Saturday, March 26, 2005
I Win the "Extraordinarily Silly Gentleman" Award from John Gorenfeld
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARILY SILLY GENTLEMEN: John Gorenfeld (above, as seen on www.gorenfeld.net) considers Mark Kellner an "extraordinarily silly gentleman," but the usually verbose Mr. G won't say why.
The e-mail arrived in my mailbox with no fanfare, just an intriguing subject line: "You are an extraordinarily silly gentleman."
The message text:
"Yours sincerely,along with his Web address, phone and fax numbers and street address, all of which are omitted here, for obvious reasons.
I shot back a question: "To what do I owe this honor?" And I waited about 24 hours. Mr. Gorenfeld, a journalist who seems to claim a rather prolific output, hasn't responded.
I suppose he doesn't like my comments about Anton Willem Hein, who has approvingly quoted Mr. Gorenfeld's ad hominem attacks on a United States Government official, Amb. Josette Shiner of the U.S. Trade Representative's office. Ms. Shiner, you see, is a former Managing Editor of The Washington Times (disclosure: I'm in my 15th year as a freelance weekly computer columnist there) and a former member of the Unification Church. Mr. Gorenfeld, perhaps forgetting that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States" (Art. 1, Section VI, Clause 3, Constitution of the United States (scroll down to find the clause), felt it necessary to spread word of Ms. Shiner's apparently former religious views to all who'd listen, including the aforementioned Mr. Hein.
Most recently, Mr. Gorenfeld posted a short smirk to note that Ms. Shiner will not ascend to the top position in the USTR's office. Whatever her reactions, I would personally suggest that Josette Shiner, an acquaintance and a person of great integrity, has already achieved far more in her life than John Gorenfeld is ever likely to accomplish.
Ms. Shiner has long stood for freedom and human rights and has practiced exceptional journalism in many situations, not the least being a memorable interview with the late Kim Il Sung [corrected, Apr. 11, 2005], this despite her well-known anti-Communist stance. Mr. Gorenfeld has, well, picked on a girl, and called me silly.
I'll stand with Josette Shiner any day of the week, even though I'll also happily defend Mr. Gorenfeld's freedom of speech.
Post Script: Mr. Gorenfeld has responded on his blog, which I suppose is easier than responding to an e-mail. He says that I "misread" the attack on Ms. Shiner as religiously based. Perhaps, but Mr. Gorenfeld should remember that others, such as Anton Willem Hein, picked up on Mr. G's screed; Mr. Hein's primary interest is in religious matters.
And if Mr. Gorenfeld, as he now claims, was merely interested in whether Ms. Shiner retained earlier political-social views, WHY DIDN'T HE SAY THIS UNTIL AFTER MY COMMENTS WERE POSTED? (For those wondering, yes, I've e-mailed Mr. G asking this same question.)
Again, Mr. Gorenfeld has freedom of speech, and I'll defend it. I just wish he'd be clear, and up front about his motives and concerns.