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July 15, 2007

Comments

When is this hysterical overreaction to some insignificant toss-away rhetoric going to be deleted from this otherwise-interesting group blog?

I've always thought, that of all the different types of people to hate, the rich should be best able to take it :)

Let's see if the government bails out the people who have made fortunes selling phony high-risk mortgages before judging who is a risk taker and who isn't.

the class warfare has got to go.

Judging by the statistics I've seen on wealth concentration, adding in some fun things like the way hedge fund managers are trying to avoid taxes, and summing that up with a lot of observation on the truly different version of American the rich inhabit...

I think I'm with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Class warfare needs to start.

I too often see the Archie Bunker in Drum but I think on this particular post Drum is more accurate and you "von" are being far too picky and directed towards minutiae. People in general understand the difference and the significance or irrelevance thereof.

To be clearer, though most people are assholes and everyone is an asshole at one time or another, those 'many' are in the Homer Simpson category. As, I think it was, John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out, with the wealthy there are different levels of wealth. Most wealthy, or at least those upper middle class that imagine themselves as wealthy, achieve the level of 'display of wealth' - the Rolex watch that costs more than most people's cars.

But the NYTimes article is about that upper echelon of wealth that is far beyond display, or at least only display (multi-million dollar parties with ice statues of boys pissing vodka - trickle down?). Their wealth buys power. We see that in America today and that's the group the article is about.

So Homer Simpson can be an asshole and then he goes out and buys a beer at Mel's. The multi-generational Bush family can be a tribe of assholes that defile America (and the world) for generations.

"Now, if Drum's point is that the majority of people are complete assholes, I'll be right there with him."

I'm pretty sure that his "point" was an off-hand, casual, expression of irritation, and to take it as an assertion worthy of serious analysis makes no sense whatever. It's a little bizarre, in fact, although explainable by the fact that we all (I think; I do, anyway, at times) experience passing moods in which we misread things, and/or experience a surfeit of disproportionate or excess anger or irritation at something, until our mood changes, or we make it change.

"C'mon, though: the class warfare has got to go."

Well, yes, and as soon as the rich are no longer able to wield far greater political power via wealth than the non-wealthy, we'll be able to to prevent or ameliorate much of the warfare the rich as a class wage against the poor as a class.

I don't expect you agree with this analysis, however.

the class warfare has got to go.

Warren Buffett agrees, but also points out that right now his class is winning.

I think I'm with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Class warfare needs to start.

Advocating an increase in the top tax rate is not the same thing as calling the rich assholes, or engaging in class warfare.

I'm pretty sure that his "point" was an off-hand, casual, expression of irritation, and to take it as an assertion worthy of serious analysis makes no sense whatever.

I'm not sure if I'd call my "analysis" all that "serious." I mean, it's not like I have footnotes or nothin'.

"I dunno, Matt: I just don't know. But let us know when you figure out the meaning of the words hysterical and overreaction: that'll be a treat for us all."

Hmm. Only a few weeks ago, tempers were flaring high here, admidst much mutual insulting and many interpersonal attacks, which resulted in a general resolution/consensus being expressed -- led by a forceful hand from Hilzoy -- that such expressions were to be limited as much as possible, at penalty of many more bannings.

While you don't cross the letter of violating the posting rules here, this does seem to me to be a perfectly clear violation of their spirit, insofar as it's an assault on Matt's ability to understand common English words and meanings.

As a blog-owner, for you to not only engage in this, but to put it on the front page, where Matt has no ability in kind to respond, seems to me to be perhaps an abuse of your position and power as a front-page poster/blogowner.

Perhaps that's not so, and perhaps my impression isn't shared by others.

But this reader thinks that unless you're willing to offer Matt rebuttal space in your post, or to take down the personal attack on a commenter for daring to criticise you, with an apology added to the post for the sake of all those who have already read it -- and I firmly agree that Matt's comment was out of line as a personal attack, rather than a disagreement with what you said, as well -- but the appropriate way to respond doesn't seem to be to attack him in your post, and not even note that he's brushed up to or past the posting rules -- that you're perhaps not best exemplifying the spirit of encouraging ObWi commenters to harsh their mellow somewhat.

Of course, I speak merely as one commenter, and perhaps there's been new policy instituted while I wasn't looking, in which it's dandy to insult the intelligence or comprehension of others here.

"Advocating an increase in the top tax rate is not the same thing as calling the rich assholes, or engaging in class warfare."

I'm unclear what the major sin is in "calling the rich assholes": perhaps you might expand on that.

More substantively, what do you define as "engaging in class warfare"? And why do you feel it should "go" or be avoided?

I'm not sure if I'd call my "analysis" all that "serious." I mean, it's not like I have footnotes or nothin'.
This is subject to different legitimate views, to be sure, but I'd suggest there's a matter of place and tone.

Although traditionally ObWi blog-owners/front-page posters have felt free to post on whatever subject strikes their whim, just as would be the case on most blogs by single individuals, ObWi has traditionally tended to post in two categories: politics/issues, and personal whimsy/open threads.

Posting here on a matter of personal irritation, to (quite mildly, to be sure) attack another blogger ("it really seems to be silly season over there") on a point of no substance is the sort of thing that would cause few eye-blinks on most personal/individual blogs, but in a context where that usually isn't done unless it's in a very substantive way, with links and details, and a major point, if not, as you note, footnotes, may come across as slightly unusual, at the least.

It's the very fact that it isn't a substantive post with a substantive complaint and analysis -- but it nonetheless uses the now-considerable weight ObWi carries, thanks to Hilzoy, in at least the liberal area of the blogosophere -- that may seem a touch incogruous, or somewhat questionable.

Or all this may be wrong -- and please let me emphasize that I'm not trying to suggest or push guidelines on What ObWi Blogposters Should Post; it's just some thoughts in response.

Umm, I think you're confused about the FDR post. But I agree that on first reading Drum's comment about the rich is very odd. However, a few seconds' reflection convinced me that the context makes it clear that he's talking (sloppily) about the (sort of) people in the article, not your Uncle Albert whose innovative and award-winning cat defrillilator made a bundle back in the day.

Kevin Drum is not engaging in class warfare. He is (ineffectively!) pointing out that, in this time and place, one grows rich only by exploiting a climate of unaccountability. If you have a distaste for unaccountability and choose to live your life by a higher standard then you do not (probability 1.0) become rich.

This is a problem, none the less serious for never being forthrightly acknowledged. You may either engage it head-on and rise above your peers, or shirk it and lapse back into the background noise.

"He is (ineffectively!) pointing out that, in this time and place, one grows rich only by exploiting a climate of unaccountability."

That would be hard to point out since it is false.

some insignificant toss-away rhetoric

For one thing, as bloggers gain in prominence, they need to realize that there is no such thing. Any 50 hit per day blogger starting out needs to realize it as well. Silly stuff will be there to bite you.

On his point – Bill Gates? Total a-hole. Many others as well. Some of these guys give the GNP of small nations to charity every year. “Not complete assholes” seems like fair enough acknowledgement for that. The issue is that they choose to give it as they like. If Drum had his way it would come out in taxes and be distributed his way.

While you don't cross the letter of violating the posting rules here, this does seem to me to be a perfectly clear violation of their spirit, insofar as it's an assault on Matt's ability to understand common English words and meanings.

Disagree here Gary. Many front-page posts here have been based on ripping some prominent blogger a new one. See Von on Reynolds for instance, and that is almost friendly fire. I think there is a difference between commenters here and A list bloggers. Matt has a much bigger forum to respond if he wishes to. I never saw you post this criticism when Von rips Reynolds…

"However, a few seconds' reflection convinced me that the context makes it clear that he's talking (sloppily) about the (sort of) people in the article, not your Uncle Albert whose innovative and award-winning cat defrillilator made a bundle back in the day."

See, I thought that was beyond obvious on the first reading, which is why Von's reading seemed odd to me.

But everything is always capable of multiple readings. And obviously, if my reading, and your belated reading, isn't entirely obvious, then Von's immediate reaction, though not necessarily his post, becomes faintly more explicable.

(I say "not necessarily the post," because Von appears surprised, and irritated, that his post's first response was hostile, but my thought is that if the primary point of your post is to call someone -- a respected by many, someone -- an "asshole," and your post is, in your own words, not "all that
'serious.' I mean, it's not like I have footnotes or nothin'," that you've set the tone and opened the door to, well, someone calling you an asshole.

It hardly leaves open the option of saying that such comments are inappropirate, at least, and seems to make criticizing someone for engaging in such remarks difficult. So some might consider.

OCSteve: Do we know it's Matt-with-a-bigger-forum, as opposed to some other, forum-less Matt?

I should also say: I think ObWi carried a lot of weight before I arrived, and I was lucky to be able to jump right into a blog that other people, like for instance von, had worked hard to establish.

I didn't think it was necessarily that Matt, sans link to website. Nor did I take it from von's update that he did, either.

But I'm probably being an asshole in suggesting that, or in not suggesting it, so what the hell: asshole, either way.

I should also say: I assumed (having already read the article Kevin was writing on) that his point was only about its subjects, which is to say not the rich, nor even the super-rich, but what I guess you might call the super-duper-ultra rich. To me, at least, the idea that some specific character traits that go with membership in that group is a lot more plausible than the idea that some go with having, say, over a million dollars. Because it's true not just that it probably takes certain specific traits to become super-duper-ultra rich, but that being super-duper-ultra rich is so different from living like the rest of us that it is distorting.

BTW – his response:

When is this hysterical overreaction to some insignificant toss-away rhetoric going to be deleted from this otherwise-interesting group blog?

Totally condescending. It is an otherwise interesting group blog, but that was some toss away crap you should not have commented on, a hysterical overreaction. You should just delete it… Delete it?!? I would hope that even the liberal front pagers here are offended by that!

But if the super-duper-ultra-rich are such irredeemable assholes, why would their opinions about class warfare carry any weight? I mean, maybe that's what they want you to think.

I think RF is right, and I am reasonably sure that Drum was not making a point about people who discover gold nuggets, or an uncatalogued Picasso, or hit the lottery or even inherit the money. It's the people in the article, people who talk of how they are benefiting society and taking great risks in the dog eat dog world of leveraged buyouts.

I tend to agree with Gary's point about front paging comments, and lest you think that it is simply about someone on the left picking on you, I took Brad DeLong off my morning reading list when he took to front paging similar comments about Sebastian. That's bullying and it really sucks. This is not to say that you or Brad Delong are evil, I'm sure that everyone, including myself, is a bully from time to time, but the presence of the larger bullhorn and higher platform makes it worse, even if the impulse is precisely the same as assholes like me.

However, this (and the fact that I am disagreeing with OCSteve! a two-fer!) gives the perfect opportunity to fire up the TiO machinery. Warm up the place with a little flame fest!

OCSteve, are you under the impression that "matt", the first commenter on this thread, is a prominent blogger? If so, which one?

"though most people are assholes and everyone is an asshole at one time or another, those 'many' are in the Homer Simpson category."

Homer, an asshole?
How dare you impute his character thusly!!
You, sir, are a cad!!

Homer quote: "You don't like your job, you don't strike. You go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way."

You see that? -- he's no asshole: he's a native-born American philosopher!!

Marge!!!!!!

Possibly some clarifying comments on the confidentiality of registration information might be in order, lj. I mean, I don't entertain any illusions of anonymity, but I'd like to keep my pseudonymity relatively intact-ish.

It does, after all, ask for real name. I could fill in "Dirk Axelrod" or something similar, but I'm something of a compulsive truth-teller as regards forms.

Hil: Do we know it's Matt-with-a-bigger-forum, as opposed to some other, forum-less Matt?

Good point, it could be someone spoofing it. The tone of the comment convinced me, but more so was Von acknowledging it and promoting it to an update. I’d like to see it verified as being a response from Matt if that is possible.

Or not spoofing. After all, "matt" isn't exactly what you'd call a unique identifier, and it's not a rare name.

some insignificant toss-away rhetoric

For one thing, as bloggers gain in prominence, they need to realize that there is no such thing.

Yes, this was a point I was trying to get at, and got distracted from; it's perfectly clear that ObWi readership, based on repeated linkage by many prominent left/liberal bloggers in recent months, has considerably grown, and that posts on the blog get vastly more attention in the left/liberal portions of the blogosophere than they did a year ago; it's not clear to me that that's clear to Von, though, but that's a huge part of the different context I'm suggesting now exists between ObWiNow and ObWiPast, or between a post here and one on some little-known blog.

On the point that Not All Rich People -- by whatever definition of "rich" -- are assholes, well, obviously no one would defend such a claim seriously, and obviously Kevin never meant any such thing (please!), so refuting it would be pointlessly unnecessary.

Also, when I say "goddamnit," I am not actually invoking a prayer for God To Damn Something. Neither when I call someone a "nitwit" do I literally mean that I think their wits are made of nits.

Yikes, I think I'm inclined to the literal.

But I guess everyone is prone, when in the wrong mood.

OCSteve:

Disagree here Gary. Many front-page posts here have been based on ripping some prominent blogger a new one. See Von on Reynolds for instance, and that is almost friendly fire. I think there is a difference between commenters here and A list bloggers. Matt has a much bigger forum to respond if he wishes to. I never saw you post this criticism when Von rips Reynolds…
Well, yes, the key words there are "ripping some prominent blogger." A prominent blogger is fair game, because they equal or match your megaphone, if you have one such as ObWi is these days.

Obviously, Glenn Reynolds' megaphone is vastly more powerful than that of ObWi's, albeit listened to more than not by a not entirely overlapping set of people. Obviously, Von isn't in a position to be taking unfair advantage of his front page status here, if he attacks Glenn Reynolds.

Against a random commenter (forgive me, matt, if you're a "prominent blogger" in disguise), however, a poster here has a vastly more powerful megaphone.

This seems more than obvious, so I'm a bit puzzled about what it is about this that isn't clear.

"Matt has a much bigger forum to respond if he wishes to."

I don't understand what this sentence is intended to say, I'm afraid. Rephrase?

Anyway, my point was exactly this: "I think there is a difference between commenters here and A list bloggers."

Precisely; attacking an A list blogger is a fair fight, or an uphill battle; attacking a commenter, personally, in your post, is taking advantage of your power to beat up someone without that power. That's usually called "abusive" behavior.

To be sure, this is the very point about "class warfare," write microscopic, that is at issue in the larger context. (That people with vast financial power have, you know, vastly more power, and not just financial, over the weak and poor, and often use that power either indifferent to the effect their power has on the weak and poor, or with a result that is outright harmful. Past examples would be preventing food safety laws, preventing child labor laws, preventing maximum employment wars, and on and on and on in our actual history, as well as in today's Gilded Age abuses.)

I'm not trying to beat up von further about his post, incidentally; I said what I said, and if anything already engaged in overkill; I'd just like to be clear that further comments from me on this thread are in response to conversation, and not intended as further bashing of Von.

Eat the rich.

Resolved: that one becomes at least one order of magnitude larger of an asshole at that point in one's wealth accrual that one both needs and can afford a full-time attorney.

Discuss.

encouraging ObWi commenters to harsh their mellow somewhat
This seems to be an un-Farberian error. In my experience, one doesn't usually harsh one's own mellow, and in any case I thought the idea around here nowadays was to increase mellowness.

No slur meant against the characters of von, publius, Katherine, etc.

"OCSteve: Do we know it's Matt-with-a-bigger-forum, as opposed to some other, forum-less Matt?"

Huh? Is that what OCSteve is doing?

[scratches head]

Since ObWi removed e-mail addresses from posted IDs -- an act I thought horribly destructive towards blog community, for a long list of reasons (it prevents identifying people who were previously identifiable [although why people post under common single names shared by millions I find incomprehensible, frankly], it prevents engaging in private correspondence, which may grow into friendship, it helps conceal trolls, and on and on), there's no visible basis for identifying "matt": is there some identifying characteristic I'm missing in matt's comment by which one could reasonably conclude one knows who he is?

Lacking that, I don't see how OCSteve could have any such presumption, but since you suggest it, Hilzoy, what am I missing?

Slarti: I dunno, but having encountered a few super-duper-ultra rich people in my time, I would say the following:

Some of the ones who built their own companies are some of the most fascinating people I have ever met. They have nothing to prove, they are generally smart as whips, they are completely independent, they are, in other words, just a blast to talk to, even when I completely disagree with them. One thing about them, though: they are the ones who have not drunk their own Kool-aid. They tend not to care what you or anyone else thinks of them; they are much too smart to be taken in by their own hype, and that's part of what makes them so much fun.

It's pretty hard not to drink your own Kool-aid, though, especially when, being a super-duper-ultra rich person, you act like a sort of magnet for sycophants. I once saw my home town preparing for a visit by Prince Charles, and suddenly thought: how odd must it be to have red carpets suddenly appear the world over, wherever you're about to step? As Prince Charles is to red carpets, so are the super-duper-ultra rich to people who flatter them, act as though their every word is absolutely profound, etc. -- It just occurs to me that maybe this is why the people who haven't been taken in by this and are super-duper-ultra rich are so great: having withstood a much worse than usual Attack of the Killer Toadies, they must be much more than usually self-assured, but in a good way (which is why they laugh at people who tell them they're great.)

Anyways: I think it take a lot of character to be able to withstand the Attack of the Killer Sycophants without starting to believe them, at least a little. It's not just vanity; it is also, I think, hard to take seriously the thought that most of the people who act as though what you say is so, so interesting are faking it. I mean, it's such a horrible thought, and horribly lonely. It would be hard to think it. Much easier to come to believe it, just a little. (But just a little bit of a vast quantity of flattery still comes to a lot.)

Which, I've always thought, is why some of the super-duper-ultra rich people I've met have the odd quality that you get when you really have, to some extent, drunk your own Kool-Aid, believed your own press, whatever. They think they are much more interesting than they are. They take rapt attention for granted. Things like that.

I don't mean this as a sort of class warfare; I just think that the experiences people go through affect them, usually, and the experiences of the super-duper-ultra rich really are different from the rest of us.

My bad. I thought it was Yglesias chiming in, on reading it again I see there is nothing to justify that. All those lefty bloggers sound the same to me. ;)
Apologizes and retraction.

All those lefty bloggers sound the same to me

Except Hilzoy of course. ;)

To be clear, I jumped the gun and assumed (ass, you, me) that it was the Matt, who I actually confused with Drum. Now I’m going to turn off this infernal machine and watch a rerun of ‘Desperate Housewives’ or something equally productive.

OCSteve, since Matt is a common name, and no Matt was mentioned in Von's post, I'm unclear why you suggest spoofing of Matt Yglesias, or Matt Stoller, or Matt Mullenweg, or Matt Dillon, or whoever you think the Matt might be.

Oh, sure. And it's a two-way street: the Killer Toadies, so eager to place the sdmu-rich on high pedestals, are overly shocked when they turn out to be, in addition to being monetarily successful, pretty much garden-variety assholes. Or at least prone to garden-variety assholiness.

Gates, being a self-made multibillionaire, is, I think, not an exception to this.

"I should also say: I think ObWi carried a lot of weight before I arrived,"

"A lot" is an undefined term. For a long time, I had more measurable hits, and links, than ObWi -- years, actually. But not in the past couple of years; ObWi's visibility has obviously risen dramatically in the past year, as is plainly obvious from all the A-list blogs.

That's purely due to Hilzoy, but with some help from Katherine; no insult intended to the other bloggers, but it's plain fact that Crooks and Liars and Glenn Greenwald and digby and a dozen other A-list liberal blogs haven't been linking to von and Charles. (The mirror would be if Instapundit and Powerline and Captain Ed and Malkin and crowd had taken to frequently linking to von and Charles, but with all due respect, that hasn't been equivalently happening.)

Slart: "I didn't think it was necessarily that Matt, sans link to website."

I'm guessing you don't mean Matt Stoller (I could be wrong), and the only other prominent blogsphere Matt that occurrs to me is Yglesias, and the comment obviously wasn't from him. (I realize not everyone can read style, but I'd stake almost my life on that conclusion, it's so plainly obvious.)

Hilzoy:

I should also say: I assumed (having already read the article Kevin was writing on) that his point was only about its subjects, which is to say not the rich, nor even the super-rich, but what I guess you might call the super-duper-ultra rich. To me, at least, the idea that some specific character traits that go with membership in that group is a lot more plausible than the idea that some go with having, say, over a million dollars.
Of course, which is why Von's comment seemed odd, since he's not, I presume, dumb. The only possible explanations for taking Kevin's comment as a serious assertion tend to speak more to the responder, than to Kevin's text and context.

OCSteve: "I would hope that even the liberal front pagers here are offended by that!"

I wrote "and I firmly agree that Matt's comment was out of line as a personal attack, rather than a disagreement with what you said, as well," so what do you think?

Slart: "It does, after all, ask for real name."

What's the "it" and "registration" you're referring to?

Hil: Do we know it's Matt-with-a-bigger-forum, as opposed to some other, forum-less Matt?

Good point, it could be someone spoofing it. The tone of the comment convinced me, but more so was Von acknowledging it and promoting it to an update. I’d like to see it verified as being a response from Matt if that is possible.

WTF?

What are you talking about? "Good point, it could be someone spoofing it." What's the "it" being spoofed, and what's the "it" that could be spoofing? Who spoofed what?

"The tone of the comment convinced me, but more so was Von acknowledging it and promoting it to an update."

Convinced you of what? What did von acknowledge? I literally have no idea what you're saying.

"I’d like to see it verified as being a response from Matt if that is possible."

See what verified? Do you think you know who this "matt" is? If so, how?

Damn. Sorry! Italics stop!

Crap. "ObWi's visibility has obviously risen dramatically in the past year, as is plainly obvious from all the A-list blogs" should be "ObWi's visibility has obviously risen dramatically in the past year, as is plainly obvious from all the A-list blog links."

Shockingly, Drum's sympathy for vicious class warfare is shared by others. This. Must. Stop.

"This seems to be an un-Farberian error. In my experience, one doesn't usually harsh one's own mellow, and in any case I thought the idea around here nowadays was to increase mellowness."

No, actually this Farber reverses letters, and words, and other stuff, all the time. "Mellow their harsh" was what I meant, not "harsh their mellow."

Thanks for the catch.

I agree with all of Hilzoy's 7:55 PM (this is not unusual, save for it happening to be that particular minute).

OCSteve: "My bad. I thought it was Yglesias chiming in, on reading it again I see there is nothing to justify that."

Oh. Well, that was a lot of wasted conversational effort on my part, then. Sigh. I wiggle my nose at you in disapproval, young man.

I wiggle my nose at you in disapproval, young man.

Yeah, dumb on my part. Won’t be the last time I’m afraid. I think that the Post button should ask one time (for me anyway) “Are you sure dumbass?” That would save me on occasion I’m sure.

The part I’ll stand by is that Von has been at least as critical of Reynolds on the front page several times and I did not see similar objections. That is not to say you read or responded to those posts of course.

And of course Reynolds rarely does anything in the way of serious analysis, but that doesn't slow down his critics.

"To be clear, I jumped the gun and assumed (ass, you, me) that it was the Matt,"

That's not clear: who is "the Matt"? Yglesias? (UPDATE: I see in a subsequent comment that that's a "yes.")

Why? As liberal/Democratic/left bloggers go, I wouldn't be at all surprised that Matt Stoller's blog posts at MyDD get more readers than Matt's blog, though maybe not: but it's not as if Matt Yglesias is remotely as prominent in the world as, say, James Fallows, or a three hundred more famous journalists and pundits -- with all due respect to Matt Yglesias, who also would never write any such comment: he simply doesn't write in that sort of abusive way; that comment was as close to his writing style as it was to... Yeats. Or Lester Bangs.

Not close.

But we all make mistakes. I, myself, have been known to make at least four in my lifetime; possibly six.

Anyway, I'm a fan of Matt Yglesias', and agree with him more than not, and am usually impressed by his skill at expressing himself, and the sense of his thinking -- usually -- but, y'know, there are lots of other Matts out there. Lots and lots and lots.

What's the "it" and "registration" you're referring to?
Since Slart did address the comment to "lj", one might guess it's a response to the earlier comment by liberal japonicus about TiO.

If one were guessing, one would have guessed correctly.

"I think that the Post button should ask one time (for me anyway) 'Are you sure dumbass?' That would save me on occasion I’m sure."

Are you aware that one of the most used Usenet newsreaders ("news" being "Usenet posts" in this context -- software dedicated to Usenet access) did almost exactly that each time you posted?

I'd have to go look for the exact quote at this point, and even to recall whether it was nn or rn or trn or which, but when you hit "post," you'd first get a long message about how many people are going to read it, how much it would cost to distribute your post, how much potential there would be for you to make a fool of yourself, and so on, and are you really really sure?

"The part I’ll stand by is that Von has been at least as critical of Reynolds on the front page several times and I did not see similar objections."

Uh, I'm not sure what to say to this, since I believe I made all the apt points here. Response? Did you miss this comment?

"Since Slart did address the comment to 'lj', one might guess it's a response to the earlier comment by liberal japonicus about TiO."

Or one might quote what one is responding to, as per the norms of online conversation for decades, so no guesses need be made.

But thanks for explaining.

Being unfamiliar with such norms, Gary, I beg to differ. Certainly in conversation one doesn't have to quote back to the person one is conversing with, what that person has just said. But, when in doubt, try contextual clues.

But norms may differ, and I don't presume that my norms map into yours all that well. For instance, my norms say that if a point has already been resolved upthread, don't give it a few more whacks just to be sure. Again, though, I don't expect that to be in accord with what you're used to.

Here we are:

Post A Newsgroup Message

This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world. Your message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere. Please be sure you know what you are doing. Are you absolutely sure that you want to do this? [y / n]
- Warning message displayed by original "nn" newsgroup program before posting; Big Dummy's Guide To The Internet, 1993.

[cue Walter Brennan voice] The online world has all gone downhill since people needed to know a handful of Unix commands to get around on Usenet, if ye asks me. [/Walter Brennan voice]

I'm amused that my memory of the nn message wasn't far off, despite my not having seen it since back in the 20th century.

Possibly some clarifying comments on the confidentiality of registration information might be in order, lj. I mean, I don't entertain any illusions of anonymity, but I'd like to keep my pseudonymity relatively intact-ish.

It does, after all, ask for real name. I could fill in "Dirk Axelrod" or something similar, but I'm something of a compulsive truth-teller as regards forms.

Hmmm. I try and get into where that display is stored and change it. Perhaps to "'real' name". Or "real-er name". You are welcome to put first name Slart, last name iBartfast.

In trying to fix the old word press installation, I was struck by how much info is actually there, especially in regard to the platform and the browser one uses. I understand the reason for that, but it was surprising, nonetheless.

However, you have my word, any information that you put into TiO will not be sold or traded or even given away.

In regard to that, though all email addresses are hidden at TiO, I enabled a feature on TiO that allows registered commenters to send an email to other registered commenters. However, that email will reveal your email, so you have to reveal yourself if you want to contact someone. I'm anxious to see if and how that works.

I should also note that I'm not sure about my internet status from the end of July to the beginning of September.

Thanks for the response, lj, and the assurance. I do realize that there's a lot of information available to the blogowner that could be abused; I'm not really afraid of that so much as random others being able to access my information.

In regard to that, though all email addresses are hidden at TiO, I enabled a feature on TiO that allows registered commenters to send an email to other registered commenters. However, that email will reveal your email, so you have to reveal yourself if you want to contact someone. I'm anxious to see if and how that works.

This feature also reveals a commenter's IP address (hover cursor over user name).

"Certainly in conversation one doesn't have to quote back to the person one is conversing with, what that person has just said."

In one on one oral conversation, no. For obvious reasons.

When in a crowd of people, and you can't get in your response to someone until ten minutes have passed and 8 other people have said 12 other things, one often does have to, even in oral conversation.

But, of course, the conventions of oral conversation and written conversation are very different, and the conventions of writing in a non-synchronous, many to many, environment, are precisely why it's necessary, as a rule, to quote what one is responding to, and that's why it's been a norm since at least ARPAnet.

"But norms may differ, and I don't presume that my norms map into yours all that well."

I'm not referring to my norms; I'm referring to the norms found in any and every netiquette guide going back to before the founding of Usenet, let alone the web. Do I need to start linking to the major historical FAQs?

Hell, it's even in Wikipedia:

Quoting should be interspersed, with a response that follows the relevant quoted material. The result should read like a conversation, with quotes indented to aid in skimming. A common mistake is to put all new text above the quoted material, without trimming any irrelevant text. This results in a message that is harder to follow and is less clear in context.
Etc.

RFC 1855, (the RFCs are, for those unfamiliar with the inner works of the internet, and its history, are as close as the Internet ever came to having "rules": they're the Basic Documents for how to make the internet run) says:

Avoid posting "Me Too" messages, where content is limited to agreement with previous posts.
Content of a follow-up post should exceed quoted content.
That it's necessary to quote what one is responding to was so obvious that it's merely completely implicit.

The primary and basic newsreaders netiquette:

Quote liberally and conservatively in followups.

* Quote the relevant portions of the message you are replying to.
* Don't quote the whole message if not necessary, especially deleting previous signatures.
* Be careful to not misattribute something.

Etc. You're absolutely free to make up or use whatever habits or practices you wish, of course. I'm merely clarifying that quoting some of what one is responding to, for purposes of clarity, is not some personal norm of mine, but is exactly what I said: the decades-long established norm of the internet.

And they're not norms for arbitrary reasons, but because over many years, people found them necessary for coherent communication. Thus the whole concept of netiquette.

whoops! I'll shut that down now. Also, if you do put your real name, I think it will show up, so please let me know if you want me to change it, let me know

Ok, shorter me: if you're confused by my response to lj, I care not. If lj is confused, then I care.

If you care about my lack of caring, I still don't care. I only care about what's sufficient to make the point, not if my pinky was fully and properly extended while making it.

Much more thorough quoting advice here, for what it's worth, for any interested.

"Ok, shorter me: if you're confused by my response to lj, I care not."

I'm not confused now, after KCinDC pointed to your reference to LJ.

Otherwise, I regret that you don't care if I do or don't understand you, but obviously that's your choice.

I do regret it, though. Are you suggesting that I shouldn't ask you what I mean when I'm confused by something you've written?

For the record, I didn't notice who the comment was from when I asked what it referred to: I just asked because I read a comment, and missed the "lj," and didn't understand what it was in reference to.

But if you don't care to cater to my stupidity, oh, well.

"If you care about my lack of caring, I still don't care."

See, I was too hasty to really focus on that. Oh, well. :-(

"I only care about what's sufficient to make the point, not if my pinky was fully and properly extended while making it."

And, of course, that was my only point: clarity. I don't know how your pinky enters into it.

All very fascinating.

But not as fascinating as a substantive discussion of what particular actions might or might not constitute "engaging in class warfare"--per von or anyone else who happens to be hanging around.

Just my $.02

But not as fascinating as a substantive discussion of what particular actions might or might not constitute "engaging in class warfare"--per von or anyone else who happens to be hanging around.

I'm guessing "eat the rich" might be one of those, but to my knowledge it hasn't been tried yet. Or at least, not as a class warfare action.

Heh, I'm not any famous Matt. I just assumed there'd be someone in charge of quality control around here who would realize von was making a giant error of scale here and making a serious issue out of some clumsy Drum phrasing about the well-known phenomenon of cocky rich folks. Placement of gov-issue Bush rhetoric about 'class warfare' was jarring too. Just struck me as something three levels down from the prevailing quality standards around here. Sorry if I misjudged.

Well, radish,

Assuming almost all the people responsible for America's economic performance are in the top 1% income bracket...

How about a top tax rate that is set based on America's economic performance during the previous year?

Economic growth rate, budget surplus/deficit, unemployment percentage, gini coefficient, etc.

"the class warfare has got to go"

I agree with this sentiment. Now if we could get Congress to overturn the Bush Administration's attempts at class warfare in favor of the upper class, and get enough votes to override the certain vetoes, it would be a Good Thing.

Gary, it's not obvious to me why the hallowed conventions of Usenet and e-mail discussions necessarily apply to a different medium. In a blog discussion that all occurs on one page, the amount of quoting needed should be greatly reduced. Obviously your feelings are different, but I don't think they correspond to the conventions actually used here. When someone addresses a response to another commenter, that should be sufficient to tie it to the previous comment from that commenter (unless of course you miss the name, but whose fault is that?).

By the way, I mentioned the "hundreds if not thousands of dollars" message in September in a comment on TiO (lost in the recent troubles but available in the Google cache for a limited time).

i'm with matt. this post is absurd, and the "update" is just repugnant. and for that matter, so is the poster's long-time habit of moving comment discussions into the main post itself. giving your own comments in inter-comment discussion the weight of the front page is slimy.

"But not as fascinating as a substantive discussion of what particular actions might or might not constitute 'engaging in class warfare'--per von or anyone else who happens to be hanging around."

Indeed, which is why I asked Von at 7:11 p.m.: "More substantively, what do you define as 'engaging in class warfare'? And why do you feel it should 'go' or be avoided?"

We can only hope Von will return, and find this subject at least as worth addressing as who is how big an asshole, and what will be a treat.

KCinDC: "In a blog discussion that all occurs on one page, the amount of quoting needed should be greatly reduced. Obviously your feelings are different,"

That shouldn't be obvious, since it isn't true. I agree that all that is typically necessary is a handful, or three, of words to uniquely identify the comment one is responding to.

That that's my opinion should be obvious, based on how little I quote in every comment.

But this now seems discussed to death, and as Slarti seems interested in being uninterested, further discussion seems pointless.

(I'd make a trivial and purely digressive language quibble that Usenet and e-mail and the web aren't different "media" at all -- though there are certainly clear distinctions -- but it probably wouldn't be of much interest to anyone, as well.)

although why people post under common single names shared by millions I find incomprehensible, frankly

Among other things, because it's a really effective means of masking your posts from Google. Anyone searching for my full name is never going to find any comments I leave here, and anyone searching just for my first name is going to have a hell of a time associating my comments with my full name. (This all worked better when e-mail addresses still showed up in the page source, because they were visible to human readers but not to Google's bots.)

Von,

Given that the property of "being as asshole" is a great deal more subjective than, say, the property of "being a redhead", I suggest we put the matter to a vote. Why don't you survey your friends and family as to how they would characterize the ethics of the richest 1000 people in this country on average. In my experience, the answer to that question can generally be summed up as "asshole".

Regardless of whether or not Drum is correct, I suspect that most Americans really do believe that most of the super-rich are assholes. People don't generally know or interact with the super-rich. Consequently, their only knowledge of them is based on 1. professional athletes, 2. Paris Hilton, and 3. the generic corporate CEO.

Most people have an athlete or team that they love to hate and surprise, surprise, when people hate someone, they characterize that person as an asshole.

I defy you to find me someone who thinks positively of Paris Hilton. You may wish to view the Southpark episode about her entitled "Stupid spoiled whore" for reference.

Finally, I've found that most people I deal with accept, as a matter of course, that CEOs for large corporations get compensated at ridiculous levels regardless of their actual performance. In addition, many people believe that their company's management is at times really stupid, and ascribe responsibility for everything to the manager at the top, who is likely to be very wealthy.

People. Vitriol. Bad.

"Among other things, because it's a really effective means of masking your posts from Google."

True. And let me be as clear as possible that I'm in no way intending or trying to tell you How To Pick An Online Name, or anything like that.

I'm just puzzled that all you "joshes" and "johns" and "freds" and "matts" don't mind being indistinguishable from all the other "joshes," "johns," "matts," etc.

"Anyone searching for my full name is never going to find any comments I leave here, and anyone searching just for my first name is going to have a hell of a time associating my comments with my full name."

Why not chose a unique, or at least unusual, identifier? That's what I don't get. At least, say, "Josh24345," or somesuch, if you don't want to be more imaginative. Something that identifies you, without otherwise speaking to your True Name.

Witness the results of using a single common name with "matt" in this case, above.

If you post as "matt" or "fred" or "jane" or whatever, you're just begging for that kind of thing, to one degree or another.

But if it works for you, hey, fine with me. Just don't expect me to necessarily tell you apart from the next "josh." :-)

Seriously, and I speak only for myself, and maybe I'm an outlier in this, too, but basically, if someone is posting under a single name, I regard them as unidentifiable, and not part of an ongoing conversation, since I have no way of telling one "josh" or "matt" from another "josh" or "matt." So, for what little it's worth, anyone doing that is apt to never be able to make me think the equivalent of "gosh, I really admire Anarch's logic," or, "gee, mattbastard sure is consistent in his approach to X," or, "my, Thullen is telling another tall one," or the like, because if you're not identifiable, each comment stands in a vacuum on its own: no reputation can ever accumulate to a non-identifiable persona, until, at least, they become clearly identifiable (by a highly distinctive stylistic or substantive approach, say, such as Thullen's).

But, as I said, it's entirely possible that I'm an outlier in this, and there's certainly little reason for you to pay attention to me in this, and I in no way ask you to; it's just an observation.

"if someone is posting under a single name, I regard them as unidentifiable"

I should have again included the word "common" before "single." "Hilzoy" isn't common; "Josh" or "Gary" or "Hillary" (or "Hilary") is. (And there's only one "von" around here, it's fair to say; at the least, one with prior claim to the name. :-))

Why not chose a unique, or at least unusual, identifier? That's what I don't get. At least, say, "Josh24345," or somesuch, if you don't want to be more imaginative. Something that identifies you, without otherwise speaking to your True Name.

Well, in this case because up until recently it wasn't necessary. Identifying me by my e-mail address was trivial. But more generally, if you create a unique identifier, and then someone *does* manage to put that unique identifier together with your real name, well, then not only has the advantage of anonymity to search engines gone by the wayside, you've actually made it *easier* for people to track you.


but basically, if someone is posting under a single name, I regard them as unidentifiable, and not part of an ongoing conversation, since I have no way of telling one "josh" or "matt" from another "josh" or "matt."

Except that you do. As you said above, "(I realize not everyone can read style, but I'd stake almost my life on that conclusion, it's so plainly obvious.)" You may not care to put in the effort to tracking a given person's style, but that's a different issue.

OCSteve: The issue is that they choose to give it as they like. If Drum had his way it would come out in taxes and be distributed his way.

Ah, the familiar (and completely wrong) notion that it's better for the rich to give a teeny fraction of their income in charity than it would be for them to pay a fair proportion of it in tax. Better for the rich, certainly, since it costs them so much less: not better for anyone else.

Slarti: Resolved: that one becomes at least one order of magnitude larger of an asshole at that point in one's wealth accrual that one both needs and can afford a full-time attorney.

*snorgle* And increases, with every full-time attorney that one hires...


Vitriol: bad.

Weak post with poster's entire followup consisting of a vitriolic response to a commenter: worse.

Except that you do. As you said above, "(I realize not everyone can read style, but I'd stake almost my life on that conclusion, it's so plainly obvious.)" You may not care to put in the effort to tracking a given person's style, but that's a different issue.
I flatter myself that I have a pretty good eye for individual writing styles and quirks, and that I'm decent at being able to identify some people by their sufficiently unusual or distinctive style, in some fashion, but the fact is that plenty of people write in a pretty indistinguishable style from many other people, as well. This may leave it perfectly clear that a given person's style is not the same as, say, Matt Yglesias', but it doesn't remotely mean that that narrows it down much further than "not the following six hundred people," thus leaving only several hundred million people it might be, now that we've narrowed it down.

I knew that that "matt" wasn't Matt Yglesias; I had and have no idea whether I've ever seen any other comments by that "matt," though. And in the next conversation when someone posts as "josh," I'll have no idea whether that's someone else, or you, and the same the next conversation and the next and the next, until such time as I notice you doing something distinctive. Which, no offense intended, so far I haven't; I also have no idea what you've ever said here before, or even whether you ever posted here before Sunday.

Being able to distinguish Writer A from Writer B doesn't go very far towards being able to identify every writer in English by style, or level of skill, I'm afraid.

I thought this thread was going to be about rich people being a$$#o!es. Perhaps it can be. I myself am a wealthy self-abnegating prig, but I suspect that I'm also often a rich a$$#01e, since I live among a great many such in my affluent Southern California beach community.

FWIW, having the wherewithal may not be the thing that makes people act the way we hate. It's rather that there are people who crave domination who embrace the symbols of success to flaunt their status.

If you've observed that some of the folks driving Mercedes and Lexuses are especially obnoxious, it's not just your imagination. The sort of people who require status symbols also have to act out their sense of entitlement and their need to dominate.

The rest of us undeserving idlers give them a wide berth and direct distinctly unkind thoughts their way.

1. Who would like to take the other end of the following bet: I will bet $100 that, among the blogs on von's blogroll, at least one of them has at some point in their archives referred to poor people as fat, lazy, stupid, illiterate, or some combination or variation thereof; and that not once has von even jokingly told them to knock off the class warfare. (For bonus points, what was von's reaction to the WSJ referring to the working poor -- who get the EITC -- as "lucky duckies?"

2. I know, personally, a couple of super-duper-ultra-rich people. One of them has made it his mission to give away just about every single penny he has ever earned before he dies. He was listed as one of the top 10 corporate philanthopists in America this year, and said in a recent interview, "I'm not leaving it to my kids; they can make their own money."

He, however, is an exception, in my experience. Most of them are, yeah, assholes.

This has got to be hit and run, and maybe it was covered above, but:

von: C'mon, though: the class warfare has got to go.

Why on earth do you think that class warfare doesn't exist already, as directed by the rich against the poor? Seems bloody obvious to me that America is rapidly stratifying into a class-based society -- which is predominantly, though not exclusively, given by wealth (viz. wingnut welfare) -- with limited class and income mobility, and that this is being directed by "the rich" en masse in their support of various policies relating to taxation, education and the like. Deriding these very real, and to me very obvious, problems in the US as "class warfare" -- as if that's somehow inherently a bad thing! -- is, by omission, tantamount to supporting the existing assault on the lower classes.

Or, to put it another way: sometimes denying the problem is tantamount to enforcing the problem. And delegitimizing the problem is definitely a way of making it worse.

There's really 80 (now 81) comments on this thread?

Think of it as Von trolling Obsidian Wings.

(82, now.)

Wow. Just, well, wow.

Come on, von, look what's going on in the other threads. The WSJ is turning into a (shudder) math thread, and who really wants to talk about the Fairness Doctrine? The folks with no math who've got nothing else to do are going to wander over here.

Or, let me back up:

Drum's posted a couple silly things on his blog recently. This is one of them, as nearly everyone should be able to see. The fact that y'all love Drum and want to defend him against all slights, real and imagined, is cute. All I can say is that, although I think Drum's one of the best bloggers out there -- and have always found him honorable in personal dealings -- I'm not going to give him a free pass when he says something strange. Nor should he I.

Sure, I understand that he maybe-kinda-coulda meant this in a rhetorical-bullsh_t way of not maybe-kinda-coulda meaning it. But the implication to agree with that kinda jokey meaning requires us all to buy that the uber-rich folks are basically assholes. And, from personal experience, they're not. Indeed, commentators on this thread have pointed out that Buffett and (gasp) Bill Gates too manage to be uber-rich and also do a ton of good.

As for putting Matt's comment on the front page, with my response: Maybe that was a mistake. But that doesn't change my view that Matt's comment was itself hilariously wrongheaded. My post may be full of crap/boring/not up to snuff, but "hysterical"? Hard to see, that.

And, yes, Gary, your proposed discussion would be a more interesting one to have, but I have limited time and this thread doesn't seem to be the place.

von: The fact that y'all love Drum and want to defend him against all slights, real and imagined, is cute.

That you reduce all the commentary on this thread to "y'all love Drum" is actually stupid, not cute.

I'm not going to give him a free pass when he says something strange.

It's not in the least strange to say that most rich people are assholes. As you yourself acknowledge, in that post, it's absolutely true. (To argue that it isn't, you'd have to be taking the position that the uber-rich are somehow without assholes: if this were true, why would they pay for colonic irrigation?)

What is strange is to focus an entire front-page post on it: and what is hysterical over-reaction is to pick up an early comment and update your post with a vitrolic response to it.

That you reduce all the commentary on this thread to "y'all love Drum" is actually stupid, not cute.

Yup, that was what I was doing.

Drum's posted a couple silly things on his blog recently. This is one of them, as nearly everyone should be able to see.

I'm not sure why your mind resists accepting this fact, but many people don't agree with your assertion. You haven't actually provided any evidence for why everyone should be able to see this.


The fact that y'all love Drum and want to defend him against all slights, real and imagined, is cute.

I eagerly await the arrival of Charles Bird and his presentation of a Karnak Award for this glorious bit of mind reading. I had been lead to believe that mind reading was inappropriate when performed by liberals.

But the implication to agree with that kinda jokey meaning requires us all to buy that the uber-rich folks are basically assholes.

It does no such thing. At issue is the proposition that the probability that a super rich person is an asshole is much higher than the probability that an average member of the population is an asshole.

Indeed, commentators on this thread have pointed out that Buffett and (gasp) Bill Gates too manage to be uber-rich and also do a ton of good.

You may wish to reread the comments on Buffet and Gates. My reading suggests that various commenters
were referring to their statements on the existence of rich-on-everyone-else class warfare (which your post appears to deny). The argument is that super rich are more likely to be assholes, not that they, as a group, never do good.

I for one think that Gates' has had a non-trivial negative effect on society. Its nice that he uses his ill-begotten gains to help AIDS orphans in Africa, but it would have been nicer to have healthier markets in software which likely would have left a lot more money on the table for other people to donate to good charities.

In any event, I notice that you avoid all mention of your class warfare comments. I find that strange given how several commenters above have asked you to address them, but I dare not read your mind as to why you might do so.

What is strange is to focus an entire front-page post on it: and what is hysterical over-reaction is to pick up an early comment and update your post with a vitrolic response to it.

i thought Drum's statement was ill-considered, but not particularly important. If I'd read it before this thread I probably would have just scanned past that part.

I thougnt Von's response to Drum's statement was ill-considered, but not important.

I thought Matt's response to Von's statement was ill-considered, but not important.

And right down the line. This discussion could lead to something worth talking about -- maybe it already has. But what Drum said and what Von said etc is not it.

Von: Yup, that was what I was doing.

*raises eyebrow* Strangely, the reek of irony comes off this comment even over the Internet. It's almost as if you believe you'd actually written some other response to the many comments on this thread other than to dismiss them all as coming from "love for Drum".

Sadly, however, every single one of those comments you seem to think you've written has been lost.

Perhaps you can resurrect them from the ObWing spam queue.

J Thomas: It's actually a case of "we know Von can do good blogging: this isn't it" I think. At least, in my case. I won't venture into Karnak territory, even though Von has.

How about a top tax rate that is set based on America's economic performance during the previous year?

Wow, now that would make for some fine class warfare. Would the top 1% start arguing that the economy has nothing to do with them all of a sudden? Would unions suddenly embrace the primacy of capital? It would certainly give the working class a chance to soak the rich simply by working harder. Talk about reorganized business incentives! Where do I sign the petition?

BTW since I'm not sure whether there was a serious proposal in there somewhere, I'd like to say that there are serious reasons why I couldn't get behind something like that. In practice that's too much moral hazard for my taste. I'm in favor of "adaptive" taxation generally, but pegging taxes to variables that are difficult to measure seems to do more harm than good.

Indeed, which is why I asked Von at 7:11 p.m.: "More substantively, what do you define as 'engaging in class warfare'? And why do you feel it should 'go' or be avoided?"

It occurs to me now that considering how the thread was going it would have been polite to mention in so many words that I was trying to reinforce your 7:11 and 7:21 comments. I guess I thought repeating the word substantive would make it obvious. My apologies. Side effect of an ongoing effort to be more terse.

--radish, the unkibo

Am I the only one to note, with amusement, the dozens of times the word "asshole" appears uncensored within this post and the subsequent comments?

Not that I'm complaining, mind. I loathe profanity rules and filters, even though I understand the pragmatic purpose behind ObWi's. But I'd like clarification: is "asshole" no longer considered profanity in the posting rules? Or for the sake of simplicity are we scaling things back to George Carlin's seven words?

You know, I'm thinking here of the closing paragraphs of Nickled and Dimed, which discuss women who live in their cars while strapping 70 pound vacuum cleaners to their backs to clean the home of some douchebag who has the nerve to hide little piles of dirt under the carpet to make sure she earns that $7 per hour, while subsisting on a lunch that is limited to a fast food burrito or bag of chips, and thinking "WTF indeed." If the worst a rich person worries about is being called an asshole, I'd much rather be on that side of the "class warfare" battle lines.

"More substantively, what do you define as 'engaging in class warfare'? And why do you feel it should 'go' or be avoided?"

A general comment that "the majority of the rich are complete assholes," as if this distinguishes them from the poor or middle class, followed by general assent that, yes, the rich are all assholes seems to be a pretty good example of class warfare -- even when presented in jest.

Take, by way of comparison: "most white folks are complete assholes"; "most lesbians are complete assholes"; "most Prius-drivers are complete assholes"; "most Republicans are complete assholes"; "most Democrats are complete assholes"; "the French are almost wholly assholes"; ad assholia nasea.

Outside the context of irony -- which Drum wasn't attempting -- it's a sloppy way of thinking and arguing. Ahh, yes, I see, we shouldn't listen to the French regarding Iraq because, you see, the French are complete assholes. Here, it's: ahh, yes, I see, we shouldn't consider whether allowing folks to become very, very wealthy actually produces net benefits to society because, after all, does anyone doubt that the majority of the uber-rich are complete assholes? That's class warfare -- a dumbed down ad hominem, really -- and deserves to be mocked.

Am I the only one to note, with amusement, the dozens of times the word "asshole" appears uncensored within this post and the subsequent comments?

I don't think that we can possibly bar the use of the word "asshole" -- complete, partial, or otherwise -- given the sheer numbers of assholes among us.

von,

Please tell me that you don't believe that calling rich people names by itself constitutes class warfare. If you really believe that, you are going onto my permanent "Do not read" list.

"But I'd like clarification: is 'asshole' no longer considered profanity in the posting rules?"

Either it's acceptable now, or Von needs to be banned like any other violator of the posting rules. There's no other fair answer that I see.

Von made perfectly clear that ObWi endorses calling commenters "assholes" in front page posts, let alone in comments. That was my point back here.

Von:

A general comment that "the majority of the rich are complete assholes," as if this distinguishes them from the poor or middle class, followed by general assent that, yes, the rich are all assholes seems to be a pretty good example of class warfare -- even when presented in jest.
So verbal criticism or insults are "class warfare," and thus what "has got to go": free speech. I won't be signing up for that.

"That's class warfare -- a dumbed down ad hominem, really -- and deserves to be mocked."

So your sole definition of "class warfare" which "has got to go" is speech. Interesting. Is there anything else to it, or should we take that as sufficient?

Because as it stands, it seems to be a rewording of "I don't disagree with your opinions about politics and economics, so disagreement with me has got to go!"

Since I'm sure you won't feel that's an accurate statement of your position, I do hope you can provide further information on what you regard as the "class warfare" that "has got to go," so we can better understand your actual position. Is there a non-speech component to this shockingly upsetting and destructive "warfare"?

Thanks for the response, though, of course.

"Because as it stands, it seems to be a rewording of "'I don't disagree with your opinions about politics and economics, so disagreement with me has got to go!'"

Attack of the unintentional double negative: that should be "I disagree with your opinions...."

Sorry.

Von made perfectly clear that ObWi endorses calling commenters "assholes" in front page posts, let alone in comments.

Gary, with all due respect, what the hell are you talking about?

Same goes for you, DantheMan.

Here, it's: ahh, yes, I see, we shouldn't consider whether allowing folks to become very, very wealthy actually produces net benefits to society because, after all, does anyone doubt that the majority of the uber-rich are complete assholes?

This isn't even in the same ballpark as the point Kevin was making. (To quote Pulp Fiction, it ain't even the same f***ing sport.) That point being:

I'm at least moderately sympathetic to this kind of argument when it comes from a genuine entrepreneur like Bill Gates or Sam Walton, but when it comes from some guy who thinks he practically risked life and limb by climbing to the top of the corporate ladder and then engineering a couple of big mergers, it almost makes me want to retch. These guys wouldn't know risk if it hit them in the kneecaps with a two-by-four.
Drum had nothing to say about whether having rich people benefits society, nor did he argue that the assholishness of rich people precludes any other benefits society gains by having them. It's not only orthagonal to what he did say, it's in another galaxy altogether.

Meanwhile, I don't think you'd recognize "class warfare" if you ran over it on the way to a deposition. "Saying mean things about rich people" is not class warfare; trying to tie an increase in the minimum wage to tax breaks for corporations is.

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