Monday, June 23

Just Ramblin, No 5: George Carlin, Iowa,

George Carlin. Like many others who grew up listening to his irreverent humor, I mourn the passing of a man with a lightning quick sense of humor who also gave us his own personal commentary on just about everything including the more mundane occurrences in life. And he didn't care if anyone agreed with him. He did his thing; you listened, or not.

Iowa. There have been many stories about flood damage in the Midwest, especially in the local papers, and the response of most of the population. I was surprised when Al Roker made mention of Midwestern resilience when he was on with Jay Leno the other night. There seems to be a "get 'er done" sensibility among most folks who are trying to find any semblance of normalcy in their lives turned topsy-turvy by the floods and tornadoes. So I was dismayed by an article by David Griesing who seemed to take the comment of two individuals and make it a manifesto of Iowans about national fundraising, about national compassion, and about, of all things, race. When I taught writing, I warned my students against generalizations. I told them to be sure to support any statement with some sort of evidence. If I were grading Mr. Griesing's paper, I would tell him that he is guilty of a logical fallacy in that he is trying to build an argument on what appears to be the statements of two individuals. At the same time, he is seemingly accusing those two individuals of feelings and perspectives that may not be theirs. He has taken one particular quote and situated without context but in a way that seems intended to create controversy. I find that kind of reporting repugnant and irresponsible. I'm disappointed in Mr. Griesing's editor who apparently think this kind of writing constitutes actual reporting.

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