« Ambiguity (Part II) | Main | Zip Fasten, or Fasten Zip? »

July 19, 2006

Comments

Any chance that we can close comments on this thread? It's not that I think there's no value to everyone having a chance to express their opinion on Charles' continuing ability to post here, but it doesn't seem like the thread is serving as much else except a magnet for negativity.

Andrew,
Thank you for the update. I am sorry if I started to push too hard in this public forum. I wasn't aware that our voices had even been noted. Now that I know the conversation is taking place in earnest, I will drop it and let the powers at be make whatever decision the they think is best without further comment.

Many people seem to be taking it for granted that Hezbollah is a 'cancer', an unwanted foreign presence within Lebanon that its government and people would be rid of if only they could, but they can't by themselves, so they need Israel to come in and nobly liberate them. I am far too poorly informed on all of this to put forth an opinion, but it certainly does occur to me to wonder whether that is really true.

And then I just saw this letter to Krauthammer quoted by Djerejian at his place (scroll down to the Update):

In 2005, Lebanon held an election. Hizbullah and Amal formed a common voting bloc entitled the Resistance and Development Bloc. It won all 23 seats in the south, on a platform that opposed the disarmament of Hizbullah. I am not happy about this development, and am no fan of hizbullah, but there it is. I have seen no evidence (by you or otherwise) - or even seen it asserted - that the election does not accurately reflect sentiments among the Shia in southern Lebanon.

Under these circumstances, please tell me what it means to "defang" Hizbullah? What can it mean to "liberate" the south, "expel the occupier" and "give it back to the Lebanese" when 1) the local population supports the "occupier" (which is made up of local residents) and hates the proposed liberator; and 2) the proposed liberator has already sought to "liberate" the area once before, in 1982, which led to the present antagonism, and the creation of Hizbullah in the first place?

Those seem to me to be good questions.

Andrew,
Thank you for the update. I am sorry if I started to push too hard in this public forum. I wasn't aware that our voices had even been noted. Now that I know the conversation is taking place in earnest, I will drop it and let the powers at be make whatever decision the they think is best without further comment.

I'd vote to keep Charles, if only so that through the continuing emotional hardship, Anarch might be made to be a better person.

If I had a vote, that is.

the (quite logical) anger and resentment toward being bombed by high-tech munitions from the air just might be focused on those who, you know, are actually doing the bombing: in this case, the Israelis.

It would be equally logical for them to discern why Israel is doing the bombing in the first place, Jay. Having read some of the Lebanese blogs, I think we can all give them a little more credit, their anger is not focused just on Israel but also at Hezbollah and the underperforming Lebanese government. Note also in my update that Hezbollah are firing rockets from Christian, Druze and Sunni communities. It doesn't seem likely that residents in those communities would be unaware of Hezbollah rockets being fired from their neighborhoods. But at the same time, I don't agree with Israelis destroying Lebanese army assets, scant as they are, and they should keep to a minimum the attacks outside south Lebanon.

He thinks it's funny. It stems from a very particularly frat-boy meanness. He probably still thinks calling people who blow a lay-up on the basketball court "fag" is funny, too.

Mindreading and a posting rules violation in one paragraph, Phil. You're still on your game.

Uh, CB, there seems to be some confusion on either my part or several others' - was I incorrect in stating above that you would be horrified at the scenario I described [throwing in some sort of court proceeding]?)

You would be correct, rilke.

Political murder remains murder, Charles, even if you gussy it up with bullshit charges of treason.

Thanks for the lesson, Anarch, but nevertheless I did not call for murder, political or otherwise.

Israel's attacks are endangering 2.mumble million Lebanese.

If Israel were aiming its missiles at Beirut instead of specific addresses in Beirut, your statement would be true, Jon. Rockets do go astray, so perhaps in that regard two million Lebanese would be imperiled. Also, anyone who lives in close proximity to Hezbollah members are at risk.

Gary, I'm glad you're not going to be tossed.

Ringo tells this story:

During the White Album sessions, he was feeling a bit left out, a little taken for granted, perhaps a little unnecessary .. so he went over to Paul's house and rang the doorbell.

Paul answers the door. Ringo tells him his concerns, that it seems like three to one lately, etc. and Paul looks at him and says: "Really, I thought it was you three against me".

On to John's house. John answers. Ringo feels left out and maybe he'll just leave the group -- three to one and all, etc. etc -- and John looks over his glasses and says "Really, I thought it was you three against me" (he preferred it that way) ...

Well, thinks Ringo, this is odd. A guy gets a good head of self-pity up and finds out everyone is paranoid. On to George's house. George, I think I'll call it a day. I'm not needed and so on. George looks at him a minute and answers "Richie, you've got it all wrong. It's you three that hate me."

Then they took on the Blue Meanies.

For some reason, I remember the lyrics of this ad as a Beatles song:

Toblerone, out on its own
Made with triangular almonds from triangular trees
And triangular honey from triangular bees
So, oh Mr Confectioner please
Give me Toblerone.

I mean, whenever the wisp of words comes floating back about triangular almonds from triangular trees and triangular honey from triangular bees I first think "What Beatles song was that?" and only then remember (sometimes after several minutes of racking my brains, or even racking google) "Oh yes, it's a Toblerone advert."

I've never been that fond of Toblerone. Too sweet.

If you haven't heard these, check out the two covers of I will
Ben Taylor (son of James Taylor)'Bye Bye Love' soundtrack
and
Brooks Williams Hundred Year Shadow

Charles,

"It would be equally logical for them to discern why Israel is doing the bombing in the first place, Jay. Having read some of the Lebanese blogs, I think we can all give them a little more credit, their anger is not focused just on Israel but also at Hezbollah and the underperforming Lebanese government."

I suspect there is a very large selection bias there. Lebanese who are able to write a blog in English are more likely to be middle to upper class and have some level of immersion in Western culture. What percentage of the Lebanese population (much less those outside of the tourist destination areas which are not the target of most of the Israeli bombardment) do you think that applies to?

I suspect there is a very large selection bias there.

Possibly, Dan. Actually, it would be N.Z. Bear's selection bias because that's where I looked.

CB: "You would be correct, rilke."

Ok, thanks.

Hope people evaluating this experience will take my understanding into account.


Pooh: "No way dude, you're reasonable as often as any of us (with the exception of perhaps LJ or rilke...)"

Or perhaps those evaluating my reasonableness shoud take the above into account.

Israel is doing the work that the Lebanese army should be doing but cannot...

Remember the old New Yorker end-of-column filler bit called "Letters we never finished reading"?

The further unavoidable glimpses resulting from scrolling down to hit 'comment' have only confirmed that first decision.

CB: I doubt much rage is being directed anymore at the underperforming Lebanese government. I think a lot of nonsense is perpetuated by misperceptions, and one of the largest misperceptions of Americans towards developing states concerns the position of government and society. Like it or not, most of us conceive of government as an entity that can act with near omnipotence within its borders. And the only challenge to that omnipotence is an internal challenge by another strong entity. What people who call for decisive Lebanese action don't realize is that the Lebanese government barely exists. This is a place where the only governmental presence you saw for years was Syrian. The Lebanese recognize that their own governments is fledgling (fledgling not like a new administration, but like a new institution) and like most people do not blame people for what is outside their power.

Yes, the Lebanese government is underperforming so badly that it cannot even now conduct disaster relief, let alone take on Hezbollah. Which would you consider its first obligation? The Lebanese government is no longer functioning, and though the total size of the pie is less than what it was a week ago, Hezbollah owns a greater proportion of that pie. I think the Christians in Lebanon are done for. No one is going to mess with Hezbollah now that they stood up to the Israelis.

Not that anyone asked or cares what this "grotesque" might recommend, but in all honesty and sincerity, maybe the powers that be should drop the pretense of ObiWi's original purpose, and just become the Hilzoy and Katherine show.

An articulate "not insane" left blog is still a valuable thing, and would fit the majority of the commentator's perceptions better. The hysterical, sometimes comical, and other times childish reaction to Charles' post indicates that it's long past time to stop pretending.

There are many high quality commentators here who might disagree with my assessment, but it's clear the majority of the commentators have no interest in sincerely engaging anyone to the right of Lincoln Chaffee. My only request, in fairness to Moe Lane, would be to please just give the place a new name. Maybe have a contest.

Cheers

Mac, you are perhaps doing a disservice to Andrew and to SH for that matter. If you have any names of conservative posters to recommend, I think they'll get fair consideration. I for one would welcome you as a poster if you have the time/energy/thick skin necessary.

does the phrase "obsidian wings" have any descriptive content? I have always took it to be a piece of meaningless dada.

Does it somehow mean "site containing both right and left viewpoints" or even just "mixtures of different things"?

If it is merely a name without descriptive content, then I'm inclined to think that there is nothing inappropriate about keeping the name, even if the mission changes.

I mean, sure, if the site of the name had originally been "Democrats and Republicans hold hands together!", and then over time all the Democrats left town, then at some point you'd want to change the name. But if it's just "Strawberry Alarm Clock", then no reason.

Not that I'm suggesting that as a new name, either.

rilkefan,

No insult or disparagement was meant toward Seb, Andrew, Von etc. Apologies if it came across in that way.

I appreciate your comments, but I barely have time to keep the rabble in line over at tacitus.org, let alone to comment on another blog. But thanks very much.

One of the lessons I've learned in watching the evolutions of ObiWi and tacitus.org, is that if you're going to have a place where the extremes actually engage, it has to be community self-policing with moderators only stepping in occasionally. The self-policing has to come from ideological fellows, otherwise it just becomes that much more partisan snipping.

The commentariat here has lost its ability to self-police over a wide spectrum of opinions, and I doubt a majority even wants that anyway. Civility is now in a very narrow ideological band, and there's nothing wrong with that per se, but it would be smart to recognize it.

In German, hilzoy, your head is male. You, being unmarried, are neuter.

Ah, crap; wrong thread.

Slarti: If memory serves, Arabic has some bizarre gender assignments for body parts. I believe that breasts and ovaries are masculine, for instance.

Nell: The further unavoidable glimpses resulting from scrolling down to hit 'comment' have only confirmed that first decision.

There's a minor grouping of rebels trying to turn it into a Beatles thread. I would have liked to make it a Monty Python thread, but no one seemed to want to join in.

Macallan: but in all honesty and sincerity, maybe the powers that be should drop the pretense of ObiWi's original purpose, and just become the Hilzoy and Katherine show.

Noooo! Don't take Sebastian and Andrew and Von away from us!

All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much much thicker in the middle, and the thin again at the far end. That is my theory, it is mine, and it belongs to me, and I own it, and what it is, too.

What? I came in here for an argument.

Oh, oh oh I'm sorry, this is "abuse'. You want Room 12-A just along the corridor.

As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area. And what do you think the Argylls ate in Aden. Arabs? Yours etc. Captain B.J. Smethwick in a white wine sauce with shallots, mushrooms and garlic.

An articulate "not insane" left blog is still a valuable thing, and would fit the majority of the commentator's perceptions better. The hysterical, sometimes comical, and other times childish reaction to Charles' post indicates that it's long past time to stop pretending.

Perhaps you should drop the pretense that the problem is with this den of angry and childish leftists, rather than with the substance (such as it is) of Charles's contributions (such as they are) to the site.

After all, if we were as you claim, than the other conservative and right-of-center posters--Sebastian, Von, and Andrew--would produce largely the same quality of reaction, if not in the same quantity due to their more moderate views.

The fact that the overwhelmingly negative reactions come not to them but to Charles suggests that you are wildly off the mark. Occam's Razor, etc.

But, but, Catsy:

I am angry!

I am childish!

I clench my tiny fists; I pout my tiny mouth; I stamp my tiny little feet with rage! And they're two left feet in tribtute both to my excessive leftiness and to my love of Richard Thompson!

Do not deny me these simple pleasures.

Hmmph.

Interestingly, despite my political leanings, my dancing instructor assures me that I, too, have two left feet.

Catsy,

As stated elsewhere: it's amazing the super cool magic powers that ol' Bird Dog's got here. Making all those people's fingers fly about their keyboards! Dare I say, it is awe inspiring.

But alas, I'm a simple guy, and using Occam's razor, I would say people are responsible for their own impulse control. Charles doesn't make anyone do anything.

Mac's comment reminds me that the desire for those on the right to explain what those on the left need to do seems to be something imprinted on DNA, it seems. Unfortunately, comments like this suggest that they are based in hypocrisy, though on whose DNA it is printed, I shall not say. Which I imagine will be followed by exceedingly fine semantic parsing about what is meant by majority and large numbers. Yawn.

That must be it LJ!

Or it could come from observing and moderating one site that transitioned from a right wing blog to a community oriented one with many more active left leaning commentators than there are right leaning ones here, and similarly observing this cross community oriented site transition to its present state.

Nah...

...must be the DNA thing!

Who says self-parody is dead? Thanks for the fine illustration.

Why are we here, what is life all about?
Is God really real, or is there some doubt?
Well tonight we're going to sort it all out,
For tonight it's the Meaning of Life.

What's the point of all these hoax?
Is it the chicken and egg time, are we all just yolks?
Or perhaps, we're just one of God's little jokes,
Well ca c'est the Meaning of Life.

Is life just a game where we make up the rules
While we're searching for something to say
Or are we just simple spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA?

What is life? What is our fate?
Is there Heaven and Hell? Do we reincarnate?
Is mankind evolving or is it too late?
Well tonight here's the Meaning of Life.

For millions this life is a sad vale of tears
Sitting round with really nothing to say
While scientists say we're just simply spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA.

So just why, why are we here?
And just what, what, what, what do we fear?
Well ce soir, for a change, it will all be made clear,
For this is the Meaning of Life - c'est le sens de la vie -
This is the Meaning of Life.

As stated elsewhere: it's amazing the super cool magic powers that ol' Bird Dog's got here. Making all those people's fingers fly about their keyboards! Dare I say, it is awe inspiring.

I'm not sure who you thought you were replying to here, as nothing you just wrote even remotely addresses the points I raised. But hey, everyone needs a hobby.

Ahh, Mac, so you missed all of the comments about the problems of Charles simply posting the same thing at Redstate and here and the polite requests to reconsider.

Of course, I'm a simple guy, so when I see claims of clownish behavior in one place and then suggestions of 'high quality commentators' in another, I just think the writer is a hypocrite. But if it's in the DNA, then they aren't self aware enough to realize it.

maybe the powers that be should drop the pretense of ObiWi's original purpose, and just become the Hilzoy and Katherine show.

Everyone likes Andrew and SH. Sorry, but the problem isn't that Charles is conservative, it's that he's a terrible poster. You may not agree with the assessment, but you can't truly be unaware of its basis.

My only request, in fairness to Moe Lane

what's unfair

The commentariat here has lost its ability to self-police over a wide spectrum of opinions

This I actually agree with. The signal-to-noise ratio in comments is still higher here than at just about any other political blog, but you get way more cliche, echo-chamber-y, cut-and-paste "wit" than used to be normal. Not that everything needs to Serious Analysis all the time either.


(p.s. to everyone I rarely post but I've been reading for a long time)

Don't be silly Catsy, we're on the same page here. Get rid of Charles! And anyone else who causes these "overwhelmingly negative reactions".

Like me for instance, and that yucky Josh fellow too. Away with them all, because it is obvious they must be the problem.

Just be honest about it.

Away with them all, because it is obvious they must be the problem.

This would be far more trenchant if you weren't doing the exact thing that you claim people here are doing.

Mac, that Josh fellow just posted snark offensive to SH on a thread about anger and grief.

And I don't hear anyone wishing you away. I don't appreciate your comment about hilzoy over at the other place, and no doubt such comments here would get you yelled at - but there's causality and time-ordering and so forth to get past.

but you get way more cliche, echo-chamber-y, cut-and-paste "wit" than used to be normal.

That's a fair observation, but a lot has to do with the fact that hilzoy has been doing most of the posting. This is not to blame hilzoy in any way, but if the majority of posts are from one person in a blog like this, a dynamic is going to be set up. Fortunately, the addition of Andrew has been excellent, so I look forward to what the future will hold here. However, concerning what will happen in rest of the world, not so much.

Of course, I'm a simple guy, so when I see claims of clownish behavior in one place and then suggestions of 'high quality commentators' in another, I just think the writer is a hypocrite.

Seems simple to me. I can think of many high quality commentators here at ObiWi. I can also think of many clowns. This thread alone has both. That isn't hypocrisy, that's just accuracy. Hope that helps with your confusion.

The fact that Josh Trevino retains the right to post comments here after unrepentantly calling no fewer than half of its regular front-page posters potential traitors -- and that being hardly his only nor his most egregious offense on what is essentially other people's property -- is a wonderment. And yet, to the ever-dishonest Macallan, Trevino is the aggrieved party.

Not at all surprisingly, he seems at a loss to explain why Sebastian and Von don't elicit nearly the results that poor, beleagured Charles does. Well, he offers an explanation, but it's a stupid one.

I can think of many high quality commentators here at ObiWi. I can also think of many clowns.

ah yes, what was it that I said?

Which I imagine will be followed by exceedingly fine semantic parsing about what is meant by majority and large numbers.

I wish this said more about my powers of prediction than your predictability.

rilkefan,

I had to go and find the comment, but I fully agree that it was neither the time nor place for that snark.

I told everyone what would happen if they didn't run away.

Nukes will fall.

Everyone left around: you chose to stay around.

Bad choice.

Run.

And yet, to the ever-dishonest Macallan

Phil in his all too typical forum adds his contribution to the self-parody. Bravo!

"All too typical forum?" Isn't it a little early for you to be drunk?

Still, if you can point out something I've said that's dishonest, I've got a shiny new quarter with your name on it.

Macallan,
thank you for taking the time to look for the comment and I want to apologize for being so snarky. Though I do think you are a bit too quick with the short snark, and realize that the audience at Tacitus is different, I don't want to chase you off. I do wish you would see that a problem with Charles' rhetoric can be separate from the desire to build an echo chamber for the left. Again, my apologies.

"All too typical forum?" Isn't it a little early for you to be drunk?

Again! Dang, you're fantastic! If I were Slarti, I'd suspect that I was posting under "Phil" just for illustration.

Yawn.

Still waiting, or don't you want that quarter?

Wait, wait . . . I predict another brilliant citation from the landmark case, Rubber v. Glue.

Slarti: If memory serves, Arabic has some bizarre gender assignments for body parts. I believe that breasts and ovaries are masculine, for instance.

Hardly surprising. German, though, is way screwed up. If you should get married, for instance, you will become feminine.

I think I posted a link to German-language up-screwed-ness on a prior open thread; I'll rummage with forth.

Thanks LJ

I do wish you would see that a problem with Charles' rhetoric can be separate from the desire to build an echo chamber for the left.

I'm not accusing anyone of having the desire to build an echo chamber for the left. The entire left spectrum leaves plenty to argue about. However, there isn't any problem with Charles' rhetoric any more than there is Hilzoy's. They can each say something that will annoy someone. That Charles said something controversial is in the eyes of the beholder, and my point is if a majority doesn't really want to behold ideas so counter their own, be honest and repurpose the site to what people actually want.

Blaming the messenger or his style is bulls**t, because Charles gets plenty of praise when writes on ideas more agreeable to the pack. What people seem to not like is that he might actually think what he writes. His treatment here really does say more about here than it does about Charles. That other right leaning writers get less static might speak more to how far right they actually lean than the quality of their rhetoric. Von for instance is nearly a communist for goodness sakes… ;-)


Phil, I don't think Mac was accusing you of being dishonest, but of being, uhh, energetically angry at conservatives. And you do seem rather energetically angry at some conservatives of late. Dialing it down a notch might increase its effectiveness.

lj, good form.

That other right leaning writers get less static might speak more to how far right they actually lean than the quality of their rhetoric.

This is a good point. I suspect I'll get a lot more static if I start talking economics, for example.

The point about CB's comment is that it didn't well express what he thought. I'm trained in reading in non-standard ways and was able to figure it out, but it certainly can reasonably be read in a possibly scary way. I suspect CB wishes he had phrased it differently.

If you can point to something vaguely similar from hilzoy I will a) be surprised b) suspect she explained/rephrased/retracted it as soon as someone complained c) failing that call for her to e/r/r it, which I'm sure she'll do.

"This is a good point. I suspect I'll get a lot more static if I start talking economics, for example."

We have to let the data speak. There have certainly been energetic but respectful discussions of conservative-economic posts by SH here.

Where did I ever claim to be otherwise, rilkefan? The point I was making is that Josh Trevino gets treated a hell of a lot better here than hilzoy, e.g., gets treated by him. And for Macallan to pretend otherwise is simple dishonesty.

That dishonesty compounded by crap like " . . . a majority doesn't really want to behold ideas so counter their own." Commenters here -- including some of the most hardcore liberals on the site -- have been begging for someone to present "ideas counter to their own" in an intelligent, analytical and forthcoming manner rather than someone who regurgitates up half-digested nonsense gleaned from the WSJ op-ed page and whatever conservative blogs he read that morning.

I've recommended ThirdGorchBro several times in the past, and his ideas aren't even particularly counter to many of my own. Nor are many of von's or Sebastian's, and -- here's the kicker -- nor are many of Charles'. It has nothing to do with whether their ideas are counter to my own, because they aren't.

If I had to pick the people here whose ideas are most nearly the diametrical opposite to my own, on the most large-scale political things, they'd probably be the five most leftist posters you can name.

I suspect CB wishes he had phrased it differently.

I'll bet you $10 he doesn't.

We have to let the data speak.

You expect me to use data? See, we're already in trouble.

rilkefan,

I'd be shocked, not to mention impressed, if you would ever see the same thing as annoying that I might in something hilzoy would write. Which is sort of the point, the point isn't to be critical of hilzoy or her writing. I think she and Charles are valuable.

"The point I was making is that Josh Trevino gets treated a hell of a lot better here than hilzoy, e.g., gets treated by him."

Well, and this is surprising given the people involved?

And if you want to describe Mac's claim above as "entirely wrong" instead of "dishonest", and if you would lead off with the excellent points you make later in your comment, I'll agree with you.

The point I was making is that Josh Trevino gets treated a hell of a lot better here than hilzoy, e.g., gets treated by him. And for Macallan to pretend otherwise is simple dishonesty.

What the hell are you talking about?

I'll bet you $10 he doesn't.

His disclaimer at the bottom of the post suggests that he does.

This is a good point. I suspect I'll get a lot more static if I start talking economics, for example.

It's not a good point at all--it's a nonsensical assertion that's precisely opposite of what has been demonstrated in the past.

Case in point: this thread. Sebastian wrote a controversial analysis of a contentious issue. The post generated over 300 comments, many of which consisted of fairly heated back-and-forth exchanges between Sebastian and Jesurgislac, and a few of which consisted of precisely this kind of meta-discussion about the ideological balance of the site. Curiously, the vast majority of the "left-leaning" posters of this site defended Sebastian. While some took issue with his analysis and sourcing, I counted not one of them suggesting that his writings were unfit for Obsidian Wings. The only person accussed of "sucking and ruining the site" was Jesurgislac, and even that was in jest. It was one of the uglier threads I've seen on this site, and not once was it suggested that Sebastian should not be a poster on ObWi.

Which is a long way of saying that Mac's asertion is full of crap. All of the right-leaners who post here generate heated disagreement with the left-leaners who post here. Only Charles reliably generates a fervently-expressed desire for him to not post anymore.

A reasonable person would look at those facts and ask first what it is about Charles's writings that generates this reaction instead of asking what's wrong with the people who have this reaction.

Slart,
I think you are referring to the Twain essay on German.

Mac,
this is the sort of stuff that we have spent a lot of time on at HoCB, because it is meta-rhetoric, but suffice it to say (and I only speak for myself here) that at some point the style is the message. Couple that with the way Charles interacts with this list, (i.e. posting the same thing in three places and then only responding to the most inflammatory jibes, leveled largely because people want Charles to respond, so they keep turning up the temp until he does) and you've got problems. I think that dynamic is heightened because of the Andrew's big entry here and his efforts to keep up. I am sure that some people are annoyed by Hilzoy's rhetoric. But she responds to complaints and queries, which is why the dynamic evolves as it does. Commentors who have taken umbrage at Hilzoy, and have come in to be snarky with her have ended up getting the short end of the stick not because everyone is a hilzoy clone, but because it becomes very evident that the person coming in is a jerk. On the other hand, people who have come in and toned down their rhetoric have been accepted, though them might have felt completely comfortable because of the make up of the commentariat. I could pull up any number of comments of regulars defending Chas and asking people to cool it. But when Charles, as front page poster, starts it all off and then basically disappears, the desire of regulars to defend this kind of thing drops off dramatically.

I also suspect that part of it is there are a number of academic-y types here and one reason why Hilzoy may aggravate you is because of that style (of which this is probably an annoying example) sounds to you (and possibly to Charles) like putting on airs.

Apologies for the navel gazing, but, as it seems to be for you, I am intensely interested in how online communities develop. But I think you are missing a big part of the picture if you frame this in terms of political points of view rather than in online behaviors/personalities and writing styles.

them might have felt completely comfortable

Gawd. They might no have felt completely comfortable

"if you would ever see the same thing as annoying that I might in something hilzoy would write."

The point here isn't that the comment in question was considered annoying - it was considered a call for looking with equanimity on the murder of a stupid actress. It wasn't a clearly written comment. If hilzoy has written anything you think would be as shocking upon misreading to the average conservative ("For glorifying the genocide of Native Americans, John Wayne earned a trip to the Hague and then to the hangman's noose"? I can't really guess.), I'd be (un)happy to see it. But I don't think such a statement exists, in part because she's a very clear writer (if sometimes at the expense of concision).

I would like CB to continue to post here - but he needs to edit out the 1% of extraneous guaranteed-to-divert-the-discussion chaff, and he needs to participate more (my two cents, anyway) - people disinclined to give him the benefit of the doubt aren't going to get won over by non-participation in the community except for infrequent posts containing what seem like deliberate affronts.

"Gawd. They might no have felt completely comfortable"

lj, are you turning Scottish or something?

me: "We have to let the data speak."

Andrew: "You expect me to use data? See, we're already in trouble."

I meant, you should post on economics and we'll see.

Mac:

I have no doubt that hilzoy has written things that annoy you. that's the point.

but we are slowly developing some rules of the road here which allow for more fruitful communication.

First rule: Do not impute monolithic views to your political opponents.

Counter-example: Josh's most recent post on Tacitus.

Second rule: Understand that the vast majority of your political opponents do not want to end our current way of life, whether in political, economic or religious spheres. Avoid suggesting that they do, even in jest.

Counter-example: Ann Coulter, Chris Muir, most Redstate / Tacitus comments.

Third: Understand that eliminationist rhetoric, guilt-by-association, and overuse of mindless talking points degrade the level of conversation.

Counter-example: CB's post.

so, you said: However, there isn't any problem with Charles' rhetoric any more than there is Hilzoy's.

I have no doubt that you honestly believe what you wrote. But you need to understand that most of the liberals here, including me, profoundly disagree with that assessment.

the worst thing is that we have the meta-threads on whether CB should have posting rights virtually every time he posts, because he so often violates one of those rules. it's getting awfully tiresome explaining why CB's rhetoric is so much more corrosive than Andrew's or Sebastian's.

And if you want to describe Mac's claim above as "entirely wrong" instead of "dishonest",

I can't be that charitable, I'm afraid. When he posts this garbage -- Like me for instance, and that yucky Josh fellow too. Away with them all, because it is obvious they must be the problem. -- he knows it's "entirely wrong," and says it anyway. That's the textbook definition of dishonest. The only reason Josh Trevino ever deigns to grace Obsidian Wings with his loquacious presence is to piss in the punch, then act offended and condescending when people complain that they don't like the taste of urine. If Macallan doesn't see that as at least a problem, I'd suggest he's using the wrong definition.

Hilzoy, meanwhile, can get called a potential traitor to her online face and still attempt to engage Trevino in a reasonably manner on his own blog. But Macallan suggests that "the problem" is with hilzoy and her commenters. Please.

and if you would lead off with the excellent points you make later in your comment, I'll agree with you.

Fine. Another great example: Look at how 3GB is regularly received in comments vs., say, OCSteve.

I'd vote to keep Charles, if only so that through the continuing emotional hardship, Anarch might be made to be a better person.

Wow.

Totally and completely owned. Or pwn3d, if you prefer.

Well done, that man.

But Macallan suggests that "the problem" is with hilzoy and her commenters.

Given that I think hilzoy is the strength of the site, and I recommended the site feature her and Katherine, I don't see how you can make that case. The "problem" is what the site is versus what its original mission was. All I've said, and continue to say, is you should go with what it has become.

Oh, and that Charles is getting a bum rap.

"I think you are referring to the Twain essay on German."

Oh, yes. I think I'd seen that unattributed; that it was done by Twain clicks very firmly and loudly.

Oh, and that Charles is getting a bum rap.

Right. "Charles isn't ruining the site by being a terrible poster, the commenters are ruining the site by talking about how he's a terrible poster!"

BTW, I would actually like an example of what Hilzoy has done that you consider 'annoying' in the way people find Charles' talk about treason annoying. I understand that you don't expect most of us to feel the same way about it, but that's why I'm curious.

There are many high quality commentators here who might disagree with my assessment, but it's clear the majority of the commentators have no interest in sincerely engaging anyone to the right of Lincoln Chaffee.

FWIW, speaking only for myself, I'd be delighted in serious debate with conservative commenters who are not, to steal from Gary Farber, insane. [Such as asserting that liberals are traitors, or that the NYT is trying to target Dick Cheney for Al Qaeda.] That this has disqualified a great number of people to the right of Lincoln Chafee is an unfortunate commentary on the nature of conservative discourse; so it goes.

The "problem" is what the site is versus what its original mission was.

*voice goes all Patrick Stewart-sy* The continuing mission: "This is the Voice of Moderation. I wouldn't go so far as to say we've actually SEIZED the radio station . . ."

I hesitated to post, but I still think that Charles should be allowed to post here. I think that he is very representitive of right-wingers I've known and that airing his views here is informative and educational for many of the posters here. I think that Macallen and Josh Trevino should be banned though.

Note that Charles hasn't been rude to anyone here in this thread, but that neither of the latter ever show up here without insulting the regulars.

You go Frank, "Ban Macallan!"

You go Frank, "Ban Macallan!"

Sayeth the banning gunslinger. Sorry, banning gunslinger [ref]*

*After the intervention.

As an interested outsider here, I observe that this would have been a much, much more interesting thread had CB not included that unfortunate aside about Chomsky and Fonda. He certainly seems to have an ongoing propensity to include such self-hijacking elements in his posts. (I'm tempted to make a [strained] analogy to suicide bombers, but will not, though now I have both done it and not done it, in somewhat Birdian fashion.)
His final update in this post, in which he ostensibly distances himself from the offending passage, does not really ring true to me. That is, he doesn't sound sorry about it. I suspect, without proof, that he enjoys detonating these little bombs here (whoops). It's not my place to give a thumbs up or down on his continued presence here, but that presence does strike me as dissonant with the overall tone of the site.

Oh, man, another meta-thread and I'm late to the party. Rats. Well, in case anyone cares...

Up until a few weeks ago, I agreed with Macallan -- get rid of the "Voice of Moderation" tagline and the half-hearted gestures towards cross-the-aisle rapproachement and let the blog embrace its decidedly liberal voice. However, Andrew's tremendously successful debut and the generally very reasonable and enlightening conversations resulting from his posts reminded me of the unique value of this blog at its best.

So my opinion now is that the blog can indeed foster interesting debate in a range from "somewhat conservative" to "mainstream liberal" and should do everything possible to encourage more such discussions. Charles probably shouldn't post here anymore -- his posts are too far away from that range and generate either abuse or (surprised) agreement but seldom any real discussion in this particular community.

I'd also gently suggest that hilzoy, as the most prolific and leftmost regular poster, focus on topics that will stimulate real discussion and reduce the volume of snarky "oh those wacky wingnuts" and "OMG look at what those Bush admin idiots did now" posts that invite cheers and amens but not much interesting commentary. But I understand that that may be a minority opinion.

Andrew,

This is a good point. I suspect I'll get a lot more static if I start talking economics, for example.

Short Version: Please do. I am certain you are wrong on every point, equally certain that the discourse in which I discover I am wrong on every point will be enlightening, as well as equally certain that the process by which we find a way in which to comes to terms with our disagreements will provide me with a more nuanced and insightful understanding of the world around me.


Long Version: It depends on what you mean by static. Hilzoy did a series on libertarians and liberals that generated some very heated back and forth about first principles and whatnot, but it was significantly different from what has happened on this thread. Mostly, this is because there was solid content to be discussed from all sides and a general lack of poorly thought out talking points.

It always irks me when I am looking for good discussion of various topics, discussion I can really dig into, and then along comes a pile of drivel and mindless talking points that isn't terribly coherent and certaintly isn't written to do well anywhere other than an echo chamber. However, what sends me over the top is that pointing this out invariably gets me accused of wanting to live in an echo chamber. I am not terribly far down the lefty scale. I tend to hover around Sebastian and Slarti. However, I get sick of mindless talking points from both sides, which is why I come here. This in turn makes me pretty short tempered with those who do nothing more than incite partisanship.

I second socratic_me's statement, except perhaps on where I would fit in on a lefty scale.

I am not terribly far down the lefty scale. I tend to hover around Sebastian and Slarti.

Hmmm...well, I've been accused of having liberal tendencies before. Mostly by people who haven't been around me all that much, though.

Now, Hitler...Hitler would've thought of me as a liberal.

There. I compared socratic_me to Hitler, and the thread is young, yet.

But it's all in fun; I watched The Producers last night.

Slart,

Does it count if you are merely pointing out how Hitler and I are not alike? My point in the quoted comment was that I don't think of myself as particularly liberal, though the argument that those who think government is the problem often make government the problem is beginning to get a lot of traction with me.

And I assume that is the new Producers, yes? Not usually a fan of remakes, but I loved that one. So much so that my Sister-in-law got it for me for my B-day.

Re: my being liberal: No, wasn't all that serious. Of course.

Re: Producers: Yes, the new one. Hysterical, in places.

Now I've got to see the original; I have a hard time imagining that the two are all that much alike.

I haven't seen the remake, but the original may be the funniest movie ever made. You really should rent it.

See, I am not all that fond of the original. Too much manic yelling being passed off as humour. This is also the reason that I find the beginning of the new one annoying. The first 15 minutes or so are basically straight mimicry of the old one. Then it starts to smarten up and add some great song and dance numbers and I crack up.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad