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On Misrepresentation (Willful, that is)

So The Triangle is almost open, and in a thread on the Hyde Park mailing list, I called a Hyde Park resident on the "students are going to drive to UT from there" canard which was so abhorrently misused by NUNA during the Villas on Guadalupe fight. It's obvious to anybody with half a brain that students aren't going to drive from 45th/Guadalupe to UT, considering the parking situation at UT -- in fact, it is quite likely that their car, in the garage at the Triangle, is already as close as it could get to the campus without spending way too much time circling. (Many student drivers drive to the IM fields, and take a shuttle-bus the rest of the way in - the Triangle is already no further away than that, and there's a BETTER bus right outside their door). Yeah, a couple of them might do it once in a while because they need to run an errand right after class, but they'll just displace a student who's currently parking down there at a pay lot, since the supply of near-UT parking is COMPLETELY taken up by the current demand for same.

Now the guy who I responded to is pissed, having sent me a curt response demanding an apology, and I replied with a fairly inflammatory note back asking if he'd prefer I assume he's stupid and apologize, or assume he's smart and not do so. Like most center-city neighborhood partisans, I think he's willing to bend what he knows to be true about traffic in order to win points at City Council, i.e. "the ends justify the means". But is my response to such the right way to handle things? Is it better to remain respectful, courteous, and get played for a sucker; or is it better to not take any crap and call it what it is?

I see too many people being played for fools by bad actors who make statements they know to be false - like certain posters on the new Shoal Creek Boulevard group. Is it better to pretend that these bad actors are genuine and risk giving them credibility they don't deserve? Is it better to call them what they are? Is it better to do what I typically do and attempt both, and depending on who you ask, fail at both? I figure there's enough people out there who pretend like bad actors are genuine; the world doesn't need another one. Am I wrong here?

Ironically, my original post to the hydeparkaustin group got rejected by the moderator for being too inflammatory - the one which has got the original poster up in arms was the nicer version that got approved.

(For the record, I'm not this mad at my old neighborhood over Spring; it is conceivable that somebody could honestly believe it would make traffic worse -- but for me to believe that somebody who lives and apparently works in central Austin would be unaware of the parking situation around UT requires an unsustainable suspension of disbelief).

Update: Got a bounce from him - apparently my response got sent to his spamtrap. So I guess we'll see.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Austin , When Neighborhoods Go Bad , metablog

Comments

I think you are correct in calling them on it. The lawyerization of our public discourse is hampering our ability to make good choices.

In court both sides present their VIEW of things, and it is up to the other side to refute the testimony.

This is insane in public discourse, particularly for issues where a map, satellite image, GPS or bike odometer can easily tell you how far something is. Same for looking up bus routes.

You hit the nail on the head with the comment on ends justifying the means. This attitude will not produce the best living environment for our city as a whole, just for those who highjacked the discussion.

Yeah, the problem is that once you start outright calling someone a liar, you're no longer arguing your point so much as feeding the troll. With the blatant misrepresentation-for-empty-rhetorical-points people , I try not to go beyond the level of "what I actually said was XYZ, and I am sure you understood that"