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May 15, 2009

"The First Rule of Holes: If you're in one, stop digging."

As I write this, the Rockets have just tied their series with the Lakers 3-3, a series in which nobody, including some local writers, didn't think Houston could even win a game, especially without T-Mac and after Yao broke his foot, leaving our two superstars out of the rest of the post-season.

There's a term our local announcer has been using: "excuse machine". The national media likes the Lakers because they love L.A., they love Kobe Bryant, and they want to see another Lakers-Celtics series. So, each time the Rockets win, it's, "Well, they just blew it."

This is an excellent example of not using all the facts. Selectivity is probably the worst problem in this country today. People decide what they want and ignore anything that goes against it.

(I had rant to the media at the bottom of this page, but their attitude has me too upset to focus on it.)

There are three types of selectivity:

  1. Selective listening. This was covered in a number of college courses I took. This happens when you take what supports your idea and either ignore the rest or scream at whoever is pushing it. (No small number of politicians need to understand this.) The result is a lack of information that causes people to believe crap.
  2. Selective knowledge. This is when you know something but will not admit it because it contradicts your argument. If you want to see selective knowledge in action, watch any debate. There are pros and cons to any argument, but the trained debater will not address the cons unless specifically asked, and many will then dance around the question.
  3. Selective speaking. This is more common than most people realize. Selective speaking happens when the speaker chooses specific words to make the statement sound like something other than it is. For example, someone might say they "have" something. If they do not own it, the listener may assume they do.
I'd rather not rehash this issue more than I already have. I refer you to my series of blogs on accuracy, especially Part III.

Next time, I'll start on another series of blogs, this one on one thing that most people in this country don't know how to do: listen.

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