Sunday, April 25, 2010

Silencing Iago

Do you remember the story of Othello? He had a good marriage -- until Iago, who had an axe to grind, started whispering in his ear. He told Othello not to trust his wife. He planted seeds of doubt and suspicion. He sowed discord in the family. By the end, Othello had killed his wife and then himself.

I submit to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that almost every news outlet and a good many political blogs fulfill the role of Iago in our society. It is absolutely routine to see big name news outlets slanting the news; I can't think of one that doesn't put their thumb on the scale. In my mind, I have begun to think of news outlets as Democratic-affiliated and Republican-affiliated; on controversial stories, it's fascinating to check both sides to get some perspective. But it's eye-opening how routinely both sides are spinning party propaganda and presenting it as news. The blogs that present political news are frequently at least as bad as the old-style media outlets.

Again I submit to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ and particularly here my fellow bloggers, that we should not fulfill the role of Iago in society. We should not be the ones to sow discord among brothers. We should be the peacemakers, not the ones fanning the flames of distrust, closed-mindedness, and resentment. Someone who distrusts the motives of "the other side" is, by definition, closed-minded against whatever they may have to say.

And one last thing: I also submit to you that the proper response to Iago is "Be quiet!" And the proper way to identify Iago is to check when you are incensed against other people, and who made you that way. Then you'll have found Iago.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

In a similar vein, we have some serious school issues here, regarding a bond issue that passed to build a new school, but lots of controversy about this and a big No group making lots of noise, some of it being good arguments, some of it being uninformed and/or naive. I've been thinking that all that energy could have gone to making the schools the best they can be instead of undermining the board which is sincerely trying to do what is best for the students. And where were these people before the vote???

Weekend Fisher said...

That is really odd timing for a "no" group, after the bond has already passed ...

Martin LaBar said...

The news media seldom affirm _anyone_. They put down, make look bad, etc.

That's a bad attitude. I know, there are dangers in spending too much time in adoring and flattering, say, George W. Bush. (See Hitler, or Kim in North Korea for horrible examples.) But there are also dangers in overly disrespecting leaders, or those aspiring to be leaders, whatever party or philosophy they promote.

Anonymous said...
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Weekend Fisher said...

Hi Martin

(The first comment after you wasn't me. It was a Chinese-language porn spammer. Sigh.)

Thank you for reading/commenting. I think it's always good to remember what you said: there's a time to criticize (and a way to do it) and a time to support. The easy part is remembering the criticism when "they" are the object and the support when "we" are the object. The trick is not having a double-standard about who gets treated how. It's just so human to slip into double standards.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF