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May 07, 2008

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John Nichols has been reporting for the Nation for years. That you've never heard of him says you're a center-lib blogger rather than activist or left liberal.

Nell is right. John Nichols is well known, and I'm surprised you haven't heard of him. But he certainly doesn't speak for all liberals. And to imply that his voice is more important than the entire liberal blogosphere is downright silly. As for the other two, they are about as obscure as I am. Maybe even more so.

Conservative Religious extremists tend to be conservative political extremists as well so its a lot easier to have less loathing for someone with wacky theology but with essentially similar (if still a little nutty) political outlook.

Plus, no one actually supported Wright's statements qua religion or defended them qua religion. At the most there were people who said 'jeez, a guy's got a right to be pissed off after slavery and the defenestration of civil rights." We really remain pretty firmly secular and any deference we offer to the church remains strictly the hands off kind. Is kirchick pissed because gay people don't accept the religious right's attempts to legislate their religion onto the rest of us? that's a very different argument. Wright didn't ask anyone to legislate his religious position, even if his poltiical position on race could be argued to have been expressed in a religious setting.

aimai

Melissa Harris Lacewell is also pretty well-known. She's been on Bill Moyers' Journal a handful of times and writes at The Root.

"For that matter, I didn't see anyone endorsing his earlier statements either "

You might want to read the ObWi comments, where several people seemed to more or less do so, to the point of at least momentarily swearing they weren't coming back to this blog, they were so offended at the criticisms of Wright. Did you not read Donald Johnson and Nell and others saying so on this blog? Should I provide links?

Not to take issue with your larger point, but it seems odd that you say you saw "didn't see anyone endorsing his earlier statements either," when people did so right here on this blog.

"The bigger problem here, though, is the type of argument he's using (and this form of logic is, sadly, used across the political spectrum). Specifically, he's citing a few outliers to make broad, sweeping attacks against a wider group with whom he disagrees ideologically. But again, honest dealing is not Kirchick’s strong point."

I completely agree with both points.

no one actually supported Wright's statements qua religion or defended them qua religion.

I did.

[T]o imply that [Nichol's] voice is more important than the entire liberal blogosphere is downright silly.

Downright silly is Kirchick's ouvre. First TNR, then Commentary, now the Politico. All he needs to do is get hooked up with TIME and the circle of Beltway establishment idiocy is complete.

With that said, your snark about the prominence (or lack thereof) re: Nichol, Harris-Lacewell and Wycliff is (IMO) misplaced, since all three are (relatively)well-known--although perhaps not as influential on the slightly-outside-the-Beltway incestuous circle-jerk that is the (white) centrist Liberal blog establishment as one might expect (Harris-Lacewell was on CNN this morning, however).

Or, what Nell said.

The “reality-based community,” as self-satisfied liberal bloggers call themselves, was a term created in direct response to the “faith-based community,” what the Bush administration called recipients of money from its Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

This is not a true claim about the origins of the phrase "reality-based community." It came from this Ron Suskind article where it was quoted as a criticism of liberals, who subsequently embraced the term.

If you'd like you can add me to the list of godless leftists who support Rev Wright, but I think the whole argument is just terribly sad. The real problem with Kirchick's argument, and unfortunately it is one that you have swallowed, is that Reverend Wright is some kind of extremist. I can only assume that people think this because they simply have not heard of the Reverend Martin Luther King, which is understandable because the man was replaced with a robotic simalcrum somewhere around 1968 who has regularly appeared on our TV screens ever since repeating the same four words - "I have a dream!" - over and over again.

Nonetheless, the real Martin Luther King grappled with much more than just the ephemeral substance of dreams. He spoke out so much against the ugly reality of his time that the government declared him a danger to society, not just a danger to one politician's campaign. And not only was King an extremist, but he was a religious extremist - his ethos of racial equality was grounded very firmly in his religious beliefs.

Malcolm X, now, there was an extremist. A smart, witty extremist admittedly, and not a patch as far as sheer brutal malice goes to some of the people who he opposed, but an extremist of sorts.

All calling out Wright as an extremist does is demonstrate just how narrow and restricted the accepted range of political opinion is, and how eventheliberals™ must accept the baseline perversity of American Exceptionalism and the First Church of Christ, Redneck before they can be accepted into "serious" discourse.

Do I agree with Wright on everything? Hell no. But is he some kind of crazy psycho? I've listened to his sermons and I don't think he is. Admittedly I've been working recently and my Obama-supporting friends say that he's been most impolitic in his words about Obama, but so the ever loving donkey cock what? He's a firebrand preacher with an axe to grind, I don't recall moderating one's rhetoric being in the job description there. Indefensible lunacy, claims Kirchick? Why? There are very few things in the "insane" sermons that are not verifiably true, and the biggest one - the AIDS conspiracy theory - is very believable if you happen to read the news or have the first idea about the US government's history of experimenting on its African American population. Wright's crime seems to be simply that he was impolitic and angry about things he's not allowed by the standards of polite American discourse to be angry about. The question is, of course, why we should let the people who run the country decide what we can and cannot be pissed off about? If people can rail about the damned mexicans and the dirty homosexuals, I'll be buggered if I'll have some guy in DC tell me we can't rail against people like him in DC who poison American discourse with their nepotistic, establishment-supporting swill.


Of course, the biggest source of Hyuk-hyuks here is Kirchick's shamelessness about admitting what it is that the Right does with religion and political discourse. At no point does he say that the right does not shamelessly pander to religious people of a certain stripe, or that they don't take the support of a few firebrand preachers and translate that into the support of "religious people" or that even more odious claim of being the "moral majority," thus implicitly tainting people who do not agree with the conservative Christian viewpoint as being an immoral minority. All he is doing is saying "look, the left are doing something in a minor way that the right have honed into a fine art for decades, and that is now an irremovable part of their politics. Doesn't that make those leftists hypocrites, because they were so angry when we did it?" The logic is impeccable wingnut: This behaviour is terrible and wrong. The left criticised the right for doing it for years, but now they've been tainted with it too. Therefore, keep voting for the right, because at least you know we're the crazy party who panders to religious goofballs.

The real problem with Kirchick's argument, and unfortunately it is one that you have swallowed, is that Reverend Wright is some kind of extremist. I can only assume that people think this because they simply have not heard of the Reverend Martin Luther King,

Or stepped outside a comfortable circle of latte-drinking friends.

Really...I heard lots more radical stuff when I was a student. I hear lots more radical stuff from the folks who really are extremists. I hear lots more radical stuff from (whisper) foreigners.

Some of the stuff I agree with, a lot I don't. And folks like Rev. Wright get a whole lot less angry when you say, "I understand what you're talking about, you have a right to get worked up, though I don't necessarily agree with your solutions."

mcDuff said what I meant to say.

aimai

I got past the disgust that liberal bloggers' reaction to Wright generated, at least past it enough to remain a commenter here and remain relatively civil. But McDuff has expressed perfectly well in his first two paragraphs the reasons I came close to staying away until after the election.

It's just one of those points of departure between left-wingers and liberals.

Martin Luther King, Jr. preached sermons at Ebenezer Baptist and other black churches that Obama and his enthusiasts would probably feel obliged to condemn today, if they'd been videotaped.

And if you're unfamiliar with Melissa Harris Lacewell, I suggest checking out the video here of her schooling Gloria Steinem on Democracy Now!

It was excellent. I'd never heard of her before that either, and now I love her.

I've read Nichols before, but he's a media critic and I'm a master's in journalism student.

but the real issue, anyway, isn't whether or not anyone defended Rev. Wright, since I'd say defending someone's freedom of speech and religion is pretty damn liberal. the issue is that the right is so used to their firebrand preachers actually influencing policy that they assume pointing out that Wright is not that crazy means he's going ot be in the White House signing bills.

oh wait, he was at the White House as a guest of Bill Clinton.

There's an interesting asymmetry here. We talk about Overton's window, but in American political discourse, Overton's window seems to only (or primarily) move to the right to encompass, but when it is points like the ones Wright (who is no extremist) makes, the window doesn't shift, it shrinks.

LJ: We talk about Overton's window, but in American political discourse, Overton's window seems to only (or primarily) move to the right to encompass…

Well, on this blog at least, no. No way. It is moving steadily left, lurching to the left in fact.

Even as someone who:
-Slams the administration
-Regrets supporting the war
-Is against torture
-Wants to pull out of Iraq ASAP
-Is generally pro-choice
-Supports LGTB rights up to and including marriage
-Supports universal health care
-Supports O-goddamned-bama
-Hates McCain
-etc.
-Et freakin’ cetera…

It’s just getting to be too much damned work. A 5 minute effort to leave a comment can lead to hours of follow up. And head scratching. And just a lot of WTF that makes you regret taking the 5 minutes to begin with. More and more it seems like you can’t agree with part of the package. All or nothing. With us or against us. Yeah, been there and done that.

Not directed at you personally LJ. Consider this a general rant. And with that, time for me to take a break.

I would echo McDuff, but I also have to point out that a number of liberal bloggers have adopted the sneaky, altogether unfair tactic of either including videos of the whole sermon, or transcripts of relevant excerpts, and actually letting their readers see the points Wright made in context and even *shudder* make up their own minds as to how extremist Wright actually is.

Some examples I can think of are Mark Kleiman and Dave Neiwert (Orcinus). I'm going to copy Dave's transcript of the famous "God Damn America" speech here, and then make some comments on the difference between religious speech on the right and on the left in a following post.

"Where governments change, God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more. That’s what his name I Am means. He does not change.

God was against slavery on yesterday, and God, who does not change, is still against slavery today. God was a God of love yesterday, and God who does not change, is still a God of love today. God was a God of justice on yesterday, and God who does not change, is still a God of justice today. God does not change.

And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on the reservations.

When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps.

When it came to treating the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters. Put them on auction blocks. Put them in cotton fields. Put them in inferior schools. Put them in substandard housing. Put them in scientific experiments. Put them in the lowest paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of the racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness.

The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing God Bless America. Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That’s in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating its citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme."

I would suggest that you check Orcinus for the whole discussion -- it's right there on the blogroll and the article is still up top (3rd Down).

And if you do, you might read the article just above it, on Pat Buchanan. You know, the 'respectably conservative' commentator who is welcome on all three main news networks. The man who is currently 'channeling' the works of Madison Grant, perhaps the single most important "intellectual racist" of last century, and his THE PASSING OF THE GREAT RACE.

(more in the next post -- possibly after some cat feeding)

I would suggest that if OCSteve is feeling like this:

"It’s just getting to be too much damned work. A 5 minute effort to leave a comment can lead to hours of follow up. And head scratching. And just a lot of WTF that makes you regret taking the 5 minutes to begin with. More and more it seems like you can’t agree with part of the package. All or nothing. With us or against us. Yeah, been there and done that."

that should spur the rest of us to reflection. As far as I'm concerned, OCSteve is a person of good faith who used to disagree with me on most things, and still does on many, but whom I totally respect as a person of honor and intellectual integrity and guts, and a total mensch. If there are sides that exclude him, they might as well exclude me too.

Personally, I prefer not having sides at all.

> The idea that Kirchick observed
> a groundswell of Wright support
> among liberal bloggers and then
> wrote about it is, frankly, absurd.

A lot of people seem to make incongruent observations about the group behavior of others when Reverend Wright is the topic.

I'm not sure why this is. I assume that something's getting out of a cognitive sandbox (mine or everyone else's.)

Jenna

that should spur the rest of us to reflection.

OK. People will reflect. We could all probably benefit from some self reflection.

But to be clear, that's not going to change anything. Group social norms don't change just because a front pager says "we should reflect more". If you think the problem that OCSteve describes is a serious problem and you want to address it, there will have to be an actual plan. For example, such a plan might involve a real effort to characterize the nature of this problem, a serious analysis of the resulting data, and specific recommendations that can be deployed in practice.

To be honest, while I sympathize with OCSteve's pain, I haven't yet seen a real case made that demonstrates an objective problem. Yes, comment threads occasionally devolve into unpleasant hair splitting discussions where anger and frustration abound while people consistently talk past each other. I think we've all experienced it; I've certainly done that with Gary and Jes in the last few weeks. But Gary and Jes are not dramatically further to the left than I am. At least I don't think either of them are, based on how often I agree with positions they take. Which is not to say that all problems were not my fault. Just that we can't assume that frustrating unprofitable exchanges depend on commenters' politics. This is the internet: the medium ensures that even the best of exchanges between people acting in good faith will be unpleasant occasionally.

I mean, this very thread talks about how Donald Johnson and Nell considered leaving the site because of disagreements they had with people here. Are DJ and Nell now considered insufficiently liberal? Does anyone really believe that they are closet conservatives who considered leaving because this place was too liberal?

If the community wants to address OCSteve's concerns, I think it might be a good idea, but I can't imagine doing it seriously without someone doing a lot of leg work. You can't change social norms without convincing people, which requires a well argued case (with examples), and such cases take time to build. With all due respect, given that the proprietors of this site can't manage to keep the sidebar less than 3 years out of date, I'm skeptical that they have the time and institutional cohesion to effectively address a problem that big. I'd love to be proven wrong, but the past doesn't fill me with confidence.

Personally, I prefer not having sides at all.

I am confused by this. How can you not have sides without abandoning the idea of expressing opinions? Did you mean "side" in the sense of whatever makes people feel embattled rather than a position in an argument?

Seems like a good time for some free meta at TiO.

There's a relevant issue here that no one has brought up yet: two of the three people Kirchick cites as supposedly cynical defenders of Wright (Harris-Lacewell and Wycliff) are black. Failing to mention that seems like a rather large omission.

Please note that I am *not* trying to attribute Wycliff's or Harris-Lacewell's writings on Wright to their race. But it seems kind of obvious to me that black authors who've written on the complexity of race in American politics (and here I'm most familiar with MHL's work) would have been more likely to resist a knee-jerk desire to criticize Wright and seek to place his views in a broader context.

Just thought this was worth mentioning, as long as we're going to talk about the thoroughness of Kirchick's (or anyone else's) research when writing a post.

It may not be until tomorrow that I can finish my piece -- RL intrudes -- but there is at least ONE major difference that no one is pointing out. Rev. Wright was speaking just to his congregation. He wasn't a tv evangelist speaking to the whole country -- AFAIK -- and wasn't directing his comments to the guy in the pews who would later go on to be President. (Has anyone given the date of this sermon? I haven't seen when it was delivered. Was Obama Senator, legislator or what at the time it was delivered?)
THIS is what diferentiates him from the likes of Hagee and the far more dangerous Rod Parsley and Doug Coe (Hillary's 'prayer group' leader) who are deliberately mixing religion and politics and attempting to directly influence the political course of the nation.

There's a larger point re flexibility with Wright. The left (or "some liberals" - whichever Kirchick prefers) have an ideology that is relativistic and contextual at its core. This makes it easier to entertain a possibly conflicting point of view without becoming alarmed. It also tends to deflate the sense of an idea being radical. To a lot of conservatives, the notion of looking at environmental and cultural causes for someone committing a murder (for example) is tantamount to excusing the murderer.

Oddly, this handy ability of liberals doesn't seem to extend to points of view that reject the core parts of their ideology. In a way, this makes sense, because doing so would be a self-contradictory activity.

david kilmer: I'm not sure that's right. For starters, the notion of looking at environmental and cultural causes for bad stuff that people do ought not to be confused with excusing it. Looking at causes that might have affected someone's decision is not at all the same as excusing it. Moreover, not looking at those causes can really get in the way of trying to figure out how to prevent those bad things in the future.

This isn't about relativism at all. It's about not getting confused about the nature of moral responsibility.

For instance: suppose (just for the sake of argument) that midnight basketball programs really did keep kids who might have been hanging out with gangs involved playing basketball, and that this produced a statistically significant drop in the rate of various crimes. I can perfectly well believe (a) that those kids are responsible for what they do (or, at any rate, that any lack of responsibility will be because *they're kids*, not because of environmental causes etc.), and (b) that it's really worth knowing that midnight basketball programs have this effect, since that will help us bring down crime. And presumably liberals and conservatives ought to agree that it's much better for e.g. a rape or a homicide not to be committed in the first place than for it to be committed and then for the perpetrator to be punished.

Speaking for myself, I'm an ethicist, and I am not in any way a moral relativist. I'm fine holding people responsible for what they do. I wrote a whole book about it, in fact. I think that if, as you suggest, conservatives confuse thinking that stuff can affect people's choices with letting those people off the hook, they cripple their ability to propose good policy solutions to the problems those choices cause.

There's a relevant issue here that no one has brought up yet: two of the three people Kirchick cites as supposedly cynical defenders of Wright (Harris-Lacewell and Wycliff) are black. Failing to mention that seems like a rather large omission.

You can't blame him for failing to mention that: Kirchick is like Stephen Colbert in that he doesn't see color. People have to tell him that he's white because otherwise he'd have no idea.

I hope OCSteve sticks around.

Bugger, this didn't post. Anyway, glad to see McDuff back and yes, he said basically what I was going to say. Only much, much better.

Oh, and I too don't want OCSteve to leave. Come back, Steve! We miss you!

let me second, third, fourth, etc. how valuable i think ocsteve's insights are.

"For starters, the notion of looking at environmental and cultural causes for bad stuff that people do ought not to be confused with excusing it."

I couldn't agree more. But that's exactly what many conservatives do. It's what has made "blame America first" such a resilient label. It's why liberals are so often called "apologists" for terrorists.

"This isn't about relativism at all. It's about not getting confused about the nature of moral responsibility."

I'll try to be a little clearer. I think liberals tend to conceptualize in a relativistic way -- for example, by putting themselves in the place of others (trying to understand what would lead a person to become a suicide bomber; trying to figure out why a woman makes the reproductive choices she does). The only way to really do that effectively is to suspend one's own moral judgements in order to think things through. So it's not about moral relativism so much as just plain old relativism. Conservatives, in my experience, tend to have a lot of trouble with this. "We don't negotiate with evil - we defeat it."

I've also noticed in my travels with conservatives that they very often think that moral relativism is opposed not only to moral absolutism but to moral realism as well. I know there are many flavors of all three, but I think they're wrong pretty much any way you stack it. In your basketball example, the moral reality (what's the better or worse outcome) is known -- so the moral judgement can be entirely practical. It's like the trolley dilemma without anyone on the other track. With issues of moral reality out of the picture, I think conservatives and liberals can agree. But most situations are not like that.

"Speaking for myself, I'm an ethicist, and I am not in any way a moral relativist. I'm fine holding people responsible for what they do. I wrote a whole book about it, in fact."

If it's the book I think it is, I'd love to read it. Sadly, the lowest price on amazon.com is $237. Yikes. I can't help but think that it contains some valuable ideas :)

If you don't mind my asking, what do you think is wrong with moral relativism?

hillzoy, can you move the discussion between you and david kilmer to a separate thread. It has the potential for being a really interesting and meaty one, and one that, at least potentially, could be carried on without mention of the candidates. I've enjoyed the political discussions here and elsewhere, but I, for one, would love a discussion of principles and ideas instead of 'who said what' and which candidate is a @#$!*.

And let me join in the chorus requesting that OCSteve does stick around. In the same way that I -- a fervent atheist -- would rather read a post from an intelligent Christian than one by Sam Harris, politically I'd rather see a well-presented 'case for the opposition' than read the work of an idiot who would vote the same way i would on every issue. Steve seems -- I don't know him as well as I should since I'm relatively new here and don't have the names straight -- to be a very valuable addition, and the point that both he and hilzoy make about 'sides' is a good one. Yes, turbulence, there always will be 'sides,' the problem is when either or both sides assume the other side has to be wrong about everything. For example, I have, due to her actions in the campaign, become what could be called a 'Hillary hater' but that doesn't keep me from accepting that maybe her health care position might be the better one.
I'm getting foggy here. Hope I was coherent, but 'good night, good luck, and see you -- hopefully -- tomorrow.'

Did you mean "side" in the sense of whatever makes people feel embattled rather than a position in an argument?

I think she meant 'side' in the larger sense of liberal versus conservative. Obviously, every individual issue has (at least) two sides, but when those various issues get bundled up into a single 'side', important detail is lost. It seems to me, if there is a policy notion or problem that needs fixing, it seems necessary to address the concerns of someone like OCSteve in order to create a sufficient majority to take such steps. Perhaps in different political circumstances or on a different blog, it might be easier to demonize so as to exclude his concerns, but that's not the way I've thought ObWi to work.

Count me in as a flaming [lurking] lefty who greatly appreciates OCSteve's contributions... even if OCSteve's complaint about "too much work" left me scratching my head.

even if OCSteve's complaint about "too much work" left me scratching my head

I was nodding mine. Steve, I get it. If you're tired, take some time off. You don't have to always follow up, and follow up to the followup, and so on. YOu can just say what you have to say, as completely as you care to or have time for, and let people agree with it or disagree as they may. Or even: disagree with it, put meaning into it that isn't there, and call you some flavor of Nazi for having said what you didn't actually say. I'm actually awarding myself bonus points, when that happens to me.

You have to, in my opinion, learn (this is not to in any way imply any proficiency in this area on my part, mind you) to handle responses in terms of how they contribute to your supply of information. This is the thing I still occasionally struggle with.

None of the above is intended to imply any sort of ideological kindred between us, Steve, just...I feel your pain. I think it's a common phenomenon in the blogosphere. I think either you're going to have to either gain some patience and some ability to disinvest yourself personally from your positions, or you're going to wind up angry and argumentative, and possibly eventually just give up altogether.

What washerdreyer said.
What McDuff said.

To Kirchik's point, yes, I am supportive of, and generally defend, Wright's statements.

On the other hand, I am not supportive of, and generally do not defend, the statements of conservative right-wing conservative religious figures.

That's got nothing to do with a hypocritical pick-and-choose attitude toward religious pundits.

It's because I AGREE with much of what Wright says, and I DISAGREE with much of what the others say.

Simple as that. Dig?

It’s just getting to be too much damned work.

You're a generally conservative poster on a generally liberal blog. Swimming upstream is much harder than swimming downstream.

I think everyone here enjoys and values what you bring to the table, and we'd all feel the loss if you decided to leave.

By all means take a break, but we'd miss the hell out of you if you stayed away.

Thanks -

Hilzoy: that should spur the rest of us to reflection

Nah. The community is what it is. I certainly don’t expect it to change on my account. But it is 95% tilted left. I didn’t mean to sound like I was storming off in a huff. That’s not the case. I have the utmost respect for you as well as the vast majority of regulars here.

But each time there is an influx of new folks they seem to be primarily left of center. New blood is important to keep a blog interesting and lively, so I welcome them, the more the merrier. But I end up feeling like it’s me who has to establish myself here all over again. And “too much work” is my own problem. I just feel too obliged to respond to everything addressed to me. I drop a comment that I think at the time should be non-controversial, but it turns out to be for someone, and then it turns into an all day affair. And even those conversations can be enjoyable. But I need to spend less time online and focus more on RL for a while.

So I’m going to go back to lurker mode for a while. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist sharing my .02 from time to time, but it’s going to be more along the lines of “FWIW” with no intention of getting embroiled in a larger debate. Newer folks may take that as a drive-by unfortunately…

The “reality-based community,” as self-satisfied liberal bloggers call themselves, was a term created in direct response to the “faith-based community,” what the Bush administration called recipients of money from its Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

This is not a true claim about the origins of the phrase "reality-based community."

Am I just missing what this is in response to, and where the quote washerdreyer is responding to comes from?

Gary, it's from the Kirchick article, first paragraph.

"I'm going to copy Dave's transcript of the famous 'God Damn America' speech here," because, alas, hypertext links have yet to be invented.

"Yes, comment threads occasionally devolve into unpleasant hair splitting discussions where anger and frustration abound while people consistently talk past each other. I think we've all experienced it; I've certainly done that with Gary and Jes in the last few weeks."

You have? Okay. I hope you're not offended that I never noticed. Certainly I haven't experienced any sort of "anger and frustration" here in many months, let alone bounds of it.

Except over the freaking broken software, that is. Like my utterly linkless comment being rejected as spam last night. That gives me considerable anger and frustration, but it's been broken for years now, and I see no signs the blogowners intend to ever do anything about it.

But I don't tend to get upset over trivial misunderstandings or discussions in writing; I've been doing this (writing apa/blog comment exchanges to the tune of tens of thousands of words per month; it's just faster now, is the only difference) since 1971, and I figured out how to mostly not get upset at that sort of thing by around 1976. Mostly. I can think of someone I was upset with about two and a half years ago, and I think I may have been irritated for a few days at someone here about a year and a half ago, but nothing more recent is springing to mind.

Mostly I don't even remember most blog disagreements; which has on more than one occasion led to me encountering someone who seems to think we have some sort of fight going on, when in reality I have no idea who they are, or what past encounter they're talking about; it's not like I memorize who writes each comment, let alone keep a list of whom I've responded to of the hundreds of comments I'll tend to make in a given week.

I mean, I mostly don't comment unless I have an informational point, or a point of disagreement. Remembering each of several hundred such comments every week would require some entirely different kind of memory than mine.

"We're sorry, your comment has not been published because TypePad's antispam filter has flagged it as potential comment spam. It has been held for review by the blog's author.

Go back to Kirchick's Sloppy Logic."

Bite me.

----------------------We're sorry, your comment has not been published because TypePad's antispam filter has flagged it as potential comment spam. It has been held for review by the blog's author.

Go back to Kirchick's Sloppy Logic.

Oh, fuck this shit.

posting rules, Gary.

"That gives me considerable anger and frustration, but it's been broken for years now, and I see no signs the blogowners intend to ever do anything about it."

Blog-owners are often focused on content rather than site design. This is how it should be, in my opinion.

FWIW, I'm a software engineer with many years of experience. I'd be happy to do any migration/fix-it work desired. As a moral philosopher, I may be a hack, but I can parse HTML archives just like a-ringing a bell :)

Just throwing it out there.

Gary, there's no control at all over the spam filter. No settings, no outright disengaging it. The only way to get around it is to migrate out of typepad.

I've just updated the string of trouble-ticket complaints and responses, for what it's worth. They've been fairly responsive before, but it's been January since we last complained.

[Interestingly, this comment went directly into the spam filter, and I had to log in to typepad to get it released. This makes me go hmmmmm. - Slart]

(Breathes BIG sigh of relief.)
Yay for OCSteve!

A post about moral judgments would be very much welcome and enjoyed.
Myself, I’ve been waiting for financial daylight to order a copy of hilzoy’s book, which is by no means a high-priced stretch. Having a ringside seat for her discussion of related matters is an excellent next-best alternative. So please, bring it on.


Me, I’m a Wright-winger. Not unconflicted, but appreciative of his jeremiads and his many remarkable achievements. My problem with him mostly centers on him losing his balance (as I judge it to be) over what appears to be injured pride. It’s always a sad thing to see, but its toxicity is as massive as it is because of the size of the stage on which it’s occurring and the stakes involved.

I’ve seen a couple of preachers past their prime, in which they were widely applauded as among the finest of their generation, spending their time at the pulpit praising themselves and their achievements. Sad, disappointing, and all too human.

Wright has done an amazing job at Trinity. The impulse to pride is understandable, but it strikes a familiar discordant note in a pastor in his pulpit.
Hypocrisy is more offensive in those claiming the moral high ground, and is a major reason for a lot of resentment towards Christianity and its history of preaching compassion and mercy and forgiveness while practicing brutal Machiavellian greed and moral blindness.

Thank Heaven there’s much more to it than that.
I will be much more disappointed in Wright if after further reflection he doesn’t admit to his failure in this episode.

Gack! Don't order it at those horrific prices. If need be, just email the kitty, and I'll send you Word files.

"The only way to get around it is to migrate out of typepad."

And the reason you would keep using broken software that you can't fix is?

"posting rules, Gary."

Talk to whomever chose to post that, Cleek. It certainly wasn't me, I assure you.

It was me; I picked one of a number of seemingly similar comments trapped in the spam filter, but should have read through to the end.

"posting rules, Gary."

Talk to whomever chose to post that, Cleek. It certainly wasn't me, I assure you.

Specifically, talk to whomever chose to post that obviously failed version, and not the original version.

Obviously, it was one of the blog-owners who made that choice. So I guess they should warn themselves.

But thanks for criticizing me for something I didn't do.

And the reason you would keep using broken software that you can't fix is?

Various. Pretty much the same reason people continue using Windows, combined with the difficulty of packing up the blog, complete with archives, and moving it elsewhere.

Plus, it's not my call.

Talk to whomever chose to post that, Cleek. It certainly wasn't me, I assure you.

So, the fact that it was posted from your IP, with your email address attached to it, and was highly similar to the half-dozen or so comments stuck in the spam filter that DID have your name attached to them was...what? Sheer, staggering coincidence?

"If need be, just email the kitty, and I'll send you Word files."

If your book is long out of print, you should presumably have reverted the rights, and can therefore set it up at one of the self-publishing/POD venues where someone could order a copy for a nominal price.

Then we could ask for autographs.

Again, for those interested, my last comment got tagget as sp__ and I had to manually release it.

Naturally, my next comment was spam-blocked.

Talk to whomever chose to post that, Cleek. It certainly wasn't me, I assure you.

huh ?

Obviously, it was one of the blog-owners who made that choice. So I guess they should warn themselves.

But thanks for criticizing me for something I didn't do.

WTF??

why on earth wouldn't i assume that a post about one of your long-time complaints, in your writing style, with your name on it came from you ?

"If need be, just email the kitty, and I'll send you Word files"

Thanks! I'll do that.

"Various. Pretty much the same reason people continue using Windows, combined with the difficulty of packing up the blog, complete with archives, and moving it elsewhere."

It isn't very difficult, really. I'd be glad to do it FOC. Is there a particular platform that you'd prefer?

"why on earth wouldn't i assume that a post about one of your long-time complaints, in your writing style, with your name on it came from you ?"

Do I commonly drop into writing unattached expletives?

Or is it that you believe I'm unaware of the posting rules, and needed a reminder?

As it happens, Hilzoy sent me an email apologizing for -- I'll paraphrase her words -- her error.

"Is there a particular platform that you'd prefer?"

Blogger is free, used by millions of people, and I've never heard of it having an out of control spam filter. I've never had a serious problem with it in six and a half years.

It seems to have the virtue of working, and being controllable.

Another echo of McDuff here. Nichols is very prominent -- certainly he has as many readers as any but the very top tier of bloggers.

But what interests me is how common posts like this are. When people like Kirchick attack the left, the reflex is among a lot of liberal bloggers is not to try to figure out if the attacks are valid --- I see no sign that publius actually looked at any of the three writers Kirchick mentions -- but in effect to deny that the left exists at all.

Nichols' most recent column on Wright is here; it's not very long. Publius, why don't you read it for yourself and tell us what you think of it, instead of dismissing it on Kirchick's say-so. Or are you so certain already that everything Wright says is indefensible?

While moving a blog isn't the easiest thing in the world, I'd be willing to help migrate the archives. In the past I've written code that spidered OW to build a local archive of posts and comments. Unfortunately, that code was lost in a recent hard disk failure, but I could easily recreate it if that would be of interest.

I'm not sure I understand why moving archives is a priority though. Right now the archives live on typepad. If you moved new posts to a different site, the archives could still live on typepad where they'd be exactly as safe and secure as they are now.

Do I commonly drop into writing unattached expletives?

commonly, no. but, i've certainly seen you drop a frustrated expletive into a post, here and there. and, you wrote this one, too, right?

I'm guessing, from the above:

Gary wrote a post. It got hung up.

Then he wrote another, which wound up in the same place, and another, and another, and finally the one that (unfortunately) got rescued and published. I'm guessing Gary knew that one wouldn't post, and so sailed an f-bomb into it much the same way as you'd scream it into your pillow. That was the one hilzoy published.

As someone relatively new to regular commenting, this brings up something I'm curious about.

If a post gets "hung up," where is it? Is it sometimes lost forever, never to be seen again? Or is it usually/always in a queue somewhere, so that the blog owners have to deal with it?

If the former, I can see rewriting, revising, reposting for as long as I have the patience (it wouldn't be long...) -- in hopes that this time the comment will go through.

If the latter, is there some unwritten etiquette (or, if written, can someone point me to it?) about how many times I might resubmit a post before deciding that I'm making too much work for the person who has to review what's been trapped in the filter?

slarti. ok, that makes sense.

how i could possibly have known that, way up there, is beyond me.

Gary wrote a post. It got hung up.

Then he wrote another, which wound up in the same place, and another, and another, and finally the one that (unfortunately) got rescued and published. I'm guessing Gary knew that one wouldn't post, and so sailed an f-bomb into it much the same way as you'd scream it into your pillow. That was the one hilzoy published.

Yes, I thought that was clear, but since it apparently wasn't, thanks.

For the record, I didn't post my comment at 11:46 AM, either, just as I didn't post several other comments this morning, and yesterday, and the day before, and last week, and the week before that, and the week before that, and extend that back over the past year and a half or more.

I don't know who posted them. I write the kitty, Hilzoy, Slart, Sebastian, and Charles, or some combo of the above, and they sooner or later -- sometimes not for a day or two -- post my comments.

That's the point: ObWi won't post comments from me a good deal of the time. For no apparent reason whatever. Other than that my name or URL or email address are in the fields. Just as it happens to OCSteve, Slart just mentioned it happening again, and so on. Though I gather the problem is relatively infrequent with others.

I've been fairly subdued on waiting for this to get fixed, but since it's about at the two year point, and I've had to spend a great deal of time on each of hundreds of comments over that time, I don't think I'm being entirely impatient by inquiring again. Especially when the answer I'm getting is "the problem will never be fixed, we don't know anything we can do, sorry."

But at this point I'm no longer going to spend half an hour per post trying 15 different ways to get it to post. From now on, I'm trying once, and then mailing the kitty, etc.

Now let's see if this posts without my having to email it. (At least Slart and Hilzoy are on line this morning, so I don't have to wait till tonight, or tomorrow, to find out if my comment posted, and then find it completely ignored, because it's 100 comments back, so no one read it.)

"how i could possibly have known that, way up there, is beyond me."

I don't think you could have known it. I never suggested otherwise. I wrote: "Talk to whomever chose to post that, Cleek. It certainly wasn't me, I assure you."

If you have a problem with anything there, feel free to say so.

Otherwise I'd ask if you might, in future, please consider the possibility that I do know the posting rules, and may not actually need a reminder of them. Thanks.

I'm sorry for any offense I gave in the course of my expressing continued frustration over this years-long problem being ever ongoing, with no end in sight, ever, ever, ever.

(It doesn't help that I'm working on an OS that's driving me crazy, without my own computer, or files, or bookmarks, or any of my own stuff, with a mouse that I have to click some 20 times for each time I get it to work, and about a jillion other things that are driving me bananas about this computer, as well as not really seeing how I'll be able to afford an apartment for many months, given that I only have a few hundred dollars left, and a very small income stream, and am otherwise rather worried about what the hell I'm going to be doing in another week or two or 6 or 12, and so on. Again, my apologies for letting my frustrations and worries spill over.)

I don't get using software one doesn't understand and that doesn't do what one wants it to do, myself, when there are numerous other options available.

Not that I have any interest in seeing ObWi switch software. I simply want to be able to comment without it taking a half hour's struggle, and having to wait a day or so. That's all. Is that too much to ask?

Otherwise I'd ask if you might, in future, please consider the possibility that I do know the posting rules, and may not actually need a reminder of them.

i will certainly keep that in mind.

"I don't get using software one doesn't understand and that doesn't do what one wants it to do, myself, when there are numerous other options available."

Me either - especially since it could be done in 48 hours, start to finish, and several developers - at least one of which I know to be *extremely* talented - have offered to help.

Okay, that's my last pitch. I refuse to picket outside the Obsidian Wings offices with a "Do It For Gary!" placard.

ObWi won't post comments from me a good deal of the time. For no apparent reason whatever.

Gary, hasn't anyone mentioned the small offerings of tobacco and rum that you're supposed to leave in front of the kitty's picture?

A nice Cohiba and a shot glass of Bacardi will get it done.

Thanks -

Cleek, thanks for the documentation that this problem has been ongoing since at least January 07, 2006 at 02:50 PM. I appreciate your taking the trouble to document it.

I assume that was your point, and you weren't reaching back to a single weird comment made at 3 in the morning, 4 years ago, when I was screwed up on medication, apparently, to attempt to demonstrate that out of the many thousands of comments I've made here over the past four and a half years, I don't know the posting rules (which are useless unless published prominently with every post, but that's a separate point I long ago gave up on), because that wouldn't make any sense at all, and I assume you mean well. So, thanks.

There's one notable difference between Wright and, for example, Hagee.

Wright attacks up - to those who are or historically have held power. He attacks the government, whites, etc.

Hagee and the conservatives attack down - to those who do not hold power. They attack gays, jews, minorities, etc.

I think it's safe to say that attacking those in power for our problems is objectively more appropriate than attacking those out of power for our problems. The attack may not be warranted, but you are at least starting in the right place.

"They attack gays, jews, minorities, etc."

That's "Jews." Thanks.

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