Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sticks and Stones

Image result for sticks and stones
XKCD.com
I'm not sure if that 'toon helps explain the title or if invalidates it.  Either way, it's an interesting way to get to my point today-  words are just that- words, and we put far too much emphasis on some of them.  Air passes the vocal cords and then the lips and tongue help shape it into words as they pass out of our mouths.   They can sound eloquent, mean, motivational, insensitive, wise, threatening, or a multitude of other adjectives depending on the viewpoint and emotional state of the listener.

Here's another:

Image result for sticks and stones
Calvin and Hobbes
In this one, little Susie Derkins starts off strong, but by the third frame, she's allowed her emotions to get the better of her.  And as a result, she's hurt by whatever words Calvin threw at her.  One of the important aspects of this though, is that both Calvin and Susie are children, not to mention fictional comic characters, and probably incapable of fully using logic to prevent the words from cutting.

We're not children though.  We are far more able to weigh and value words that are spoken, able to consider the source and context of them.  And thus, we're able to prevent the cutting and pain.  Then again, it's somewhat immature and petulant, sometimes adjectives used to describe a child, for an adult to discount intent, context, the audience, the situation, etc.

As a society though, we've either grown far too sensitive, forgetting the lessons we learned as children, or we've decided to jump on the snowflake bandwagon, finding fault in every word that isn't blanketed in generic softness.  And too many Americans seem to go around looking for ways to be offended.


Sticks and stones is an "old adage" with an adage being defined as a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth.  When we stifle the truth though, all sorts of bad things happen.   It's even worse when one lies or obscures the truth to fit an agenda.  A couple friends of mine had a well-mannered discussion regarding the recent and alleged statement by our President regarding the condition of various third world nations.  As a former member of the military, I've been all over the world and while the description might very well be mean and insensitive,  it's often an apt description nevertheless.  Sure, I wouldn't use it when speaking to a wide audience or with anyone from one of those places, but neither was Trump.  However, have you googled the place recently?

One part of the discussion centered on the position that while the comment might be crude and not "Presidential," similar language from other politicians goes unchecked and without consequence.   He also expressed the opinion and that several cities in the US, long under Democratic rule, are on the path to becoming similarly described.  The other side of the argument was more of an emotional one, with a statement that there are far more accurate words that aren't as antagonistic and foul.  Continuing with softer language that the statement lacks compassion for nations of poverty and with minimal social order.  


I for one and tired of the nearly overwhelming penchant for soft pedaling in our society, never calling a spade a spade, nor using the harsh language that a situation sometimes deserves.  I tend to appreciate less softened language and factual or more pointed discussions that don't shy away from what is true and what needs to be said to effect change.  I sometimes had to yell at my kids, maybe even with a little harsh language, even now as they are adults, to get my point across. When we avoid telling the truth or what people need to hear, often because of some sense of politeness or to limit the effect on someones feelings, it does no one any good, and prevents the "shame" that forces behavior to change.  Some examples?  The tremendous lack of nuclear family structure in the Black community in some areas of the US, how welfare perpetuates poverty, how California is crumbling under the weight of its own welfare system, how welfare use by immigrant populations is over 50% and nearly 75% for some demographics.  We are a compassionate country, and we always will be, whether or not we allow unfettered immigration, build a wall, allow amnesty, expect violent criminal non-citizens to be deported, etc. Those are all inconvenient truths that deserve to be aired, in order to make fact-based vice emotional hard decisions.

Then there's the fact that this statement, if true, wasn't even said in public.  It was said in a closed session in the Oval Office, and one of the offended quickly ran to a camera to make a record of the incident.  Does that mitigate the comment or serve as a defense of the President?  I don't know and more importantly, I really don't care.  It's Susie Derkins allowing herself to be hurt by the name calling, and a petulant member of congress, one with a suspect history of lying about Oval Office happenings, who whines about it for political gain.  Some on the left wish for a continuation of mealy-mouthed politicians that say nothing to offend, expecting that to bring about some sort of Utopia.  My friend used that in his counter-argument that this desire and perspective is admirable, but Pollyannish.  A world without diversity of thought, or adversity forced by challenges, will never result in an improved society. 

MikeRowe.com
I'll end my rant with a link to an article from the Daily Caller which describes how Mike Rowe politely and brilliantly destroys one person who doesn't want any diversity of thought and who relies on emotional pleas vice tangible discussion points.  On a similar note, another friend told me about a college professor  who judges debate competitions. She said that the "personal/emotional argument" now carries as much weight as a logical, carefully crafted argument.  A master of the crafted argument, Mike Rowe might be more eloquent than the President, but like him, he gives no quarter as he stands his ground against the idea that different (read that as Right Wing and Conservative) opinions must be suppressed.  Check it out here:  Mike Rowe

Ok, I'll get back in my box now.  Thankfully Sarge lets me out every once in a while.

24 comments:

  1. Debbie Reynolds (doorkeeper)January 16, 2018 at 5:10 AM

    Thank you. I often give too much weight to words spoken or written on media. I despair at times for the state of our nation/world. Then I read something like this, and realize I am NOT ALONE. God bless your day.

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    1. It's fine to be truly hurt, but when it's feigned offense, or possibly even made up by that Dem, it's morally reprehensible. You're definitely not alone around here.

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  2. Wow Tuna, powerful stuff.

    Many of today's progressives remind me of the validity of Jack Nicholson's line in A Few Good Men, they truly "can't handle the truth." Especially if it contradicts the propaganda they've been spoon fed most of their lives.

    I like to be blunt and honest, brutally if the situation calls for it. Too many people running around spouting off about things about which they have no clue, none at all.

    But I'm going to spend the rest of the day completely freaked out, black holes are theoretical? We don't really know they exist? Damn, I need to pay more attention to what's happening in the scientific world.

    Without doubt, there would be no, can be no, science, simply blind acceptance of whatever you've been told. Sound familiar?

    Brilliant post, don't get too comfortable in that box, we need you on that wall. So to speak.

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    1. Sure, If you're looking for a few good posts, I'll aim low. I post more by 5AM than most do all day. It's not just a hobby, it's an adventure.

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    2. Bwahaahaa!

      I do believe you hit 'em all! (Recruiting slogans that is.)

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  3. Tuna, I was getting ready to post a like article on my FB page but you have said it so much better! I would love to repost this if I have your permission.

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    1. Please do. Sarge pays me double when my posts get shared.

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  4. There's a reason we have "Ango-Saxon Words" and use them. Short, pithy, and to the point. And generally not meant to be polite, either!

    And sadly all the brouhaha is allowing the actual issue to be diverted. Which was likely the intent of "disclosure".

    /
    L.J.

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  5. Ok, so my first thought is that I hope that is a pretty big box you are hanging out in as there are more than a few of us out here who feel the same way. Of that I feel certain.
    OK, so Trump uses "salty" language at times...so does my husband, and most of his relatives, and so does my dad, and I remember both of my Grandfathers doing so when they didn't realize "little ears" were around. So far as "being Presidential"...I remember there being lots of discussion about LBJ's language, and Eisenhower was a soldier, so I'm guessing he said a few things every now and again...and Nixon is on tape with some pretty off color stuff as well.
    I think it is just a tempest in a teapot, that because it was Trump that said something, the Dems have to feed the MSM daily because they are just pouty and he is "deplorable". What they didn't realize was that a lot of us think along similar lines as Trump, and voted accordingly.
    As an aside, I have always like Mike Rowe, and am glad someone is out there in the public eye showing that there are jobs where you might get your hands dirty, but you can comfortably support yourself and a family without a college degree. Some folks are just not right for college, but that doesn't make them stupid...just different from others. Mr. Rowe presents himself and others in a logical, intelligent light that folks can understand.
    When I see stats that say that the absenteeism rate in Baltimore schools is close to 40%, my first thought is WTH is wrong with those parents, teachers, school board and community!! Because kids, they will live up to your expectations, the higher those expectations are, the harder they strive. That is one reason why so many kids who join the military from the "poor side of town" get their crap together...the instructors in the Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force set down the rules, and then enforce them, equally, on everyone, doesn't matter if you are black, white, brown, yellow or green with pink polka dots.
    Parents need to be parents again, not best buds...that comes after everyone knows what the rules are, and follows them.
    All the mealy mouthing PC speeches in the world do us no good, not as individuals, not as a country.

    Ok, climbing back in the box too...

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    1. Those Baltimore students? I think it's because they have parent- singular, not parents. Lack of family structure is devastating.

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    2. ...there are a lot of "Hammers" here.

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  6. My other, loves the 24 hour news channels.durn it, !!!!. I always thought, reporters were supposed to cover news, not make it, so, I wonder what we missed because of their obsession with terminology not fit for the news? And she was giggling all day. Luckily, my cooking "ain't " that bad. After all, how hard is it to bake a tater?

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  7. Spot on Tuna, well done. I've acquired a reputation in my politically correct profession to say what I think and mean what I say. Typically, the person on the receiving end complains that I'm "rude". Fortunately, I've got some pretty good top cover who understands that my social contract is "I'll Treat you as you treat me", which is not exactly Biblical. My supervisor knows I don't initiate it, but I do tend to end it, so he's ok with that.

    But, as I say, you did an excellent job of summarizing the issue. Thanks

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    1. Mike and Dennis helped out of course, but thanks. The faux outrage and hypocrisy piss me off.

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  8. Mike Rowe proves you can make a point without resorting to expletives or making a personal attack.
    He could just as easily suggested a look at his attacker’s page would have provided evidence of her intellectual skills.
    Instead he took the high road and gave evidence of his.

    You’ve done so, also.

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  9. Very well written, Tuna. I totally concur.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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  10. To make matters worse over the whole 'sh%^hole' affair, now the original source, Senator Dick Durban, has recanted, saying that President Trump did not in fact, use the aforementioned word.

    So, yes indeedy, it was a LIE and a FALSEHOOD conjured up out of thin air to HARM a sitting President, nationally and internationally.

    And, of course, the false statement was reported as if it was the final call by Gabriel himself, and the retractions were no louder than mouse farts.

    Yes, sticks and stones is a good adage. One that is meant to tell the person not to be such a lightweight and whiner. Like the phrase that entered our society thanks to the movie "Stripes," which was "Lighten up, Francis." Both such a nicer way of saying, "Get over it" or "Suck it up, Buttercup."

    It would have been one thing if the 'bad words' were used in private to attack the President personally, kinda like shouting the abbreviation for Fredonia University at someone. But in this, and so many other cases, the 'bad words' were used to attack a person's character in a way the attackers thought could not be defended against. (And, once again, the attackers misunderstood the Trumpinator. Big mistake. Big. Yuge.)

    Senator Durban also forgot that in attacking the person of the President in such a way, he also was attacking the office of the President, and through that office, the nation at a whole. Earlier times would have resulted in a duel, which I am sure that the man known on the Hill as 'Lying Dick' would soundly lose. (In this case, the moniker is true. His rate of recanting is about the same speed as the power turbines in the Hoover Dam. Damn, that's fast, isn't it?)

    Gah, I miss the days when logical debate and conflicting thought were considered good.

    I'm old.

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    Replies
    1. Lie and obfuscate for political purposes- that's disgusting and unethical, if not criminal.

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  11. You make a point that has had me frazzled as well. The non-presidential comment was not made in a SOTU address, it was in a closed meeting where mincing words and concern for feelings tends to stifle communication and is counter-productive. Going public with comments made in private and without the context, intonation or body language made with the comment is just not fair and is in fact dirty politics in my opinion. I get distressed when the POTUS makes a call to another country's leader and some low level leaks the conversation to the media. If there is no privacy or free wheeling of ideas, and we will have stagnation in government.

    The media wants to take this President down, it is only a matter of time before they succeed, and it will be in the long term detriment to our great country. Our President has flaws and he is not afraid to show them if you dislike the man, vote him out in 2020...I don't recall a chance to vote for our media.

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  12. Spot on, indeed.

    The nuclear family and parenting. Having raised three kids, I have a few thoughts on that.

    Thank you, Dr. Spock. The problem with giving every kid a trophy? No one learns how to lose. For the snowflake generation, the very thought of being fundamentally wrong about anything is terrifying, and cannot be allowed to happen. Ever.

    My solution was to just let my kids pick whatever they wanted. Here's the choice--

    A. Behave and obey.
    B. Die
    Pick one.

    My advice to first time parents is to purchase one of these---

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Zircon-StudSensor-HD55-Stud-Finder-65945/205143494

    Use it as intended, and make unobtrusive marks on the interior walls of your house indicating the location of the studs.
    The time will come when your little crumb-cruncher first gives that look of "Who died and made you emperor?". The age varies, but you will know it when you see it. At that moment, grasp the child by the lapels (or whatever suffices) lift them up to eye level, and with a firm gaze, plant them in the sheet rock between the studs. The benefits of this are three fold---

    1. They'll stay.
    2. They'll listen. You will not have to raise your voice.
    3. When the conversation is finished, simply pop them out, set them down, and dust them off. Won't leave a mark on them
    anywhere.

    I explained to each of my kids in turn that they could tell me anything. That they were mad at me. That they didn't like me. That both of those were going to happen. And that the only caveat in all of it was this: use that tone of voice with your mother again, and your little butt is grass, and I'm the lawn mower. Attitude is everything.

    So, one might ask how this all worked out.

    Our oldest son is an assistant superintendant with a construction management company. They are now finishing up on this project, due to open in May---

    http://canopy3.hilton.com/en/hotels/texas/canopy-by-hilton-dallas-uptown-DFWRMPY/index.html

    Our daughter is a street cop in the DFW area (not Dallas, thank God). She is the first female in her department's history to make SWAT.

    Our youngest son is still at home to help save money. He works part time while attending college. It is taking a bit longer, but it is his stated desire to finish his education with as little dept as possible.

    So far, so good.

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    1. Right. Should read "...as little debt as possible."

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    2. We were all punished as children and learned respect, and how did I turn out? I'm a part time blogger so it's not all good. Ha ha. Nice job RHT447- you've done well.

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  13. The language is rich. Accept No Substitutes! Euphamisms don't necessarily mean the same and seldom convey the same meaning. I remember reading the company anyalyst who would go through every bid proposal the company made each quarter and analyze them for defects and mine them for lessons all future proposal writers could benefit from knowing. Nobody used words the way he did. One division in the company made about 30 futile bids in one quarter and he went crazy and came up with over a hundred different ways of writing about the efficacy of beating dead horses. I wish I'd saved it.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)