Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday 11 October 2004

Fun on the internet

I noticed an allusion to a post of mine here a few days ago, in another blog, which I'll call hlaehhan (Old English/West Saxon [-ing]) Giraffa camelopardalis (ultimately of Arabic derivation); you can visit it here.

Of course differences in viewpoint are what the blogging community is all about - or at least it is from my point of view. It is good to read other views and to have one's own preconceptions challenged. However, expression of differences of viewpoint can sometimes stray over into what is really ad hominem commentary, however carefully couched in seemingly gentle terms; I noticed a mild form of this in the posting which made the original allusion; I overlooked this because of its mildness and because, well, it amused and interested me too. ("but two particular opinions have disappointed me somewhat: Bill’s and Jon’s. This isn’t to say I dislike these two guys, just that I do not agree with their sentiments on this occasion.")

Since then, however, there have been two other examples which, I confess, have cumulatively begun to irritate. I try not to let whatever prejudices I may have influence my postings here, or if this is unavoidable (as it quite frequently is), then I very usually talk about these feelings fairly openly - in other words I meet the prejudice head-on, I do not try and couch my remarks in a [disingenuously] oblique turn of phrase, when anyone of moderate education who reads it will already have 'read between the lines' anyway, to get at what I am really saying - so with the quoted remarks above, which I chose to ignore.

In one of the comment responses by the writer of the blog in question, were included the following:

"Bill, I notice you’ve got a little banner stating ‘striving for objectivity’ on your website. If that’s the case "
- notice that "If that's the case". A striving for objectivity is what I aspire to, I did not say I had necessarily achieved it, but nor (to be frank, and in an ad hominem comment of my own) has the writer of the other blog, nor do I think he is even aware of any such matter (another ad hominem comment, of course).

"and I don’t say that with any disrespect as, again, if you take your media from the most conventional sources you tend to get a very biased picture of the world."
- to be quite honest he has no idea of the range of media I use to [try and] acquaint myself with what is going on in the world and is once more an attempt at couching some unwarranted assumptions in what one supposes are hoped to be read as innocuous comments.

I do not happen to agree that Henry Kissinger is any kind of war criminal; the mention of 600,000 deaths in Cambodia, for example. I am not sure where this figure has come from, but it is clear (although the exact numbers are unknown) that somewhere around 1.5 to 2 million Cambodians were liquidated by the murderous Khmer Rouge regime, until the Vietnamese (for whose style of government I otherwise have little respect) thankfully invaded Cambodia in 1979 to stop the madness there, even if their motives for doing so were not entirely laudable (in my view). Having visited both countries a number of times and having lived in one of them I am closely aware of the violently differing ideologies which have continued to influence events there to this day. Many interpret these differences, and what flowed from them, quite differently to me - fair enough, that is what reasoned discussion is all about.

Naturally if the writer of the other blog wishes to continue the discussion in the comments area of this blog, then I shall be happy to do so and will extend him every courtesy, whatever our divergence of viewpoints. Equally naturally I shall expect him to extend me a similar level of courtesy in this blog, if he chooses to visit and comment here. Unfortunately, I no longer feel it comfortable or appropriate to continue the discussion in the comments area of the other blog (I will shortly endeavour to make a brief comment there to flag this post in my blog).

UPDATE: (Monday 11OCT04 13.10 BST) I note that the post and associated commentary, to which the above post relates, seems to have disappeared from the other blog since I wrote my post and added a 'flagging' comment there; whether this is temporary or permanent I have no idea. The link to the other blog here will remain active for a short while, until this becomes clearer, when it may be deactivated.

2nd UPDATE: (Monday 11OCT04 20.30 BST) The post, and an additional comment by the author, is now back up on the other blog; I will leave it to others who may read the whole exchange to make their own judgement. As for me, life is far too short to be goaded into further comment; if he wants to leave a comment here, it will be dealt with courteuosly (as is my habit), but I will not be drawn into his name-calling style on his blog or anywhere else.

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