January 31, 2011

What we think we’re doing when we interpret matters

Or so I’ve heard it said. Legal Insurrection:

Akin Gump should have just said what it really meant: “We are afraid that left-wing bloggers and others who hate Power Line will make a big deal about this and try to use it against the firm to disrupt our relationship with clients who pay us millions of dollars in legal fees each year.”

If Akin Gump had justified its actions based on its own financial interests, rather than hiding behind words like “insensitive,” I would have respected its decision (although still disagreed with it). A law firm has a legitimate interest in maintaining client relationships. Instead, Meggesto and Akin Gump chose to portray Mirengoff at best as insensitive and at worst as a bigot, which conclusions were not supported by the blog post in question.

Doesn’t matter, really. If we’re going to pretend that language works in a way that it clearly doesn’t — and to institutionalize that idea into our very epistemology — what we will end up with is the slow erosion of our speech, as more and more of it becomes subject to “interpretations” motivated by cynicism and a will to power.

This latest is just another dismal example of how precisely such a “democratic” method of “interpretation” can and will be used to diminish the individual at the whims of a motivated collective.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 8:11am

Comments (28)

  1. Akin Gump’s James Meggesto is too precious.

    They should fire his dork ass I think just for being such a pansy.

  2. Pretty damn instructive on the subject of Mirengoff too.

  3. So Meggesto adds Mirengoff’s scalp to his collection, and is proud to count coup against PowerLine.


  4. How Mirengoff lasted as long as he did at Akin Gump with the Powerline blog is beyond me.
    A traditional conservative with that soapbox….I honestly don’t know how he did it. I’ve increased my blog comments 100 fold but only since I left Big Media.
    Im surprised it didnt happen sooner.

  5. Paul Mirengoff needs to find another, more rational law firm to work for, if he wants to preserve what’s left of his dignity.

    From the comments:

    “Mr. Meggesto is currently a member of the Washington office’s diversity committee.”

    What a surprise.


  6. If the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy really existed, this would never happen. I mean, you’d think the threat of the VRWC moving their accounts from Achin’ Rump would keep those sorry bastards in line.

    Here’s hoping Mirengoff finds new digs soon, with a group that appreciates his extracurricular work.

  7. If we’re going to pretend that language works in a way that it clearly doesn’t — and to institutionalize that idea into our very epistemology — what we will end up with is the slow erosion of our speech, as more and more of it becomes subject to “interpretations” motivated by cynicism and a will to power.

    Your verb tenses are messed up, duud, on account of they don’t indicate a fait accompli.

  8. “Interpret this, motherfucker!”

  9. More “civility” from the masters of it.

  10. The left already has an “internet kill switch”, this is an example of it working. Fear will make the effect of this one “kill” expand to more blogs. Professor Jacobson says,

    “I’m glad I don’t work at a big law firm. It’s so much easier being an outspoken conservative blogger at an Ivy League university.”

    I’m not too sure that that is any protection from the PC warriors of the Left.

    The bill that Congress has that is about an “internet kill switch” is more of a power mains breaker. The Left already has their “kill switch”. It is the same one which made the USSR a “water empire”, submit if you wish to continue to have employment to earn a living.

  11. The law profession — at least, a very vocal and often putatively conservative contingency of it — seems to allow for the legitimacy of such arguments as the one that caused Mirengoff his Powerline gig.

    No wonder the concern with appearances is so dominant in their thinking.

  12. And another thoughtful, pragmatic, respectable, good-will-seeking, concensus-building, helpful conservative learns that you can never choose your words carefully enough.

    Probably better not to say anything at all than get caught up in the politics of impolitic language.

  13. Yaqui Indian says prayer at memorial service: good, diverse, inclusive, merits praise.

    African Christian minister says native prayer at Palin’s church: bad, merits ridicule.

  14. Dr Sanity has a good post on the effect of post-modernism on language.

    What’s important to the postmodern demagogue is the language’s effectiveness at achieving the desired result. Stephen Hicks wrote in Explaining Postmodernism […]

    Language is a tool of social interaction, and one’s model of social interaction dictate what kind of tool language is used as….

    And so given the conflict models of social relations that dominate postmodern discourse, it makes perfect sense that to most postmodernists language is primarily a weapon.

    Anyway, not strictly OT, but I think it fits the mood…

  15. outspoken conservative blogger at an Ivy League university

    Jacobson is an associate clinical professor at Cornell. In law schools, does “Clinical” imply non-tenure track? Because I would guess that Jacobson is either tenured, or might want to be keeping his eyes open.

  16. I just assumed it meant his classes weren’t very funny.

  17. My maternal grandmother was full-blood Cherokee, yielding me an appreciable enough percentage of that extraction to have been able to “game” the system over the years via the usual identity politics gabmits; I never partipated in any set asides or “gimmes” of that sort, choosing instead to leave those advantages for those who were actually in need.

    And much like Jacobson and many others, I can find absolutely nothing wrong with what Mirengoff wrote in his post. It all rings true.

    But, you know, maybe I’m neither authentic enough or am just conditioned by the over-arching culture to be self-hating, or “unconsciously racists” in the usual way

    I think not.

    What’s self-evident here is that the “all the personal is political” crowd, for all of their effusive hand wringing about “going after people’s livelihood!”, has absolutely no compunction about doing so on their terms.

    Nor about precluding any actual honest discussions in society by subverting language and intent…

  18. Bob,

    Interesting. I too, could have gamed the system through my Cherokee ancestry. Heck, I could have really been a top notch grievance monger, what with maternal grandmother having been left at an orphanage in Texas during the “Trail of Tears.”

    Frankly, though, mom and dad didn’t play that game and I think it is interesting family history, but nothing to hang my identity on.

  19. None of my family ever played the grievence mongering game either, Blake. As you say, it makes for a “colorful” entry in the geneological record, but other than that, is of no consequence.

    I even made my wife change the entry she made in this year’s census form. She had origianlly listed me as mixed, but I told her just to put me down as a white male; after toying with the idea of selecting “other” and filling in “American”.

  20. Pingback: Power Line Gets Scalped: Did Indian Tribe Money Influence Akin Gump Decision? : The Other McCain

  21. I put “American” on my census form. I still expect men in black to come “visit” me.

  22. what the fuck was that dipshit indian incantation about anyway?

    Nobody wants to hear that shit.

  23. That incantation’s inclusion was a calculated ploy by BHO’s handlers to spin the so-called memorial service to sweet, lefty perfection. It might’ve come across as a dud (it’s universally recognized as such by most people I ask) if everyone had just ignored it, had not pointed and laughed. But really, I can’t understand why Mirengoff felt it necessary to even broach that topic, especially since he knows that one of his firm’s top income streams is ‘Native American’ monies. As I pointed out to Patterico, who stood dumbfounded and aghast when his own job was mentioned as a result of his strange behaviors, one doesn’t shit where one eats. Mirengoff had to know better than anyone else that he was exposing his weak underbelly to Media Matters and Eric Boehlert’s ilk. Mirengoff fucked up big time, not in his analysis, but in his choice of post fodder.

    He should’ve been a bit more ‘pragmatic’ in his choice of topics.

  24. I think Akin Gump is a sad flabby-titted collective of uptight douche ninnies

  25. And Eric Boehlert sucks the foreskins right off of goat’s cocks.

  26. Pingback: Paul Mirengoff Leaves Power Line After Yaqui Indian Post

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