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March 25, 2006

Comments

Von, not that nowhere in any of the links you provided did the authors come close to anything as odious as accusing Domenech of rapist fantasies.

I'm trying to think of something more irrelevant to the circumstances of Ben Domenech's ignoble fall from grace.

The argument that "leftists" are somehow nastier than conservatives is bogus. The argument this this bogus allegation is relevant in any way to the disturbing fact that the WaPo went out of its way to hire a lying willfully ignorant smear-merchant and Republican shill like Ben Domenech for balance is even more specious.

But, like Ben, some folks simply can't muster up the adulthood it takes to admit error without trying to pass the bad vibes around.

Pathetic.

gary

This is very rude.

Are you trying to change the subject Gary?

I understand why you might want to do that.

Please focus on the substantive points. I trust that you have the intelligence to address the substance of my comments without sniffing out phrases and clauses that you consider "rude."

Thanks for the consideration.

Von...

This MyDD post:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/2/7/232743/2784

...which you highlight above as among the more objectionable in this fracas isn't even about Domenech. Posted in February (at the time of the King funeral) it only makes mention of a post from a Red Stater named Blanton.

In his post (below which Augustine's notorious slander of CSK was to appear, not to mention someone else's reference to "clips of Clinton and some brown preacher") Blanton:

* Compares the funeral of a black civil rights icon to Def Comedy Jam

* Suggests that "the culture of so many black Americans in this country is below what it should be and is capable of being" because black leaders "are more interested in subsidization from The Man™ than salvation from the Lord"

* Suggests that this all indicates "that the left is out of touch" with "those of us who work hard for a living to provide for our families, humbly go to church, and try to do unto others as we would have them do unto us"

As Matt Stoller writes in his post, which I frankly see no problem with, "you really don't need much analysis to see what this guy's getting at." I mean, it doesn't even approach subtle.

You may not choose to call Blanton's rhetoric "racism," but I hope we can agree it's something distasteful.

KCinDC: Of course not, I'm confident that Domenech is capable of affecting the physical world and completely unable to assume the form of Glory, the Mayor, or Buffy, for example.

Ah, if only. But wouldn't that be the ultimate form of plagiarism? "From beneath you, it devours."

On the other hand, maybe Domenech looks like Jonathan. That'd be bad.

"Are you trying to change the subject Gary?"

No, I'm saying that you're being unnecessarily rude; you can argue with what von has said without that.

"I understand why you might want to do that."

Really? Why?

"Please focus on the substantive points."

Minimal courtesy is a value around here, you may or may not have noticed. I think I've addressed Von's substantive points, and I think I've not been remotely shy about addressing the substantive points in the two threads about Domenech, which I'm sure you've read, since you understand my stance on the topic.

Michael, Gary isn't trying to change the subject, and it appears he mostly agrees with you. He's just suggesting that you temper your language and focus on your argument, not insults. That's what this site is about.

Good point, Dan.

Michael Hubl, I'm not sure what you are saying.

I was responding to Von by pointing out that Ben accused all lefty bloggers who commented of rapist fantasies with nary one bit of evidence. All minus Hilzoy, that is.

From Ben's first comment after the allegations of plagiarism broke:

"I link to this source only because I believe it's the only place that hasn't yet written about how they'd like to rape my sister."

He has not issued an apology for smearing all his critics of harboring rapist fantasies.

Minimal courtesy is a value around here, you may or may not have noticed.

I'm sorry. I didn't notice that because I see a lot of folks here trying to deflect criticism of Ben Domenech's inexcusable and patenently discourteous uncivil behavior.

Suggesting that someone should stop whining and wringing their hands about the deserved fate of someone like Ben Domenech is not "rude".

It's helpful advice.

Consider taking it.

I'm getting the sense that any prolonged disagreement with certain folks around here will ultimately be considered "uncivil", i.e., the charge of "uncivil" is merely an excuse for censoring and ignoring the substance of the charges being levelled by the commenter.

You know, it's sort of the same way that Republican shills on TV and radio accuse "leftists" of being "shrill" when they make "outrageous" "unpatriotic" claims like "George Bush is a liar," or "Ben Domenech is a willfully ignorant professional smearer."

With respect to this last paragraph, Gary, let me know if you care to dispute the reality I'm alluding to, please.

I should say that I am not at all comfortable being the token example of the no-rape-fantasies-about-Domenech's-sister, reasonable left. I think that a lot of the posts about Domenech prior to the plagiarism were well within what I would consider the bounds of reasonable criticism. They are certainly well within the bounds of what a lot of the editors of RedState consider appropriate criticism of one's political opponents.

I include as reasonable (which I don't mean to be equivalent to 'right') some of the accusations of racism, since I assume that racism does not have to take the form of e.g. a conscious hatred of members of other races, but includes, for instance, whatever else might account for a consistent willingness to slam African-Americans when one would let a white person slide, a consistent failure to notice or care that one is being genuinely offensive to or about them, etc. ('Consistent' really matters here: anyone can be unfair once, or fail to notice that s/he's being offensive once, etc., without it meaning much of anything. It's striking patterns that matter.) I think there was enough to go on, in Domenech's case, that whether you agree with it or not, this line of thought wasn't unreasonable.

I tend to dislike labelling entire sites, especially ones that are not, like PowerLine, under the complete control of a few people, but that have diaries, comments, etc. I do wonder, sometimes, about why one would be on a site that includes, say, Thomas, with his (now repeated) claims that the left is subhuman, that he wouldn't mind if the entire left dropped dead, etc. On the other hand, as I think I mentioned once, I thought about resigning here after the infamous pork lard moment, on somewhat similar grounds, and found it to be a rather complicated matter.

I think that either outrage or scorn is the appropriate response to the remark about the worst members of the judiciary being worse than the KKK, and to what he said about Coretta Scott King.

And pointing out his more or less complete lack of journalistic experience seems to me completely fair.

Likewise, I don't know how much snark we're going to think OK in such circumstances, but the answer is surely not 'none'. I think that 'mouth-breathing freak', or whatever Jane Hamsher called him, is over my personal line. I'm also sure that the claim that I'm the only lefty blogger who has not written about how she's like to rape Domenech's sister does.

I'm sure that someone went over all known lines. I do not defend them. But I think that's true on all sides.

(quoting hilzoy):"And I think it's pretty clear that Domenech was, in that sense, privileged."

It may be clear to you, but I do wonder why hilzoy. Unless you know the Domenech family at a more personal level than I assumed. That doesn't strike me as something we could fairly divine from a distance.

One of the more infuriating tactics that I see in acrimonious politcal discussions is to demand proof of points that in normal debate would be easily granted. Should one, in passing, use the phrase "Michael Jordan is living the high life" to support an argument, one finds oneself googling for pictures of his house & going through the etymological derivations of the phrase "high life" before the opponent is 'satisfied' and debate can continue. Or, more likely, a mutually satisfactory definition of "high life" is never settled upon, and the entire debate crashes to a halt.

Yes, the kid was priviledged. As in, his father is politically connected, and has had those connections for a long time (see tequila's helpful link above). As in, he was writing for the Washington Post at 24(?), despite his lack of experience in journalism & the obvious set of more-talented and more-experienced conservative writers on the web.
At least, the clear preponderance of the evidence weighs in that direction. Asking for definitive proof is IMO merely a way of deflecting the discussion- unless you have definitive proof to the contrary yourself, or at least something more data to add to the inference pile. In which case, please share rather than merely raising the bar.

(It reminds me very much of debates on creationism v evolution or global warming v 'we cant tell', in that the burden of proof can be raised arbitrarily high by those who do not wish to be convinced or who wish to derail discussion).

Or are you in love with Ben?

This would be a truly interesting twist to the story but, sadly, I must disappoint.

Pet peeve alert:

I'm sure that someone went over all known lines. I do not defend them. But I think that's true on all sides.

As always, when invoking the "all sides had someone who crossed the line" argument, it's necessary to immediately ask: How many? How far? and How often?

He's just suggesting that you temper your language and focus on your argument, not insults. That's what this site is about.

If that's what "this site is about" then this site should be levelling withering attacks on the WaPo and Ben Domenech.

The facts about Ben Domenech's writing -- the dishonest, the smears, the willful ignorance -- are all on the table.

Is there some confusion about any of these facts?

Or is there confusion about what "this site is about"?

Perhaps what this site "is about" changes depending on whether the issue is the reeking hypocricy of a semi-prominent Republican shill versus some anonymous blog commenter who's had it up to his/her ears? The latter is attacked without hesitation while the former is smacked on the wrist by one person while ten other people make excuses for him.

I would argue that any attempt to turn the Ben Domenech debacle into a discussion about the alleged bad behavior of leftists (the discussion that Ben Domenech wants to have) is beyond the pale in terms of "civility."

Why should there be any confusion about this?

von: kudos on the update. I didn't realize you hadn't read the HRO piece.

Anarch: I was not asserting moral equivalence, just preemptively acknowledging that hilzoy's law of large numbers applies, and thus that if someone wants to produce an example of some totally offensive comment from the left, I won't be surprised. That said, I agree.

"I didn't notice that because I see a lot of folks here trying to deflect criticism of Ben Domenech's inexcusable and patenently discourteous uncivil behavior."

Why don't you name them, and then count how many there are, and then count how many there are who have disagreed with them, and let us know what approximate proportion you find?

"I'm getting the sense that any prolonged disagreement with certain folks around here will ultimately be considered 'uncivil',"

Not at all. Disagreement is meat and drink around here. What's civil and uncivil is sometimes a bit blurry on the margins, but it's a line that's reasonably discernable. By most people.

"i.e., the charge of 'uncivil' is merely an excuse for censoring and ignoring the substance of the charges being levelled by the commenter."

No, it's a value. There's hardly any "ignoring" of substance around here, as you might be aware if you bothered to make yourself familiar with the environment and commenters before making generalizations about it and them.

But attempts to deflect attention from what one says by declaring that "substance" is being ignored for mere minor attention to what you actually say never flies in any reasonable online fora, or, for that matter, face-to-face discussion.

Good point, Dan.

von,
Is that 'good point Dan, one of the four posts that I used as an example of how virtually the entire Left indulged in odious, baseless attacks on Ben is actually neither odious nor baseless, nor even about Ben at all'?
Or just 'good point, Dan, attaboy'?

Michael, most of the commenters on this post are disagreeing with Von. They're just doing it without saying things like "Grow up!" And if you're going to attack people, you might consider being a little less Cheneyesque in your aim. If you have disagreements with Gary and Manyoso, spell them out. Have you actually read their comments?

Michael: the people who write here come from all sides of the political spectrum. We try to enforce civility across the board. Yesterday, we banned two people, one from the right, and one from the left. Normally, well before we get to that point, we try to say: hey, look, be civil. That's all that was going on, and it would happen to anyone, from any side.

(It reminds me very much of debates on creationism v evolution or global warming v 'we cant tell', in that the burden of proof can be raised arbitrarily high by those who do not wish to be convinced or who wish to derail discussion).

And it's a fair question to ask: is such behavior "civil"? Is it any more or less civil than asking someone to stop arguing like a child and pretending that incontrovertible facts are in dispute?

Fyi, this is a rhetorical question for folks to think about before they waste bandwidth chastising commenters for being "rude". Please don't waste time trying to craft an answer that pretends the behavior of professional creationists and apologists for liars, generally, is "civil."

Hilzoy, I didn't mean to imply that you were happy with Ben's identification of you as the single exception to the my-left-critics-want-to-rape-my-sister clique. I would also agree that some comments made on both sides of the blogosphere divide likely fell short of completely civilized behavior.

However, I've yet to see anyone point out a single case where a lefty blogger declared their fondness for rape. I've yet to see anyone point out a single case where a lefty commenter wished the right wing dead. Literally dead.

Not that I would be shocked if someone could find such a comment in the bowels of some comment thread. Regardless, I think it is fair to say that Ben Domenech was the principle headliner in this whole affair and he himself accused leftists in general of rapist fantasies. Something for which he has not, to my knowledge, apologized for.

Yet, here we are discussing whether the left has been too mean to him.

Hey Von. I suppose that Ben calling the Post fools pretty much kills your chances of taking his place. Should we recommend you here and totally obliterate them?

manyoso: I didn't take it that way. I just wanted to say what I did. Thanks.

"The latter is attacked without hesitation while the former is smacked on the wrist by one person while ten other people make excuses for him."

The "former" being Ben Domenech, this statement is wildly false.

Michael, most of the commenters on this post are disagreeing with Von. They're just doing it without saying things like "Grow up!" And if you're going to attack people, you might consider being a little less Cheneyesque in your aim. If you have disagreements with Gary and Manyoso, spell them out. Have you actually read their comments?

I've never seen a site where folks are so easily distracted. Again: the bizarre disconnect is that this site wasn't taking the lead in asking WaPo to dump Ben Domenech like a hot potato from DAY ONE.

Can someone explain why a site that allegedly prides itself on "civil discourse" wasn't first in line to demand that Ben Domenech be removed from his position at WaPo even before this plagiarism stuff began?

I'd be interested in hearing the rationalization, bearing in mind that the Washington Post has quite a few readers and was helpful to the Bush Administration in the past peddling the sorts of (now) well-known lies and smears which led to the debacle in Iraq (lies and smears which Ben Domenech recited as happily as he recites smears against evolutionary biologists).

Let's hear it.

von, whoa, wait a minute. You're letting Tac provide the bulk of the links? And simultaneously implying that any ad hominem or allegation of racism whatsoever is inherently "baseless and odious?"

It's odious that Gilliard called Domenech a home-schooled wingnut? Wingnut hardly even qualifies as pejorative anymore, and it's sure as hell no worse than moonbat or midget. You think it's baseless that people made fun of his homeschooling after he referred to 36% as a majority and totally misrepresented the history of the civil war? Did you actually read the Domenech piece PZ Myers linked to? Domenech talks about "something involving genetic mutation" as an alternative to "the typical evolutionary construct" for cryin out loud! It's like something you might hear on Star Trek. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

And for pity's sake, how thin-skinned does one have to be to get all self-righteous about a comment which reads -- in it's entirety! -- "Homeschooling is evil," posted by a person whose handle is "smalfish, enemy of the state," on a comment thread with 556 comments, most of which are effectively gibberish? Note that a couple of comments down we find "SOCIALIZATION IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR SOCIALSIM [sic]." Huh? We're supposed to believe that people who can barely bring themselves to disapprove of Limbaugh, Coulter and Tbone are mortally offended by a bunch of giggling atriots?

If you think stuff like that is so reprehensible then speak out whenever you see it, not just when it happens to work against people with whom you identify. Tacitus' credibility on these matters is pretty close to zero, yet I still took the trouble to go and look at most of the links he so liberally sprinkled, simply because you, von, referred to his post. Did you look at them too? Or is this another one of those "hey, somebody else must have checked it out" things that got Jim Brady in so much trouble?

Meanwhile, no dice. Let's see something genuinely hateful if there's so much of it out there. I don't doubt that it exists, but, like the WMD, it's on you to actually find it.

As it happens I do feel sorry for Ben Domenech, and I think his parents (and Krempasky and Brady and Hewitt and whoever else is responsible for throwing him in the deep end without making sure he knew how to swim) are the ones who oughta spend a little time in the wilderness. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. This poor kid has pretty clearly never strayed from the trajectory his parents plotted for him; never had the chance to accomplish something difficult on his own steam, never struck out on his own, never failed miserably till he was 24. I'd ruined my whole life twice over by the time I was his age and it's a miracle I survived.

Yeah, I feel sorry for him. A lot sorrier than I felt for Clinton, that's for sure, and I didn't like Clinton's behavior any better than I like Ben D's.

"And then I read this (h/t Gandelman) which led me to re-read that, and I realized that my "Second" requires a supplement."

Jeebus, von, why don't you try reading your own [DELETED] site before commenting on an issue, maybe?

The Human Events piece interview was linked on Obsidian Wings.

Is is too much to ask that you bother to have some familiarity with the basic facts of a story, and with discussion on your own blog, before making a front page post about a subject?

Me: So? Just because you look at Domenech and think "I would have behaved exactly like that, so I can't blame him for doing it" doesn't mean that you can't at least acknowledge that lying about what you did in order to cast blame on other people is just fundamentally wrong. It is, Von, and it's worth saying so.

Have just seen Von's update. Key sentence: But I hadn't paid enough attention to what else he did, namely, toss a ton of mud on others.

Well, while I might wonder why you weren't paying attention to Domenech's mudslinging in your rush to forgive him and to instruct the rest of us to forgive him, too, I accept that your intention was not to assure us that you too would bear false witness to get yourself out of a scrape: that somehow you'd told yourself that Domenech's lies were of the more-forgivable "I didn't do it!" form.

The "former" being Ben Domenech, this statement is wildly false.

No it's not "wildly false" Gary. Is that the best you can do? Link to some rambling post which dares to admit that plagiarism is bad?

Ben Domenech is worse than a naive plagiarist.

I agree with most of radish's last post except that I feel nothing but happiness that Ben has received his overdue comeuppance.

I won't mention Bill Clinton except to say that the mere fact his name is being mentioned in the context of this affair shows how far off the reservation some folks are willing to wander to find an excuse to criticize "leftists." Its bizarre, is what it is.

Can I just add preemptively that this unhappy event would be unhappier if it led to rancor in this community?

Let's try to only get in fights over happy events.

I'm glad to see the update but sorry to see that there's no backing off from insulting everyone on the left except "not a lot".

E.g., "I feel nothing but happiness that Ben has received his overdue comeuppance" isn't likely to lead to group hugs.

Wow, the debate rages on. Oddly, I had a strange craving for ice cream a little while ago, so I went out and got some fresh air and a milkshake. Highly recommended!

Can I just add preemptively that this unhappy event would be unhappier if it led to rancor in this community?

This must be sarcasm.

What's unhappy about have one less lying willfully ignorant plagiarist polluting our nation's discourse?

How do you expect our country to get out of the mess it's in right now?

Or do you want professional smearers who peddle carefully crafted lies in order to promote their religion's precepts to continue to play a major role in steering our country?

It's okay to want that. I mean, your entitled to wish for anything. But a mature person admits this up front.

"Please don't waste time trying to craft an answer that pretends the behavior of professional creationists and apologists for liars, generally, is 'civil.'"

Of course, now you're simply making stuff up out of whole cloth in implying that that's what most people here have done, and in demonstrating your pre-cognitive powers on top of your failed post-cognitive powers.

You're doing a fine job of making a first impression, Mr. Hubl, but it's not too late to back up and start over. Bothering to read what people here have actually said on the topic on the "Plagiarism" and "Plagiarism 2: The Response" threads might help your actual familiarity with, you know, what people have actually said.

I'm still looking forward to your explanation of why I "might want" to change the subject from Domenech's faults, or my disagreements with Von. What's your "understanding" of that? My being a Republican? My track record of being soft on assh*les? My record of being pro-Bush? Pray don't leave us wondering. (Bonus hint: I have a blog; it's not entirely obscure; I have a record of opinions.)

"Can someone explain why a site that allegedly prides itself on 'civil discourse' wasn't first in line to demand that Ben Domenech be removed from his position at WaPo even before this plagiarism stuff began?"

Sure. One never needs to explain why someone hasn't blogged on a particular topic, since there are an infinite number of worthwhile topics. Why haven't you made a comment about the genocide in Darfur in this thread? How do you justify that? You must not care about genocide.

I bet you have some rationalization, though.

Hey, there are a million more where that comes from, if you think that's a logical approach.

Why haven't you said anything here about the death squads roaming Baghdad, like I did a few minutes ago in another thread? You don't care about death squads?

Of course, now you're simply making stuff up out of whole cloth in implying that that's what most people here have done

No, Gary, that's now what I'm doing.

I'm showing you in very plain terms the hypocricy on display at "this site" which apparently prides itself on "civil discourse" but doesn't do a whole heck of a lot when it comes to identifying and castigating the reprehensible uncivil conduct of Republican shills like Ben Domenech or the WaPo which hired a lowlife like Ben to provide balance (!!!!) with a "conservative voice."

Or am I missing something? When Ben was hired by WaPo, were there lenghty posts by this sites authors detailing Ben's loathesome claims and showing examples of Ben's tendency to smear and engage in willful ignorance about subjects of which Ben knew nada?

Michael, I won't begrudge you your opinion although I do find some chuckles in your righteous tone castigating others for not being sufficiently bothered with Ben.

I think the thing folks are quarreling with is your demands that folks 'grow up' and the like. Can you find it within your personal self-constraint to omit those kinds of comments.

Why haven't you made a comment about the genocide in Darfur in this thread? How do you justify that? You must not care about genocide.

Is this civil discourse, Gary?

Can you find it within your personal self-constraint to omit those kinds of comments.

You mean comments which suggest that folk are being hypocritical, provided with explanations of how I reached the conclusion?

I think I'll continue making those.

Feel free to reply substantively to my comments, though. You can even express your anger and frustration with my charges in the course of your substantive responses.

I'm a grown man. I can take it.

rilkefan: Can I just add preemptively that this unhappy event would be unhappier if it led to rancor in this community?

Let's try to only get in fights over happy events.

We might not agree which were happy events, but we can at least strive not to take our disagreements personally.

Hee hee! I wrote No, Gary, that's now what I'm doing.

Should be "not" instead of "now."

Don't get excited.

Some statistics:

"Plagiarism" 324 comments
"Plagiarism 2: The Response" 228
"Onward" 135 and counting

vs. (e.g., tee hee)

"Something That's More Interesting Than Plagiarism" 41

It's obvious this has touched a nerve.

Michael Hubl: Or do you want professional smearers who peddle carefully crafted lies in order to promote their religion's precepts to continue to play a major role in steering our country?

I don't think Ben Domenech had much of a role in steering our country. There are others who might fit your description more closely, but what this case has to do with them is not clear to me.

Gary: (I miss the days, by the way, when people used to "refer" to things, and not "reference" them, but this has nothing to do with Von; it's a general disease.)

Von is a lawyer, & I can attest that two syllables are actively resisted in that profession when 3 or 4 will do.

Wasn't at my firm 3 months before I was literally forbidden to say "use" rather than "utilize" in briefs.

Also, to Macallan: the kid's dad is a Bush appointee, for heaven's sake. Of course he's got connections, and it's obtuse to pretend otherwise. And I haven't noticed that obtuseness is one of your traits.

Michael: You mean comments which suggest that folk are being hypocritical, provided with explanations of how I reached the conclusion?
I think I'll continue making those.

Then I shall continue to be rather bored and annoyed by your comments.

"Link to some rambling post which dares to admit that plagiarism is bad?"

No. I'm pointing out the comment thread. This is primarily a discussion site, which you are participating in, and making declarations and generalizations about what most people have said in, and they happen to be false statements you indicate that people have been shy about criticizing Domenech; that's just wrong.

"Ben Domenech is worse than a naive plagiarist."

Hint: if you bothered to actually read what you've said, you'd notice that I've said far more on this, myself. But meanwhile you feel entitled to lecture us all, without bothering to actually read what we've written.

Michael, I think you are suffering under a false premise. You are essentially berating everyone who comments on this site, because the site itself is not sufficiently lefty activist for your taste. Well, there are sites that fit that bill. This site specializes in providing a calm place where folks from across the idealogical/partisan divide can come together and disagree strenuously, whilst still remaining civil.

If that isn't your cup of tea, so be it. But, why would you insist that every blog take up the mantle of the lefty activist? Can't Obsidian Wings be Obsidian Wings?

I don't think Ben Domenech had much of a role in steering our country.

I wasn't talking about Ben specifically. My question is broader than that.

Are you serious when you say that you don't see any connection between characters like Ben Domenech and George Deutsch and more visible propagandists that peddle the Bush Administration's talking points?

That is a rather shocking admission on your part, if you ask me. Feel free to clarify your views on the lack of any relationship between Ben Domenech and the larger group of Republicans who seek to have their religious beliefs accepted as facts which are then used as rational bases for legislation.

I'd be very interested to hear more on that subject.

"Feel free to reply substantively to my comments, though. You can even express your anger and frustration with my charges in the course of your substantive responses."

Michael, try to understand: I have no anger or frustration to express. Not everyone here is as angry as you. This seems to really anger you. Ad infinitum.

We do not disagree about dear Ben. I haven't defended him. Apparently, I'm just not as angry as you.

Michael: for heaven's sake. For what it's worth, I did not write about Domenech when he first got the job, but only because I didn't feel like it, and decided instead to focus on other cases of uncivil discourse.

That said, Gary's right. No one has to explain what they did and did not post on. Personally, I'd rather spend my time on actual issues.

The reason people are annoyed with you just now isn't because they have all taken a vow to resist uncivil discourse wherever it rears its ugly head; it's because you've chosen to participate in a discussion that normally tries to respect certain norms, and you are now violating them. I.e., it's because you're here, not because any incivility anywhere would provoke the same response. (I mean: I'm sure that somewhere in, say, Kansas, someone is being uncivil at this very moment, and I am not condemning them. Sorry: life is short.)

Michael, you seem to be simply looking for people to fight with, and anyone will do. You seem to be determined to find someone to argue with about Ben Domenech, not noticing that we already spent several days condemning Domenech and mercilessly mocking him, up and down, in hundreds of comments.

I'm sorry you were late, and missed participating, but simply wildly spinning around trying to find people who will argue with you about him is pretty silly, and this isn't the right place to look; why don't you try RedState, or some wholeheartedly rightwing blog? There's no shortage of such sites, I'm sure you'd have an enjoyable time telling them all what asses they are, rather than trying to find targets to vent your hostility, anger, and aggression on here.

Then I shall continue to be rather bored and annoyed by your comments.

Here's some friendly advice: scroll past.

Really, it's not a big deal to me.

(shrugs)

"Feel free to reply substantively to my comments, though."

I think probably I'm done; you're, it's become clear, a troll. Trolls get ignored, not fed. Sorry.

If you want to come back some time when your topic isn't "why aren't you people nasty enough?," you'll have a chance at a second impression. I'm done with my first.

I suggest others follow the usual troll procedures. Especially when Michael, in frustration at being ignored, starts to ramp up his trolling and nastiness, as is the usual course trolls follow when they're ignored.

Von's update is appreciated. I note that one of the points I made to him in our discussion earlier was that Clinton's lie, while under oath, did have the minimal virtue of at least not exposing anyone else to condemnation. If Clinton had gotten away with it, for example, his loyalists would not have gone out and attacked anyone on his behalf; they simply would have continued to believe he was innocent of any sexual improprieties. On the other hand, if Ben had gotten away with it, his former editors at W&M stood accused of working plagiarized language into his articles, and the WaPo stood accused of forcing his resignation for no good reason. Shifting responsibility to innocent parties via lies, I would postulate, is worse than merely issuing false denials of responsibility.

[Regrettably necessary caveat: I am not saying that falsely denying responsibility, whether under oath or otherwise, is justifiable! Really!]

I don't blame von for not being aware of all the facts, any more than I blame the RS posters whose reaction, based upon a limited understanding of the charges, was "it was one movie review in college! who cares!" One thing about friendship is that when your friend stands accused, even if you intend to be entirely fair-minded about the claims, you don't typically go out in the world and try to gather more evidence against him. On the other hand, folks like Leon who looked at two nearly identical paragraphs and said "sorry, I just don't see any evidence of plagiarism there," that I would term as a tragic denial.

Finally, I will just say that even if the entire left is a baying pack of hateful coyotes, I still don't think any ideology with which hilzoy identifies can be all wrong.

"I wasn't talking about Ben specifically. My question is broader than that."

Allow me to provide a mirror.

manyoso as if he were Michael Hubl:

Michael, why on earth wouldn't you be talking about Ben specifically?! He's only the most plagiarizing plagiarist that ever lived! He is symptomatic of all that is wrong with this country and yet, here you are Michael, REFUSING to talk about Ben specifically. How shameful. You act like you care, but obviously you do not.

"Then I shall continue to be rather bored and annoyed by your comments."

I have to confess that the potential spectacle of watching Michael denounce Jes for insufficient vigor in criticizing Bush supporters makes me want to toss popcorn in the microwave.

Steve: I don't blame von for not being aware of all the facts

Nor would I. No one can read everything. But from the wording of Von's update, it suggests he was aware that Domenech had cast the blame on others: he just wasn't paying attention to what that meant.

Good update, von.

What should have appeared on RedState was something that included this: "We have asked Ben to take a leave of absence" or "Ben has asked to take a leave of absence and we think that is appropriate" while not including all the praise for his character.

The folks in charge of RedState, Ben's friends, could support him fervently and without criticism behind the scenes, but I think they hurt the website by not being more clear about the right and wrong in this situation.

Now, am I worried that the site has been damanged? Nope. Not a bit.

and they happen to be false statements you indicate that people have been shy about criticizing Domenech; that's just wrong.

"Ben Domenech is worse than a naive plagiarist."

Hint: if you bothered to actually read what you've said, you'd notice that I've said far more on this, myself.

Careless of me, again. That should be:
and they happen to be false statements; you indicate that people have been shy about criticizing Domenech: that's just wrong.

"Ben Domenech is worse than a naive plagiarist."

Hint: if you bothered to actually read what we've said, you'd notice that I've said far more on this, myself.

If that isn't your cup of tea, so be it. But, why would you insist that every blog take up the mantle of the lefty activist?

I'm not insisting on any such thing.

(Question: is raising an obvious strawman "civil"?)

I'm *asking* for an explanation of what is a palpable hypocricy: this site spends an inordinate amount of time congratulating itself on "civil discourse" and yet cannot seem to wrap its collective head around the idea that its the lying and willful ignorance on the part of a demonstrably inept mainstream media that represents the overwhelming majority of incivil discourse.

You see, I'm not making stuff up or peddling pure garbage and smearing large numbers of people to promote an ideology. But you know who was?

Ben Domenech. That was plain before any of this plagarism stuff got started. And he was hired by the WaPo, who played a significant role in peddling the Bush Administrations pre-war propaganda among other bogus agenda items on the Bush Admin's list.

My point again: if incivility is so freaking important that y'all have to get hissy whenever a blog commenter tells you to "grow up" then how could you sit back when genuine lowlifes like Ben Domenech are given a giant microphone for preaching truly vile garbage?

You can choose to ignore the hypocricy if you want. I wouldn't be suprised if you did. You could simply ban me and end the discussion and go on with your "civil" discussion about "Who is worse: Bill Clinton or Ben Domenech."

That would be a pathetic and childish move on your part, but I wouldn't blame you nor would I be terribly surprised.

As always: just my opinion. Feel free to rebut and try to focus on the substance. I'm not quoting Bible passages here and I'm not a fundamentalist. I can change my mind.

Or you can admit the hypocricy and apologize.

Then my head might explode.


Anderson it isn't obtuseness so much as not being satisfied with conjecture based more on assumptions, even [gasp] prejudice, about republicans than any facts. This bio of the senior Domenech doesn't sound much like the well connected noblesse oblige everyone assumes:

http://www.leesburg2day.com/current.cfm?catid=17&newsid=4599

I also don't know which Domenech worked in the Admin first, maybe Dad is grateful for Ben's connections. Maybe not. I have no idea.

Or you can admit the hypocricy and apologize.

Then my head might explode.

Can we vote on this?

Tacitus's homeschooling post, by the way, was irredeemably banal. Seriously, he could have expressed the exact same thought simply by saying: "They hate us for our freedoms." They being the left, in this case. It was an attempt to shape a few uncivil cheap shots into a narrative that, if you homeschool, "the left" hates you and it is imperative that you oppose them at all costs. From where I sit, far too much of Republican political dialogue is driven by exhortations that "if you are a person of faith, the left hates you" and the like.

On a blog like this one, with much civil dialogue and cross-pollination between different ideologies, one would think the principle that nothing is ever accomplished through unitary references to what 'the left' or 'the right' believes would have long since become an article of faith.

Von,

There's no evidence that (and no grounds to call) the guy a racist, however.

You are a lawyer correct? You should know better than the above statement. You may not find the evidence compelling, but it's there. (dispute of material fact, yadda yadda...)

As to the rest of your post, I disagree strongly, and will simply adopt by reference the issues mentioned upthread, emphasising my objection to the appeal to the "Left is mean" meme, which is dubious in general and spectacularly inapt in this case - something about 'unclean hands' comes to mind.

it's because you're here, not because any incivility anywhere would provoke the same response. (I mean: I'm sure that somewhere in, say, Kansas, someone is being uncivil at this very moment, and I am not condemning them. Sorry: life is short.)

Hi Hilzoy.

Again: the issue is not whether you spent enough time documenting (or re-documenting) Ben Domenech's bizarre fetish for plagiarizing.

And the strawman about criticizing people in Kansas is noted (again: is erecting strawman "civil" discourse? How about mocking someone's comments imitating them? Is that "civil" discourse?).

I'm not talking about some sad rube in Kansas who recites Republican scripts (for the record, there must be a million such people). I'm talking about our government and major newspapers and their writers.

I'm sure you'll recognize there is a distinction and that your response was an example of dissembling to avoid the issue, to some extent.

Mac: I also don't know which Domenech worked in the Admin first, maybe Dad is grateful for Ben's connections. Maybe not. I have no idea.

As linked above in this thread, Dad was appointed in 2001.

I never meant to suggest that Ben was going to be given a sinecure (say, FEMA chief?) that would keep him safe & happy the rest of his days. But as someone safely outside any networks of influence, I've observed that they come in very handy for those on the inside.

Nor did I imply anything about Republicans in particular, tho as the party in power, they do have a bouncier safety net.

steve

On a blog like this one, with much civil dialogue and cross-pollination between different ideologies, one would think the principle that nothing is ever accomplished through unitary references to what 'the left' or 'the right' believes would have long since become an article of faith.

Hear hear. And this is exactly why Ben Domenech was a major problem long before this plagiarism garbage.

Michael :
I'm getting the sense that any prolonged disagreement with certain folks around here will ultimately be considered "uncivil", i.e., the charge of "uncivil" is merely an excuse for censoring and ignoring the substance of the charges being levelled by the commenter.

I can assure you that is not the case here. If you will allow that 2-3 months counts as “prolonged”, I can tell you that more often than not I disagree vehemently with both front page posts and many comments here.

I make my opinions known and I have never been treated with anything but respect. Differing opinions and reasoned argument are welcome here. I am treated more civilly here than at sites that would seem to be more in alignment with my beliefs and opinions.

BUT – be prepared to back up what you opine. There are some very sharp folks here who have taken me to the woodshed on occasion. Take that for what you feel it is worth, from someone across the isle.

Tacitus's homeschooling post, by the way, was irredeemably banal.

He had a point. Trevino *is* pompous and hateful, which is why I quit commenting at Tacitus.org, but it *is* also true that many libs see Christian-fundamentalist homeschooling as little short of retreating to a bunker in the Appalachians with plenty of bottled water & shotgun shells.

Having kids myself makes me more open-minded than I used to be about homeschooling. I still think it's usually a bad idea, but hey, it's a free country.

(I should've added "whereas Anderson is lighthearted and spiteful.")

Michael: I wasn't going to respond again, but: first, did you actually click the links? They are to the two posts I wrote during the period between when Domenech got his job and when I started writing about him.

Second, if you're going to accuse me of dissembling, or any other form of dishonesty, you should realize that that's either uncivil, and thus in violation of the posting rules, or in need of evidence. I will not ban you for criticizing me; I'm just saying.

Third, you're misspelling 'hypocrisy'.

it *is* also true that many libs see Christian-fundamentalist homeschooling as little short of retreating to a bunker in the Appalachians with plenty of bottled water & shotgun shells.

Care to provide support for that statement -- (outside of some anonymous blog commenter making a wisecrack of course)?

As for the idea that Christian-fundie homeschooling is an effort on the part of fundie parents to shield their children from rational challenges to religious mythology and to promote religion-based bigotry against groups such as gays, scientists and "liberals", that is a fairly reasonable idea, isn't it?

Having kids myself makes me more open-minded than I used to be about homeschooling. I still think it's usually a bad idea, but hey, it's a free country.

Gay science teachers in Appalachia might take issue with that cheerful sentiment.

But more importantly, it should be recognized that the children of fundamentalists aren't free to choose whether they are to be brainwashed by their parents or not.

And, yeah, telling a little kid that you must believe something or risk going to hell where you'll be tortured by demons for eternity and never see mommy and daddy again is brainwashing.

And fourth, you are saying it about Hilzoy, which is really, really funny.

I won't disagree that you'll find plenty on the left who are apt to think homeschooling is something to laugh at.

Just as I'm sure you'll find plenty on the right who are apt to think receiving a degree from an Ivy league school is something to snicker at and scorn.

But look at Trevino here. He notes the proclivity to make fun of homeschooling on the left and then makes the following charge of the left in lieu of this:

We're opposed to parents. With emphasis.

That's right folks. We snicker at homeschooling therefore we do not love our own mothers.

Charming, isn't it?

Hilzoy

Second, if you're going to accuse me of dissembling, or any other form of dishonesty, you should realize that that's either uncivil, and thus in violation of the posting rules, or in need of evidence. I will not ban you for criticizing me; I'm just saying.

Thanks for not banning me for criticizing you.

As I stated, your comment about whether you should be expected to criticize folks in Kansas seems like a strawman to me and an attempt to miss the obvious point of my comment. Erecting strawmen is a form of dissembling, in my opinion.

Michael, for heaven's sake.

It is generally accepted (here, at least) that you cannot attack someone for what they do not write about. You are attacking this blog in general, and Hilzoy in particular, because there were no posts about Ben Domenech getting the job at washingtonpost.com. That's a ridiculous criticism to make, and you are pressing it with an annoying lack of civility.

Michael: if anyone did you, it would be for uncivil criticism, not criticism per se.

What I meant about Kansas was just: I do not bother to criticize every act of incivility there is. I criticize some. You are welcome to go back and check. But obviously not all. I saw no reason to think that the Post's hiring an unqualified winger was either the most important or the most interesting story out there at first, and for whatever reason, it was also not the one I felt like writing about.

(I should've added "whereas Anderson is lighthearted and spiteful.")

...whereas I'm pompous and lighthearted, no small feat.

Hilzoy

I wasn't going to respond again, but: first, did you actually click the links? They are to the two posts I wrote during the period between when Domenech got his job and when I started writing about him.

I did click the links. They prove my point, especially the second one which seems little more than self-congratulation again on the oh-so-high ground allegedly taken by the this blog.

Is there an admission anywhere that this blog should have recognized earlier that Ben Domenech's hiring was a debacle-in-the-making? Was there any commentary on the Domenech hiring prior to the plagiarism charges?

Moving on, there is actually a very good post at Redstate on this topic: which is, unsurprisingly, being slammed by regular RS commenters.

it *is* also true that many libs see Christian-fundamentalist homeschooling as little short of retreating to a bunker in the Appalachians with plenty of bottled water & shotgun shells.

"Many" is the word that always gets us into trouble. "Many" liberals believe 9/11 was an inside job. "Many" conservatives believe George Bush was sent by God to lead our nation. And so forth.

Is it an animating principle of the entire political left, or any significant majority thereof, that homeschooling is evil? Of course not. And yet Tacitus seized upon an opportunity to use a few blog comments to smear the entire liberal movement. It's just cheap of him, and the fact that the charge could be fairly made as to a few isolated liberals makes it no less cheap. The Internet equivalent of those election-time fliers that say the secular liberals want to burn your Bible.

I think there are a lot of homeschoolers who come from the far right and a lot who come from the far left, not to mention those who have completely non-political reasons. I do wonder what some of the far-right homeschoolers would think if they realized the right to control your child's education was one of the first unenumerated rights ever read into the Constitution by a bunch of activist Supreme Court justices. It's a funny world.

Jesurgislac: tee hee

Notice that Reg feels obliged to condemn the internet left as "despicable people for whom nothing is beyond the pale in pursuit of their political ends..."

Of course, this does not provide anywhere near the necessary annoculation for what he goes on to say.

Is there an admission anywhere that this blog should have recognized earlier that Ben Domenech's hiring was a debacle-in-the-making?

No, and there isn't going to be one, because there was no such obligation on the part of this blog.

As Dean Wurmer said, "Obtuse and sanctimonious is no way to go through life, son."

I know, civility.

I saw no reason to think that the Post's hiring an unqualified winger was either the most important or the most interesting story out there at first, and for whatever reason, it was also not the one I felt like writing about.

Yes. Exactly.

But then folks here can't resist jumping up and down and waving their kleenexes when someone tells someone else to "grow up" in the comments.

I find that fascinating and weird. I'm not sure why you don't.

My point again: if those who run this blog truly care about the rotten state of discourse in this country, then show that you care by paying attention to the glaring examples of failures --- like Ben Domenech -- instead of making petty comments about the "rudeness" of comments on your blog.

Get it?

Some people in this country really are willfully ignorant liars. Some people in the comments section and at the WaPo really do behave like five year olds and pretend to be stupider than any adult could possibly be.

Recognizing the exisence of such people and identifying them is not "rude."

It's necessary. Pretending that they don't exist is coddling.

"Many" is the word that always gets us into trouble.

I see your point, Steve, but I disagree. "Some" and "many" are valuable terms that keep us from the all-or-nothing disjunctive logic that characterizes blind partisanship.

As for Trevino, he was commenting over at DeLong for some reason. Apparently he thinks that if Domenech was beneath one's notice before he became known as a Post-blogging plagiarist liar, then one mustn't criticize him publicly. What's Trevino's excuse, then? Who knows.

Michael Hubl: Are you serious when you say that you don't see any connection between characters like Ben Domenech and George Deutsch and more visible propagandists that peddle the Bush Administration's talking points?

[sorry about the delay -- I got a phone call.]

The story of George Deutsch or the more general appointment of incompetents, cronies, whatnot in, say, the CPA in Iraq or FEMA, seems like a different topic to me. Perhaps Ben Domenech was (maybe even still is) on the road to such jobs, that is a connection but I would say a tenuous one.

As for incivility on the left and right, well, I have my own opinion which I have expressed before (that is, the right tends to be somewhat worse). But that opinion is not worth much. I would rather stick to specific cases.

I guess I just don't have much to say on this subject. So here some more empty words. I would rather talk about something else.

No, and there isn't going to be one, because there was no such obligation on the part of this blog.

Maybe the blog isn't "about" what someone thought it was "about" then.

Or maybe it's just falling short of its goals.

Anything is possible, I guess. (shrugs)

MIchael, you have somehow talked yourself into believing that most of the commenters here are Bush supporters and that it's up to you to stand up for truth. I've been lurking and I think I agree with what you say when you talk about substance, but your arguments with other commenters are absurd--for instance, Jesurgislac is one of the most outspoken Bush critics around here (which I mean as both objective description and as a compliment) and you've managed to tick her off. Take a deep breath and consider the possibility that you're misjudging people.
It happens--I've done it myself a few times.

By the way, I have mixed feelings about civility in political debates, but it would take me a few badly written paragraphs to explain. Suffice it to say I think it is often an overrated virtue--in fact, one that often allows people to get away with murder, because it's uncivil to accuse people of being mass murderers. But Henry Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld aren't posting in this thread so it shouldn't be that difficult to disagree with people without being disagreeable.

I see your point, Steve, but I disagree. "Some" and "many" are valuable terms that keep us from the all-or-nothing disjunctive logic that characterizes blind partisanship.

I'm not saying we shouldn't use the word "many." Maybe I should have said that "many" gets us into trouble "much" of the time. Tee hee.

The point is that saying "many liberals believe this" or "many conservatives believe that" is shorthand for saying "enough of them believe this that we should care about it." Sometimes the shorthand is born out of laziness; sometimes it is born out of a wilful desire to take a cheap shot.

My bottom line is that it is not the word "many" which is an offender; the offender is the person who uses "many" to obscure the fact that he is, in point of fact, complaining about nothing more than a few extremists. Although, maybe my example that "many conservatives believe George Bush was sent by God" was poorly chosen in that regard...

My bottom line is that it is not the word "many" which is an offender; the offender is the person who uses "many" to obscure the fact that he is, in point of fact, complaining about nothing more than a few extremists. Although, maybe my example that "many conservatives believe George Bush was sent by God" was poorly chosen in that regard...

As I recall, George himself believes that he was chosen by God to be President.

Certainly there can be no doubt that in George's mind God allowed him to be President. And in George's mind, that has to be worth something.

Now I need to take a shower.

Certainly there can be no doubt that in George's mind God allowed him to be President.

God has of course allowed all manner of people to hold power.

George W. Bush, the Scourge of God?

Although, maybe my example that "many conservatives believe George Bush was sent by God" was poorly chosen in that regard...

Ah, but some do.

As for the ongoing debate over the role of this blog in promoting civil discourse, I always thought the animating concept was to simply lead by example, rather than to take responsibility for cleansing the entirety of our political debate, as if hilzoy were some cross between Don Quixote and Hercules cleansing the Augean stables. But she will correct me if I am wrong.

Steve: You are! You are! I had never previously thought of myself as a cross between Don Quixote and Hercules, but now that you mention it, I am!!!

Also, I am the world spirit, and have finally come to self-awareness.

History ends. Curtain down. Thank you all very much ;)

I had this quote from George Pataki in mind, actually.

"Ladies and Gentlemen ...
On this night and in this fight there is another who holds high that torch
of freedom. He is one of those men God and fate somehow lead to the fore in times of challenge.
And he is lighting the way to better times, a safer land, and hope.
He is my friend, he is our president, President George W. Bush."

I don't believe it's out of the mainstream at all to believe God has a plan for America, to tell you the truth, or that America's leadership plays a part in that plan. I do think it's a bit arrogant for any political party to claim that they are fulfilling God's plan, but I don't get to set the rules.

Oops, and now I stepped all over hilzoy's stunning denouement. Humblest apologies to the World Spirit, and congratulations to all on a happy ending.

Oh. My. Gawd.

It was the GENERAL! HE did it! He's the one who suggested that Red Dawn is porn for Young Republicans (my words, not his) and that certain incestuous relations might follow. Here is the link.

Jesus' General.

Jake

Jake, the General has finally gotten around to answering this scandal:

My response to the vile bastards who are trying to destroy America by destroying me


I've received billions of the vilest, most hateful emails imaginable over the last 24 hours. They've attacked virtually every aspect of my life, even going so far as to theatening to shear my dear little sheep, Sheila, and use her wool to commit unspeakable acts of debauchery.

Why have they chosen to attack me? Well, apparently the Francosphere is in an uproar over the first installment of my series A Story About Two Places. They are accusing me of lifting it from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

I won't argue with them. They're correct. I lifted the whole thing. But what they fail to tell you is that I had permission to do so. You see, I met Mr. Dickens at a Promisekeepers rally last summer and asked him if I could pass off his work as my own. He said, "sure, you look like a nice young man [everyone looks young to a man his age] have at it."

So tell me, who's the villain now?

Man, I missed all the fun stuff.

f you truly believe that when someone lies to you repeatedly, then says they're sorry when they finally get caught in the lie, Christianity requires that you forgive them instantly and give them a completely free pass on the lies, then I accept that as your view of Christianity.
Well, it does say that you have to forgive them. What it DOESN'T say is that you have to trust them again. The concept of 'forgiveness' in Scripture is about letting-go-of-offences, of releasing anger and bitterness, of freeing yourself from the bile of vengeful emotion as much as it is granting some reprieve to a sinner.

As for the whole 'graciousness is weakness' meme, well, yeah. Tough nuts. I'd repaste an essay I wrote on the topic a while back, but I don't want to break posting rules. Links are fine, though. Sometimes, you have t be willing to do what's Good, and lose because of it.

Jeff: that's quite good.

I also think, though (not a disagreement so much as a separate topic) that the tactical uses of doing the right thing are underappreciated. I often (when teaching) run into the assumption that winning absolutely requires doing wrong; and I think this is just a blind prejudice.

Not that the tactical reasons are why one should do the right thing, but recognizing their possibility helps when arguing with some supposedly realistic person who take realism to involve amorality.

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