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Bloggingheads 02-07-2008 01:17 AM

The Uninvited Guest
 

somerandomdude 02-07-2008 02:10 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
When he talks about the war, Mickey Kaus really is extremely, extremely stupid. Shorter Kaus: if we assume that Iraq will turn into a peaceful, stable democracy, then the war will have been worth it!

Nate 02-07-2008 03:36 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Awesome looking cake!

Was it any particular flavor?

david_d 02-07-2008 03:49 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
I rarely agree with Mickey Kaus, and I often suspect him of arguing in bad faith, but I do find him entertaining and I think he provides a service by doing his whole counterintuitive thing by getting people to think about things differently. But I found his advice to Obama to be rather silly. Why on Earth would Obama want to reverse himself and back the surge now, just as it's waning? Why on Earth would Obama want to start supporting the continued conflict in Iraq when it's still phenomenally unpopular? And although Petraeus has done a reasonably good job at tamping down violence in Iraq, it does seem to be on the rise again. If Obama were to become an surge supporter now and the violence were to greatly increase, he would be in a tough spot because now he'd be on the line as well. But if he endorses the surge now after having opposed it for so long, he looks like a Johnny-come-lately who only supported the thing after it seemed to work and then gets smacked around by Hillary for flipping on the war and by McCain in the general if he got there, which he almost certainly wouldn't, on the grounds that McCain was the one that had the right judgment first, etc. Wouldn't that be ironic? Now, supporting a long-time troop presence is one thing, but that wasn't the suggestion. Why support something like the surge that's going to be ending soon that can only hurt him? It makes little sense to me. Mickey, think this one through!

This said, I do think that Kaus is dead-on about Obama's campaign being the ideal vehicle for left-liberal change--non-threatening, unity message, and all the rest. For me, admittedly, this is a positive, but I grant the point. If I were Mickey, though, I wouldn't worry too much about a McCain Administration. Either Dem could beat him pretty soundly by just saying the word "immigration" in conjunction with "McCain" as often as possible. The more often you say it, the more you remind conservatives of St. John's original sin, and the more they get disillusioned. Clinton could probably pull this off smartly.

Eastwest 02-07-2008 04:02 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
MK about as enlightened as usual on Iraq. (EW rolls eyes, prays for the recruitment of more depth on the home team...)

Some tolerable inside baseball on the pseudo-science of the unpredictable (i.e. horse-race politics).

"Feiler Faster"... Good. I'm glad this now long-obvious "psychological stampeding of the citizenry sheep" phenomenon has gotten a name.

We find here how deeply sensitive is RW. See his "Plea for Civility" where he grieves about someone (Ann Coulter, maybe?) refusing to be exposed to BHTV's notoriously abusive Commenter's Peanut Gallery. (BTW, RW goes on for some time about this with typical quietly humorous circumlocutions. I only DL'd the first fragment.)

Good DV for doing dishes, sweeping floors, etc. Sort of breakfast table chat quality.

Amiability Index = A;
Startling New Ideas Index = B-;
Thought-Provocation Index = B;
Minor Guilt-Tripping Index = B+
(Actually, this last category can be broken down into two sub-parts:
Sense of Shame with Respect to Oneself Sub-index = A-;
Dread of Blame with Respect to One's Peers Index = B.)

Yes, yes, three cheers for civility. Penance may be done by those to whom this applies (and you surely know who you are...) by forcing yourself to listen to three interviews on RW's Meaning-of-Life-TV..

EW

Nate 02-07-2008 05:54 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Bob and Mickey are both stupid.

...and ugly.

...and naive.

...and evil.

...and beneath contempt.

Eastwest 02-07-2008 06:30 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Good one, Nate.

With gratuitously-dispensed nastiness like that, not even I would think this an audience of interest. Keep it up and maybe BLTV will be reduced to BW and MK alternating doing "man-on-the-street" interviews.

Let me see: You're a plant from the deep-Right attempting to undermine pleasant, nuanced discussion by civilized Left, Right & Center literati?

Actually, that could explain the sorts of posts about which RW sighs so deeply.

Well, OK, at least now BLTV has an alibi. They can just explain departures from civility like that as authored by "infiltrators," "not one of ours," etc.

EW

Incompetence Dodger 02-07-2008 06:48 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
So, any guesses as to the identity of the titular uninvited guest?

My first hunch was Jessica Valenti, but a couple of minutes later, Bob mentioned that the uninvited guest "isn't primarily a blogger." Plus, surely she of all people is aware of the, um, occasional incivility on bhTV.

Speaking of Ann Althouse, wow Mickey, well-played on the gratuitous shot.

To recap:
1. Female
2. Recommended by Mickey
3. Would have been a big catch for bhTV
4. Not primarily a blogger (inference: blogs on the side)
5. (inference) Hasn't been on bhTV before

Bloggin' Noggin 02-07-2008 07:56 AM

Bob's chance to win the primary
 
Bob missed his chance -- if only he'd teared up right here, he'd have shown he has the skills to win Iowa:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/860...2&out=01:10:36

ogieogie 02-07-2008 08:52 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate (Post 69864)
Awesome looking cake!

Was it any particular flavor?

Crow, with a dash of sage.

ogieogie 02-07-2008 08:53 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate (Post 69867)
Bob and Mickey are both stupid.

...and ugly.

...and naive.

...and evil.

...and beneath contempt.

Bob and Mickey are both very nice.

piscivorous 02-07-2008 10:29 AM

Blue vs Red
 
While I don't have time at the present moment to directly address Mr Wright's incivility in the "Taking stock of the Iraq War, strategically and politically" segment or to counter the circular nature of his arguments in detail I shall return to them at a later point.

For those that might actually be interested in the actual effects of the surge this is a pretty good synopses Al Qaeda in Iraq's shrinking area of operations

For those that might be interested in an analysis of the political complexity of Iraq this is an interesting read Inside Iraqi politics Part 1. Examining the Iraqi executive branch

Joel_Cairo 02-07-2008 10:55 AM

Mickey's endorsement flip-flop
 
I was very disappointed to hear that Mickey recently endorsed Hillary, especially since he already made an endorsement long ago. What's the deal Mickey? Whatever happened to loyalty? What's one little immigration bill between pals?

Bloggin' Noggin 02-07-2008 11:09 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Without calling Mickey stupid, I agree with David that Mickey's advice to Obama on the surge seems way off-base. As far as I'm aware, the majority of the public (Dems and Indepentents and some Republicans) seem to regard Iraq as a big mistake even post-surge (my source for that is Andrew Sullivan's blog). Even if the wonks were all inclined to think as Mickey does, they wouldn't determine the outcome of the election. And in fact, many of the cognoscenti would side with Bob anyway regarding the surge. In fact, Bob goes too far in conceding that the surge "worked" -- it did decrease violence, but as a new strategy, it was supposed to support political reconciliation. And that doesn't seem to have happened.

Perhaps class-based affirmative action (replacing race-based) would indeed be a political winner. But from a policy point of view, I think race-based affirmative action of some sort is probably still justified. On that, see this excellent discussion on "Free Will" -- or read Tim Harford's delightful book, _The Logic of Life_ (yes, another BH.tv book marketing coup -- one book sold!).
If black people are systematically (though not maliciously) discounted by employers, as the resume-experiment Harford mentions suggests, then race-based affirmative action makes sense. If employer's unthinking heuristics cause them systematically to discount equally qualified black applicants precisely because they are black, then race based AA appears to be needed simply to ensure that black applicants of equal qualifications will receive equal treatment. (Something is needed to make employers choose reflectively, not just rely on experientially based, but unfair, heuristics (i.e., stereotypes).)

Harford offers a more complicated rational-choice argument than what I say in the last paragraph, but I think once you grant that African Americans don't receive equal consideration in hiring simply because they are African American, then race-based Affirmative Action of some sort turns out, not to be "special treatment", but a means of equalizing treatment.

One might argue, though, that the experiment in question, which was based on resumes with stereotypical African American names ("Jamal," "Tonisha" etc.) may expose a (rational) class bias as much as racial bias. Middle class African Americans may be more likely to name their children "Glenn" or "John".) I wonder if there's some way to re-do the resume experiment controlling for that question.

Loved the cake, by the way!

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 11:12 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ogieogie (Post 69877)
Crow, with a dash of sage.

Nice. Even better than the mousse.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 11:14 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
EW:

Quote:

Penance may be done by those to whom this applies (and you surely know who you are...) by forcing yourself to listen to three interviews on RW's Meaning-of-Life-TV..
Won't work. Some of us obnoxious louts love MoL.tv.

mojomojo 02-07-2008 11:16 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Kaus has no respect for the (politically) departed. Is he still pushing this phoney story about an Edwards sex scandal? Maybe it is time that we really investigate his personal involvement in this scandal. Hmmmm. Maybe he has first-hand (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) knowledge.

Bobby G 02-07-2008 11:24 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
I don't understand why Mickey Kaus (or, for that matter, Ann Althouse, assuming she still is associated with BHTV) continues to contribute to bloggingheads. Near as I can tell, I'm the only person who likes his diavlogs. Only Robert Wright seems to like him personally, and I don't think Wright thinks Kaus has any worthwhile insights on anything. So ... why keep him around? I doubt very much that he would be missed.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 11:25 AM

A Plea For Directness
 
Bob:

That Hector(ing) Milquetoast speech at the end of the diavlog was about as painful as anything I've sat through on this site. To your credit, you finally got around to acknowledging that some examples of offensive commentary would have been helpful. To your discredit, it took you nine hours and the beating around of a hectare of bushes to get there.

Your unwillingness to come right out and say what you found offensive in the comments was aggravated by your vagueness in discussing the consequences. It was at about this time that I began to suspect there was a method to your meandering: keep flitting about and speaking in generalities until every commenter who has ever said anything critical of any diavlogger felt guilty.

Either way, it was bad. You were either being passive or passive-aggressive, and I'm hard-pressed to say which trait I find more irritating. Such attitudes just get my hackles up -- by the time you got to talking about the supposed loss of a desirable guest, my immediate reaction was to say, "Good. Who needs another crybaby?" I'm not saying there is anything mature or proper about my reaction. I am saying that your approach yielded results counterproductive to achieving your stated goal.

All right, maybe you didn't want to name names during the diavlog, since giving examples might have been seen as singling people out unfairly. Clearly, you're leery of inhibiting spirited debate. These are both positive motivations. I also think it's a very good thing that you don't, as a rule, delete comments that you find distasteful. However, there are four things I wish you would keep in mind.

First: You're a long-time proponent of preferring social ostracizing to explicit legislation. If I say something obnoxious, then, why not let the rest of the commenters put me in my place? Why can't you point out to the thin-skinned guests, "Yes, Brendan was out of line, but note that ten people immediately jumped on him for it?"

Second: As long as you and the diavloggers are reading the comments, why not post a response, instead of just lurking? I'll give you long odds that if you or someone else said, "I found your comment offensive and uncalled for, and here's why ...," you'd get an immediate apology in response. At the very least, you'd certainly stimulate a flood of agreement from other readers.

Third: Really, what is the big deal if some stupid commenter says something stupid? The overwhelming majority of people who participate in this site's forums will recognize it as such, and dismiss it accordingly. As Mickey pointed out, boorishness is self-revealing. I expect diavloggers to be at least as capable as commenters at reading for context.

Fourth: What's with the coddling of the guests? These are people speaking in a public space. Ideally, yes, I agree with you -- they should be attacked only for their expressed ideas, and not for banalities like personal appearance. But I say this to the offended diavloggers:

This is the real world -- if you put yourself in the spotlight, you have to accept the risk of the occasional rotten tomato. Either see this as no big deal (since it isn't), or stay off the stage. Or, do what John McWhorter advises: don't spend your time reading comments to begin with. I don't like this attitude of John's, but it's a sight better than making a big deal about being offended at what you might read, and then not doing anything about it, except whining to Bob offline.

Back to addressing you, Bob ...

I did agree with you when you said that we should consider statements made in the forum to be the same as statements made face-to-face. I do always try to keep this in mind, and I sign my real name to everything I post anywhere online for that very reason. But there's a flip side to this thesis: if what I say about a diavlogger is equivalent to saying it to his or her face, and it's offensive, then it behooves the diavlogger to let me know. In a face-to-face encounter, we have the advantage of non-verbal cues. In written communication, of course, we do not. Therefore, an offended party has to make the (small) effort to post a response, to let me know that I screwed up. At the very least, the offended party could ask you to intervene on his or her behalf, if he or she is afraid of encouraging more flames.

Granted, the First Commandment of online forums is Don't Feed The Trolls. But I think the difference is obvious between a commenter who is being a troll, and a commenter who is basically a good person who has, on this occasion, gone too far. Assuming the latter, then let that commenter know -- either leave it to the rest of the forum participants, say something yourself, or encourage the offended diavlogger to say something directly. There is even the site's Private Message function, if you or the diavlogger doesn't want to squabble in public. Whatever the channel, how else do we learn to improve our social behavior except by getting feedback?

If I was out of line, here or elsewhere, I'll be happy to hear about it, and eager to apologize.

uncle ebeneezer 02-07-2008 11:28 AM

Re: Mickey's endorsement flip-flop
 
They should've gone retro with the cake. All (2-shade) green. Pretty impressive though.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 11:39 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mvantony (Post 69879)
I'd guess David Frum and Eli Lake might support Bob's plea.

Dunno about David Frum, but Eli's a good man. I'll never forget when he started off a diavlog by saying, "BloggingHeads viewers, you can't stop me. You can only hope to contain me."

As violently as I disagree with Eli on matters of policy, I think he has class.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 11:45 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
ID:

Quote:

Speaking of Ann Althouse, wow Mickey, well-played on the gratuitous shot.
To coin a phrase: heh, indeed.

Quote:

So, any guesses as to the identity of the titular uninvited guest?

...

To recap:
1. Female
2. Recommended by Mickey
3. Would have been a big catch for bhTV
4. Not primarily a blogger (inference: blogs on the side)
5. (inference) Hasn't been on bhTV before
Ann Coulter is the obvious first guess, but I just can't see her being afraid of a little flaming. Therefore, I guess: Condoleezza Rice or the woman whom Mickey thinks is carrying John Edwards's baby.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 11:48 AM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Bobby G:

Naw. I used to like Mickey a lot, and after being in a rut for a while, his last couple of appearances have indicated that he might be climbing out. I don't find anything useful in his views on the Iraq War or immigration, and I frequently suspect him of pushing an ongoing agenda to sabotage the Democratic Party, but I do like some of his contrarian observations. Plus, there's no denying that he and Bob have chemistry -- if nothing else, it's fun to hear them banter.

Bobby G 02-07-2008 11:49 AM

Re: A Plea For Directness
 
Brendan wrote, "if what I say about a diavlogger is equivalent to saying it to his or her face, and it's offensive, then it behooves the diavlogger to let me know. In a face-to-face encounter, we have the advantage of non-verbal cues."

I'd be curious to know why you think it matters that you offend someone. For instance, you wrote of Rick Arndt: "five minutes of listening to him made me think there's a possibility that he has been so successful in brainwashing his offspring that he's made them impotent"; "The one positive thing that can be said about Rick Arndt is that Rod Dreher no longer has to hold the top slot on the BH.tv List of Creeps"; "I find the notion of procreating fourteen children repulsive and irresponsible"; "Arndt's creation of a cult by insulating his kids from the outside world is nothing short of child abuse"; and that's just a few things.

Surely you don't need non-verbal cues to think that such comments would offend Arndt if he read them? You know this, and of course you don't care. Perhaps rightfully. So...why do you even say that if a diavlogger is offended by something you say, he/she should let you know? So you can tell him/her more directly that he/she is an immoral monster/idiot?

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 11:54 AM

Re: Blue vs Red
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piscivorous (Post 69880)
While I don't have time at the present moment to directly address ...

Someone's been spending too much time reading Jonah.

;^)

jmcnulty 02-07-2008 12:00 PM

Identity of Mystery Blogger
 
Some people go to college and never get over it, going through life thinking that they are superior to the "great unwashed" who watch Fox News (this does not apply to black voters -- a long as they vote Democratic -- who are unformly virtuous regardless of educational level).

The mystery blogger who bowed out of Bloggingheads.tv is unlikely to have been Ann Coulter because (1) her appearance would have caused palpitations for Boib Wright and (2) she has the skin thickness of a armadillo and would be unlikely to have been deterred by hostile comments. How could she turn down Bloggingheads.tv for commenters calling her "stupid" when Republicans have called her much worse in the past week?

A solid Bloggingheads.tv episode, thankfully lacking in the academic esoterica of some episodes featuring "think-tank" denizens. Excellent soundings on the state of the campaign.

Namazu 02-07-2008 12:10 PM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Gosh, I hope the comments didn't chase away Camille Paglia! Say it ain't so! I assume you are trying to book her, aren't you?

Joel_Cairo 02-07-2008 12:18 PM

Re: A Plea For Directness
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mvantony (Post 69899)
Regarding David Frum and Eli Lake, I just mentioned them because it seems to me that they're subjected to personal attack here more than most (at least among the male guests). Of course, their skin must be sufficiently thick since they keep coming back for more.

How about that lady who talked about GWB as being the "consummate adult" because he saw everything in only black and white?

I expect we shan't be seeing more of her.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 12:38 PM

Re: A Plea For Directness
 
Bobby G:

That's fair, what you said about my statements on Arndt. Two things:

First: I did get a lot of blowback for what I said. This supports the part of my argument where I said diavloggers should be able to recognize the social ostracizing of one commenter by the rest.

Second: In general, I do not wish to insult any diavlogger personally. I have been harsh about some of them, in reaction to their ideas (or lack of ideas, in a couple of cases), but I don't think I've said anything that was otherwise personally insulting. I may, of course, be wrong about this, so that's why I ask for feedback.

The general principle, however, does not for me apply to Arndt. I did wish to insult him personally, I won't apologize for anything I said (at least none of what you quoted). and I would love the chance to say to his face what I said about him. If I hurt his feelings, I'm happy. I found him that offensive, and I felt strongly enough about this that I wanted other people to shun him, too.

Quote:

So...why do you even say that if a diavlogger is offended by something you say, he/she should let you know? So you can tell him/her more directly that he/she is an immoral monster/idiot?
You're probably right about this particular instance. There might not have been much of an upside for Arndt to respond to me directly. My words could have been looked at as the ranting of a loon and the safe bet would have been that nothing useful could result.

On the other hand, maybe there could have been some gain for him. He is a professional proselytizer, after all. Maybe he could have shown me the error of my ways, or at least won himself some more support from the rest of the readers. Maybe, even, he could have learned something from hearing my point of view that would have made him question his own cherished notions.

But the truth is, guys like him never engage with their critics and they never want to reexamine their beliefs. They speak only when they're in sole possession of the microphone, and afterwards, they scurry offstage, surround themselves with security, and re-immerse themselves in sycophants.

I had no illusions, therefore, that I'd get a response from him. But, as I said, I wanted others to feel about him the way I do, and it did feel good to vent my spleen.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 12:43 PM

Re: A Plea For Directness
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Joel_Cairo (Post 69900)
How about that lady who talked about GWB as being the "consummate adult" because he saw everything in only black and white?

I expect we shan't be seeing more of her.

You're probably right, Joel. On the other hand, I don't recall anything bad being said about her beyond how boneheaded her ideas were, and how insular her worldview was, both of which strike me as eminently within the bounds.

Eastwest 02-07-2008 12:47 PM

Clarification for Commentators only Pretending To Have Listened...
 
1) It's obvious the "uninvited guest" was MK as he didn't make the BHTV cake-party. All one has to do is actually listen to the episode to know that.

2) I was, of course, just joking about "Ann Coulter" being the mystery person whose sensitivities were so challenged by the sea of uncivilized verbiage churning like a threatening tsunami beneath the pictures of all BHTV "guests" that this "mystery shrinking violet" took a pass on participating. (And viewing today's comments, I can't blame her.) I'm actually disappointed.

OK, in the interests of genuine variety, Camille Paglia would be an OK start, though she really lost me when she as much as elevated Joni Mitchell's "parking lot" tune to "most meaningful poetry of all time" category. (I'm exaggerating again, but only barely... I think this was on Christopher Lydon's "Open Source"?)

But seriously, was really hoping to see the recruitment of a wider range of "guest" personnel, folks able to do something more than chew on the swelling corpses of yesterday's political horse-race news, more folks whose minds stray to some other territory besides Left-Right politics and the "throw the white coats a bone" Science-Saturday yammer.

EW

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 12:48 PM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Namazu (Post 69898)
Gosh, I hope the comments didn't chase away Camille Paglia! Say it ain't so! I assume you are trying to book her, aren't you?

If it was Camille, say it is so. I'm still recovering from the last time I tried to read something she wrote.

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 12:51 PM

Re: Clarification for Commentators only Pretending To Have Listened...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eastwest (Post 69905)
But seriously, was really hoping to see the recruitment of a wider range of "guest" personnel, folks able to do something more than chew on the swelling corpses of yesterday's political horse-race news, more folks whose minds stray to some other territory besides Left-Right politics and the "throw the white coats a bone" Science-Saturday yammer.

Well, I usually love "Science Saturday," and given the season, no amount of horse-race coverage is too much for me. But I do agree that it would be nice to seek out new guests and broaden the range of topics discussed.

zookarama 02-07-2008 12:54 PM

regarding Nate's comments,
 
am I the only one who recognizes irony? sheesh

and the uninvited guest is Madelin Albright.

you're welcome

bjkeefe 02-07-2008 12:54 PM

Re: Identity of Mystery Blogger
 
jm:

Quote:

Some people go to college and never get over it, going through life thinking that they are superior to the "great unwashed" who watch Fox News ...
In fact, we do not think there is anything great about people who watch Fox News. Unless it's those who watch for purposes of fisking, of course.

Bloggin' Noggin 02-07-2008 01:00 PM

Re: A Plea For Directness
 
Quote:

Fourth: What's with the coddling of the guests? These are people speaking in a public space. Ideally, yes, I agree with you -- they should be attacked only for their expressed ideas, and not for banalities like personal appearance. But I say this to the offended diavloggers:

This is the real world -- if you put yourself in the spotlight, you have to accept the risk of the occasional rotten tomato. Either see this as no big deal (since it isn't), or stay off the stage. Or, do what John McWhorter advises: don't spend your time reading comments to begin with. I don't like this attitude of John's, but it's a sight better than making a big deal about being offended at what you might read, and then not doing anything about it, except whining to Bob offline.
I don't know -- BH.tv is not 60 Minutes and the guests don't get paid like Mike Wallace. How far are these people "putting themselves in the spotlight"?

I'd suggest the standard that would reasonably apply within the comments section itself : a) try to eschew ad hominem attacks against guests, just as we should avoid them when it comes to other commenters, b) try to respond to the person himself and what he actually says, not what other people of what you perceive to be his ilk have said and c) try not to be more uncivil than the person you're replying to.
In the case of Arndt, you differed with his lifestyle, so it might seem impossible to draw the line between political argument and personal attack. But I think there's a difference between saying that his lifestyle would be dangerous if he got everyone to adopt it and saying that it is "repulsive." The former is something he could argue against, the latter is purely emotive and a definite personal attack. I may not like it if somebody tells me homosexuality is "dangerous" or "wrong", but there's room for discussion there. If someone calls it (or me) "repulsive", what can I say except, "so's your mother!"?
Arndt was clear that he didn't approve of homosexuality, but he was extremely civil in his statement of this position. You perceived this as speaking in code, and therefore you gave him no credit for his civility. But how can one distinguish civility from speaking in code without some kind of telepathic connection? Since his statements were civil, I would take his civility at face value and disagree with him on this civilly. If he had said, "God hates fags," then sure, it would be open season, but he didn't say that, so I wouldn't call his life choices "repulsive" in response.

Regarding point (b), I might mention that I recall being attacked by a certain commenter (who doesn't seem to have posted in a long time) along the lines of "that response shows a lot about you," and he didn't mean it in a nice way. What I was saying somehow showed me to be one of those (perhaps mythical) hippies who spat on returning Vietnam vets or something. I have to say I didn't enjoy that: how can one really even respond to it? It took away my pleasure in participating in the discussion. As I see it, there's not that huge a difference between us posters and the diavloggers here -- the main reason to do it is the intrinsic pleasure of having the discussion (and perhaps getting practice presenting themselves in this format). The largely self-imposed rules that govern discussion here probably should govern our reactions to the diavloggers. When BHtv starts paying the diavloggers what NBC pays Tim Russert, then we can be just as nasty as we like. They can afford any knocks to their self-esteem at that point.

I see Bob as recognizing that the general civility here is achieved mostly by the commenters' own self-restraint, and I see his plea for civility as no more than an attempt to get us commenters to recognize that the diavloggers themselves should be included in our "community" -- even if they don't explicitly take part in the comments.

Bloggin' Noggin 02-07-2008 01:04 PM

Re: The Uninvited Guest
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mojomojo (Post 69886)
Kaus has no respect for the (politically) departed. Is he still pushing this phoney story about an Edwards sex scandal? Maybe it is time that we really investigate his personal involvement in this scandal. Hmmmm. Maybe he has first-hand (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) knowledge.

Mickey's pregnant?

jmcnulty 02-07-2008 01:09 PM

Re: Reply to Bjkeefe:
 
I never said that there was anything admirable in watching Fox News and never implied that there was. You are deliberating missing the point. I was just saying that there should be no effort to separate oneself, based on some disfavored activity (like bowling).

I think Daily Kos is full of self-important cranks, but I would not characterize everyone who posts there as one or feel superior to anyone there.

We should be contending based on the quality of our ideas, not some meaningless class distinction that allows one to assume a pedestal because of an advanced degree. The quality of the ideas here is often good -- even when I do not agree with them -- but there is often a troubling whiff of intellectual elitism.

TwinSwords 02-07-2008 01:10 PM

Re: A Plea For Directness
 
First of all, I think Bob was really talking about gratuitous personal attacks that have nothing to do with the ideas being discussed. I don't think he was asking anyone to tone down their criticism of ideas (in fact he was explicit about this). I am 99% sure he was referring to comments about personal appearance, and I happen to agree with him that these comments are beyond the pale and I would support deleting them. Aside from that, I think anything else should be allowed.

This is not that different from, say, the rules governing calls to C-SPAN. You can sit there and call the person a Nazi or a traitor or a racist or anything else, but as soon as you say they are a fat slob or ask why their hair is so greasy, you're going to get cut off. That's as it should be.



Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 69902)
First: I did get a lot of blowback for what I said. This supports the part of my argument where I said diavloggers should be able to recognize the social ostracizing of one commenter by the rest.

You did get a lot of blowback, but as "offensive" as your comments were, I was happy you posted them. They were CLEARLY said in the context of Arndt's extremist views. Those harsh remarks were a direct response to the subjects Arndt was invited to discuss. To be completely honest, I was very happy to read every word you wrote in that thread.

I have met more than a few extremist Christians like Arndt, and didn't see anything in any of your Arndt posts that didn't ring entirely true. Those people really are off the deep end and you characterized them perfectly.



Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 69902)
The general principle, however, does not for me apply to Arndt. I did wish to insult him personally, I won't apologize for anything I said (at least none of what you quoted). and I would love the chance to say to his face what I said about him. If I hurt his feelings, I'm happy.

This right here gets to the crux of the problem with Bob's request for civility. I happen to totally support it (despite my own transgressions), but as soon as some commenters hear that harsh words are painful to the target, that will double their desire to say harsh things. That's the whole reason people say mean and nasty things in the first place: They hate the target and want to make them suffer. Advertising that it works (as Bob did) may have the unintended effect of increasing the problem.

I hope not: I hope people will avoid making comments about the personal appearance of the Bloggingheads and stick to discussion of the issues, as you did with Arndt. (And yes, to anyone who doesn't think you were discussing the issues, calling someone crazy is in bouds, as it is a characterization of a belief set.)

Bloggin' Noggin 02-07-2008 01:11 PM

Re: A Plea For Directness
 
Quote:

I had no illusions, therefore, that I'd get a response from him. But, as I said, I wanted others to feel about him the way I do, and it did feel good to vent my spleen.
But of course, an unintended consequence of that is that possibly good guests will not find Bob's munificent payments are worth the potential blow to their self-esteem. If you liked the guest, YOU wouldn't attack them, of course, but they may not know that ahead of time.


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