But I want to highlight something even more fascinating (to me, anyway) than Rosen’s “explanation” of McGill’s discussion of “truth frames” in regard to the Eason Jordan affair. Read the comments. As Rosen says, some of the commeters appear to equate “explanation” with “excuse.” Rosen writes:
By “explanation” I meant that… an attempt to explain how it happened that Jordan said what he said. That is something I still regard as a mystery, whereas many of you, I gather, do not. You have explanations that serve quite well. To me, none of them serve very well, Jordan’s least of all. So we need as many as we can get.
Anna, also a frequent commeter on Rhetorica, replies:
It’s biology. When people are in a reactive mode, they evaluate others in binary fashion (with us/against us) because it’s adaptive in a fight to be able to make a distinction and make it quickly. Whereas if we’re trying to learn and understand, the black-and-white approach is counterproductive.
I haven’t encountered very many stupid blog readers in nearly three years of writing Rhetorica (now there’s something that would get me to quit!). We certainly suffer our trolls (re: a recent comment here). I think the genre drives the stupid out of the blogosphere–eventually. The genre encourages, however, exactly the kind of thinking Anna identifies (although I’ll state it using some of my terms): adaptive, ideologically-driven, and willfully ignorant (which is not the same thing as stupidity).
There does exist an academic state of mind (an ideology adhered to imperfectly to be sure) that seeks to learn, to discover truth, to understand how things work beyond considerations of binary left-right (or party) politics. Bringing us difficult questions to answer is invigorating (Sisyphus knows how to ask a good question). Bringing us scorn because you think you detect nefarious political motives is tiresome.