FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

Why Ranting Matters

Posted by mikebftw on September 21, 2008

I like a good rant occasionally.

I mean, nobody likes a blowhard, but it is possible to engage in a lucid, rational, well-constructed argument that, due to its length or forcefulness, can only be categorized as a rant.  Actually, when the two combine perfectly, a rant can become an absolute masterpiece – a thing of beauty.

In fact, I find there are very few conversational sins worse than when one party composes such an argument, and a troglodyte within earshot feels the need to respond with something profound like, “Gee, tell us how you REALLY feel!”  No counter argument, no follow up questions.  Just pure kindergarten reaction.

For a long time, I had trouble accurately describing the contempt these people provoked in me.  Now, I simply borrow a line from comedian Jim Norton – It makes me want to bite their f***ing faces.  It’s such a visceral level of disgust that I can think of no better reaction than to want to bite them across the bridge of their nose. Disturbing, I know, but it’s the best description I can come up with.

There is a point to my post, besides uncovering my apparently antisocial tendencies.  You see, Sam Harris recently constructed an argument against Sarah Palin for Newsweek magazine.  It is a clear assessment of the anti-intellectualism that dominates our political landscape – forceful and relatively lengthy (for a web article), to be sure, but still fair and well constructed.

So, what did a genius editor at Newsweek decide to call this piece?

“When Atheists Attack.”

I guess “Gee, Sam Harris, Tell Us How You REALLY Feel!” wasn’t available.

(Note – Having read a great deal of Sam Harris’ published work, I am forced to assume that there is no way he came up with this title.  In the rare event that he did, you can pretty much ignore this entire post.)

12 Responses to “Why Ranting Matters”

  1. I understand what you are ranting about. I think the tittle of this article is very unneccessray. Who cares if it’s an atheist or a chritian or a whatever expressing an oppion. It just doesn’t matter.

    However in regards to what was said, I think we need to be carefull about critizing Palin on her lack of experience. Obamma doesn’t have all that in his corner either.

    How about her flipflopping on the bridge for example? One minute your for it and the next when it’s going to be cut anyway your against it? Come on.
    What about McGain’s tax cut plan? Let’s just forget about all of the people on the bottom of the pay scale? Sure; they aren’t his target audiance anyway. Granted either Obamma or McGain aren’t going to cut taxes, but if you check out each plan you can clearly see where each candiate’s priorities focus lie.

    I feel too many people vote their emotions. Lets vote using our intelligience.

  2. firstofall556 said

    I’m sorry Skep:)
    That last post wasn’t his, I wasn’t using my own intelligience to make sure I was logged in!! LOL Sorry again!!

  3. The question is, Did i just post this or did Firstofall556 post it using my username. We’ll never know (except I can spell better)

    Ooh zing!

  4. pacer521 said

    hehee I know what you mean.

  5. andyscathouse said

    I read the Newsweek article and wondered why that title,too.

    The scariest part of Palin is her Bush like “no blinking” philosophy. Charging ahead without research or taking time to think critically about her position is scary.

  6. firstofall556 said

    you hardly wrote anything, I hope you can spell all those little words!!
    who Ha

  7. mightymjolnir said

    @ firstofall-disguised-as-skeptigator
    I agree that we need to be careful with the experience issue, but on further review, the quality of Obama’s limited experience trumps that of Palin any day of the week. It’s just that we can’t count on the average person to make that further review.

    @ firstofall/skeptigator/both andys
    Let’s get down to brass tacks here – where do I get one of those sweet avatars?


  8. Butter said

    Yeah, but who expects journalism from Newsweek anymore anyway? Old media is dead; let it rot. We have our internets for social commentary.

    mightymjolnir: Go to

  9. Anon said

    It makes me want to bite their f***ing faces

    Before you act on that urge, be sure to have some fava beans and a nice Chianti near by. I hear they are a nice complement.


    Granted either Obamma or McGain aren’t going to cut taxes

    It may be worse than that. Bailing out financial companies, paying for Social Security, various wars, and other financial promises the U.S. has made makes it easy to imagine taxes will have to be raised.

    (O.K. I give up. Is ‘McGain’ some sort of subtle commentary that I am missing?)


    I read the Newsweek article and wondered why that title,too.

    It’s to generate controversy in hopes of driving traffic to their website (or letters to their office). Harris’ piece is certainly not an attack, but the title ‘Harris explains why Palin as Vice-President would be a bad idea’ wouldn’t fly.

    I never know whether to write and complain, thus feeding the beast, or just ignore it.


    Old media is dead; let it rot.

    I disagree
    The problem has been labeled “Digital Dark Ages” for a reason.

    In addition to losing history through neglect and lack of foresight, in an all-electronic world, it becomes much easier to intentionally alter historical records. This will be problematic. As a current-day illustration of the problem, just look to the electronic “voting” machines.

    We are not yet in a 1984 world – where the historical record is constantly edited and rewritten to suit those in power – but we are approaching it quickly and in more ways than one.

  10. @mighty

    Go to to create your avatar. Please Note: The website is NSFW.

    Then go to Gravatar and setup a gravatar using your new avatar with the same email address that you use for WordPress and your new avatar will show in your comments.

    You may have to go into your WordPress profile to change you Avatar there as well since I don’t think your icon in the Authors section can be controlled by Gravatar

  11. Andy S. said

    Great opinion piece by Sam Harris. His, “Letter to a Christian Nation” is a short, fantastic read.

    I do think the title does an injustice. Atheists attacking ??? How misleading to the reader. I’m sure the majority of Newsweek’s readers probably dismissed the article on this title alone. Some probably assumed Harris is a devil worshipper and pledged their allegiance to Palin even more.

    And defending elitism ?? How about being pro-intelligence ? This continual “dumbing” down of America is getting quite old. For the record, its not very cool or wise to be the dumbest kid in the class. This time around, alot of us want someone with some credentials and brains to occupy the White House.

    If some people are so enchanted with Mrs. Palin for being a “hockey mom” or “average Jane”, hell why don’t they pick Homer Simpson to run the country. He’s an average bloke who will sit at the bar and down a few suds with you while watching the Da Bears on the big screen.

  12. Doris Tracey said

    If your going to rant I suggest you do that with your local Representatives. The elites plan is to make slaves of all the common folk. They have been planning this for yrs. so what else is new? We are no longer the America that our forfathers envisioned. We are now just like any other country tied to a global economy. We need to take back our country and that means getting involved and running for some office ot at least all men 12 yrs and older can become statesmen. We all should have knowledge of our constitution. Henry Kissinger many yrs ago had the Saudi’s sign on a dotted line that if we used their oil they would buy our national debt. Saddim refused to sign and look what happened to him. I think Iran signed also.

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