Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Thinking out loud in public

By Aussiegirl

Herb Meyer, writing in today's The American Thinker makes some great points that no one else has made. Bill Bennett was thinking out loud -- unfortunately he was doing it on the radio with thousands of listeners tuning in. Had he said the same thing in a finished speech, then there might be room to hold him to task for using an inapt or offensive example.

The kerfuffle over Bill Bennett’s recent remarks on his radio show – like the earlier kerfuffle over Harvard President Larry Summer’s remarks at a seminar, and like a dozen other such kerfuffles I no longer can recall – all stem from the same root:

Creative and intelligent people – artists, writers, scientists, sociologists, economists and other public intellectuals – play with ideas. This is how they organize their thoughts, fuse them into new forms and eventually create the “finished” products that reach the public in the form of paintings, novels, scientific papers that change our understanding of nature, or essays and books that give new insights into how an economy works, what may be happening to our society or what political trends may be emerging next.

[...]When we listen to people like Bill Bennett and Larry Summers musing aloud in front of an open mike – we are listening to them playing with ideas. We are witness in real time to the creative process itself. This is why it’s so stupid to jump all over these people and to try and destroy them because they framed a thought imperfectly, chose an example that gives offense, or used words a bit too loosely or carelessly.

This is what thinking actually looks like – and if we have become too delicate and sensitive to tolerate it, we will get less of it.


At 10:05 PM, Blogger TJ Willms said...

Bill Bennett’s exact remarks have been uttered in thousands of theoretical philosophy discussions on a multitude of collage campuses for years. Yet, one Jackass on an Air America station with neither the intelligence to understand it or the courtesy to quote him accurately hears about it and taking it totally out of context turns it into a international news item. The brainless leftists in the media who are the only ones left listening to air America instantly have an other news cycle filled for the next couple of days by inaccurately painting a conservative as insensitive.

I heard every word of what Bill Bennett said and read the full transcript, only someone incredibly ignorant or intentionally malicious would find anything objectionable on his show that morning.

Great to see you back at the keyboard Aussiegirl!


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