Friday, January 23, 2009

Words, Schmords...

“I’m not only uninterested in having children. I am opposed to having children. Having a purebred human baby is like having a purebred dog; it is nothing but vanity, human vanity.”
Ingrid Newkirk, PETA founder, New Yorker magazine, April 23, 2003

Many of y'all are scratching your heads wondering why I would pick such a ridiculous quotation to lead off my blog.

It is a ridiculous comment, isn't it? What person in their right mind would compare having children to breeding purebred dogs? Whose mind works that way?

I showed this quote to a friend of mine and she pointed out that it wasn't really that crazy. She said that if you ignore the word "purebred" you can see Newkirk's point that many people's insistence on only having a child of their loins is as bad as folks who only want a purebred dog. She said I was putting too much emphasis on one word.


Well, of course I had to disagree with her. That's what I do, I disagree with people and get into arguments. It's why I have this blog.

I pointed out to my friend that certain words have the power to invalidate the most insightful messages. For example, if a white person was giving me the solution to black on black crime, but that white person kept using the phrase "you people" well it's unlikely I would get his point because I would be caught up in his words.

A few years back, the mayor of New Orleans promised some black residents that the city would remain a "chocolate city" despite the forced evacuations Katrina caused. His comments ignited a firestorm of controversy, mainly because many white people felt like he was telling them to leave and never come back. Now, I didn't think he was saying that, and I actually thought he was addressing a real concern in the black community. But, the way he decided to word his statement is what got it interpreted as an attack on white folks, and his administration has never been the same.

Words mean something.

How often have you tried to discuss a topic with your spouse or significant other and had them say, "I just don't like they way you're talking to me." Sometimes they express that sentiment because of your tone, but often it's because the words you're using aren't the words they want to hear, no matter how justified or accurate they may be.

Communication is all about imparting information in a way that sticks with people and makes them want to understand your point of view. Our new president understands this, as do most people who effectively impart knowledge.

I can't help but wonder how many of the people who make a living "communicating" actually understand this simple truth. How many of them really want their message to stick with us? How many of them are satisfied if they just touch off an emotional response?

What about you?

How are you communicating?

(Being president is so nice, Obama decided to take the oath twice. I can't blame the brother for being cautious. He's like, "You bitches are stuck with me now!")



Deacon Blue said...

Ingrid Newkirk is a flaming loon.

I mean, I know she herself isn't the point of your blog post, but anything she says is suspect. I mean, PETA recently launched a campaign to get us all to call fish "sea kittens" so that people will think of them as cute little creatures that should never be harmed instead of as potential food.

This is woman and an organization that not only thinks abusing animals is cruelty, not just that eating them is wrong, not even just that making them work (such as pulling carriages) is evil...but also that having pets is troubling.

In her mind, it seems, animals should be totally left alone and not be a part of our lives, really. She elevates them to a very high level so I have little doubt that the quote you have chosen is indicative of more than our reluctance to adopt instead of breed. I suspect she would be happy to see the human race extinguish itself in favor of flora and fauna.

(end rant)

BTW, Obama may need to take the oath a third time. That idiot who runs the Drudge Report has focused in on the fact that no Bible was used the second time (not, of course, that the Constitution requires one) I guess they weren't careful enough the second time to shut up the crazy right wing nutjobs...

Lolo said...

Deacon, when it comes to the mouthnoise of the loonies my take is "You do have the right to say it but I have the right not to listen.".

Mr. Noface said...

How you say what you say is as important as the content of what you're saying. However, the content of her quote is just as screwy as how she phrased it.

The thing about this woman is that she seems intent on making animals equal with (or better than) humans. Take the vanity issue she brings up in her quote. I know what she was getting at. She is against having your own children when there are many thousands of children in America and around the world who are waiting to be adopted. However, what is good for the goose should also be good for the gander. Very few animals in the animal world are willing to raise babies that did not come from their own loins (i.e Male lions cannibalizing cubs that aren't their progeny). Where is the condescending rhetoric towards them?
The truth of the matter is, that living organisms as a whole wish to pass on their genetic material to the next generation. It is not vanity, its survival.

So you see, even if she took out the term "purebred", her quote would still be ridiculous.

Big Man said...

Mr. Noface

That is an excellent point! Great job pointing out that even animals prefer to raise their own children. I didn't even think of that idea.


I'm going to agree with Lolo. I refused to pay much attention to the initial flap about the oath, and I don't care about any future problems. These losers are going to have to just deal.

Deacon Blue said...

Lolo, you're right, of course, but what bugs me about PETA is that for some reason, lots of folks don't seem to realize how extreme and fringe they are in their beliefs. I think a lot of folks think this is like some variation on the ASPCA or something, with an eye toward protecting pet from outright abuse and neglect and working agasint extinction of species.

Because somehow PETA manages to conduct these campaigns and yet many people don't connect the insane campaigns to PETA. It boggles my mind.

And that means that money is going to PETA in the form of donations that could be better placed somewhere else. And in these hard economic times, when non-profits are dropping like flies and grant money has because harder to get than gasoline under a dollar-fifty, that pisses me off.

(end additional rant)

Deacon Blue said...

Oh, whoops, I didn't realize Lolo was speaking to my second point. I forgot I even made that point.

Lolo said...

I know someone who got fake blood thrown on her fake fur coat by those idiots, when she was 7 years old. Way to go, huh? I understand that every group has it's share of nutters but PETA does seem to go to the idiot well a bit too often to have much legitimacy for me.

Also, targeting my children with handouts of gruesome tales of chicken farming is pretty much going to put you in the same camp as the pro lifers who wave jars of pickled fetuses at our windshield while we're waiting at the traffic signal. These are things that have happened to us and they sorely tested my ability to behave as a rational and responsible parent in front of my kids.

Deacon Blue said...

Amen, Lolo!

Raving Black Lunatic