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Roger's column, cover date 31 My 2014

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by Learning, May 26, 2014.

  1. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Is everyone happy with the last sentence of the last paragraph?
    Of course some of the language used is metaphorical, however is it acceptable to refer to people in particular professions in a way which would be totally abhorrent if the targets were not professions but members of a race or religion?
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Is this the one about money-grubbing? I haven't seen the magazine yet, and I don't always know in what order my pieces will appear. If it is, though, I can't see quite what's so "abhorrent" unless there's been a VERY strange edit.


  3. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    While there are many "ISIMS" that are illegal. None relate to what we do for a living.

    In this case Roger was praising those who regard time as precious, above those that think life is about money.

    May be he hit a nerve or two, in those who think otherwise, and I am sure his list was never meant to be exhaustive, so people can include themselves in or out as they wish.

    His words allow us to warm our hearts or not by which ever category we care to inhabit.

    The choice is ours.
  4. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Roger, it was not abhorrent, but it could be perceived as such if the comment had been about race or religion. I am referring to the "beat senseless those ........" . Taken out of context, as I have done here, it seems pretty bad. Out of the mouth or pen of Jeremy Clarkson I wouldn't have given a second thought to it. I thought when I first read it on Saturday evening after dinner that it was not quite you, but didn't post then as I had by that time of day consumed the best part of a bottle of lemonade for grown ups (cheap white Calvet mainly comprised of sauvignon blanc).
    I was not so much commenting about you but rather our society's multiple standards. Its ok to metaphorically ".... beat senseless narrow minded businessmen, pandering economists and petty accountants...." but not those races or religious people whom the British Daily Wail readers love to hate. To take another target group:- How about beating senseless photographers who happen to include children in their landscape. You would not write that but a columnist in a parenting magazine might do so.
    I am not offended and am not cancelling my subscription like so many correspondents to Private Eye who never cancel anyway.
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    It doesn't appear to be the one I thought it was. Even so, I'd defend myself. I highlight the key words: narrow minded businessmen, pandering economists and petty accountants. I do not suggest "beating senseless" ALL businessmen, economists or accountants: only those that are narrow minded, pandering or petty.

    Surely this is reasonable. Those who care only for money do indeed need to be "beaten senseless" in a financial and moral sense: to be reminded that while greed and the pursuit of filthy lucre are a normal if regrettable part of human life, those who exalt such things above all else need the strongest possible reminders that their values are among the lowest and most reprehensible in human life. It is inherently valuable to reduce them to the gutter, at least in print, and to remind them that but for the grace of the rest of us, that's where they'd be.

    I'd be as much in favour of "beating senseless" (again, as you originally said, metaphorically) heartless doctors and nurses, or murderous politicians, or overweening policemen. Or indeed columnists who think they know it all. People need to be reminded of their proper place in society, which is rarely as high as they think it is. I am, in effect, an entertainer, a licensed jester at the king's court. My job is to remind people that we are all fallible, all mortal, but that we can aspire to more. Most of the time, I think I do a pretty good job. I'm not sure that I fell short this time, though of course I appreciate your different perception.

    This brings me to a broader point. I have been accused of being dismissive. Well, yes, I am: of ideas that are poorly thought out and essentially insupportable. But distressingly many people are incapable of separating their ideas and themselves: dismissal of their feebler ideas is taken as a personal dismissal. It isn't. It's an invitation to come back with a better idea, or a better presentation of the same idea. An equally feeble (or feebler) and woolly restatement of the same idea, or the presentation of a different red herring, sometimes at even greater lngth, must inevitably result sooner or later in my deciding that this is no longer a rational argument.

    Finally, there's also the point that trades, professions and callings are matters of choice. Race isn't. Religion should be, but is not widely regarded as such, despite the fact that to speak of a Christian child or a Muslim child is as meaningless as to speak of a Marxist child, a Keynsian child or a monetarist child. Would you think it unreasonable to condemn (let us say) pimps, Fagins or receivers of stolen goods? If you would not, why do you think it unreasonable to condemn narrow minded businessmen, pandering economists and petty accountants?

    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  6. lisadb

    lisadb Well-Known Member

    'People need to be reminded of their proper place in society'.

    I hope you mean 'part in society' as in morally, ethically and law abiding. Who is anyone to tell someone else what their place is ?? Poor choice of words there. :(
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    A perfectly fair distinction, but not, I think, an especially valuable one. Yes, your form of words is better, and I would have preferred to have thought of it; but I think you are using (entirely correctly) a somewhat old-fashioned meaning of "place".


  8. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    But surely, Roger, whether an idea is poorly thought out or not is only a matter of opinion. And some insupportable theories have, in time, proved to be supportable, e.g. flight, space travel, the Earth as a globe, the horseless carriage, even photography. The advances of technology make insupportable ideas supportable.

    Forgive me, but I haven't read your column this week, so I may have got hold of the wrong end of the stick! But generalisations are usually insupportable......:)
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily. If I say "1+1 = 3", then what I am saying is poorly thought out, that's not a matter of opinion.

    You are also conflating technological feasibility with supportability. Sure, things change. But technological change is generally brought about by accident, or by people who know what they are doing -- not by opinions.


  10. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I started this thread by asking questions. I prefer to read and digest before making a long response, however I want to write now that my initial post was not a personal attack but a challenge to our society's somewhat mixed up values of what is and is not acceptable. I have often got things quite wrong in the past. The mods have objected to things I thought reasonable but have let past things which in retrospect I have regretted.
  11. flipster

    flipster Well-Known Member

    There is a difference in just a plain factually incorrect statement such as 1+1=3, and a poorly thought out one with no supporting evidence or substantive backing, for example , Ryan air are rubbish...based on hear say and media reports without actually ever experiencing it first hand. Poor example, excuse that.
  12. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    You don't have to put your hand in a fire to know it is a bad idea.
    Experience and Knowledge are not always gained first hand.

    I have had enough rubbish meals in restaurants, to be warned off by other peoples experience. Reputation is both the strongest marketing tool and the quickest way to bankruptcy.

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