Saturday, October 21, 2006

Harry Shearer and I Have a Little Tussle

Harry Shearer is a funny guy. I loved him in The Right Stuff as the bungling recruiter of astronauts and in other parts he's played through the years.

Shearer is also a bright guy, one with lots of opinions, some of which he expresses on The Huffington Post.

Today, he talked about his ideas on rebuilding the lives of those victimized by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I have some other ideas, which I talked about in the comments to Shearer's post.

I could be wrong. Shearer could be right.

(And I hasten to add that these are my ideas. I can't and don't claim that they have the imprimatur of God on them, just because I'm a pastor.)

But apparently I said something "wrong." Or, I was perceived as having said something wrong. One commenter claimed I was completely lacking in compassion.

Shearer himself accused me of being an "American," by which he meant that I had no sense of history or appreciation of the cultural heritage of New Orleans. He also called me a "global warming-determinist," though I had never mentioned global warming.

What interests me about this discussion is that it conforms to the very sort of discourse I so hate to see in the political world these days. If someone advances a nuanced argument that doesn't conform to the usual stereotypes and conventions of accepted political belief, then somebody feels compelled to shove it into a known--and disdained--box. It's easier to do that than to actually think.

You might want to read the discussion here.


John Schroeder said...


You know I share your passion for truth over politics, but sometimes "new media" particularly left-leaning new meida won't let that happen. Which is why some discussions are a waste of time.

In case you haven't figured it out - they spotted you as a follower of Christ, after which, you could say nothing right - even if you were.

Harry Shearer said...

Nobody spotted him as anything but a person who advocates a more expensive, and spiritually far more wrenching alternative--moving the entire city, presumably upriver--to rebuilding the actual New Orleans, with proper environmental safeguards. "Global warming determinist" was a conclusion based on his comments that the city was unsaveable, given subsidence, rising oceans, etc. As several commenters on the thread observed, similar conclusions would dictate the imminent evacuations of even larger American cities.