Sunday, November 16, 2008

Final Countdown (on Prop 8)

Keith Olbermann can be annoying, abrasive, and bombastic. Don't get me wrong, I like him, and I think he is incredibly erudite and insightful. Those qualities set him apart from his ideological nemesis Bill O'Reilly. But in this commentary, he truly demonstrates why he is so much more than just the left's version of O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh.

3 comments:

J G-W said...

This video has been spreading like wildfire in the gay Mormon blogging world. It was a pretty amazing tirade.

Knight of Nothing said...

Certainly, Keith Olbermann has many of them, but I can't call this particular commentary a "tirade."

Given your recent post on the subject, do you think that his commentary is akin to "[raising his] hand in class and [making] that courageous, lead-balloon-like comment"?

J G-W said...

Don't get me wrong. I LOVED this commentary. And I was incredibly grateful for it.

But, I honestly felt that it was very unlikely to convince anyone who wasn't already opposed to Prop 8. In fact, I felt that the general tone of his commentary was very shaming... "You BAD, BAD people!" In general, people respond to shaming type discourse by digging in and getting defensive.

If you want to persuade, the first thing you have to do is create empathy. And in order for there to be empathy, there needs to some sense of common ground. People need to be able to see how you have things in common with them. So I think it is very useful for gay families to talk about their life as a family, and what marriage means to them, and so on. Telling people how bad and bigoted they are will make it impossible for them to hear another word that comes out of your mouth.

That having been said... The comments I made applied specifically to Sunday School class, Priesthood Quorum or Relief Society meetings at the LDS Church. This is not the place to debate Prop 8, and, again, to do so will only create resentment and division. It is very unlikely to convince. In fact, at this point, is more likely to do the opposite.

Television editorials or commentaries are not Sunday Schools. They are forums specifically devoted to polemical/persuasive discourse. We expect to listen to them and hear controversial viewpoints expressed, and if we are tuned it, it's because we want to hear them. So, whether I think K.O.'s commentary is effective or not, I would never try to argue it is inappropriate.