Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Glad You Asked!

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Ehrman

This post is a transcription of an imaginary blog interview. The interviewee is the blog creator, Howard Towt. The interview is conducted by the esteemed Elizabeth Docent. Enjoy!

Libby: What’s this blog about?

Howard: My very first post explains it pretty well. The Cliff’s Notes version is that the blog is meant to explore and document a 21st-century phenomenon that is new to our political landscape. We are aware of anti-Semitic culture in the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, anti-American culture in Europe. But we don’t understand the anti-Republican culture in America. In our country, it is “cool” to hate Republicans. Someone has to ask the question, “What’s up with that?”

Libby: Who should read your blog?

Howard: That depends. A couple of weeks ago, I had a post about the controversy over building a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center. It makes the point that you take one side of the argument or the other, depending on whether you believe Islam is a religion or you believe it is a political movement.

Libby: I’m not sure I follow you.

Howard: Our point of view determines our receptiveness to a particular idea. If you want a litmus test on this blog, rent the movie “Julie and Julia” and watch for the anti-Republican scenes. If you come to the conclusion that this is all very “right and natural”, then you can stop right here. This blog is not for you.

Libby: Do you have any favorite posts?

Howard: I like the ones highlighting the mindset of those who promote our anti-Republican culture. Check out An Open Letter to “Anonymous” and Moral Authority. They show how our culture encourages people to discern intent, and then equips them with the personal moral authority to pronounce judgment. Those kinds of posts form the bulk of the blog. However, I occasionally do an online review of a book. My write-up of Jon Krakauer’s “Where Men Win Glory” received an “Instalanche” from Glenn Reynolds. That is always fun.

Libby: What about the graphics?

Howard: You mean the ones at the top of each post? They add a metaphorical twist. Take the photograph above this post. It could be about two cheetahs in the Kalahari Desert. It might also be about asking the question, “What the hell brings you here?” It’s a way to have fun with an emotional and divisive topic.

Libby: Do you have a “message” for the viewing public?

Howard: I guess the subtext is that our social scientists are failing us. We live in a culture where it is accepted that Republicans are Raaaaacists and there are no homophobic Democrats. How is it possible that such an obvious political angle is ignored in researching our societal interactions? You would almost think it points to a bias within our university community.

Libby: Any concluding thoughts?

Howard: I like to think of this blog in the same way that some people might perceive a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe. The painting might appear to be something of an abstraction, and they simply note it and pass on by.

However, if you see one of Ms. O’Keeffe’s black door paintings and then go to Abiquiu to visit her home, you receive an entirely different experience. You enter her courtyard, walk by that same black door and find that it rocks your world. The reality of what she was painting and what you are viewing produces a profound acknowledgement of this artist and her accomplishments.

I’m hoping that those who visit this blog will dwell on our culture and its political ramifications. I’m also hoping that at some level, they “get it.”

UPDATE 8/26/2010:
David French, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund has an article on social workers and counselors that shows how bias is conveyed through their philosophical and organizational structures.  He highlights the First Amendment implications.

This might be an interesting class assignment in the social sciences: Does elevating the desire for equality and justice in society hinder our First Amendment rights?

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