The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Learning from Hurley

A lot of life is learning the difference between a fool and a prophet.
- Chuck Wofford

Gréagoir O’Gaothin • 3 November 2004

As a person by happenstance born in America, I have more and more often found myself ashamed of the conduct of many citizens, corporations, and certainly the government of what has been called “the Great Experiment.” I feel an urge to apologize, but it’s a bit hard to know where to start, and while an apology for stupid, ignorant, or possibly even careless behavior might have some meaning, I suppose we all know the conduct I’m worried about is none of these—it’s far more insidious and calculated.

But I write about what may seem an unrelated matter, the inclusion over the last month or so of the rantings of Hurley, and my two cents on what to do about your dilemma. I had been tempted to post a direct response early on, but it was too difficult to get beyond the aforementioned embarrassment, not to mention anger, incredulity, and general disgust at him and our whole political process and “choices.” But then I started noticing the effect it was having on The Blanket, and so while I still hope this particular batch of BS will fade with our election of today, I have a feeling the battle is not over for you.

So, what to do? I have considered myself lucky to find your publication and look forward eagerly to the newest postings. It is a rare place I can not only find news I would not otherwise be allowed to hear, but reasoned voices discussing issues from a completely different perspective from my own. It is refreshing, thought provoking, sometimes moving and often a good laugh. But do not think for a moment that my treasure is not another’s target. You are, and whether or not Hurley is knowingly part of the attack, he is a precursor I urge you to take seriously and learn from.

My observations:

  1. Painful as I expect it is on occasion, your policy is honorable and what it must be. I believe you MUST give a forum to all voices of dissent to the best of your abilities—else you have become one of “them.
  2. However, I would also point out that technically Hurley, for example, was not a voice of dissent. He bellows the Bu[ll]shite party line, which we all know is hardly a downtrodden voice or incapable of managing to eek out its point of view on a million other forums. Still, intellectual honesty and slippery slopes I think require that views such as his not be barred ab initio just because they espouse the party line. Were a party liner to be responding directly to a posting of dissent, for example, surely such a voice ought be heard. However, to avoid what I see as a very real threat of being distracted, divided, or even taken over by initial postings of the major powers (what small town lawyers facing big firms refer to as being “papered to death”), I propose that it might be wise, before it gets out of hand, to formulate a uniform policy with respect to such initial establishment postings. Perhaps as simple as clearly reserving the right, should volume require it, to create a separate category and “page” location for these postings, such that they are not denied, and can be freely accessed when one is in the mood for that kind of thing, but are not permitted to become a distraction or otherwise impede the mission of your publication. Bottom line—I simply suggest that all those organizations known by initials have playbooks listing more than one way to quell voices of dissent, and the louder your voices become, the more likely you are to be a worthy target. Plan for it.
  3. I would remind your readers that while American politics and policies are distasteful and might in-and-of themselves seem a distraction from causes you champion, sadly they are very relevant. However, there are of course many fine forums for more US-centered voices of dissent, and Lord knows there is plenty to dissent about, so I hope you will seek to protect yourself from being overrun even by well-meaning allies, again whether this be by a “separate” forum category or page, or perhaps some sort of “referral” or links to other sites better able to handle the load should it begin detracting from your core mission and those who rely upon you as their only forum.

This is all a very tough call, and I do not envy your position, because you do not want even the appearance of censorship, and only a fool would seek to isolate himself from learning about his enemies. Still, some formats or plans are no doubt better than others. I could of course be in the throes of a vast over-reaction, but then again, maybe Hurley should be viewed as a nice reminder to fine tune the ol’ policies—and check defenses. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. Hey, maybe Hurley is due a “thank you!”




Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

4 November 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Torture of John Devine
Anthony McIntyre

Defending the Faith
Dr John Coulter

Simulating the Simulators
Eoghan O’Suillabhain

Learning from Hurley
Gréagoir O’Gaothin

Politics and Reason
Mark Burke

If Looks Could Kill
Sean Smyth

Fraternal Parting
Davy Carlin

Bluebeard's Castle
Toni Solo

31 October 2004

Blanket Interview: Hugh Orde
Carrie Twomey & Anthony McIntyre

The Convict and the Cop
Suzanne Breen

Thanks and Goodbye
Diarmuid Fogarty

In Response to: John Kerry, the Wrong Choice
Saerbhreathach Mac Toirdealbhaigh

The True Face of a One-Eyed Jack
Richard Wallace

Hurley's Twisted View
Lonnie Painter

Three More Votes for Kerry-Edwards
Kristi Kline

Your Silence Will Not Protect You
Joanne Dunlop

The Orange Order: Personification of anti-Catholic Bigotry
Father Sean Mc Manus

Double Standards and Curious Silences
Paul de Rooij



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