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Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

What happened to reading for comprehension?

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


One of my favorite pastimes (when I'm too tired to write or do other work) is to troll through the local newspaper web site and read the comments on controversial stories.

Yes, it is enough to raise my blood pressure some days. I can accept that some people will never, ever be convinced to even consider another viewpoint. Still, the lengths to which some people go astound me.

I was recently pummeled (that'll teach me to comment) on an article because I dared to quote a fact - straight from the article! Person quoted says "X!" How do you read "Y?" into "X!" I am talking about simple facts, not nuanced statements.

The article might say something along the lines of, "the court denied the appeal because the Fourth Amendment clearly states..." Because the reasonable (or unreasonable, it doesn't matter which, as this is hypothetical) search and seizure involved firearms, it becomes a Second Amendment issue in the comment threads. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

So what's the deal? I'd blame the education system, but some of these folks are my age and older. Is it just that some people get so entrenched in a particular viewpoint that they can't ever see the other side if it paints itself blue and dances nekkid in front of them? Or do people just skim articles, picking up things they want to agree with, and damn the rest?

It's this insistence on seeing only a particular viewpoint that started the firestorm that forced Shirley Sherrod out of her job. There's a lot of blame to go around on all sides, and the common denominator seems to be people who saw what they wanted to believe and didn't take the time to verify or read the facts.

This is one of those days I weep for our country.


Filed under: Life            
8/3/2010 6:45:55 PM
C'mon, leave a comment. Make with the clicking, already!
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