Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Context is Everything

Like Jacob S. I'm not a huge fan of politics during election time. Most of all I don't like the misrepresentation of candidates and policies through "news" and paid advertisements. Although some of them kind be pretty funny, like this one from our friends to the north.

I've never heard of this guy before. I don't really know if he goes around kicking the random 14 year old in the face, but my gut says that the video of him in full soccer drag, swinging at a ball, is a bit out of context in terms of representing his political ideology. Sure, his attempt at trapping the ball looked more like something from MMA, but it would be nice to see the before and after to know this politicians intention and response.

Likewise, the media is adept at spinning benign comments into dangerous political fodder. In a recent interview with RollingStone magazine, President Obama was asked about his current taste in music. Fox picked up his response in full, but spun the headlines just so to make it, em, intriguing.

"President of the United States Loves Gangsta Rap"

Fox has since taken down the heading, and brushed it away as editorial privilege under the claim that Fox Nation is not the same as Fox News, and is therefore not responsible to the same level of truth in reporting. Obama's full answer:

My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff. There's still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards.

A lot of classical music. I'm not a big opera buff in terms of going to opera, but there are days where Maria Callas is exactly what I need.
Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president's personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I've got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert. Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.
So, while we can indeed see that Obama admits to having some Rap in his collection (Lil Wayne and Nas), I don't know that I would go so far as to say that he LOVES rap. It would be like saying that likes a California roll every now and then LOVES sushi. The point is, a half truth can be as misleading and detrimental as a full lie.
I haven't visited Utah for a while now. I wasn't present at the recent protests regarding President Boyd K Packer's remarks on homosexuality. I did hear the remarks, in context, and definitely didn't take them as anti-gay. The LDS Church's stance on homosexuality is clear, and we have hashed through it many times before. I feel that one of the fundamental reasons that so many people were so distraught by the speech is because of the way the statements were taken out of context. Read the entire speech for yourself and make your own decision. More of that talk is on the importance of strengthening families than anything else.

Score another one for the misrepresentation of taking things out of context. Check the primary source, especially when it comes to important issues, be it political or otherwise.

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