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Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: A Welcome from Ilana

Thanks for emphasizing my point. You felt that you had a free speech right to shoult "Get out of Vietnam," and probably other things, and you chose to exercise that right even if it caused pain to many people, including those who believed in the justice of the war, and even more so to those who had served their country honorably through service in Vietnam, perhaps even were wounded in that service.

But you felt that your right to protest outweighed the hurt you caused other people. And even though it may have caused such pain, the government had no right to stop you to protect the feelings of those you may have offended.

I fully support your right to have made the choice, to have expressed your views even at the cost of pain to the feelings of others. That's a classic example of the need for freedom of speech protections and the need to keep the government out of censoring speech.


Choisya wrote:
No reasonable person, including myself, would condone what is happening in Tibet at the end of a gun. I don't believe in arming police or anyone at all! I doubt that the words 'Free Tibet' 'hurt' anyone in China but they are controversial in a political sense, especially in a country which has suppressed protest for decades. I seem to remember police being pretty rough on both sides of the Atlantic when many of us were shouting 'Get out of Vietnam'. Being at the end of a policeman on a horse wielding a baton felt like being at the end of a gun! Tibet has nothing to do with freedom of speech, it is to do with the abuse of political power in the face of militant protest.
It has been my experience (and I was at the receiving end during my second marriage) that our laws against racial and sexual discrimination have made people think twice about what they say in public. I would be less likely to be spat upon or verbally abused if I walked down the street with my late husband now than I would have been before their enactment. I think UK homosexuals would say the same. Governments are there to guide people and laws such as ours can be a 'warning shot across the bows' when things get out of kilter. Once we were free to drive on either side of the road. I believe that spitting in public was freely done in America (it certainly caused Dickens distress!). People were free to defacate in the street and to throw urine out of their windows. Men were once free to physically abuse their wives. Fortunately all of these things have now been changed by various pieces of legislation both sides of the Atlantic. I think it should be the same with verbal abuse, that's all. In the time when Henry Fielding was writing public language and behaviour was obscene and often abusive but by the time Jane Austen came along Beau Nash had made an impression on the manners of society in Bath which began to affect the rest of the country. Beau Nash and Queen Victoria and some helpful laws helped to transform Britain into a polite society though alas! I fear that is changing:smileysad:.
The times they do change. Words which were uttered in small drawing rooms or in villages now travel all around the world in a micro-second and can offend more than our great-aunts - they can cause diplomatic incidents which could start wars or inflame terrorists. With freedom comes responsibility - we should be circumspect in our use of free speech and if we are not then IMO our governments have a duty to send a warning shot across our bows:smileyhappy:.

Everyman wrote:
I do not disagree with you, Choisya, about the virtue of self-censorship of hurtful speech. Nor of the disavowment of some speech, as long as that disavowment does not extend to trying to prohibit the right to make the speech.

Where we perhaps differ is in using the power of the state -- police, prosecutors, judges, courts, fines, prisons, and ultimately, as Mao pointed out (and as we are seeing today in Tibet), the power of the gun -- to decide what speech will be legally punished and what will not.

This is not to say, of course, that some speech cannot be made unlawful -- fraud, libel, yelling Fire in a crowded theater, telling the passengers on a plane "I have a bomb" can obviously be limited. But we are not talking about that sort of speech here, but about speech which is not a part of a criminal act, but is condemned merely because it is offensive to some person or persons. As you say, "hurtful words and phrases."

The phrase "Free Tibet" is considered hurtful by many Chinese. Should your government ban the phrase in Britain to avoid hurting the feelings of these Chinese?

I think giving to the government the power to threaten to (or actually to) put me in prison for uttering words the government considers hurtful to another person's feelings is much more dangerous than any harm which such speech may do.

But then, I recognize that Europeans and Americans have quite different attitudes toward the willingness to let government tell people how to live their lives. This is perhaps an example of that difference.


Choisya wrote:
I am also a white woman who was married (for 20 years) to an Afro-Caribbean. I experienced very little racism within my own family or his but quite a lot in the public arena. I have been spat upon many times and we were frequently pushed off the pavement when walking together. I did not experience this In the Caribbean (Lesser Antilles). However, I was married in 1978 and things had improved by the time my husband died 20 years later.
As to free speech, I do not think it is acceptable to use hurtful words or phrases about any person in the name of 'freedom'. I think we have a duty to consider how our words may affect others and to speak/write accordingly. In the UK we have different attitudes and laws about this - freedom of speech is not given carte blanche and you can be sued for libel or slander if you transgress. I thought the Rev Wright's speech was very undiplomatic and that he should have considered his words, and perhaps the way in which he delivered them, more carefully. Other speakers have said the same things without causing so much offence

Sunltcloud wrote:
Everyman,
it doesn't happen very often, but it happened today - I left this board and went over to the Community room to take a look at your post. Can't argue with it. You are absolutely right. Flushed down the drain. Don't be shy.
As for the Reverend's comments, I want to make a comment here. I, a white woman, was married to an African American man for ten years and have seen racism on and from both sides. I came to the conclusion that family gatherings are very different from "politically correct" public gatherings. In both races. It is my belief that, as a society, by becoming politically correct we have sent many sentiments underground. It remains to be seen if, in the long run, it was a wise course of action.
If the Reverend's words were read in a normal voice and not preached in a loud and threatening manner, they would say: Obama has experienced blackness and Clinton has not. That's how I see it.
Just my opinion. I know that this is not the place to debate racial issues and I am sorry if I have offended anybody or if I have used this board for something other than what it is intended for. The issue is "free speech" and I have, instead, voiced an opinion and "spoken freely."
Gisela











Message Edited by Choisya on 03-20-2008 04:06 PM


_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Peaceful protest and hurtful protest.

I think our understanding of 'hurt' and 'pain' is very different.  'Get out of Vietnam' was not an expression I used but I would never use hurtful phrases - that is not an abusive phrase nevertheless. Saying something in opposition to another person does not have to be hurtful.  I carried a poster saying 'Make Tea Not War' on the Iraq march, for instance.  Peaceful protest without the use of abusive phrases is not causing pain or hurt.  In protest terminology there is a difference between shouting 'Get out of Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan' as a general call to politicians for action than to saying, for instance, 'Blair/Bush are Murderers' - the former is not abusing anyone, the latter is personal abuse and I would not use such a phrase. 
 
Our police have, in fact, arrested people on marches who have used placards showing incitement to kill (ie: 'Massacre those who insult Islam') and the US have just extradited someone from here who was imprisoned for making public speeches inciting murder:-
 
 
Being opposed to a war does not mean that you denigrate the soldiers who are fighting it - indeed I would argue that a pacifist like me who does not want any soldier to risk life or injury is causing less 'hurt' than those who wish him/her to go to war. I do not agree with blaming soldiers for a war which politicians have decided they must fight in and I deplore any attacks on serving soldiers or war veterans. We might just as well attack the employees of MacDonalds for contributing to obesity! 
 
Every day of our lives we do/say something which opposes things which other people do/say.  You may say you like tea, I say I like coffee, for instance, but that is not hurtful or painful.  You prefer Jane Austen, I prefer Charlotte Bronte - neither of us is hurt because of this difference of opinion, not even if we marched holding placards stating our preferences in reasonable terms. However, if I marched with a placard saying 'Jane Austen is Prissy', that may offend someone and if you marched with one saying 'D H Lawrence is a pornographer' you might offend.  I remember offending someone here when I unwisely remarked that I thought Jane Austen was 'prissy' (or some similar word).  That was thought to be unkind and I won't use that phrase again - and I apologise if it gives offence here.  
 
 

Everyman wrote:
Thanks for emphasizing my point. You felt that you had a free speech right to shoult "Get out of Vietnam," and probably other things, and you chose to exercise that right even if it caused pain to many people, including those who believed in the justice of the war, and even more so to those who had served their country honorably through service in Vietnam, perhaps even were wounded in that service.

But you felt that your right to protest outweighed the hurt you caused other people. And even though it may have caused such pain, the government had no right to stop you to protect the feelings of those you may have offended.

I fully support your right to have made the choice, to have expressed your views even at the cost of pain to the feelings of others. That's a classic example of the need for freedom of speech protections and the need to keep the government out of censoring speech.


Choisya wrote:
No reasonable person, including myself, would condone what is happening in Tibet at the end of a gun. I don't believe in arming police or anyone at all! I doubt that the words 'Free Tibet' 'hurt' anyone in China but they are controversial in a political sense, especially in a country which has suppressed protest for decades. I seem to remember police being pretty rough on both sides of the Atlantic when many of us were shouting 'Get out of Vietnam'. Being at the end of a policeman on a horse wielding a baton felt like being at the end of a gun! Tibet has nothing to do with freedom of speech, it is to do with the abuse of political power in the face of militant protest.
It has been my experience (and I was at the receiving end during my second marriage) that our laws against racial and sexual discrimination have made people think twice about what they say in public. I would be less likely to be spat upon or verbally abused if I walked down the street with my late husband now than I would have been before their enactment. I think UK homosexuals would say the same. Governments are there to guide people and laws such as ours can be a 'warning shot across the bows' when things get out of kilter. Once we were free to drive on either side of the road. I believe that spitting in public was freely done in America (it certainly caused Dickens distress!). People were free to defacate in the street and to throw urine out of their windows. Men were once free to physically abuse their wives. Fortunately all of these things have now been changed by various pieces of legislation both sides of the Atlantic. I think it should be the same with verbal abuse, that's all. In the time when Henry Fielding was writing public language and behaviour was obscene and often abusive but by the time Jane Austen came along Beau Nash had made an impression on the manners of society in Bath which began to affect the rest of the country. Beau Nash and Queen Victoria and some helpful laws helped to transform Britain into a polite society though alas! I fear that is changing:smileysad:.
The times they do change. Words which were uttered in small drawing rooms or in villages now travel all around the world in a micro-second and can offend more than our great-aunts - they can cause diplomatic incidents which could start wars or inflame terrorists. With freedom comes responsibility - we should be circumspect in our use of free speech and if we are not then IMO our governments have a duty to send a warning shot across our bows:smileyhappy:.

Everyman wrote:
I do not disagree with you, Choisya, about the virtue of self-censorship of hurtful speech. Nor of the disavowment of some speech, as long as that disavowment does not extend to trying to prohibit the right to make the speech.

Where we perhaps differ is in using the power of the state -- police, prosecutors, judges, courts, fines, prisons, and ultimately, as Mao pointed out (and as we are seeing today in Tibet), the power of the gun -- to decide what speech will be legally punished and what will not.

This is not to say, of course, that some speech cannot be made unlawful -- fraud, libel, yelling Fire in a crowded theater, telling the passengers on a plane "I have a bomb" can obviously be limited. But we are not talking about that sort of speech here, but about speech which is not a part of a criminal act, but is condemned merely because it is offensive to some person or persons. As you say, "hurtful words and phrases."

The phrase "Free Tibet" is considered hurtful by many Chinese. Should your government ban the phrase in Britain to avoid hurting the feelings of these Chinese?

I think giving to the government the power to threaten to (or actually to) put me in prison for uttering words the government considers hurtful to another person's feelings is much more dangerous than any harm which such speech may do.

But then, I recognize that Europeans and Americans have quite different attitudes toward the willingness to let government tell people how to live their lives. This is perhaps an example of that difference.


Choisya wrote:
I am also a white woman who was married (for 20 years) to an Afro-Caribbean. I experienced very little racism within my own family or his but quite a lot in the public arena. I have been spat upon many times and we were frequently pushed off the pavement when walking together. I did not experience this In the Caribbean (Lesser Antilles). However, I was married in 1978 and things had improved by the time my husband died 20 years later.
As to free speech, I do not think it is acceptable to use hurtful words or phrases about any person in the name of 'freedom'. I think we have a duty to consider how our words may affect others and to speak/write accordingly. In the UK we have different attitudes and laws about this - freedom of speech is not given carte blanche and you can be sued for libel or slander if you transgress. I thought the Rev Wright's speech was very undiplomatic and that he should have considered his words, and perhaps the way in which he delivered them, more carefully. Other speakers have said the same things without causing so much offence
 
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Opps...Sorry - no text - a blooper

[ Edited ]


Message Edited by KathyS on 03-20-2008 05:22 PM
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KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Freedom to say what we feel

Choisya, up until know, I've only wanted to give my comments on 'how' we should go about finding a path through these conversations, never really giving my own personal views of the issues, themselves.
 
I grew up in a predominantly white community.  We did have a few different ethnic backgrounds, but no blacks.  Growing up in Southern California, near the city of LA, every race was segregated pretty much.  The black community stayed within their city, the latinos stayed within theirs.  I knew no difference, and no one had a problem with it, at least that's how it appeared.  I never knew, or talked about, this difference.  My parents never appeared to be prejudiced towards any race.  This was growing up in the late forties, and fifties.
 
My parents moved us to the other side of the same town we lived in, when my brother and I were to start high school, because of the Hispanic influence that was in the high school where we currently lived, but never gave any particular reason, other than they thought the new high school would be a better environment.  I never thought to ask why.  We still had no blacks in these schools.
 
I was married in 1964, and my husband ended up working for the CHP (Calif. Highway Patrol).  He became involved with the riots in Watts.  I honestly never understood what this was about.  I hated all of it.  I stayed out of any political or personal controversy.  Maybe I buried my head in the sand, just to avoid getting into these wars that were breaking out in our area.  I couldn't understand the sides that were drawn.  I simply asked, whey were these people so unhappy with themselves, and who were they at war with.  I certainly had no problem with them.
 
I look back, now, and see the history that had to take on a different shape.  Shoulders that carry chips, and bad feelings, and memories, and historical meanings for these people, both blacks and whites, are very strong and deeply embedded emotions.  How can they be eradicated just over a few years.  It really hasn't been that long ago, that these segregated lines were fought against and broken down. 
 
Lines that people draw, which I DID see in the south, when traveling through them in the 60's, were horrid.  The KKK is still an entity, as well as the white supremist groups.  It sickens me to see this hate carried on through generations.  I want, now, to be known for trying to resolve this hate, and breaking those barriers that separate the colors and religions of any country.  It makes me ill to see the white person telling a black person that they are better, because of the color of their skin.  It makes me ill to see the self indulged person, of any race or color, thinking themselves as better than someone else, just because they say it's so.
 
It makes me want to slap that person across the face, and tell them to cut themselves, and show me the difference in the color of their blood - Tell me if their heart beats differently than mine.  Tell me if I don't hurt!  And tell me they don't cry inside!  These times have to change.  Yes, sometimes it does have to come from violence to make a point.  This is the other side to defending your liberties that this country was founded upon.  Wars are deplorable.  But when you simply have no other choice but to defend yourself, after so many years of being whipped to death, than I condone standing up for what you believe is necessary and right.
 
Everyone has a right to say what they feel, in this country, but like I think we agree on, if it's hurting words that only come out of our mouths, than NOBODY is going to listen.  You want people to listen to you, if you ever think you will have a chance in getting them to hear you.  You have to at least TRY to get your feelings out there, and try to give someone the feeling that you have an open mind to listen to their side....and not just giving your side as the ONLY way to view something.
 
Well, that's my two cents - Sorry, I do get up on my soap box, don't I? :smileyhappy:
Kathy
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Peaceful protest and hurtful protest.

Sometimes what the speaker thinks is not hurtful, the hearer thinks is.

It isn't up to the speaker to be the sole judge of what speech is hurtful.


Choisya wrote:
I think our understanding of 'hurt' and 'pain' is very different. 'Get out of Vietnam' was not an expression I used but I would never use hurtful phrases - that is not an abusive phrase nevertheless. Saying something in opposition to another person does not have to be hurtful. I carried a poster saying 'Make Tea Not War' on the Iraq march, for instance. Peaceful protest without the use of abusive phrases is not causing pain or hurt. In protest terminology there is a difference between shouting 'Get out of Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan' as a general call to politicians for action than to saying, for instance, 'Blair/Bush are Murderers' - the former is not abusing anyone, the latter is personal abuse and I would not use such a phrase.
Our police have, in fact, arrested people on marches who have used placards showing incitement to kill (ie: 'Massacre those who insult Islam') and the US have just extradited someone from here who was imprisoned for making public speeches inciting murder:-
Being opposed to a war does not mean that you denigrate the soldiers who are fighting it - indeed I would argue that a pacifist like me who does not want any soldier to risk life or injury is causing less 'hurt' than those who wish him/her to go to war. I do not agree with blaming soldiers for a war which politicians have decided they must fight in and I deplore any attacks on serving soldiers or war veterans. We might just as well attack the employees of MacDonalds for contributing to obesity!
Every day of our lives we do/say something which opposes things which other people do/say. You may say you like tea, I say I like coffee, for instance, but that is not hurtful or painful. You prefer Jane Austen, I prefer Charlotte Bronte - neither of us is hurt because of this difference of opinion, not even if we marched holding placards stating our preferences in reasonable terms. However, if I marched with a placard saying 'Jane Austen is Prissy', that may offend someone and if you marched with one saying 'D H Lawrence is a pornographer' you might offend. I remember offending someone here when I unwisely remarked that I thought Jane Austen was 'prissy' (or some similar word). That was thought to be unkind and I won't use that phrase again - and I apologise if it gives offence here.

Everyman wrote:
Thanks for emphasizing my point. You felt that you had a free speech right to shoult "Get out of Vietnam," and probably other things, and you chose to exercise that right even if it caused pain to many people, including those who believed in the justice of the war, and even more so to those who had served their country honorably through service in Vietnam, perhaps even were wounded in that service.

But you felt that your right to protest outweighed the hurt you caused other people. And even though it may have caused such pain, the government had no right to stop you to protect the feelings of those you may have offended.

I fully support your right to have made the choice, to have expressed your views even at the cost of pain to the feelings of others. That's a classic example of the need for freedom of speech protections and the need to keep the government out of censoring speech.


Choisya wrote:
No reasonable person, including myself, would condone what is happening in Tibet at the end of a gun. I don't believe in arming police or anyone at all! I doubt that the words 'Free Tibet' 'hurt' anyone in China but they are controversial in a political sense, especially in a country which has suppressed protest for decades. I seem to remember police being pretty rough on both sides of the Atlantic when many of us were shouting 'Get out of Vietnam'. Being at the end of a policeman on a horse wielding a baton felt like being at the end of a gun! Tibet has nothing to do with freedom of speech, it is to do with the abuse of political power in the face of militant protest.
It has been my experience (and I was at the receiving end during my second marriage) that our laws against racial and sexual discrimination have made people think twice about what they say in public. I would be less likely to be spat upon or verbally abused if I walked down the street with my late husband now than I would have been before their enactment. I think UK homosexuals would say the same. Governments are there to guide people and laws such as ours can be a 'warning shot across the bows' when things get out of kilter. Once we were free to drive on either side of the road. I believe that spitting in public was freely done in America (it certainly caused Dickens distress!). People were free to defacate in the street and to throw urine out of their windows. Men were once free to physically abuse their wives. Fortunately all of these things have now been changed by various pieces of legislation both sides of the Atlantic. I think it should be the same with verbal abuse, that's all. In the time when Henry Fielding was writing public language and behaviour was obscene and often abusive but by the time Jane Austen came along Beau Nash had made an impression on the manners of society in Bath which began to affect the rest of the country. Beau Nash and Queen Victoria and some helpful laws helped to transform Britain into a polite society though alas! I fear that is changing:smileysad:.
The times they do change. Words which were uttered in small drawing rooms or in villages now travel all around the world in a micro-second and can offend more than our great-aunts - they can cause diplomatic incidents which could start wars or inflame terrorists. With freedom comes responsibility - we should be circumspect in our use of free speech and if we are not then IMO our governments have a duty to send a warning shot across our bows:smileyhappy:.

Everyman wrote:
I do not disagree with you, Choisya, about the virtue of self-censorship of hurtful speech. Nor of the disavowment of some speech, as long as that disavowment does not extend to trying to prohibit the right to make the speech.

Where we perhaps differ is in using the power of the state -- police, prosecutors, judges, courts, fines, prisons, and ultimately, as Mao pointed out (and as we are seeing today in Tibet), the power of the gun -- to decide what speech will be legally punished and what will not.

This is not to say, of course, that some speech cannot be made unlawful -- fraud, libel, yelling Fire in a crowded theater, telling the passengers on a plane "I have a bomb" can obviously be limited. But we are not talking about that sort of speech here, but about speech which is not a part of a criminal act, but is condemned merely because it is offensive to some person or persons. As you say, "hurtful words and phrases."

The phrase "Free Tibet" is considered hurtful by many Chinese. Should your government ban the phrase in Britain to avoid hurting the feelings of these Chinese?

I think giving to the government the power to threaten to (or actually to) put me in prison for uttering words the government considers hurtful to another person's feelings is much more dangerous than any harm which such speech may do.

But then, I recognize that Europeans and Americans have quite different attitudes toward the willingness to let government tell people how to live their lives. This is perhaps an example of that difference.


Choisya wrote:
I am also a white woman who was married (for 20 years) to an Afro-Caribbean. I experienced very little racism within my own family or his but quite a lot in the public arena. I have been spat upon many times and we were frequently pushed off the pavement when walking together. I did not experience this In the Caribbean (Lesser Antilles). However, I was married in 1978 and things had improved by the time my husband died 20 years later.
As to free speech, I do not think it is acceptable to use hurtful words or phrases about any person in the name of 'freedom'. I think we have a duty to consider how our words may affect others and to speak/write accordingly. In the UK we have different attitudes and laws about this - freedom of speech is not given carte blanche and you can be sued for libel or slander if you transgress. I thought the Rev Wright's speech was very undiplomatic and that he should have considered his words, and perhaps the way in which he delivered them, more carefully. Other speakers have said the same things without causing so much offence



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: The Freedom to say what we feel

Great post KathyS - thanks!   When I saw your blank one I thought you were saying 'Silence is Golden' and that can be true too:smileyhappy:.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: The Freedom to say what we feel

Sometimes hearers become paranoid and hear offence in everything that is said by someone they perceive as an enemy.  No speaker  can be expected to take account of paranoia in such circumstances, they can only do their best not to offend.   
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KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Freedom to say what we feel

This is so, so true, Choisya.  
 
OuR History reflects these situations in all of us, sometimes.  Before the speaker even opens their mouth, they are doomed. 
 
But I think if we, as speakers, know the history we are addressing (as we relate to these people/cultures), it can change the way we speak to them.  Understanding people: their way of thinking, their history, their religions, their perceptions first, can *help* to bridge the gaps to better understanding. 
 
I know that all of our backgrounds (our countries) are so diverse, but all of our ambassadors should be making every effort to try to allow everyone to express themselves without worrying about being attacked, just because of these differences.  I do get angry with people who can't tolerate differences; people who think everyone has to see their point, and no other points exist,  but I  hopefully don't show that anger, because all it does is blow up a situation, which would prove what I am advocating against.  So I need to be AWARE of my words, and actions, and how they affect other people, BEFORE I open my mouth:  If I want people to listen to me, I have to FIRST really listen to them.  Not  just say I do.  This is critical, and difficult, but we have to start someplace.  We are ALL ambassadors to each other.  We are not issolated nations any longer.
 
Yes, the blank post should have made a statement :smileyhappy:...  Sometimes it is better to stay silent, than to ~open mouth and insert foot~ (I was in a hurry, and I hit *post*, instead of the *Quote Post* Icon...these new fangled things!)  THINK FIRST - SPEAK LATER.  lol
Kathy

Choisya wrote:
Sometimes hearers become paranoid and hear offence in everything that is said by someone they perceive as an enemy.  No speaker  can be expected to take account of paranoia in such circumstances, they can only do their best not to offend.   



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Timbuktu1
Posts: 1,572
Registered: ‎12-31-2007
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Re: A Welcome from Ilana : Rhetoric in literature.



Choisya wrote:
Ah rhetoric, the art of persuasion through written and spoken language:smileyhappy:. I rather like Socrates' honest definition (Plato, Phaedrus 272):-

Socrates: The fact is, as we said at the beginning of our discussion, that the aspiring speaker needs no knowledge of the truth about what is right or good... In courts of justice no attention is paid whatever to the truth about such topics; all that matters is plausibility... There are even some occasions when both prosecution and defence should positively suppress the facts in favor of probability, if the facts are improbable. Never mind the truth -- pursue probability through thick and thin in every kind of speech; the whole secret of the art of speaking lies in consistent adherence to this principle.

We tend to think of rhetoric as applying to the spoken word, especially to the oratory of political speeches but of course it applies to literature too and, to follow Ilana's 'emotion' theme here, Aristotle's Rhetoric cites the three means of persuasian as being (1) the character of the speaker, (2) the emotional state of the hearer and (3) the logic of the argument. The speaker must be virtuous, intelligent and have goodwill and his discourse must display these abilities. His success at persuading his audience will be dependent upon their emotions and his ability to manipulate them.

Do we similarly require authors to be virtuous, intelligent and to have goodwill in order that they may persuade us that their book is credible or that their protaganist presents a good argument/story? Are there examples of novels written by the non-virtuous, or which have non-virtuous heros, which still persuade us? Or does a novel only have to follow Socrates' definition of rhetoric and be 'plausible'?

I am reminded of Hitler and Mein Kampf - despite being distinctly non-virtuous and not particularly intelligent but appealing to the emotions, Hitler and his book persuaded an awful lot of people:smileysad:. Was this an example of Socratic plausibility or an Aristotlean example of the three means of persuasion?

This glossary of rhetorical terms may also interest folks. Like the use of phrases from Shakespeare, we often do not realise when we are using or reading classical rhetoric.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_rhetorical_terms

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Apurva wrote:-
Hello ilana,

this is Apurva from your writing workshop course at NYU (Fall 2007). "Rhetoric" was an important topic of your course and it virtually got ingrained over the length of the course....Without rhetoric life would be such a drab with everyone directly jumping to conclusions. And when that happens neither is one able to take stock of the situtation nor is one able to wisely interpret the situation.

Message Edited by Choisya on 05-27-200708:04 AM






Choisya, just want to thank you for this post. Love it and very appropriate for an election year in the states!
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Timbuktu1
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Ilana, I just checked out your paintings. It's hard for me to believe that one person can be so talented. I'm floored! They remind me a bit of the ashcan school and as someone who has an interest in psychology ...I can't find the words...that's what paintings are for! Congratulations!
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Timbuktu1,
 
Thanks for your very nice words about my paintings.  I haven't painted in a while.  I do it in the summers, because I'm busy teaching in the school year.  I am looking forward to doing some, soon.  Do you paint?
 
Ilana



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Re: A Welcome from Ilana



IlanaSimons wrote:
Timbuktu1,
 
Thanks for your very nice words about my paintings.  I haven't painted in a while.  I do it in the summers, because I'm busy teaching in the school year.  I am looking forward to doing some, soon.  Do you paint?
 
Ilana





I can imagine that you have to wait for summer to paint. You only have 24 hours a day then, like the rest of us! No, I don't paint. My husband is an artist and professor of art. I used to work at MOMA and The Brooklyn Museum but that was a long time ago.
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Sounds like a good union. I'd know your words, and would like to see your husband's art.



Timbuktu1 wrote:


IlanaSimons wrote:
Timbuktu1,
Thanks for your very nice words about my paintings. I haven't painted in a while. I do it in the summers, because I'm busy teaching in the school year. I am looking forward to doing some, soon. Do you paint?
Ilana





I can imagine that you have to wait for summer to paint. You only have 24 hours a day then, like the rest of us! No, I don't paint. My husband is an artist and professor of art. I used to work at MOMA and The Brooklyn Museum but that was a long time ago.





Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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Re: A Welcome from Ilana

Ilana, I have just completed chapter one of A Life of One's Own. I cannot describe how much it has touched me. It is so apropos of where my life is right now. I relate to what you say very closely. You are one of Woolf's heroines in that you're hosting a very large dinner party for ordinary (some extraordinary) people on this site. To be honest I am struggling with how "open" to be. I considered pm'ing you but laughed at myself as that seemed to be the point, that we should share our humanity. But that can be scary!

I have only read a bit of Woolf, the beginning of Mrs. Dalloway. I loved it but for some reason got distracted and gave it up. Thank you for renewing my interest but more for making connections to your life, my life, and life in general! ;-)
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Timbuktu1,
Thanks a lot for your kind words about the book. About warming up to Woolf: I also had a lot of trouble with her the first few times I picked her up. I don't know why. One year I tried and got practically nothing out of her. A few years later, I tried again, and she felt utterly different: I fell in love. The rhythm in her writing is important, so I think I had to be relaxed to finally click with her. I now think her novel To the Lighthouse is a must read.



Ilana
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Re: A Welcome from Ilana

[ Edited ]

 

Everyman wrote (in part):
I do not disagree with you, Choisya, about the virtue of self-censorship of hurtful speech. Nor of the disavowment of some speech, as long as that disavowment does not extend to trying to prohibit the right to make the speech.

Where we perhaps differ is in using the power of the state -- police, prosecutors, judges, courts, fines, prisons, and ultimately, as Mao pointed out (and as we are seeing today in Tibet), the power of the gun -- to decide what speech will be legally punished and what will not.

This is not to say, of course, that some speech cannot be made unlawful -- fraud, libel, yelling Fire in a crowded theater, telling the passengers on a plane "I have a bomb" can obviously be limited. But we are not talking about that sort of speech here, but about speech which is not a part of a criminal act, but is condemned merely because it is offensive to some person or persons. As you say, "hurtful words and phrases."

The phrase "Free Tibet" is considered hurtful by many Chinese. Should your government ban the phrase in Britain to avoid hurting the feelings of these Chinese?

I think giving to the government the power to threaten to (or actually to) put me in prison for uttering words the government considers hurtful to another person's feelings is much more dangerous than any harm which such speech may do.


Everyman,
 
Your example of the Chinese/Tibetan conflict caught my attention.  With the upcoming Olympics in China, I'm afraid we will see more conflict.  I thought it might be of interest to provide a link to the official Tibetan government-in-exile website.  It's possible the Dalai Lama will be misquoted or misrepresented in the news, so I thought a link to his position might be useful in the days ahead. 
 
                       http://www.tibet.com/NewsRoom/dharamsalatibetday1.htm 
 
tgem 


Message Edited by tgem on 03-29-2008 10:32 PM
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Re: A Life of One's Own

Timbuktu wrote (in part);
 
Ilana, I have just completed chapter one of A Life of One's Own. I cannot describe how much it has touched me. It is so apropos of where my life is right now. I relate to what you say very closely.
 

 
Ilana,
 
Ditto, from another fan.  True to my word  - my first outing in Portland was to the local B&N to purchase a copy of your wonderful book.  I then curled up under a down comforter in the guest house I stay in, adjusting to the climate change, feeling cozy with your words.
 
Is it possible that we could have a discussion thread for your book?  It's very thought provoking; I plan on taking my time with it.  I also want to let you know that I referred to it often, while attempting to counsel my son through some very tough times in his artistic life.
 
Thank you,
 
tgem  
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tgem
Thank you so much for those kind words. I don't think I'll make a thread for the book, but I would love to hear and respond to any questions or comments you have
Ilana



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Everyman
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Re: A Life of One's Own

However, you might point out that the Discussion Week 2 thread was on "Do you like Woolf," which might be an appropriate place also to discuss your book.

IlanaSimons wrote:
tgem
Thank you so much for those kind words. I don't think I'll make a thread for the book, but I would love to hear and respond to any questions or comments you have
Ilana


_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Re: A Welcome from Ilana

LLana,
 
A while ago, while strolling through the mystery section of the BN website, I found a novel that really took me by surprise.  I like a good mystery, and that was all I was after.  Made curious by the book's title, I read the first chapter online. The writing was like every other Sherlock Holmes book, which pleased me.  But then it quickly identified itself as HIGHLY unique in the mystery genre.  It began to suggest that Holmes and Watson were aged, yet still fit, due to wise eating and active minds.
 
I bought the book and began to explore America in ways I had never thought of before. A Home Depot every three miles, shopping malls with the same shops making many cities generic, nothing unique. Students obtaining degrees without knowing the basics of art, music, history and geography.
 
All this, according to the novel, was a calculated plot by corporations to dumb down American society in an effort to sell, sell, sell and gain more and more profit. 
 
The novel, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING AMERICAN CULTURE has stayed with me. After just finishing Susan Jacoby's book the AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON I was prompted to re-read Frawley's novel.
 
Is society devolving?  What are your thoughts?
 
Justin