19 November 2009

The Jenius Writes

Stared out My window for a minute, pondering. I've just finished Deborah Tannen's book The Argument Culture and it made Me pause.

For one, it pinpoints the problem We have with both communication and media in Our day, in the U.S. of part of A. and, by "monkey see, monkey do" imitation, Puerto Rico:

---Polarization, the either/or rhetoric that sees only black or white; gray is a color, too.

---Shrillness and loudness as a very poor substitute for thoughtful analysis and modest pronouncements.

---The cult of the sound bite, short, pithy, memorable and often as wrong as a baby on a barbecue grill. 

---Confrontation as a means to a "victory" instead of the means to uncovering greater truths.

And so on. Of course, I looked at the book's points in comparison to The Jenius, and I found plenty of common ground:

---A tendency to demonize rather than strictly analyze.

---Personal attacks that aren't part of the discussion. Larva or Jellyfish, anyone?

---A consistently critical tone, product of a near-continuous negative outlook.

Yup, if the shoe fits, throw it at the murderous moron. The Jenius does have aspects that fall into Tannen's analysis of "an argument culture." But here's where The Jenius rises above that limited perspective:

---A focus on defining the issue in order to present the argument. "Define your terms" is the basis for any cogent discussion. If I call Pedro Rosselló Stupid--and heaven knows I do--it's not because of personal animosity, but because based on his defined terms concerning his leadership abilities and (total lack of) knowledge regarding the widespread corruption that permeated his close advisors and his (mis)administration, only Stupid fits his definitions.  So I call him Stupid. Conclusively.

Without defining the terms, one can only present a bubble in a vacuum, not an argument of merit. The Jenius always defines his terms and thus creates the basis for a cogent discussion

---A willingness to look at more evidence. Time and again The Jenius revisits a topic and gives it another look-see. That alone would disqualify Me from ever being a Republican.

---A willingness--reluctant, but managed--to admit being wrong. Doesn't happen often, but The Jenius--I--admit when I'm wrong. Obviously if I were as wrong as the Fools, I'd have no reason, sense or potential to ever speak again.

So why the self-analysis? Because a finger constantly pointing outwards is the physical cramp of a dead mind. The Jenius is not perfect. He freely admits to hating politicans and thus is not an objective observer of that lowest form of life. (See?) He sometimes thinks the worst of a Fool and his/her actions, but is often proven right. And in a culture that does not read, barely can manage English and thinks the Internet is for socializing and porn, he expects his words to actually make a difference,

And yet, The Jenius writes because he wants to see a bigger, better, bolder, brighter Puerto Rico. A place that lives up to its promise of being "The Island of Enchanment." To someday witness this Isle of the Caribbean exuding the power and passion of its minds and hearts in building a greater future. He writes to shine a light on what he cannot change directly, while working on what he can.

The Jenius writes to argue for Us. Some hear that, loud and clear. But not enough. Heaven knows, not nearly enough.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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