Communication is a fairly sensitive system. Developing a language that is understood by all, learning to deliver that language understandably, and interpreting the reception of the language consistently. Already that's a lot of delicate balance required.
And, then there's the nuance:
Like, the email written with the half-jest, whole-earnest jibe, followed by a ;) to imply "I'm just teasing, but I would really like you to reconsider how 'cute' it is to piss off every waitress you come in contact with..."
Or, the verbal assault by your boss which is followed with the abuser's creed, "No one can make you feel shamed..." implying that he can say anything he wants, and is above reproach for your resulting feelings, so deal with it, he's the boss.
Or, the half punch on the arm delivered by a sixth grade boy to a sixth grade girl... ahh... we all know what that means...
I *get* all that stuff. Over time, you learn to interpret the nuance. You learn that communication follows more than one path, and it takes practice to learn how to express yourself in a way that's globally understood, and to gather information from more than just the spoken or written words.
Which makes me wonder, WHAT EXACTLY IS WILLIAM SAFIRE SMOKING? He's old enough to have figured all this stuff out, isn't he? He's the original Mr. Language Person, forgodssake! HOW, then, HOW can he have listened to Edwards and Kerry talk about Cheney's daughter and have gotten *this* out of it:
The memoir about the Kerry-Edwards campaign that will be the best seller will reveal the debate rehearsal aimed at focusing national attention on the fact that Vice President Cheney has a daughter who is a lesbian.
That this twice-delivered low blow was deliberate is indisputable. The first shot was taken by John Edwards, seizing a moderator's opening to smarmily compliment the Cheneys for loving their openly gay daughter, Mary. The vice president thanked him and yielded the remaining 80 seconds of his time; obviously it was not a diversion he was willing to prolong.
I'm thinkin' here that Occam's Razor might be useful to apply. I have a hard time imagining the Kerry Edwards prep-squad really wanting to focus the national attention on Cheney's lesbian daughter. I mean, it seems to me to be a much more important message, and a far bigger lever arm, to try to push home messages, oh, like, THEY LIED ABOUT WHY THEY WENT INTO IRAQ!!!!! Edwards wasn't smarmy, and Cheney yielded his time because he didn't want to get into an area that he and the president disagree.
And something people have failed to point out here, it's not like Mary Cheney got outed by the dems. I refuse to believe as Safire would have me that until that night, only some tiny percent of the American public was aware of her sexual orientation. In fact, if Mr. Safire believes that illuminating the American public to publicly documented facts is a heinous tactic worthy of public stoning, then perhaps he should re-evaluate his role as a journalist.
In any case, the problem is that we have human beings in politics. As humans, we all tend to communicate in a variety of ways, and because receiving communication is a fairly subjective process, the results of which are as pliable as statistics, anything that is said in the public arena is going to be twisted and turned, nuanced and deconstructed, tweaked and taken out of context until it's as informationally nutritional as potted meat food product, or processed cheez, or high fructose corn syrup.
So, the lesson to be learned is don't listen to anyone else. If you didn't watch the debates, go find them online somewhere and watch them yourself. Ok, so maybe you don't have to watch the last two, 'cos, good lord folks, say something new, but the first for the P and VP were both ok.
And take the news with a grain of salt. Even the media that leans towards my side (liberal, in case you can't tell) is not worthy of believing outright. check out a variety of news sources. Y'know, for what it's worth, Matt Drudge's site has a complete selection of news sources, including wire services, liberal columnists, and international news media (except aljazeera...). It's a great place to dig around for stuff.
Now, it's time for me to get back to this blog thing. I need to communicate more...