Friday, March 9, 2007

Coulter Debate: Conclusion

See parts 1, 2, and 3 for the beginning and middle portions of this discussion.

I responded--a final time--to Auster's characterization of my remarks:

Mr. Auster:

I receive many e-mails, and when lot of e-mails come in, and they have many numbered points, and points referring to earlier points, then further e-mails complaining that I haven’t replied to all the earlier points, and those subsequent e-mails also have numbered points, and I’m expected to reply to all of them regardless of how valid they are and all of this takes time and energy, not everything may get replied to.

This is silliness. Making "points referring to other points" is how debate works.You make a point; I agree or disagree; if I disagree, I point out why. If you find this too strenuous, you probably should get out of the blogging business. Furthermore, you keep implying that I've insisted that you address every point I've made. That's a misrepresentation, as you will find no such demand in any communication I've had with you. In fact, in the email you chose not to post, I said:

"As for addressing each point made--obviously you're free to tackle or ignore any or all points; it's your website."

The context is important: I had no real expectation of any response from you regarding my initial 6-point comment. You could have ignored it, and that would've been fine. You could have simply said that you thought I was wrong, and that would've been fine. Instead, you chose insulting, belittling language as your first reaction, without answering comments that revealed inaccuracy in some of your earlier assertions. My first comment to you was polite, though in disagreement with your argument. I believe an honorable person should respond in kind. If you're going to choose the opposite tack, I think it behooves you to provide a detailed explanation, not a general dismissal. We're each responsible for our own words and tone--in person, and in print. You shouldn't get a pass on basic civility, simply because you don't like someone's argument.

I think I did post your e-mail of March 6 at 1:38 a.m. with its six points. Then you complained that I didn’t reply to all of your points. I replied to that complaint as I remember.

Of course you posted it; that was my first email. You're well aware that I know this, since I responded and you posted that, as well. I'm referencing the comment I emailed after your second response to me (my third email, from March 6, 7:01 p.m.). My ISP tells me it was delivered successfully. And please, show me where I complained that you didn't reply to all of my points. More intentional misrepresentation.

(1) I wasn’t just speaking of your arguments, but of this entire approach which many people, not just you, have taken.

Then you should have made that clear. You didn't. And if true, it changes nothing I've said.

(2) I did rebut your argument.

See my comments above.

Your original point three, which you seem to set great store by, was incoherent. . .It is not possible to determine any coherent meaning in all this. That is why I did not reply to it.

If I was unclear, I apologize. My point was a response to part of an earlier comment of yours, in the same thread:

She issues a humiliating insult at a public figure, and then pretends that she didn’t do so.

The point #3 you've referenced was my reasoning why I believed your above comment was inaccurate. Disagreeing is your prerogative. I'd also like to point out the context of the speech Coulter gave: it was filled with jokes and mockery of the Left. The Edwards comment was not a serious jab passed off as a joke in an otherwise somber oratory. Don't take my word for it. Listen to the whole thing, if you get a chance.

So let me suggest this. When writing comments to a discussion, keep it simple. Make one or at most two points at a time. Do not make six points in a busy discussion, with sub-points to your main points, and expect a reply to all of them, and then complain that you’re being treated unfairly if you don’t get a reply to everything you have said.

Multi-point emails is not and never was the issue, and you know it; your discourteous and combative manner of responding, coupled with refusal to address specifics after the fact is. Each point in my original email was self-contained, and all pertained to the discussion. Some were more detailed than others so they wouldn't be rejected as naked assertions. I never expected a reply to all, and your continued insistence that I did ( four times in this most recent comment), either indicates reading comprehension problems on your part, or deceitful intent. You be the judge of which.

Now if you want to write back with a concise statement of why I’m wrong about Coulter, please do so.

Why? So you can answer with insults and further distort the meaning of my words? I think I'll forego that pleasure. Under different circumstances, I would appreciate and even admire the apology you offered above. But your persistent misrepresentation of my words makes it ring hollow.


After receiving this letter, Auster emailed me, saying:

My gosh, I posted your comment with all your complaints, I replied to it, I apologized for saying "childish," and now you're insulting me, telling me to get out of the blogging business. There's no point in our communicating any more. You are a malcontent who will be angry with me no matter what I do. Goodbye. Do not write to me again.


I leave it up to my able readers to draw their own conclusions about this long and admittedly tedious exchange.

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