Bock Quoted Out Of Context. Result!

 Posted by on August 21, 2012  Add comments
Aug 212012
 

At last!  I thought it was never going to happen, but finally, someone has deliberately quoted me out of context for political purposes.

That completes the set for me.

I’ve been called a fascist, a racist, an apologist for illegal immigrants, a thug, a pacifist, a misogynist, a feminist, a homophobe, a homosexual, a bigot and a PC liberal.  But until now, I’ve never been called Left WIng, and until now I don’t believe my words have ever been deliberately distorted to serve somebody’s political agenda.

I just happened to stumble across a website today, written by a character called Mark Humphrys, who deserves a Junior Cert Applied in tabloid-style distortion.

Let me explain the background.

A while back there were rumours that Margaret Thatcher was at death’s door, and last January I wrote a piece in which I said that I thought she was guilty of war crimes.   I pointed out that many old war criminals had been indicted despite their age and infirmity.  During that post, I referred to Elvis Costello’s song, Tramp The Dirt Down in which he said many hate-filled things about Thatcher.

Now, although I’ve been a lifelong fan of Elvis, I don’t like that song, and I said so in the post.

As a human being with family young and old, I find it distasteful that people might direct such invective against a defenseless old lady.

And later:

As a human being, I very much hope that Elvis Costello doesn’t follow through on his threat and tramp the dirt down on Thatcher’s grave.    That would diminish him, much though I understand his anger and contempt.   When Thatcher finally dies, and it can’t be long now, the dignified and appropriate response would be to ignore her passing.

How did Mark Humphrys choose to portray this?

Thus:

Bock the Robber, 3 Jan 2012, praises a song wishing to see Margaret Thatcher dead in the grave: “I understand his anger and contempt.”   OK, target metaphors in elections are evil. Singing about jumping on someone’s grave is good. Got it.

Now, if that doesn’t make Mark Humphrys a lying, deceitful, dishonest, cynical hypocrite, I don’t know what would.  However, what it really means is that nothing Mark Humphrys writes can be taken seriously since he shows no respect for facts.  This is particularly disappointing for a man who claims to be a scientist.  The absence of rigour is dispiriting and would certainly not inspire confidence.

Oddly enough, even though I never heard of him before today, Mark Humphrys and I share common ground on quite a few issues.  We’re both atheists. We’re both pro-science, pro-reason, pro-free speech, and pro-liberal democracy.  What a pity Mark’s definition of pro-reason includes wilfully misinterpreting what other people say.

Apart from the Thatcher distortion, Humphrys describes me as anti-Israeli, which of course I am not.  I’m certainly opposed to many actions of the Israeli government and their armed forces, as are many Israeli citizens, but the extreme Right never let the facts get in the way of a good slur.  I take it as a compliment that the likes of Mark Humphrys would misquote me, because that means I pissed him off enough to make him take the trouble, and that can only be a good thing.

The disgraceful tactic of putting words in people’s mouths is the lowest form of argument and it’s a shame on Mark Humphrys that he might sink to such thuggery.  It’s about time dishonesty met a little resistance.

Here’s a screen-shot.

 

 

 

 

  35 Responses to “Bock Quoted Out Of Context. Result!”

Comments (35)
  1.  

    http://www.isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk/

    I check this site regularly, especially if I miss the news headlines of a day.. :-)

  2.  

    He’s a mate of (or at least in contact with) that other ‘twerp’ – ye know who i mean.

  3.  

    It hardly matters. The fact that Mark is prepared to misrepresent what a person says is enough to discredit him.

  4.  

    Quite. Well done, Bock — One question: was it a calculated distortion or simply lazy web-journalism?
    Has there been any response?

    Okay, that’s two questions then.

  5.  

    The guy isn’t a fool. He’s very proud of his PhD in hard sums.

    It’s a quite deliberate distortion, unless, of course, he can’t read, which is always a possibility. And no. There hasn’t been a response. After all, what could he say? He’s been caught smearing someone whose views he disagrees with. That leaves him with no credibility in my eyes.

  6.  

    Ugly site. Poor content, most of which is of the run-of-the-mill right-wing persecution complex genre. Apparently it’s harder to add up 2 and 2 when it relates to anything other than numbers on a page.

  7.  

    You didn’t say anything.
    You wrote something.
    Makes him twice the idiot.

  8.  

    Apart from the atheism, it’s standard-issue Tea Party stuff, including the journalistic ethics, which are straight of the Fox News Distortion Handbook.

    But none of that is relevant. All I’d hope is that Mark would correct the false information he put on his page. That’s what a scientist of integrity would do.

  9.  

    Hello anonymous Bock man.
    I reply to you here:
    http://markhumphrys.com/irish.left.media.html#bock

  10.  

    Have the decency to reply here. And have the courage of your convictions to defend what you said, instead of once more twisting my words.

    Point out precisely where I praised that song, as you claimed I did.

    You’re still being two-faced, dishonest and hypocritical.

  11.  

    Bock,
    it is obvious that this individual is a far right looper. Fine, leave him to his delusions.
    His view on Israel versus the dreaded Muslim is so jaundiced and full of prejudice that it doesn’t warrant a response – You cannot reason with madness.

    The far right and in particular the American far right always need an enemy to keep them on their collective toes. Once it was the dreaded soviet union where all soviets had imaginary horns growing from their foreheads and spent their days and nights looking to overthrow the great western democracies,
    Then came the demise of the soviet unions…Oh shit. They needed a new and more imaginative enemy now.
    Terrorists! International terrorists! Fantastic idea, now the far right had a very flexible enemy (Muslims to begin with) to scare the bejazus out of the consumerists, sorry, I mean democratic citizens of the U.S.A. and any right wing fool in Europe who is prepared to swallow this type of rhetoric.
    You cannot reason with madness. Its an illness that affects individuals and the collective consciousness of some political ideologies.
    Having a PhD in hard sums does not automatically mean that a person is a rational human being

  12.  

    “Have the decency to reply here”

    Hey, I’m trying, but my comments are not being uploaded!

    Maybe you’ve banned me already!

  13.  

    Aha, I think you’re blocking comments with links in them.

  14.  

    Trying again without the link:

    There is a lot of hate speech around about Thatcher, including more or less open calls for her death, as I document here:

    markhumphrys.com/civility.html#thatcher

    If you were actually condemning Elvis Costello for that song, then I missed that. I still don’t see it.

    You said “I understand his anger and contempt”. Yes, you did say “I find it distasteful”. But then you entirely undermined that by saying “And yet, my sense of distaste is bullshit.” And you went on to compare Thatcher to Nazi war criminals. Not to mention lavishly quoting the hateful song in your intro.

    So no, if you condemn Elvis Costello for writing that, I don’t see it.

    Feel free to condemn him now, though.

    By the way, your comparison of John Connolly to Breivik was hilarious! “Obviously there is a difference. “Thesystemworks” hasn’t killed anyone directly”. I still laugh at that line!

  15.  

    Trying again without the link:

    There is a lot of hate speech around about Thatcher, including more or less open calls for her death, as I document here:

    (See “The left and civility” on my site. Can’t provide link here.)

    If you were actually condemning Elvis Costello for that song, then I missed that. I still don’t see it.

    You said “I understand his anger and contempt”. Yes, you did say “I find it distasteful”. But then you entirely undermined that by saying “And yet, my sense of distaste is bullshit.” And you went on to compare Thatcher to Nazi war criminals. Not to mention lavishly quoting the hateful song in your intro.

    So no, if you condemn Elvis Costello for writing that, I don’t see it.

    Feel free to condemn him now, though.

    By the way, your comparison of John Connolly to Breivik was hilarious! “Obviously there is a difference. “Thesystemworks” hasn’t killed anyone directly”. I still laugh at that line!

  16.  

    No that’s not it. I can’t figure out why my comment is rejected. You’ll just have to read what I say on my site.

  17.  

    Very strange behaviour.

  18.  

    You are all getting very precious about the “wisdom” you are disseminating . In the big scheme of life, does it really matter? who says what?

  19.  

    Irrational behaviour maybe?
    Or is he desperate for visitors to his site?

  20.  

    I don’t remember talking about wisdom, Henry. Where did you notice me doing that?

    This is about being dishonestly misrepresented for political reasons.

  21.  

    Mark, your powers of logic are deserting you. This isn’t about me condemning the song. It’s about you dishonestly claiming that I praised it.

    Can you point out where I did that, please?

  22.  

    Elvis Costello was expressing his own opinion in his song, an opinion undoubtedly shared by many Britons. I personally will be glad when Thatcher resumes her friendship with Pinochet.

  23.  

    I thought it was reasonable to assume that Mark, as a computer scientist, would have at least a passing acquaintance with elementary logic, but evidently that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Mark appears to think that not condemning something is the same as praising it.

    This does not fill me with hope for the students Mark teaches. Boole must be rolling in his grave.

  24.  

    OK Let me summarise:

    Praise: “I understand his anger and contempt”.
    Not-praise: “I find it distasteful”.
    Not-praise entirely undermined: “And yet, my sense of distaste is bullshit.”
    Implied praise: You compare Thatcher to Nazi war criminals. “Age is not a defence against justice”.
    Implied praise: Lavishly quoting the song in your intro.
    Implied praise: Being outraged by accusation that you praised the song. Yet somehow refusing to condemn the song.

    So no, I don’t see the “out of context” thing. Anyway, I link to the original (and I even link to your complaint here!) so my readers can decide themselves.

    The main point is of course the hilarious contrast with your treatment of Sarah Palin.

    If you’ve anything new to say about the song, or about the left in general wishing death on their political opponents like Thatcher and Reagan and Bush and Palin (see my page “The left and civility” above), I’ll be happy to link to it.

  25.  

    Utter failure Mark. That’s a very poor attempt to wriggle off the hook.

    Do you know the difference between “understand” and “condone” or are you redefining the English language to suit yourself?

    As for the rest of your efforts to put words in my mouth, I’ll just point out that they’re your words, not mine. You’ve failed, Mark, but thanks for revealing just how slippery you can be.

    You were found out trying to smear someone with your grubby and false insinuations. Just admit it instead of digging a deeper hole for yourself.

  26.  

    I don’t think you understand.

    I’m the one who busted you here, not the other way round.

  27.  

    I understand well enough Mark.

    You think Understand means Condone. You think Condone means Praise.

    You think not condemning something is the same as defending it.

    Guess what, Mark, I didn’t condemn the Icelandic volcano either, or the Japanese tsunami. Does that make me a big fan of natural disasters?

    It’s easy to see why fuzzy logic is your area, Mark. It suits you.

  28.  

    Complete silence for six or seven hours from people who make stuff up to suit their political agenda. They don’t seem so comfortable when they meet opposition.

  29.  

    Forget about him. He’s just a troll looking for page hits.

    BTW Mark – seriously, for someone with even a passing acquaintance with computers your site is balls ugly. It looks like something from geocities back in the day. Get it fixed.

    Or put a banner on it that says “Best viewed with Netscape Navigator 2.x or higher”.

    Yeah, the information superhighway. Amirite?

  30.  

    Bock, you lost. I exposed your double standards on Sarah Palin’s humdrum target metaphor map versus actual death songs about Thatcher.

    Your double standards are plain for all to see.

    You’re the guy in the dock here, not me.

  31.  

    Keep repeating it Mark. Someone might eventually take you seriously.

  32.  

    Well you’re both in the dock (or neither in the dock) from the casual readers point-of-view: what I’m gleaning from your comments, Mark is that you feel that if a song is -condemned as bad taste, but the sentiment behind a song is sympathised with-, then that song isn’t really being ‘condemned’ at all.

    This seems to me to suggest a ‘with-us-or-against-us’ mindset that does little to endear me to your other points of view,- but I can accept that you perhaps didn’t deliberately quote Bock out of context but instead simply misinterpeted his post as praise because it wasn’t as condemning as you’d like: if that’s the case then Bock is wrong to say you are deliberately mis-quoting him, and you are wrong to quote him, at all, because you dont seem to understand what he’s saying.

    Also, announcing ‘I have won this argument’ isn’t ever what wins arguments,

  33.  

    ah come on, 32 comments already and not a instance of Godwin’s law. What the fuck?

    anyway. Mark; have you honestly nothing else to do but pass comment on other people’s opinions? Haven’t you heard – “META IS MURDER”

    Look, I am sure you have some very well thought out opinions on the matter, pray tell why would you not just write some actual content on this matter instead of copying and pasting someone elses, and why is it that you seem completely unable to accept that someone else might have a differing opinion than your own, you FUCKING NAZI

    @Bock: There, FTFY. Godwin’s invoked, argument lost by default, Mark can go back to his cave with a (let’s face it, pyhrric) victory and you can get back to transcribing happiness and sunshine into the very bits of the internet itself. Hooray for Steve!!!!1!!

  34.  

    Pity about Godwin, but we still have Poe. Anyway, I’m enjoying all that storming back into the room: And another thing!.

  35.  

    Mark if i understand why someone might want to killy a rapist but hope that they dont do it as it would lower themselves, does that mean im pro murder

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