The Orwell Thread

Events occurring and how they relate/affect Anabaptist faith and culture.
temporal1
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby temporal1 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:25 pm

haithabu wrote:Max, since my posting of Orwell has political implications I think it's only fair that people can discuss its application in detail. As long as we can keep it civil and acknowledge the good points each other makes.

Boot, I share your concerns about Trump's rhetoric. I don't think though that he wants to run a totalitarian state nor does he have the personal capacity to do so.

I do have concerns about the political atmosphere in the US and the rising polarization. Trump has helped to make it worse with his reckless and sometimes abusive speech and the rude baiting of his opponents.

At the same time, the Left has seemingly gone into a state of permanent hysteria since the election and seems unable [deliberately unwilling] to view anything Trump says or does objectively.
Everything is viewed through the lens of their worst fears. [deliberate division for partisan politics.]
And I don't see Trump as being entirely to blame for it either because people are winding each other up.

:arrow: It's almost as if the internet provides for a virtual mob psychology.


It looks to me that Trump has made some good solid choices in his appointments, I don't mean necessarily solid in terms of conservatism but solid in terms of character. He is at his worst in terms of speech and getting along with others but so far seems to be okay in terms of what he is actually doing on the executive side. I'm not sure how much he will get done legislatively.
i added [ ] ..
i agree with Max.
this thread began well. you have wisdom; seemingly limitless patience and diplomacy.

re: your words in bold, if not for the left behaving so-badly for years prior, Trump would not be POTUS.
the intolerance, refusal to recognize differing opinions, created his platform.
to answer, "why Trump?" - mirrors hold answers.

i hate to find one OP point out of so many great ones,
but, one point that has astonished me for all my life is from you, esp underlined words:
haithabu wrote:
Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it,
and wiser than the one that comes after it.
This is an illusion, and one should recognise it as such, but one ought also to stick to one's own world-view, even at the price of seeming old-fashioned:
for that world-view springs out of experiences that the younger generation has not had, and to abandon it is to kill one's intellectual roots.
evidence of this is found from earliest ancient writings. it twists one's brain. we're "supposed" to keep improving, right?! :shock: evolution says so?! :shock:

"but, today," :lol: .. the "information age," ugh!
filled with mis-information, lack of depth, this has to be on an epic scale?! :shock:

today's people give themselves so much credit for being "advanced." :-| auto-reflex?
i don't believe that's going to hold true over time.

i'm afraid, if these who so-believe, ever meet up with reality, if they are honest, will be filled with agonizing humility about how advanced they were not - in comparison to those who walked before (without "benefit" of tweats+snapchat, virtual mob psychology.) :-|
shudder
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby Bootstrap » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:18 pm

MaxPC wrote:I wonder if this thread can focus upon Orwellian discussion without having to be bogged down in political propaganda from Dem speeches ad nauseam or any specific political propaganda?


I think it has. And for what it's worth, I don't think anything I wrote came from a Democratic speech. But Orwell was a Democratic Socialist who wrote this:

George Orwell wrote:Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, AGAINST totalitarianism and FOR democratic socialism, as I understand it.


His politics was well to the left of mine. So seriously examining things from his point of view might bring in some leftist perspectives. Now, I'm not going to elevate Orwell to the level of prophet, but I think he was fiercely intelligent, and particularly good at explaining the techniques of totalitarianism and propaganda. I tried to use very specific quotes, with references, so people can make up their own minds.

MaxPC wrote:Relentless bashing creates a heart filled with sinful hate and a cognitive pattern that obsesses over score-keeping, grudges and negativism. :blah: It falls into the very trap Orwell warns about.


Exactly. So why not stop bashing participants and simply respond to the substance of what is being said? If anything I am saying falls into the category of "relentless bashing" or "propaganda", please point out what it was and why you see it that way.
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby Bootstrap » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:07 pm

haithabu wrote:Max, since my posting of Orwell has political implications I think it's only fair that people can discuss its application in detail. As long as we can keep it civil and acknowledge the good points each other makes.

Boot, I share your concerns about Trump's rhetoric. I don't think though that he wants to run a totalitarian state nor does he have the personal capacity to do so.


I don't know his inner desires, and I don't speculate about that kind of thing. I think all of us would be wiser assuming that we don't have the inside scoop on what various politicians think and feel inside. I agree that he doesn't seem to have the capacity, and I don't see any sign that he is building up the kind of power base that would let him do that.

In the campaign, he often implied that he would just talk tough and it would happen. I don't think the U.S. government works that way. It feels like he tried to do that in his early presidency and found that out. He keeps praising tough guy leaders with bad civil rights records for their "strength" (Putin, Erdogan, Duterte, el-Sissi, Xi Jinping, even Kim Jong Un), and that concerns me. He often seems to want to run right through the limits imposed on presidential power, and that concerns me. And in the Trump era, it takes real courage to be an honest reporter because of all the ways he drums up hostility toward the press when they disagree with him.

There are enough people in government who care deeply about these things that I don't worry too much. The balance of power is a great thing.

haithabu wrote:I do have concerns about the political atmosphere in the US and the rising polarization. Trump has helped to make it worse with his reckless and sometimes abusive speech and the rude baiting of his opponents. At the same time, the Left has seemingly gone into a state of permanent hysteria since the election and seems unable to view anything Trump says or does objectively. Everything is viewed through the lens of their worst fears. And I don't see Trump as being entirely to blame for it either because people are winding each other up. It's almost as if the internet provides for a virtual mob psychology.


There's a wing of each side that seems given to conspiracy theories and hysteria. Godwin's rule still applies - Trump is not Hitler. Antifa tells people that they have to use violence because the State has been infiltrated and they have to fight back. That's scary. But right wing extremists are essentially saying the same thing.

I think it's really important to make safe space for rational discussion among people with different points of view. Especially among Christians. That helps us see the hysteria, abusiveness, and extremism of both sides more clearly. Sadly, I see some of that happening even among Christians.

haithabu wrote:It looks to me that Trump has made some good solid choices in his appointments, I don't mean necessarily solid in terms of conservatism but solid in terms of character. He is at his worst in terms of speech and getting along with others but so far seems to be okay in terms of what he is actually doing on the executive side. I'm not sure how much he will get done legislatively.


Yes, he has. And he seems to respect and trust the generals in particular. I'm not sure that he has managed to get his staff all pulling in the same direction yet, and he often seems to undermine his best people. The way he trashes his own people in public makes it hard for him to build a team. But these are not Orwell's worries, these are basic management issues that affect how much he gets done.
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby Bootstrap » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:21 pm

Orwell wrote:In addition to this there is the horrible — the really disquieting — prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism” and “Communism” attract with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, “Quaker”, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.


Orwell, of course, was a fervent Democratic Socialist, criticizing his own wing. And as he points out, the strengths and weaknesses of various wings change from time to time. At the time he was writing, he felt that his own wing needed more intelligentsia, which is one of the things he worked at:

Orwell wrote:Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking. Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truisms as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a "good" man is squeezing the trigger have turned into heresies which it is actually becoming dangerous to utter.


So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't even know that fire is hot.


I think extremists on both political wings are playing with fire with no idea that fire is hot. Sometimes it feels like we have elected officials doing the same.

In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity ….., is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else.


Again, I see this as a problem on both sides. While denouncing political correctness, Trump creates an atmosphere of hostility for anyone who disagrees with him. If that isn't political correctness, I don't know what is.
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby Bootstrap » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:24 pm

On passion in ideological questions:
Orwell wrote:I always disagree, however, when people end up saying that we can only combat Communism, Fascism or what not if we develop an equal fanaticism. It appears to me that one defeats the fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself, but on the contrary by using one's intelligence.

Amen.

If you want a three dimensional view, you need two eyes looking at things from different positions. It's very important for us to be able to think things through together, looking at facts, figuring out what is true and what is false.
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haithabu
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby haithabu » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:51 am

Along the line of "fake news" and perhaps also "language abuse", here is a very good article by Dennis Prager about how the news can be slanted by the deceptive use of language in some of the country's major newspapers. The article is based on his own personal experience. It's a good tutorial on how to detect bias in a news article wherever it comes from.

http://dailysignal.com/2017/08/23/key-w ... rts-truth/

One of the things to look for is not only how an event is reported by also why it is reported. To ask the questions: "Why is this a story in the mind of the journalist? What aspects of it does he consider to be newsworthy?"
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby Bootstrap » Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:15 pm

haithabu wrote:One of the things to look for is not only how an event is reported by also why it is reported. To ask the questions: "Why is this a story in the mind of the journalist? What aspects of it does he consider to be newsworthy?"


I agree that's a good question. I suspect it might be worth looking at articles that take one set of standards and apply it to stories from various journals across the spectrum.

Let's apply it to this particular article:

Prager wrote:In this column, I will focus on the media. I will dissect one issue that I know extremely well: the national and local coverage of the invitation extended to me to guest conduct the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The concert took place last week.


I'm not sure that Denis Prager is a neutral, unbiased reporter when describing something he has his ego invested in. Here's the main question:

Prager wrote:Those people made my conducting a political issue. Yet Hiltzik writes that I am the one who did. “It’s Prager himself who pumped up the political component of the controversy,” he says.


So the question seems to be mostly about who made this a political issue, and we are hearing someone tell his own side of the story. He is asking us to treat him as an unbiased observer in a controversy that involves him.

Prager himself says this all started with a blog post he wrote, so let's look at that article: Can a Conservative Conduct an Orchestra?

Hmmmm. The title makes me think this is not purely about music, but let's read it before jumping to conclusions.

Most Americans are at least somewhat aware of what is happening at American (and European) universities with regard to conservative speakers.

Universities disinvite conservative speakers, never invite them, or allow the violent (or threatened violent) prevention of them. No non-left-wing idea should be permitted on campus.

But we may have hit a new low.


So what is the musical, non-political point that he is making? It seems to be that he wasn't allowed to conduct, but it turns out that the real issue is that three musicians objected to his conducting, but they did let him conduct. But by the time you find that out, you've waded through a lot of loaded language. Non-musical loaded language.

Offhand, I would say that's more about politics than music. If Prager is right in telling us that's where it started, it looks like there's a lot of political riling up in that paragraph. Let's follow the story:

However, about a month ago, a few members of the orchestra, supported by some Santa Monica city officials, decided to lead a campaign to have me disinvited.

As I said, this is a new low for the illiberal left: It is not enough to prevent conservatives from speaking; it is now necessary to prevent conservatives from appearing even when not speaking. Conservatives should not even be allowed to make music.

To its great credit, the board of directors of the orchestra, composed of individuals of all political outlooks, has completely stood by its conductor and his invitation to me.

But the attempt to cancel me continues. It is being organized by three members of the orchestra, each of whom has refused to play that night.


OK, so three people objected to his conducting, but the orchestra stood up to their objections and let him conduct. Reading the post, it sure seems like he's pumping up the politics of the issue rather than trying to defuse them, and playing the victim. This is clearer if you read the whole thing.

I haven't done an extensive web search, but at first blush, I can't find a lot of mention of this in the kinds of publications that focus on concerts and classical music. It seems to have been advertised largely through political publications by pumping it up as a political controversy. And of course, when mainstream media picked up on this (why bother?), Prager takes them to task and says that they are the ones politicizing it, not him. Which is a pretty good way to promote a concert if you can't count on musical publications to help draw a crowd.

Back to Prager:

The more people who attend on Aug. 16, the greater the message that music must transcend political differences. And it rewards the Santa Monica Symphony board and conductor for their moral courage.

I will be conducting Haydn’s Symphony No. 51. Like Haydn, I think music is one of those few things that can bring people together. Clearly, not everyone agrees.


That's a mixed message. It seems to be saying that we need to get politically outraged and buy tickets to his concert. I don't see anything like reviews from musical publications or critics telling us how good he is as a conductor, that's a non-political way to promote a concert.

If he really believes that the point of his music is to transcend political differences, he would do better to write this:

Music must transcend political differences. I will be conducting Haydn’s Symphony No. 51. Like Haydn, I think music is one of those few things that can bring people together.


My take? He's stoking up political emotion in order to promote his concert and his columns. It's good that the orchestra let him conduct. I don't see why this is a particularly interesting controversy. I have no idea how good he is as a conductor.

But I agree with him that music can bring people together. Here's Haydn’s Symphony No. 51.
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haithabu
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby haithabu » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:14 pm

Prager is a well known conservative commentator; he doesn't represent himself as a journalist. However that is no reason to disparage his account; he gives a reasoned, circumstantial account of the sequence of events which can easily be checked by the sceptical reader.

I imagine that the issue of an attempted blacklist or disinvitation abetted by subtle slander in the mainstream press may look a little less petty when you yourself are the subject of it.
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temporal1
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby temporal1 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:27 am

haithabu wrote:Along the line of "fake news" and perhaps also "language abuse", here is a very good article by Dennis Prager about how the news can be slanted by the deceptive use of language in some of the country's major newspapers. The article is based on his own personal experience. It's a good tutorial on how to detect bias in a news article wherever it comes from.

http://dailysignal.com/2017/08/23/key-w ... rts-truth/

One of the things to look for is not only how an event is reported by also why it is reported. To ask the questions: "Why is this a story in the mind of the journalist? What aspects of it does he consider to be newsworthy?"
i recall beginning lessons on how to critically read newspapers in 5-6th grade, public school.
decades later, i must conclude, "journalism" students must learn how to write for sensationalism and bias! in the least, they seem to be employed on the basis of their ability to purposely distort+confuse. entertainment now seems to be an important factor in "journalism."

sadly, news in the information age is fraught with speculation, opinions, accusations, entertainment .. none of which are news. how the "news" industry is able to retain this misnomer is beyond me to understand.

other industries are held accountable to "Truth in Advertising," and, "Anti-trust" laws, with big penalties for violations.

i have little information, but, i have read, over years, different laws have been crafted to protect the media industry from these accountability laws. if this is the case, we might hope those protections would be questioned and corrected. many have complained about the industry for decades. it's not a new problem, but, there has been no improvement.

in the 2008 campaign, both Bush and obama complained about the press.
by 2014, the mid-term elections, voters "sent a message" they were no longer "buying what media was selling," by 2016, voters may have been deafened by media.

the mainstream might have to do some serious house cleaning to ever have the influence they once did. it does not appear they're interested in self-examination. first, they are trying "doubling-down." :(
imho.
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Re: The Orwell Thread

Postby Bootstrap » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:08 pm

temporal1 wrote:i recall beginning lessons on how to critically read newspapers in 5-6th grade, public school.


Me too. And it might be useful to look for lists like that. I think we agree that facts matter and we want accurate reporting. Do you remember what those lists said?

Here's one I found that makes sense to me:

Media Bias Fact Check

  • Biased Wording/Headlines: Does the source use loaded words to convey emotion to sway the reader. Do headlines match the story.
  • Factual/Sourcing: Does the source report factually and back up claims with well sourced evidence.
  • Story Choices: Does the source report news from both sides or do they only publish one side.
  • Political Affiliation: How strongly does the source endorse a particular political ideology? In other words how extreme are their views. (This can be rather subjective)


Can anyone find useful lists online?
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