Friday, May 27, 2005

The “spin” stops here.

Ever watch Bill O’Reilly on Fox News? “The No Spin Zone?” What does that mean? Only Bill O’Reilly has a “right thinking” opinion? Don't worry if you haven't, you don't have to.

“Spin” means articulating an idea or reporting an occurrence using terminology that communicates the issue in a method consistent with the viewpoint of the person communicating the idea or occurrence.

In simple terminology “Spin” is the way you communicate. If someone agrees with the way you communicate then it isn’t “spin”. If someone does not agree with the way you communicate then it is “spin”.

I’m an engineer and I often work with Computer Aided Design software, CAD for short. There have been a lot of different CAD software packages and I have used and become familiar with a lot of them. When a CAD user becomes familiar with the way a particular CAD package processes a command and then that same user works on another CAD package that processes data differently that user will tell something like “Brand X can’t do Y, but there is a work around”. In other words Brand X and Brand Y can do the same thing in different ways. Which one is the “right way” and which one is the “work around” depends on whom you talk to.

That is “spin”, an Opinionated method of expressing a viewpoint. The more opinionated the more “spin”.

To me “the no spin zone” is all about “spin”. Like any business person Bill O’Reilly would like to enhance his reputation and increase his marketability and as a result he will continue to change what he is doing, how he treats people and how he expresses ideas, to achieve optimum results. In other words everyone “spins”.

I like opinionated people even when their opinions do not agree with mine, sometimes because their opinions do not agree with mine. I can’t learn anything from discussions I have with people of the same opinion. I do learn during discussions with people of different opinions.

When I have a discussion about President Bush (2) with someone who disagrees with the Presidents ideology quite often I will hear a comment such as “Oh, he’s an idiot”. Since the President has a masters degree and I value education and since the President is a fighter pilot and I think of pilots as requiring a minimum of average intelligence I have to disagree with people who call the President an idiot. If I ask why people will often tell me it is because the President has a different opinion, although they usually do not express it quite like that. Once I realize I am talking to someone who thinks people with different opinions then they have are idiots I try to stay away from them.

I enjoy being around open-minded people and in my opinion people who think those with opinions divergent from their own are idiots are closed-minded. The open and free exchange of ideas is what makes the world a wonderful place. Calling people idiots because they have a different opinion does not encourage the free exchange of ideas.

That is why this article is about “spin”.
In my opinion:
To reject “spin” is to reject someone else’s viewpoint.
To reject those of different opinions because they are “idiots” is closed-minded.
Both of these share a common thread, the idea that one person is absolutely right and others are absolutely wrong.

Absolute right and wrong is true in religion, but, God is the only one who can judge what is right and what is wrong. If Man were always right and could judge what is right and wrong man’s laws would not change with time and location.

Where does “spin” stop? When someone forces you to accept their ideology through some kind of extortion. Extortion is the use of or threat of force to achieve a goal. Once someone threatens force they are no longer expressing an opinion they are extorting an action. The extortion can be physical or mental although physical force is much easier to identify then mental force. If the conversation resorts to extortion, either mental (you are an idiot) or physical (I’m going to beat you up, or, you‘ll have to beat me up) then it is no longer a discussion of viewpoints but an enforcement of viewpoint.

The "spin" stops when people enforce their viewpoints on others and in my opinion that is wrong.

Be open minded, exchange ideas with those of other ideologies accepting their right to have an opinion even when it disagrees with your own.

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