Tell The Truth: Who’s Been Bullying Who

The internet is a strange, yet consummately wonderful place. It allows for a feed from thought leaders and journalists, and with a new age real time speed emphasis, with the ability of other, and different on a granular level, voices to respond. It is a wonderful, even if still difficult, medium of interaction. Twitter is the epitome of it all.

Some will say Facebook, but I think Twitter is a far better avatar, especially for those that really think about hard news, current events and some sort of equilibrium of differing political discourse. Is it a little rough, unfiltered and harsh because of the proverbial 140 character limit? Sure. Absolutely. You hope that the friends you make are equal to the knowledge you take, whether you agree or disagree at any given point in time.

And then comes a day where a small fish gets accused of “bullying” by far bigger fishes. As if simple political and moral distinctions and views are “bullying” or otherwise unconscionable among people that have been agreeing and disagreeing/parrying with and against one another for give or take a decade.

Instead, I was always taught to go into a forum, argue like hell for what you think you must and/or right, and then go have a cocktail with your adversary, or at least shake hands and walk off with the understanding there are two sides to any legitimate argument. And, I will be honest, the “fight like hell” part is always job one. Indeed, criminal defense attorneys are schooled to zealously do just that.

So, recently, I was accused of “bullying”. By a friend with a perch several exponents above mine. I tried to explain. I apologized. And I got nothing in response but for the initial intellectual scorn and accusation that I was “bullying” the big fish.

But for the sadness, both on a personal and interpersonal plane, and greater intellectual one, I might laugh instead of cry. But I cannot. I will not.

The times are severe. The moment is critical. Let us all rise above this type of impertinent interaction. You can still respect and admire people you occasionally have real and very hard differences with. And you can talk to them. Both sides will be all the better for that discourse.

Trying times, civil rights, equality of justice, and the American experiment itself, depend on all of us.

[If you didn’t know, that was not just Slow Clapton in the video but also the one and only Yvonne Elliman too. She is, and always has been, special.]

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

19 replies
  1. Charles says:

    Grain of salt.

     

    When hassled, take with much water as required.

     

    I know the feeling bmaz.  It’s a time when ordinary people are expected to be cap in hand at all times when addressing their “superiors.” But, you know, if they really were superior, this country would not be in this mess. Most of the billionaire class seem to be suffering some variant of Jerusalem syndrome, starring themselves as deities. The journalists, almost without exception, seem to know no history, international affairs, finance, or civics. The politicians… yikes.  And all of the people who serve them are blandly collaborating with lunatics, knaves and fools.

     

    Lost is the brilliant idea of this country: that the collective wisdom of all of the “lesser” people is greater than all the smirking arrogance of the aristocracy.

     

    Illegitimi non carborundum. Bad Latin, but good advice.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It seems impossible to bully one more powerful than you are.  Bullying involves a more powerful player attempting to humiliate someone less powerful for personal gain, and to bolster the bully’s fragile ego. Perhaps your colleague’s idea of bullying is like Vizzini’s notion of what’s inconceivable. Ask Inigo Montoya.

    America suffers from a great deal of bullying, from the school playground to the White House.  Corporate board rooms have their fair share, as does the Internet.  I haven’t seen much of it on this site.

    America does not suffer from too much democracy, or too much debate about what resources should be public or to what aims those resources should be put, or what restraints are proper on the conduct of public officials, from the park ranger to the president.  We do suffer from a great many bullies trying to cram down and shut off such debate.  This site is a welcome antidote to them.

  3. Valley girl says:

    bmaz,

    Here’s my quick take, fwiw, w/o knowing the substance of the discussion, thus:

    Seems that you actually must have hit a nerve, a weak spot in his arguments, with this person- one that he knows is valid, but doesn’t want to face up to/ admit.

    My 2 cents.

     

  4. harpie says:

    bmaz, I’m sorry to hear about this. I love following your twitter feed be*cause* of your no-holds-barred advocacy of your point of view…though I’m glad I’ve never been on the receiving end…[yet]  :-} Also, this is one of the main reasons I’m not on Twitter, since I don’t possess skills like you and Marcy.
    *
    There seems to be so much anger simmering underneath just regular life, these days. It’s very disturbing.

  5. Desider says:

    It is incumbent upon you to have that drink, with or without that adversary. It’s like taking the waters at Lourdes except without all that religious faulderol. Yes, the traditional recipe was “you butt heads and then you go slam B-52s or belly button shots, depending on the adversary”. Those days are gone, but you can at least carry out your part of the bargain. Go and abstain no more.

  6. harpie says:

    I’m sorry for this O/T here, but maybe you haven’t heard about this, happening now:

    Jayne Miller‏Verified account @jemillerwbal  [4 separate tweets, I’ve only posted two of the links]

    Developing: FBI confirms agents are executing a search warrant at the office of GOP Fundraiser/Consulting firm in Annapolis/FBI investigation of GOP fundraising firm in Annapolis is run out of Washington, not a local case/Annapolis firm targeted by FBI touted for pioneering the use of technology in political campaigns. Represents GOP candidates nationwide/ FBI covering window at offices of Strategic Campaign Group in Annapolis..per @dcollinsWBAL
     
    Agents executed search warrant at firm

  7. ek hornbeck says:

    Pfui.

    “Bullying” is the last refuge of the intellectually humiliated. In most cases it means they lost. To the extent it is “bullying” they are crying because you won’t applaud their ignorance or allow it to persist unchallenged. This is the go to tactic of bigots. My advice for you (because I like you) is grow a thicker skin. Perhaps they might benefit by taking up a gentler hobby like crochet (only the one needle and it’s dull so they’re unlikely to cause themselves or others injury).

    I don’t feel guilty about anything I’ve ever written and I’ve never apologized for it either.

  8. harpie says:

    bmaz, this one’s for you:
    Stephen Holt @SteveBHolt 

    A brutal critique of everything Chris Cillizza has ever written

    Links to:
    WINNERS AND LOSERS OF THE RECENT NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST
    Dan Cluchey; 5/11/17

    The nation was recently rocked by retaliatory nuclear blasts that have turned much of America into a barren wasteland, decimating the population, triggering the rise of firestorms and supervolcanoes, and generally bringing civilization to the brink of collapse. Let’s take a look at the political fallout.

    Zeynep Tufekci‏Verified account @zeynep  Zeynep Tufekci Retweeted Stephen Holt
     

    And it is right on. Not just him, but that “oh, look, let’s judge it all as if it were a pony beauty competition” is big reason of it all. / And neither he nor his ilk care, just climbing up the career ladder. I read a lot of history, and I’m telling you it’s history books bad.

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