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Have you read Rickert today?

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Have you read Rickert today?

Postby jjoyce » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:45 pm

A lot of people on Facebook seem self-satisfied by NOT reading the State Journal's metro columnist, but how can you legitimately complain about the guy if you don't read his stuff?

Chris Rickert: Supporters of recall are certain, and wrong

The primary response seems to be over this paragraph:

It's one of those weird ironies of life that majority rule is both a linchpin and a drawback of representative democracy. A man who dragged the country into an unnecessary war got a second term in the White House, and a man who's done nothing worse than employ conservative principles to balance the state budget is facing recall.


Curiously, Rickert himself acknowledges on Twitter that he should have written it differently.

Admittedly, I probably should have written "didn't do much more than employ conservative ... " Because he was pretty hard-nosed.


Is he backing away from his point?
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:15 pm

I read it this morning and couldn't quite figure out what the hell he was trying to say. It was just a mash up of empirical evidence to say what? I can't believe that guy is considered a journalist.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby DCB » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:36 pm

Stebben84 wrote:I read it this morning and couldn't quite figure out what the hell he was trying to say. It was just a mash up of empirical evidence to say what? I can't believe that guy is considered a journalist.

I think it goes something like this:
People who speak with certainty are definitely wrong. I can state that with certainty, because I'm an idiot. Also, here are some numbers.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby Michael Patrick » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:37 pm

Stebben84 wrote:I read it this morning and couldn't quite figure out what the hell he was trying to say.


That's my typical reaction to his columns.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby Detritus » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:01 pm

I think it was his attempt to demonstrate classic logical fallacies. I'm just not sure if he realized that he was demonstrating all of them at once.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:35 pm

I read it. I read it again. I think his point was that sometimes the majority is wrong. Okay, sure, I can agree with that. But his extension of that is that if the recall succeeds, it could be wrong because majorities are sometimes wrong.

Yeah, I'm standing by that analysis, even though I don't understand it.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby gargantua » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:16 pm

That column was a hot mess. I think the point of it was that.....wait a minute.

Something about how the people seeking to recall Walker are certain that they're right, so they're wrong? I mean I'm sure it was a not-so-veiled criticism of the recall effort. Or, maybe he was criticizing the people who voted for George W. Bush. If you break each segment down, one gets the impression that he thinks pretty much everyone is an idiot.

Takes one to know one Chris. Learn to express yourself clearly in writing, please. Usually people who are in the wrong occupation do not expose themselves so publicly.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby snoqueen » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:10 pm

A man who dragged the country into an unnecessary war got a second term in the White House, and a man who's done nothing worse than employ conservative principles to balance the state budget is facing recall.


I think this part is what he meant to say, and the whole entire rest of the column was padding. The rest seems to be saying large numbers of people are right except when they're wrong, enumerated thusly: Bush was bad, KeRRy was good, Ron Johnson was bad, David ProSSer was good, same sex maRRiage is OK, and Walker is OK.

It's the old, old bar game. Things with a double letter in their spelling are OK, except Walker is an exception.

See?

Me either.

The man couldn't write his way out of a paper bag.

I feel sort of bad for him, If you tried to make me play tennis in front of people 5 days a week I'd make a complete fool of myself, but there are other things I do very well. He's in the same boat as me playing tennis. There's got to be some other thing he does better. I hope he finds it, or George Hesselburg takes him under his wing and gives him writing lessons.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby gargantua » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:02 pm

I agree with Sno, in that I feel kind of bad for him too. Even though his "writings" often irritate me, I get the sense that he is basically a decent, well-meaning human being. So I read his column, it irritates me, I vent, then I feel a little guilty for being so mean.

I wish sometimes I had a little more of the Chuck Schick killer instinct. Maybe I shouldn't feel sorry for the guy. I just think he has what is known as unconscious imcompetence. Just has no idea how out of his depth he is.

OK....I'll deal with the guilt. Maybe helping him figure it out is the morally correct way to go.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby David Marshall » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:54 pm

This go along get along mode will not likely work right here and know. It would be best to pick a position and say something interesting. Isn't that the point of an "opinion" column?
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby snoqueen » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:16 pm

I wish sometimes I had a little more of the Chuck Schick killer instinct.


Nah. That's too easy, and life is more complex. I agree with you -- Rickert is probably a decent person in 3-D and just isn't a good fit for the job of columnist in Madison's Republican newspaper.

I sincerely wish somebody was. There has to be a way to articulate and apply reasonable conservative principles to local issues without simply blundering from one thing to the other and mistaking ridicule and bluster for thoughtful arguments.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby Detritus » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:24 pm

snoqueen wrote: There has to be a way to articulate and apply reasonable conservative principles to local issues without simply blundering from one thing to the other and mistaking ridicule and bluster for thoughtful arguments.

If so, I have yet to see it. Someone mentioned on another thread the names of a couple of conservative bloggers they read who do not do this--has anyone else read them? Do you agree that they or someone else on a local or national level are reasonably thoughtful?
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby snoqueen » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:54 pm

Maybe conservatism as we think of it, as an intellectually defensible position, is pretty much dead. If you look at the present Republican presidential candidates it's not hard to draw that conclusion. The closest thing to a reasonable conservative is Jon Huntsman and he gets completely ignored.

On the other hand, American libertarianism, as loopy as it sounds (do we really want to do away with fire departments?) is intellectually lively and doesn't seem to think winning by out-shouting everyone else is the main point of a discussion. Maybe that says something about our possible political future.

There are a few libertarian positions I can get behind: no bar closing times, government out of the marriage business, and ending marijuana prohibition come to mind. I don't think we'd do well with no government at all, but since no side ever gets its way 100% I see no reason well-meaning progressives and well-meaning libertarians couldn't be two poles of a dynamic democratic process.

On the other hand, it looks to me like American conservatism is pretty much committing suicide these days and nobody's much interested in crawling out on the ledge and talking it down. Whatta shame.
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby indycoyote » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:24 am

Rickert has THE WORST EDITOR...what other explanation is there? This crap shouldn't get past the copy desk. Poor logic in arguments....poor writing....incoherencies...is he related to the publisher or something?
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Re: Have you read Rickert today?

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:12 am

indycoyote wrote:Rickert has THE WORST EDITOR...what other explanation is there? This crap shouldn't get past the copy desk. Poor logic in arguments....poor writing....incoherencies...is he related to the publisher or something?

As a cost cutting measure, much of the media (especially print) has reduced the number of theirs editors. Young writers no longer have that guidance from more experienced journalists.
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