So today I get my usual daily newsletter from web guru Seth Godin.
I’ll let you read it yourself.
I’ve never responded to one of Seth Godin’s newsletters before, but today I did. I found it interesting that he condemned “people screaming about death panels” and not “people screaming about planted Hitler posters” or “union thugs screaming the word ‘n*gg*r’ at a black conservative.”
Here’s the email I sent him:
Did you condemn the ‘screaming’ about Iraq, too?
And why isn’t it ok to ‘scream’ when it is a matter of life and death?
The trouble isn’t that Obama ‘wants to pull the plug on grandma.’
It’s that under socialized medicine (which I happen to live under, and you don’t)…
Seth Godin wrote me back.
I’d love to tell you what he said, but Seth Godin is the only person I’ve ever corresponded with whose emails end with the following message:
This note is off the record (blogs and tweets, too) unless we agree otherwise.
The thing is, I have an “email policy” too, and that is that every email I get is ripe for publication on this blog without your permission.
Oh well. I guess I gotta play along. Yawn. (Although I just thought of something: is my reprinting Seth Godin’s email policy a violation of Seth Godin’s email policy?)
So I’ll post my reply, and you can probably deduce what his reply to me was anyhow:
You say I didn’t even bother to read what you wrote. I did. Every word. I take issue with your use of the word /concept of “screaming”, which is exactly what you wrote about and asked people to consider.
So my response is/was:
Sometimes screaming is necessary. We are talking about literal life and death, not the latest marketing fad, and
Not everyone is screaming. Some are, some aren’t. But whatever the issue, “the other side always” sounds like they are screaming to you/me/whoever, the same way Italians always sound like they’re fighting, even if they aren’t.
I did exactly what you told me to do: talk about screaming.
I think you may be the one who has “already decided.” “What’s the point of having a debate?” indeed.
For someone who’s worked very hard to develop a reputation as an original thinker and a communications expert, Seth Godin still clings to a lot of old ideas:
that you must be “ignorant” if you aren’t a liberal;
that liberal principles are proof of “open mindedness” but conservative ones are proof of “closed mindedness”;
that only he gets to set the rules of what you can ask him and what you can do with his answers, even if he writes a column about one of the most controversial issues of our time;
that the information presented by the mainstream media is reliable;
that I’m somehow obliged to have read AND memorized your every previous post throughout history, and am not allowed to ask you questions about them in case I haven’t;
that “debates” are only good if you get to win them;
that “screaming” is always bad (“the less people know, the more they yell” — Really? Really?) — especially if the “wrong” types are doing it.
On that subject, David Warren has a great column, as usual.
I think he’ll let me reprint an excerpt without invoking “web guru/lowly peon” privilege, too:
How many “nice” people I know, who casually asserted that a certain George W. Bush was mentally retarded, resembled a monkey, and was guilty of war crimes.
Suddenly the same people have “had it up to here” with squalid personal attacks on his successor. (…)
Needless to say the proposals themselves had been couched in “feelgood” language, with public relations campaigns at the ready in case someone like Palin called a spade a spade. She did so in full knowledge of how that publicity machine would respond.
It is assumed she will be running for president on the redneck ticket. But as we saw last week, she does not need any office to get results. For after many nice legislators had condemned her for her “unreasonable” criticisms, the U.S. Senate finance committee this week dropped a key provision to which she had referred, from the House health-care bill before them. According to the ranking Republican member, it was dropped “because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly.”
That’s a very nice way of saying that Sarah Palin had a point. And it is a point that would have passed unnoticed, had she confined herself to “nice” language.