Lighten up 2

I wrote a similar post a few months ago, but I see this as a persistent problem that perhaps deserves regular consideration. Our Western Civilization is threatened less by the big but uncommon disasters than by daily little criticisms and second guessing, amplified by threats from the media, lawyers and even the authorities. Let me explain with a few examples

But first let's stipulate that nobody ever does anything 100% correctly. Even if you do something to an exact technical specification, someone can assert that you should have done something else, better. And here I am assuming good faith.

Sometimes people are just looking for a reason to be aggrieved and will take insult. For example, I used the term "lighten up" in my title. Believe or not, I have been told this is racist. As far as I recall, my use of it comes from an old song by the Eagles, "lighten up while you still can" referring to driving and being nervous. There was a guy in DC government fired for using the word "niggardly." For the etymologically challenged, the word means stingy or cheap. It comes originally from Old Norse and is unrelated to the negro or the pejorative n-word, which is Latin based. Personally I would avoid using this word, as I avoid using "disinterested" or "inflammable" because I know that there are too many stupid people who will misunderstand them, but we should not empower the dummies to criticize the better educated.

I heard an article on NPR yesterday about an American citizen born to an illegal alien, who was taken to Mexico as a baby, grew up there and never learned English. When she tried to enter the U.S. using her birth certificate as identification, she was turned back. Well ... yes. She can (and later did) use her birth certificate to prove her citizenship and get proper identification, but presenting a birth certification presented by itself as identification is useless, since it contains almost no descriptive information about the adult. Did the border authorities make a mistake by turning her back? Yes in theory, but no is practice. It would be impractical to check everybody at the border who showed up with claims and unverified documents. There is a whole industry of document creation. Birth certificates are among the easiest to falsify or misuse. Dozens of people can use a single valid birth certificate.

Embassies and Consulates take claims of American citizenship very seriously. I had to carefully check the case of a guy who based his citizenship claim on the fact that he had been president of the United States in the 1950s. It turns out that he was both nuts and not an American citizen, but we formally checked.

So this woman had no reason to complain. She should lighten up. And those clowns fighting for her rights should also lighten up. Her rights were never practically impacted. She just wanted to avoid doing her part to get the process to work. I blame her for not being a team player.

It is impossible to write a procedure that encompasses all possible situations. Even if we had perfect knowledge, we could not do this, since our systems are dynamic.

The more pernicious side is the active exploitation of grievance to advance lies. I think about the recent case of UVA rape. It looks like all the facts presented by Rolling Stone were wrong and the source was maybe more than a little nutty.

All this reminds me of the old Soviet disinformation. They would get a "credible" stooge to make some outrageous accusation and then claim to be outraged and even surprised by the revelation. They would hang onto the lie as long as possible, making personal attacks against anybody who objected. If/when the truth becomes too obvious to ignore, they would claim that even if the facts are wrong the story points to a greater, maybe metaphysical and unprovable, truth. In other words, the lie is the greater truth.
We have to have the courage to call it out when we see it, knowing that we will get blamed not praised by many.

So I will say again, lighten up. If I make a factual error, let me know and I will check it. If you disagree with me, write and explain why. If you are insulted by anything I write. it is your problem. I would like to be polite and say I care, but I don't. The pursuit of truth REQUIRES that some people feel aggrieved. If we are afraid of hurting their feelings, we are afraid of the truth.

Posted by Christine & John at December 16, 2014 7:20 AM
Comment #386671
All this reminds me of the old Soviet disinformation. They would get a “credible” stooge to make some outrageous accusation and then claim to be outraged and even surprised by the revelation. They would hang onto the lie as long as possible, making personal attacks against anybody who objected.

Limbaugh, Hannity, Breitbart, Beck, Malkin and the Fox News lineup all fit the bill for credible stooge. Certainly the 50% of the American people who claim to be conservative hang onto the lies they spew as long as possible.

SO yeah lighten up, the war on Christmas, really!

So yeah lighten up Benghazi, really!

So yeah lighten up coming to take your guns, really!

So yeah lighten up IRS targeting conservative groups,really!

So yeah lighten up death panels, really!

and of course my favorite, lighten up Koch suckers and teabaggers,really!

gosh this is only the tip of the iceberg. But I’m busy so….

Posted by: j2t2 at December 16, 2014 10:47 AM
Comment #386677


You can add to the list of things that should be lightened up.

Re Benghazi - I agree with you. There were lots of mistakes made that were those of reasonable people. The part I find unreasonable is the Rice appearances.

Posted by: C&J at December 16, 2014 1:08 PM
Comment #386696

C&C, how about we include the ebola scam cooked up by repubs to keep the fear factor up in this country? After all they, repubs and conservatives, were named lie of the year this year for their work on the ebola scare.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 16, 2014 11:36 PM
Comment #386702


The Ebola was the result of availability and confirmation bias, along with the usual panic about something new. Conservatives were not particularly guilty of this. Both sides used it. In fact, liberals used it first when they tried to blame our unpreparedness on Republican cuts. When it turned out that the Republican Congress had actually allocated more than Obama requested for CDC, the whole thing blew up in liberal faces.

Liberal groups even made ads blaming Republicans -

In your linked article BTW - While some claims missed on the science, others were pure politics. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., argued that his opponent Tom Cotton “voted against preparing America for pandemics like Ebola.”

Posted by: C&J at December 17, 2014 8:21 AM
Comment #386723

speaking of lightening up - evidently Michelle Obama is complaining that somebody asked her to help get something pulled off a high shelf. She called it racism. What a woman. Many of us “people of height” have been asked that. She should not only lighten up but get over herself.

Posted by: C&J at December 17, 2014 7:16 PM
Comment #386736

Someone definitely needs to lighten up but it is not Michelle Obama. Please get over yourself, she does not need to answer to you, nor will she. You are not in a position to be critical of someone’s sense of how they are perceived except for your own. Please lighten up. Your “height” is in direct conflict with the diminutive size of your intelligence in this regard.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 18, 2014 9:57 AM
Comment #386745

C&J, it seems repubs also need to lighten up, trying to fire a professor for writing an opinion piece. Seems the professor is spot on with her comments and repubs don’t like the facts she presents.

BTW on the ebola issue it is a matter of proportion and it seems the conservatives were every where stirring up the fear in people. Yes Politifact used comments from both parties but did you have a harder time finding the dem comment amongst repub comments. Proportion my friend, or the 3 fingers pointing back at you when point at the other side.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 18, 2014 2:17 PM
Comment #386748


Liberals were first out with Ebloa criticism. I recall that I called it stupid at the time. I had no trouble finding references to it.

Re the professor - would not fire her, but she is obviously in the educated fool category. I wonder how she could be fair to anyone not sharing her far left perspective.

Posted by: C&J at December 18, 2014 3:26 PM
Comment #386749

Try “blame Republican cuts for Ebola” and you will find plenty to read.

Posted by: C&J at December 18, 2014 3:28 PM
Comment #386796

Since we are discussing ebola here is a tidbit that might qualify as lightened up.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 19, 2014 9:48 AM
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