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Good advice

If there's one thing Howie Carr is, it's a survivor.

He's been a Boston gadfly for literally decades. An unabashed conservative, he's been a muckraker in the heart of one of the most muck-filled cities in the United States. He's been a thorn in the side of Massachusetts politicians -- mostly Democrats -- and media figures and other assorted scoundrels. He's been a part of the downfall of talk show hosts, columnists, and major political figures. He's been threatened by many, including mobsters who talked about killing him.

And yet he is not only still walking around, but still busting the hacks and the corrupt and the venial and the hypocritical.

How has he survived this? It's no secret.

Literally.

Carr survives by a simple rule: he has no secrets. No secret skeletons in his closet, no secret relatives on the public payroll, no secret criminal record.

And he doesn't even keep his "survival secret" a secret. He proudly proclaims it on a regular basis, and urges others to follow his example at every excuse. Currently, it's the DC Madam and her little black book.

It's good advice, and advice I've tried to follow in my blogging. I have never once written a piece I wish I had not written -- or been tempted to go back and covertly delete or alter something I wrote. It's partly out of a sense of integrity, but mainly it's self-defense.

Here at Wizbang, we have our share of detractors. I can count at least a dozen current commenters (and other bloggers) who would leap on any chance to attack me. I have no problem with that; in fact, I revel in it.

But I won't help them do it.

I know they're going to attack me. It's part and parcel of the job. But I won't give them any more ammunition than I absolutely have to. And hypocrisy should be the death knell of any blogging career. (Glenn Greenwald and his sock puppets being an inexplicable exception.)

I "own" everything I ever wrote. (Well, not strictly in a legal sense, but certainly in a moral one.) If I make mistakes, I will own them as well. I will correct them as I see fit, but I will not deny them or surreptitiously fix or remove them.

Because in addition to Howie Carr's aphorisms ("never to say anything to anybody that he or she wouldn't mind reading in transcript form on the front page of the newspaper," "Never write when you can speak. Never speak when you can nod. Never nod when you can wink."), there's the single lesson from Watergate that rises above every other element of that scandal: "it's not the crime that gets you, it's the coverup."


Comments (10)

I might as well admit it. ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

I might as well admit it. Hi, my name is DJ and I enjoy poking at trolls.

That is right up there with... (Below threshold)
Matt:

That is right up there with never send an email you wouldn't want someone to quote later.

ACPOTI...which means that y... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

ACPOTI...which means that you need to watch what you say.

What about speaking out aga... (Below threshold)
Patty:

What about speaking out against a totalitarianism which actively seeks to silence critics?

In such instances, you don't HAVE to speak - but if you don't speak you are conceding your freedom.

And if too many concede their right to speak, than the freedom to speak is no more.

Maybe you survive, but at a huge cost.

Patty,If you are n... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

Patty,

If you are not going to take the heat for what you say, then you are nothing more than a petulant child, shaking her fist at the injustice of the world for not recognizing the genius you represent. ACPOTI means that what you say DOES go farther than it did before. (For an example: Imus, Marcotte, et al.) Do not be decieved people will still stand up for what they beleive, but understand the anonymity that you have on the internet is an illusion, what you say is more irrevocable attached to you than ever before.

Listen, I caught you RED HA... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Listen, I caught you RED HANDED last week changing "Cheryl Crowe" to "Sheryl Crowe"... just admit it!

LOL - LOVE Howie Carr by the way. I'm still shocked that Whitey and his bastards never got poor Howie.

MunDane: What does ACPOTI m... (Below threshold)
Patty:

MunDane: What does ACPOTI mean?

In response to: "what you say is more irrevocable attached to you than ever before." I don't think it is as simple as that. (BTW - I'm not talking about insults or personal attacks - I'm talking about publishing cartoons if you want to, even if some think that they are "offensive.") Totalitarianism doesn't work if many disobey its rules. But as more and more fall in line, the remainder become isolated and can be attacked. That is the result of thinking always of "personal survival" in the face of totalitarianism.

ACPOTI = Anyone Can Post On... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

ACPOTI = Anyone Can Post On The Internet

If, and this is not that big an if as one would think, I am going to be persecuted for my thoughts, writings and such, I will still make them.

I will not submit.

Totalitarianism works through fear, and if people do fear the results of their actions undedr that system (it doesn't have to be a government BTW, pleanty of corporations run this way too) they are submitting to those rules.

But some rules have to be followed for the good of the workplace. The fact that, say I can read a Bible or a Playboy in my workplace or eat raw meat or cooked beans for lunch does not mean I should. I need to be respectful of my surroundings and those that need to work with me. I may live in such a place where said rules are seen as necessary, but fighting hem for thesake of fihgting them is silly.

MunDane: Of course a person... (Below threshold)
Patty:

MunDane: Of course a person should be considerate and appropriate. Most Americans are not only considerate but also very accepting and not easily ruffled. I know I am. Live and let live...

But I can't stand it when one group comes out and suddenly declares topics and discussions off limits. For example, global warming - no discussion possible or you are a "denier." Imus remark - must whole heartedly condemm or be accused of racism. "Diversity" - support or be condemed as rascist. Criticism of Islam - no discussion.

The list is long and grows longer daily.

But I think I am veering off-topic. I assume the original post is about civility etc. It's just the suggested survival technique of "say nothing if you absolutely don't have to" runs counter to a free and vibrant society.

That is right up t... (Below threshold)
That is right up there with never send an email you wouldn't want someone to quote later.

Yup. People may forget what you say, but email is a written record.

Some years ago, a financial officer at a company I used to work for caught wind of a money scandal/conspiracy brewing among the suits, and started saving emails to his personal computer (he was cc'ed on a lot of them). So when the investigators showed up in his office, he had tons of evidence that both exonerated him and implicated the guilty.




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