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View Full Version : The BHTV community: an appreciation


listener
03-16-2010, 07:17 PM
I'm a relative newcomer to BHTV, having been a member for the past several months. A few days ago I was chatting with a friend about my experience here. After writing to her about some of the things that have been valuable to me about being a member of this community, it occurred to me that those thoughts might be worth sharing here:

What first attracted me to the Bloggingheads community is that it seemed an oasis of civility in a depressingly divisive cultural landscape. Unfortunately, what passes for discourse on the Web and elsewhere is often just people yelling past each other. I found that in the BH forums, despite there being a fair amount of the usual internet-style ad hominem back-and-forth sniping, there are also people of different political stripes who are actually trying to engage with, and even learn from, one another. I really hadn't seen that anywhere else on the internet, or just about any other forum where people discuss politics, for that matter.

Since I've had a lot of time on my hands lately, I've been able to use the Bloggingheads forums as a way of learning how to more clearly define my own ideas and values -- often, the very act of putting my thoughts into writing has led me to greater clarity. And sometimes knowing that I am trying to communicate with another who may disagree with me, and imagining how they might respond to my words, has forced me to really think through my opinions and become more precise in my expression. Sometimes this process has even led me to question my own assumptions. Therefore I owe an especial debt of gratitude to the BHTV members with whom I hold differing viewpoints.

Of course, the forums exist primarily so that people can comment on the webcam conversations that are the heart of Bloggingheads. Many (though by no means all) of the participants in the videos are deep thinkers whose insightful conversations go far beyond the usual oversimplified or downright misleading shouting points that one is used to hearing in the daily political discourse. And a lot of the commenters who contribute to the Bloggingheads forums are also really smart, insightful and way more informed than I am, so I've been learning a lot from them too. It's also been encouraging to receive positive feedback on some of my posts from some of the other forum members whose depth of political knowledge I've found intimidating at times.

When I first began posting, I found that I sometimes tried to emulate the snarky tone that I saw in some others' posts, but soon realized that (1) it was only momentarily satisfying, and (2) there are a lot of people out there who are a WHOLE lot better at snark than I am! So I decided that I would see what would happen if I made it my discipline to do the opposite -- to refuse to be anything other than respectful to those with whom I am engaged in conversation, and to never attack or question their character or motives. And believe me, it hasn't always been easy, but it has been a very instructive practice for me. And it has yielded some fruitful results as well.

Online, where everyone is anonymous and no one is face to face, it is so easy to give in to the temptation/impulse to toss off a dismissive, condescending and even downright nasty reply to the person with whom you disagree. So it's been a kind of spiritual exercise for me to engage with people I strongly disagree with in a way that emphasizes our common humanity and hopefully encourages them to do the same.

(But I can't guarantee that some day I won't snap and you will see a comment from me that reads, "GET A CLUE, YOU F*&KING RETARD!!!!")*

-----

*Intentionally transgressive use of the "R" word

uncle ebeneezer
03-16-2010, 07:37 PM
I completely disagree...

Therefore I owe an especial debt of gratitude to the BHTV members with whom I hold differing viewpoints.

...so you owe me. ;-)

Seriously, well said. There were some great diavlogs way back, where Bob really applauded our comments section here (one with Althouse if you feel like checking the archives), and I made a fairly similar comment as yours that got alot of agreement from the regulars here, so you're definitely not alone in your sentiment. Glad you joined the party!

PreppyMcPrepperson
03-16-2010, 10:37 PM
I'm a relative newcomer to BHTV, having been a member for the past several months. A few days ago I was chatting with a friend about my experience here. After writing to her about some of the things that have been valuable to me about being a member of this community, it occurred to me that those thoughts might be worth sharing here:

What first attracted me to the Bloggingheads community is that it seemed an oasis of civility in a depressingly divisive cultural landscape. Unfortunately, what passes for discourse on the Web and elsewhere is often just people yelling past each other. I found that in the BH forums, despite there being a fair amount of the usual internet-style ad hominem back-and-forth sniping, there are also people of different political stripes who are actually trying to engage with, and even learn from, one another. I really hadn't seen that anywhere else on the internet, or just about any other forum where people discuss politics, for that matter.

Since I've had a lot of time on my hands lately, I've been able to use the Bloggingheads forums as a way of learning how to more clearly define my own ideas and values -- often, the very act of putting my thoughts into writing has led me to greater clarity. And sometimes knowing that I am trying to communicate with another who may disagree with me, and imagining how they might respond to my words, has led me to really think through my opinions and become more precise in my expression. Sometimes this process has even led me to question my own assumptions. Therefore I owe an especial debt of gratitude to the BHTV members with whom I hold differing viewpoints.

Of course, the forums exist primarily so that people can comment on the webcam conversations that are the heart of Bloggingheads. Many (though by no means all) of the participants in the videos are deep thinkers whose insightful conversations go far beyond the usual oversimplified or downright misleading shouting points that one is used to hearing in the daily political discourse. And a lot of the commenters who contribute to the Bloggingheads forums are also really smart, insightful and way more informed than I am, so I've been learning a lot from them too. It's also been encouraging to receive positive feedback on some of my posts from some of the other forum members whose depth of political knowledge I've found intimidating at times.

When I first began posting, I found that I sometimes tried to emulate the snarky tone that I saw in some others' posts, but soon realized that (1) it was only momentarily satisfying, and (2) there are a lot of people out there who are a WHOLE lot better at snark than I am! So I decided that I would see what would happen if I made it my discipline to do the opposite -- to refuse to be anything other than respectful to those with whom I am engaged in conversation, and to never attack or question their character or motives. And believe me, it hasn't always been easy, but it has been a very instructive practice for me. And it has yielded some fruitful results as well.

Online, where everyone is anonymous and no one is face to face, it is so easy to give in to the temptation/impulse to toss off a dismissive, condescending and even downright nasty reply to the person with whom you disagree. So it's been a kind of spiritual exercise for me to engage with people I strongly disagree with in a way that emphasizes our common humanity and hopefully encourages them to do the same.

(But I can't guarantee that some day I won't snap and you will see a comment from me that reads, "GET A CLUE, YOU F*&KING RETARD!!!!")*

-----

*Intentionally transgressive use of the "R" word

Second all of this.

listener
03-17-2010, 12:42 AM
Second all of this.

Thanks, Preppy. And by the way, this means you:

And a lot of the commenters who contribute to the Bloggingheads forums are also really smart, insightful and way more informed than I am, so I've been learning a lot from them too. It's also been encouraging to receive positive feedback on some of my posts from some of the other forum members whose depth of political knowledge I've found intimidating at times.

listener
03-17-2010, 12:48 AM
I completely disagree...so you owe me. ;-)


No problem, just put it on my tab. :)

Thanks for the thumbs up.

Starwatcher162536
03-17-2010, 01:28 AM
So how many have you sucked into the bloggingheads universe? I managed to get my fiance and roommate addicted (Neither are a commenter though).

listener
03-17-2010, 01:41 AM
So how many have you sucked into the bloggingheads universe? I managed to get my fiance and roommate addicted (Neither are a commenter though).

None that I know of so far, I'm afraid to say -- I guess I haven't yet amassed enough specific gravity to attract them into my orbit.

Wonderment
03-17-2010, 02:09 AM
Great post!

listener
03-17-2010, 02:13 AM
Great post!

Thanks much!

bjkeefe
03-17-2010, 05:12 AM
On a completely different topic, can you tell me how you got that "Six Phases..." footer thingy to appear on all of your posts? I haven't been able to figure out how to do that.

If you look at my profile page (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/member.php?u=586), you'll see I noticed your question.

PreppyMcPrepperson
03-18-2010, 02:26 AM
Thanks, Preppy. And by the way, this means you:

Undeserved, of course, but aww, shucks.

uncle ebeneezer
03-18-2010, 12:23 PM
I can't believe that I have yet to get ANY of my friends on board. I have been preaching to all of them since the early days, and most of them are really politically aware, active and intelligent yet nobody has become a regular viewer. The most common reason when I ask them is "Ijust can't sit and watch something on a computer for an hour"...yet, hulu, youtube etc. It's a real mystery to me. I tell everybody the interesting tidbits and they're all like "where do you find all these cool articles and stuff?" But when I point them to the source...no love. Oh well. We are a different breed I guess.

nikkibong
03-18-2010, 01:40 PM
reminds me of the one of the coolest bhtv-related experiences i've had

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=2454

listener
03-18-2010, 01:52 PM
reminds me of the one of the coolest bhtv-related experiences i've had

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=2454

Yes, that is a cool and interesting thread.

listener
03-18-2010, 02:23 PM
Undeserved, of course, but aww, shucks.

Aww, save your modesty for where it's warranted, Ms. McP. Man up (no, that can't be right -- woman up? umm...) and take your kudos, dagnabbit!

uncle ebeneezer
03-18-2010, 02:41 PM
Yes Miss Prepperson, the kudos are deserved.

listener
03-18-2010, 03:31 PM
Yes Miss Prepperson, the kudos are deserved.

That's McPrepperson to you, bub (and happy day after St. Patrick's Day).

bjkeefe
03-20-2010, 07:38 AM
And specifically, to whomever in the community, or perhaps at Bh Central, who did the artwork (http://img153.imageshack.us/i/keepingamericaweird.png/) visible on the home page (http://bloggingheads.tv/):

http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/2858/keepingamericaweird.png

uncle ebeneezer
03-20-2010, 05:02 PM
Don't be messin' with my term of endearment...and penchant for misspelling.

PreppyMcPrepperson
03-21-2010, 01:39 PM
Don't be messin' with my term of endearment...and penchant for misspelling.

"woman"-ing up to say 'thanks.'

listener
03-21-2010, 02:49 PM
"woman"-ing up to say 'thanks.'

That's more like it! :)

You're welcome.

bjkeefe
03-21-2010, 04:29 PM
"woman"-ing up to say 'thanks.'

I have a feeling the reason this expression seems so odd, even apart from the male-dominated sense of many parts of the English language, is that it is far less likely that women need to be told to stop acting like little girls than men need to be told to stop acting like little boys.