Friday, August 12, 2005

Misconstrual: A Form of Lying

Yesterday I mentioned one technique that the CRC and their allies use to pursuade people. The technique I mentioned was misconstrual. You take something someone says and simply change the meaning of it.

The blogosphere is lit up this week over a video that was posted on a California Planned Parenthood web site.

The video, called "A Superhero for Choice," features a superheroine named Dianysis. She conquers several bad guys. The first one is an evil-looking little guy named "Sleasy Dude" in a top hat who is telling kids they need to be sexually abstinent. Dianysis throws him into a vat of "Aqua Slide," whatever that is, and gives the kids a safe sex kit. Then she comes upon an anti-choice demonstration, some people in the streets with signs. She says, "...they can sometimes become unruly. and sometimes they get a little too close." So she zaps them with a condom gun. Those evil anti-choicers are encased in condoms. Then the condoms blow up, apparently vaporizing the bad guys. So Dianysis says, "That's more like it! Open for business!"

OK, you know cartoons, like .. that poor Wile E. Coyote. Getting shot with a condom gun would be better than usual for him.

Listen to how Right Blogistan is playing it: has the headline: Planned Parenthood Removes Cartoon Advocating Abortion Violence. And they say:
A Planned Parenthood abortion business in California has quietly removed a cartoon video promoting violence against pro-life advocates that has drawn national outrage.

Mmm hmm, Planned Parenthood "promotes violence," sure.

The Write Wing Blog is even more to the point -- their headline: Planned Parenthood Cartoon Advocated Killing Pro-Lifers.

How about some more?

Here's Marquette Warrior:
A video from the San Francisco branch of Planned Parenthood that derides all those (abstinance advocates, anti-abortion protestors, conservative politicians and Jerry Falwell) who disagree with Planned Parenthood's positions.

It features a "superhero" who is a black woman who eats organic vegetables. We are obviously deep into politically correct territory here.

The video shows her using violence against those who disagree with Planned Parenthood.

Check out Writing Right, who uses the headline: Planned Parenthood Cartoon Depicts the Murder of Pro-Lifers.

Oh, here's Evangelism Today with a little graphic that says: Planned Parenthood would abort Jesus. WorldNet Daily has this one: Planned Parenthood superhero terminates Christian protesters (some of the demonstrators had signs with religious slogans on them.)

A blog called Historio uses the headline: Planned Parenthood Celebrates Violence Against Pro-Lifers.

And so on. I used a filter on my RSS aggregator and found literally hundreds of these anti-choice web sites, all interpreting this silly cartoon in the same way.

I am not saying it's a great video, actually it seems kind of dumb to me, but then I never liked Scooby-Doo or South Park either. But, all in all, it's a cartoon, people, fer cryin' out loud.

So here's today's lesson about how the rhetorical technique.

I'm am going to address the emperor's clothing: Planned Parenthood does not advocate violence against those who disagree with them. Can you see that? They do not want you to shoot anybody with a condom-gun or any other kind of weapon. You may disagree with Planned Parenthood's policies regarding birth control and abortion, but they are not "celebrating violence" in this cartoon, any more than any other cartoon "celebrates violence."

This kind of irrational verbal attack is absurd, but it has become commonplace -- this is the way people talk about the issues now.

Misconstrual: a kind of misinterpretation resulting from putting a wrong construction on words or actions (often deliberately).

It amazes me that modern, civilized human beings will allow this kind of discourse, which is really a form of lying. But it has become the norm.

I will cite a couple of examples from our Montgomery County debate over sex education, just so we get comfortable with the concect of misconstrual and learn to recognize it when it appears.

When the curriculum outline said: As we study human sexuality we will discuss how you develop your individual sexual identity, CRC President Michelle Turner said in a public speech:"The new curriculum encourages students, beginning in 8th grade, to "develop your individual sexual identity," i.e., to begin to question their sexual orientation."

It didn't say that. Misconstrual.

Based on the same line of the curriculum outline (apparently), the CRC says, in a handout, "To encourage impressionable youth to self-identify as homosexual is to violate their dignity and put them at risk of the premature sexual behavior which accompanies gay self-labeling."

Nothing in the any document anywhere says that a student would ever be expected to "self-identify as homosexual." Again: misconstrual.

When an early draft of the curriculum said: Fact: Sex play with friends of the same gender is not uncommon during early adolescence and does not prove long-term sexual orientation, the CRC said in a handout that the curriculum "Advocates sexual experimentation by stating: "Fact: Sex play with friends of the same gender is not uncommon during early adolescence…"

No, the curriculum did not advocate sexual experimentation, the statement -- which is factual -- was reassuring teens that having played doctor as a kid doesn't mean you're gay. Saying that this statement "advocates sexual experimentation: Misconstrual.

Putting the word "gay" into a search engine, and then using the search results to prove that the web site is promoting homosexuality: misconstrual.

There are very many of these examples, I won't list them all.

Life is difficult, and there are a lot of hard decisions to make. Often there are differing points of view, and rarely is one perspective perfectly correct. So we have to discuss issues.

It does not help anything when one side is so compelled to win the argument that they feel they are authorized to change the meanings of things that are said. You can make anything sound terrible, there's nothing to it -- but why do it?

(Another one I just thought of: the condom video stresses abstinence, mentioning it many times in its seven minutes. The CRC says that MCPS produced "a video that laughs at abstinence as a joke." Misconstrual.)

We have seen misconstrual come from the highest levels of government, from the church as well as the state, it is extremely common on talk radio and in certain realms of the blogosphere. It is a completely unproductive way to address a debate -- it's intentionally dishonest and insulting. Let's learn to identify it when it is thrust upon us, and call it what it is.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Misconstrual: a kind of misinterpretation resulting from putting a wrong construction on words or actions (often deliberately).

You do this ALL the time Jim. Please be honest. In a concerted effort to discredit the CRC you and others on this blog have miscontrued and continue to misconstrue EVERYTHING CRC says and turn everything into 'hate' filled rhetoric. We've got your number Jim. Just please, at least TRY to be honest about your own motives.

August 12, 2005 12:34 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Bianca- let me see- I read just yesterday at your website the hate-filled documents about signs to look for about the "homosexual agenda" at your schools. I don't think I misconstrued anything. I note that someone- some PR genius over there- did remove these nasty bits from a prominent place on your front page.

You support disproved and dangerous "therapies", you support Barry Cohen who sometimes says gay or straight are both okay and then says being gay is dangerous and should be changed, some of you say being gay is a disorder, some of you say it is a choice ,some of you say it is a sin- depends on how the wind blows- huh? See, Bianca(or are you Retta?),we know what CRC is. We don't have to discredit CRC- you guys do a fine job all by yourselves.

August 12, 2005 12:45 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Bianca, I mean Rhetta, I don't think I used the word "hate" once in this post. This isn't about what motivates you guys, it's about the techniques you use to advance your agenda.

Tell ya what, go to the "gay club" web site, and type "misconstrual" into the search engine. I'll bet you'll find that the high school web site promotes misconstrual.

Or, OK, a serious question: do you really believe that the proposed curriculum encouraged students to question their sexual orientation?


August 12, 2005 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bianca said...
Misconstrual: a kind of misinterpretation resulting from putting a wrong construction on words or actions (often deliberately).


From CRC Public Message Board posted by Bianca..oops I mean CRC Precious

Transgenderism is a subject
« on: July 19, 2005, 11:23:51 am »

The schools will be raising the subject of transgenderism in the context of it being a normal sexual variation. There was no mention of the connection to a gender identity disorder. Even though the Md. State Board of Education has no official listing of sexual variations, they indicated to me via telephone, that this term is included with heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. We have written the MCBOE to clarify what is their definition of “sexual variations”.

PFLAG promotes Transgender and Gender Identity Disorder as Normal: ,Look at some of their quotes from their various booklets available to students either through the gay/straight clubs or over the internet from PFLAG.

PFLAG will have a representative on the new CAC. They are referenced by the Am. Psychological Ass. NEA, Mont. County Mental Health Ass., NARL, Planned Parenthood and others.
as a place to get gay affirming information on GLBT issues.
"Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is okay. It's one part of who you are."
"Being transgender or gender variant is not a disorder …"
"Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is as okay and as natural as being straight."
"Effeminate boys and masculine girls who may or may not be gay are targeted for harassment based on gender expression that challenges our society's view of what it means to be a boy or girl, man or women."
"Make accommodations for transgender students in gender neutral bathroom use, dress codes and athletic teams."

August 12, 2005 1:03 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

OK, class, true or false, was this an attempt by Rhetta, oops, I mean CRCPrecious, to "misconstrue" PFLAG's mission in the CRC forum?


August 12, 2005 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bianca said...
Misconstrual: a kind of misinterpretation resulting from putting a wrong construction on words or actions (often deliberately).

CRC=Misconstrual: a kind of misinterpretation resulting from putting a wrong construction on words or actions (often deliberately).

Just as Retta=Bianca=CRC Precious

Now is it that Retta may think she is Precious to CRC or CRC is Precious to Retta??????????? Misconstrual= CRC

August 12, 2005 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmmm....doesn't CRC leadership say....

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner?

Exactly what is the sin?

Being a homosexual?

August 12, 2005 4:22 PM  

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