Yes, I did say that!
- Aug. 17, 2010
There has been several blogs recently that have dealt with words and their meanings. Some have argued for the correct usage of a word dependent on its dictionary meaning. Others have attempted to validate (or disprove) a position by questioning the validity of the actual words used. Finally, there are those, such as myself, who believe the crafting of a speech or document is purposeful and means what it is intended to mean regardless of spin.
Putting all that aside, this blog is an attempt to have fun with unintentional puns, conundrums, paradoxes, double entendre, double meanings, irony, or simply taking a quote out of context. I have a tendency to see possible double meanings; however, there are times when the article itself is not an appropriate venue for sarcastic or humorous remarks – yet, there is a sarcastic comment that just begs to be said. Ergo, this blog may provide that outlet. So, prod your memories, search the archives, and share your favorites.
Here is how it works:
1.Commenters should take a direct quote from a news story, blog, forum comment, or other quotable source. Include enough of the original text to give context to the quote; also, give source credit or link to the quote.
2.Make an out of context comment, a sarcastic remark, or a funny observation.
3.Comments that are funny on their own are also acceptable.
4.Even though credit should be given to sources (such as a link); do not purposely embarrass another commenter. Use “A commenter says...” rather than, “Did_I_say_that says...” The link will provide credit if someone chooses to pursue it.
“Lawrence police arrived to break up the fight when they saw a woman being battered.”
Was that beer or corn bread batter?
This example is one that I had to comment on:
“…and were able to get him to drop the grenade.”
I know this ended without harm, thank goodness. However, is getting someone “to drop the grenade” the best choice for a grenade?
Here is one of my favorite stand-alone comments:
a commenter (Anonymous) says… “…I was just praying to be stupid. Praying doesn't work.”
Now it is your turn. Do you have a favorite LJ World comment that shows off your sarcasm or wit? Do you remember a particular line in a story that made you chuckle? Was there a headline that made you smile? Share your fun in this “Out of Context” blog.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV), on Monday, made comments indicating that Democratic Senators are on the wrong side of the health care reform debate. Here is a portion of Senator Reid’s comments, “Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans have come up with is this: Slow down, stop everything, let's start over. If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, "Slow down, it's too early, let's wait." When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote. Some insisted they simply slow down. When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone, regardless the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”
Some facts, regarding Reid’s remarks, must be stipulated. First, “us” is understood to mean Democratic Senators or Democrats in general. Second “Republicans” refers to Republican Senators or Republicans in general. Third, “history” specifically means the three historical events referenced in his remarks: slavery, women’s suffrage, and equal civil rights.
Slavery was an immoral atrocity that was tolerated, but not accepted, by most of the conservative founding fathers of the United States. However, the Constitution was written in such a way as to limit the voting power of slave owners and provide groundwork for the abolishment of slavery. It did take a long time for slavery to be abolished. However, history teaches us that it was the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who finally took a stand against a strong Democratic south and refused to allow expansion of slavery. Most people would agree that the Republican President was on the right side of history.
Women’s suffrage, also known as women’s right to vote or the 19th amendment to the Constitution, was similarly supported or rejected by Democrats and Republicans. However, it was not until Democratic President Woodrow Wilson changed his position and supported the amendment that a Republican House and Democrat Senate approved the legislation. The amendment was than ratified by the states. This issue appears to have both parties on both sides of history.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was proposed to Congress by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond (SC) than sustained the longest filibuster in history (over 24 hours) to stop the legislation. Thurmond’s arguments against equal civil rights were based upon his belief in segregation. Eventually, Thurmond recanted his racial positions and switched his allegiance to the Republican Party. This unsuccessful filibuster by a Democratic Senator is exactly what Reid referred to in his remarks to the Senate on Monday. Eventually, the Republican sponsored Civil Rights act was passed. Again, most people would agree that the Republican President was on the right side of history.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced to Congress by Democratic President John F. Kennedy. The House Rules Committee Chairman, Democratic Representative Howard W. Smith (VA), a well known segregationist, vowed to keep the bill bottled up in committee. Before the bill came to the floor, President Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson became President. Johnson was able to use his experience and bully pulpit to push the bill through the Democratic controlled House. The Democratic controlled Senate was also expected to kill the bill. However, the Republican Minority Leader was able to use a novel approach and moved the bill along. Even though it was filibustered by Democrats, including a 14 hour speech by Democratic Senator Robert Byrd (WV), it still passed with full Republican support and a grass roots initiative by Republican Martin Luther King, Jr. Thanks to conservative Democratic President Kennedy and like-minded Republicans the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law. Once again, most people would agree that the Republican Senators that supported President Kennedy’s initiative were on the right side of history.
When put into context, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments are telling. In each of his examples it is clear that Democratic Senators of the past were on the wrong side of history. It was Democratic Senators that demanded the continuation of slavery. The Democrats appeared to be no more or less supportive of women’s right to vote than Republicans of the time. The Democratic Congressmen and Senators of 1957 and 1964 were avid opponents of the Civil Rights Acts. Harry Reid believes that his party has been on the right side of history.
One of two things must be true. Either the Democratic Senators of the past were on the right side of the issues discussed or they were on the wrong side. Most of America believes that they were on the wrong side of the issue. Therefore, based upon Reid’s own examples, the Democratic Senators have a history of being on the wrong side of major issues: slavery, suffrage, and civil rights. It is not difficult than, to deduce that they are probably on the wrong side of the current major issue: Health Care Reform.
Evidence has been given that Senator Reid is not telling the truth about past Democratic Senators’ positions. He purposely made statements intended to deceive his listeners into believing that Republican Senators had been guilty of the racist actions of Democratic Senators. Simply put, Harry Reid is a liar. Once again, a person should come to the obvious conclusion. Harry Reid lied about slavery, suffrage, and civil rights; he is probably lying about Health Care Reform.
Anonymous versus onymous. That is the question.
Every so often, during the heat of the battle, a commenter will assert that comments should be onymous. Well, actually, what is usually said is that only “non-anonymous” commenters should be allowed to post. Or, as one anonymous commenter said, “Require user verification and end all anonymous posting. People should be accountable in real life for what they say.” No, I am not making it up – the quote is from an anonymous commenter. The presumption is that an onymous commenter will be more truthful and accurate, less antagonistic, more courteous, display better protocol; in short, be more responsible. A simple review of currently onymous commenters could dispell these myths.
I have commented both as an onymous and an anonymous commenter. Let’s take a look at my experience in both arenas.
Several years ago I had an onymous account. At the time I was posting to a variety of articles. However, I chose to use my name due to some specific articles; and, by doing so, made credible my knowledge regarding those articles. However, there were many other articles that I did not comment on due to their political nature or subject content. Commenting on them, at the time and with full disclosure of my name, would have been career suicide.
This January (having forgotten my old account information), I created an anonymous account. By far, it has been more fun to be anonymous. More importantly, it is much easier to post an opinion anonymously. An anonymous user has no risk of personal attacks and the possibility of personal consequences. Yes, I know, someone can make an ad hominem attack. Recently, a commenter said, “Tend to think you are just an un-educated HS dropout.” The comment is not only ignorant, it is irrelevant since the commenter does not know who I am. Moreover, my anonymity prevents the statement from being libel. In this case, anonymity protected both commenters.
Requiring commenters to use their “verified” real name would definitely change the forums. Overall, they would probably become more civil. It could cause a few to check their facts before commenting. Yet, that would not change the quality of comments by currently anonymous commenters who already check their facts. Nor, would it change the inaccuracy of currently verified commenters that do not check the facts.
It has been said that “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” (H. Jackson Browne) “Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.” (J. C. Watts) I would urge the continuation of choosing between an anonymous or an onymous account. Moreover, I urge all commenters to display good character. Comment as if your character and name are on display; for, at the very least, you know who you are.