Since when are ad hominem attacks on an opponent an acceptable form of debate or responsible journalism? Two letters in last week’s Indy come to mind. One from Jay Rousseau and the second from Ganka Brown.
Jay Rousseau accuses Village Laguna and its president of being “small,” “aged,” “mean-spirited” “busybodies,” that uses “slander” “denigrating” and “ends-justify-the-means” tactics. It is remarkable that the perpetrator of these ad hominem attacks disparages his opponents in a transparent display of projection by using the same tactics he accuses others of doing. What is calling out people for being “small,” “aged,” “busybodies” anything but “denigrating” and “mean-spirited?” Slander is a pretty heavy charge. It has legal connotations. Who exactly did Village Laguna “slander?” What is accusing people of slander without backing it up with any facts?
Ganka Brown crosses the line with her ad hominem attacks by rhetorically framing her complaints against Village Laguna personally against the president of Village Laguna (and her husband, no less) “for the first time you admit,” “many folks from your group,” “your husband,” etc.
While disagreement is fair game, personal attacks are not. If one wants to debate whether Village Laguna has earned its place as an “arbiter of intrinsic value” in Laguna, then let’s have that debate.
For my part, Village Laguna actually has a pretty good track record in that regard. Little credit is given to them by their opponents for championing the 36-foot building height limit, the Marine Life Protection Area, creation of the Main Beach Park and preserving the Canyon from housing development. That seems like preserving intrinsic value in my book.
Let’s get back to reasoned debate without the vitriol.
Alan Boinus, Laguna Beach
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