This is topic "You can learn more about a person by what they say about others... in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
...than by what people say about him."

There is a kerfuffle in the political race at the moment. Wesley Clark has been smeared by Gen. Shelton, his former boss, as being booted out of the military for character and integrity issues. However, Shelton will not elaborate further. He won't say what the issues were, and thereby leaves Clark powerless to rebut them. When asked of the issue, Clark merely said that he does not know Shelton is referring to, and that Shelton has never spoken to him (Clark) about it.

In the exchange, my sympathy is with the smeared. I am puzzled when someone tries to convince that a "friend" of theirs is actually a terrible person, because (1) none of my business, and (2) what kind of person are you to trash this friend to someone who knows her(him)?

In My Fair Lady, Eliza explained that the Colonel was a gentleman while Professor Higgins was not because Professor Higgins treats a lady like a flower-girl, and the Colonel always treats even a flower girl like a lady.

Kathy Kidd once wrote that one of the true tests to see what kind of human being we are is if we can treat with kindness and respect those who deserve neither. I really like that.

So... what do you think?

[ September 29, 2003, 06:26 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
Kathy Kidd once wrote that one of the true tests to see what kind of human being we are is if we can treat with kindness and respect those who deserve neither. I really like that.

I like it too. Sadly, though, I don't always live up to it. Specifically, when I feel disrespected, I go on the offensive. I would probably be more effective with people if I could turn the other cheek, and respond with kindness . . . and then again, sometimes I think people need a swift kick in the rear. [Smile]

*frown* I'm not sure I can think of an instance where a swift kick in the rear has actually helped, but it sounds good.

And once again you put your finger right on an area in which I need to improve . . . Thanks! [Razz] [Smile]

j/k [Smile]
j/k [Smile]
[Big Grin]

[ September 29, 2003, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: Icarus ]
Posted by wieczorek (Member # 5565) on :
It certainly makes sense to me - but the majority of people on the earth thrive on listening only to what others say about someone than by giving the someone a chance to let them know who they are.
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
[Razz] Oh my stars, this was SO not intended to be pointed or directed at ANYONE or even remotely a rebuke of any sorts. Icky: [Razz]

I just think this is a topic at which the brilliant, thoughtful, and diverse group at Hatrack might enjoy taking a stab. [Smile]
Posted by Godric (Member # 4587) on :
::swiftly kicks Icarus in the rear...::

::...and promptly runs for his life::
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
Kat, you are misinterpreting me. I was not taking it in any spirit but that in which it was intended. [Smile]
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
I'm glad. [Smile]
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
::EDITS above post::
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
Actually, it kinda bothers me that lately people automatically assume I've taken offense or that I'm being sensitive. I certainly know that I can be over-sensitive. It's yet another trait I need to work on. [Razz] But really, I was just using your thread topic to examine myself in the light of the standard you presented, and to judge whether or not that standard was a valid one as well. I found that I liked the sound of it, but that I didn't live up to it as well as I would like, and so my post was a reflection of that. Now your thread is thoroughly derailed, with only wieczorek and I responding to your original topic. *sigh*

I dunno. I guess I'm just sensitive about being sensitive.

[Big Grin]
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
<joke deleted>

I originally put "*completely offended by Icky's post*", but then I thought, maybe not such a good idea. [Razz]

*waves flag to other Hatrackers* Anybody out there with a comment?
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
I tend to agree. Especially when the issues are vague and formless, as they are in kat's example.

It would be one thing if he was bringing up substantive issues that could be -- and perhaps need to be -- discussed. But making vague nasty comments just makes the person saying them look bad.
Posted by Taberah (Member # 4014) on :
My understanding of this particular situation is that Shelton did not set out to smear Clark.

"What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate," was the question put to him by moderator Dick Henning, assuming that all military men stood in support of each other. General Shelton took a drink of water and Henning said, "I noticed you took a drink on that one!"

"That question makes me wish it were vodka," said Shelton. "I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."

Shelton is very highly thought of in the military community . . . Clark rather less so. My take on the situation is that Shelton was asked his opinion, and gave it honestly. The fact that it was not unsolicited lends credence to the notion that Shelton is not attempting to "smear" Clark.

[ September 29, 2003, 07:41 PM: Message edited by: Taberah ]
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
But he hasn't clarified or cleared it up. His original statement isn't dreadful, but the continued silence on the subject, when the issue has not died, is dreadful.

Clark is a candidate for President. If there are character issues - serious enough to get booted from the military - we should know. If there isn't, he should clear up the clouds around the name.

Added: Clark is a Democrat is a very Republican culture. There could be many reasons he is not highly thought of that have nothing to do with honesty and character.

[ September 29, 2003, 07:43 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]
Posted by Mrs.M (Member # 2943) on :
It's funny you should mention it - Dr.M and I have been talking about that lately. Here's how it came up:

There was a kid at Andrew's cousin's Bar Mitzvah who was a little odd and off-putting. When Andrew's relatives came to visit, we asked Jonny (the Bar Mitzvah boy) about him. It turns out that the kid is someone that Jonny used to be friends with and invited for old time's sake. What bothered Andrew and me was that Jonny's mom chimed in about how the kid is a total weirdo. She seemed proud that Jonny is too cool to be friends with him.

Now, she's entitled to her opinion. However, it's her job as a parent to set an example for her son and to maintain moral authority. She did neither by encouraging her son's belittlement (belittling?) of his former friend. She should have held her peace or chided Jonny for being ugly about someone he used to be friends with. And she wonders why he's so disrespectful to her and his father. Andrew and I agreed to try not to be ugly about other people in front of our children and to at least disapprove if they are.

This will be a challenge for me. I was raised in the South, where you can be as ugly as you want about someone as long as you hang a "bless her heart" on the end.

The above just applies to casual and familial interactions. When it comes to a more public forum (like this one), I think that you should either say something nice or nothing at all.
Posted by Taberah (Member # 4014) on :
Clark is a Democrat is a very Republican culture. There could be many reasons he is not highly thought of that have nothing to do with honesty and character.
That's true too. But there are flaws other than honesty and character that are still relevant in examining his ability to be a good president.

I doubt that most generals are critiquing Clark because he's a Democrat and they are Republicans. (After all, Clark admitted that he voted for both Nixon and Reagan.) If he was a great guy, they would support him regardless of what ticket he ran on. For example, did you hear any generals or admirals making snide remarks about Admiral Stockdale when he ran with Ross Perot in 1992? Shelton knows Clark well enough to critique him for personal rather than political reasons. When know someone well, you don't need to make knee-jerk assessments based on party affiliation, because you can vote for or against the person that you worked with.
Posted by nathan of archenland (Member # 5754) on :
this is a paraphrase- not a direct quote.

a smart man talks about ideas, a mediocre man talks about himself, a fool talks about other people.

if a person is talking about someone in the first place then they've slacked off a bit. i think its best to just leave people alone unless you have some reason for discussing them or have something good and encouraging to say about them. i screw up with that. but it is fun, isnt it?
Posted by Narnia (Member # 1071) on :
Nathan, I like your name! [Wink]
Posted by Annie (Member # 295) on :
Oh, me too. Narnia references rock.
Posted by nathan of archenland (Member # 5754) on :
lol.. i was gonna go with Shasta but i needed a little personalization. i like yours, too. i want someone to write a book in which the archenlanders ally with the calormens and attack narnia... i dunno.. it would be fun. im actually on hatrack! wow! let the posting begin!
Posted by Narnia (Member # 1071) on :
I just read all 7 of them again...I mean, I JUST finished The Last Battle last week. Twas nice, I'd forgotten so much!! Welcome to Hatrack nathan!! [Big Grin]
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
Welcome! [Smile]

i think its best to just leave people alone unless you have some reason for discussing them
Doesn't the fact that he was specifically asked for an opinion, and then pressed when he was apparently going to hold back, attest to his reason for speaking about him?
Posted by BannaOj (Member # 3206) on :
What was the context? Why was General Shelton in a position where a moderator was asking him about Clark to begin with?

Did Shelton expect the question and what were his reasons for being in the forum to begin with.

In other words what is there to gain or lose for Shelton by saying what he said at that time?


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