Monday, February 19, 2007

Principled Discourse...

Rules of Engagement
Gawain Fights Ywain
Chrétien's Knight of the Lion
(Image from Wikipedia)

...if one wishes to comment here.

I expect basic civility from anyone posting a comment, and I won't allow ad hominem attacks, even if they are as subtle as an innuendo.

The issue has arisen lately because of the manner in which a reader responded to two posts -- "Leaning on the everlasting arms" and "Under the Loving Care of the Motherly Leader" -- in which I discussed a recent lecture by Brian Myers: "Child-Race in an Evil World: Understanding North Korea Through its Propaganda."

Anyone with interest in the topic can look at those posts separately. I'm only going to post the comments of a reader going by the name "Casual Observer," and the ad hominem points will be red-marked:
It appears to me that you and Meyers cannot accept the idea that Korea might be the source of its own dominant ideas. That's why you suggest Japan or North America as an alternative.

But your analysis is strained beyond belief. Your method appears to consist of looking at an image and saying it represents the opposite of what that image is. I doubt if you do this with the imagery of your own country or with the work of Milton, for example.
I replied to this:
You mean "Myers," of course.

As "a casual first time observer," you're hardly being fair to either Myers or me in your accusation, for you go far beyond the subject matter of this post to suggest that neither of us can "accept the idea that Korea might be the source of its own dominant ideas," an accusation for which you adduce very little evidence, if any.

You do the same thing in remarking on my putative approach to Milton or to American matters.

Technically, what you're doing is called the ad hominem approach -- attacking the person rather than addressing the topic.

If you want to comment on the substance of my blog entries, then do so, but if you post further ad hominem attacks, I'll delete your comments without response, and you won't be welcome here.
Causal Observer replied:
You asked me for evidence. Here it is.

I said that you think Korean ideas come from the United States or what you prefer to rephrase as North America. So be it. But here is the evidence of this.

You write: "we know how significant Christianity was in the northern part of the Korean peninsula before the Kim Il-Sung regime suppressed it". If this implies anything, it implies that North American Christian ideas were important to Korean images of propaganda.

Myers does the same thing. As you state: "Myers showed North Korea's debt to Imperial Japan's racial propaganda".

In other words, neither you nor Myers can accept that the ultimate source for Korean communist imagery is a native Korean one.

But in my opinion, the source IS Korean: you will find it in the donghak movement, if you care to look.
I then replied:
Casual Observer, here's what you said in your initial comment:

"It appears to me that you and Meyers cannot accept the idea that Korea might be the source of its own dominant ideas."

Now, you say:

"In other words, neither you nor Myers can accept that the ultimate source for Korean communist imagery is a native Korean one."

At least, you've limited yourself to speaking only of Korean Communism than of Korean ideas generally.

But you're still claiming, without evidence, that I CAN'T accept that "that the ultimate source for Korean communist imagery is a native Korean one."

As I told you previously, if you continue to level such ad hominem charges at me, I'll delete your comments without reply. This is your last chance. Stick to the rules, keep your remarks substantive, not personal, or stay away.
As anyone can surmise from my response, I'm going to be rather strict about personal attacks. Casual Observer's ad hominem may seem rather mild compared to what one sees in comments and posts around the internet, but this is my blog, and I want the discussions to remain courteous and fair-minded.

Casual Observer need merely have posted a comment such as:
"I disagree with both you and Myers, for I think that North Korean propaganda has indigenous roots in Korea's Donghak Movement, and here's why I think so..."
Such a comment would have been courteous, avoiding ad hominem of even the lightest innuendo-laced sort. Now, really, is that so difficult to do?



At 1:48 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Hallo Jeffery! Ich beginne Deutch lernen! Ich kanne nicht viel sagen! Mein Freund aus Österreich mich anlernt!

Es ist nicht der Mühe wert! Das ist ein Kleingeist!

Bis später!

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You seem to be doing well with German even if you find it a lot of trouble.

By the way, you mean "Deutsch" ... unless, perchance, you're learning "Dutch"?

You'll soon be better than I am.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:08 PM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

Jeffery, I have found you to be unfailingly courteous and fair minded -- as well as funny, thoughtful, erudite, and eloquent.

How's that for an ad hominem?

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

KM, literally, argumentum ad hominem means "argument to the person," so I suppose that I could accuse you of overpraising me to make your point.

But you seem to have forgotten my 'potty mouth' persona.

Despite that lapse, I thank you for your kinds words.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:37 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Ah yes, I forgot the s. Yeah, the German is coming along, I did have to use an online german-english dictionary for most of that post though. -DR

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yet if you're only now beginning German, then you're far better in foreign languages than I am.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeffery, I very much agree with you about the lack of civility on the part of many commenters in the blogosphere. Good on you for insisting on it on your own blog!

By the way, I thought you would have addressed the issue of your commenter's making a "universal negative claim" about you without knowing more about you than he does. At least, it seems to me that this was such a sort of claim.

At 4:26 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Nathan, I considered the point (and, loosely speaking, the specific point about the impossibility of proving a negative), but I don't want to waste time on detailed responses to personal attacks.

Jeffery Hodges

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