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November 02, 2006


I'm sorry, Andrew, and I hope that nothing I said contributed to your decision.

I'm sorry to hear this. I haven't seen any regrettable outbursts by you either, though maybe I missed something. You've disagreed with people and obviously don't appreciate what you perceive as self-righteousness by lefties, but that's not offensive to me. (I just think you're wrong.)

But if it's a case of us driving you crazy, that's understandable. Take a break and I hope you come back.

(Couldn't BSG postings be continued here, or do I have to go to your blog?)

Oh, you're talking about the thread below. Just glancing through it, that's a classic ObiWi slugfest. Nothing to get excited about.

Seriously, it speaks well of you that you want to take a deep breath and back away for a bit, but I hope you come back. (And I'm also serious about hoping you continue BSG posting--that ought to be acrimony-free territory, unless BSG-haters come in and then we can all pile on them.)

Well, that's most unfortunate.

Gee, that's too bad.

Lot of expertise that's not represented by other writers around here, and fairly intelligent writing.

Aw, drat. Sorry to see you taking a break, but in any case people should be calmer after the elections -- all the liberals should either be cheerful or drinking themselves into a stupor. Either way, less argumentative.

I reread the thread and I see now that I was the first to bring up equivalence. The weird thing is I didn't think Andrew was suggesting moral equivalence. I thought he suggested role or function equivalence, which doesn't seem accurate to me but also doesn't seem like an offensive suggestion. I was doing a lateral when I brought up moral equivalence.
I think Obwi gets into these incredible intense long drawn out snits over word usage regularly and mostly they bore me to death. I don't think it's a leftie thing. I think it is a very-bright-people thing and probably it bores me because I'm one of the lesser lights.
Also I think lots of people are het up over this election. I'm absolutley obsessed.

Andrew, you'll be welcome whenever you come back.

You have done me several favors, for which I'm grateful.

You have taught me stuff from a perspective I would not have reached without you.

And you persuaded me to give a chunk of money to Valour IT, which I hadn't known about.

Take care of yourself, and come back when you like.

sometimes you just gotta step away from the table and go sit in the lounge for a while - get in touch with some inner peace. no harm in that.

and believe me, i know all about that 'acid tounge' thing. i try to keep it civil here, but elsewhere, i'm pretty much a total dick.

Come back soon -- we'll miss you. (And consider the BSG suggestion! By Friday, I may be halfway through season 1 ;) )

Come back soon, please, Andrew.

Best wishes. Hope you come back soon.

I'm very sorry to hear you're taking a hiatus; I very much enjoyed reading your posts.

However, if you're no longer enjoying it, then of course you need to take a break. If it's not rewarding in any way, there's no point in doing it.

I do hope you come back, though. I meant what I said in an earlier threat, that the political discourse needs people like you.

but coming to ObWings these days is an occasion for me to get angry rather than to learn.

Replace "ObWings" with "the political Blogosphere", and I'm right there with you.


My comment above should read "I meant what I said in an earlier thread." Not threat.

My comment above should read "I meant what I said in an earlier thread." Not threat.

Too late, the NSA worm has logged the comment and the FBI is on its way.

That's ok Andrew...all of us will just go and infest your comment section at www.andrewolmsted.com.

In other words...

You can't escape!

The swamp claims another victim...

The regular posters are always so polite as those with opposing views walk out the door. Your condolences might not be necessary if you were polite and reasonable to their face as opposed to their backside.

This behavior reminds me of a child.

ObWi Kid: I'm gonna pretend to be mean and rude to you, but you just ignore it. I'm gonna distort every little word you type, but just pretend like I'm not. Come on, it'll be fun.

Conservative Kid begins to walk away.

ObWi Kid: Hey what did I say? We are just trying to have fun, right? I was only kidding. I didn't really mean to insult you over and over again. Can't we all just get along?

No reason to look in the mirror here kids. I'm sure its just some weakness in the conservative mind that drives them away.

Hey, class act, bril.

I've just reviewed a number of bril posts here, and there are a fairly large number of remarks that seem to violate the posting rules.

Is there any reason to believe that this person is interested in reasonable dialog rather than simply scrawling graffiti?


"..but until then I am more likely than not going to say something stupid."

I can't think of a single stupid thing you've ever said here. But if you were planning to say something stupid and now will not be here to do so, I'm sure I can take up the slack on uttering stupid statements.

Rest. Relax. Come back.

I don't think it's a leftie thing. I think it is a very-bright-people thing and probably it bores me because I'm one of the lesser lights.

I think it relates a little to Andrew's post a few weeks ago about his inability to speak the liberal idiom - suffice it to say that the reason people came down so hard, so fast on the Limbaugh:Moore thing is that we've seen it so often that it's a hot button. Not speaking liberal, Andrew didn't see it that way.

I'm actually finding a lot of this as I try and read more conservative political philosophy (for balance's sake). The use of language often seems like a slap-in-face, yet I'm sure it's often completely unintentional, so I've tried to stifle the combination of the "who says that" & "Screw you 2" reflexes.

Anyway, don't take it personally, and think before you escalate (to all).

thanks for the reasonable study in politeness, bril.

Ahem, any support here for adding to the posting rules so that things like today do not happen again?

Also: we're quickly losing top-level bloggers, now with Andrew and CB gone.

I wonder if political blogging hasn't run its course, at least for now.

I used to go to many blogs, and made it a point to participate in conservative blogs as well as liberal ones. What I've seen happen in the 3 years I've been a regular blogreader is a general congealing - more like a curdling - of most political blogs. Not just along ideological lines, mind you, but in the quality of the posts and conversations.

As our national political discourse degenerated into polarization, juvenalia, and substance-free kerfuffles, so (it seems to me) did political blogs. Even when the proprietors posted fairly substantive essays, the comments went directly to hell and stayed there. There was little actual conversation, mostly exchanges of the same kinds of idiocy that characterizes the national debate, dubiously leavened with self-satisfied mutual admiration cliqueishness.

I want to note, and emphasize, that a few political blogs didn't fall into such dead-end concretion - but most have. I also want to note, emphatically, what I say applies to liberal as well as conservative blogs.

I don't know how much of it has to do with the degeneration of American politics in general, and how much of it has to do with the nature of political blogging. The polarization, etc., certainly means there's less inclination to reach across Party lines and engage the other side. But focusing on politics may also be inherently cannibalistic, with the same people showing up all the time to say the same things over and over, and even the same trolls using the same methods to threadjack over and over.

I haven't noticed this phenomenon happen on blogs that aren't all about or mostly about politics - and I suspect that's because 1) the subject matter is less tendentious, not to mention broader; and 2) people can talk about and argue about movies, literature, and so on without putting their blood pressure in the danger zone, and without having to call one another stupid or evil or dishonest or any of the other imprecations so common on political blogs.

So: the things that draw people to political blogs are by nature limited in scope, and the tenor of political discourse generally intensifies that limitation in a really bad way.

If that phenomenon is inherent to political blogging, then an improvement in national political discourse won't improve political blogging.

If, however, the epidemic of facile and unpleasant political blogging is a reflection of the national tenor, then maybe, in a few years, if and when the country's politics becomes sane again, political blogging will improve accordingly. And we can talk about philosophies and policies, and honestly try to communicate again.

Excellent comment, CaseyL.

CaseyL, there's another factor too. Political blogging has been around a long time, but it got a big, big boom in traffic after 9/11/2001. And perhaps the key question then was "What shall we do?" That came bundled with "What's going on here, anyway?"

Not many of us - the folks who like rambling on at length about politics - feel anything like that level of basic ignorance anymore, I think. We have our sundry explanations for what was going on, and what's going on now, and what we ought to do about it all. It's not that we agree, but that very few of us are in that state of gut-deep bewilderment anymore.

The thing is that the next steps are basically practical ones, and they only work reliably on people you share a fair amount of foundation with. I will, for instance, give more weight to Hilzoy's electoral recommendations than those from either Bob McManus or OCSteve, not because either of them's inarticulate, stupid, or anything like that, but becuase they're sailing from a here to a there that I'm not hoping to see. Likewise, while I would hope each thinks of me (if he ever does) as someone of basically honest good will, I wouldn't expect them to want to hash out policy details and such with me, for the same reason.

There's another constraint too: virtually all of us agree that Bush is not the sort of person to respond to external pressures for a change in policy, on anything. So we all know that any proposal for the next few years that starts with him doing so is dead in the water, barring whim and/or miracle. That rules out a LOT of what political junkies normally talk about. We usually go on about how this or that staff change might pull this bit that way, or what leverage might get this bill modified that way in exchange for the over favor, and so on. That's all pointless now.

The Clinton administration spoiled political junkies. It's not that Reagan and Bush Sr. never wheeled and dealed; both did, often with great skill. But Clinton was all over it pretty much all the time. Those of us who talk about things got used to talking about a malleable, negotiable operating environment for both means and goals. Now it's gone, and we find that without that set of toys, the rest just plain isn't so fun. (Digressive insight: The noxious he said/she said school of "balanced" journalism was somewhat less completely a waste of space in an environment filled with multi-layer negotiations.)

So here we are, acting in our various ways and otherwise kind of at a loss for things to say.

the same people showing up all the time to say the same things over and over, and even the same trolls using the same methods to threadjack over and over.

that's true of meatworld political discussion, too. whenever i talk politics with my father-in-law, for example, we always end up pushing each other's buttons, in the same old way, by bringing up the same old points, even when there's new material in the mix. after a while, the point we started off with gets lost, and we're off into the same old issues, trying to win those old battles we couldn't win, but still think we should have, the last time around.

maybe i'll treat myself to a few months off, after the election.

My mother has a rule of the house that we don't discuss sex, religion, and politics at the dinner table or on the Internets.

So. how's the weather where you guys are? Did you spot that cloud that looked like a giant Buick in the western sky? I'm thinking of having my hair frosted tomorrow, what do you think? I forgot to put the thyme in the creamed corn again. John, where is that sweater I gave you for Christmas when you were eleven years old. I haven't seen it in, what, 40 years? I'll bet you don't like it, do you? What's that noise? No, not that one, the other one? Can't you hear it? Well, you're all just crazy.

Don't give up. After the election liberal blogs are wuite likely to gett involved in arguments about the direction of the Democratic party, the quality or lack thereof of the leadership etc. The change in conversation wil shake things up. Republicans will be dong some soul searching, too. Also we can all start speculating about the next batch of candidates for 08.
one of the lessons (boy am i jumping the gun!) of this election is that lots and lots of people are sick of the substanceless polarizing. I think that will manifest itself on the substantive blogs by less tolerrance for baiting and trolling. Sure Michele will stay Michele, but who needs to pay ttention to herr? This is a stressful week. After the election things will still bwestressfful but in a different way. The content of the conversations will be new for awhie anyway.

Add me to the pool that suggests that off topic/fun posts like BSG blogging might be a way to interact in a positive way, while you're waiting for the acid to subside.

(Building common ground while avoiding the things that upset you sounds like a twofer.)

thullen, dammit, we're trying to avoid divisive topics that will get people shouting at each other.

and you bring up putting *thyme* in *creamed corn*?

Add me to the group (I'm already in the pro-BSG group) that thinks political blogs have "congealed" because it's pretty clear what to think of the Bush Administration. It's just one stupid or horrific thing after another, and one either sustains the level of outrage that is called for, or at times anyway, one gets bored by it. I think the boredom I feel sometimes when I read yet another extremely-well written and well-reasoned post by hilzoy has everything to do with my mindset and nothing at all to do with the quality of what she has written. To some degree that's also true of the other lefty blogs that I frequent. And then the comments--yes, people rant and rave. That includes me, on certain issues. And on some days I'll see someone ranting and raving in a very articulate fashion and I'll think "Yeah, I know, Bush is a war criminal and a blithering idiot. Tell me something I don't know." Of course, in my personal life I have the luxury of being bored. I'm not in Iraq in danger of dying at the hands of some electric-drill-wielding fanatic, or of being shot at a checkpoint or of being blown up by an IED.

I think it's my brain that has congealed, not the blogs necessarily. Though maybe there are some bloggers and commenters who aren't saying anything worth reading anymore. There are some blogs I used to visit regularly I almost never visit anymore. They just bore or even repel me and in those cases, I don't think it's my fault. (Names excluded because I don't want to start a fight.)

But I don't want to equate rightwing with leftwing blogs. I just don't think becoming an anti-Bush bore (assuming that happens to some people) is the same phenomenon as congealing into a pro-Bush bore.

>>I hope to return in time, once I cool off, but until then I'm more likely than not going to say something stupid that will do nothing to further the conversation, and I don't want that.<<

That's... just... remarkable.

Thank you Andrew. I have lots of respect for your respect of this forum. I have failed to show the same amount of respect in the past because I didn't understand that this place is meant to be different. I'm learning. So thank you.

Sometimes we all need to vent. I really hope you will want to come back at some point soon and trade ideas across the aisle.

I wish more folks like you were in charge of the Republican Party.

Time to read some history, Andrew. I am sure hilzoy will forgive if you skip the Gunnar Myrdal in the family. I visit a lot more rarely here than a year ago, finding less time available, and other interests drawing the investigations elsewhere. For me a large shift occurred having bridged the gap between the web moniker and my real name. Blog is a charge; speaking with your own name for some people centers the repartee.
I think the next two years actually will be easy for commentators with your perspectives, as the opposition has many voices, as well. And there is a kind of due process in public discourse we traverse in our society that tends to normalize and temper what value there is in our interchanges. I think hilzoy has realized this when some of those Friday 5:00 p.m. posts of hz's simply constitute pointers to the nearby lounge.

Having missed most of Andrew's posts after assessing the strident threads, well accented, I thought in their replies to Andrew's axioms, I would suggest A. visit sites such as fas, Union of Concerned Scientists, pegc the Gitmo photo site. I learned today Alyssa's training occurred in a town proximate to which I lived a year, Huachuca. Maybe there are things for A. to study at websites based in that military town. Alyssa is a translator whose life ended recently; there is a discussion by Scott Horton on the topic at balkinization. Best regards.

Looks like the little kitty took out another one. Hilzoy, I'm pretty excited about the next 'conservative' flavor of the month. Choose wisely. You at least want us to get a glimpse of moderation out there on the horizon.

I think it is a very-bright-people thing and probably it bores me because I'm one of the lesser lights.

100W bulbs in 60W sockets. No, it bores you because it's boring.

Makes sense to me. BTW, I tried posting a comment on your Dem/national security spot today (which was a great post), and Typekey was fighting me big time. How do I get onboard?

ckretz: I don't know. What sort of problems was it giving you?

Appreciate your help, hilzoy, but typekey's messing up at AO's site. It shows me signed in, then when I attempt to send a comment, it shoots craps. Typekey's working fine here, so who knows. I haven't a clue, not being a tech type.

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