Thursday, May 26, 2005

In Case You Missed It

Balance, like beauty and so many other things, is in the eye of the beholder. There is no way that any of us can step outside ourselves and view the world through any but our own filters.

What does upset me is that anyone thinks that balance means an equal number of minutes for two sides of any issue. Those reports constitute either shouting at the deaf or preaching to the converted.

Instead of balance, why not research? Why not de-bunking, as was done after the presidential "debates" last fall? Dig into the claims made by everyone, regardless of which side they are on. Don't just give the cheerleaders for either side an opportunity to spout the party line.

So saith my pop. Ten seconds have been deducted from his obligatory 15 minutes of fame. Well, they did edit him a bit, but it was pretty darn cool to hear my old man on the radio. His reaction? "Gee, I sound like your Uncle Joe." Uncle Joe being his youngest brother, who until his radio station recently changed its programming to all-Spanish, had a morning talk show in a medium-tiny town northeast of here.

So, how has fame changed my father? Not much. We still had our regular Thursday morning breakfast at Shoney's.

What was my mother's reaction to her former spouse's new-found celebrity? "Well, at least his accent didn't sound that heavy." Which I take to mean, "at least he didn't sound like a drooling yokel." So anyway, Mom gave it two thumbs up.

As far as the content, I must say that I agree with him. What we experience in our lives and the way in which we experience it is greatly determined by our general outlook. If you're depressed, it colors everything else going on in your life. This easily translates into the way we view political or social issues.

Our personality consists of basic attitudes that cause us to interpret everyday experiences and ideas in very specific ways. I'm a generally cynical person, who wants to be proven wrong. Therefore, I think NPR does lean significantly to the left, but I'm happy when it doesn't, although I must admit I'm pretty liberal. I like happy surprises. I like saying to myself, "See?! They don't have their own political agenda! It just seems that way." Then I remember that public radio subsists on listener donations, and most of the people who listen to public radio are nerdy liberal types. They almost have to pander to their audience. They can't afford to be unbiased. Although, I still love to listen.

I guess I just take everything I hear with a grain of salt. I remember where I heard it, and when I relate news stories back to people, I ask if they think that's really the way things are. Inevitably, that person will have a different take on the issue.

That's what's cool about humans, though. We're not homogenous, though we sometimes seem to be. Just because we're similar doesn't mean we're identical. I wish the media would reflect that more.


Mad said...

You're absolutely right, GS. Unfortunately, there's a movement in this country to try and get everyone to think exactly the same way, and if you don't, then, well, you're not being patriotic.

Dad said...

I am working on a hypothesis. It helps me to write things out so that I can look at the words and see whether they make sense.

Here's my idea. Could it be that the conservatives think that you're a liberal if you say the words, "Gay", "civil union" or "abortion" or "safe sex" or "global warming" or "environment". Could it be that they perceive a left-leaning bias simply from the fact that those words are actually spoken?

I know in my rather strait-laced upbringing, certain words and topics simply were not mentioned. Maybe the conservatives think that if the words are said, then the speaker must be "not one of our own, because we don't use those words"

Whaddya think?

cadiz12 said...

there has to be some truth to that, gs' dad. some right-wingers freak out at those words without even listening to the argument. granted, a few left wingers freak out as soon as they hear words like 'family values.'

it might be better if all those people took a minute to listen. sometimes they're making very similar points, just using different catchphrases.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Words make 'things' a reality. If it's not said, then it never happened.

We can deny events in history this way, too. I'm thinking of events in my own country, when I say this. But I guess it can apply to families, communities.

Guyana-Gyal said...

P.S. I like that, like it very much: "Balance, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder."

Gloria Glo said...

I am listening to Amy Grant's cheesy song "That's what Love Is For" as I read this and I actually got some tears in my eyes. You and your dad should write copy for pro-whatever ads.

I like what Dad said here about the "trigger" words. I think George Bush won on trigger words - American values, way of life, and safety (to be specific). For some reason, we can't get Americans past the trigger word and into the actual issue. (Not an anti-Bush statement, he was a smart campaigner).

Isn't everyone about "American values"? It's such a non-term.

I am a democrat, but I don't hate Bush, I'm not a mad abortionist, and I occasionally believe it's okay to throw something out without recycling it - I also believe in traditional values like abstinence, family, and a strong military. So, if I am so complicated, how can we simply use trigger words to define a party line and all its members? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Moderation is the only hope we have.

Cate said...

Your dad is cool. My dad is cool, too. But not necessarily in that thoughtful brainy way.

And I heartily agree with G-Lo. People are complicated and so are their personal politics - I hate this reduction of everything to mere "trigger" words. Everything and everyone is all "my way or no way" and the lack of reasonable debate makes me insane. I think most politicos would prefer that nobody actually think about anything.

girlspit said...

You're probably right, Cate, because the more people think about what politicians are saying, the more they realize that politicians are generally full of crap.

Unfortunately, it seems like passionate, if not honest, politicians are hard to find.