If only it had been in "Silent Spring," Maryland...

Oh, oh--can you all, knowing me as you do!--can you all imagine the Schadenfreude (oh, the humor!) I'm experiencing as I read the text of the manifesto written by the Discovery Channel Building gunman!? Please, in honor of my daily griping, if you do nothing else that I recommend on this blog ever, read at least the first paragraph of this guy's manifesto. It is pure gold. I mean really, just imagine my chuckle when I saw on MSNBC (of all places: "Green is Universal!") that a man was holding people hostage in the Discovery Channel building to try to make the channel start changing their propaganda's content to re-emphasize sterilization instead of heralding human birth. Hahaha.... oh, man. A progressive environmentalist domestic terrorist aiming at a television channel. G-d bless America.

Well, wait. This will only be funny if the hostages are okay, I guess.

MSNBC reports: "Lee said he experienced an ‘'awakening' when he watched former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth.' "

That reminds me of one of my favorite lines of inquiry, where I say to a global-warming fool: "So, what data was it that convinced you that humankind was causing the earth's temperature to increase? I mean, where did you learn the tide-turning bit of information that really solidified it for you?" But anyway...

Oh, that is richer than Godiva. And I love how MSNBC has to put the word "awakening" in quotes. But honestly, what liberal didn't have an "awakening" during Gore's "film?" Next we'll have an "awakened" Michael Moore junky holding hostages at an auto plant in Michigan.


pure_sophist_monster said...

Irony abounds.

But, again, what piece of data convinced you it wasn't? What facts drew you to your current position?

Full disclosure, like every other human being (and this includes scientists and you) I believed before I saw.

pure_sophist_monster said...

This (your post) reminds of something I just read (I'll dig it up soon), about tendency of some media to attribute an individual's actions either to "their group" or to themselves depending upon who it is (and who the media is). Example: Timothy McVeigh was a lone individual, whereas the 9/11 attackers where Muslims. This happens more often than we think. The individuals behind the community center several blocks from ground zero are motivated by their religion. The white guy who assaulted a Muslim cab driver in New York is isolated individual who represents no one.

Now, lest I fall in this trip, I will not venture to attribute motives to the individual under discussion. But neither will I throw the baby into the bath water.

pure_sophist_monster said...

Good God, you're gonna love this. I dug and found it and it was Stanley Fish. Find the full bit here: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/weve-seen-this-movie-before/

Casey said...

Sophist, that's the mistake, I think: that first question you asked: "what piece of data convinced [me] it wasn't?" Remember when we were about 7, in 1985? Nobody, and I mean nobody, thought the world was heating up like a runaway-greenhouse-train as a result of CO2 emissions. So it seems to me like our default setting--collectively, as a species--was not to worry about this.

It'd be like if I asked you, "Well, what convinced you that the world won't end in 2012?" You've read Hume, right? The problem of induction? Just because the world hasn't ended yet doesn't mean it won't tomorrow... so if you're satisfied in making common sense and instinct into vapor in favor of a world where every claim is co-equal with every other (see contemporary newsrooms), I guess you're right. Then in that case, I fall back on a Humean skepticism and say we just don't know.

As for your second point: I totally get on board with that -- this guy was just a whack-job. Not representative of anything. Here, here.

I'll go read Stanley Fish.

Casey said...

I liked it. Somewhere in my dissertation I wrote about how, whenever bad stuff happens, Ishmael goes off on one of his 2-page dream-visions about why the universe might be shaped the way it is, and wither and whereto, etc. And then when something good happens, he thanks God. Similar phenomenon?

Casey said...


That on my point about taking every proposed perspective as equal to all others.

Who will we trust?

pure_sophist_monster said...

Your point about not knowing obviously has merit. My critique of the Gore camp is that they have made absolute knowledge and truth the conditions for political action (they thus remind me more of you than me). They thus feed the strength of their opponent's arguments: any doubt as to the cause (or actuality) of global warming is reason enough to dismiss all the recommendations Gore et al., make. My position (from rhetoric) is that most important things (if not everything) is utterly probable, but that that is why we should act. I have no idea (although a LOT of smart people do - and you seem to prefer experts over democratically produced knowledge, yes) whether WE are the cause. I do, however, believe, we probably can't or shouldn't continue to live at this rate.

Which is to say, I have problems with Gore et al. Their burden of proof becomes a liability in the public debate. The TRUTH of climate change cannot be the trump card in a debate about how we OUGHT to live.

The world could end in 2012. I can't know that. What I do know/believe, however, is that the way world works now cannot be the only way, and when the world does end in 2012 it doesn't have to be covered in so much of our own shit.

Casey said...

Yeah, you know: the weird thing for me has always been that I like the way the Greens want us to live: same as Thoreau, right? I like not littering. I even like the idea of driving less. I hate smog. But for me those are all aesthetic choices--as I suspect they secretly are for the fear-mongering Greens, who are simply "using" the language of global warming to achieve their idyllic/pastoral ends. Very sneaky. So Gorgias.

Can't they just say, "Hey everybody, wouldn't it be great if we could swim in our ponds and rivers, and have less asthma, and stuff?"

pure_sophist_monster said...

Why the Gorgias dig? You forget it is Plato, in Phaedrus, who recommends such uses of language (to persuade lesser souls). Believing you possess the truth and using language to achieve those ends is not sophistry my friend. Propaganda is kin to Philosophy, and I can give you the page number where it happens.

Casey said...

So you see no noteworthy distinction between two people?:

person 1: who argues that we should not litter on aesthetic grounds.

person 2: who wants to see no litter on aesthetic grounds, but knows that the aesthetic argument won't work, and therefore makes the case for a lie like global warming.

I see Gorgias as willing to be person 2, and Plato ['s Socrates] as not being willing to be person 2.

But I'm using a conventional reading of Gorgias here -- I mean, we've talked this over, right? Somewhere someone describing rhetoric and composition as a discipline even says that they're trying to "recover" the sophists as (ethically) authoritative, despite the fact that they've been (mis)understood for 24 centuries as people who will say anything for a buck.

But deep down, I actually have a whole nother understanding of Gorgias, one having to do with Peter Kingsley's reading of him (and Parmenides and Empedocles), one that features him as an "Iatromantis," or a kind of shaman figure, much more closely associated with what we could call "spirituality" than with what we would call "philosophy" or even "rhetoric and composition."

pure_sophist_monster said...

I could read him that way, but of course for me the spiritual, being suasory, isn't far from me either.

Casey said...

Suasory. Had to look that one up. Never heard it. Good.