Saturday, March 31, 2007

Loud and...

I have always thought that the most ineffective debating tools were: simply shouting down an opponent, using the "case closed" approach, as if your words were the final solution, equating opinion and interpretation to fact, not offering the opportunity for rebuttal, and inferring that anyone who might not agree with your case is somehow less intelligent.

Of course, the majority of public debates are handled in such a fashion these days. My favorite tactic is the one where a participant attempts to shout-down the opponent, as if you can win a debate by virtue of simply having a bigger mouth and more lung capacity. There is no doubt that such a practice can end a debate, but it certainly doesn't prove the point.

I was fully prepared to sit down and write a scathing, inflammatory response to the latest rant from Rosie O'Donnell. She states that she has no doubt that the events of 9/11 were not perpetrated by a group of foreign terrorists, but in fact, these attacks were carried out by operatives acting under the command of our own government.

Of course, now there are cries for her head on a silver platter. The right-wing is demanding that she be fired from her job on The View. She's being compared to Jane Fonda, she's being called a traitor. Of course, her defenders are out in force as well, loud and clear.

I don't believe Rosie should be fired. I don't want her head on a platter. I say, simply let her have her rants, her raves, and go on to the next thing. In my opinion, this is not a matter of politics. It's a case of a highly-opinionated, extremely vocal woman doing what she does best: drawing attention to herself.

She is not, in my opinion, any different than Ann Coulter, at least in her tactics. They have different ideologies, of course, but whether a punch to the nose is thrown with the right fist or left, it's still likely to sting. Shout something in English. Shout it in Spanish. You're still shouting. And making a ridiculous statement as a Liberal doesn't mean it's any less ridiculous. This is not a political issue, it's a matter of noise.

O'Donnell cites seemingly factual material which is highly subjective at best. She claims that the buildings could not have fallen as described because fire cannot melt steel.

She is a very literal person, and those who choose to argue with her need to choose their words very carefully, because she is very liberal (as in free, not political) with her interpretations of data.

I don't think anyone with any knowledge of steel-making would dispute that the temperatures inside those burning buildings ever reached the temperatures required to create molten steel. The jet fuel burned at temperatures somewhere in the area of 1500 degrees, while steel would become molten liquid only at about 2500-2700 degrees.

On that basis, the explanation would have to be that something else went on in those Towers, no?

Of course, she failed to note that at 1200 degrees, steel loses half its strength. She also failed to note that the structures would give way and collapse long before the steel became molten. If I were as literal as she was with my interpretations, I could refute her statement that "fire doesn't melt steel" by simply stating that "steel is very much melted with fire", because they burn combustible materials to melt the steel. And most of the experts agree that the buildings fell as a result of three factors: structural damage caused by the actual impact of the 200,000+ pounds aircraft, the displacement of the fireproofing, and the heat of the fires. No single one of those factors would have likely caused the collapse on their own.

And I'm sure I could, with the help of the right scientific teams, go in and analyze the debris that's been left. If I were to find samples of the materials necessary to construct a nuclear warhead. Would I then be correct in drawing the conclusion that the buildings were brought down by nuclear explosion?

We can all cite studies. We can search the Internet just the way Rosie suggests. And for every scrap of evidence she finds in support of her theories, I could come up with one to refute her theories. There have been studies by teams in support of the "conspiracy theories." There have been studies put together to dispel those "theories." The studies I tended to give credence to were the ones that were conducted for the purposes of finding out what we need to do to prevent those kind of cataclysmic collapses from ever happening again. The bias there is saving lives, not assigning blame, or furthering political agendas.

This debate could go on and could they possibly have planted the amount of charges necessary to bring down buildings of those magnitude, populated daily by that many people, and never have been spotted? Why would the government have Flight 93 crash in a field? Would well trained operatives have left anyone in a position to combat them, as was the case on United 93? And why wouldn't they have done more damage, or for that fact, more precise damage if they'd attacked the Pentagon with a guided missile? At this point, we all have our opinions and interpretations.

But we all have opinions, and we all have intepretations. None are right or wrong, they're simply ours. I don't have the expertise to debate the issue scientifically. I simply interpret the material offered to me, and draw my own conclusions. I am not an expert, and I would be foolish to stand up and tell any one of you accept my interpretations or opinions as fact. Our parents should be the only ones in our lives to get away with saying "because I said so!"

I don't want anything to happen to Rosie O'Donnell. I think she should just be allowed to go on doing what she is doing every day because she has little or no credibility, in my opinion. And it's my opinion; I'm not telling you how to feel about her. She employs all the wrong tactics. A classic example of the "no room for rebuttal" is the fact that she doesn't allow anyone to comment on her blog. She makes her statements, and shuts the doors. She shouts down opponents, resorts to namecalling and other mocking behavior when she is challenged. Her answer to argument would likely be "because I say so." And that shoots her credibility in the foot. I don't think she's wrong in her opinions and interpretations, although I do think she tends to be irresponsible in using the platform that she's been given.

If Rosie O'Donnell had more credibility, I'd have probably been more upset, and likely to have launched that tirade. But to me, she's nothing more than a noisy celebrity simply exercising her lungs, and her rights. She's not likely to foment the overthrow of our government. She's just a talking head on a show that I don't watch.

This topic is very important to me. I watched those Towers that day in person, with my own eyes. I had friends who died in those buildings. And I'd like to think that my words and opinions would matter a whole lot more than they do. But I have to remember that those facts would probably skew my judgement a little. So my credibility would probably be questionable as well. So I don't pass judgement on Rosie O'Donnell's views on the subject. I simply hear or read them, interpret them for what they are, and move on.

We all, in this country, have two options here. We can believe that our nation came under attack by a group of foreign combatants, and that they declared war on us on 9/11/01. Or we can believe that our own government perpetrated one of the most hideous crimes in American history against its own citizens.

It's going to take someone far more intelligent, informed and credible to convince me to ever accept the latter.

Oh, and my comments section is wide open to anyone who'd like to state their own opinion. However, telling me to "get a life" or anything insulting along those lines, will result in your comment being deleted.

Because I said so.
Sorry. Couldn't resist.


  1. i used to like rosie. i even still liked her after the whole donald trump frenzy. however, i do not like her right now.

  2. I. Hate. Rosie. O'Donnell. She's a flaming imbecile. Anything that comes out of her mouth is garbage. I also think she abuses her platform. She should be fired for the mere fact that the View's ratings are going down. (I still wouldn't watch it even if they got rid of her--talk about cattiness). The problem is, no one counter argues her. She just rants. I've seen a clip of the show when Sean Hannity was a guest; you hit the nail on the head with her debating skills: loud, loud, loud. She cuts people off and REFUSES to listen to another side. I think Ann Coulter is head and shoulders above Rosie (not just because I agree with Ann). She's intelligent, articulate, well-educated. Sure, she's abrasive and perhaps pigheaded....but at least she knows what she's talking about. Rosie has ZERO credibility in my book.

    I have heard of that theory though.....there definitely needs to be more investigative work. I think there will always be questions that will never be answered.

    I'm impressed with your whole 'slow to anger' thing. You are very forgiving of Rosie, and you have every right to be fired up right now.

    jimmy, this was well articulated. Good post ;-)

    (ok, now I'm the comment whore)

  3. I actually thought her comments on Donald Trump were fair and apt (in regards to his hypocrisy as some kind of defender of morality), but this is out of line. It's a huge conspiracy theory to throw out there without a lot more evidence than she's offering.

    I think that the 9/11 attacks were genuine. I just wish that people would remember that the people who 'declared war' that day were NOT the Iraqis and that very little of the 'war on terror' has actually been about finding or stopping the people who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

  4. You've made me more glad than ever I've given up television. I'm a liberal, and more cynical than most would realize, but there is now way in hell that I'll believe that our government did this to us. We're not in a V for Vendetta world yet. She's got the right to say this garbage, and I'm exercising my right to ignore her and anything else she says and does.

  5. She just seems to be the kind of person who latches onto one fact (the first one she hears) and ignores everything that contradicts it.
    Sadly, loud people like that tend to get away with being illogical and bossy because no-one can be bothered to spend the time and energy to get them to shut up and face the real facts.

  6. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Just a comment on Kristen's comment...
    Of course, people "counter argue" Rosie. Haven't you heard of all the "Rosie vs. Elizabeth" stuff?
    They really go at it at do others....but mostly Elizabeth.
    I like very much that they can debate and (so they say) remain friends.

  7. Your excellent post reminded me of a quote from the movie,"The American President":
    "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free."

    I think you have the right idea, that you don't have to have Rosie's head on a platter to "protect" your beliefs. You can turn instead to your own thoughts and quietly articulate them instead of shouting them for everyone's approval. Loudmouths don't provide too much peace in the world, something that we all seek. I'm glad there's always the option to turn noise off and tune it out.

    I hope you don't see this as trivializing the harrowing experience and the horror of watching the towers and your friends crumble, but part of me couldn't do anything but think that we should really stick Jack Bauer on the job. :)

  8. Just a small rebuttle: I'm assuming Elizabeth is the 'conservative one' on the show. The few clips I have seen she has hardly said a word. I've wondered why she's even there. As far as I'm concerned Rosie and Joy dominate that show.


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