[PD] Carpet sweeping (was Re: Any relation between pidip and Gem??)

Chris McCormick chris at mccormick.cx
Tue Jul 17 11:12:31 CEST 2007

On Tue, Jul 17, 2007 at 03:19:12PM +0100, Andy Farnell wrote:
> Much that is worth saying *is* emotional so it's hard to temper
> without eliminating the content and leaving hollow words. For


> "In my opinion it is a not unjustifiable assumption that you are incorrect"
> isn't just verbose, it's far more acidic than
> "I think you're wrong"
> How often does the meandering doublespeak of the newspapers get you
> mad when you read of "collateral damage"? I'd rather read about "kids brains
> blown out" than some smart assed journo insulting me by trying to be clever
> with words. Intellectual honesty also requires emotional honesty.

I couldn't agree more; point taken.

> To disarm language at the receiving side try reading using the internal
> voice of somebody you liked and respected, like a favorite old teacher
> or uncle. Now try reading the same passage again using Homer Simpsons
> most sarcastic voice... see what I mean? 
> On a mailing list we get a false sense of familiarity and have voices
> for who we think that person is. Often they're far off the mark.

I agree that this is true more often than not. There are times when it's
hard to read someone's comments as anything other than ascerbic, but I
agree that these are the exception rather than the norm. I guess if we
spend all our time tiptoeing around eachother we'll never get anything

I think it's still worth pointing out that occasionally on this list
the flow of information has been hindered by unneccesarily provocative
language. It's been rare, but it has happened. You are right though,
that's probably just par for the course and not worth getting too
worked up about, and maybe even a good thing for 'humanising' the list
in some way.

> > My point: ignoring and sweeping under the carpet are not the only, or
> > indeed the best options.
> Agreed, I am guilty too. Some subjects, like software patents, get me 
> so wound up that I dare not get into it on list. If feel if I were to be
> honest I would have no choice but to sound extremely rude. The danger
> then is that we self-censor and stifle essential debate.

I think that that is exactly why I advocate an emotion free position;
because I find it so hard to remove excessive passion from my own
rhetoric. (Please excuse this navel gazing!)

> I think Kyle is right that in a small community we can afford to
> take it for granted that we are brothers and sisters, and sometimes
> it's better to regret the things you did say in haste than to regret the
> words you didn't out of cowardice.

Yes, very true. I will attempt to relax and use the sarcastic Homer
Simpson voice more often (actually Sideshow Bob is my favorite because
he is so unrelentingly evil. Hence forth please feel free to read all
of my posts with the voice of Sideshow Bob).

Die Bart, die,



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