Thursday, January 30, 2014

Old Man Canada & Infant Israel

Conservatives often make the communications mistake of overestimating the intelligence of their audience. Not necessarily the audience that's actually in the room with them, but the wider audience that's only going to hear the sound bites that the media feeds them.

As I explained a long time ago in a blog post not so very far away, a basic truth in public communication is that when writing, whether for publication or verbal presentation, you need to assume that your audience is stupid and mean. Stupid, in that if anything you say can reasonably be accidentally misconstrued, they will do so. Mean, in that if anything you say can be manipulated and taken out of context to sound damaging, they will deliberately do so.

When conservatives are speaking, the media members in the audience usually provide the mean and trust the wider public to provide the stupid. The public rarely lets them down.

Consider the recent flap over Mike Huckabee supposedly saying that women can't control their libidos. He said nothing of the sort, of course, but if your information diet consisted of mainstream media sound bites, you'd be convinced otherwise. Here's what Huckabee actually said:

And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be, and women across America need to stand up and say, ‘Enough of that nonsense.’
Contrary to the gleeful soundbites and tweets, Huckabee is clearly not insulting women. He's just pointing out how Democrats do. To claim otherwise is disingenuous at best.

While researching the preceding paragraphs, I saw that the narrative has shifted somewhat. Now that the left-wing media is having trouble selling the lie about what Huckabee said, they're shifting to saying that they never tried to lie about it in the first place and conservatives are big meanies for claiming that they did. Yeesh.

Another great example of this was when Sarah Palin knew when the Boston Tea Party happened, and knew that her live audience knew it too, but "Gotcha"-playing left-wing activists journalists mistakenly assumed she must have been trying to cite the year of America's independence, because everybody (who went to journalism school) knows nothing else important happened in the 18th century. They jumped down her throat about it, insinuating she was stupid. If only we could harness ignorant hypocrisy as an energy source.

The attentive reader may notice that I'm not linking to liberal attack sites. That's not an accident. It isn't because they're hard to find or because I can't document sources, but because I'm not interesting in taking the chance of giving them more hits. I prefer to link to credible sources rebutting them. However, for this last item, which inspired this post, I haven't seen anyone else challenging it yet. I'm hoping it catches on, because I'd love to see Michael Coren or Mark Steyn eviscerate the writer.

Heather Mallick is a left-wing shill who writes for the Toronto Star (at the risk of repeating myself). If it's not atheist, pro-abortion, liberal, Liberal propaganda, she's against it. Stephen Harper could rescue a hundred puppies from a burning high-rise building and she'd complain that he didn't brush them and clip their nails on the way down the stairs. As a good leftist, she's also not real fond of Jews, although she spends a chunk of the column I'm describing protesteth-ing that point too much. (Protip: if you claim you're not anti-Semitic but protest every security initiative Israel takes on to defend its citizens, you're actually  arguing that Jews don't have the right to self-defence, effectively endorsing their slaughter. No sale on the whole "not anti-Semitic" thing.)

I had wanted to go point-by-point through her column correcting the logical errors, but that would take longer than I'm willing to invest right now. I don't want this piece to join my collection of half-finished posts that are no longer even remotely timely. I really need to point out one particular jaw-dropper, though. Mallick takes it as a point of faith that Stephen Harper is a bumbling, uninformed hick. She uses this example in an attempt to hammer that point home:
Here’s the most uneducated thing: Harper claimed Canada is the "polar opposite of Israel” as it has "much geography but very little history." The state of Israel is 65 years old, Canada is 147 and humans first arrived on this continent perhaps 16,000 years ago.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Wow. Just wow.

And this woman is a professional journalist. By thinking that the nation of Israel sprang into existence ex nihilo in 1948, Mallick demonstrates her place in the ranks of the painfully ignorant.

For those who don't know (which is arguably fine, as long as you don't think you're being really clever by trying to smugly rebut someone who does), the nation of Israel was established in, umm, Biblical times. Even if you reject the idea that the Bible was divinely inspired or that there was anything supernatural involved in Israel's rise and fall, there is no question of Israel's existence prior to the adoption of the calendar by which we now measure years. Israel was sacked by the Romans in 70. That's the year 70, as in one thousand, nine hundred, and forty-four years ago. Almost two millennia since it fell, and considerably more than that since it was founded.

But by all means, Ms. Mallick, please continue to impress us with how much less history Israel has than a country that's been around for about a buck-and-a-half, and how  "uneducated" Stephen Harper is.

I'm guessing Ms. Mallick didn't do so well in math class. If you insist that 1944 < 147, your teacher will probably mark it wrong.

Oh, well, for those who are terrible at math (and history), I suppose there's always journalism school.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of a bottle of something of which my wife has a bottle. And of which she took a picture.