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October 15, 2009

Comments

Amazing.

She seems like a sad and lonely person - like someone who could really use...well, a friend.

A real one that is, one that would - gasp - actually come to a friend's aid when in such distress.

Who cares about the friendship columnist for Double-X? Who's even heard of Double-X? I hate to say it, but this is yet another insubstantial Lindsay post, albeit one with spelling, no offense to Lindsay.

Maybe media criticism isn't your cup of tea, (Chris). That doesn't make it insubstantial. And friendship is pretty important for us social animals, no?

ditto (Chris) McManus

(is Lindsay a hijack troll?) :)

I'm a bit inclined to agree with part of what Chris McMAnus said, in that an appearance in a Slate outlet is a pretty strong signal that a piece will be at best completely without value and at worst extremely offensive (the wonderful Dahlia Lithwick excepted, of course). And we can therefore decide to ignore any such pieces and to dismiss them out of hand.

That said, Lindsay is completely right: this advice reads like it was given by a sociopath. And there's nothing wrong with denouncing such vileness when it appears in a fairly prominent, well-funded outlet, even one that's consistently wrong. If someone's good enough for you to go out drinking with, they're good enough to take them to or from the hospital when they're in trouble. If you're so inclined, you can tell them afterwards that they've presumed too far on your friendship, and that you won't be there the next time - but at the time they're a friend in need, for FSM's sake.

And since I started this comment with a reference to McManus's comment, what does "albeit one with spelling, no offense to Lindsay." even mean? And does anyone ever say "no offense" unless they mean that they were knowingly being offensive?

The contrarian editorial braintrust behind Double X (aka Pink Slate) seems obsessed with ressurrecting all the worst rhetorical excesses of the post-feminist '90s. Right from the start (ie, Linda Hirshmann's bizarre, vitriol-laced hit piece on Jezebel) their entire shtick has been to brazenly troll feminists for pageviews. Am honestly surprised they haven't recruited Camille Paglia to the rolls yet, considering she practically invented the "feminism is teh irrelevant" genre.

With that said, infamous date-rape denialist Katie Roiphe's pair of articles on motherhood, in which she initially decried the self-indulgence of new parents before subsequently engaging in it herself after she popped out a kid (without bothering to acknowledge the jarring 180) was pure comedy gold.

Ouch. The milk of human kindness is getting served kinda cold these days.

If a friend of yours calls you up because they woke up on the street and they don't know how they got there, or calls from jail, or the hospital, you show up.

Seriously, don't you?

I fear the words "whiskey tango foxtrot" are on their way to being permanently etched in my frontal lobes.

if I got a call like yours (or your mother’s) in the middle of the night, I’d do what I could from home, but would be hard-pressed to jump in my car until morning.

Something tells me she's never going to get that call from anyone who knows her or reads her column.

There are people defending the Texas governor for not taking 5 minutes to read a report by a well respected arson investigator trying to save an innocent man. There are people defending the idea that the Supreme court shouldn't step in to make sure a possibly innocent person isn't executed until questions of fact are resolved (ironically enough because that's up to the executive to use his/her wisdom...I guess it has to be presented in less than 5 minutes though).

There are people attacking Franken for suggesting that perhaps the government shouldn't give contracts to companies that threaten their employees when they get raped (to the extent that they are falsely imprisoned and have to have a House member step in to save them).

I could go on. The point is that most of the criticisms are in highly legalistic language to defuse their moral content.

And you guys can't see the importance of pointing out creeping sociopathy in culture? It's slate, not some blog that has ten readers.

Agree with mikkel.

And you guys can't see the importance of pointing out creeping sociopathy in culture?

So, innocent people will be executed if some hungover girl doesn't pick up her friend who passed out in a gutter.

Chris and Jay Jerome, nobody cares whether you're being entertained. Knock it off. Otherwise, I'm going to ban you for being rude and disruptive.

I find Chris & JJ comments, a bit strange, since I listen to the double-X podcast, as frequently as possible.

(But the Double-X folks, haven't been as regular as Slate's other "gabfests")

Forgive me if I don't see the larger sociological import of this. I'm not going so far as McManus and saying this whole posts a waste of time--it is what is--but it doesn't point to some general moral decline. Every time something bad happens people will point to it as a symptom of moral decline. It's been going on for thousands of years. And who really care anyway?

Noise Machine,

How can you link to that when Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990?

Lucinda Rosenfeld sounds like Ayan Rand, with heels.

How can you link to that when Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990?

I heard it was the other way around.

It's good to see Jay Jerome's back.

Chris and Jay Jerome, nobody cares whether you're being entertained. Knock it off. Otherwise, I'm going to ban you for being rude and disruptive.

They don't have a right to voice an opinion on the necissity of a post? You, a relative new-comer, are going to ban someone because they didn't think your article was appropriate for ObWi?

Banning is for trolls and repeated offensive behaviour, not because someone didn't like an article. It needs to be used cautiously and carefully. Here it LOOKS like you're threatening it because they hurt your feelings.

If you're serious about this, your right to ban needs to be revoked.

Banning is for trolls and repeated offensive behaviour

This is repeated offensive behavior. Repeated, and repreated, and repeated. And offensive, and disruptive for the sake of it.

One of the things I like about ObWi is the generally on-topic comments. That does not include people complaining that they don't like the topics chosen by the poster. If it's a waste of time to read the post, it's doubly so to whine about it in comments. This site costs nothing to read, and reading it is completely voluntary. If the content is not to your taste, don't read. If a particular poster irks you, skip their posts. If you absolutely must complain, there are ways to do so politely and constructively.

What JanieM and toglosh said.

Is that actually Jeff, or has anonymizer-troll hit again?

It's actually Jeff.

[It's not as if Lindsay didn't identify it as a "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" post]

I hadn't any idea such a column existed and I've seen snarky enough columnists in the sob sister, etc. categories (Carolyn Hax, Dan Savage) that I don't mind that approach to some degree, but, yeah, this one is a bit more than I am willing to stomach.

I think mikkel is onto something here. Maybe speaking up against such sociopathy in entertainment columns is a necessary start to keeping sociopaths from high elected office, because often mundane examples can be a better way to get people to pay attention than horendous ones like the execution of an innocent man.

"If you absolutely must complain, there are ways to do so politely and constructively."

Sorry, but neither of the complaints was, other than critical of Lindsays posts, particularly rude. Unnecessary I might give you, but if this is the standard, I want banning authority because my comments have been much more thoroughly criticized over time.


On another note, as a sufferer from cluster headaches,this post on Lindsays site was interesting.

It's actually Jeff.

I was kind of hoping it would turn out to be the anonymizer troll - it's such an ugly, stupid complaint to make that a woman doesn't have the right to ban men for making offensive and sexist comments to and about her.

But if it's actually Jeff... sheesh.

Holy crap this is cool! I six-year old kid just stole an air balloon.

How hard is it to change the channel -- or in this case, skip to the next post rather than voice complaints and insults?

That would be pragmatic and civil.

What is uncivil, rude and offensive is showing up at someone's home as a dinner guest and then complaining to the host for what was served.

Yes, but, Marty, you're a commenter, not a poster. Different thing altogether.

Meta-whines about a poster's topic choices *are* rude. They were rude back when commenters used this tactic to drive off Charles Bird and they are still rude today.

Lindsay can take whatever action she feels appropriate.

Also, I don't really see the point in saying something is "inappropriate" to write on. First, I just disagree. And second, that doesn't seem like a standard intended to encourage open discussion.

What Janie said. What togolosh said.

Marty, consider taking Lindsay's threat in the context of the full body of work.

Enough already.

Forgive me if I don't see the larger sociological import of this.

I don't see the larger sociological import of the 30 Rock season premiere, but so freakin what?

it's such an ugly, stupid complaint to make that a woman doesn't have the right to ban men for making offensive and sexist comments to and about her.

Chris said: "I hate to say it, but this is yet another insubstantial Lindsay post".

Jay said: "(is Lindsay a hijack troll?) :)"

I don't follow the threads enough to know whether they have made sexist comments about Lindsay (as opposed to substitive ones, such as on the "Crab" post). If they did, and this is only part of a sexist pattern, then, yes, it would be grounds for banning. But the comments that I was specifically referring to, and which Lindsay linked to, did not strike me as over-the-top, and certainly not as bannable comments.

------------------

There are some who aren't pleased with Slarti, who has been here FOREVER, being able to ban. I was making the point that any new front-pager be very careful in banning.

==================

BTW, I totally disagree (and I should have said so) with Chris and JJ on the appropriateness of this article. I do think that the front-pagers do need to have feed-back, not just argumnents against the post, but also if an article seems out of place for ObWi.

============

My name if Jeff and I approve the contents of this message.

it's such an ugly, stupid complaint to make that a woman doesn't have the right to ban men for making offensive and sexist comments to and about her.

What (Chris)McManus said was:

Who cares about the friendship columnist for Double-X? Who's even heard of Double-X? I hate to say it, but this is yet another insubstantial Lindsay post, albeit one with spelling, no offense to Lindsay.

So, Jesurgislac, how is that sexist? I grant that it's pointless to post on a thread just to say you don't like the thread--if you don't like it, don't comment on it. But you were the only one to bring gender into this. Why?

There are some who aren't pleased with Slarti, who has been here FOREVER, being able to ban.

But I've been able to ban, with the exception of a few months in recent days, since sometime in 2005. Maybe longer ago than that, I really can't recall.

So some people have been unhappy for a long time, I think.

Sorry, Slarti. I was under the impression that you were given "the keys to the kingdom" (or at least the kitty) only recently.

=================

I think that there is a deeper question here: when should a poster be banned? I would say that if they are being offensive (with a warning if it was possibly innocent; without if it was obviously provoking), they should be banned. If Lindsay had made her comment in that light, I wouldn't have had a problem with it.

But the specific comments linked to don't appear to me to be offensive, in and of themselves. That's why I thought Lindsay's threat was uncalled for.

The keys were only restored to me recently. I basically have had them since I was a front-pager, and never gave them back. hilzoy was remarkably (it seemed remarkable to me, at the time) willing to let me continue to participate after I hung it up as a front-pager.

I'm sure Lindsay can explain herself far better than I could, but I think her recent dearth of slack-giving reflects the general mood of (at least a few of) the management.

I'm sure Lindsay can explain herself far better than I could, but I think her recent dearth of slack-giving reflects the general mood of (at least a few of) the management.

As a front-pager, I will say this: the tone in the comments section has grown nastier and more personal in recent months/weeks. Part of this is due to the resident spoofer/troll, but beyond that, regular commenters are forgetting that there is a standard of basic decency that is supposed to apply.

The comments section should be a place for conversation, not baseless attacks or personal hobby horse flogging. Stay topical, stay civil and stay respectful.

(not directed at any individual in particular)

I took the spelling crack as a reference to the conversation around the LOLcat picture on Lindsay's previous post. The subsequent conversation was not particularly enlightening.

Stay topical, stay civil and stay respectful.

And, seriously, is it that hard? We're just typing stuff here. It's not like anyone can take a crap on anyone else's living room floor though these intertubes. If initial transgressions were ignored or responded to minimally, things wouldn't get so hot around here. It's pretty easy to tell when someone's just trying to be a jerk to piss you off, so don't give him/her the satisfaction.

What is uncivil, rude and offensive is showing up at someone's home as a dinner guest and then complaining to the host for what was served.

truly.

sometimes i think this place is starting to sound like Yglesias' comment section: people showing up just to insult the host and to complain about how crappy the blog is.

anwyay.... back on topic:

that last little parenthetical in the quoted text "(Only you know the truth)" seems really inappropriate, and really makes me doubt the sincerity of the advice. if you don't believe the person you're advising, your advice isn't going to address the problem the person describes - you're going to try to advise them about what you think really happened. or, if you do try to address their story, your heart might not be in it.

just seems like a bad way to end an advice column.

Note, by the way, that the link for the word "perplexed" takes one to a "no blog items found for the current timeframe" message.

A little URL-fiddling shows that you missed a hyphen. Try this one instead.

From the posting rules:

Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

Considering that (Chris) has pulled this floor-pissing routine on every single post of Beyerstein's since the crab post (with JJ chiming in with his two pennies), and doing so has turned the comments into tedious meta-conversations about what is and isn't substantive (supplemented, in this case, by a meta-conversation about what is and isn't worthy of banning), I would contend that the actions do indeed warrant censure, as they would seem to be a violation of the posting rules.

Unless Jeff et al believe all this goddamn rules lawyering to somehow be meaningful. I for one find it fncking boring.

YMMV.

"But the specific comments linked to don't appear to me to be offensive, in and of themselves. That's why I thought Lindsay's threat was uncalled for."

Maybe Lindsay was just tired of the ongoing incivility.

I think as we have seen it doesn't take long for incivility to transition into hostility.

The general notion of civility is what used to separate this blog from so many others. Veterans here may need to be reminded of that, and since we were all newcomers at one point, it's worth noting that you will earn a lot more respect and, yes, leeway, if you establish a fair record of debating and discussing the merits of a post and demonstrate a modicum of goodwill in the process.

that last little parenthetical in the quoted text "(Only you know the truth)" seems really inappropriate, and really makes me doubt the sincerity of the advice. if you don't believe the person you're advising, your advice isn't going to address the problem the person describes - you're going to try to advise them about what you think really happened. or, if you do try to address their story, your heart might not be in it.

just seems like a bad way to end an advice column.

It's (Pink) Slate. They are post-truth and post-sincerity, man.

Edgy like a plastic butter knife.

Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

But that begs the question of whether the conversation was meaningful in the first place. If someone complains that the conversation's not meaningful how does that constitute "disrupt[ing] or destroy[ing] meaningful conversation for its own sake." It can't be their subjective intent to destroy a meaningful conversation because they don't believe the conversation is meaningful.

Pericles,

Simple rule: If you find yourself lodging the same "meaningless" complaint on each of the blogger in question's posts, then stop. If that means that you must stop reading that blogger altogether, so be it. But whatever it takes, stop derailing the conversation with those oft donated two cents that are really worth less.

But that begs the question of whether the conversation was meaningful in the first place. If someone complains that the conversation's not meaningful how does that constitute "disrupt[ing] or destroy[ing] meaningful conversation for its own sake.

So he's insulting not just Lindsay, but all of Lindsay's commenters? And that's a defense?

The people in a conversation determine whether it's meaningful. If you think it isn't, then stay out and don't ruin everybody else's fun.

I think there's a strong thematic resonance between this article and the comments. They're both about damage to our definitions of trust relationships.

The letter-writer assumed she could count on her friends to put themselves out when she was in trouble. She had a supportive definition of friendship. Likewise, the old ethos at ObWi was that the commentariat was trustworthy. People trusted one another to deal honestly with the topic and each other, and the community enforced that as much as the front page posters did.

To continue the parallel, there seem to be people on-thread who are saying, basically, "We can be carping as long as we don't violate the strict interpretation of the posting rules." That's rather like the Rosenfeld's reply that you really can't expect better of your friends than the letter-writer got.

But you know, I'm with Lindsay. That's not friendship, and that's not community.

Frankly, I'm just exhausted with all these distractions. I think we're going to construe the rules pretty broadly for a while b/c I'm just tired of it.

If it's unfair, tough. There isn't a due process right to comment here, and people like Irr. are ruining it for everyone else. Plus, he was completely jerkish about not changing his name when I politely asked.

What publius and evilrooster said.

If you can't participate in the conversations in good faith and without resorting to personal insults and childish taunting, I'm not about to parse statutory interpretation of the comments rules to decide whether or not you technically stayed within their bounds.

Stay topical, stay civil and stay respectful. Or, in the alternative, leave.

I REALLY don't like the direction the comments have gone recently, and I'm losing my patience with expecting self-correcting behavior.

Irr, McManus, and Noise Machine have all been banned. Pretty sure that all 3 are our friend Chandler.

Thanks to Slarti for vigilance on this.

Yeah, um, the last thing anyone wants is for this place to become like Yglesias' pad. The comments there are maddening. Yet, like cleek, have been seeing a lot of similarities here lately.

Anyway, since no one has said it:

Great post, Lindsay. Seriously. Having more feminist-related content @ ObWi is more than welcome (and, frankly, necessary) as far as I'm concerned. And, since I've been somewhat crusty over @ TiO as of late, thanks to the rest of the mgt for keeping things going, even after the loss of someone who, it goes without saying, was truly a pillar of not only this site, but the blogosphere at large.

For the past 5 years, ObWi has been a staple of my daily blog consumption. I truly hope to continue being nourished by the unparalleled content, both on the main page and the comments, for many more years to come.

thanks publius, and thanks slarti.

Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Thanks.

In only a couple of hundred million more years, that guy will have exhausted all 4-billion-plus IP addresses.

But by then, we'll have devised much more advanced methods and means to bicker amongst ourselves. And by then, the guy will almost certainly have moved out of his mom's basement.

And by then, the guy will almost certainly have moved out of his mom's basement.

I wouldn't lay money down on that.

;)

What JanieM said.

With cupcakes.

"To continue the parallel, there seem to be people on-thread who are saying, basically, "We can be carping as long as we don't violate the strict interpretation of the posting rules." That's rather like the Rosenfeld's reply that you really can't expect better of your friends than the letter-writer got.

But you know, I'm with Lindsay. That's not friendship, and that's not community."

I've read Obsidian Wings for a long time and used to read all the comments automatically (even though I said very little) because this was one of the very few sites where I felt like that community existed and where people of different viewpoints argued in good faith. I've recommended this blog to several people when they've asked me for a blog that's worthwhile to read explicitly for that reason. I knew people disagreed about the means, but ultimately they were interested in talking about how to make the world more just.

I want to share my viewpoint of this issue even though I'm really an outsider and I apologize if I'm not accurate in all my representations.

I got busy and stopped reading for quite a while and picked it up again off and on a couple months back. The comments had completely changed where it seemed like every thread was hijacked by someone that was being highly legalistic in order to stay within the rules but fundamentally were unjust. That was completely derailing the conversation and sending a lot of people into twists because they couldn't put their fingers on what was wrong formally.

I think the issue goes back to the difference between civility and decency. I know that Obsidian Wings likes to be civil and decent, but the fact of the matter is that it's easy to identify incivility while it's hard to call out indecency. Thus, civility is what is codified.

The problem I was feeling while reading was that a minority of commenters were being indecent and because they were technically in the rules it was frustrating everyone else. Then when commenters that I know have good intentions came along and used similar language, there were jumped on by their long term debaters-in-arms out of frustration and it seemed like civil wars were about to break out.

This not only threatens old friendships, but makes it easy to jump on new people as well...especially if they are a bit loose in their terms. For example, I write at the Moderate Voice and there was a thread about religion and politics recently (sorry I'm not linking because I'm afraid it'll get eaten) where a commenter said:

"But the "true" Left does hate God. By "true", I mean the social progressives / humanists that make up the majority of the left. They do, indeed, hate God. That may sound like a generalization, but humanists, by definition, detest all that God stands for."

Now normally I would have been apt to jump all over this because it has the rhetoric of those that want religion to dictate government (it didn't help when he also said that God was at the core of the country) and everyone that disagreed with him was immoral and a sinner. However, I had read between the lines on some other threads that he was open to engagement and asked him to clarify.

By the end it was clear that he was more frustrated with a general decline in morals and the idea that individuals have no duty to anyone else. He even explicitly said that he felt that God informed all religions and moral creeds, that he wasn't condemning non-christians and that people that wanted religion to dictate law were modern day Pharises that had political aims, not salvation ones. He even had met "lots" of good agnostics/atheists/humanists and his over generalization was just inaccurate of his real thoughts.

Sorry for rambling, but I do have a point that is actually about the post as well.

I am seeing sociopathic behavior and traits more and more frequently. I'm not just talking about the raging ones (like Glenn Beck) either, but even in every day conversation. This behavior is excellent at sowing confusion and resentment amongst people that have common aims but different means, and sociopaths use that to "win" which is either a formal consolidation of power or often times just personal pleasure. The idea that there is no hope of objectivity, that all issues have two diametrically opposed sides, that everything is a game, that adherence to the letter instead of the spirit of the law is what matters most; these ideas are becoming more and more forefront in the media and I'm seeing changes in people that formerly I could interact with.

Yeah this is just some stupid advice column, but it's also sick. I already fear that we are too far gone to hold together very well if there was an assassination or terrorist attack. Even reasonable people are seeming to be more apt to be at each other's throats. And I fear it'll get worse, because I fear the economy is going to continue to slide.

I don't really have a conclusion...I guess I'm just starting to care less about what people think the "right" way is, and more about whether in the end they are ultimately for community, understanding and perseverance or for discord and personal gain at the expense of others.

why is this a feminist issue? If I needed someone to pick me up in a situation like that I wouldn't distinguish by gender, I'd see whom I'd feel comfortable with calling in the middle of the night. As I would expect from my male friends.

"The idea that there is no hope of objectivity, that all issues have two diametrically opposed sides, that everything is a game, that adherence to the letter instead of the spirit of the law is what matters most; these ideas are becoming more and more forefront in the media and I'm seeing changes in people that formerly I could interact with."

This is very well-stated.

To think that both the extreme right and far left could be wrong about the same subject -- that the answer or solution lies somewhere in the middle -- is a concept that seems foreign to the media/Internet age that we live in

As mikkel noted, everyday discourse is becoming less civil all the time -- and I'm not sure how you get that back.

I think there was some hope that the grace and goodwill that an Obama presidency might represent would lead to more civil, open-minded politics. But for whatever reasons, the coarsening has only gotten worse.

But that begs the question of whether the conversation was meaningful in the first place. If someone complains that the conversation's not meaningful how does that constitute "disrupt[ing] or destroy[ing] meaningful conversation for its own sake." It can't be their subjective intent to destroy a meaningful conversation because they don't believe the conversation is meaningful.

Let me explain to you the Internet: If you don't like the content you're getting for free, shut yer yap and GTFO. Or start your own blog, where you can be as meaningful as you'd like. It doesn't even cost anything.

Dutchmarbel, you're right that friends should help friends regardless of gender. My primary complaint with Rosenfeld's advice is gender-neutral. However, her advice does raise some secondary feminist issues, especially because it's a column about female friendships published on a self-proclaimed feminist blog.

First, she didn't seem to realize (or care) that a person who blacked out from a spiked drink may well have been raped or narrowly escaped rape. (In her follow-up post she swore she didn't realize the link between roofies and rape and insisted that she would have been more compassionate if she'd thought the letter writer had been raped.) She also insinuated, with zero textual support, that the letter writer might be lying about getting drugged to excuse her own "irresponsible behavior." That's victim-blaming and decidedly unfeminist. It's one thing to suggest that suspicion as an explanation for her friends' surly attitude, it's quite another to pile on by adding, "Only you know the truth." Finally, Rosenfeld lectures the commenter on what her expectations should be towards her female friends vs. her boyfriend.

In Rosenfeld's mind a boyfriend is obligated to rescue you from the ER, but not a single female friend. She seems to have a weird view of friendship in general, and female friendship in particular. So much for "sisterhood is powerful."

@lindsay: I felt it reinforced the stereotypes about female friendship being about compassion and emotion, male friendships being about 'things to do togheter' and crossgender friendsip being non-existent because of the unavoidable sexual tension.

To be honest: if you are totally crashed and need someone to pick you up, any decent person you know should do. Most of the people I'm not close enough to to call them friends would pick me up in a situation like that.

Women run more of a risc (roofies, rape), but even withour risc for myself I'd expect people to come pick me up even if they are in bed in their yammies. So for me it is less of a feminist issue than a matter of 'community' and the expectations we can reasonably have of friendships. The fact that a feminist blog posts about it doesn't mean the feminist community owns the problem ;)

The fact that a feminist blog posts about it doesn't mean the feminist community owns the problem ;)

But dutch, that's the conundrum isn't it? It's why women and others get the short end of the stick all the time. The behavior that is implicitly encouraged ('you are a helpless female and are encouraged to rely on men for protection') is then used to ridicule. Just like 'you should look more attractive, wear some makeup fer chrissakes' becomes 'geez, she was asking for it'. It's good that the writer walks it back a bit, but if she didn't see any evidence of date rape in the letter, she should really rethink the implicit claim that she is writing "what women really think". Also interesting is the distancing by the other editors of the blog.

@lj: I didn't read it as if she felt that the letter writer should rely on men for protection, I read it as if she feels that you can only rely on your romantic partner (m/f) or close family.

Personally, I'd rely more on my friends & spouse than on my close family, if only because I chose the former and not the latter. So it made me think about what to expect from friends. Not as a female, but as a person. I would allready be pretty upset if my friends left without me, not knowing what had happened to me, but to feel that you shouldn't expect them to pick you up in a situation like that seems, eh, very distrustfull of the whole concept of friendship.

eric martin: "If you can't participate in the conversations in good faith and without resorting to personal insults and childish taunting, I'm not about to parse statutory interpretation of the comments rules to decide whether or not you technically stayed within their bounds. "

If you're sincere about that standard of civility, why haven't you reacted to this statement @06:08 ??

If you don't like the content you're getting for free, shut yer yap and GTFO


If you're sincere about that standard of civility, why haven't you reacted to this statement @06:08 ??


He doesn't want to give you the satisfaction?

"To think that both the extreme right and far left could be wrong about the same subject -- that the answer or solution lies somewhere in the middle -- is a concept that seems foreign to the media/Internet age that we live in"

Um, no, bedtime. That idea is called high Broderism online. The idea that the truth is found in the middle is the ideology of centrists and if anything, it tends to dominate the media, or large chunks of it.

Anyway, the problem people are talking about here is extreme rudeness bordering on sociopathy (if that's a word). That doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whether someone is either very far on the left or very far on the right. Centrists can be pretty damn rude to people they consider "fringe".

Marty,

Sorry, but neither of the complaints was, other than critical of Lindsays posts, particularly rude.

So "who cares" is now a critique?

Yeah Marty, it's obviously Lindsey that is bringing down the high level of discussion on OBWI.

"To think that both the extreme right and far left could be wrong about the same subject -- that the answer or solution lies somewhere in the middle -- is a concept that seems foreign to the media/Internet age that we live in"

Um, no, bedtime. That idea is called high Broderism online. The idea that the truth is found in the middle is the ideology of centrists and if anything, it tends to dominate the media, or large chunks of it.

To be more accurate, Broderism is the idea that the correct answer is always in the middle, and only in the middle - anything that lacks bipartisan support is automatically wrong. Moreover, Broderism tends to assume that anything that smacks of bipartisan cooperation is presumptively correct.

Is it just me or is time for a link ban on doublex? Seriously, whenever you get outraged and link to them you play right into their hand.

bedtimeforbonzo, I think the (unexpected) additional coarsening is because of fear. If a change does come (and no matter how you feel about his presidency, Obama is still a very serious marker for the *potential* for serious change), some people think they will "lose out" and some just have visceral fear.

Given that increased fear, it makes sense that the discourse is coarsening. Lashing out becomes more and more violent the more cornered someone feels.

And it tracks with something else, at least for me. One unifying theme amongst Obama's critics is mocking the possibility of change. How many times have we heard someone say "how's that change working for you so far" or talk about "all that hope-y change-y stuff"? I think that mockery is masking fear. Fear that a change might be coming and fear that it is already here.

How many times have we heard someone say "how's that change working for you so far" or talk about "all that hope-y change-y stuff"? I think that mockery is masking fear.

I have to disagree with this one. It is clear that it's masking either anger or cynicism. Specifically Obama was mocking by both sides for hope/change because it was perceived that he was using them as buzzwords to sell his candidacy.

Once he became president, however, that cynicism on the right transformed to fear and anger, of course. But I think you misunderstand the dynamic a bit.

To think that both the extreme right and far left could be wrong about the same subject

Why yes! It is reasonable to assume that Lindsay is just as wrong as Irrumator, and the answer must lie somewhere in between!

To think that both the extreme right and far left could be wrong about the same subject

Why yes! It is reasonable to assume that Lindsay is just as wrong as Irrumator, and the answer must lie somewhere in between!

It's not my intent to pick on you, Tyro, as opposed to anyone else, particularly because I do this sort of thing from time to time myself. It's commonplace. But taking someone's words and presumptively interpreting them in a way that you find offensive or stupid or absurd without questioning your interpretation or asking the writer for clarification, followed by smart-aleck mockery (again, I'm not innocent of this) may not be against the posting rules or ban-worthy, but it makes things unnecessarily adversarial. I don't think that's conducive to fruitful and thoughful discussion or a free exchange of ideas. And I know sometimes humorous, good-natured banter may be the intent, but it doesn't alway come off that way.

So here's my suggestion: At every step in a conversation in a comment thread, be mindful not to assume too much or be too quick to put down another commenter. If someone takes offense to a comment you didn't intend to be offensive, simply apologize and explain that you acted badly, perhaps in haste, or that you were only kidding, as the case may be, or make a clarification. If someone is rude to you, don't retaliate. Simply question what that person thinks you did to elicit such behavior. When someone takes a position that seems idiotic, try "are you saying...?" rather than "why are you saying...?" or "how can you possibly say...?"

I think we all need to make an effort to approach each other with goodwill and not to escalate tensions, particularly when discussing emotional issues and particularly when coversing with people we don't have a well established relationships with. We'll all slip from time to time. It's hard not to be a smart ass once in a while, at least for me, but I'm going to try. And I'm going to try to be more forgiving of others when they trespass against me with smart-assery.

I'm not against banter, but people should make an effort to be clear about their intent, perhaps with liberal use of smiley faces or parentheticals such as (kidding, of course), or whatever.

With that, trolls are trolls, and, at some point, they show their true colors. DNFTT. Commenters - ignore or politely note that their behavior is out of line and notify the blog owners. Blog owners - do as you will.

/soapbox

Would it be better if Lindsay was writing about stupid journalism in the WSJ? Or maybe SpikeTV? Someplace more "serious" where the fluff peices are targeted at actual people (read, the ones with only one X chromosome).

/angryfeminist

I thought this was hilarious, thank you for giving me further justification for my decision to not read DoubleX.

I wasn't speaking in absolute terms when I suggested "the truth might lie somewhere in the middle" and probably did not express myself well enough. Broderism frustrates me more than the next guy.

I guess I was talking about a higher level of discourse and respect in general.

Ravi has a good point about change frightening people and this fear bringing out a lot of the ugliness.

What bothers me, and bothers most us, is when the fear is manufactured. And that sort of thing doesn't look like it will be disappearing any time soon from the political playbook.

(To that end, you reap what you sow. I must say I was happy to see the NFL give Limbaugh his comeuppance and signal to him that his special brand of hate is not welcome in their league. Poor Rush.)

In terms of this blog, which enjoys a pretty good reputation, I was thinking last night that this period of increased vituperation could have had the effect of putting off potential newcomers. If so, hopefully, they will be tempted to say hello to The Kitty again.

As mikkel noted, everyday discourse is becoming less civil all the time -- and I'm not sure how you get that back.

I don't think there is any evidence for this proposition. People in every age were convinced that things were getting worse in their time, people were less civil, etc. All those generations of people can't be right at the same time. We know that people's perceptions of something immediate and quantifiable like the crime rate are totally detached from reality, so it stands to reason that perceptions about something as vague and subjective as the civility of our discourse aren't going to be very realistic either.

I think there was some hope that the grace and goodwill that an Obama presidency might represent would lead to more civil, open-minded politics. But for whatever reasons, the coarsening has only gotten worse.

Again, I don't see any evidence suggesting that this "coarsening" has gotten worse. I'm not even sure how you could analyze such a phenomena rigorously...it seems a bit like arguing over the color of the scales of the invisible dragon that lives in my bathtub.

My sense is that a lot of theories about coarsening of discourse boil down to "people on cable news are really frackked up." And I agree with that! But cable news is a relatively new phenomena and affects only a tiny fraction of the population. It doesn't reflect the vast range of interactions experienced by the vast majority of people today.

Since Turb brought up cable news, and I am sorry if this is OT, but hooked on the "Balloon Boy" story when I got home last night, I tuned into Larry King Live, which was thrilled to have the exclusive interview of the boy and his family. Great. Only, these people were clearly spent and there is only so much you can ask a 6-year-old. A half-hour segment would have been fine. But no. CNN milked the thing for a whole hour -- and it was that second half-hour that became uncomfortable.

Wolf Blitzer, subbing for King, kept coming back to the widespread speculation that the whole thing was a hoax. I don't think it was. Yeah, the parents seem a little loopy and unconventional, but the emotion they showed when they found out their 6-year-old was alive seemed genuine. So I believe their story. And maybe I'm wrong.

But I thought it was telling that Wolf Blitzer did not realize he wasn't interviewing a politician or CEO. He raised the hoax angle early on, and that was fine. But to keep coming back to it? With the 6-year-old and his young brothers right there?

Wolf, even when you have a scoop, it's important to maintain your dignity and compassion.

Sorry for the rant.

Bonzo: Yeah, the parents seem a little loopy and unconventional, but the emotion they showed when they found out their 6-year-old was alive seemed genuine. So I believe their story. And maybe I'm wrong.

The police also said they believed their story - that it was reasonable enough that the parents hadn't searched their attic when their six-year-old disappeared and their weather balloon floated away....

I gather the main "evidence" for it being a hoax anyway was the 6-year-old saying something suspicious. Um. Kids say the funniest things....

I gather the main "evidence" for it being a hoax anyway was the 6-year-old saying something suspicious. Um. Kids say the funniest things....

My six-year-old will tell me within the span of a half an hour that I'm "the best dad ever" and that he hates me. He will also tell absurd lies to my face if he thinks it will get him out of trouble. It's mostly evidence that he's six.

"I don't think there is any evidence for this proposition. People in every age were convinced that things were getting worse in their time, people were less civil, etc."

I agree actually. Looking back on American history I see no indication that things used to be any more civil. I do however think the root of incivility has changed.

I could go on in great length to explain my hypothesis but I won't other than to say that I am sympathetic with the view that an *increase* in ideological identification is a good thing compared to what we have now. I see most conflict in the past as generated between ideologies but in this post-ideological climate I see more of a post-modern sociopathic bent in our media.

I don't feel the same way at all when reading foreign press which still carries ideological tags. They tend to argue less about what is fact and more about what the facts mean, while we are arguing about what is fact in a Kafka short of fashion.

Yeah, hairshirt, those boys seemed very real to me, as did the 6-year-old's hiding in the attic for hours because he was worried about letting his dad's science project go.

And why did he finally come out of the attic?

"I was bored."


""To think that both the extreme right and far left could be wrong about the same subject -- that the answer or solution lies somewhere in the middle -- is a concept that seems foreign to the media/Internet age that we live in"

Um, no, bedtime. That idea is called high Broderism online. "

I agree with this too. In my comment I meant false dichotomy that is a political artifact. It was no comment at all about actual ideological content.

I think that all ideologies are identical in their ideal state. The only question is which ideology is more realistic to actually come close to that state.

The current parties really have no ideology. They are a mishmash of focus group ideas that have no coherent self supporting platform. To them the idea of "compromise" is not to synthesize something that makes sense out of two positions, but to give in to one focus group idea in return for getting their focus group idea.

Yet the media and power brokers spin this into a false dichotomy in order to create tribal loyalties, which are about the strongest in existence. This allows them to muddle the truth and have arguments that go "well you don't want the other guy to win do you?"

I think the advice by this columnist connects to wider political opinion in another way. One of Rosenfeld's key points is that the woman's friends may not have helped because they thought her problem was her own fault (she'd been 'irresponsible'). And to Rosenfeld, it's perfectly reasonable not to help someone in difficulties if they might be to blame for their own predicament. Only the provably virtuous deserve support.

What is most US political discourse now but that writ large? You must never help any group because there might be someone undeserving lurking among them. Someone is sick? It must be their own fault, why should I support them? Someone get's imprisoned or executed, well they must be guilty of something. We can't waste people's time considering if maybe something went wrong. Nothing really significant ever goes wrong for the virtuous, so if something has gone wrong for you it must be your own fault and you don't deserve my help.

It's all the fault of those frickin' Puritans, those Clavinist forefolks od ours who believed that God favored the deserving and didn't favor the rest so the lucky must be good and the rest aren't worthy of God's help and don't deserve ours either.

And excuse for selfishness embedded in the foundation of our cuture.

Tribalism and Team Sports are not reasonable dialogue. I recall when Political Animal - under Kevin Drum - got nuttier and nuttier with people posting under others' names and flagrant baiting. A moderator was finally necessary : despite prolonged resistance by management of the Washington Monthly to the expense.
We are the common : and the common has been under attack for a long while...all our lives and before that.Right Wing Media are a prime example. I just read a wonderful rant http://madashellliberal.blogspot.com/2009/09/limbaughs-america.html and came back with a story from a quick search under the parameters 'How to Talk to a Right Winger' : remembering that the topic was considered serious enough for posting.
AlterNet's revelations about George Orwell ( 1984 ) as a Talk Radio host are in related vein.
We are ourselves on the firing line. Trollery,distraction and rudeness will be hard to circumvent.
Kudos to the gang here for making this place one of the best in that respect : even more so than some semi-private forums I use.
Last Left Turn B4 Hooterville blogger/writer/entertainer Alicia Morgan even wrote a book available at Amazon : "The Price of Right." Not having read it myself, I'll limit commentary - except to note Alicia and I quipped about perversion and disruption of debate before she wrote it...and that's been a while.
Here's my file on 'Moving the Goalposts'
http://opitslinkfest.blogspot.com/2009/07/perception-alteration.html

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