Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Why bother blogging?

Jose – of all people! – says he is withdrawing from anticant’s arena because he is not prepared to consider the views of another blogger, Yankee Doodle, whose comments, he says, are lacking in “respect” to him. Untypically for such an even-tempered person, Jose seems to be offended by having a cherished point of view contradicted. But is it logical to state one’s beliefs, as Jose frequently and properly does, with a qualifying “only in my opinion”, and then to take umbrage when someone questions them?

Surely, if we adopt this attitude, we shall close ourselves off from new information and different perspectives, so that political blogging becomes a pointless exercise. I blog in order to discover what others are thinking, and to identify new sources of insight into what is going on in this increasingly disturbing and uneasily dangerous world. We all of us have our preconceptions and preferences – largely drawn from reading and reflection rather than from direct experience – and the great virtue of the internet is that there are all shades of opinion, and a great deal of expertise, out there to be consulted, considered, and – sometimes – rejected.

I do not expect to agree with, or to receive deference from, everyone whose blog I peruse or exchange comments with. All I ask is that people keep a civilised standard of politeness and good humour, and in the end agree to disagree if there is nothing further to be gained from the exchanges.

In this instance, however, I find it hard to believe that there is nothing to be gained from studying such well-informed posts as those of Yankee Doodle, who is obviously engaged on much thorough hard-working research. He says things which are alarming and even distasteful, but which we need to know and evaluate. To ignore the implications of his material would, I believe, be very negligent. In a comment I posted on the thread which has upset Jose, I asked:Do you think there is a mephistophelian hook-up between the Bush, bin Laden and Saudi families to screw America? Interesting thought....” On reflection, I would substitute “Western civilisation and democracy” for “America”. Yankee Doodle is building up a series of pointers to an extremely disturbing answer to my question, and so I for one shall continue to read his blog with great interest and concern.


Jose said...

Again, Anticant, you have misinterpreted me. I've never said I was going to stop visiting your blog, but it appears you are adamant in your thoughts. I am afraid you have become biased, too. I have nothing against your defence of someone whose blog patently is against "Muslim Conquest", the very same title of the blog speaks for what it contains. I am also afraid I made a mistake in engaging, following your advice, in discussions which seem to me to be influenced by personal circumstances.

Following your erroneous interpretation, made in unthoughtful haste, I have decided to stop visiting your blog.

I have nothing against Muslims, nor against Christians, or even against you or Yankee Doodle, but I can assure you that I will not be discussing any topic against my will, much that you might wish me to.

And I am sorry you are "putting" words in my mouth that I have never said, I must admit I made a mistake with you, I thought you were different, indeed.

Sorry that this has had to end like this.

All the best.

anticant said...


I have no wish to become involved in a futile "pot calling kettle black" type argument with you.

Every individual in the world thinks and speaks from their own unique bias. We are all influenced by our personal circumstances. It is integral with being human. The wiser ones among us aim at a modicum of balance and detachment, but there is no such thing as total objectivity.

If you are not prepared to discuss and elucidate the important matters on which we have different biases, I am sorry. I am even more sorry that you should feel offended with me personally. My high regard and esteem for you remains sincere and undiminished.

toby lewis said...

Jose, despite agreeing with your historically justified belief in the wonders of Islamic Spanish civilization, I think you're being a bit hard on Anticant. He seems to have been intending to pour water rather than petrol on the fire as evidenced by his continual praise of you as a thoughtful and intelligent contributor. Yet there must be disagreement so that people can express and explain their prejudices/insights. Sometimes we all need to reexamine cherished points of view.

yellowduck said...

Jose, you should do what you feel best with. It can be rather frustrating to argue your ground - wisely and well-informed - and then to not make any headway in the discussion. But you forget one thing: you're being read by other people, too, who gain from your participation in the discussion. I often find it much more rewarding to read an ensuing thread between people who argue fairly than to push my point of view to the fore. I have gained from reading you and from your 'opponents' for which I am grateful.

Remember that even if you don't 'win' a discussion, you still manage to spur others on to research your side of the argument from other perspectives.

Just my two cents.

Jose said...

Toby Lewis,

Thank you for at least agreeing on my historical views on the Arabic (not Islamic) Spanish civilisation.

After so much insistence in the media, I understand that it is difficult to separate religion from terrorism, but what I cannot understand is why the same is not done with a religion that has been with us for centuries. Terrorists were those crusaders that crossed the Mediterranean Sea on the pretext they were fighting for God, if we apply to them what we do to Arabs today. Bush attacked Iraq in the name of God,(Brrr God mixing up with oil), in a way another crusade which on the other hand was majoritarily approved by the Americans, Americans who now after so much money spent and many dead in their troops (by the way not a mention of the Iraqis who have died, who are considerably more than Americans) have taken an about turn and now are on the brink of letting Bush down, not to say something more serious. It kind of seems the Twin Towers dead have been forgotten.

I must say here that everything on Islam is being concentrated on how they behave in host countries - one of them Britain - and I must also say that their behaviour is not being punished in accordance with the British rule of law. We have in Spain more than 800,000 Arabs, with whom we have no significant problems. Apparently in Britain the great majority are of Asian origin, which is not the same thing.

It is true that religion makes a very important part of the education in Arab countries. Colonising countries have wished that this be so. It was much better to have "the natives" busy in religious matters than give them a proper education. What Arabs did in Spain in the Middle Ages was quite different. They gave education to the until then ignorant Spanish Christians.

I could be writing for a long time about this, but unfortunately my time is very cruel and does not give me a respite to do what I want to do every day.

As for Anticant, I still think he is a wise person with lots of assets in his experience, but it was not me that started arguments between him and me, my arguments were addressed to Yankee Doodle, who incidentally has preferred to keep quiet here.

I want to expressly say here that it has never been my intention to offend anybody here or anywhere else, if anybody thinks otherwise I offer my sincere apologies.

Jose said...


Thanks for your intervention, but if you follow my posts and comments everywhere, you'll see that it has never been my intention to "win" in any discussion.

I know it is very difficult to differentiate in religions issues, mostly these times when so many problems have been connected with Islam, much that these problems have derived from the introduction of alien religions in the problems of the Middle East.

Whenever I see a problem I, whodunit-like, seek who benefits from the problem. Perhaps we should delve in this direction.

There exist two most important religions in the world : Christianity and Islam.

But I point out to you there is a third in importance - by number of acolytes - Judaism, which has been made important by the force of events and of money.

Let's never forget this circumstance in all this brouhaha in connection with Islam.

toby lewis said...

Jose - 11th March ?

You are right of course not to demonise Islamic people, but it is foolish not to recognise radical fundamentalist terrorists have caused great problems in the West and even more Islamic people tacitally endorse it. Tit for tat you may say, but there is an element where the overheated talk of a clash of civilizations takes on a scary reality.

On lighter topics you may be interested in what happened when Vargas Llosa ran in to Garcia Marquez in the cinema - http://www.eclecticeccentrics.com/2007/03/14/varguitas-and-gabriel/#respond

Please feel free to contribute articles to the site as well.

Also, smoke a peace pipe with AC

anticant said...

Jose, I am pleased that you are continuing to post here. As for Yankee Doodle, it's up to him whether or not he wishes to add to what he said on the previous thread.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that several quite separate issues are becoming confused with resulting misunderstanding. I shall try to unravel some of them in later posts which I hope will lead to constructive discussion.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Come on you guys - sit a little lighter on the saddle of life...Life's too bloody short, and friendships too bloody precious...

And you're forgetting there's only one person who knows it all anyway - Me :)

yellowduck said...

Yes, of course, Jose. I used 'win' for want of a better word. Writing in haste and all that. That's why I always enjoy reading your comments, even if we may have differing political views.

I second Richard on this, although he is usually wrong on everything else.

That was a joke by the way.

Jose said...

Thank you, guys. I'll try to learn from you all.

tyger said...

Anticant - I think you have misrepresented Jose.

I have never known him to be anything other than cordial and a good sport.

Anyway. Time to draw a line and forget about it.