Thursday, August 16, 2007

Points of Order

The below comment was left on Talk to Tony in response to Palmeri's post on the Omachinski vote:

thank you for voting no. I am glad some people are holding those with power somewhat accountable. I think Mr. Omachinski should be put in prison for crimes against humanity.

The comment comes from the proprietor of a blog called Working to Make a Living and is, at the moment, the only one.

So far as I can see, there are two ways to read this comment: (1.) the commenter is speaking with a dash of hyperbole, using the phrase "crimes against humanity" as a figure of speech (as much it can be used as one) and expects the reader to pick up on this rhetorical tic, or (2.) he or she is speaking literally.

I, frankly, don't know how to interpret it -- it seems as if it could work either way.

The thing that bothers me about it is that there is no response, even though the comment has been up there since last night.

I would imagine that a public official would want to distance himself from an accusation, sans evidence, of "crimes against humanity" against one of his constituents. This is not to say the post should be removed per se, but I think it would behoove Palmeri to clarify his position on the comment in a reply. Not doing so would be tantamount to offering tacit agreement with it, and if that's case then he should just come out and say as much.

Talk to Tony is not an absolutely "free" forum of discussion -- commenters are required to post under some kind of identity, so there are standards by which Palmeri has been maintaining his blog. Those standards were probably acceptable in his former life as the city gadfly.

I have little doubt that as a communications professor he's aware that words have meaning, but now that he is a member of the common council he has to understand that silence does too.

MORE: Turns out that Palmeri actually has to approve of the comments himself before he posts them. Kent Monte now seems perfectly fine with accusing Mr. Omachinski of "crimes against humanity."

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