOUT TIME the hope of Christianity has been the driving force of liberation, change, progress and social justice. It's not all freaks on street corners with pictures of bloody fetuses, you know.

I come here because you praise this pagan Germanic ideal of frith and I praise the post-Christian Welsh ideal of cymru, which is decidedly similar.

Yet in both constructs, disagreement is considered crucial to the formation of true frith or cymru (pronounced kum-REE, it means community and is also the Welsh name for Wales). Part of a cymru/frith is acknowledging disagreements.

What, exactly, are you getting out of this?

I could ask you the same thing. What do you get out of posting your opinions, and what result do you expect that to have? Do you wish merely to have people agree, or do you prefer to have those who disagree state so? Because I thought that was the whole Frith thing.

To answer your question, I find that the action of disagreeing with someone helps me sharpen my focus and determine what I truly believe. It's a long standing tradition in higher education and it's one I've adopted for myself.

9/26/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

But Kat, you do not focus your disagreement with the post but with what you think lies behind the post and in the mind (or heart) of the poster. You seem so often to engage more in ad hominems and concerns about name calling. Why not just disagree about what a Christian is and explain that? Why not talk about what it means to you to hope and love life?

Why go on to accuse Aunt B of something others say is a crime and called you on? If you are upset with Brittney, why not talk to her about it? Why do to Aunt B what you don't like Brittney doing to you but think she should do to Aunt B? That seems a little fucked up. I don't think that's good frith or community. The past year has shown that Aunt B leaves lots of room for disagreement but very little for personal attacks. That's what frith and community are about, I think.

9/26/2005 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

But Kat, you do not focus your disagreement with the post but with what you think lies behind the post and in the mind (or heart) of the poster.

I was focusing my disagreement with the comment directly above mine. How is that an ad hominem attack? She made a statement in the comment directly above mine, and I refuted that statement. I didn't attack her person...I questioned the legitimacy of her statement and did so in the context of her other statements made throughout the course of her blog.

Why go on to accuse Aunt B of something others say is a crime and called you on?

Because quite frankly I'm irritated at the double-standard we've got going in the Nashville blogosphere. Say something witty and left-wing and you're generally applauded. Say something that is apparently erudite because it smacks down the traditions of the larger culture and it's gravy. BUT....say something that points out the inconsistency and you're whining. You're making ad hominem attacks. You're whatever. But God forbid we ask for a little mutual respect out here.

If you are upset with Brittney, why not talk to her about it?

I did. Twice. Just today. In the comment sections. Once about this post and once about one of Egalia's posts. I've made my point and I'm glad of it. But I'm just as irritated here as I was there, so I brought it up here. These may be just B.'s opinions and she is very free to have them. But I think I should also be free to call offsides.

Why do to Aunt B what you don't like Brittney doing to you but think she should do to Aunt B?

See above. It may be the hobgoblin of my little mind, but I'm a huge fan of consistency. Big time. Especially in social discussions. Especially when I've already been singled out. If I hadn't been singled out first, the point would be moot. Yet I was. Then Mark. So, I'm all for sauce for the goose.

That seems a little fucked up.

That seems a little bit like an ad hominem attack...

9/26/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Why not just disagree about what a Christian is and explain that?

Well, I did that twice already, but I'll do it again. I think a Christian is an individual who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her personal saviour. I think they can be very flawed and I think that they constantly battle with their human desires as it wars with serving Christ. Yet I think they have fundamentally commited to the hope that Christ and the Holy Spirit are a transformitive power greater than this world and beyond human understanding. I think they are people on a journey. I said that before and I'll say it again. Simply because we meet people at one point on their long journey doesn't mean that over the course of time they don't reach the same understanding of hope and life.

I also think it is a misunderstanding of Christianity to assume that walking away from what appear to be the paragon of pleasures is a repudiation of Life and Hope. I think it is rather a bold statement that says Life and Hope can be attained in means outside of the carnal. Better yet it also says that Life and Hope can be fully realized in the sanctified aspect of the carnal.

9/26/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

But you're asking a group of people who are not acting together to be consistent. You are asking all the people who (you) identity as liberal to be the same and to treat all people the same while insisting that lots of non-liberals and lots of Christians are not all exactly the same. I am glad to hear that you were honest with Brittney, but I still don't get what that has to do with Aunt B. Was she involved in those conversations? I mostly only read this blog, so I don't know. Do we have reason to believe that Aunt B supports Brittney's call to not make generalizations? I don't think so. She tends to be rather proud of her generalizations and started a blog to make them publically known.

So, I am still not sure what was inconsistent internal to the original post here. Claiming that more Christians are so from habit than from personal belief and maybe being wrong about that is not inconsistent. As well, asking for discussion, which includes disagreement, but insisting on limits to it is also not inconsistent. Setting rules and limits is what makes a community. And in a few comments already posted we have clear evidence of stark disagreement and discussion.

Finally, of course I was making ad hominems. You shifted the ground, and I went there. I'm not sure that there was much to say to your comments that would not have been ad hominem. I could have left it alone, of course. But my own sense of how to respect people, all people, suggested to me that I comment. I'm just trying to show the ways that you seem to be seeking disagreement at any cost, not discussion and conversation. Making it clear that you don't fit in with B's generalization about Christians is fair, and maybe even important. Taking up the position of the persecuted Christian minority who suffer at the hands of the liberals (who apparently run blogosphere and all of the country???) is a bit dramatic. In my opinion.

9/26/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

I also think it is a misunderstanding of Christianity to assume that walking away from what appear to be the paragon of pleasures is a repudiation of Life and Hope. I think it is rather a bold statement that says Life and Hope can be attained in means outside of the carnal. Better yet it also says that Life and Hope can be fully realized in the sanctified aspect of the carnal.


THAT is an interesting and powerful statement. That one I really appreciate. I would love to hear you add explanation and warrant to those conclusions. That sounds like a cool and fun conversation.

9/26/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Listen, we've got to let this Brittney thing drop. As has already been proven, I'm not her and she's not me. I'm pretty positive she doesn't actually hang on every word I write and, in return, I don't study every thing she writes. I don't even know who Mark Rose is or exactly what's going on between Brittney and Kat, nor do I care to get in the middle of it.

But, yes, I'm inconsistant. Yes, I fail to always live up to the ideals I find important.

How can I not? How is that a useful criticism?

This is just me, one flawed human being sitting here before you. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There are no perfect people. There's no use in insisting that only the well-thought-out folks with unimpugnable positions speak, because those folks aren't coming.

If you're here, I'm all you get. Flaws, inconsistancies, and struggles and all.

Here's the thing. I don't want to fight with you. I want to have discussions that are fruitful and useful to the participants. Of course, in order for that to happen, we have to leave room for a great deal of disagreement--you don't get much further away from me than Shaun is, for example, and yet, I find our exchanges interesting and challenging precicely because it's obvious to me that he finds our exchanges interesting and challenging.

Aw, fuck it, the Professor gets at the whole community issues better than I can.

But I will say this, Kat, I don't want to fight with you. I want to hear what you have to say and argue over it and wrestle with it. I hope you can see the distinction I'm making. But nothing about your comments here leaves me any room to wrestle with your point of view; it leaves me no way to consider things from your perspective, because you already start from a position of defense.

Your main objection seems to be that I don't give enough consideration to how Christians see their journey, but you are a Christian, and you don't make how you see your journey available. You make some broad statements about all two billion Christians and you seem angry. When I get angry in return, you get angrier.

To what end?

If you have something to say about your own experiences and your knowledge based on those experiences, drop your guard and be out with it.

But there's something fundimentally unfair about attacking me when I'm being vulnerable while at the same time never making yourself vulnerable to attack, while at the same time acting as if everything I say is some personal affront to you.

That's not my intention. I swear.

9/26/2005 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Okay. Heregoes.

From my personal experience largely, because that is where I am most qualified to speak. I WILL be rather plain spoken here, so forgive me.

I think it is rather a bold statement that says Life and Hope can be attained in means outside of the carnal. Better yet it also says that Life and Hope can be fully realized in the sanctified aspect of the carnal.

I was saved at 4, and grew up in a very religious environment. I spent most of my life in an interdenominational protestant school where my mother was the English teacher, History teacher and dean of women. We were taught all the good stuff about waiting for sex until marriage, not drinking, not smoking and not watching rated 'R' movies or anything with nudity.

It sounds boring as all hell, doesn't it? Common sense would dictate that all of the above are fun and generally harmless when experienced in moderation. I had a couple of really hot boyfriends in high school, and believe me when I say that turning down sex was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I wanted to have sex so badly I could taste it (hah!) and these guys were both my perfect physical ideal. Tall, brawny, etc. I would be lying if I said I didn't come close on more than a dozen occasions. I was never tempted to drink or smoke--so those weren't a big deal. But the sex thing. That was difficult. I like sex. A whole lot. But I had made a committment and I knew I was on this journey. There were days and there were backseats and basement couches where I didn't do the best job of being on that journey and I hate to admit that. But I do because it is important to me to stress to others that you can believe these things and know these things and still struggle with yourself. It doesn't make the faith any less real.

I had a serious set of conversations with God at a point in all of this, and decided that I would have to place my hope in the better plan of Christ. It seemed silly when I was 17 and with the hot star of the baseball team who was going places and wanted to marry me. But we were young and we weren't married and it was against what I believed. So we broke up and went our seperate ways. And I spent a lot of loney nights and a lot of time grieving for what I had given up. Most of the girls I went to high school with married their boyfriends in order to sanction a sexual relationship they had already begun. Many of the guys did the same thing.

I didn't. I was the living embodiment of Hope as I waited for God's perfect plan for me and marriage. It sounds old fashioned. It sounds goofy. It sounds very Hallmark Movie Channel. But they're the rules I chose to live by, and it's been the best life I could ever know. Because I was happy and I had hope and I knew that God wouldn't give me a desire He wouldn't make perfect in His ultimate plan. So I got the best husband in the world for me. He and I are most definitely made for each other in every way. And he's much hotter than the high school boyfriend. And the sex is amazing. And it's all legal! Best of all worlds! I'm alive and I rejoice in the Hope that I've seen made perfect.

Now we're back on the Hope cycle again, as we haven't been able to have children. Logic would dictate that we pursue any one of the fertility treatments made available by science. Yet once again I feel these are outside of my concept of the higher Hope and Life to which I am callled. I see God's perfect hand in this, too. While I don't yet have human kids, God has put an extraordinary number of animals and people in my life as channels to fill that need. And I still Hope. I believe He means me to be a mother. How He plans for that to occur I have no idea. Will I get pregnant? Will a long lost relative die in a car crash and will me their child? Will I adopt a baby? Who but God knows. Yet I embrace this Hope and this promise of Life. And it's contrary to the Carpe Diem message of most of the world and it seems stupid to outsiders.

To me that is the essence of Christianity. It may make no sense when you look at it from the outside, but as you surrender to Christ, you find out along the journey that God does know best.

9/26/2005 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

If you have something to say about your own experiences and your knowledge based on those experiences, drop your guard and be out with it.

But there's something fundimentally unfair about attacking me when I'm being vulnerable while at the same time never making yourself vulnerable to attack, while at the same time acting as if everything I say is some personal affront to you.

That's not my intention. I swear.


Guard dropped. Brittney dropped.

9/26/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

You are asking all the people who (you) identity as liberal to be the same and to treat all people the same while insisting that lots of non-liberals and lots of Christians are not all exactly the same.

I ask all people to treat all people the same.

am glad to hear that you were honest with Brittney, but I still don't get what that has to do with Aunt B. Was she involved in those conversations?

No. It was an unhappy accident of reading that post over there right before reading this post here. A fluke that unnecessarily conjoined the two in my mind, if nowhere else.

As I said, though, I'm happy to drop it and move on.

9/26/2005 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone explain 'ad hominems' for me? I have a pretty good idea, but I was public school educated so I'd like to be sure what it means.

W

9/26/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

W., I believe that's when a commercial for something sounds like something else... Okay, fine. That's probably only funny to me.

Kat, thank you. That is what I'm talking about--writing that lets me see things from your perspective. Very nice.

9/26/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

ad hominem = to the person (okay, it's literally translated as "to the man," but I am a feminist and Latin and English tend to not leave good room to be gender neutral so I'll force it to be). So, it's an argument made not against another person's claim or argument but against the person making the argument.
1. A makes claim B;
2. there is something objectionable about A,
3. therefore claim B is false.

who thought learning & teaching logic really would help me outside the classroom. I always thought it was like math, useless.

9/27/2005 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger the Professor said...

oh yeah, thanks Kat. I liked reading that last one lots.

Although it is true that I in fact am not all for treating all people the same. I tend to respond to particular individuals particularly. But I also get in lots of trouble for it, so I do get your point. I'm just afraid that if I treat all people the same, I'll default to something less than nice rather than usually but not always fair and respectful and sometimes even generous.

9/27/2005 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Ah, sorry, W., I appear to have given you the definition of the utterly useless ad homophone.

9/27/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have been right B. I think that was only funny to you. But if it makes you feel better, I did groan disgustedly when I read your definition.

So would an anti-gay commercial be an ad homophobe?

W

9/27/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Still not quite clear, even with the textbook definition added, how my statement was an ad hominem fallacy.

Which, by the way, is not always an attack. Vernacular has superimposed a new definition of ad hominem that translates to a personal attack on an opponent in an argument.

The personal attack is only an ad hominem abusive if it is used to negate the point of the opponent.

In the example above, I questioned the legitimacy of the generalization as a false syllogism coupled with the weak analogy of a biased sample.

Example:
1. Aunt B. has some experience with Christians.
2.Most of these Christians are more cultural and less spiritual.
3. Most Christians in toto are more cultural and less spiritual.

That's the same logical fallacy as saying
"Most of the people I meet have blue eyes so most people have blue eyes.

These are purely logical arguments and not intented as ad hominem abusive.

9/27/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Rejecting the generalization was a fair point. We've all seen that from the first moment. It was all the Brittney and stuff and the Blessed Liberal Community stuff that missed the mark and made your arguments personal, not about the post itself. But you agreed to drop it, and then you went on to make some interesting points and share some complicated personal stuff to support those points. I don't want to go back there, really, but you asked.

9/27/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Ad homophone?

Isn't that when Andy Dick does an MCI commercial?

9/27/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

I went back there because I needed clarification about what was okay and what wasn't okay.

Tempers were high yesterday and I wanted to make sure that I knew exactly where the boundaries were.

9/27/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Although it is true that I in fact am not all for treating all people the same. I tend to respond to particular individuals particularly. But I also get in lots of trouble for it, so I do get your point. I'm just afraid that if I treat all people the same, I'll default to something less than nice rather than usually but not always fair and respectful and sometimes even generous.

Situationally there needs to be a metered response, obviously. One is not going to put everyone to death because someone committed a capital crime, for instance. But as far as the basic rule of treating everyone as you would like to be treated--I'm all for that.

9/27/2005 12:10:00 PM  

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