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April 20, 2007

Comments

This is out of the blue? That's ... unfortunate. [Note that the links don't work.]

As I recall, another pertinent point about Mithraism is it may also have been based on a voluntary self-sacrifice narrative.


Talking etymology, poetry readers may be familiar with the following, by somebody or other, practically all of which entered the language and clotted there:


Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Sending abusive e-mails (I hope not to your work address) is a rotten thing to do, regardless of the politics of the person who sent them. As you say, it could as easily have been a pro-lifer sending such an e-mail, once this law is overturned.

Of course, this new law will kill a few women each year, and damage more women so that they cannot get pregnant again, but even when the facts and the right are on your side, I do not believe that ever justifies sending an abusive e-mail to someone whose only provocation has been to publicly rejoice on another blog at this new law.

A quick google establishes that "Mithras Invicti" has his own blog, on which he has written about this horrifying new law, and while I fully agree with him and am glad he's writing about it there, I do not support his sending you, I assume in spontaneous reponse to something you'd written elsewhere, such an unpleasant e-mail.

vicere (ppp:victus) = to defeat
vehi (ppp:vectus) = to drive, ride, travel not on foot
The first gives us the noun 'victory' the latter 'vehicle'.

The prefix 'in' has different meanings when put in front of both verbs. In the first case it means 'un', i.e. it negates the verb. In the second case it means 'into'.
An invective is literally driving into somebody.
As far as I can tell there is no first order relationship between the two verbs and the similarity is coincidental.

I have to be nicer to you in future Sebastian; I had no idea you had such power.

There is a history, not that you would hear that from Holsclaw. He wants to put doctors in jail, and put women's health at risk, but he won't tell you about this or about this.

Mithras, I have been hanging out on this blog for three or four years now, disagreeing heartily with Sebastian about abortion and a woman's right to choose whenever the subject comes up. Sebastian and I have snarled and insulted each other in more blog threads here than I can count - far more than the one from June 16, 2004 that you just linked to.

But sending someone an abusive e-mail goes a step beyond. Either of us were always free - if we got sick of the argument - to step away from that blog thread, or declare a time-out from Obsidian Wings. You were over the line when you e-mailed that piece of invective to Sebastian. I don't care what he said to you or you said to him or he said about abortion on a blog thread from nearly three years ago.

And I'm ashamed that you behaved like that because, technically at least, you and I are on the same side - we both agree on the basic issue, that of a woman's right to choose to have a safe and legal abortion when she needs one, and we both agree that rejoicing that the Supreme Court has ensured women in desperate need of an abortion will be forced into procedures less safe is a vile thing to rejoice over. But, it shouldn't matter how vilely our opponents behave - we are in the right, and we can afford to behave better. No abusive e-mails. That's just the wrong thing to do.

[I]t shouldn't matter how vilely our opponents behave - we can afford to behave better.

I am.

Not in this particular instance.

If your e-mail was a response to an abusive e-mail Sebastian had sent you, you would have been behaving exactly as badly, but I have to say I don't believe it was, because - as I said - I have been arguing with Sebastian for years, and not once have I ever received an abusive e-mail from him. Are you claiming that your e-mail was only a response to an e-mail he sent you?

Jesu-
No, I am claiming that telling a misogynistic bastard to fuck off is less vile than being a mysognistic bastard.

Jeez, and I can't even mispell consistently.

Mithras, if you were to get into an argument with Sebastian on the bus, you would not be justified in following him home and throwing a brick through his window. That's the sort of distinction Jes is trying to make, and (unsurprisingly) I agree with her. "I am right" is not in itself justification for pulling an argument out of one venue and into another.

No, I am claiming that telling a misogynistic bastard to f*** off is less vile than being a mysognistic bastard.

Posting rules, Mithras. Read them.

If Sebastian had commented on your blog and you'd responded to that comment there with the content of your e-mail, I'd say that was within the bounds of ordinary blogging behavior.

Sending the e-mail spontaneously was over the line.

Does anyone know how to read? I was banned from ObWi in 2004 for calling him out. I respected that ban (until this post), so I emailed him. Jesus Christ!

Mithras: And - on top of everything else - it was silly. I'm now wasting valuable blogging time when I could be arguing for a woman's right to choose pointing out to you that sending abusive e-mails is wrong. You - however temporarily - gave Sebastian the moral high ground and the chance to claim that people who are pro-choice can be "just as bad" as pro-lifers. It should be a message written in letters of burning gold on the top of every computer monitor in the world:

IF YOU BEHAVE BADLY, YOU MAKE YOUR OPPONENT LOOK GOOD.

Does anyone know how to read? I was banned from ObWi in 2004 for calling him out. I respected that ban (until this post), so I emailed him.

Then you should have written about it on your own damn blog. And if you were banned in 2004, given your behavior now, you probably deserved it then.

IF YOU BEHAVE BADLY, YOU MAKE YOUR OPPONENT LOOK GOOD.

Wow, you've really drunk the Kool-Aid. If you prefer politeness over decency, that's your problem. I don't confuse polite language with reasonableness. When someone's wife or mother is dead because of this law, then you can tsk-tsk them if they use naughty language. See what happens.

Mithras, surprisingly enough, I prefer winning strategies to losing strategies. Sending Sebastian an abusive e-mail is a losing strategy. It's the wrong thing to do on so many levels.

When someone's wife or mother is dead because of this law, then you can tsk-tsk them if they use naughty language.

You know, this almost cheered me up? If the only reason you can think of to care about a woman's death is that she might be "someone's wife or mother", then you're obviously not on my side.

Women will die because of this law, yes: women will suffer, yes: women will be damaged by legal but less safe procedures so that they can never get pregnant again. All of these things matter. None of them are helped by sending abusive e-mails.

The only thing that will do is briefly make you feel good, and frankly, I'm not inclined to sympathise with your apparent belief that because women will die as a result of this law, you are justified in getting your jollies from sending abusive e-mails.

Before I leave for work, two things:

If you attack me in a post, then I just might show up in comments, and I am going to speak any way I want to respond to it.

Question for the sheep here: When, if ever, do you put down your teacups and get a bit miffed that people like Holsclaw are taking away your civil liberties? When it directly affects you, but not before?

If the only reason you can think of to care about a woman's death is that she might be "someone's wife or mother", then you're obviously not on my side.

Well, the woman's dead, so I presume she doesn't care anymore.

Look, you've convinced yourself that you're better - even more effective - than me, so just let it go.

I'm out.

Jes: Despite our (numerous) disagreements, I can’t let this opportunity pass without noting that I think you are a stand-up classy person. Well done.

Well, the woman's dead, so I presume she doesn't care anymore.

Her friends, her sisters, her parents, her work colleagues, and even those who just knew her online or who regret the death of any human being, those will care. To restrict the caring to husband or children - that seems just plain wrong.

Question for the sheep here: When, if ever, do you put down your teacups and get a bit miffed that people like Holsclaw are taking away your civil liberties? When it directly affects you, but not before?

Oh for god's sake: this directed to me?

Baa.

I can imagine Jes as a sheep...but only as one of the killer sheep in that one Monty Python sketch.

On the "Mithras Invicti" thing, Sol Invictus was a sort of hybrid sun god of the later Empire, largely based on Mithras but also including elements of Apollo; probably that's where he got the "Invicti" thing.

Question for the sheep here: When, if ever, do you put down your teacups

sheep don't use teacups. we drink it from a trough.

Bruce,

"I can imagine Jes as a sheep...but only as one of the killer sheep in that one Monty Python sketch."

Funny, I immediately thought of the ones who do not so much fly as plummet.

On the other hand, a day which starts with Jes acting like a moderate on tactics is assured to be an unusual one.

Mithras: congratulations. Now you've been banned twice.

I'm with Jes, both in her opposition to the decision and the law, in her abhorrence of your tactics, and in her conviction that those tactics, besides being wrong, are also stupid and ineffective. Bravo.

My first thought was something like this:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want

He makes me down to lie

Through pastures green he leadeth me the silent waters by

With bright knives he releaseth my soul

He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places

He converteth me to lamb cutlets

For lo,m he hath great power and great hunger

When cometh the day we lowly ones

Through quiet reflection and great dedication

Master the art of karate

Lo, we shall rise up

And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

I'd forgotten all about Mithras, but by gum, all of that clod-throwing has sure swayed me to Mithras' side of the argument. The part about effective clod-throwing, that is.

Oh, and this: I think that Jesurgisac is to be commended for her statements here, and that the urge to note any ironies in those statements should be summarily stifled. It's not as if we need any more bickering, is it?

I'm not sure if the above counts as a segue into another poetry month post, does it?

Mithras: The Josh Trevino of Pro-Choice.

Yeesh.

I'm sorry, Sebastian. Like Jes and others here, I deeply disagree with you on abortion, but nastygrams are over the line.

I thought Mithraism was an outgrowth of Zoroastrianism, which would date it back to 500-ish BCE.

Mithras is so blessed with free time that he/she deposited the same factoid at my humble blog. Unfortunately, I didn't get a clarification:

Mithras cites 1.2 million abortions/yr., 90% in the 1st trimester, and 95% of the remainder by D&E. But the source doesn't say what % of the 124,000 are by the intact method.

So what is the actual number? Or are we relying on the alleged confusion in the statute, and thereby assuming that *all* D&E after the 1st trimester have been impaired?

Oh, and speaking of sheep ...

Jes - I can only second OCSteve's comment above. Not just for calling Mithras out for his/her behavior, but for sticking to it.

BTW, I think the real point of this post is that both sides can go over the line very easily.

My first thought was something like this

heh. i like to decorate the title bar of my humble blog with song lyrics (new one each Monday). this week's is "He converteth me to lamb cutlets".

hooray for synchronicity.

I swear that I had not swiped that idea from you, cleek.

:)

if i hadn't picked that line this week, i wouldn't have recognized your excerpt at all. those words are nearly unintelligible on the record, and i found them while trying to verify some other line for the weekly quote. before then, i thought it was just the Lord's Prayer.

it's my fav PF record anyway.

If you attack me in a post, then I just might show up in comments, and I am going to speak any way I want to respond to it.

This reminds me of a Python sketch. But let me make this plain: Mithras, you're not being oppressed by the Posting Rules.

You're free to post whatever you want on your own blog, in whatever terms you want. Moreover, if you're willing to use your considerable intellect to actually make points and arguments (rather than issue invective and complaint), I have no problem with you posting here.

(Note that Mithras occasionally emails me negative comments on my posts here &/or attacks those comments on his blog. IOW, Mithras and I do not see eye to eye.)

And, Jes: we don't see eye to eye on much of anything either -- and even disagree quite vehemently at times -- but don't ever think that I don't respect your opinions and value your commentary here.

Of course, this new law will kill a few women each year, and damage more women so that they cannot get pregnant again, but even when the facts and the right are on your side, I do not believe that ever justifies sending an abusive e-mail

This rather made me smile.

"Of course, the law SH supported will lead to entirely avoidable death and suffering for innocent people - but that NEVER justifies USING NAUGHTY WORDS in a private communication! Heavens above! Civility, people!"

The other point worth remembering is that when a pro-life man like SH receives an email from a pro-choice person calling him a misogynist, he need not worry about its being followed up by a bomb, because that's not what we do.
If an abortion doctor receives an email calling him a baby killer, he needs to start checking under his car in the morning and worrying about opening his mail.
So the parallel SH draws isn't really parallel, because SH is not currently in fear for his life. Luckily for him, his side of the argument is the more murderous of the two towards their opponents.

"If you attack me in a post, then I just might show up in comments, and I am going to speak any way I want to respond to it."

The funny thing is I'm not sure that my post counts as attacking Mithras. Isn't it just quoting pretty much.

"Luckily for him, his side of the argument is the more murderous of the two towards their opponents."

Psychologically speaking that was incredibly rare, and when it looked like pro-lifers were losing. It has been 33 years since pro-choice groups have been in that position. We don't know what that looks like yet. But for the record, rightly or wrongly, I don't feel in fear of my life over this.

"On the "Mithras Invicti" thing, Sol Invictus was a sort of hybrid sun god of the later Empire, largely based on Mithras but also including elements of Apollo; probably that's where he got the "Invicti" thing."

In the history, 'Unconquered' is actually a very common title held by Mithras. Interestingly enough, members of the Mithras cult were often soldiers in the Roman Army who were representative of conquered people. I hadn't made that connection until right now. I wonder if joining the Mithras cult was seen as really becoming a part of the empire, or if it was a way of stepping aside from it. There are too few records for us to know probably. That is what they get for being a mystery cult.

"Mithras" as the name for a purported feminist confuses me, because IIRC one of the features of Mithraism is that it was a religion reserved to men, with no female adherents. Indeed, I'm sure I read an article (Scientific American, quite a few years ago) speculating that Mithraism died out *because* it was men-only, and when the all-male institutions it was associated with (particularly the Roman Army) collapsed it had no organic social base, no families.

Hymn to Mithras - Mithras: God of the Morning

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the wall!
'Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all'
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a solider, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat,
Our helmets scorch our foreheads; our sandals burn our feet,
Now in the ungrit hour; now ere we blink and drowse,
Mithras also a solider, keep us true to our vows!

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main,
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn
Mithras also a solider, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!
Many roads Thou has fashioned: all of them lead to the Light,
Mithras, also a solider, teach us to die aright.

Rudyard Kipling

Sebastian: Psychologically speaking that was incredibly rare

Between 1977 and 2007, NAF records 4 kidnappings, 7 murders, 17 attempted murders, 41 bombings, 93 attempted bombing/arson incidents, 162 cases of assault and battery, 173 incidents of arson, 385 death threats, and 655 anthrax threats. (cite)

The criminal tactics of pro-life terrorists vary with the times (anthrax threats peaked in 2001, death threats remain consistently popular) but there is no doubt that the pro-life side is the more violent in its tactics, and that remains consistently true.

I'm sorry you got sent an abusive e-mail. I would prefer to think that my side is better than yours, not only in its goals, but even in its tactics. (Hate mail, harassing calls, and e-mail/Internet harassment are among the tactics used by the pro-life movement: the statistics NAF gives are based on reporting and are probably under-estimates.)

(That said, I think your tactics were just right: publish the letter, and let the writer do their own damage...)

Or are we relying on the alleged confusion in the statute, and thereby assuming that *all* D&E after the 1st trimester have been impaired?

Anderson, I think Mithras' point is explained a tad more eloquently at this link.

Cleek, are you a Kipling buff? I had never seen that.

Cleek, are you a Kipling buff?

nope. i just found it while doing a little research on Mithras.

ajay:

Putting aside the abortion issue, I'm not sure I would want to assume there are no bombs secreted by crazy people on any side of any issue.

Nor would I minimize any fear that Sebastian or anyone else feels after receiving messages with savage accusations (heck, it pisses me off when Sebastian misspells Democratic ;), like those from Mithras.

Personal story, different context and degree.

About five years ago, I had a letter to the editor published in the local city daily, challenging the phrase "why don't you leave the country" in a previous writer's published letter. The issue was gay rights, roughly speaking, with hetero me telling the hetero, probably very nice Christian on the other end that everyone gets to stay but, you know, feel free to pack and update YOUR passport if things get too gay for you.

Well, weeks later I received two anonymous mailings, one harmless with some Christian homilies attached, and a second very creepy, badly typed, poorly spelled list of quotes from the Bible, a lot of anti-gay slurs directed at me, and some incoherent threats that I was being watched and my financial life was going to be ruined by the writer's intimate knowledge of my vital stats on the Internet.

Signed: THE WATCHERS, with promises that I was being watched.

Another followed some months later. I showed them to some friends, who thought I ought to show them to the authorities. I didn't, but I placed them in my Bible for safekeeping.

Two years later, I opened up the paper to an article about numerous other letter-writers who had received similar messages from the WATCHERS.

Turns out the F.B.I. had opened a case on the person -- no news to report.

Except that I received another anomymous missive from another part of the state, on Christmas no less, probably from the same threatening misspeller. Nothing more in two years.

I assumed Christians would never do such a thing. I did take comfort in the fact that the crazy people on my side of any particular issue are superior spellers, but you never know. My wacko self sometimes merges with my sloppy speller self.

Yeah, I know I should turn the stuff in to the FBI. But I have a kind of Hardy Boys attitude about it and I wait for the individual to show up some day so that I can let them know personally that "Faggot" is spelled with two "g"'s, not one.

There are plenty of Muslims who never thought 19 idiots would do what they do, cause that's not what we do. There are plenty of animal-lovers who never thought a few PETA folks would do what they do, and there are plenty of environmentalists who never considered burning down ski lodges, cause that's not what we do.

Not that Mithras would do anything.

Besides, you would see him or her coming with the raven plumage and the scorpion broaches, astride the stabbed bull, maybe with the body of a cockroach and the head of a social worker.


John: But I have a kind of Hardy Boys attitude about it and I wait for the individual to show up some day so that I can let them know personally that "Faggot" is spelled with two "g"'s, not one.

:-D

I had a letter published in my local paper once: the editor printed it with just my initial and surname. (Curiously enough, it was also about gay rights...)

The anonymous letter I received as a result (written in thick black ink that looked especially incoherent, and badly spelled... hm, could there be a theme going on there?) told me (among other things) that when he was in the army they called people like me "fudge packers".

It did occur to me that as an insult, it would have been more effective if the writer had guessed my gender more accurately.

I've never actually packed fudge in my life.

Putting aside the abortion issue, I'm not sure I would want to assume there are no bombs secreted by crazy people on any side of any issue.

I'm not aware of any bombings or arson attacks or murders committed by anyone on the pro-choice side.

Mithras, come back, I was just getting to know you, but not well enough to go rummaging around for arcana on mythic figures.

One thing I didn't see in the eloquent rebuttals to the now gone forever Mithras was his number of 124,000 lives at stake. Whether not worthy of correction to some or satisfactorily received by others is unclear. Whatever the case may I get away with saying the figure is dubious.

Which brings us to to violence, which in turn leads to unavoidable assertions of a higher moral standing.

Brevity will suffice. That there are violent zealots in the pro-life movement is an ugly fact, but to pronounce one's moral bona fides in the face of thirty million plus abortions, the loss of those potential lives, is shaky ground indeed on which to plant one's moral banners.

i got my anonymous letter in early '03 after getting an anti-war LTTE published in the on-line version of the local paper. it was typical wingnut boilerplate "you America-hating commie. why don't you go back to France!" etc.. no threats, but the fact that some jerk bothered looking up my address and send me an anonymous rant is a little threatening all by itself.

And since feminists are known to blow up anti-choice headquarters with the same frequency that wingnuts blow up clinics, ram their cars into them, or shoot doctors, you have a strong point.

Well maybe it's happened once?

No? Not even once? How many clinics and doctors have been assaulted in the past 12 months?

I can't help but wonder what it is about our culture that lead people (even if I agree with them) to behave poorly when faced with people who disagree with them.

I in part blame our culture of ignorance, a culture which encourages individuals to cling to a set of beliefs and not waver from them, even when presented with strong evidence that their beliefs are deeply flawes. I think that hate mail comes from people who are so deeply biased entrenched in their own beliefs that they no longer know how to be convincing in their arguments, so they can't convince you, nor can they agree to disagree.

However I must say that I think that Anti-Choice activists sending hate mail is worse than a pro choice activist sending hate mail. I know that sounds biased, but here is why, the movement to ban abortion is based entirely on limiting the actions of others. These people are saying "Don't excersize your free will or we will hurt you." They are threatening other people because they cannot control that other person's actions.

However, when a pro choice activist sends hate mail, they are sending hate mail to someone who IS trying to control someone else's actions. They are hating someone who even without true power, is attempting to oppress others.

It's sortof like complaining that potential slaves say cruel things to the people trying to enslave them. Uh, Duh.

(Also the statistic I saw on the "intact dilation and extraction" prodecure which is called Partial Birth Abortion by anti choice activists, and in the bill (leading to potential confusion) was that 0.34% of the abortions in the US were preformed this way last year.)

People send hate mail because it is an effective way to silence a lot of people who disagree with them. Even if it doesn't work with everyone, someone thinking about a letter to the editor may decide that it is not worth the effort.

"I'm not aware of any bombings or arson attacks or murders committed by anyone on the pro-choice side."

Me neither, and I hope it stays that way.

Let's see how it shakes out.

"when he was in the army they called people like me "fudgepackers".

Was he in World War II? Did he have any left for the Nazis. I hope he wasn't standing up in the foxhole when he was busy calling people "fudgepackers".

It's a democracy, and in a sense the millions of people who support a given law are the ones to blame for it, but still, it seems so unproductive to go around screaming at them for it. You're certainly not likely to change anything that way.

Swimming against the tide, I don't think either side comes out looking pretty here.

First, Mithras was apparently banned for saying to SB "You're going to have to find some other way to control women's lives, pal." That is far away from the line as I perceive it, esp in a thread where SB had already violated the posting rules. I've seen much worse here.
So Jes, your assumption that Mithras behaved just as badly in the past is not IMO the case. To me M's rudeness (albeit unnecessary) seems more like a provoked response.

Of course, sending nastygrams is pointless and rude.
But then, SB *posts* his nastygram. For the apparent purpose of:
1)a taunt to his opponent
2)a little shoulder-dislocating pat on the back; *he* doesn't send nastygrams- but then *he* wasn't banned for holding the wrong point of view a little to vehemently.
[nb fwiw, I don't think SB would send nastygrams in any case].

The ostensible reasons for the post: a historical detour and a note that liberals can sometimes send nasty notes- well, I don't think they stand up to any scrutiny.

Color me profoundly unimpressed.

This is an ideal moment for Hilzoy's Law of Large Numbers: Any sufficiently large group of people* will have some idiots in it. Also, some disturbed people, some corrupt people, some violent people.

If we insist on claims like "my large group contains no Xs", we are overwhelmingly likely to be wrong. We are also making a much stronger claim than we need to make, so we're drawing attention away from an argument we might win (e.g., was the recent Supreme Court decision defensible?) to an irrelevant argument we are virtually certain to lose (e.g., is the pro-choice side exclusively composed of Very Nice People? Not a single deranged, violent jerk in the whole bunch?)

* (The philosopher in me adds: so long as that large group is not defined in such a way as to exclude the property in question. The large group of non-idiots contains no idiots. Whoop de doo.)

If we insist on claims like "my large group contains no Xs", we are overwhelmingly likely to be wrong.

Well, hil, it's not so much that my large group contains no Xs, as the fact that the Xs in my large group are irrelevant people on the fringe, while the Xs in YOUR large group control its every move! Right? :)

But then, SB *posts* his nastygram.

No foul there. If I'm your pal and I send you an e-mail, I may have some reasonable expectation of privacy. But if I don't even know you ... don't even reveal my real name ... and send you something abusive? Then I have no right to any such expectation.

I might've had a problem if SH had posted Mithras's real name. Otherwise, I don't see the problem.

"Color me profoundly unimpressed."

We always do. :)

Mithras was banned for repeatedly violating posting rules over a very long period of time. Last straws may or may not appear as exciting as the whole history. YMMV.

But then, SB *posts* his nastygram. For the apparent purpose of:
1)a taunt to his opponent
2)a little shoulder-dislocating pat on the back; *he* doesn't send nastygrams- but then *he* wasn't banned for holding the wrong point of view a little to vehemently.

I assume you mean me as 'SB' but I can't figure out why.

Mithras has his own blog. He can post just like I can. While I don't know if I can be sure of exactly what I was thinking when I posted late last night, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a 'taunt'. It was more of an anti-sneaking measure.

"The ostensible reasons for the post: a historical detour and a note that liberals can sometimes send nasty notes- well, I don't think they stand up to any scrutiny."

See the problem with this is that the historical detour really is how I think. I'm a little fractured, and unless I really discipline myself I'm highly prone to tangents. Mithras is an interesting an underexplored historical influence on Christianity, and the signing of the note really did remind me of the paper I wrote, which really did raise the kind of interesting factoid that I think people around here like.

Now I suppose I must have had 'some' reason to include the note instead of just talking about Mithras--so you aren't completely off base. But I've received even-nastiergrams in the past (mostly about being a traitor to my gay brethren) and I haven't blogged about them, so a very large point really was the historical detour.

My brain is quirky. You don't have to read tricky meaning into everything--I really am just weird.

Seb, if the really large point was the historical detour, then why the counter message at the end?

Because I spent 15 years of school getting drilled into my head that my tangents were bad and I had to link back to the original topic to justify it. :)

My brain is quirky. You don't have to read tricky meaning into everything--I really am just weird.

I met Sebastian that last time I was in San Diego on business, and can confirm the truth of this statement. He's not just weird, but volleyball-playing weird.

I met Ed while I was in NYC on business, and can confirm that he's one of the nicer people in the blogosphere. And that's frankly weird.

I haven't met Hilzoy yet, but that's because I haven't been to Baltimore. No, not ever. But I've spoken with her over the phone and, yes, all of this is kinda weird.

I haven't met Katherine, but am quite certain that she's weird.

I haven't met Publius because he's an anonymous patriot living in the 18th century. Since this is the 21st century, that's also weird.

Me? I'm named after a German preposition that means "of" or "from". Your damned right that's weird.

My brain is quirky. You don't have to read tricky meaning into everything--I really am just weird.

I met Sebastian that last time I was in San Diego on business, and can confirm the truth of this statement. He's not just weird, but volleyball-playing weird.

I met Ed while I was in NYC on business, and can confirm that he's one of the nicer people in the blogosphere. And that's frankly weird.

I haven't met Hilzoy yet, but that's because I haven't been to Baltimore. No, not ever. But I've spoken with her over the phone and, yes, all of this is kinda weird.

I haven't met Katherine, but am quite certain that she's weird.

I haven't met Publius because he's an anonymous patriot living in the 18th century. Since this is the 21st century, that's also weird.

Me? I'm named after a German preposition that means "of" or "from". You're damned right that's weird.

Hilzoy's Law of Large Numbers is clearly incorrect, sorry. Every person is an idiot some of the time, so you cannot define a large group of people to contain non-idiots.

You can *sometimes* define a large group, e.g. philosophy professors, who are not idiots about a particular topic, e.g. philosophy. Theoretically. But in practice, once they get away from the topic in which their idiocy is restrained, it's monkey-house time again.

Double posting is weird! ;)

Hilzoy: irrelevant argument we are virtually certain to lose (e.g., is the pro-choice side exclusively composed of Very Nice People? Not a single deranged, violent jerk in the whole bunch?)

I wouldn't dream of trying to make that argument. I'd just point out that we know the pro-life movement includes many activists who commit criminal and violent acts for the cause (indeed, Sebastian spent a thread last May defending as "free speech" the sending of hate mail to hospital staff and complaining because the man convicted of sending hate mail had been placed on another hospital's waiting list as well as sentenced to a month in jail) and, by and large, the people who support a woman's right to choose do not appear to support the notion that it's only right to defend your beliefs with violence. Deranged and violent jerks seem to prefer the side that supports the idea it's only right to control women by violence.

Not that this changes the fact that it was wrong of Mithras to send the e-mail, and Sebastian's right to blog about it if he wanted to.

Sebastian: But I've received even-nastiergrams in the past (mostly about being a traitor to my gay brethren)

OT: That sucks. My feelings about individual GLBT people who support political parties that want to make all GLBT people second-class citizens are really kind of painful, but sending abusive e-mails: not cool.

Double posting is weird! ;)

Touche'

Whoa, I'm not saying that Mithras should have his right to free speech in his own forum taken away. And I'm not arguing that we should deny him any rights on the basis of however you choose to interpret his speech.

Man, that Redstate gamecock thread was great!

Moe reminds me Dr. Evil*.

After presiding over a discussion by a tableful of bitter lunatics planning to blow up the world if their demands are not met, his son breaks in with .....

Son: I don't think it's fair that ...

Dr. Evil: Shhh!

Son: I'm trying to say that ...

Dr. Evil: Shhh! Don't make me warn you again.

Son (casting a disbelieving glance at the curious midget to his right): Yeah, but ..

Dr. Evil: Pfft!

Son: Wha .....

Dr. Evil: Shh!

Son: But ...

Dr. Evil (summoning hot-looking blondes with machine guns for boobies and opening the in-floor trapdoor to the shark tank): Not one more word!

*It was a comedy, johnt! It wouldn't have been as funny if Dr. Evil was called Dr. Ridiculous.



I've met both Sebastian and Andrew Olmsted and they could start a cult of normalcy.

Well, from my point of view.

I have met Katherine, and I didn't think she was at all odd. Likewise, Andrew.

I, on the other hand...

"Well, from my point of view."

Cue maniacal laughter.

No foul there. If I'm your pal and I send you an e-mail, I may have some reasonable expectation of privacy. But if I don't even know you ... don't even reveal my real name ... and send you something abusive? Then I have no right to any such expectation.

I agree, in the sense that I don't think Seb was wrong in posting personal correspondence in this case.
But I question the motivation for *choosing* to post it, given that doing it isn't actually immoral.
Maybe there's some thread someplace where Mithras makes a complete ass of himself. And, being on the internet, Seb would not be wrong to quote extensively and post a link to it and note "what a maroon!". But that wouldn't answer why he chose to do that. Here.

Never laugh maniacally around crazy people.

I agree, in the sense that I don't think Seb was wrong in posting personal correspondence in this case.
But I question the motivation for *choosing* to post it, given that doing it isn't actually immoral.

Now you have totally lost me, not that that need concern you or anything.

I assume you mean me as 'SB' but I can't figure out why.

Actually, I have no idea either.

Mithras was banned for repeatedly violating posting rules over a very long period of time. Last straws may or may not appear as exciting as the whole history.

It certainly didn't look that way- Moe said 'apologize for this particular offense or be banned' out of the blue. And, even with a history, what M said just isn't that uncivil IMO. Nor on par with invective I've seen used here without any comment at all.
I haven't interacted with Moe, but on the surface that was a RedState-style banning.

Now I suppose I must have had 'some' reason to include the note instead of just talking about Mithras--so you aren't completely off base.

Questions about motives are always weird bc of their 2nd-guessing nature. And I agree, stuff like Mithraism is fascinating (side: The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries by Ulansey is a good book on the subject for anyone interested) but you didn't really address why you included the email, other than the "anti-sneaking" measure.
fwiw, I wouldn't say any of this if I didn't find you mostly agreeable. For example, I've never questioned hilzoy's constant undermining of the USA because I consider her beyond redemption.

I was at an open-air concert a while ago, and this one guy in the crowd started walking away. The singer began berating him for walking away, the guy turned around & they started arguing and insulting each other. But it was a big venue, and the performer had the mic, so he *won* the disagreement- because he had the mic. The other guy was reduced to mooning him (to which the performer responded "Great, why don't you show us your tiny ^#[email protected] too!")...
Ok, mostly I just like to tell that story. But there's a moral there, too- if you've got the mic, you ought to be a step above. If you don't have to lower yourself to mooning/emailing *bc* you've got the mic and can just post the note, ridicule it, pile on, and then ban the person, then you've not shown yourself better. You've just shown that you've got the mic.
[Another analogy- if you're familiar with how talk-radio jockeys use their mute and disconnect buttons to 'win arguments'].
That doesn't mean you're as bad as Mithras, just that you haven't demonstrated that you're better.

When I saw the note, I thought- one more @ss who ought not have email. But then I thought- why am I reading this? What made it worthy of bringing to the attention of the world? Surely not that 'liberals can be ranting jerks'- Im sure everyone here has wandered over to DU at least *once*.
So then, what was the point? The answers I came up with on my own weren't nice. And the comment thread was also un-nice, with much self-righteousness & pointless piling on of the bad behavior.

otoh, I am becoming convinced that I ought to preference each and every one of my comments with the warning label "Now, Im an @sshole, but here's what I think:"

NIAABHWIT:

Not that this changes the fact that it was wrong of Mithras to send the e-mail, and Sebastian's right to blog about it if he wanted to.

Those aren't facts, Jes. Asserting them as facts does not make them any stronger as opinions. Furthermore, I don't think the first proposition has anything to do with the second. Fundamentally that's a big part of my point- just because Mithras is wrong doesn't make Seb right.
(I assume that's your point bc pretty much everyone has agreed that sending nastygrams is unacceptable, so your either repeating or you think it has relevance to the second, more contentious assertion).

Now you have totally lost me, not that that need concern you or anything.

Upthread, someone suggested that it was Ok for Seb to break the 'private correspondence' barrier in this case, and I agreed. But we can still question the motives, since he isn't obligated to do so.

Apparently in my case, I did so by using the word "right" repeatedly but with different meanings each time. :) When I said Seb wasn't wrong for posting personal correspondence, I meant that I wasn't debating whether he had violated some rule regarding personal correspondence.
[Thus my "maroon" hypothetical at 2:08, wherein Seb references publicly-available information with questionable motives].

Thullen:Man, that Redstate gamecock thread was great!

You really do need to sign up over there and drop a comment or two, they'd ban you but they wouldn't know why.

OT: Bush is still a shameless liar.

The Administration needs to replace some of them hippies at DOD with the attorneys at the Civil Rights Department.

Who's running the Defense Department .... Wavy Gravy Yoko Chomsky?

Ugh:

Oh ;( Dang!

There is a link to Redstate, provided by Spartikus, on the thread accompanying Hilzoy's "At Last" post.

Long week.

"Over there" meaning Bizarro World (I saw the link in the other thread).

I have met Katherine, and I didn't think she was at all odd. Likewise, Andrew.

I, on the other hand...

This is, without more, prima facie evidence that Katherine and Andrew are both decidedly odd. And Thullen's admission that Seb and Andrew are card-carrying members of some heretofore unknown "Mystery Cult of Normalcy" is further evidence that all y'all are really really strange.

I wash my hands of it all.

Carleton Wu- Did you really (mean too) say this; "I wouldn't say any of this if I didn't find you mostly agreeable. For example, I've never questioned hilzoy's constant undermining of the USA because I consider her beyond redemption." In your 2:18 pm post?

Yeah, I meant to- I was kidding. In reality, I never criticize hilzoy because she's flawless.

But we'll hope that doesn't mean you find me generally disagreeable. I prefer to be generally disagreed with, but disagreeable would be appalling. ;)

I get an anonymous nutcase missive in the snail mail pretty much every time I have a LtE published in the Trenton Times, which is a couple times a year. I put on gloves and put them in a file. From a couple of things that have shown up in the Times I gather that this person (I strongly suspect it's only one) sends mail to every writer of a pro-choice or pro-same-sex marriage letter published in that paper, and that police are investigating.

I am actually surprised that several of you have gotten similar materials -- I thought it was a single, local nutjob. Is there a national nutjob network? These letters are not just poorly-worded, they come across as clinically insane.

Have any of you-all had a letter published in the print news espousing a basically conservative position, and then gotten a similar letter? Emails don't count.

"Have any of you-all had a letter published in the print news espousing a basically conservative position, and then gotten a similar letter? Emails don't count."

I had published some sort of opinion on school choice in the early 1990s and got the crazy person letter on that. It was especially odd reading a barely literate attack on about how I was trying to destroy schools.

Doctor Science:

"I put on gloves...."

Come to think of it, my first nasty letter arrived soon after the anthrax scare, but I didn't think of it until later.

More likely, I would have developed swine flu from handling anything by that person.

One thing I appreciated about Frank Luntz was that he didn't hide behind anonymity when distributing all of those terrible synomyms for "Democrat". Plus he spelled everything properly, except for "Democratic".

;)

He even spelled "synonyms" correctly, the lout.

Have any of you-all had a letter published in the print news espousing a basically conservative position

Not I. I am more comfortable espousing my views on a national (international) venue. I mean, Jes might get really irritated with me, but the chances that she will show up on my doorstep tomorrow are slim (I’d buy you breakfast Jes, especially after today). I have a (very thin at this point) veneer of anonymity here.

If I published a letter to the editor and railed against liberilz – probably not a problem. If I strayed from the GOP line, I could expect problems. Small town (in the winter), people could find me readily. And – Democrats are in control of the town, the county, and the state.

CharleyCarp and I worked on something together recently, and I mentioned to him that the only people who know my real identity online are liberals/lefties here. I am comfortable with that. I would not be comfortable with my online brethren on the right knowing it.

Sad huh?

Have any of you-all had a letter published in the print news espousing a basically conservative position

Yep, in San Francisco no less. No hate mail (e or otherwise), but a complimentary voicemail left by some nice old lady. In retrospect, maybe the letter was not so much "conservative" as it was calling out the editors of the paper for equating morality with sexual mores.

AM: Well maybe it's happened once?

No? Not even once? How many clinics and doctors have been assaulted in the past 12 months?

Thank you, Ms Marcotte. (Good grief, Amanda Marcotte just leapt to my defence. I feel privileged.)
The point is not some sort of one-hand-other-hand point about "all groups have some wackoes". SH made the comparison between him receiving a rude note and an abortion doctor receiving a rude note. In the real world at present, SH now has no reasonable grounds to worry that someone (eg Mithras) might attempt to kill or injure him. Were he an abortion doctor who had just received his posited rude note, he would be entirely justified in taking precautions lest the sender (anti-Mithras?) put something nasty in his mail.

See the difference? SH is on one side of the debate. The other side has not so far used violence against its opponents. Now, it's true, in some sort of Republic of Gilead future, you can make up a scenario in which they might - and this is what SH does. He says "well, if they started to lose the argument, who knows what they might do?" It is conceivable that pro-choice forces might use violent force, yes. It is also conceivable that their violence might take the form of unleashing squadrons of dragon-riding hellions, led by the cybernetically enhanced Amanda Marcotte and her faithful troll sidekick, Pooky, to burn SH into cinders.
BUT IT HASN'T HAPPENED YET. Has it.

If there is a side that uses violence against its opponents, I am on the other side.
If there is a side that tries to silence its opponents, I am on the other side.
If there is a side that tries to frighten and confuse and panic its way to victory, I am on the other side.

On abortion, as on several other issues, I know exactly where I stand.

I know better than to guess Sebastian's motives. :) But I think it's well worth reminding ourselves from time to time that there is a style of ranting unhelpfulness that's independent of content, that infects causes we like as well as ones we don't, and that the people we disagree with but who are being constructive, articulate, and/or other god stuff are dealing with their opposing noise machines just as we are. There's a genuine wear and tear from the pointless ranting, and it's worth remembering that it's not just there for our allies on any particular front.

I've met &lgt...&rgt Andrew Olmsted and they could start a cult of normalcy.

I didn't think she was at all odd. Likewise, Andrew.

Clearly you both have extremely high standards regarding weirdness. Or you just weren't paying attention.

Arguably, anyone who would read to the bottom of this post would also qualify as weird, on sheer persistence alone.

"Clearly you both have extremely high standards regarding weirdness. Or you just weren't paying attention."

I've met Andrew. I'll note that weirdness-evaluating, like most things, needs context. In the context of the Army, possibly Andrew is a bit weird -- or maybe not -- the point is, he's in a position to judge, and I'm not so much.

But in the context of people I've known and hung out with, or in the context of, say, science fiction fandom as I know it, Andrew is extremely non-weird.

The Army doesn't allow an wide variety of sorts of weirdness and eccentricity that's been common amongst many people I've known. Amongst some parts of our society, enjoying role-playing games, and Babylon 5, say, isn't at all weird.

Oh, and me, I'm weird compared to many conventional people, and I feel weird compared to many people that I read online, but, to be sure, I'm not remotely so weird as a lot of other folks I've known in past decades.

The Army doesn't allow an wide variety of sorts of weirdness and eccentricity that's been common amongst many people I've known.

I think you would be surprised at the variety of people you find in the military.

Do we need to avert our collective gazes?

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