by baldilocks

Sometimes it’s a letdown when you get a great idea for a blog post and you find that someone else has already done such a great job with the topic, that you feel you can’t possibly match it. Such was the case as I was thinking about how many accepted “facts” we hold in our heads which turn out to be false. I started brainstorming the idea, then began doing the research—my usual method. (On the occasions when I find that my premise is false, I shift the focus of the post or I don’t write it at all.)

For this particular idea, I had typed twelve items, done a bit of searching, and then I took a break to do some goofing off at my usual goofing-off spot: one of Ace’s comment sections.

It was there where I came across Christopher Taylor’s excellent series, Common Knowledge. Christopher started the list in 2012, but updates it continuously. It is the best list of its kind which I have found.

Two excellent examples:

Still, I will put forth a mini-list of myths; following this paragraph is the fruit of my brainstorming. What I would like the reader to do: find out if these things are true or false and comment about the findings. Yes, some of these assertions have been famously and repeatedly debunked, but one never knows, do one? For some individuals, it may be that a singular long-held myth is tossed. Since my focus is still Black History Month, there is a preponderance of statements regarding the history of Americans who are black.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Democrat/ Republican.
  • Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
  • W.E.B. Dubois was a champion of black people.
  • Booker T. Washington was a “sell-out” to black people.
  • In the Bible God commanded his people to be their ‘brothers’ keepers.’
  • Islam is the black man’s religion.
  • Edmund Brooke was the first black U.S. senator.
  • The Wright Brothers built the first flyable aircraft.
  • Interracial marriage is forbidden in the Bible.
  • The Democrat Party has always been the champion of black Americans.
  • JFK was killed by right-wing factions in America.
  • Before the voyage of Columbus, Europeans believed that the earth was flat.
  • Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger because she was too tired.
  • Marie Antoinette said, “let them eat cake.”
  • Black Americans were immediately accepted as citizens upon the abolition of slavery.
  • Black Americans were segregated in the U.S. Military from the Civil War (1860-1865) to the National Security Act of 1948.
  • Henry Ford invented the automobile.

Feel free to add more.

The last part of my series “Flip-Flopper: Why I’m Against Black History Month…and For It” will appear in this space next week.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

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by baldilocks

In the first part, I expressed my ambivalence toward Black History Month; here, I mean to make the case for its necessity.

The Second Mind

A few months back, a person at another blog asked this question:  how has America’s slave history affected present-day black Americans? The answer sits right in front of our eyes, and is so common that it almost never goes noticed: nearly all black Americans who are not recent African immigrants or the progeny of recent African immigrants have European surnames. [i] This phenomenon is a direct result of American slavery.

Upon Emancipation, some former slaves took the last names of their most recent former master; others retained the names of earlier masters; still others appropriated their own surnames, often that of American presidents up to 1865. (This is the reason there are so many black Americans with last names of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Johnson.)

But the point is that, black Americans were, under pain of punishment, severed from their pre-American histories and our names reflect this severance, the special circumstances of the author notwithstanding.

To quote myself:

Black Americans—specifically, the descendants of American slavery–are the most American of Americans. […] Unlike all other immigrants to America, our ancestors were forcibly cut off from all of the totems of their various West African tribes: names, languages, family structures, belief systems.  These things have buoyed all other ethnic groups—including recent African immigrants—in their sojourn to this country and all of them had the choice to hold onto the elements of their cultures that fit into the American ideal and discard those which were incompatible.  American slaves were granted no such luxury.  Our ancestors were emptied of their identities and re-created in the image of what America had for them.

The Ottoman Empire provided a precedent for this practice and the stripping of the old identity coupled with the prohibition of other forms of indigenous African communication had a similar purpose: to cut off “un-coded” communication between slaves, and, thereby, prevent conspiracies. Moreover, as the Ottoman Empire aspired to create soldiers in its own image, America aspired to create a slave-class in its own image. And the long-term effect of this practice remains embedded in our very identities.

So what is the big deal about not knowing the history of one’s people? I am often shocked to hear  Americans who celebrate the vision and foresight of the American Founders ask that question. We—all Americans—rightly hearken to the ideals on which this country is based in order to get some perspective on the present and as guidance on how to proceed in the future. And we examine this country’s success and failures for the same reasons. And further, many Americans celebrate being descended from Mayflower passengers or from specific American Indian tribes; or from Japan, or Ireland, or…

Black Americans, however, cannot point to an actual ethnic heritage which contributed to the mix that is America, for the reasons specified. And the ad hoc heritage which we are continuously building and fashioning is rooted in slavery–foundationally shaky and something about which many of us are unjustifiably ashamed. And, as a result of that misplaced shame, all too many of us take that shame, turn it outward, and use it as a cudgel in an attempt to shame white Americans. The result: white guilt.

It’s time for that mindset to end and there are two methods of ending it.

First, we need to stop viewing the slavery of our ancestors as a subject of shame. It is what it is and it is more than what it is…it removed us from the influences of idolatry and Islam. That’s how God works and he did something similar with the ancient Israelites.

Secondly, black history needs to shake off the “rah-rah, Team Black” aspect and focus on the truth–good and bad–as much as possible. Something which will be an aid: technological advances in DNA testing. This has served to lift the fog which used to surround American slave ancestry and I predict that those who avail themselves of it will become less focused on the victimology inherent in celebrating the depredations of slavery and more focused on the the good and bad of our American heritage and of our singular African tribal heritage–if desired.

Next part: what’s in it for white people?

To Be Continued…


[i] Between the end of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the 1850s and the Mboya Airlift of 1959, black African immigration to the USA was kept at almost zero.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

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by baldilocks

Here we are again in February–Black History Month, or whatever the more politically-correct designation is currently. I am of two minds on the observance of it.

But, first, it is necessary to point to the history of Black History Month and to its creator, Carter G. Woodson:

Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia. One of the first African Americans [sic] to receive a doctorate from Harvard, Woodson dedicated his career to the field of African-American history and lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution. He also wrote many historical works, including the 1933 book The Mis-Education of the Negro. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1950.

(…)

After attending Berea College in Kentucky, Woodson worked for the U.S. government as an education superintendent in the Philippines and undertook more travels before returning to the U.S. Woodson then earned his bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Chicago and went on to receive a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912—becoming the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious institution, after W.E.B. Du Bois. After finishing his education, Woodson dedicated himself to the field of African-American history, working to make sure that the subject was taught in schools and studied by scholars. For his efforts, Woodson is often called the “Father of Black History.”

(…)

Woodson lobbied schools and organizations to participate in a special program to encourage the study of African-American history, which began in February 1926 with Negro History Week. The program was later expanded and renamed Black History Month. (Woodson had chosen February for the initial week-long celebration to honor the birth months of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.)

(Some misspellings are corrected and a link to Dr. Woodson’s most well-known work is added. About the emphasized sentence: occasionally, some grievance monger will betray an ironic ignorance of  history by attributing to racism the fact that Black History Month occurs in the shortest month of the year.)

One of the most well-known quotes from Mis-Education applies to everyone, but it has special significance for black Americans.

When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

(Other fascinating Woodson quotes are found here. Had Dr. Woodson been born a century later, his Tweeted quotes would no doubt be received quite unceremoniously by the black leftist Twitter mob.)

This quote is relevant to black persons now more so than in 1933, the year in which Mis-Education was published. Woodson’s thesis was that contemporaneous black Americans were being culturally indoctrinated rather than educated. Was he correct? Yes, and an example of that indoctrination’s aftermath is in order.

One can look to 1933 and note that, at state and local levels, a certain political party advocated and supported legal oppression of black Americans.  In 2014, however, most black Americans are members of that same party. But has that party’s strategy changed? No; only its tactics have been changed.  Earlier tactics were designed to control the physical, economic and political mobility of black Americans; but present-day tactics  (language alert) and shorter-term strategies are designed to control our thinking.

Dr. Woodson posited that teaching Black History to black American students would make them equal to other Americans in their own minds—where it counts—and, thereby, make them better citizens.

It was a great and worthy cause, but like many other, great and worth causes, it has become warped and misshapen.

The First Mind

I used to have a ton of “black books”—fiction, history, philosophy, etc. At some point, however, I sold or gave most away because I needed more room on my bookshelves and, to be honest, the topic became boring–more “rah-rah Team Black!!,” rather than who, what, where, how or why.  Navel-gazing is one of my favorite hobbies, but, at some point, one needs to take the eye off of self.  (When my American dad asked me why I had gotten rid of most of the books, I replied: “I know how to be ‘black,’ Dad; it’s time to read about other things.”)

(I still occasionally read black history items; online, for the most part. One site, Neglected Voices, is a fascinating list of speeches from the first black members of the US Congress, all elected in the aftermath of the Civil War and all Republican. I actually learned quite a few things at that site–always a plus.)

Notice that I didn’t throw the books away. There are many Americans of all persuasions who need wider perspectives in the area of this country’s history, of which black history is an integral part. The problem I have, however, with the over-focus on that history is that it skews individual perspective, feeding pride, victimization and anger. The priming of those three emotions softens the ground for thought control.

In next week’s column, I’ll lay out the details of my second mind.

To be Continued…

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

 

by baldilocks

Over at Ace of Spades HQ, my friend Monty expounds on a concept which I coined a number of years ago at my old blog and mentioned in an earlier Da Tech Guy post: The Coconut Treatment.

There is a price to be paid for divorcing actions and concepts from the words that describe them. Government, and the law that undergirds it, is made up of words. Devalue the words, strip them of meaning, and you do the same thing to the concepts those words describe. Action follows Thought, and for Thought to exist there must be the Word.

The sundering of meaning from the words to which they are assigned is merely a foundation for the hollowing out of the Old Order of things great and small. It is a demonic seed which mirrors the mustard seed concept of the Kingdom of Heaven as illustrated by Jesus the Christ.

Where God is the author of Order, he who wishes to be His counterpart sows the Tree of Chaos. Meet the New Boss.

tree

Seeds require nourishment in order to flourish. And just as the seed of Faith will flourish with the items recommended—prayer, reading God’s Word, fasting, giving, and obedience to God—so it is with the seed of Lies.

In his short, excellent post, Monty references Orwell’s Newspeak coinage, but the concept is much older

than 1984it’s one which started very simply in the Garden when the Enemy planted doubt about the truth of God’s Word. Since then, the war has been ongoing and the enemy has always been able to find foot-soldiers–individuals, groups and nations—who will water his tree of Lies.

That tree has a fancy and useful name now—postmodernism–but it is merely the tool used to deceive mankind and, ultimately, to separate as many of us as possible from our Creator.

Primary Example: Love

God defines three types of love–agape, phileo and eros—and these definitions have a special order in that the third is meaningless without the first two.

The new Love has a two-pronged definition: 1) giving a person whatever he/she wants, and 2) approving anything another wants to do. Its basis leads back to the disobedience in the Garden.

And from the seed planted by the new definition of love we get the conceptual fruit: new definitions for rights, racism, oppression…the list is endless.

The fruit and the branches are manifold. From the new “love” seed we get conceptual trees such as communism/progressivism/Marxism/socialism, “settled” science, and the Common Core(d) method of education—concepts with evil foundations and self-contradictory foundations or those in which foundations are unnecessary.

What to do? I’ve mentioned the solution in almost every one of my posts here at Da Tech Guy blog. But the first thing to do is recognize the faulty seeds which have been planted in oneself and to root them out.  The usual evil seed which needs weeding is that same one which got the Enemy thrown out of Heaven: pride.

According to God, pride is always a sin. This includes pride of race, pride of ethnicity, pride of gender, pride of accomplishment, pride of relation, pride of nationality (yes)—many types of pride which we erroneously view as harmless or even good. That view is a seed for the larger tree: the “bad” types of pride; they all supersede the hand of the Dispenser of all good things. (To turn another concept on its head, you didn’t build that. God did.)

So, I suggest that we each start with letting God remove the weeds from our individual souls—rebuilding the foundation of Truth in our individual thinking. In turn follows the larger removal of weeds from our families, and, after that, from our nation.

The weeding and watering have to start somewhere.

UPDATE: Photo added.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

 

by baldilocks

Most people are familiar with King Solomon’s observation that it is

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

–Proverbs 25:24 (KJV)

Well, my personal observation is the flip side of that coin: it’s better for a woman to live alone that to live with a man who is indifferent to her feelings. And the two–love and respect–feed from each other; the same is true for contentiousness (anger) and indifference.

And both truths point to God’s recommendation that a husband should love his wife and that a wife should respect her husband.

Last week, it was report in the National Enquirer that the Obama marriage is deeply on the rocks.  The usual issues are reported to be factors—and I’m not saying that they aren’t—but exploring those things isn’t my purpose.

I’ve always had a certain amount of empathy for Michelle Obama. The similarities in age and background are part of it. Many of my decisions have been radically different from hers, however, and there are several she made which I wish I had made: finished my formal education, got married early, had children.

But there’s at least one decision I made that gives me peace: many years ago I divorced an uncaring man. Conversely and for many obvious reasons, Mrs. Obama chose to stay with her patently uncaring husband and, since she has been in the national spotlight, she has always behaved like a woman who has an unhappy home life.

MichellObamafrown1

MichellObamafrown4

 MichellObamafrown3

Many people don’t like her and that’s understandable. Unhappy people tend to be unlikable and say obnoxious things.

I’ve talked before about being grateful for the good things in one’s life and, aside from our diverging decisions, that’s where Mrs. Obama and I part company. Being content with decisions made in life—no matter how they turn out–is the key. Ingratitude and resentment nearly jump out of every photo of the woman. And in nearly every photo of her looking at her husband, her anger–hatred?–is etched on her face. (Yes, yes. I’d be mad, too, if I were married to him.)

If it’s true that the marriage has long been in trouble—and I think it is—then Mrs. Obama has to live with her decision to remain married to Barack Obama, make the best of it and count her blessings—and I can think of two of her blessings right off the top of my head.

Money, status, fame, clothing, vacations, high-end personal care—Mrs. Obama has all of those things. But none of them compensate for the absence of love in her home.

And, though it was her own decision to stay, I pity her.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

By baldilocks

The governmental–read: Obama Administration–response to Bridgegate and its (lack of) response to Benghazi are not the least bit surprising. (By the way, I prefer the moniker Bridgeghazi.) The GOP is the enemy. What part of “boots on their necks” and “revenge” was unclear? But this dichotomy is a mere symptom of the chaos which now reigns.

For decades now, many people have been watching what's going on in this country and noting each offense to this nation and to its founding principles. But to take all of the offenses, connect them, and come to an ugly conclusion is daunting.

That ugly conclusion is that progressives have been poised to appropriate this country for a long time, a good hundred years. We had a defense against, but we turned away from it, believing that defense was unnecessary. That defense is known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

From the moment we turn God out of the public sphere, it's been downhill. Heck, mere months after the decision, JFK got his head blown off on national television. Think of all the things which have happened since then–things which are the result of God removing the hand of protection on this country.

The event which made me sit up and take notice to the rot in this country was the pseudo-prosecution of Sandy Burger. I worked in intel for a number of years and if I had done what he did, I would have done time. But, because he is one of the anointed, he was fined $50,000–pocket change on that level and probably paid by those who put him up to boosting and destroying classified files–and did time sitting doing his no-doubt usual cocktail party circuit.

It was a harbinger of the lawlessness that was to come.

Now we have the ultimate judgment of God upon our country, the evidence of the supposition that He has withdrawn His protection from us: Barack Hussein Obama. And with President Obama have come idiots, the treacherous, the sycophants, the infiltrators and the pillagers. And, with him have come brazen acts of tyranny by the dozen. With him has come the hollowing out of our earthly protection: our military. With him has come the treachery to our friends and the sidling-up to our enemies.

With him has come chaos.

And with every single stab at the body of our Constitution and the philosophical body of it, comes this implicit assertion: “We can do anything we want and, if you, the People, don't like it, we couldn't care less.”

I can't blame people for not wanting to face the fact that we are beset on all sides by our enemies. But when we stopped acknowledging God, He stopped acknowledging us. It's a frightening thing, if one has no source of hope. I do, and I pray to Him daily. And I pray that others will turn back to Him as well–or turn to Him the first time.

That's why I'm not afraid and it's the only reason.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen's Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

By baldilocks

Over at American Thinker, Rick Moran comments upon the latest acts of devotion in the bromance between former NBA player/infamous weirdo Dennis Rodman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. This time, Rodman has enlisted other former NBA players to join him for an All-sort-of-Star game in a place chock full of prison and labor camps; a place where electricity and food are reserved for the nomenklatura, or whatever the Korean-language designation is for the elite of the Hermit Kingdom.

Hall of Fame basketball player Dennis Rodman didn’t much like the questions about his “basketball diplomacy” with North Korea coming from CNN host Chris Cuomo. So the former Detroit Pistons “bad boy” lit up the screen with a screaming tirade directed at Cuomo who only wanted to know if Rodman would bring up the case of American Kenneth Bae held for more than a year by the North Koreans for his missionary work.

From Mediate:

Let us know why this man is being held?’ If you can help them, will you take the opportunity?” Cuomo asked.

“The one thing about politics, Kenneth Bae did one thing. If you understand — if you understand what Kenneth Bae did,” Rodman said with a pause, then added “Do you understand what he did? In this country?”

“What did he do?” Cuomo said. “You tell me.”

“You tell me,” Rodman shouted. “You tell me. Why is he held captive?”

“They haven’t released any charges,” Cuomo said. “They haven’t released any reason.”

“I would love to speak on this,” Rodman said, again waving Smith off.

“Go ahead,” Cuomo urged.

Instead, Rodman went off on Cuomo for the remainder of the interview, screaming at him to recognize the sacrifice being made by his fellow players.

The video is available at both links.

Here’s the thing: why would anyone expect a guy with demonstrable mental issues to care about political prisoners or tyrannies? And like all too many professional athletes–like the other sheep he’s leading–he cares only about being kowtowed to–since retirement, not much of that anymore for any of these guys. Enter the basketball fan, Kim Jong Un.

So now, in Rodman’s warped mind, Kim is his friend and anyone who has angered his friend is an enemy and must be wrong, morality be damned. It’s gangster logic and lunatic reasoning, the two not necessarily being mutually exclusive.

Rick says that Rodman’s mental stability is questionable. No it isn’t. He’s nuts and has been for a long time.

Rodman’s first team was the Detroit Pistons, whose coach, the late Chuck Daly, was a surrogate father to him. Rumor has it that Coach Daly would make sure that his All-Star defense-man took his medication. But after Daly retired and Rodman was traded, the latter seemed to come off the spool and, if the rumors about the medication are true, there remained no one to keep him accountable in that area. In the years following came the tattoos, the piercings, the dyed hair, the off-the-wall behavior…and the wedding dress. (Warning: have eye bleach handy, though he looks strangely…pretty. Strangely, being the operative word.)

So we have a former athlete with a suspected personality disorder leading several other former athletes of equal political ignorance and arrogance to a charity benefit in North Korea–probably the worst country to ever be caught in either accidentally or on purpose. One wonders if these scarily uninformed and uncaring men are being lulled into becoming prisoners themselves. Wouldn’t that be a great propaganda coup for the ever more unhinged Kim Jong Un? Or maybe they are being groomed for something even more sinister…

They are pretty hungry over there.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

GoFundMe: Arlen’s Harem
GoFundMe: The Kenya Project

by Baldilocks

On Christmas Eve, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered a photo of himself, his wife Ann, and their gazillion grandchildren.

In response to the photo, an MSNBC panel, conducted by the infamous Melissa Harris-Perry, proceeded to mock one of the grandchildren, young Kieran Romney, who is adopted and black.

“One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” panelist Pia Glenn offered as a caption for the photo, which the Romneys tweeted on Christmas Eve. (Lyrics of the original Sesame Street song are, “One of these things just doesn’t belong.”)

“And that little baby, front and center, would be the one,” Glenn said.

Comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the baby is a token.

“It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party and the RNC, where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”

Of course, these people were excoriated, and why not? Good grief, it’s like reading the banter of elementary school children! And the panelists show themselves to be what they claim to denounce: those who would isolate a child who is externally different from most of his family members–than most of his countrymen.

After taking a well-deserved Internet pummeling, Harris-Perry–who is half white and half black herself–put forth an apology.

Now, she is taking an Internet beating for that, but that’s just gratuitous.

But there’s something even more disturbing than the behavior of Harris-Perry and company. That something is the logic implicit CNN’s Dr. Marc Lamont Hill’s commentary on this incident. From Right Scoop:

Dr. Hill:

Some would say maybe that it’s an exploitative picture that they’re exploiting the kid by hauling out this black person …

Embedded in this seemingly ridiculous notion is a frightening idea: that Kieran Romney’s race was bound to be mocked and that his grandparents, knowing that he is different, set him up for ridicule by publicly acknowledging him as their grandchild.

The notion of “some,” that the Romneys are exploiting the child by including him in a family photo and by sharing it, is merely a foundation–a fabricated pretext to shift the blame from the MSNBC panel to the Romneys for the actions of the former.

The Romneys should have never post the photo; or they should have never included the child in such a photo. But because they did, the Romneys deserved what they got from the MSNBC panel…according to Dr. Hill’s logic.

“You deserve to be assaulted because you tempted us by wearing that short skirt/being out too late at night/leaving your meat uncovered. Wear a burka.”

“You and your grandson deserve what you got. He got mocked because you showed him to us. Don’t try to exploit him again by include him in pictures with your white grandchildren and we won’t be tempted to mock him or you.”

Right?

Right. The buck-passing never stops with these people.

(h/t The Other McCain)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

GoFundMe: Arlen’s Harem
GoFundMe: The Kenya Project

Over at Twitchy, I did something today which I do regularly about once a month: wade into a comment section of a blog and argue my point. I consider it blogger weight-lifting.

Now, I have occasional been accused of “enjoying being contrary” or “enjoying argument.” As for the latter, I plead guilty and I dispute the notion that ‘argument’ by itself is something bad.  The things which sometimes go along with argument, however–the logical fallacies which many persons use, the imputation of bad faith, etc.–are the problem. But, argument alone–when the arguers exercise personal restraint–is beneficial to the thinking of the participants. We get to see the perspective of others and, through this, get to question our own assumptions. In other words, we are forced to keep from navel-gazing and, if we try to hold to the “rules of engagement”–to keep truth as primary goal–we can be persuaded to a point of view, if the other participant demonstrates that his/her own points are the truth as opposed to our own assertions. And this includes truths we don’t like.

Of course, that method of argument is not used the majority of the time. Often, we are too wrapped up in ourselves: we internalize our opinion as a representation of our very being. And when another challenges that opinion, we feel it as a challenge to our soul–our intellect. It is perceived as an attack and, when this happens, the response is predictable.

I once had a commenter prove me wrong—yeah, it happens :)– and when he did, he taunted me: “See you were wrong? Now don’t you feel embarrassed?”

“No,” I said. “I’m a human being, not God. Human beings are wrong all the time and I am no different. I appreciate the fact that you corrected me.”

Now that is not a response I might have put forth, say, ten years ago. It’s one born of two things: humility, courtesy of Jesus the Christ, and ten years of learning how to argue a point while keep the logical fallacies in mind.

In short, I’ve been learning how to make Truth higher than myself. Trust me; I still have a long way to go.

BTW, humility almost always involves the pain of humiliation. To paraphrase, without pain, there is no gain.

Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the Holiday season.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

It’s not exactly a hot news flash, but here goes.

With all of the media events of recent years that have been molded and shaped by reporters to fit a certain set of narratives, why would anyone not believe that the fix has been in for decades with respect to almost every topic and every persona? After CBS’s Rathergate and the MSNBC reporting shenanigans with respect to the George Zimmerman trial, does anyone really believe that we get the whole story on anything of political or social importance? After the establishment media’s failure to report anything of importance about the background of the man who is now the president of the United States, do we really know about anything which we haven’t observed with our own lying eyes?

When I first began to blog in 2003, I recall how people like former Vice President Al “30 degrees in LA” Gore and  Daily Beast/Newsweek editor Tina Brown reacted to being contradicted by normal people. Cries of “brownshirts” and “StaSi” filled the Internet air. All that specific sort of whining amused me because, as a normal person who has a decent handle on 20th century German history, I knew that both brownshirts and StaSi  were arms of consecutive tyrannical governments. To toss these epithets at private citizens with an opinion, a modem and a laptop (or whatever) was laughable and, it showed that having a degree from distinguished universities did not guarantee that the bearer was able to think at all, much less think anything through. Or so I thought. (For a proper deployment of the Stasi weapon, see one Angela Merkel.)

But now as I think things through once more, I’m not convinced that persons like Brown and Gore—persons of the Left–care that such epithets make no sense when used against their enemies. I forgot that almost all media sagas are carried on for the sake of the type of observer who does not want to find information independently or who cannot/won’t think topics through. Such a person—the low information voter (LIV)–will probably not understand the historical illiteracy of calling a private person ‘a brownshirt’ for mere disagreement. All that matters is that a person of trust calls out his/her enemies as an enemy–as someone to fight against–and that this call falls on as many ears as possible. Brown and Gore were merely painting their targets, just as their political fellows have done before and after them.

All I’m really saying: keep your third eye open.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!