Tuesday, October 21, 2008
of truth, silence, slander, and propaganda
photo by Jesse McClain
I received another email from the anonymous commentator who called me a lunatic, a crazy, an uneducated bigot. This person believes I should publish her comments (maybe it's a him, but I doubt it). If this person wants to be published in my blog, then they need to reveal their name. This new email states that I "slandered the good name of Jennifer Laycock." Slander is usually defined as "verbal" lies against someone to hurt their reputation. Libel is usually considered "written" lies against someone to hurt their reputation. I believe that my statements in this blog were truthful not lies. I would suggest that readers reread my comments. Nothing was said against Jennifer. She is obviously an excellent writer, a lactivist, a caring person. But something bothered me about her writing and when I dug a little deeper I found to my dismay that she makes her living in the public relations field. Readers may want to read "The Lactivist Project" at:
Is stating someone's occupation slander? Or is this anonymous writer trying to tell me that Jennifer Laycock is not in public relations? What is truth? And can we write and speak the truth in this society? When I was "allowed" on Lactnet, I was told that I was libeling people because I wrote about how human milk research was funded by the infant formula industry and questioned a HMBANA milk bank's "in-kind" funding from Dannon (Dannon is part of Groupe Danone-infant formula company in Europe). From my perspective, it looks like one can only be considered a breastfeeding advocate, if one keeps silent about the connections between human milk research and the infant formula industry. One can only be acceptable if one criticizes Nestle, as if Nestle is the only infant formula company in the world. Not that Nestle does not deserve criticism but that the best propaganda is finding and focusing on one "enemy." No self-criticism allowed. One is ethical because one is on the "right" side of the argument. We don't have to follow any rules because we are the good guys. In politics and religion this creates intolerance and wars of righteousness. Life is truly not that way. Ethics is for everyone, no one side has everything right (including myself). Knowledge, the search for truth, has to allow a hearing of all sides. Scientific/medical knowledge becomes more faith than fact, when we close the doors to open discussions and publications. Intolerance of others, ostracism of those we disagree with, breeds poor thinking and even poorer decision-making. Speaking of intolerance, there is no more a divisive slogan than the current mantra from breastfeeding organizations that "breastfeeding is normal." Then, one who does not or cannot breastfeed must be "abnormal." Divisive? You bet. What is the truth? Lactation is a normal biological process that occurs after pregnancy. But, breastfeeding is not "normal" in US culture. If it were normal, would women have to protest being thrown out of various establishments for breastfeeding? Would the percentage of exclusive breastfeeders be so low? Would formula feeding be so much a part of our culture? Instead of an honest statement of our cultural abnormality, we make statements that subtly blame the women who do not or cannot breastfeed. It is propaganda pure and simple. And it is divisive.
While I am accused of slander anonymously, that very same person calls me a lunatic, crazy, an uneducated bigot. Who is slandering/libeling who?