Friday, May 27, 2005

Good Question

Orson Scott Card asks:
I mean, what kind of idiot breaks a hole in the hull of his boat during a storm, just because he doesn't like the guy at the tiller and thinks the storm could have been avoided?


Anonymous said...

I don't even get this analogy. Let's see:

The "idiot" is the media.

The "guy at the tiller" is the President.

The "storm" is the war on terror.

So, what's the "boat?"

Do you really think that the US will be destroyed if we have a transparent government at this time?

Anonymous said...

It isn't an analogy, buddy. It's a metaphor precisely BECAUSE he doesn't attempt to explain, as you have--in a completely failed effort-- attempted to do.

Anonymous said...

I didn't really care for that article, but OSC rules!

Anonymous said...

NST, don't be an idiot.

1. a. Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar. b. A comparison based on such similarity.
3. A form of logical inference or an instance of it, based on the assumption that if two things are known to be alike in some respects, then they must be alike in other respects.

1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in “a sea of troubles” or “All the world's a stage”
2. One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol: “Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven”

This is an analogy. He is saying that the situation with the media, the president and the war on terror is like a situation where you have people on a boat during a storm. You wouldn't want someone breaking a hole in the boat during the storm, and similarly you wouldn't want the media trying to bring the president down. or something like that.

He is specifically saying that since these situations are alike in certain respects they should be alike in the other ways, namely that the media shouldn't be publishing such articles.

Of course, if you really want, this can be a metaphor. Both analogies and metaphors are ways of comparing two or more disparate things. I might be so bold to say that all analogies include metaphors. So, really you have a distinction without a difference.

Look at what I wrote. In order to understand his analogy, you have to see it as a series of metaphors, namely the media is an idiot breaking a hole in the boat, the president is a tillerman trying to guide the boat through the stormy waters of the war on terrorism. Nice metaphors, eh?

But, on the off chance that there is a significant difference, please tell me why a metaphor doesn't have to make any sense. Look at the metaphors above:

"A sea of troubles." This makes sense because we can see similarities between having multiple problems and being lost at sea.

"All the world's a stage." This makes sense because there are similarities between real life and plays. We have roles to play, entrances and exits to make, lines to say, and dramas to enact.

And, since you didn't seem to understand my point, of course my attempt to explain it failed completely. There's a reason for that: the analogy doesn't make any sense. If it did, it would be open to explication.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit surprised that you can tell a difference between how Last is using the sentence and how Card is the using the sentence given that Last does nothing more than point us to the article in which Card wrote it.

As to my point: Card isn't talking just about sloppy reporting at Newsweek. Read it in context.

"So during such a difficult time, even people who think the Iraq War or even the whole war on terror is a horrible mistake still have an obligation of loyalty to the nation that offers them protection, prosperity, and freedom.

"I mean, what kind of idiot breaks a hole in the hull of his boat during a storm, just because he doesn't like the guy at the tiller and thinks the storm could have been avoided?

"Even if the allegations about Quran desecration were completely and absolutely verified, why in the world would you publish the information during wartime? It's not that the Media themselves regard the Quran as sacred. It's just paper to them. And surely they would have to agree that if such actions might somehow gain the cooperation of a potential source of useful information (though that seems extremely unlikely to me), it would be infinitely preferable to physical torture."

My italics.

He's saying that the press should subordinate itself to the President's and the nation's image; that it should run stories that make us look good rather than stories that tell the whole truth.

Anonymous said...

Also, I meant to note that in that entire section of that piece (section 2.), he doesn't once mention slip-shod reporting, or Newsweek for that matter. He alludes to it by in the sentence I italicized, but it is not even the subject of his writing.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Card is at least showing consistency. A couple weeks ago I wrote the Newsweek Personality Quiz because most Newsweek critics were completely inconsistent. Card is consistent, but the end result of that consistency is that the media should censor itself by refusing to print any criticism of the government or the military. Okay, so could he provide the list of things the media can't print--and update it daily?