The Axiom Amnesia Theory

Episode 123: The Except Shown

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The Axiom Amnesia Theory

Heit & Cheri

Description: The Axiom Amnesia Theory

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Episode 123: The Except Shown

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How many times have we seen the exception to a rule pushed as the generalization? In discussions, people will often cite the “except shown” and expect others to accept that exception as generally true. We see this with stereotypes and myths about different groups of people. On this episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory, Heit & Cheri challenge you to stop regurgitating other peoples’ ideas and take the time to think about relevant issues for yourself.

Topics discussed include Rush Limbaugh’s statements about Shawty Lo’s show being cancelled, whether we should take statements on their merit alone or factor the intent of the messenger into our interpretation of the statement, challenging us all to consider the rationale for the positions and stances we take, a bunch of people calling gun advocates “trolls” after listening to Rachel Maddow’s on MSNBC, the conflict between claiming to want free speech and choosing to regurgitate other peoples’ words, WhiteHouse.gov petitions, White House response to Texas secession petition, removal of a petition of Beyonce’s participation in the inauguration from the White House website, Obama’s award for transparency that he accepted in a closed-door meeting, the ineffectiveness of petitions, myths/stereotypes that are pushed and accepted as truth, Bishop Larry Trotter under fire for a photo of he and granddaughter in bubble bath, people being more offended by things people say (or by the appearance of something) than what they actually KNOW is happening, and more!


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Segment 1
  • Discussion about the interesting philosophical conversations Heit & Cheri have had offline lately.
  • Discussion about Rush Limbaugh’s statements about Shawty Lo’s show being cancelled. He was basically defending Shawty Lo as a father trying to take care of his kids:

    “The morality police, the old fuddy-duddies got in gear,” he said. “The show was simply gonna say what it is in terms of this lifestyle and just gonna tell everybody what it is.”

    Though Limbaugh is a vocal proponent of “traditional family values,” he accused the show’s detractors of hypocrisy.

    “So we were going to expand the definition of a family to include whatever people wanted it to be,” Rush Limbaugh said. “Shawty just sharing the love. Shawty just sharing all of his love with ten women and eleven babies. It was a show of love and devotion, how Shawty provides for all, and it’s being ripped right out from under him. I mean, who says that this is a marginalized existence?”
    Source: V-103

  • Discussion about whether we should take statements on their merit alone or factor the intent of the messenger into our interpretation of the statement.
  • Discussion challenging us all to consider the rationale for the positions and stances we take.
  • Discussion that how we feel about a person and other factors feed into how we feel about the things they say.
  • Discussion about people bringing up talking points they heard on mainstream media as their argument. They haven’t even really thought about the topic. They’ve just adopted it from someone on TV they like.
  • Discussion about how a bunch of people were calling gun advocates “trolls” after this segment aired on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show:
  • Discussion about how Rachel Maddow and her team of writers reel in the audience.
  • The way Maddow defines the word “Troll” isn’t even the commonly understood use of the term. They essentially redefined it.
  • People talk about wanting to have the freedom to speak freely, yet when given the chance, they often regurgitate other peoples’ words.
  • Discussion about WhiteHouse.gov petitions.
  • Discussion about the secession petitions that people filed on WhiteHouse.gov. The Texas petition garnered over 125K signatures, and the White House responded with a B.S. response after two months–”No, you cannot secede!”

    OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE TO
    Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.
    Our States Remain United
    By Jon Carson

    Thank you for using the White House’s online petitions platform to participate in your government.

    In a nation of 300 million people — each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs — democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that’s a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted.

    But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart.

    Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States “in order to form a more perfect union” through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it. As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, “in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual.” In the years that followed, more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States. And shortly after the Civil War ended, the Supreme Court confirmed that “[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.”

    Although the founders established a perpetual union, they also provided for a government that is, as President Lincoln would later describe it, “of the people, by the people, and for the people” — all of the people. Participation in, and engagement with, government is the cornerstone of our democracy. And because every American who wants to participate deserves a government that is accessible and responsive, the Obama Administration has created a host of new tools and channels to connect concerned citizens with White House. In fact, one of the most exciting aspects of the We the People platform is a chance to engage directly with our most outspoken critics.

    So let’s be clear: No one disputes that our country faces big challenges, and the recent election followed a vigorous debate about how they should be addressed. As President Obama said the night he won re-election, “We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future.”

    Whether it’s figuring out how to strengthen our economy, reduce our deficit in a responsible way, or protect our country, we will need to work together — and hear from one another — in order to find the best way to move forward. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about the President’s ideas and share more of your own.

    Jon Carson is Director of the Office of Public Engagement
    Source: White House

  • Discussion about the threshold for a petition response being raised from 25K to 100K signatures.
  • The White House petition site was always about good PR, not about them actually considering the grievances of the people.
  • Discussion about petitions being removed from the White House site. The petition of Beyonce’s participation in the inauguration was removed from the site, supposedly because the White House has no influence over the inauguration. Surely, it’s not because Beyonce and Jay-Z are top contributors and fundraisers for President Obama!
  • Discussion about Obama’s characterization of Beyonce as a good role model.
  • Discussion about Beyonce’s open letter to Michelle Obama:

  • The government wants to act like they are open to ideas, but their actions say otherwise.
  • Discussion about Obama’s award for transparency that he accepted in a closed-door meeting. Foolishness!
  • Discussion about the ineffectiveness of petitions. Even if the petition is for something “good,” the effort is often wasted because they get no recourse. The only exception is where the petition is part of an “official” process.
  • Are petitions worth the effort to raise awareness of a cause? There are probably more effective ways to raise awareness than a petition.
  • Discussion about the sheer number of petitions circulated.
  • Discussion about the “sloppiness” and haphazard nature with which many petitions are put together.
  • Discussion about the idea of myths/stereotypes that are pushed and accepted as truth. The consequence is actions/decisions based on an inaccuracy.
  • Discussion about:

    It is a myth that everyone in the hood is fighting over Jordans. Somehow folks have gotten it in their heads that most poverty-stricken people in the hood are wasteful idiots who make frivolous purchases. Not so…

  • Discussion about myths concerning the unemployed:

    We should challenge this notion that the first thing people say concerning those not included in unemployment stats is people who “are no longer looking for work.”

    As if the people who have fallen off the rolls are like “Yeah, my unemployment ran out, but I don’t need a job anymore…” It seems to reinforce this notion that the state of chronic unemployment is generally the fault of the unemployed.

  • Discussion about the dynamic where people respond to a statement talking about something that has no bearing on the actual subject. They especially do this concerning exceptions to the rule. They name the exception to the rule and expect others to accept that exception as generally true.
  • Discussion about a picture that is supposed to represent an African-centered Facebook group. The picture is of a green eye where the iris of the eye is in the shape of Africa. What are we to make of this photo that is not representative of the physical appearance of most Black Africans? This is an instance where the exception to the rule is being pushed as an ideal of beauty. It’s similar to the photos people circulate of naturally blonde, dark-skinned Blacks–exceptions to the rule trying to be pushed as generally true.
  • Explanation of use of such a photo as “just art.” Perhaps the green-eyed African image is preferred because green is a color people tend to associate with Africa.
  • Bishop Larry Trotter has come under fire for an Instagram photo of he and his granddaughter in a bubble bath.
  • People have had very passionate responses to this photo, with some implying inappropriate conduct between Trotter and his granddaughter.
  • We cannot conclude that this man didn’t anything sexual with the granddaughter, yet some people are making the implication. We don’t even know if they were completely naked.
  • Discussion about whether people would feel differently if it was his grandson? What about if the girl was younger or older? Would it be different if we were talking about a grandmother versus the grandfather?
  • Discussion about the scene from the movie “The Impossible,” where there is a life-threatening disaster, and a woman’s son (about 11 or 12 years old) is preoccupied about not looking at his mother’s breast.
  • Discussion about how people are outraged by this picture, but they are not outraged by pulpit pimps taking money from their congregations to fund their lavish lifestyles.
  • People are more offended by things people say, or by the appearance of a thing, than what they actually KNOW is happening–like dropping drones on innocent people or priests molesting children.

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