Friday, April 03, 2009

Still Waiting for an Apology…

I’ve had second thoughts. I mean, am I being too cruel to half a vegetable? Should I have demanded an apology from a non-sentient being in the first place? The answers are: no, and no. So, I leave it to you to decide who has the better case. I think he’s insulted me, besmirched my character, then tried to talk his way out of it without even taking it back by turning it into a demand. Nice try, but see if that works during working hours. In the meantime, to let the rest of you know that I did read the article carefully before I came to any conclusions, I’ve put my notes out here in anticipation. I’ll be happy to elaborate on the notes therein and other points in an appropriate forum. People who have followed my blog know that I do my best to avoid making assertions when I don’t have plenty of back up—my leaps of faith are marked by words like “think” and “guess”—and am quick to apologize when I err.

A word of caution: Be careful when you go on the (counter)attack, because you never know what the other guy has up his sleeve. Trust me, I’ve been on both ends of that stick.


tony said...

Thanks for posting your notes. I was interested to read them, although it seems to be that almost all your points are adding additional commentary or to do with the interpretation of events and opinions, rather than actually pointing out errors of verifiable fact.

That's a big difference in my opinion as a journalist, because it doesn't mean the article is a priori bad, it just means that you disagree with it's argument. Of course, that is why we need knowledgeable commentators. In any case, now I know why you didn't like the article.

I'm not a person who identifies strongly with any particular political tag, but I do think its profoundly unhelpful to dismiss people's views out of hand, or talk about "liberal preconceptions", "liberal world views" OR the equivalents on the other end of political spectrum. It just closes people's minds and closes down debate.

In my opinion that kind of attitude on right and left is rife in Japan and explains a lot of the weakness of media and intellectual debate - and ultimately has something to do with the dire state of Japanese politics.

Clearly, I jumped to the wrong conclusions about why you dismissed the article out of hand, But now you have explained, so you have my apology for that.

Jun Okumura said...

Keep reading, Tony, over the coming days to see if your apology is warranted and also to see if my points are merely commentary and differences in interpretation.

As for the labeling, what you need to do is ask what I mean by "liberal preconceptions" and such, in the same way that I ask, "conservative"? What does he mean by that? All words are, in a sense, labels. (I dimly recall Plato disagreeing with that.) It's whether you can define a word when challenged that matters. In fact, so many arguments could be profitably settled or at least tabled if people asked that question more often.

Finally, I'm not sure which part of your initial comment that you are apologizing for, but I assume that it concerns your accusation of moral turpitude on my part and offer you my apology for jumping to conclusions about your status as a life form.