Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mea Culpa. Sort of.

I'm sorry, Jonathan. You were right and I was wrong. At least somewhat. Happy is the man whose mother grovels publicly before him in acknowledgement of his wisdom and her lack of same. Somewhat.

Wondering what THAT'S about? :-) 

Jon is my 24 year old son. He is an avid student and observer of history and politics, spending voluminous hours each day reading and listening to the plethora of information to be found on same in the interwebs. 

He is also, well, how shall I put this? He is THE WORLD'S MOST HYPERBOLIC PERSON. 

Perhaps that is an exaggeration. Some might even say it presents a possible suggestion that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But Jon's prose is surely purple and loud, to say the least. As a person with autism, it is to be expected that he would be somewhat tone-deaf regarding social skills, specifically which topics might be appropriate for X or Y audience and how to discuss sensitive topics. 

For example, perhaps it's not terribly wise to post inflammatory and negative comments about sensitive topics on the public FB page that your public figure father (whose public figure-ness pays the mortgage) maintains. 

Or possibly regular commentary about how you don't understand how anyone with any intelligence can be a Christian when your parents are both members of a mainline Protestant church is not an act designed to win favor at either of their dinner tables. 

And, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't use the N word in your FB posts. Ever. Even if you are a rabid Democrat making fun of Romney. Ever. Period. 

We've had numerous family discussions over the years about this. Jon says I worry too much about what other people think. And he's probably right. But I am pretty sure that, as an autistic person, he does not worry enough about what other people think.  

And I would contend that I continue to be accurate about the color of J's prose. But the content? Well, this year, Jonathan's been way ahead of the curve on a number of politically sensitive topics, making me re-examine my reactions to his statements.

For example, J has been going on and on about Julian Assange, free speech, and multiple governments efforts to put a muzzle on him. Here is a very tame FB update from him earlier this year:
This week in the news: England threatens to storm the Ecuadoran embassy and kidnap an Australian national in order to extradite him to Sweden, where Americans will imprison him for exposing war crimes committed in Afghanistan.
Much of what he's said has been fairly anti-Obama, as in how can a liberal support a president who is saying and doing what Obama (or his administration) is saying and doing. 

As in the drone attack reports in Pakistan, about which Jonathan has been incensed for some time now. The Obama administration maintains that civilian casualties are extremely rare. I can't find the exact FB comment from Jon, but it read something like 
Apparently, it's ok for Obama to target, bomb and kill innocent civilians as long as they are brown and on the other side of the world.
I assumed Jon was out in left field on this. Appears not. I was wandering the interwebs and found an post by Andrew Sullivan, recounting a study done by Stanford and NYU that indicates one out of four victims of drone attacks are Pakistani civilians. Ugh.

As for Julian Assange, no less than the New York Times published an op-ed by Michael Moore and Oliver Stone in August that indicates Jon isn't alone in his concern for the way Assange is being treated and the threat to free speech held therein. 

The lessons I take from this? 

1. I am more likely to listen and respect news that is reported to me in a reasoned and respectful manner, rather than by a deliverer who expressly designs (or at least enjoys) inflammation. 

2. I need to spend more time listening to informational content rather than the delivery or the deliverer.

3. It is difficult to accomplish 2. with 1. I believe that there may be a mathematical equation involved here. It might involve greater than and less than signs. But math is not in my skill set. And I always found those signs very confusing. 

Sort of like I find wading through loud prose that obscures that facts very worth listening to underneath. ;-)



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