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Should we FPP the Obama speech?
March 18, 2008 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Should we FPP the Obama speech? Some debate here. On the one hand it seems like it would be doomed to deletion as we have two open Obama related threads. On the other hand it's a really big deal, and (IMHO) rises above NewsFilter into Best Of The Web because it's such an incredibly good speech. Also those other threads are way below the fold. Thoughts?
posted by Artw to Etiquette/Policy at 11:39 AM (419 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

There are at least two discussions in open threads about this, I don't think it needs an FPP.
posted by OmieWise at 11:42 AM on March 18, 2008


But its Obamaaaa!
posted by ND¢ at 11:43 AM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh what the hell, let's just change the name of this site to "ObamaFilter" and call it a day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:43 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a presidential campaign going on. People want to talk about it.
posted by jeblis at 11:46 AM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


They could do that in the open threads.
posted by drezdn at 11:47 AM on March 18, 2008


But its Obamaaaa!

Well, yeah, I get your point. But it's not just some random ObamaFilter story, it's potentially history in the making. I'd go as far as to say that If he wins the candidacy and goes on to win the presidency this speech will be the moment that he won it, so it;s kind of a big deal.
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm inclined to say leave it to the open threads for now; if something does develop from the speech, okay, but posting it right now would really just be cracking open a thread to talk about what people think might happen in the future, and with open recent threads that seems a little overkill.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:51 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


But its Obamaaaaa!
posted by ND¢ at 11:52 AM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


potentially history in the making....kind of a big deal

So what? This isn't a play by play politics blog.

If he wins the candidacy and goes on to win the presidency this speech will be the moment that he won it

And if he doesn't, it wasn't. But that is also not really relevant to this discussion.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:52 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was a speech of historical import that deserves its own FPP. My own Obama/Clinton post got deleted and resurrected yesterday, and I thank the diligence of cortex and jessamyn for responding to my complaint over the deletion. But I wish I didn't feel that this site is nearly politicophobic at times.

Yes, I know there are a gazillion other sites to talk about politics. But there's a hunger here for intelligent discussion of the issues, and the community does not seem as flameriffic as back in the golden age of... well, X and Y. It's possible to stay current without becoming RedState/DailyKos.
posted by digaman at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Well, presumably anyone who is interested in the Obama campaign is already following the other two threads. If they're not interested, they also won't be interested in watching a 30 minute youtube video, no matter how earth shattering and significant.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2008


But it's not just some random ObamaFilter story, it's potentially history in the making

It's a shame a dozen other obamafilter posts were made in the past week already. I agree, if it's major, go ahead and post it, but unfortunately we've had way too many posts about the subject lately (and we seem to be deleting a bunch as well) so I'd say skip it, even though it could be a turning point.

Breaking news and election news make for pretty ho-hum posts here, how about waiting a week, collecting all the play-by-play and commentary and make a post about it when it truly becomes a turning point? Not everything on mefi has to be real-time.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


But I wish I didn't feel that this site is nearly politicophobic at times.

We've had two presidential elections in the previous years of metafilter and the consensus was that by September, everyone was sick of the Nader/Kerry/Bushfilter posts. The audience is a lot more international now as well, and though who becomes the president of the US does have some effect on someone in the UK or Oz or Egypt, it's less important to a growing number of active users.

But there's a hunger here for intelligent discussion of the issues

I'm not sure if I've seen intelligent discussion of politics here lately.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:56 AM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Man, I'm sorta starting to feel abashed about mocking the Ron Paulification of Digg and reddit.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:56 AM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Matt, what would intelligent discussion of politics on a site like this look like to you? And: Do you think Europeans are all ho-hum about this US election? I've spoken to three European friends in the last week -- one of whom was in Nepal, fergawdsakes -- and all they wanted to talk about was Clinton/Obama/McCain. And I don't hang out with politico-junkies.
posted by digaman at 12:01 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Alvy, I went to register a not-totally-likely domain name today only to find it uselessly camped by some dude whose main site is just hisname.com featuring a big drawing of Ron Paul.

The Paulites continue to vex me at every turn.

posted by cortex (staff) at 12:02 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think someone should make a post to MeTa, so we can talk about it here.
posted by psmealey at 12:02 PM on March 18, 2008


what would intelligent discussion of politics on a site like this look like to you?

I'll bet it would include a lot of threats to throw people down the stairs or beat them up with baseball bats.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:02 PM on March 18, 2008


For more politics posts, see Devoter. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have achieved the critical mass (yet) needed for discussion.

Looks like PoliticsFilter is on hold.
posted by russilwvong at 12:03 PM on March 18, 2008


Wait till tomorrow. Obama's coming to my city-which is the home of Ft Bragg-and he might do something newsworthy.

Or not, in which case we can go for another round of bonsai kittens or something.
posted by konolia at 12:06 PM on March 18, 2008


I used to hate the whole Obama thing, and now, due to that speech, I really like that guy. Fuck.

(Sorry, this comment isn't very meta.)
posted by 1 at 12:08 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


One data point from a newbie: After I read the speech, I came to MeFi hoping to read a thread about it. I was surprised and disappointed that there wasn't one. It didn't occur to me to look for week-old Obama-related FPPs that might now have discussions on the speech.
posted by Perplexity at 12:08 PM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Dave Faris: For pete's sake take a nap already, you miserable grouser.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:11 PM on March 18, 2008


Put it on the blue so we can have a post about that speech in the gray, the green and the blue.
posted by caddis at 12:11 PM on March 18, 2008


It is a great speech, and everyone should watch it.
posted by OmieWise at 12:14 PM on March 18, 2008


the gray, the green and the blue

Coincidentally the colors of the flag of Obamastan, where every tongue-tied schmuck is a MLK Jr. Level Orator and nobody wants for anything ever, except strife.


I'm down with O, I really am, but ease back, it's a feckin' marathon not a sprint.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:17 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


So what you're saying is a political candidate made an impassioned speech, and it either may be a turning point in his candidacy or it may not be. And you think the speech is Best of the Web, but since it didn't happen on the web it would be more like NewsFilter That You Think Is Awesome.
posted by Plutor at 12:18 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


It was a moving, powerful speech, one of the most important I've seen in my lifetime of following American electoral politics. I already support the man, but this really rose above the campaign and will be remembered and quoted and taught whether or not he wins or loses the election. I am sure of it. It condenses so much into 30 minutes that it's like a college course in progressive politics. It was everything I admire about Barack Obama in a nutshell. And pretty much everything I think myself about "race" in American life.

It was also the first time I've heard a specific mention of Native Americans in non-condescending terms from the mouth of a major candidate in a major national context this cycle, or really ever. That alone moved me.

And THAT is how Kerry needed to respond to the Swiftboating bullshit. Too bad he didn't believe Americans might be smart enough to hear the truth. Makes me feel really good about Obama's general election campaign too, if it comes to that.

But I don't think it needs to be an FPP here. We can discuss it in this thread, I suppose. Or not, since it is being discussed everywhere else in the blogosphere right now.

Barack Obama is too smart, too decent, too educated to be the president of the US. It gets clearer every day.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:21 PM on March 18, 2008 [16 favorites]


Plutor - It's not like we don't call other things that reach us via YouTube Best Of The Web. Most of them a hell of a lot less interesting than this.
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm pretty sure this is what the Rapture will be like.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:23 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes. Let's all FPP it.
posted by mattbucher at 12:24 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


And THAT is how Kerry needed to respond to the Swiftboating bullshit. Too bad he didn't believe Americans might be smart enough to hear the truth.

i.e. "too bad he was an idiot"
posted by 1 at 12:28 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, it's a pretty good speech.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:29 PM on March 18, 2008


Unbelievably, Charles Murray (of *Bell Curve* fame) is quoted as saying:
I read the various posts here on "The Corner," mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama's speech. Then I figured I'd better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn't). I've just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols.
Wow.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:29 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


What we really need is a MeTa about this MeTa. That'll learn them.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:30 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Most of them a hell of a lot less interesting than this.

I'll take a dozen substantially less interesting posts covering a whole spectrum of topics over a dozen totally fucking fantastic Obama posts any ding-dong day of the week.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 12:31 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


1, I agree it. Kerry really disappointed me with that, and I voted for him very reluctantly as a result.

Won't get fooled again, though. HRC will never, ever have my vote. Even for senate.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:31 PM on March 18, 2008


a really big deal, and (IMHO) rises above NewsFilter into Best Of The Web because it's such an incredibly good speech.

it's potentially history in the making

a speech of historical import

will be remembered and quoted and taught whether or not he wins or loses the election.

one of the most important I've seen in my lifetime

So that's decided. The speech should be president.
posted by cillit bang at 12:33 PM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Ah, two conversations at once. Well, that's confusing.
posted by lunit at 12:35 PM on March 18, 2008


Would someone please link to what we're talking about linking?

KTHXBI
posted by SlyBevel at 12:37 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


speech
posted by Dave Faris at 12:39 PM on March 18, 2008


the speech
posted by lunit at 12:39 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll take a dozen substantially less interesting posts covering a whole spectrum of topics over a dozen totally fucking fantastic Obama posts any ding-dong day of the week.

This kind of thinking is what has dominated the FPP politics of the past. We could keep posting videos of quadraped robots and various MegaMan bosses.

We could do that.

Or, at this moment, in this moment in this website's history, we can come together and say, 'Not this time.' Mefites of all races and religions could post the best Obama-related links for everyone to see. It won't happen overnight, but I beleive ObamaFilter can become reality.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


No, but the man who made it --- and he wrote it himself, they're saying, every word -- damn well should be president.

Anyone who has worked in the trenches of American race relations in any serious way with any level of hope for the future cried during that speech. I guarantee it.

I just keep thinking, when was the last time any candidate for president got up in front of the cameras and just told the straight truth, and kept telling it for half an hour? I'm trying to imagine myself as a Clinton supporter or a McCain supporter, and not coming away shaken by Obama's eloquence on this one.

We're so fucking jaded we wouldn't know real leadership if it came down from the skies in a flying saucer. But that was it. This is someone who can change the narrative with his words. We haven't had that since JFK, RFK, and MLK.

BHO for the win.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [27 favorites]


If someday I become president, you're going to be really glad you favorited this comment.
posted by turaho at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks Faris and lunit.
posted by SlyBevel at 12:43 PM on March 18, 2008


"and he wrote it himself, they're saying, every word"

fourcheesemac - you gotta source for that? (cause that's awesome.)
posted by lunit at 12:43 PM on March 18, 2008


I'd go as far as to say that If he wins the candidacy and goes on to win the presidency this speech will be the moment that he won it

When he wins, you can post it. It would be far more interesting to discuss looking back on it instead of when it's on the CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews (Obama Won't 'Disown' Pastor), digg, and reddit front pages.

Or, instead of fretting about whether you should post it, figure out how to make a decent post out of it. Should you post only the YouTube video and transcript? No. Should you find context (not a bunch of wikipedia links), reaction, and whatever else it would take to make an interesting post about it? Sure.
posted by Gary at 12:47 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just keep thinking, when was the last time any candidate for president got up in front of the cameras and just told the straight truth, and kept telling it for half an hour?

And quoted William Faulkner while he was at it.

It sort of breaks my (jaded, haven't-been-a-Democrat-since-the-'90s-out-of-disgust-with-the-Clintons) heart. He is too smart to be president. The fuckers who really run the place will never allow it.
posted by scody at 12:48 PM on March 18, 2008


Has anybody got a link to a full vid of this they could mefimail me? I thought there were links and transcripts in this AskMe but they seem to be gone from the question and answers. I could be mixing this up with another question however so a link to that askme would be great too.
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:48 PM on March 18, 2008


The AskMe question with links to the video and transcript: Where can I watch the Barack Obama speech from this morning online in its entirety?
posted by ericb at 12:55 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


MSNBC has the video of the full speech here.
posted by EarBucket at 12:56 PM on March 18, 2008


"It is a great speech, and everyone should watch it."

Fascist.
posted by Eideteker at 12:57 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


We shouldn't FPP it, we should continue to soft-post this and every other Obama story to the gray. Awesome!
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:00 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


THere's an open thread on Obama & race, from less than a week ago. I don't see why that isn't the place for further discussion, for anyone who is interested in exploring the topic further. But the conversation there has kind of died down - because everyone's concerned about whether it can be posted to the front page! That kind of makes it feel like the interest is more in sensationalism than content...
posted by mdn at 1:12 PM on March 18, 2008


Obama is great at saying utterly nothing and having people just eat that shit up.

So, yes, someone should FPP it. And I'm amazed a question about the speech isn't on the green already. Metafilter is showing an amazing about of restraint today.
posted by Stynxno at 1:13 PM on March 18, 2008


It is a great speech, and everyone should watch it.

And under President For Life Obama, everyone will watch it. In dimly lit concrete auditoriums, dressed in standard-issue government gray jump suits. Until someone comes running down the aisle and hurls a sledgehammer at the screen, shattering the image into a million pieces. And that person will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. In a pantsuit. So there.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:15 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Would it be possible for 24 hours to elapse before we started to declare the (ok, admittedly rather good) speech "historic"? And less snarkily, the old guideline that MeFi is about the links seems like a good one to apply here. FPP linking the video transcript from MSNBC? Not so good. FPP with a lot of background detail on (let's say) Obama's take on race relations, or great political speeches, or excellent and unusual analysis by a noted public figure? Better.
posted by whir at 1:18 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama is great at saying utterly nothing

This is rich, coming from the guy whose most carefully crafted FPPs involve Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton.
posted by scody at 1:20 PM on March 18, 2008 [24 favorites]


Dave Faris typed "I'm pretty sure this is what the Rapture will be like."

Hey, can we have a general post just to see who's still here and who's not? I realize that something like that would usually go on the gray, but this seems like it might be an extenuating circumstance.

Also, MetaFilter is legally required to use OpenID now, right? When will that be starting?
posted by roll truck roll at 1:23 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if I've seen intelligent discussion of politics here lately.

I think that sometimes, and then I read other sites.

Metafilter is warm. Metafilter is cozy. Metafilter is not those horrible, horrible places.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:23 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Obama is great at saying utterly nothing and...

But beware of the dark side. Anger...fear... disaffection... cynicism.... aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a community blog snarkfest. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.
posted by psmealey at 1:24 PM on March 18, 2008


*hugs everyone*
posted by sciurus at 1:24 PM on March 18, 2008


Hey, can we have a general post just to see who's still here and who's not?

I think I'd be more embarassed to be Raptured.

"Aww, I coulda sworn I didn't believe in this shit anymore!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:25 PM on March 18, 2008


No, it doesn't neeed to be its own FPP. We need to realize how short the news cycles are. What seems REALLY IMPORTANT! today will likely not be important a week or month from now. We should resist the urge to over-esteem the present because the stories often changes. And so it will be with this speech, as well. It's being discussed. That's good enough.

It is a great speech, and everyone should watch it.
posted by OmieWise at 2:14 PM on March 18


I would disagree. Everyone should read it.

The speech is a marvelous piece of rhetoric. It's a masterful distillation of a complex issue that really shows an adeptness of looking at an issue from all sides. It appears to be an earnest and thoughtful attempt to move beyond the partisan us v. them dichotomy, while also noting why we are who we are and why they are who they are. It is simply a masterful speech.

Unfortunately, it was one of Obama's poorest deliveries that I can recall. On paper, it is amazing. His delivery, not so much. And that's a shame because he is capable of making incredible speeches.

So I think everyone should read it. And it would be absolutely wonderful if Metafilter--and the country--could embrace the core message of the speech which is that we need to not hate the Other or castigate or drive away those who are different; we need to find a way to understand each other.

It is a masterful piece of rhetoric. And if Obama could deliver on it and move beyond mere rhetoric, then lucky us as he will be great. But, for now, the rhetoric is a start.
posted by dios at 1:27 PM on March 18, 2008 [17 favorites]


Obama is great at saying utterly nothing

This is rich, coming from the guy whose most carefully crafted FPPs involve Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton.


Your favorite cult icon sucks.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:29 PM on March 18, 2008


I agree with dios. I can't watch long youtube videos so clicked over to the transcript.. what a fierce, elegant, unrepentant piece of awesome.
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:29 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, it was one of Obama's poorest deliveries that I can recall.

I read it this morning; I'm watching it now. I can't really disagree. His head is almost rhythmically pingponging from the left teleprompter to the right. He needed a center teleprompter, or at least to look around the room a bit more. It's actually a relief when he looks down at the podium to read the passage from his book.

But the speech is aces, and the delivery is by far the least important aspect.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:34 PM on March 18, 2008


Great speech, no doubt. I am working strictly from the text, mind you, and I agree with dios and BTGOG. It's pragmatic and aspirational at the same time, and it's not mealy-mouthed PC bullshit and code words that you would expect from a presidential candidate.
posted by Mister_A at 1:35 PM on March 18, 2008


MeFi is about the links.

It is a great speech, mostly because it points out how "race" is being used to divide and conquer the working/middle classes of America.

At the root of some of what he says are some statements that are very, uh, revolutionary. He's basically saying, like, America should be run by Americans, and we've been getting the run-around for a while now...

Guy'll never win. Small plane accident or something. And it'll break my fucking heart.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:35 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Digby's got a good post about it. Which is where I go for this kind of thing.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:36 PM on March 18, 2008


Obama is great at saying utterly nothing

This is rich, coming from the guy whose most carefully crafted FPPs involve Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton.


Is there a connection? Feel free to explain what you mean, scody. Otherwise, that kind of comment is just modern politics at it's best. You can say something that makes no sense at all, and as long as you're "passionate" and playing to the audience, you win.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:37 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I agree that the delivery isn't his best, and I actually don't care for the ending at all, but I do think that it's more powerful watched than read. There's a humanizing element to seeing it delivered that is absent for me in the transcript.
posted by OmieWise at 1:39 PM on March 18, 2008


Be honest; Barrack Obama?
a) Great President
b) The Greatest President
c) All of the Above
posted by blue_beetle at 1:41 PM on March 18, 2008


MeFi is about the links.

But it's interesting that most of the stuff sidebarred is comments.
posted by mattbucher at 1:44 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the problem the moderators are having with ElectionFilter posts is that they aren't discussions of politics, like mathowie said. They are discussions of campaign strategy, hillary hating, tactics and occasionally about race. But I can't think of a thread that was about a political issue on it's own.

It's as if people assume a standard stance in these regardless of how the discussion evolved in a previous thread - they simply reassert their original positions each time. The threads are cross-talk, not discussion.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:55 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama is great at saying utterly nothing

This is rich, coming from the guy whose most carefully crafted FPPs involve Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton.


Now that you mention it, Obama's speech does remind me of those three girls. The substance of the speech matches up perfectly with Paris's taste in men, the nuance and thought is on par with anything Britney would find at her local gas station and Obama's rhetoric wouldn't even make the grade for Lindsay's next album.

But, you know what? Like those three pop culture queens, Obama lives on hype. So I guess they're all pretty much related.
posted by Stynxno at 1:56 PM on March 18, 2008


it's not just some random ObamaFilter story, it's potentially history in the making. I'd go as far as to say that If he wins the candidacy and goes on to win the presidency this speech will be the moment that he won it

You know, I like Obama and if I weren't an anarchist I'd probably vote for him, and it was a damn good speech, but "history in the making"?

Obamaaaa!
posted by languagehat at 1:57 PM on March 18, 2008


Newsweek analysis: One for the History Books.
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on March 18, 2008


"and he wrote it himself, they're saying, every word" ... fourcheesemac - you gotta source for that? (cause that's awesome.)
"Obama dictated a first draft to his young speechwriter Jon Favreau on Saturday, then reworked the speech until 3 a.m. Monday. He went at it anew on Tuesday, tweaking away until 2 a.m. Did Obama's political aides try to warn him off the idea? 'It wasn't even a discussion,' says [Obama's senior strategist David] Axelrod. 'He was going to do it. I know this sounds perhaps corny, but he actually believes in the fairness and good sense of the American people, and the importance of this issue. His candidacy is predicated on the fact that we can talk to each other in an honest and forthright way on this and other issues.'"*
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


And, before anyone else asks, not it's not that Jon Favreau.
posted by scrump at 2:07 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, if *Newsweek* said it...
posted by tkolar at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2008


Damn... I was totally set up for the "he's so money and he doesn't even know it" line.

Thanks, scrump. Thanks a lot.
posted by psmealey at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, if *Newsweek* said it...

...such doesn't necessarily mean the speech is historic to others.
posted by ericb at 2:12 PM on March 18, 2008


Should we FPP the Obama speech?

BTW, this sort of question is exactly the bullshit that results from tolerating any politics at all on Metafilter. A political speech not even remotely connected to the internet is so far away from Metafilter's core mission that it's ridiculous to even think it belongs as an FPP.

As long as we allow the constant stream of politics filter to pollute the front page, people will continue to confuse Metafilter with some sort of political blog.
posted by tkolar at 2:12 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Is there a connection? Feel free to explain what you mean, scody.

I know I'm not scody, but I feel like the connection is rather obvious. A really well written speech making a lot of cogent and intelligent points about the nature of race in this country being essentially called vacuous by a mefite who makes fpps about how "thin is in" fashion will make buying jeans easier for him is a bit rich. I'm sure stynxno is a great guy. please no death threats. but it's a pretty funny comment.
posted by shmegegge at 2:14 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Her point was that those pop stars are essentially hollow templates with social meaning thrust upon themand that because he's so in their thrall, he's unable to recognize actual meaning when it comes around.

Or perhaps if he's in their thrall, he's the best one to recognize bullshit? Whatever, her comment was lameness of the "I'm going to score cheap favorites by vaguely calling out shit people have been bitching about since day one" variety. At least make sure there's some substance behind the snark.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:17 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now that you mention it, Obama's speech does remind me of those three girls. The substance of the speech matches up perfectly with Paris's taste in men, the nuance and thought is on par with anything Britney would find at her local gas station and Obama's rhetoric wouldn't even make the grade for Lindsay's next album.

But, you know what? Like those three pop culture queens, Obama lives on hype. So I guess they're all pretty much related.


Oh, bullshit.

And not even convincing, rhetorical bullshit. Just petty, dismissive bullshit.

The substance matches Paris's taste in men? You're arguing that Paris likes insubstantial men? Why? Because they don't wear fedoras? The snark about Britney doesn't even make any damn sense, and if Lohan could build emotional points like the Ashley anecdote, she'd be noticed by more than death pools.
posted by klangklangston at 2:18 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Regardless of who made the speech, it's a remarkable entry into ongoing discussions of race relations in the U.S., their history, and the blinkered view that predominantly white news audiences/organs have of African-American racial politics. Much more importantly in the long term, it's an example of a major-party politician speaking (quite well) about the complex connections between economic, racial, religious, generational, and gender-based inequality and conflict. Yes, it's a historic speech: consider the cultural context in which he's speaking, the radical disjunction between his rhetoric and the media landscape in which he's competing for office (and in more specific terms, consider the awesome gap between his vision of progressive politics and coalition-building, and that of his primary-season opponent). The largely implicit critique of the mainstream news media would be an excellent hook for getting MeFites to talk about the speech.

Then again, if this thread is any indication, such a discussion would be a waste of time anyhow.

Carry on.
posted by waxbanks at 2:20 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Or perhaps if he's in their thrall, he's the best one to recognize bullshit? Whatever, her comment was lameness of the "I'm going to score cheap favorites by vaguely calling out shit people have been bitching about since day one" variety. At least make sure there's some substance behind the snark.

Perhaps he's the best one to recognize bullshit?

Well, pretty clearly not.

What else you got?
posted by klangklangston at 2:20 PM on March 18, 2008


The past dozen comments aside, I just wanted to say that despite all my Obamaaaa!-ing above, I just e-mailed a transcript of that speech to all my friends and family. I don't know if that means I think it belongs on Metafilter, but I do think that it is a speech that people should read because it is the type of political speech that people deserve, but haven't gotten in so long that they have stopped listening.
posted by ND¢ at 2:23 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah, and since I shouldn't have phrased it like that, I apologize for the "dick clouding judgment." While I can't speak to his sexual prowess, I meant to imply (and still do willfully) that it's your relationship, not his anatomy, that's making you biased here.
posted by klangklangston at 2:24 PM on March 18, 2008


And I'm amazed a question about the speech isn't on the green already. Metafilter is showing an amazing about of restraint today. -- posted by Stynxno at 4:13 PM on March 18

It was posted to the green at 12:29 PM (and above at 3:55 PM) today.
posted by ericb at 2:26 PM on March 18, 2008


Master rhetorician delivers masterful piece of rhetoric. News at eleven every hour on the front page.

I voted for Clinton in the Ohio primary because the platforms of the two candidates are nearly perfectly identical and I believe that Clinton will be more effective at turning those ideas into actual laws. Every time Obama mentions his accomplishments in the state senate, I think, "Great, but I don't vote in Illinois, so I can't help you with your Senate or U.S. House run...oh, I see. You're a national candidate." I'll happily vote for Obama should he win the primary. One reason that I haven't been around Metafilter much lately is that Obama hysteria oozing from the seams of the blue makes me uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable even posting this, to tell the truth, because I don't want to go to war about it. I've never felt that way here before.
posted by Kwine at 2:32 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


and yes, it's a revolutionary speech. Unity, yes, but unity towards change. Forgiveness and reconciliation, yes, but for the purpose of a dramatic restructuring of American priorities. Pretty darn great.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:38 PM on March 18, 2008


Even that racist Bell Curve guy says that this is a very substantive and meaningful speech. It's beyond shallow to look at the speech and say "Obama is all hype." You have the right to your opinion, but if you've read that speech and can only consider it all "hype," my impression of your ability to discern shit from shinola is deeply skewed.
posted by mattbucher at 2:38 PM on March 18, 2008


I just got this in my inbox:

Thanks for sending me the speech, it was wonderful.
Mom
posted by ND¢ at 2:44 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Every time Obama mentions his accomplishments in the state senate, I think, "Great, but I don't vote in Illinois, so I can't help you with your Senate or U.S. House run...

"Obama? How can you support an Illinois lawyer with only two years of experience in national office? Oh, it worked out pretty well last time."
posted by ericb at 2:44 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


What speech?
posted by Corduroy at 2:46 PM on March 18, 2008


I just got this in my inbox:

Thanks for sending me the speech, it was wonderful.
Mom


That's awesome. I think it'll get enough coverage without an FPP and fapping, but damn, it's almost like something good is bad. Tell all your friends about metafilter and ask metafilter? Wear the t-shirt? Stay logged into the site all the time? Well that's just too much - it can't be good then - It's fluff and doesn't exist in the real world. What has it done? It's just a bunch of talk.

Yeah...we know better, don't we.
posted by cashman at 2:50 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It sure is a good thing we didn't clutter up the front page with another long winded, opinionated political post.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:51 PM on March 18, 2008


"Obama? How can you support an Illinois lawyer with only two years of experience in national office? Oh, it worked out pretty well last time."

Worked out last time? We got war, dude got shot, and we can't have slaves anymore! How'd that work out "well"?
posted by klangklangston at 2:51 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The substance of the speech matches up perfectly with Paris's taste in men,

no it doesn't.

the nuance and thought is on par with anything Britney would find at her local gas station

no it isn't.

and Obama's rhetoric wouldn't even make the grade for Lindsay's next album.

yes it-... wait, is that a bad thing? Could she even be said to employ rhetoric in her music? I'm not... hmm. ok, let's agree on this one and say it's a good thing.

But, you know what? Like those three pop culture queens, Obama lives on hype.

no he doesn't.

So I guess they're all pretty much related.
posted by Stynxno at 4:56 PM on March 18


Here's hoping perezhilton starts providing you with some better insight into the coming election.
posted by shmegegge at 2:51 PM on March 18, 2008


Feel free to explain what you mean, scody.

Others have done a fine job of parsing my (evidently terribly obscure) meaning. I meant to indicate that a finger-wagging comment about substance and the appropriate use of the blue from a guy who A) admits he doesn't get anything out of an intelligent, nuanced speech of the history of class and race in this country and B) is known for making posts about arguably the most insubstantial human beings of our generation... is that ironic? Or just hilarious? I can't tell. I'm too hopped up on all the kool-aid!

Otherwise, that kind of comment is just modern politics at it's best. You can say something that makes no sense at all, and as long as you're "passionate" and playing to the audience, you win.

That's such a facile, simplisitic characterization of the awful state of contemporary politics that it's essentially meaningless. Which is why I'm guessing that this...

Like those three pop culture queens, Obama lives on hype. So I guess they're all pretty much related.

...is what passes for scathing socio-political insight over the dinner table, rather than a statement so jaw-droppingly shallow that TMZ wouldn't run it.
posted by scody at 2:55 PM on March 18, 2008 [17 favorites]


The Dream Ticket. The Scream Ticket.
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh! Popcorn's ready!
posted by From Bklyn at 3:01 PM on March 18, 2008


As a European speaking: it's about fucking time there's a presidential candidate who is eloquent for a change.
posted by DreamerFi at 3:02 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's possible to stay current without becoming RedState/DailyKos.

This place is half an inch away from turning into RedState as it is.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:02 PM on March 18, 2008


One reason that I haven't been around Metafilter much lately is that Obama hysteria oozing from the seams of the blue makes me uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable even posting this, to tell the truth, because I don't want to go to war about it. I've never felt that way here before.
posted by Kwine at 4:32 PM on March 18


Sucks doesn't it? Which is all the reason why we should avoid partisan political posts on the Blue. If you make posts that gore the oxen of people, you make the place inhospitable to those whose ox is being gored. It drives them away; leads to insularity. That's not a good thing. We don't need to be driving people away when we are supposed to be a community.
posted by dios at 3:03 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh and while we're on the election subject, and since somebody is bound to FPP this, can we get our page assignments, to provide a clean and smooth examination of the 11,000 pages? Or is that going to get nixed as electionfilter.
posted by cashman at 3:07 PM on March 18, 2008


11,000 pages with all the good stuff blacked out? Meh, I'll wait for someone on YouTube to read it all and give me a 2 minute summary.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:10 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


cashman: "Oh and while we're on the election subject, and since somebody is bound to FPP this, can we get our page assignments, to provide a clean and smooth examination of the 11,000 pages? Or is that going to get nixed as electionfilter."

They really could have worded that headline better. It made me think Clinton was planning to announce that she is a lesbian.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:16 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Agree, dios, on the lack of rhetorical polish in Obama's delivery. Which is why I was caught so off guard when he said "THIS time" and I almost lost it.

I think also that these kinds of speeches are hurt by the way they mic politicians. A little bit of audio from the room—and not just when people clap—would go a long way towards smoothing over the bumps. Colbert's White House Correspondents Dinner speech suffered from this problem. Unless you were listening really closely you would think that he bombed; no laughter from the audience at all. A little room noise and you hear speeches like they're meant to be heard.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:20 PM on March 18, 2008


Holy Christ, that speech was incredible.

I support the total excision of politics from Metafilter. IMO, this speech would be objectively FPP-worthy for reasons purely having to do with its form, were it not an unfortunate casualty of a sound policy decision to depoliticize this place. If we could do things over and allow exactly one FPP up to this point to mention the word 'Obama', it should be this one. Still: no exceptions. It's a presidential campaign speech, so it doesn't go on the blue. It's too bad. I've seen so few powerful speeches in my lifetime (I can think of maybe one or two others) that I've been thinking that cultural aesthetic standards and practices have changed, rendering speech-making a completely dead art. Where have all the orators gone? (Hey look, someone AskMe'd it for me!)

A political speech not even remotely connected to the internet is so far away from Metafilter's core mission that it's ridiculous to even think it belongs as an FPP.

Well... it's on the internet. FPPs obviously don't need to be about the internet in content. If you think that Metafilter's core mission is to present things that are "connected to the internet", what's the connection if not being on the internet? Being uniquely on the internet? That'd preclude all sorts of worthwhile posts. The reason to keep this post off the blue is because it's a presidential campaign speech, not because it isn't sufficiently connected to the internet.
posted by painquale at 3:29 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Thanks for posting this in meta so I got around to reading the speech.)
posted by Shutter at 3:29 PM on March 18, 2008


I suspect, however, that much of what White working class see is going to be filtered through the media. So a lot depends one how the speech gets spun.

Yeah, so people should spin it. A lot of stuff we see today as historic was spun that way. So let's spin it. Let's print tshirts with salient phrases and distribute the whole thing in well laid out pamphlets, and get 'em out to people in the broadest sweeps of campaign activity, lets cut out the middle man here. I don't trust the media to do this justice.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:29 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


There are at least two discussions in open threads about this, I don't think it needs an FPP.

A fair point, and one that's been applied many times. It's still not easy enough to show up and know that there are active Obama threads in there somewhere. Sure, you can hunt and find them. But it needs to be easy enough for everyone to do that often, and it's not. Tough challenge to solve... I don't have a ready answer. Some kind of feature to indicate recent activity by tag would make a good start. "Recent Activity" is okay today but it all keys on threads you have already seen, commented in, favorited, etc. If you weren't there to notice and favorite yesterday evening's Obama thread, Recent Activity won't help you today.

I think the desire to avoid pile-on threads would make any kind of sitewide "hot thread" feature dangerous.

Maybe just a tag cloud of the last 24/36/48 would accomplish the goal?
posted by scarabic at 3:29 PM on March 18, 2008


I just keep thinking, when was the last time any candidate for president got up in front of the cameras and just told the straight truth, and kept telling it for half an hour?

You said it, brother. Ever since I voted in my first Presidential election in (god help me) 1980, I have been whinily repeating this mantra: "Just for once, I just want to hear some candidate stand up and tell us the fucking facts and speak the fucking truth about any damn thing at all. I don't even care if (s)he reflects my values or specific positions; I just want somebody not to tell me the samey-samey airbrushed focus-grouped lies."

And Obama just knocked one out of the ever-lovin' park. He not only spoke the fucking truth but he did so fearlessly on a subject that nobody in politics manages to address with any kind of authenticity or depth. The fact that some of were weeping or teary-eyed is a revolting commentary on just how impoverished political speech has become in recent decades -- because every candidate for high office ought to be able to engage in discourse of that caliber. I was planning to vote for Obama as the least bad option because he's obviously intelligent and a decent spokesmodel for the US, but he may have just become the only presidential candidate I've ever been proud to cast a ballot for.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:37 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's still not easy enough to show up and know that there are active Obama threads in there somewhere. Sure, you can hunt and find them. But it needs to be easy enough for everyone to do that often, and it's not.

It really doesn't need to be that easy to do that at all. This is not your one stop shop for all things Obama. An easier way to identify obama posts and comments is way at the bottom of the list of things this site needs, just below "an easier way to punch me directly in the scrotum."
posted by shmegegge at 3:37 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


an unfortunate casualty of a sound policy decision to depoliticize this place.

The only policy we have is "let's try to make this US election year not suck like the last big US election year sucked here" As someone who has been backtagging a bajillion posts, it's depressing to see how many of them [7000+?] are just busted links to old news stories. Now some of the blame lies in link rot and big news organizations having crappy archiving systems but some of it has to do with the rush to post big newsy topics without reflection, context or some phrasing of "here's why I think this thing I am linking to is great and why others might think so too" It's not necessary, but in political posts it's usually a good idea to respond to the tacit "who gives a shit?" peanut gallery response that any post is likely to get a little of.

The Arthur C Clarke obit was a great example. Our general hard and fast policy is "first post stays" in double posts, but the first one was so ungood, so unfitting, that we broke tradition and removed the earliesr post. I'm sure people will forgive us.

Now we have a thread here in MetaTalk, talking about the speech. And, I have to be honest with you, I read it on my way home from Michigan today and sat there crying in the airport reading it because I am so unhappy with how things are going in the US and so desperate for something good to happen, for everyone. I'm sure many other people feel the same way. We have lost perspective.

That said, "OMG this speech rox!" isn't a great post. There are ways to make a great post including a link to this speech. Starting with an exploratory "I can has obama nows?" isn't really a great way to do it because of COURSE people are going to say the same things they always say in threads like these.

And yet, if someone had made an awesome post about this speech, it would have been fine, probably.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:38 PM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


(Thanks for posting this in meta so I got around to reading the speech.)

(It honestly wans't my intention to do some kind of stealth FPP by moving the should-we-FPP-it debate to meta, but, um, thanks anyway)
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm sitting here crying in my cubicle.

Arthur C. Clarke... dead?

(The speech was a humdinger, too.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:45 PM on March 18, 2008


painquale wrote...
A political speech not even remotely connected to the internet is so far away from Metafilter's core mission that it's ridiculous to even think it belongs as an FPP.
Well... it's on the internet.

Along with every news story every day.

FPPs obviously don't need to be about the internet in content. If you think that Metafilter's core mission is to present things that are "connected to the internet", what's the connection if not being on the internet?

I tend to think of it terms of the internet being the core of Metafilter and everything else clustering around that. Cool websites are dead center of the target. News and politics that directly concern the internet (say, Steven's "tubes" speech) are close in. Collections of pointers to internet resources on obscure topics are in, even if the websites themselves aren't that interesting.

Newsfilter and Politicsfilter are both way off target, but seem to be tolerated more and more as time goes on. It's disappointing really, as I (and at least a few other people it would seem) come to Metafilter specifically because it's not a current events social community. Particularly with politics -- I'm fully aware that there's an election going on, thank you, and I don't need to be soaking in it 24/7. Right now Metafilter is a welcome break from the constant barrage of political zealots of all stripes -- I'd like to keep it that way.
posted by tkolar at 4:00 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm gutted I found this speech through Digg. I usually hate all the US centric FPPing round here especially the political type but that speech was all kinds of goodness.

I'm UK based but if this guy becomes your President I'll be so fuckin happy for y'all.
posted by brautigan at 4:01 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I suspect, however, that much of what White working class see is going to be filtered through the media. So a lot depends one how the speech gets spun.

Yeah, so people should spin it."

Can I say that I fucking hate Juan Williams right now? Reading him pontificating on why this speech won't stop the loop of the Wright comments really made me want to punch him in his face. Similarly, his comments on African-American culture the last time that Pew study about intra-racial attitudes came out were so simplistic that I wondered who'd stomped his mind-grapes. He used to be so good on NPR's afternoon shows; is he an idiot because he's now on Fox (or vice versa)?
posted by klangklangston at 4:10 PM on March 18, 2008


I just want to stand somewhere on record that that speech was the best political speech I have heard in my entire life span of 49 years. What a refreshing thing it is to hear someone speak the truth. And the truth is Obama is one of the few if not the only person who could have given that speech.


I still don't agree with his political views, I'm still a Republican, but I am gonna say that I have a lot of respect for Barack Obama and if he gets elected I hope he continues to surprise me like this.
posted by konolia at 4:35 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


BTW if you think today's speech was awesome, you should see this one from MLK Day this year. GadDAM.

By simply being president at all, he'll scorch the eyebrows off the racist white element in America. And it looks like he's not afraid to excoriate the racist and homophobic elements of the black community either. Show me another candidate who can do either ONE of those.
posted by scarabic at 5:14 PM on March 18, 2008


I usually hate all the US centric FPPing round here especially the political type but that speech was all kinds of goodness.

Ah I've waited years for this comment. You made my minute.
posted by scarabic at 5:15 PM on March 18, 2008


There are times when this community is just the best.

For what it's worth the speech roxored me too, and I genuinely think (and hope) that it was a watershed moment in American race discussion as well as in politics. Apologies, I'm sorta brain dead today...
posted by emmet at 5:41 PM on March 18, 2008


Unfortunately, while some people may think this thread is the best, there's also some ugly things in here. I must've missed the previous comment you were referring to in your "apology" klang, but if what you're saying is what I think you're saying, wooooooowwww...just wow. And I know you tried to apologize for it, but repeating the very offensive insult in your apology kind of defeats the purpose. I can see why the mods want to leave the apology and such, but, ugh, that's just sticking out like a very ugly sore thumb.
posted by kkokkodalk at 6:14 PM on March 18, 2008


(as it were.)
posted by Dave Faris at 6:17 PM on March 18, 2008


Hey, I heard that Winston Churchill guy just made some speech about "blood, toil, tears and sweat." Eh, it's probably not worth talking about.

Hey, John Kennedy just gae some speech about a nuclear test ban treaty. Something about "let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union." Meh, we already have an open FPP about the Soviet Union.

Hey that Abe Lincoln guy just gave a speech about "a house divided". But we already have an open FPP about the Douglas-Lincoln race. No need to talk about this speech. and Lincoln doesn't have Douglas's 35 years of experience.

Barack Obama's speech today will be studied and analyzed and quoted for the next hundred years. It is one for the ages. A historic event is happening before our eyes. Why is it even a question -- of course there should be an FPP for the speech.
posted by orthogonality at 6:22 PM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


For Matt's sake, why the fuck is American politics invading the friggin' grey now?

Isn't it enough that we get a American Politics post on the blue every damn day?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:22 PM on March 18, 2008


Matt, can we PRETTY PLEASE have a PoliFilter, maybe in a nice hue of purple, where the endless, oh-so-endless American politics crap can go? The USA is never not in an election cycle. Please put us out of its misery.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:27 PM on March 18, 2008


dios writes "Sucks doesn't it? Which is all the reason why we should avoid partisan political posts on the Blue. If you make posts that gore the oxen of people, you make the place inhospitable to those whose ox is being gored. It drives them away; leads to insularity. That's not a good thing. We don't need to be driving people away when we are supposed to be a community."

Right-on dios!

I guess we'd be ever more of a community, then, if we never discussed anything that anybody cold possibly disagree with.

Perhaps you'll post a hard-hitting FPP on rainbows are "pritty", unicorns are majestic, puppies are fluffy, and freshly-washed babies are soooo cuuuute!

We can all comment "Yes, I lurvs rainbows and puupies tooooo! And the latest boy-band fold-out in Teen Beat! Wheeee!"

Or we could all just not comment at all, secure that no one could possibly be in disagreement. And then Matt could remove comments, and rename the site"Lolpuppies! Lolrainbows!" and post super cute pictures of puppies playing with unicorns dancing under rainbows! Wheeee!

You don't like "partisan" topics dios, because you perversely enjoy employing your wealth of debating skill and insight as an apologist for what is shameful and a minimizer of what is evil, so long as the shame and evil is a product of your preferred Party.
posted by orthogonality at 6:41 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


You'll appreciate this speech or else, fff, even if we have to throw every hyperbole at you.

They'll be talking about this speech at the Great Galactic Conference on Xenon in 2525!
posted by Dave Faris at 6:42 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Metafilter helped me get through the Bush years. Seriously. It helped me remember that there is a community of compassionate, intelligent people in this country who want to do the right thing. The community has developed such that *some* political discussion is tolerated, and cherished by many of us. That said, I would *hate* it if political discussion took up more than the 10% or so of the site that it currently occupies and I would never visit a PoliFilter site, there are already thousands of those. Metafilter is *my* community as it is *all of ours* and I want to engage the members of *this* community in the discussion.

So we have a presidential election year. The worst president in the history of the US is finally leaving and, against all odds, there is a candidate who reflects the values of many of us on this site: intelligent, compassionate, successful, articulate. We're fucking excited. The mods are doing a good job or turning the volume down on the noise and still there are some fantastic threads that are developing organically like this one. I just don't see the problem here.

I would not have heard about this speech until maybe tomorrow morning if it weren't for this thread, so thanks for posting it, even though it's on the grey.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:49 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]



Unfortunately, while some people may think this thread is the best, there's also some ugly things in here. I must've missed the previous comment you were referring to in your "apology" klang, but if what you're saying is what I think you're saying, wooooooowwww...just wow. And I know you tried to apologize for it, but repeating the very offensive insult in your apology kind of defeats the purpose. I can see why the mods want to leave the apology and such, but, ugh, that's just sticking out like a very ugly sore thumb.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:14 PM on March 18 [+] [!]


If kkokkodalk was talking about this post:

Oh, yeah, and since I shouldn't have phrased it like that, I apologize for the "dick clouding judgment." While I can't speak to his sexual prowess, I meant to imply (and still do willfully) that it's your relationship, not his anatomy, that's making you biased here.
posted by klangklangston at 4:24 PM on March 18 [+] [!]


I believe it was actually meant for another thread. Because this makes no sense, and sounds like it is from a relationshipfilter AskMe or something.
posted by Locative at 6:50 PM on March 18, 2008


I believe it was actually meant for another thread.

No, it was a comment for here and it was lame and beyond the pale.

orthogonality, dios, what is your strategy for both remaining on this site with each other?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:55 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oops. Mea culpa.
posted by Locative at 6:58 PM on March 18, 2008


jessamyn writes "orthogonality, dios, what is your strategy for both remaining on this site with each other?"

Huh? I've never had any problem with dios commenting here. He's insightful and an excellent debater. I disagree with most of his politics, especially his apologetics for the crimes of the present Administration.

But I don't dislike him (and indeed I've defended him when I've thought he's been treated unfairly). But when he defends (what to me is) the indefensible, I am incredulous: first I think to myself, this must be an advocate, a lawyer, doing his best to argue for his "client", because surely dios is too smart to actually believe this. I think, wait, he can't actually believe what he's arguing, can he? Then, "omigod, perhaps he really does".

For all that, especially for all that, I wouldn't want his voiced stilled; that's why I'm so taken aback by his argument that Metafilter should avoid partisan politics. But perhaps dios is finally tired of having his "clients" always in the dock, and having the heavy and unforgiving task of having to advocate for them.
posted by orthogonality at 7:21 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Barack Obama's speech today will be studied and analyzed and quoted for the next hundred years.

"This is the last time anyone tried being honest in American politics," they'll say. "It cemented once and for all that while voters might be moderate and connected to reality, presidential campaigns could not afford that luxury. While in itself the speech was brilliant and uniting, the so called 'Clay Foot' speech marked the moment when a heretofore untouchable idol revealed his very human, non-iconic roots. This and a series of shocks in later weeks caused the mythology surrounding the candidate to collapse, and with it the broad support he had enjoyed among non-traditional voting blocks. In the end the Democratic 'super-delegates' abandoned him completely, turning a closely watched race into a lopsided victory."


But here's hoping I'm wrong about that.
posted by tkolar at 7:25 PM on March 18, 2008


I meant to indicate that a finger-wagging comment about substance and the appropriate use of the blue from a guy who A) admits he doesn't get anything out of an intelligent, nuanced speech of the history of class and race in this country and B) is known for making posts about arguably the most insubstantial human beings of our generation... is that ironic? Or just hilarious? I can't tell. I'm too hopped up on all the kool-aid!

It's funny how my posting history somehow makes the value of my criticism less. I'm sure I could go through your history, find something as "vapid" and label all your future comments or points as unworthy or as negative as you view mine. It's a fun game but dull and pointless and all it does is illustrate your biases and lack of viewpoint, not mine.

Obama's speech says nothing and is very very good at doing it. It is not historical or groundbreaking or anything of the sort. It is, in a phrase, a good attempt at describing what the majority in this country would like to view the situation of race in the country. It stands not as a document detailing how life currently is but as how a white, young, and liberal would would like to view it. Everyone knows it exists and, being young and hip and aware of the world around them, these democrats or "independents" like to believe that they have the critical thinking skills to see the world objectively and to make a valid and progressive judgement of how the US really is. And these individuals sip their coffees, buy their carbon footprints, shop at Trader Joes and donate money to Obama's campaign feeling they are part of something - that they are actively making the world a better place. And they get to drive home in their economically sound vehicle and feel good about themselves and never actually have to suffer the consequences of being a member of a minority not of their own choosing.

It's funny how stating that I am not buying into the hype of Obama (and it is hype - he has no record to speak nor any kind of executive level experience in any form of government) is able to bring out the worse in people. It is as if I am attacking them personally - as if I called their mothers names or called them fat. Maybe its because people project so much hope onto this one candidate that any dissension is as if I am trying to kill hope. Obama has been very good at labeling him as this kind of candidate - hope, progress - to have this young liberal middle class project their ideals and aspirations onto a singular candidate with themselves actually not having to do anything to bring these ideas to fulfillment.

Obama's speech echos the themes of unity and coalition but his victories do not match his great words. The young, male, blacks and those misguided individuals who label themselves independents even though they only vote democrat are his coalition. In South Carolina, his "coalition" contained only 24% of the white voters. Even in Ohio, he only gained a sub majority of white voters. And in Texas, only 40% of the hispanic vote went his way. His "coalition" is not large nor all encompassing nor dominate. Unity and a coalition are not the words I would use to describe his supporters.

And yet, as this thread is indicative, people honestly believe he represents some large heterogenous movement that will sweep into Washington, destroy the system and replace it with something progressive and beneficial to all mankind. But no where does anyone say anything about why this speech had to be given and nor does Obama, in his speech, provide an effective answer to the reason why he finally took this opportunity to change his stance about using race in this campaign and to finally use it. And that reason is his pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Rev Jermiah Wright is an outspoken proponent of the poor and for the plight of African Americans in this country. He's experienced, suffered, and seen the effects of racism in his life and his congregations' life for quite a long time since he first was able to hear the Gospel. He has seen the systematic racism that forced the civil rights movement to exist. He has experienced the institutional and subtle racism that impacts every minority to this very day. He has lived it! And has become a very vocal critic against it. Like Obama says, his pastor spoke very divisive words - words that Obama, as a member of that community for over 20 years, became associated with. It is hard to be an active member of a community run by an individual and not suffer any guilt by association. When these allegations first came out, Obama tried to distance himself and ignore it - he claimed he wasn't around when the sermons were made. Then, a few days later, came out and condemned them but very wishy washy. And even this speech - this speech that was suppose to be historical and ground breaking and one spouting unity and coalition building - there is still very little said. Obama condemns the words but offers nothing of substance in its place. He defends his pastor - pointing to his pastor's experience performing the social work that Jesus demands of all Christians but that very few actually do. And, in fact, Obama's quote about his experience at Trinity reminds me very much of the liberation theology that currently runs rampant in Latin America and any other place where a poor people suffer at the hands of an oppressor. And this oppressor can be labeled by many names and even abstracted to the point where it loses current traction but it's hard not to see these words and not think that Obama's pastor viewed the US and it's culture at the oppressor of Rev Wright's world. And this was a worldview that Obama supported and participated in for twenty years.

"...race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now" Obama says. And he is right but it is interesting that, since day 1 of his campaign, he tried to ignore his race as long as possible. Hillary and Obama both tried to push race and gender to the sidelines; to try and have the public listen to their views and their voices and not focus on whether one is black and whether one is a woman. Those were seen as traps - as ways to put the candidate in a box and have them fight their way out. Hillary may be a woman and Obama may be a black man but race and gender...well, the campaign was suppose to move beyond that. Obama is right in saying that race is an issue that we cannot ignore. The problem is that we haven't ignored it; in fact, we've been lying to ourselves about it since day 1. And he is also mistaken to assume that the current world is any different from the day of Wright and his Trinity congregation. It is still the present day and his attempt to label the white middle class "resentment" is a weak sauce attempt to build a coalition without actually saying anything real or meaningful. We are not at a racial stalemate and we never have been and it is misguided to say that we are.

Take a look at the big cities around you, Detroit, Newark, Philadelphia. Homicides are still high with most of the victims being young black men. And they are not killed for drugs or for money. But they are killed for honor because the 20% unemployment rate and the lack of any substantial opportunities is making warfare appear to be the most manly thing to do. Young minority women make more than their male counterparts. Minorities are still not attending college in anywhere near the numbers that they should and with current economic conditions and the freezing of credit markets, the opportunities for young minorities to attend college is decreasing. At my alma mater, black enrollment is remaining static or decreasing while latino is going up. Walk down the street and witness people's interactions with African immigrants and with African Americans and you will observe that there is quite a difference in the experiences of both. African Americans in this country are still suffering the legacy of race, slavery, and bondage. And this story is not limited to just African Americans. Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and every other nationality that is not WASP still suffers in this country. And until immigrants to this country stop labeling themselves as "white" because "that's what America is", race is always going to be an issue in this country.

The problem with Obama's speech is that he speaks of us having transcended our racial heritage. He claims we haven't and he asks us to unite together and to embrace our common experience as Americans. He acts as if we've advanced past Rev Wright's generation and as if today everyone has the opportunity to advance forward. Obama's calls of unity mask his assumption that we are at a racial stalemate where the white majority and the minorities are at some similar point and where both sides can enter into a dialogue as equals. But they cannot because the white experience is different from the black or the brown. And the current racial experience of minorities has not evolved to the point where white resentment at affirmative action can be seen on the same level as honor killings in downtown Newark. The black-vs-brown gang wars in southern California, the still ridiculous response to hurricane Katrina and the ever prevalent fact that more minorities are in prison then whites shows that the system that Obama is so proud of is far from as perfect as he'd like it to be. And that is why his speech lacks substance, why it lacks nuance and why it lacks any chance at being a groundbreaking or historical speech. Martin Luther King Jr made historical speeches. Caesar Chavez made historical speeches. Obama has not.

But feel free to continue your worship of all that is Obama and blind yourself to the fact that the reality he believes in doesn't exist. You might project your feelings of hope, of success, of honor, on him but do not let it blind you to the fact that his speech on race is as groundbreaking as a 14.4k modem. The United States he described is not the one that I experience every day and that countless other individuals experience every day. Both Hillary and Obama are weak when it comes to race because both have to appease the faux reality that many whites believe really exists. And when it comes down to who I would support, I will support the candidate who's policies and plans will do the best so that my future son will never be told to go back to his own country, will never be treated as a second class citizen because of his skin, will never be seen as a commodity in whatever school he is, will never be told to put up with racist attitudes from those in authority and never be chased by whites with bats or have a dog let loose on him because his ancestors arrived in the United States a few thousand years before yours did. And that candidate is Hillary Clinton.
posted by Stynxno at 7:32 PM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


orthogonality, dios, what is your strategy for both remaining on this site with each other?

I think that dios and orthogonality get along quite well on the site. They are among the most intelligent members and even when they clash they usually do it with respect for each other. To be honest, each one of them is a favorite member of mine, I am fairly aligned with orthogonality politically (although I am not reliably left), yet I appreciate with relish dios's non-left take on the issues (although he is no right wing ideologue as many people try to paint him, more of a contrarian). They are the best of MetaFilter. You guys rock on.
posted by caddis at 7:33 PM on March 18, 2008


I've never had any problem with dios commenting here.

Then maybe you shouldn't say stuff like this.

You don't like "partisan" topics dios, because you perversely enjoy employing your wealth of debating skill and insight as an apologist for what is shameful and a minimizer of what is evil, so long as the shame and evil is a product of your preferred Party.

Seriously, both of you seem like you're waving your hands around and rolling your eyes at the jury as you state your case. In my family we used to call these antics "grade my report card" gestures. If you want dios to be civil, be civil to him and leave the shame and evil talk alone. I've already emailed with dios about this somewhat.

My basic point, nothing to do with the two of you, is that this site doesn't do partisan politics very well. It's a bad site for heated arguing. Okay for debating, but not really for the sort of "shame on you" and "fuck your candidate" sort of dagger-y talk that some people like to employ. None of the mods enjoy those sorts of posts. We all care about politics personally but threads that are just like "fuck you American soldiers" or "fuck you Hillary" or "OMG SPEECH BY OBAMA" aren't that great. They're hell to moderate and they often go badly here and cause a lot of ill will. If the speech is destined for greatness, it will be as great or greater in two days when there's more things to say about it other than "yes, I liked it too"

We're dying for someone else to do a politicsfilter site. We're not going to do one here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:37 PM on March 18, 2008


"Unfortunately, while some people may think this thread is the best, there's also some ugly things in here. I must've missed the previous comment you were referring to in your "apology" klang, but if what you're saying is what I think you're saying, wooooooowwww...just wow. And I know you tried to apologize for it, but repeating the very offensive insult in your apology kind of defeats the purpose. I can see why the mods want to leave the apology and such, but, ugh, that's just sticking out like a very ugly sore thumb."

My mistake was in the crude phrasing and treating TPS like she was shooting her mouth off in a bar. Because of her gender, it was an order of magnitude less cool.

I'm fine with it being deleted, and have no desire to start another 1000-comment sexism thread, but don't presume to lecture me here.
posted by klangklangston at 7:53 PM on March 18, 2008


In South Carolina, his "coalition" contained only 24% of the white voters. Even in Ohio, he only gained a sub majority of white voters. And in Texas, only 40% of the hispanic vote went his way. His "coalition" is not large nor all encompassing nor dominate.

Ok, so what about states like Wisconsin, Idaho, Iowa, Utah, and Nebraska? There are approximately 62 people of color combined in those states and he blew her out of the water.

Oh right, those states don't matter.
posted by chiababe at 8:03 PM on March 18, 2008


but don't presume to lecture me here.

What makes you think you're immune? Has any presumption prevented you from doling out your own scorn? It's great that you apologized, but you did write the words, didn't you? Face the music, like the rest of us do.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:10 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


He acts as if we've advanced past Rev Wright's generation and as if today everyone has the opportunity to advance forward. Obama's calls of unity mask his assumption that we are at a racial stalemate where the white majority and the minorities are at some similar point and where both sides can enter into a dialogue as equals.

I heard a different speech than you did. I heard him addressing the divide between races and attempting to begin an honest dialogue about it. I also heard him frankly stating that racism exists and racial minorities are in fact not in an equal position.

And that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

Not snark, honestly: I knew that was your belief as of your first comment in this thread, because your first comment after hearing that speech sounded like standard-line Clinton campaign talking points: "He's all talk, no substance, what has he done?" Well, it's not really that hard to go looking for that info, and if you honestly look, you see he's been busy working, and busy reaching across the aisle to get shit done.

Honestly, you act like he's spent his entire time in Congress just speechifying, not doing any work, and that anyone who believes he can do the job is just a goddamn moron who got suckered in by rhetoric. If that's honestly what you believe, you might rethink any "Kool-Aid" jokes for the future. You might consider that you're insulting a whole lot of very intelligent people who have given their candidate choice a considerable amount of thought and research and (gasp) find Hillary Clinton lacking in comparison. You might consider that if we're going to judge our candidates based on the competency with which they run their campaign, your particular horse has spent a good deal of time limping down the stretch. You might consider that coming out against inspiration, idealism and hope is not a tenable campaign strategy.

I'm glad to see your last comment, because previously, your drive-by snark of comparing Obama to Lohan was cheap, small-minded, and not particularly bright. You'd be better served by posting more comments like that last, because they allow me to see more clearly what you mean and where you're coming from, and not dismiss you as someone who's been drinking from Clinton's jug.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:15 PM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


And that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

Nah.
posted by cashman at 8:21 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


But... but... he spoke of Invisible Sky Man!!!! Why all the love?
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:23 PM on March 18, 2008


Metafilter is *my* community as it is *all of ours* and I want to engage the members of *this* community in the discussion.

Then how about we limit the politics-filter in the blue to about 10% and make it international, instead of 99.9% American? "Ours" on this site is global, not local.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:25 PM on March 18, 2008


Not snarky - seriously - "I will support the candidate who's policies and plans will do the best so that my future son will never be told to go back to his own country, will never be treated as a second class citizen because of his skin, will never be seen as a commodity in whatever school he is, will never be told to put up with racist attitudes from those in authority and never be chased by whites with bats or have a dog let loose on him because his ancestors arrived in the United States a few thousand years before yours did. And that candidate is Hillary Clinton"

why do you think that?
posted by mkim at 8:32 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Then how about we limit the politics-filter in the blue to about 10% and make it international, instead of 99.9% American?

Well, for what it's worth I'm not an American, and I would have loved to see the speech in an FPP. Several other non-Americans (who have one up on me on the "international" claim by not actually living in America) seem to have a similar feelings, making it a story with international legs. Given that the reason this wasn't an FPP was that their were two existing, pretty weak threads that mentioned Obama, and that if we only carried FPPs with international appeal they wouldn't have been there... so really if we went with your suggetsion we actually would have seen this as an FPP.
posted by Artw at 8:40 PM on March 18, 2008


Oh, and post more international politics FPPs, you lazy bum. That's the way to get more of them.
posted by Artw at 8:40 PM on March 18, 2008


By "that" I mean "and that candidate is Hillary Clinton!" seriously?
posted by mkim at 8:41 PM on March 18, 2008


But feel free to continue your worship of all that is Obama and blind yourself to the fact that the reality he believes in doesn't exist.

And this is why I've decided it's Obama or McCain. I was undecided between Obama and Clinton, but over time I considered the two of them and felt Obama was a slightly better candidate. Obama's lack of federal experience is counterbalanced by his state-level experience. As for Hillary, Bill's role in a Hillary presidency didn't seem all that clear. On the issues, though, they're pretty close.

But then the Clinton campaign launched into this long campaign of condescension. And it really has grated on me. If I caucus for Obama, I'm a poor, deluded, misogynistic sort who drinks the Kool-Aid. And I went from "Obama or Clinton" to "Obama only" to "Obama or McCain."

And at this point, Clinton's going to have to a ton to win me back. McCain could put Tom DeLay as his veep and say he's naming Pat Robertson as John Paul Stevens replacement and I'd still vote for him.

That's how mad I am about this attitude. And I'm not alone. The condescension is over the top.
posted by dw at 8:44 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


people honestly believe he represents some large heterogenous movement that will sweep into Washington, destroy the system and replace it with something progressive and beneficial to all mankind.

I don't, nor have I ever claimed otherwise. I'm a socialist/Green type who spent many years working for substative political change not through party politics but through hardcore grassroots activism (if you comb through my posting history here or at mecha -- and feel free to, really -- you'll see among all the Paul Weller fangirl blather that I worked for the death penalty moratorium in Illinois and was closely involved in the cases of several men who were wrongfully convicted and eventually freed from death row -- something we fought for and achieved in spite of plenty of Democrats who didn't want to touch the issue of capital punishment with a ten-foot pole).

In my view, nothing ultimately substitutes for political movements -- from the abolition movement, to the labor movement, to the civil rights movement, to the women's movement, to the gay and lesbian movement: those were the heroic struggles of ordinary men and women that truly brought on the expansion of rights and opportunities in this country by pushing the boundaries, by announcing to those in charge that the old way of doing business would no longer stand.

The Obama phenomenon does not represent a substantive movement of this nature. The excitement surrounding his candidacy represents, however, an intense desire of millions for a vitally new way of doing things -- for substantive political chance. The buzz around him is evidence of a growing rejection of the old political agenda, and raised hopes for something new. A few years ago, progressives were given to despairing that we'd all gotten what we basically deserved in George W. Bush. Cynics said that there was no point in struggling for anything anymore. But I think the fact that millions of people are responding to a deeply intelligent man with a progressive agenda is exciting proof that the reports of the brain-death of the American public at large were premature.

Can Obama change the system? No. Can he deliver on all his promises, even if he were to be elected? Hell no, not in the grander scheme of our political and economic system. But is he making people -- young and old, black and white, women and men -- eager to consider that there might be some real alternatives to a political system that trades in privilege for the top of the heap and shit for the rest of us? Yes, I think he is.

Frederick Douglass once said that without struggle, there is no progress. I have been in the trenches of poltical activism liiterally since I was a teenager, and I assure you that there is a crucial corollary: that without hope, there will be no struggles. Obama is raising hopes on a mass level in a way I've never seen anyone do in my lifetime, and I believe that hope can contribute to reinvigorating the real struggles and movements that this country desperately needs.

Having said that, Stynxno, I really appreciated your lengthy comment, even as I disagree with you about Clinton.
posted by scody at 8:51 PM on March 18, 2008 [17 favorites]


these individuals sip their coffees, buy their carbon footprints, shop at Trader Joes and donate money to Obama's campaign feeling they are part of something - that they are actively making the world a better place.

Stynxno, if you don't like the insulting backlash you receive from Obama supporters, then maybe you shouldn't use implicature to caricature and insult the people who liked his speech.

Plenty of people who find Obama unelectable thought the speech was amazing (konolia, 1, dios... hell, even the Bell Curve guy). Your missive weaves back and forth between attacking the man and attacking the message. I mean, you criticize his declaration of unity by attacking his poor polling among white voters in the south. That's hardly a critique of the content of the speech itself.

The problem with Obama's speech is that he speaks of us having transcended our racial heritage.

I just don't see that. He claims that progress has been made and offers a call to arms.

I hope I can post this without fear of being labelled an Obamaniac. For what it's worth, I don't know if I'd prefer Hillary or Obama in the White House, and I don't have a vote anyway. But I do think that it was an exceptional speech, and think that you're downplaying its worth because of your political affiliation to Hillary.
posted by painquale at 8:52 PM on March 18, 2008



Metafilter is *my* community as it is *all of ours* and I want to engage the members of *this* community in the discussion.

Then how about we limit the politics-filter in the blue to about 10% and make it international, instead of 99.9% American? "Ours" on this site is global, not local.


Totally valid. I apologize if I came across as wanting to define the community as Obama-loving American political junkies. Just that that's what a lot of us are.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:07 PM on March 18, 2008


"It's funny how my posting history somehow makes the value of my criticism less. I'm sure I could go through your history, find something as "vapid" and label all your future comments or points as unworthy or as negative as you view mine. It's a fun game but dull and pointless and all it does is illustrate your biases and lack of viewpoint, not mine."

Well, no. Your posting history provides an ironic counterpoint against your dismissal of Obama as vapid. You value other vapid things. You, therefore, may not be a good judge of what is and is not dismissable.

"Obama's speech says nothing and is very very good at doing it. It is not historical or groundbreaking or anything of the sort.

And here is where someone who wasn't vapid would support their points with historical precedent for Obama's speech.

It is, in a phrase, a good attempt at describing what the majority in this country would like to view the situation of race in the country. It stands not as a document detailing how life currently is but as how a white, young, and liberal would would like to view it. Everyone knows it exists and, being young and hip and aware of the world around them, these democrats or "independents" like to believe that they have the critical thinking skills to see the world objectively and to make a valid and progressive judgement of how the US really is. And these individuals sip their coffees, buy their carbon footprints, shop at Trader Joes and donate money to Obama's campaign feeling they are part of something - that they are actively making the world a better place. And they get to drive home in their economically sound vehicle and feel good about themselves and never actually have to suffer the consequences of being a member of a minority not of their own choosing.

And this is where a substantive critique would avoid the ad hominem. But please, you young, white, male liberal, tell us how bad things that young, white, male liberals like are. Please, what is it like to be of a minority not of your own choosing?

It's funny how stating that I am not buying into the hype of Obama (and it is hype - he has no record to speak nor any kind of executive level experience in any form of government) is able to bring out the worse in people. It is as if I am attacking them personally - as if I called their mothers names or called them fat. Maybe its because people project so much hope onto this one candidate that any dissension is as if I am trying to kill hope. Obama has been very good at labeling him as this kind of candidate - hope, progress - to have this young liberal middle class project their ideals and aspirations onto a singular candidate with themselves actually not having to do anything to bring these ideas to fulfillment.

How's Clinton's executive record? I'm sure she knows what hat to wear to Ghana, but she's a notable failure when it comes to expanding the office of the First Lady, most notably being submarined trying to get universal health care across.

But what, again, does Obama's executive record have to do with his views on race? Nothing. What does it have to do with your bullshit ad hominem and Clinton stump speech? Little, aside from it being another talking point.

"Obama's speech echos the themes of unity and coalition but his victories do not match his great words. The young, male, blacks and those misguided individuals who label themselves independents even though they only vote democrat are his coalition. In South Carolina, his "coalition" contained only 24% of the white voters. Even in Ohio, he only gained a sub majority of white voters. And in Texas, only 40% of the hispanic vote went his way. His "coalition" is not large nor all encompassing nor dominate. Unity and a coalition are not the words I would use to describe his supporters."

Ah, yes. Wisconsin? Iowa? Mississippi? Those were missing from your press release, weren't they? Nevada, where he carried Latinos? Colorado? Illinois? How about the fact that more people have cast their vote for Obama than Clinton, flat out?

Unity and coalition may not be words that you'd use to describe his constituency, but that's because you're stumping for Clinton.

And yet, as this thread is indicative, people honestly believe he represents some large heterogenous movement that will sweep into Washington, destroy the system and replace it with something progressive and beneficial to all mankind.

Really? You got a quote for me that supports that? I see a lot of people saying this is a groundbreaking speech, not anointing him Omega.

Oh, right, you talk bullshit.

But no where does anyone say anything about why this speech had to be given and nor does Obama, in his speech, provide an effective answer to the reason why he finally took this opportunity to change his stance about using race in this campaign and to finally use it. And that reason is his pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Are you retarded? There are roughly five spots in his speech where he addresses the necessity of speaking on race, and attempting to tar Obama as "using" race here is bullshit. And that statement is even more retarded if you tie the "reason" to Wright, since Wright's name is in nearly every paragraph.

Rev Jermiah Wright is an outspoken proponent of the poor and for the plight of African Americans in this country. He's experienced, suffered, and seen the effects of racism in his life and his congregations' life for quite a long time since he first was able to hear the Gospel. He has seen the systematic racism that forced the civil rights movement to exist. He has experienced the institutional and subtle racism that impacts every minority to this very day. He has lived it! And has become a very vocal critic against it. Like Obama says, his pastor spoke very divisive words - words that Obama, as a member of that community for over 20 years, became associated with. It is hard to be an active member of a community run by an individual and not suffer any guilt by association.

Wait, so are these statements justified or not? Because if they're justified, but wrong, then there's no guilt. Are they unjustified? You're saying, as a white man, that Wright's history of personal struggle doesn't justify those statements? You do have to pick one.

When these allegations first came out, Obama tried to distance himself and ignore it - he claimed he wasn't around when the sermons were made.

When the sermons containing "God Damn America" came out, Obama wasn't there. But conflating that incident, where Obama gave no comment because he didn't see it, with "allegations" is bullshit.

"Then, a few days later, came out and condemned them but very wishy washy. And even this speech - this speech that was suppose to be historical and ground breaking and one spouting unity and coalition building - there is still very little said. Obama condemns the words but offers nothing of substance in its place.

Well, except a nuanced and expanded view of the complicated state of race in America. But since you were clearly huffing Clinton's farts that whole time, maybe you missed it.

He defends his pastor - pointing to his pastor's experience performing the social work that Jesus demands of all Christians but that very few actually do. And, in fact, Obama's quote about his experience at Trinity reminds me very much of the liberation theology that currently runs rampant in Latin America and any other place where a poor people suffer at the hands of an oppressor.

Currently runs rampant? What the fuck are you even on about? Liberation theology didn't "run rampant," it was a social movement in Latin America that tied Marxist precepts to Catholic dogma and which was repudiated by the Vatican by the mid-'80s. It is tied to Black Liberation Theology, but firmly different, in religion, scope and geography. You'd better stick to the talking points from Clinton's camp, as your own thinking's clearly addled.

"And this oppressor can be labeled by many names and even abstracted to the point where it loses current traction but it's hard not to see these words and not think that Obama's pastor viewed the US and it's culture at the oppressor of Rev Wright's world. And this was a worldview that Obama supported and participated in for twenty years.

Uh, no. Guilt by association's a fallacy, and you've got nothing here to support the thesis that Obama favored or advanced Wright's more radical preachings.

"...race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now" Obama says. And he is right but it is interesting that, since day 1 of his campaign, he tried to ignore his race as long as possible. Hillary and Obama both tried to push race and gender to the sidelines; to try and have the public listen to their views and their voices and not focus on whether one is black and whether one is a woman. Those were seen as traps - as ways to put the candidate in a box and have them fight their way out. Hillary may be a woman and Obama may be a black man but race and gender...well, the campaign was suppose to move beyond that. Obama is right in saying that race is an issue that we cannot ignore. The problem is that we haven't ignored it; in fact, we've been lying to ourselves about it since day 1. And he is also mistaken to assume that the current world is any different from the day of Wright and his Trinity congregation. It is still the present day and his attempt to label the white middle class "resentment" is a weak sauce attempt to build a coalition without actually saying anything real or meaningful. We are not at a racial stalemate and we never have been and it is misguided to say that we are.

Again, muddled argument. Clinton and Obama both strove to campaign without minority appeals because they knew those appeals were already news stories. And his points about the white middle class are particularly valid given the ongoing arguments over affirmative action, like Michigan's decision to ban it in 2004 (around the time that Spears was married to Federline, to put it in chronology for you).

Take a look at the big cities around you, Detroit, Newark, Philadelphia. Homicides are still high with most of the victims being young black men. And they are not killed for drugs or for money. But they are killed for honor because the 20% unemployment rate and the lack of any substantial opportunities is making warfare appear to be the most manly thing to do.

What the fuck? No, no, I assure you that young black men are very much killed for drugs and/or money.

Young minority women make more than their male counterparts. Minorities are still not attending college in anywhere near the numbers that they should and with current economic conditions and the freezing of credit markets, the opportunities for young minorities to attend college is decreasing. At my alma mater, black enrollment is remaining static or decreasing while latino is going up. Walk down the street and witness people's interactions with African immigrants and with African Americans and you will observe that there is quite a difference in the experiences of both. African Americans in this country are still suffering the legacy of race, slavery, and bondage. And this story is not limited to just African Americans. Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and every other nationality that is not WASP still suffers in this country. And until immigrants to this country stop labeling themselves as "white" because "that's what America is", race is always going to be an issue in this country.

Right, but Obama shouldn't talk about that because he's black. Or he should talk about it like Clinton does, in her frequent speeches about closing the black-white achievement gap?

The problem with Obama's speech is that he speaks of us having transcended our racial heritage.

Really? Where?

Oh, you got the speech with all the extra words!

No?

You just tossed out this shit because it sounded cool?

"He claims we haven't and he asks us to unite together and to embrace our common experience as Americans. He acts as if we've advanced past Rev Wright's generation and as if today everyone has the opportunity to advance forward. Obama's calls of unity mask his assumption that we are at a racial stalemate where the white majority and the minorities are at some similar point and where both sides can enter into a dialogue as equals.

Yes, and he denies the true four-corner world day. Oh, wait, no. That's you!

But they cannot because the white experience is different from the black or the brown.

"Hey, James, you know, we can't have a dialogue as equals, man. I'm white and you're black."

"Who the fuck told you that shit?"

"Oh, this white kid on the internet. He says that once we stop acting as equals, we'll be able to move past this racism stuff."

"Fuck him."

"And the current racial experience of minorities has not evolved to the point where white resentment at affirmative action can be seen on the same level as honor killings in downtown Newark.

THOSE NEGROES IS SAVAGES!

The black-vs-brown gang wars in southern California, the still ridiculous response to hurricane Katrina and the ever prevalent fact that more minorities are in prison then whites shows that the system that Obama is so proud of is far from as perfect as he'd like it to be.

Because things are bad, but not as bad as they have been, Obama is bad.

Because Obama says that some of those things are bad, and that he'd like to change them, but that he doesn't think the way to do so is by polarizing the African-American community against white America, Obama is bad.

I'm sorry, dude, you're just fucking moronic here.

And that is why his speech lacks substance, why it lacks nuance and why it lacks any chance at being a groundbreaking or historical speech. Martin Luther King Jr made historical speeches. Caesar Chavez made historical speeches. Obama has not.

Because he didn't placate your whim for every race-issue cliché, the speech wasn't historic? The speech was historic because he didn't play to muddled idiots and demagogues.

The problem wasn't a lack of substance or nuance, it's that you didn't get the substance or nuance.

"But feel free to continue your worship of all that is Obama and blind yourself to the fact that the reality he believes in doesn't exist. You might project your feelings of hope, of success, of honor, on him but do not let it blind you to the fact that his speech on race is as groundbreaking as a 14.4k modem. "

Oooh, ad hominem and ice burn!

The United States he described is not the one that I experience every day and that countless other individuals experience every day.

Therefore it doesn't exist!

Also, yes, that United States IS the one you experience every day. You being too dumb to get it does not mean that this isn't reality. See also: Creationism.

Both Hillary and Obama are weak when it comes to race because both have to appease the faux reality that many whites believe really exists. And when it comes down to who I would support, I will support the candidate who's policies and plans will do the best so that my future son will never be told to go back to his own country, will never be treated as a second class citizen because of his skin, will never be seen as a commodity in whatever school he is, will never be told to put up with racist attitudes from those in authority and never be chased by whites with bats or have a dog let loose on him because his ancestors arrived in the United States a few thousand years before yours did. And that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

And this is what it looks like when you conclude an argument without actually supporting it.
posted by klangklangston at 9:08 PM on March 18, 2008 [14 favorites]


I love how people who mouth off about "community" on this site don't know a damn thing about it and do everything in their power to damage it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:08 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm glad the REAL fpp hasn't happened yet, because I'm having a lot of trouble with this speech. Not the speech itself - which was gorgeous and terribly moving... but with the kerfuffle that brought it about in the first place. So, a sincere request: could the Obama fans who keep closer track of his campaign mefimail me some of the horrible things that Rev. Wright said? Because I've found plenty of articles that talk about how hateful he is without quoting him... and I've watched some of the segments on youtube... and honestly (the AIDS and 9/11 things aside - this called for a speech about *race*) - I haven't heard anything that I didn't hear from my college professors, haven't heard at rallies, haven't read by african american professors at other universities (Cornell West comes to mind)... And basically I'm freaking out that it's apparently abhorrent to say that the country is run by rich whites or that black men are oppressed - such a person must be disowned and repudiated in no uncertain terms - but it's totally cool to have a spiritual advisor who says that jews don't go to heaven and that someday, both politician and advisor'll be raptured up to Jesus. So if that's NOT the lesson I ought to have learned today, let me know so I can calm down.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:12 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


these individuals sip their coffees, buy their carbon footprints, shop at Trader Joes and donate money to Obama's campaign feeling they are part of something - that they are actively making the world a better place.

I was going to say something about this as well. I appreciated almost all of the rest of your comment and then I got to this line and thought: "Wow, Stynxno really seems to despise people like me." I don't know exactly who you presume I am, but let me tell you that a lot of us coffee-sippin Obama donors have devoted our lives to serving our communities in lots of other ways. We give money to lots of other causes besides Obama and I don't believe my donation has absolved any guilt I hold for my supposed sins. And I shop at Trader Joes because Fuck Walmart.

Obama has spoken about plenty of specifics, but I have no problem with generalities because the tone of the debate must be changed in order for us as a country to move forward. Would you have been happier if he had spoken about racial quotas, or reparations, or hate crime laws? When the dipshits control at least 2 branches of the government and the media, the debate over specifics doesn't go very far does it? We can't even talk about the most innocuous solutions to these problems without being demonized by the other side. So good for him for trying to change the rules of a game that has been totally stacked against the good guys since at least Reagan.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:21 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


What makes you think you're immune? Has any presumption prevented you from doling out your own scorn? It's great that you apologized, but you did write the words, didn't you? Face the music, like the rest of us do.

Because she hasn't read the comment.
posted by klangklangston at 9:22 PM on March 18, 2008


The excitement surrounding his candidacy represents, however, an intense desire of millions for a vitally new way of doing things -- for substantive political chance. The buzz around him is evidence of a growing rejection of the old political agenda, and raised hopes for something new.

Maybe it's just working out exactly what it is that would be different. I mean, Clinton in 92 was all about "change" too - (see here about halfway in, eg). I guess that was policy change, economic change, that kind of thing. Obama wants to offer some sort of change in attitude or approach... but what will it be? How will things be different under obama, in a way that will extend into future presidencies? I'm genuinely interested in what it is that people expect of him, as I still feel like either candidate would be a momentous point in history and probably a pretty good president besides, but I don't see quite see what Obama has that Clinton is so lacking...

But then the Clinton campaign launched into this long campaign of condescension.

I think the negative attitude on both sides is unfortunate, but aside from the one comment about how she & McCain have experience and Obama has a speech, I haven't noticed Clinton being worse (that comment did bother me, though). Barack says dismissive things about her & her campaign as well. It sucks that they're tearing each other apart in the primary, but what are ya gonna do? That's what primaries are.

McCain could put Tom DeLay as his veep and say he's naming Pat Robertson as John Paul Stevens replacement and I'd still vote for him.

You are being childish and self-destructive with this attitude. Vote for policies and things which will actually affect your future. It's not about who's the nicest or the prettiest or the best guy to have a beer with, remember? THis is about health care costs, education, jobs, privacy, immigration, civil rights... future wars and relations to other nations. Your vote is a serious civil responsibility and not the time for petty grudges.
posted by mdn at 9:25 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


There's an ongoing metatalk thread about this; notable as the speech is, this is a pretty automatic "scoop" kind of post and it'd probably be good to let the speech simmer a few days and let people react to it if we want to see a post with some good context, etc. -- cortex

Fuck You! This is arguably the most important speech any politician has made in many decades, Matt has given it a somewhat tacit OK and the tenor in this post has not been overwhelmingly negative. Did you make that decision on your own? I am posting the speech. You can delete it if you want Dr. No but given that a significant number of people would like to see it on the blue, even if they are not a majority, it deserves to be there.
posted by caddis at 9:31 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


post
posted by caddis at 9:32 PM on March 18, 2008


Well you fucked that up.
posted by nicwolff at 9:38 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nicley done caddis. Last line is kind of a trouble magnet though, and it would probably be for the best if it could be edited out.
posted by Artw at 9:38 PM on March 18, 2008


Well, for what it's worth I'm not an American, and I would have loved to see the speech in an FPP.

Yup, same here.

Cortex will probably delete this post, but nevertheless he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama.

*slaps forehead*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:40 PM on March 18, 2008


Because she hasn't read the comment

Well, it seems you haven't read my comment. My point was I didn't know exactly what you said, but your apology makes it sound like you said something pretty horrid and without context it sticks out like a sore thumb and probably reads worse that whatever the original issue was. If I remember how quotation marks work correctly what you put in quote is what you're saying you said originally, right? So it might've been deleted, but you recreated it anyway. If not in whole, in some part. Return to beginning of this statement where I say, if that's the case, wow, even as an apology, the deletion(s) make it read pretty nasty without any context. How else am I supposed to understand your quoted phrase? Unless you were talking about some phallic meteorological phenomenon that brings about confusion or a type of mental confusion that affects the workings of the human penis, then my bad. And the charming "dick clouding judgement" statement aside, I still stand by my statement that your nonapology is pretty unnecessarily personal. "I can't speak for his sexual prowess"? Then why speak at all about it?

Now if your originally deleted comment wasn't hinting that Pink was simply defending stynxno because her man gives it to her good, then fine, you didn't say that. Misunderstanding solved since you didn't say thaaattt...oh, oops, hey it looks like you admit several times that you did make use of that unfortunate wording. So you know if you want to set me straight go ahead, and just say I'm wrong, you don't even have to say it here, go ahead memail me about it, and fine, you didn't. But don't give me no indignant schoolmaster tone of "but don't presume to lecture me here" business. Either you said it or you didn't. In which case I have just as much a right to call it how I see it like you so proudly said above that you're "willfully" calling how you see what pink said. I wasn't lecturing. Here's me lecturing: for someone who seems to demand high standards from other people in terms of rhetoric or conversation, you sure are leaning on an easy crutch of personally insulting people to get your point across.
posted by kkokkodalk at 9:47 PM on March 18, 2008


See, cortex... That's what more context is going to get you... This idea that posts need to be padded with editorialized context (especially when politics is involved), is a poor presumption. This speech needed to be taken in and discussed on its own terms as almost a work of art with a visceral unrestrained response, regardless of any actual political messages at play.
posted by drpynchon at 9:48 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


And basically I'm freaking out that it's apparently abhorrent to say that the country is run by rich whites or that black men are oppressed - such a person must be disowned and repudiated in no uncertain terms - but it's totally cool to have a spiritual advisor who says that jews don't go to heaven

I was also kind of confused by how "radical" people were suggesting this speech was (as I said in the other thread). I think it is just easy to forget what different worlds americans live in, even while all being americans... In that thread, I mentioned a self-identified progressive who called in to the radio station where I listened to the speech right afterward. He was really upset that Obama was basically bringing up all this stuff that he thought had been handled already - he kept saying how we'd done civil rights already - that he was part of it in the 60s, but now, we're colorblind, race doesn't matter - and he thought Obama's candidacy was proof of this. So to him, the anger and resentment just didn't make sense, even after all the nuanced explanation and discussion the speech tried to provide. This guy just thought there wasn't enough denouncing of Reverend Wright, and though he had thought he supported Obama, now he wasn't so sure.

It really is a divisive issue. I hope the speech allows for some kind of conversation rather than just producing alienation among some of his followers...

(and let's not even get started on anti-semitism...)
posted by mdn at 9:52 PM on March 18, 2008


In re: Stynxo...

these democrats or "independents" like to believe that they have the critical thinking skills to see the world objectively and to make a valid and progressive judgement of how the US really is. And these individuals sip their coffees, buy their carbon footprints, shop at Trader Joes and donate money to Obama's campaign feeling they are part of something - that they are actively making the world a better place. And they get to drive home in their economically sound vehicle and feel good about themselves and never actually have to suffer the consequences of being a member of a minority not of their own choosing.

I'm not sure what the problem is here. Your harangue actually reminds me of this speech, which has been linked approvingly on MeFi a few times- a fulsome mockery of how naive and ineffective young American volunteers are that never actually explains what harm they're doing other than annoying the recipients with their smiles. Regardless, the current generation of 20-somethings volunteers more than any other has (interest in the Peace Corps and Americorps has surged this decade), and yeah, is unusually willing to donate money to at least one political candidate. Maybe I've drunk the Kool-aid too, but I think that helping to elect a better president is actually a pretty rational and cost-efficient way of helping to make the world a better place (I agree with you about Priuses and probably carbon offsets).

Obama's speech echos the themes of unity and coalition but his victories do not match his great words. The young, male, blacks and those misguided individuals who label themselves independents even though they only vote democrat are his coalition....And yet, as this thread is indicative, people honestly believe he represents some large heterogenous movement that will sweep into Washington, destroy the system and replace it with something progressive and beneficial to all mankind.

Actually, no one in this thread has said that. People have said that he gave a hell of a speech, and that they got teary-eyed. Obama himself certainly doesn't claim that, and emphasized that in the speech.

Anyway, regarding what I think is your larger point, that we've actually accomplished much less than Obama and his supporters think we have: its a little bizarre to claim that a black community organizer from Chicago doesn't appreciate how bad blacks have it, so I'll assume that you think he's just pandering, and that his supporters are falling for it. His own campaign really does refute that, or at least it will if he becomes President. Its an interesting little experiment- if he loses, perhaps America hasn't changed as much as he claims, and he wouldn't have been able to accomplish much anyway (kinda like the Epimenides paradox!). However, the other, unsupported, half of your claim, that Hillary would be able to accomplish more, is almost certainly false, through no fault of her own, simply because there is no way for her to win the nomination at this point without a convention fight that would increase the black sense of alienation for decades.
posted by gsteff at 9:58 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ditto Durn Bronzefist. I absolutely love that the speech got FPP'd, but that last line was a little bit.. yeah.

I'm really glad this got posted to Metatalk... I doubt I would've listened to it otherwise were it not for the comments declaring it historic and groundbreaking, regardless of whether or not it is actually such. I basically just sat there and stared off into space for about five minutes after the speech ended, imagining what could be done with this degree of hope, imagining what it would be like to slowly but surely reverse the absolute cynicism that permeats rhetoric and discourse today and actually believe in change instead of just using it for political agendas. Yes we can indeed.

For the first time in my life I want to move to the United States so I could work for and with a man like this. A cause like this. It sounds a bit fangirly, I realize that, but - Wow.
posted by Phire at 10:00 PM on March 18, 2008


FPP it over at DailyKos and everyone is happy.
posted by LarryC at 10:01 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm a little Canadian-ly confused here. I agree that the speech was articulate and resonant, but is it really so earth-shattering? Are the things he talks about-- health care, class, race-- so out of bounds in American political discourse that the effect of actually speaking those words is seismic?

Maybe I'm just spoiled by my MP...
posted by jokeefe at 10:08 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm pretty sure this is what the Rapture will be like.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:23 PM on March 18


Yes. Let's all FPP it.
posted by mattbucher at 2:24 PM on March 18


I officially call dibs on FPPing the Rapture.
posted by spiderwire at 10:17 PM on March 18, 2008


I apologize if I came across as wanting to define the community as Obama-loving American political junkies. Just that that's what a lot of us are.

I wasn't responding to you specifically so much as to the general America-centric focus that defines most of the political posts that make it to the FP. They're almost all exclusively newsfilter crap that provide one-link regurgitations of what the mainstream media is already trumpeting all over the place.

[preview]

What a great post, caddis. Three mainstream media links and two links to commercial blogs. Boy, we are so much more informed than we were before you made that post!

Fucking retarded. You want to make a worthwhile MeFi post about this goddamn speech, WAIT A FEW WEEKS for some real critical analysis to come out, and link to that. WAIT A FEW WEEKS to see how this speech changes the political dynamics, and link to that. WAIT A FEW WEEKS for something that adds value to show up.

Otherwise you're just posting mainstream media newsfilter crap, and we all know that the America mainstream media contains sweet fuck all in the way of useful, insightful, pragmatic, or even intelligent commentary... not to mention that we already know where to find the mainstream reporting.

Please, for the love of Matt, we need a royal purple PoliticsFilter. The stupidity that fills MeFi's front page is only going to increase as the post-primaries Clusterfuck '08 gets underway.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Frankly, I'm a little annoyed that Obama even had to give this speech. I haven't bothered to watch it or read it. It just seems like such a double standard here. When rightwing religious people harshly criticize the U.S. on religious terms, it's no big deal, but when a left-wing religious leader does it, suddenly it's the end of the world? At a "values voter" summit several months ago they actually had a choior singing a version of god bless America where they literally sang "God damn America". It got a tiny bit of play on the Daily show and some blogs, but when a liberal preacher says it it dominates the news cycle for days.

WTF.

What's most interesting about the speech (based on the summaries I've read, clips I've seen, etc) is the criticism of the black community itself that Obama can make. No white democrat could do that today. Obama can make the "Nixon in China" play here, and that's definitely a good thing.

A lot of the immediate reaction the question of how the results would be spun in the media came up, and the answer is pretty clear: They are calling it a great speech, fantastic, etc. So Obama wins the news cycle. Good for him, although I feel like this is all just a bunch of distracting nonsense that doesn't do any good for anyone (except ratings-mad cable jockeys).

"...race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now" Obama says. And he is right but it is interesting that, since day 1 of his campaign, he tried to ignore his race as long as possible. Hillary and Obama both tried to push race and gender to the sidelines; to try and have the public listen to their views and their voices and not focus on whether one is black and whether one is a woman.

Hillary constantly talks about how this is a historic race, how things will change with a woman in charge, etc, etc, etc.

Anyway Stynxno, that's an interesting post but ultimately flawed. You say Obama's coalition is insufficiently broad, but it's been large enough to beat (yes, past tense here) Hillary Clinton. Yes, there are lots of people who are not voting for Obama, but there are a lot of Latte Sipping college educated liberals. Obama is winning elections and believe it or not black votes count just as much as white votes. The racially polarized results have come up in racially polarized states. And in Mississippi Obama's share of the white vote actually dropped mainly due to Rush Limbaugh listeners voting for Hillary just to extend the democratic race (around 25% the white vote was republican, according to exit polls, mainly voting for Hillary)

And the idea that Obama can't win the general election against John "More wars and less Jobs" McCain is absurd. He consistently beats him in head to head matchups.

Now certainly you can argue that he's not liberal enough, but he is more liberal then Hillary, and that's what counts right? Or he's at least more honest.

I will support the candidate who's policies and plans will do the best so that my future son will never be told to go back to his own country, will never be treated as a second class citizen because of his skin, will never be seen as a commodity in whatever school he is, will never be told to put up with racist attitudes from those in authority and never be chased by whites with bats or have a dog let loose on him because his ancestors arrived in the United States a few thousand years before yours did. And that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

This reads like parody. Geraldine Ferraro? Hello?

Can I say that I fucking hate Juan Williams right now? Reading him pontificating on why this speech won't stop the loop of the Wright comments really made me want to punch him in his face. Similarly, his comments on African-American culture the last time that Pew study about intra-racial attitudes came out were so simplistic that I wondered who'd stomped his mind-grapes. -- klangklangston

It obviously won't stop it on Fox. Speaking of which, why are you even watching Fox in the first place?
posted by delmoi at 10:18 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I officially call dibs on FPPing the Rapture.

There will be plenty of news coverage of the Rapture. Why not post it on DailyKos, instead?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:21 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice speech; well written. I actually liked the closing anecdote.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 PM on March 18, 2008


btw, i posted on the thread before seeing this meta thread -- i think that there's an interesting argument to be had in terms of the historical *context* of obama's speech (i.e., *not* from the political horse-race perspective), and i'd really love to be able to have that discussion with y'all.

the fact that konolia and dios -- two of my favorite mefi conservatives -- made a point of dropping in here and saying what they have suggests to me that my initial intuitions about this weren't totally off, there's something going on with this speech that i've been trying to pin down for a very long time, and exploring it more would be, i think, invaluable.

i don't think we'll get any second chances to have this discussion in the moment, and i don't want to miss it.

just my $0.02. i think the metacommentary in the thread was unfortunate, but the thread's value outweighs it.
posted by spiderwire at 10:32 PM on March 18, 2008


There will be plenty of news coverage of the Rapture. Why not post it on DailyKos, instead?

because they're commie scum and they're all going to hell.

wait, no, that means they stay, right? whatever -- i don't know. the point is that i called dibs and none of the rest of you dirty godless sinners can stop me.
posted by spiderwire at 10:35 PM on March 18, 2008


"... The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never [emphasis added] be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. ..." -Barack Obama, March 18, 2008

Never, Senator Obama? Never is a very long time.

Perhaps this political race is not the last time this continuing American experiment in government will ever have an opportunity to debate race as a political force in American life. And perhaps it isn't necessary that we finally resolve all elements of a large and complex history of injustice and racial discrimination, before we can make progress on health care, education, jobs, or even produce a basic national energy resource policy, after all. The Federal government has a lot of lines of business, you know.

In my mind, the kind of rhetorical flourish I've quoted above, by a professional politician, is what makes American politics such a bar fight most of the time. It's the kind of slightly dramatic, subtly self-aggrandizing comment you get from someone caught up in the moment, trying to address what must seem, to them, a highly dramatic issue. Maybe it makes good TV, but it doesn't necessarily make good policy.

But I'm with mathowie that bringing a bar fight into this little Metafilter coffee klatch isn't going to make MeFi a better place, or much inform greater political discussion. I really hope American politics stays off the Blue and Gray as much as possible.
posted by paulsc at 10:36 PM on March 18, 2008


But I'm with mathowie that bringing a bar fight into this little Metafilter coffee klatch isn't going to make MeFi a better place, or much inform greater political discussion.

If there's a bar fight, it will (and should) be here, not there. The thread on the blue has been nothing but civil, and looks to remain that way. At least until some troll shows up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 PM on March 18, 2008


At least until some troll shows up.

Empath FTW.
posted by tkolar at 10:56 PM on March 18, 2008


FWIW, I only skim MeTa when i have time, and pretty much never revisit extant threads that are still in action, and have avoided Obama threads like the plague - until today. This speech is IT, people, he either pulls it off or loses the nomination, and based on the speech, he deserves the nomination.

I smacked caddis around in the post's thread pretty good for ill-manners, but there's no question the speech needs a thread. I would hope to see analyses and reactions from others' mediaspheres piling up over there, as we have done in the past. I have no idea whether or not the speech will function as I personally hope it will.

If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake, and I drink from your milkshake and you drink from mine, maybe we finish the milkshake at the same time we would have if we only drank from our own milkshake.

But we will have tasted twice as much milkshake, and know much that is to come in the world of milkshakes.

I'm finished!
posted by mwhybark at 11:00 PM on March 18, 2008


Are the things he talks about-- health care, class, race-- so out of bounds in American political discourse that the effect of actually speaking those words is seismic?

In American political discourse those are important buzzwords that everyone uses but is very careful to be as ambiguous about so as to let the listener believe that candidate agrees with whatever the listener's view is.

What's different about this speech is that an actual honest to god position was staked out on the topic of race. Specifics were mentioned.

Politically that's a very risky thing to do. By taking the position, for example, that slavery was a "stain" on the U.S. constitution he's opened up a royal can of whupass from starry eyed american patriots everywhere. Basically he's challenging the immaculate founders myth that all American grade school kids are indoctrinated with.

It's gonna be a rough couple of weeks.
posted by tkolar at 11:04 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Gotta n'th other comments here - it was an important historical speech. Maybe eliminate the other Obama threads.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:20 PM on March 18, 2008


Yeah, because Canada is such a paragon of racial tolerance. And look how many non-white leaders it has! Gosh, I wish we were more like them down here.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:25 PM on March 18, 2008


tkolar: grow up. I was just musing out loud about my own feelings, not attacking somebody personally.
posted by empath at 11:28 PM on March 18, 2008


five fresh fish writes "Then how about we limit the politics-filter in the blue to about 10% and make it international, instead of 99.9% American? 'Ours' on this site is global, not local."

I'd be completely behind that. In fact, here's a question I asked in askMefi, along those very lines.
posted by orthogonality at 11:34 PM on March 18, 2008


scody writes "In my view, nothing ultimately substitutes for political movements -- from the abolition movement, to the labor movement, to the civil rights movement, to the women's movement, to the gay and lesbian movement: those were the heroic struggles of ordinary men and women that truly brought on the expansion of rights and opportunities in this country by pushing the boundaries, by announcing to those in charge that the old way of doing business would no longer stand.

"The Obama phenomenon does not represent a substantive movement of this nature. The excitement surrounding his candidacy represents, however, an intense desire of millions for a vitally new way of doing things -- for substantive political chance. The buzz around him is evidence of a growing rejection of the old political agenda, and raised hopes for something new. A few years ago, progressives were given to despairing that we'd all gotten what we basically deserved in George W. Bush. Cynics said that there was no point in struggling for anything anymore. But I think the fact that millions of people are responding to a deeply intelligent man with a progressive agenda is exciting proof that the reports of the brain-death of the American public at large were premature."


This comment of scody's deserves to be favorited by just about everyone. Both for her grasp of the history of American reform movements, and for her understanding of what Brack Obama does -- and does not -- offer us.

Click the link ("writes") and go read her entire comment. Then favorite it.
posted by orthogonality at 11:39 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm glad the post made it up. Except for that last disclaimer line, nice job, caddis.
posted by ignignokt at 11:48 PM on March 18, 2008


caddis writes "I am posting the speech. You can delete it if you want Dr. No but given that a significant number of people would like to see it on the blue, even if they are not a majority, it deserves to be there."
I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
--Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, 30 January 1787

Mods: let the storm clear the air.
posted by orthogonality at 11:52 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fuck You! This is arguably the most important speech any politician has made in many decades, Matt has given it a somewhat tacit OK and the tenor in this post has not been overwhelmingly negative. Did you make that decision on your own? I am posting the speech. You can delete it if you want Dr. No but given that a significant number of people would like to see it on the blue, even if they are not a majority, it deserves to be there.

You know, fuck you right back. This is what Matt said:

Breaking news and election news make for pretty ho-hum posts here, how about waiting a week, collecting all the play-by-play and commentary and make a post about it when it truly becomes a turning point? Not everything on mefi has to be real-time.

That's not tacit approval, it's an explicit request to hold off a bit.

This is what Jessamyn said:

That said, "OMG this speech rox!" isn't a great post. There are ways to make a great post including a link to this speech. Starting with an exploratory "I can has obama nows?" isn't really a great way to do it because of COURSE people are going to say the same things they always say in threads like these.

You padded out "OMG this speech rox" with some middling links to first-blush media reactions to the speech; it's marginally better than just a straight youtube link, but it's perfunctory padding, more alike than different from a one-linker. And then you tag this on:

Cortex will probably delete this post, but nevertheless he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama.

So, to summarize: Jess was catching up on a serious sleep deficit, Matt's sick, and I was out playing a show; your timing was by whatever stroke of luck good enough that I'd feel bad at this point about killing the long thread that now exists—not for your sake, but for the folks who've gone and invested themselves in discussion number three or four we've seen started on the subject on the site today, but what is obviously the highest profile one. I wouldn't feel unjustified in pulling it, taunts bedamned, but fuck it.

I'd still have preferred folks waited a bit longer and put together a more substantive post than this. Your post isn't the great fucking post someone could have made about this a week or three weeks from now, but you didn't give a shit, and so, okay. We get a less good post than we could have, but a bunch of people get their instant gratification rocks off. Better fast than good, I guess.

But that you were aware of this whole conversation, had seen the policy calls we had collectively made in here, and nonetheless went for the post and threw in a big shitheaded cortex-is-the-bad-guy callout in the text of the goddam post itself? Suggesting, better yet, that the reason we had made and that I had earlier stuck with the policy call evidenced in this thread is because I want to silence Obama, like you know one goddam thing about my politics? That's just about the most assholish bit of self-important performance art I've seen on the site in a while, and it's been kind of a doozy of a last few months so that's saying something. You can keep your underachiever a post, but don't ask me for any favors any time soon.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:54 PM on March 18, 2008 [35 favorites]


Also: "the amazing phenomena which is Obama" makes no sense. It should be "phenomenon".
posted by painquale at 1:15 AM on March 19, 2008


and I was out playing a show;

How'd it go?
posted by spiderskull at 1:25 AM on March 19, 2008


Also: "the amazing phenomena which is Obama" makes no sense. It should be "phenomenon".

And that's exactly the kind of small minded, divisive thinking Obama will rid from American grammar.
posted by cillit bang at 1:46 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't heard anything that I didn't hear from my college professors, haven't heard at rallies, haven't read by african american professors at other universities (Cornell West comes to mind)... And basically I'm freaking out that it's apparently abhorrent to say that the country is run by rich whites or that black men are oppressed

Moxiedoll, I'm freaking out about the same thing. My dad called me up in this total frenzy about the whole Wright thing and swore that i'd disavow Obama once i saw the videos, and once i did watch them and essentially say "sure he's angry, but he's got a point," my dad was absolutely horrified. "But he's saying God Damn America!" he said, "can a preacher even say that?" I spent the next hour in my own frenzy, horrified that my own (liberal) father was expressing anger about black people having the comeuppance to complain about their lot in life.

That's why Obama's speech was so incredible for me - it's honestly talking about the resentment white america can hold against minorities, resentment that i see all the time, unapologetically, from my own family. They would rather believe the lie than let go of their fear of the Other, especially in troubling times like this. I'm now trying everything I can to make sure they watch that speech.
posted by ukdanae at 2:05 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The point of not having obamafilter is this : every time mefi backs a presidential candidate - that candidate loses - we're presumably trying to help his cause by not mentioning him so often.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:50 AM on March 19, 2008


The point of not having obamafilter is this : every time mefi backs a presidential candidate - that candidate loses - we're presumably trying to help his cause by not mentioning him so often.

I presume you were speaking in jest, but most of what I'm seeing indicates that while Obama may have a (slight) plurality of admirers here, the Clinton supporters are just as full-throated and passionate. I don't necessarily agree with their points of view, but I respect them, and I think most Obama supporters do as well.

I guess MeFi backed Gore in 2000, though that was before my time. As I recall 2004, there was a lot of enthusiasm, but it seemed evenly divided between Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, and it was about as long-lived as both of their candidacies. The support for Kerry was awkward and lukewarm at best, but at least at that point there were still some people willing to defend the Republican incumbent, whatever his name was. I haven't seen too many McCain supporters here, which I think is somewhat disappointing.
posted by psmealey at 3:25 AM on March 19, 2008


I'm not joking, speaking as someone who looked kindly on gore,dean,kerry etc ......it was a letdown to see them lose.
It's an empirical fact that despite large numbers of political posts, no mefi backed candidate has ever won anything.
Therefore, the backing of mefites seems to me to be some sort of poisoned chalice, look at obama - he was doing well - the mefi posts increased and now he's feeling the strain !
I have absolutely no idea why this is so - but i feel we should start making pro clinton and mccain posts in order to mysteriously restore obamas big mo.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:39 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


At this point I'm just interested in seeing if the actual post about the story itself will be anywhere near as long or space-wasting as this MetaTalk thread of people bitching about it. I'm doubtful, because people love Obama, but they really love to bitch.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:55 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama.

Oh, brother.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:55 AM on March 19, 2008


he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama.

And they'll never shut down the REAL Napster!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:47 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's an empirical fact that despite large numbers of political posts, no mefi backed candidate has ever won anything.
Therefore, the backing of mefites seems to me to be some sort of poisoned chalice,


you forgot Paul Wellstone -- people fucking loved him here. and look what happened.

I am mildly amused at the amount of vitriol being spewed here -- and elsewhere on the Internet -- between the Obama and Clinton factions of what technically is still the same party; a very bad omen when you think that in the end the losing faction will either have to vote for the other candidate or simply stay home in November (or vote Green or Republican or whatever) and learn to enjoy a McCain Presidency (and, for example, the inevitable reversal of Roe v Wade that will follow, unless poor John Paul Stevens has found a way to live forever).

as someone who has many, many American friends totally in the tank for Obama I have recently learned not to challenge their articles of faith the same way I wouldn't try to convert them to another religion (a completely useless course of action). I just embrace the fact that at leats, after having to eat a massive shit sandwich every day for about 7 years and counting of Bush presidency, the Obama people can finally get excited about a politician and have a glimmer of hope for things to come. it is, if nothing else, excellent group therapy for so many people who for years had to swallow Iraq, the PATRIOT Act, Katrina, Abu Ghraib, the right wing's insults, two big Presidential losses and Bush's smirk to boot, without being able to anything about it. the fact that their not-so-newly-anymore Democratic Congress hasn't denied Bush one single important thing he wanted -- war funds, illegal surveillance, etc -- must have come as another bitter pill to swallow.

just for this reason, whatever one thinks of Obama's actual stature -- New Lincoln or empty suit or the many shades in between -- this wave of popularity and, dare one say it, of hope, is definitely a good thing.

of course, unless Obama wins both the nomination and against McCain in November, they're all in for a crushing, crushing disappointment, certainly much worse than having to watch Gore being gleefully robbed or poor John Kerry Swiftboated into oblivion, with a little from the Diebold friends. but it's all good, in a way.
posted by matteo at 6:20 AM on March 19, 2008


Well you fucked that up.

Yup. Asshole move, caddis. Glad they left the post up so the blot will remain on your record.
posted by languagehat at 6:33 AM on March 19, 2008


The post, not a blot. However, my comments to Cortex, blot. Sorry Cortex. Sorry about the FU and sorry for implying that you were trying to squelch Obama per se. I know you were not. You just don't like political posts.
posted by caddis at 6:47 AM on March 19, 2008


my comments to Cortex, blot. Sorry Cortex.

Okay, that's classy and much appreciated.
posted by languagehat at 7:10 AM on March 19, 2008


You just don't like political posts.

None of us do for the reasons we've yammered on about at length above. I like good posts about topical stuff that people on MeFi will find interesting. Political posts bring out the worst of people here in AskMe, MeFi and MetaTalk. In fact I dont mind political posts in a general sense. I like to read them and clck the links. However, I mind political posts here on MetaFilter where people, including you caddis, are dickish about them.

Politics in the US has become so much like freaking Amway that we all feel like we have to be salesman for our candidate brand. It's not enough to vote anymore, you have to go be a relentless shill for your brand of coke/pepsi hillary/obama [or huckabee/mccain] and a FUD peddler for the so-called opposite team. I like Obama but not enough to be dicks to my friends who don't like him. I also like Hillary okay but I don't need to get a hate-on for Obama supporters. I'd also rather have a nice dinner with my conservative friends than yell at them about the Iraq war.

My least favorite thing about this administration currently [after the war and the spying problems] is probably how they've introduced the "no you..." way of discussing politics into the common discourse and especially on the media. They're total snitches, they place no value on harmony and resolving problems to the mutual satisfaction of everyone. They say "fuck you" to the people I think of as being on "my side" [literally] and think that's just the way politics goes. They encourage divisiveness, insularity, hatred and fear of the "other" If people are responding to one thing abotu Obama's speech, it's that. The lack of that.

In fact I'd rather live in a US regime under Huckabee than have to have one more "fuck you, you dont like my candidate so YOU'RE the one who is ruining America" conversation with anyone. Honestly, the reason people hate US-centric posts over here is not because they can't get their heads around US politicking or don't care about US-ian issues, it's because people are such total assholes talking about politics that threads become totally toxic almost immediately.

I don't mind political posts, I mind what people do to them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 AM on March 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


One reason that I haven't been around Metafilter much lately is that Obama hysteria oozing from the seams of the blue makes me uncomfortable.

I haven't noticed it by ignoring topics I don't have interest in. It's easy. There are plenty of posts per day that deal with a wide variety of things, events, images, videos, etc. and frankly, I find only a few I click through. The others I simply ignore, assuming that others may not have the same interests as myself.
posted by juiceCake at 8:13 AM on March 19, 2008


You just don't like political posts.

caddis, GIVE IT A FUCKING REST. Cortex, Jess, and Matt have a clearly defined position on politicsfilter. It's not a matter of personal like or dislike, it's a matter of what these three hardworking, surprisingly patient, people feel is best for the site as a whole.

I do NOT agree with their viewpoint; I think that MeFi commentary on developing political and non-political news is often the most incisive anywhere. But I understand their viewpoint and you are WAY out of line to keep taking it so personally.

Are you fourteen? If not, stop acting like it.
posted by mwhybark at 8:16 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"the amazing phenomena which is Obama" makes no sense. It should be "phenomenon".

The word youse are looking for is "Obamenon".
posted by Mister_A at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


maybe "phenobamenon"?
posted by matteo at 8:33 AM on March 19, 2008


My least favorite thing about this administration currently

INSERT 3,347 BULLET POINTS HERE
posted by matteo at 8:33 AM on March 19, 2008


(It should also be "that" not "which," but to say that it was a poorly constructed sentence at this point is a little redundant.)
posted by Dave Faris at 8:39 AM on March 19, 2008


The word youse are looking for is "Obamenon".

If I could double-tripple fave a comment, I would do so to this one.

Yous' use of da 'youse' is note-poifect.
posted by mwhybark at 8:41 AM on March 19, 2008


The post, not a blot. However, my comments to Cortex, blot. Sorry Cortex. Sorry about the FU and sorry for implying that you were trying to squelch Obama per se. I know you were not. You just don't like political posts.
posted by caddis at 9:47 AM on March 19


what a backhanded apology. a not so subtle implication of bias against politicsfilter tossed on at the end? bad form. also, the post IS a blot, because it's a shit post. way to leave a steaming turd on the blue, caddis. you are a bad mefite.
posted by shmegegge at 8:47 AM on March 19, 2008


That last line is dickish, but now it's actually up is anyone in doubt that the answer was "yes, we absolutely should have FPPed the Obama speech"?
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on March 19, 2008


Why, so you could have another 200+ messages that echo your opinions to favorite?
posted by Dave Faris at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


empath wrote...
grow up. I was just musing out loud about my own feelings, not attacking somebody personally.

The fact that you were being dismissive of ten people at once instead of one at a time doesn't change the fact that you decided to focus on the participants rather than the discussion.
posted by tkolar at 8:59 AM on March 19, 2008


the fact that their not-so-newly-anymore Democratic Congress hasn't denied Bush one single important thing he wanted -- war funds, illegal surveillance, etc -- must have come as another bitter pill to swallow.

Nah. Totally expected -- just another historical instance proving that the Democrats won't deliver the goods unless real social and political movements force them to do so.

You want bitter pills? Let's return momentarily to that happy golden era of 1992-2000, during which we saw the sweeping expansion of the federal death penalty, the "end of welfare as we know it" (a phrase Reagan could have only dreamed of), the introduction of the homophobic "don't ask, don't tell" AND "defense of marriage" act, etc. Now you're talking some seriously bitter pills for progressives, courtesy of our pals, the Democratic party.
posted by scody at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


TY mwhybark!
posted by Mister_A at 9:11 AM on March 19, 2008


Why, so you could have another 200+ messages that echo your opinions to favorite?

Because it's pretty clear (much more so than it was at 11:39 this morning) it's not just another random PoliticsFilter subject, and hiding it away in a near-dead thread or on meta on a point of order would have been silly. Becuase people wanted the links, and came to metafilter expecting to find the links, and they are good links. Because the slippery slope argument is bullshit, this is not an everyday Clinton/Obama post. And becuase the "better post a few weeks from now" would not have been that much better, and discussion would have filtered into other posts anyway.
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on March 19, 2008


Again, I just don't get this "give it two or three weeks to simmer and throw in some more links to what we love -- Op Ed politics pieces -- and this turd would be grand" copout from the higher-ups. That's just BS plain and simple and I do agree that this is more about avoiding politics entirely. Which is fine. But come out and say it (as essentially jessamyn now has).

It's about the damn speech. This isn't like oh here's a post about making ships in bottles so esoteric that I'll provide 20 links to secondary sources for your reading pleasure.

Incidentally, I noticed that in their ever being more thoughtful and cogent about the great issues of our day, the folks at 3quarksdaily, where long as brain pieces are the norm, realised that just posting the damn speech free of context was the right thing to do.
posted by drpynchon at 9:17 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


What are "long as brain pieces"?
posted by Mister_A at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2008


So sorry caddis, Obama does not want you for a sunbeam. His speech was pretty much anti what you did there.
posted by dawson at 9:31 AM on March 19, 2008


Well, I think cortex and jess are giving us too much credit. I think today, or two weeks from today, the result would be the same. It'd end up being filled with "fuck you" and "shill for Hillary somewhere else." It's not really that it needed to wait. It's that it didn't need to be posted at all, here or on the blue. It's a good enough speech so that if you were looking for it, you could have found it in dozens of other places around the web.

All that the Metafilter touch has added to the mix is 6 yards of sophomoric bullshit hero worship, and more "my guy is better than your guy" crap.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:32 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's about the damn speech.

The speech will still be the speech tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. To hear the true believers tell it, it will still be The Speech when our grandchildren are forced to memorize it on Obama day.

So, really, what was the goddamn rush to post it to the front page?

I'll tell you what it is/was -- it was all of the true believers wanting to be The Person Who Posted it to Metafilter.

caddis' prize was being The Person Who Posted The Obama Speech. If he had kept his pants zipped for a few days while some context was built up someone *else* might have posted it, and then where would he be?

So he pulled his childish bullshit and got away with it. And undoubtedly he's saying to himself: "People think I'm a immature asshole right now, but posterity will judge me a great person". And why not? If it works for George Bush why can't it work for caddis?
posted by tkolar at 9:36 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


That last line is dickish, but now it's actually up is anyone in doubt that the answer was "yes, we absolutely should have FPPed the Obama speech"?

I dunno, all it's proved to me is that the only thing more insufferable than a bunch of American MeFites kvetching about how awful their elected government is a bunch of American MeFites pumping their fists in the air and chanting USA! USA! USA! I'm not a fan of using MeTa to audition FPPs.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:46 AM on March 19, 2008


Whoops, that should've been: "I'm not a fan of using MeTa to audition or hold preemptive referenda on FPPs."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:49 AM on March 19, 2008


The post, not a blot. However, my comments to Cortex, blot. Sorry Cortex. Sorry about the FU and sorry for implying that you were trying to squelch Obama per se. I know you were not. You just don't like political posts.

caddis, I appreciate the apology, and I don't feel great about getting as hot last night as I did either. That said, I don't agree with a couple of the things you say here.

The post was a blot. The speech is not a blot, and we haven't been sitting here deaf to the arguments in favor of seeing it posted, and I wasn't really anything like suprised to see when I got home last night that someone had gone and posted it. But setting aside the out-of-line jab at me, I wasn't expecting to see it posted by someone who had actually been participating in this thread; it was just a willfully disrespectful move, not just to the mod team (of whose opinion you were clearly aware) but to the idea that the premise and process of Metatalk is about anything other than either getting you your way or getting out of your way.

Insofar as there was an air of somewhat defensible inevitability about the post that I think folks on both side of this argument recognize, that defensibility collapses when the post comes from someone who really obviously knows better. Joe Mefite who didn't see Metatalk (e.g. drpynchon's post) is understandable, but an "okay, yeah, but fuck you I'm doing it anyway" move is really pretty crappy stuff.

As far as not liking political posts, jessamyn covered part of what I don't like about a lot of them pretty well. I'm not fundamentally against 'em, and we certainly don't delete every political post we don't like. But I don't like political posting (or news posting, or agenda posting) that's being done on the basis of It Must Be Done, because, no: there's no must. The site has no obligation to serve topical content as quickly as possible, that's what news sites and political blogs are for, and I believe mefi is pretty much at its worst in terms of post quality (and, pretty often, closely correlated thread quality) when folks use it more to break news than to present information well.

I very much wanted to see the speech posted, but I wanted to see it posted well, with nuance and context and ideally after folks had had a chance to really think about it. Folks have argued that this is a historic speech, a landmark, something that will be remembered and talked about for years to come, and yet we have at the same time this argument that we can't possibly wait a few days to discuss it? How does a groundbreaking, landscape-defining thing like this end up with such an ephemeral lifespan?

Again, I just don't get this "give it two or three weeks to simmer and throw in some more links to what we love -- Op Ed politics pieces -- and this turd would be grand" copout from the higher-ups. That's just BS plain and simple and I do agree that this is more about avoiding politics entirely.

There's shitty Op Ed pieces, and then there's good essays. There's obligatory "we've got to get a reaction out tonight" zero-day pieces from Time and Newsweek and every other news org, and then there's real, careful journalism that takes the time not just to say the right thing on a 24-hour newscycle deadline but to actually examine what people are choosing to say and when and why.

What you're describing us asking for is what caddis actually posted last night: you're badly misrepresenting what we were actually talking about and hoping for in this thread. A better post about this could be made a week from now; if this speech is what most folks are saying it is (and I believe that it essentially is), there can't help but be some damned worthwhile commentary on the subject as the days go by. And when metafilter gets that sort of thing collected in a quality, unrushed post, it's some of the best stuff this site has to offer and is basically what justifies, in my mind, the tolerance folks have around here for a lot of the lesser political posts that fill in the spaces between the masterpieces.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:53 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


So I'm guessing you guys would have been against even without the open threads?
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on March 19, 2008


If we hadn't heard a peep about Obama in a couple weeks, I think our attitude toward the posting of the speech would have been a bit different. Likewise, if we didn't have a big pre-emptive discussion in Metatalk on the subject. But neither of those hold, which leaves us solidly in frog-bumping-ass-when-hopping territory as far as that goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:02 AM on March 19, 2008


So I'm guessing you guys would have been against even without the open threads?

It's unusual when we're all of a similar opinion on a given contentious MeTa topic, but yeah there's no counterfactual history in which MeFi hasn't had an Obama post every few days since February. We don't really play the "what if it were the same post but it was about bunnies, not unicorns, would it have gotten deleted/not deleted?" because we pretty much live in the moment here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:13 AM on March 19, 2008


Sorry if the meta complicated things. The question had been raised on those earlier posts and it seemed appropriate to move it to here. A secondary forum for discussing the speech was not my intent – I’d have been happier if that had stayed in the existing threads.

(I know, that was dumb of me since it was pretty much inevitable that people would discuss it in meta if it was the only post they could find)

That said, and given a few hours to consider and see more reactions, if I hadn’t post to meta I probably would have gone ahead and posted an FPP . And if it had been deleted (and it seems like that would have been your default) my reaction probably would have pretty similar to the pre-emptive flameout caddis had there.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on March 19, 2008


And if it had been deleted (and it seems like that would have been your default) my reaction probably would have pretty similar to the pre-emptive flameout caddis had there.

The rule against self-linking is not a rule to prevent self-promotion, it's a rule to prevent the inevitable bias of (healthy) narcissism from cluttering MetaFilter and leading to bad blood. If you feel this strongly (about a link on a webpage) about any subject, you shouldn't post it because it amounts to a self-link.
posted by OmieWise at 10:56 AM on March 19, 2008


I have no idea what you are talking about. Self link, WTF?

I think you have me mistaken for someone else, like an active campaigner for Obama or something.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on March 19, 2008


I'd go further and say that NOONE should ever post any link they don't feel strongly about. If you don't think it's a good link that should be shared what the hell would you be doing posting it?
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on March 19, 2008


What you're describing us asking for is what caddis actually posted last night: you're badly misrepresenting what we were actually talking about and hoping for in this thread.

Respectfully, cortex, I think we're talking about two different posts. I'm talking about the speech itself. Getting a visceral response from the folks here would be impossible if you waited 3 or however many weeks.

You seem to suggest that a post about the speech as well as its aftermath and impact with links to more thoughtful, less "throwaway" analysis would be great. Well, let me tell you... There's no OpEd so thoughtful that it won't be crapped on depending on the political leanings of the crapper. Moreover, all the crappy analysis could have been linked to by posters in-thread along the way, real time in a post that wasn't delayed. In the meantime here you are deleting thread after thread waiting for that "right" post (by your arbitrarily subjective opinion). Moreover the discussion (unavoidable snake venom included) on the blue would have been a perfect realtime representation of the aftermath of the speech itself amongst a subset of relatively educated regular joes in the US.

I'm not misrepresenting what you're talking about because no matter how long you wait or how smartly you pad this thing, it's not going to make people happy (by people I mean not just you) and yet we needed this in the blue as most would agree. There would have been vitriol in the thread -- perhaps that's unavoidable. But there would have also been a lot of ancillary links thrown in along the way of great value. What in the world is the big deal about including links which would have inevitably been included down thread into the substance of the post itself? Consider it a bit of rhetorical hyperbole, but you're saying hypothetically that linking to say Guernica during the World War would have been lame without some good art critic to tell us how great it is. We're talking about a speech that, like it or not, is clearly prompting a pretty emotional response at least within the US. To me that's what it's all about.

Maybe Obama is the next RFK. I don't know but personally I think he's as close to anyone in recent memory. None the less, if that's the crux of the issue, let his own words speak for themselves. Some hack or group of hack's heady analyses is more than likely to polarize along political lines.

I hear what you're saying. I really do. But the great post you're imagining just doesn't exist and probably never will. And yet, we'd lose something, I think, along the way by sitting on our hands.
posted by drpynchon at 11:08 AM on March 19, 2008


Artw, I think we are talking past each other a little here. I don't have much of an objection to this MeTa thread, but I just don't think we can hypothesize about other possible worlds where MeFi looked different and whether it would have been okay to put the Obama speech there. We don't usually have a good explanation for how posts and comments would be moderated in a different MeFi than the one we are interacting with. We can give advice on what makes a post/comment better and what makes a post/comment worse, but prognostication is not one of our superpowers.

That said, there's no justification for mod callouts in the text of a FPP, period. We didn't want to delete the current Obama Speech post just because of it (or edit it as if it didn't happen) as if it were some Drunken Hasselhoff antics, and caddis said he was sorry which is okay with me. I just feel that it's a shame people couldn't have waited to make a decent post about it, same as I said earlier about the Arthur C. Clarke obit. Cortex sums it up.

The site has no obligation to serve topical content as quickly as possible, that's what news sites and political blogs are for, and I believe mefi is pretty much at its worst in terms of post quality (and, pretty often, closely correlated thread quality) when folks use it more to break news than to present information well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:11 AM on March 19, 2008


I have no idea what you are talking about. Self link, WTF?

If you feel so strongly about a post that you could not bear to see it deleted without flaming out/telling the mods to fuck off, then you are not the person to be making that post as you are too close to the issue. WTF?
posted by OmieWise at 11:12 AM on March 19, 2008


jessamyn - Fair enough. FWIW I usually think you guys have very good judgment on what gets deleted, even if I happen to disagree on that one theoretical case, and if anything being harsh on random politicsFilter posts is a perfectly sound policy and if anything I’d be happy to see more striongly enforced.

OmieWise - I think you are perhaps deliberatly misconstructing my point there. Or talking gibberish.

Anyway, I'll shut up on the matter now.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on March 19, 2008


What I'm really looking forward to are the anniversary posts we'll get every year, reposting the speech over and over.

"caddis' prize was being The Person Who Posted The Obama Speech. If he had kept his pants zipped for a few days while some context was built up someone *else* might have posted it, and then where would he be?"

I think the rule* should be: If the post stays, you go. caddis should be unable to participate in the thread he created, especially given the circumstances. He's earned some time off.

* for any post revolving around a current event, i.e. less than a week old
posted by Eideteker at 11:17 AM on March 19, 2008


OmieWise - I think you are perhaps deliberatly misconstructing my point there. Or talking gibberish.

Why would I do that? Perhaps I just misunderstand you. I thought you were suggesting that had you posted the speech, and had it been deleted, you would have had a very adverse reaction. If that isn't what you were saying then I don't understand what you're point is. If it is what you're saying, then my point, that if one flame's out over an FPP deletion one is too close to the topic, stands.
posted by OmieWise at 11:21 AM on March 19, 2008


OmniWise, I totally agree with you. I'm starting to come around to the view that politicsfilter is maybe a subject that mefi doesn't do very well. It's partially because a lot of the FPPs are posted by people who are too close to the issue (in the sense of really, really supporting a candidate) and thus a bad judge of how compelling the material really is, and maybe even more because the discussion afterwards is less enlightening and more about rah-rah my candidate and boo-hiss your favorite candidate sucks, how could you support them!?!

I'm not reflexively opposed to posts that are more about creating a discussion than the linked material itself--the series we've had going lately about the subprime crisis jumps to mind--but those really only work because we have a few really smart people here who, even when they disagree on the matter being discussed (*ahem* malor and mutant) manage to keep the discussion civil and focused on the issue. The political posts that are meant to stimulate discussion seem to be more about campaigning rather than analysis, and because of that are really ripe for the creation of nasty grudges against people who have alternative POVs. (I think people are so passionate about candidates--which isn't in itself a bad thing--that they're losing the ability to assume good faith on the part of people who don't agree, which is kind of the classic death knell for good conversation.)

It'd be nice if everyone could kind of step back and consider not posting politics filter for any candidate that they personally support. That would probably cut a lot of the repetitive, here-today-gone-tomorrow issues, but still leave room for stuff that is truly groundbreaking. If no Obama supporter had posted this FPP, I have a feeling that someone else would have, and there's a good chance that it would have been a better post in terms of judging its real impact (both politically and in wider society) with a more dispassionate eye. That does nothing about the generally crummy tone a lot of the ensuing conversation takes, but at least it'd be a start.
posted by iminurmefi at 11:30 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wish that caddis didn't include that snarky comment about cortex in the post, but I'm glad it got posted on the blue. Even just for the fact that it allowed more people to read it. Maybe that's a distortion of what metafilter should be, but, practically speaking, I think people appreciated seeing it there. And that's a good enough reason for me.
posted by lunit at 11:33 AM on March 19, 2008


The thing I dislike the most is the narcissism. Your issue is just so important, I *must* know about it. I prefer a more laid-back MeFi; "Hey, check out this cool thing I found on the web/this subject I happen to know a lot about/this important but little-known historical incident". Everyone doesn't NEED to see it. I'm of mixed race, just like Obama, and you know what? I still haven't seen the speech. I don't need to. I get to live it, every day.

Fuck your self-involved, for-my-own-good proselytizing. I don't care if it's white guilt, if you're black and feel oppressed, if you're not even from the US. It's up to me to decide what's important to me. MetaFilter is supposed to act as a filter, to bring me knowledge I might not have found elsewhere. And I'm not saying you can't post something seen on BoingBoing or Digg or whatever the fuck news engine is hip this week. I'm saying the Obama speech is everywhere, and I actually have to work to avoid it. I don't need your help. Whatever your motivation; it's misplaced.

Once again, you need to focus on making change locally, not by posting to a choir (that's, on an average, thousands of miles away) on a website. That's not where change comes from. Very few people on this website need your help. But I bet there's someone in your very town/city right now who's hungry, lonely, scared, or confused. The pursuit of happiness we are guaranteed in this country comes at a price; you must help your fellow seek that happiness, or yours will never be complete. Happiness is not high-fives with like-minded people on a website. You may feel happy when you lock your doors at night and settle in to your comfortable home, but so long as there are conditions in this country that drive people to violence and crime, you will never be happy. How can you be? Your door is locked.

I'm not saying we will ever get to Utopia. But such a path will never lead there.
posted by Eideteker at 11:33 AM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Agree, lunit. Very few of my friends are politically inclined, and even less are interested in waxing poetic about the implications of XYZ Event for the future of Country ABC. Even more so, I think, when it is the United States and us Canucks are so damned tired of hearing about the shitstorm. So I come to MeFi for the intelligent discourse (other sites scare me too much).
posted by Phire at 11:35 AM on March 19, 2008


And also? The Obama thread has officially surpassed the Should-We-FPP thread.

Intelligent Discourse: 1
Bitching: 0
posted by Phire at 11:41 AM on March 19, 2008


Respectfully, cortex, I think we're talking about two different posts. I'm talking about the speech itself. Getting a visceral response from the folks here would be impossible if you waited 3 or however many weeks.

I can agree to disagree with you on this; honestly, "visceral" is not a word I think of as having anything to do with what the blue does well. I'm not imagining that a time-delayed, more reflective post about the speech would be wholly free of snark or lazy/snipey rhetoric or any such thing, but I do think it would be less, and less welcome, and it's precisely the lack of hot-on-the-fire viscerality that would help on that front. Mefi is not an activism blog; it's not a rally; it's not a political boxing match. When it starts to look like any of those things is, in my opinion, when it is failing to be what makes this place good.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:48 AM on March 19, 2008


What in the world is the big deal about including links which would have inevitably been included down thread into the substance of the post itself? Consider it a bit of rhetorical hyperbole, but you're saying hypothetically that linking to say Guernica during the World War would have been lame without some good art critic to tell us how great it is.

I think that a really, really interesting (not that the speech itself isn't interesting, but a *more* interesting) FPP could have been made if someone had bothered to pull together some context about why this is so groundbreaking in U.S. political discourse. I'd have loved to see a well-fleshed out post not of reactions to the speech--although that might be interesting in its own right--but rather looking at why race is the third rail of U.S. politics and what this speech means in that context.

I mean, placing this historically in the context of the conservative backlash against the civil rights movement leading to the Southern Strategy in the 1970s and 1980s, the subsequent embrace of the idea of "colorblindness" by many liberal/Democratic politicians rather than a more progressive stance of multiculturalism, how dogwhistles (and angry denunciations & denials of them) function as the only way that race is (really obliquely) discussed anymore in US politics and how that's influenced the campaign between Clinton and Obama so far (the controversy about the Jesse Jackson comment in South Carolina being a really perfect example of all this), and I think it would have been easier to make a case that this is truly a groundbreaking speech that deserves an FPP. And it would have been more than just the same thing you can find in 100 other places on the internet right now.
posted by iminurmefi at 12:09 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


On reflection, yeah, delete it. It’s not like it’s getting much attention.

Disclaimer: I’m not big on breaking news/political immediacy/ obit post. Hell, I’m bummed that Arthur Clarke died. I haven’t posted dick on it.

But I have to go with drpynchon et.al.

The speech itself is not just the speech itself. It’s significant because of the timing and current feel of the country and the state of politics. Not just what it says, but what it’s doing. A post three weeks from now will be akin to “I remember when Star Wars first came out” rather than “Hey, have you seen Star Wars!?”
Some things completely redefine a moment in time and are unique to that moment.
If some of you don’t get that as it relates to this speech - then you haven’t been following it closely.
And that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean it’s not significant and not absolutely a child of its moment.

I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at 7 am, August 19, 1991. But some of you don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about. That fact however, does not invalidate the significance of the event for those of us who were paying attention (and were flooded with emotion and relief seeing Yeltsin atop a tank not bombarding the White House three days later.) There's just some things you have to look at from within the moment.
I'll readily concede that it's very hard to judge such a thing before the fact. And generally speaking, it is probably a better idea to try to let things simmer, as standing policies. But there must be some flexibility for unique situations - this, I think is, and I think has been shown to be, unique.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:51 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


(and I hope the implicit 2nding of iminurmefi’s comment as to there should have been some more “context about why this is so groundbreaking in U.S. political discourse” as something that would really have helped is also clear)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:54 PM on March 19, 2008


America needs a do-over.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:48 PM on March 19, 2008


Ha-ha! I just read both of the giant Obama speech threads. Take that, plans to finish my rewrite today! You just got served!
posted by Bookhouse at 3:07 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I hope you read the bits on the Tim Wise thread and the Clinton thread as well.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on March 19, 2008


Some things completely redefine a moment in time and are unique to that moment.

Really, just take a breath, okay?

Many of us have lost track of the number of things that people thought would completely redefine a moment in time. If history teaches us anything, it's how extremely rare it is for people to actually know at the time what will be historic and what will not.

Furthermore, people with a short enough attention span to have forgotten the last time 48 times that Everything Changed also have no feedback loop. Next week when this speech is a footnote there will be no reflection by caddis et al... they will also have already forgotten it and be onto the next historic moment they they are the sole personal witnesses to.

And if this speech isn't forgotten next week --- well, then that would have been an excellent time for someone to make an FPP about it. You know, when this historic speech actually has lasted a week in history.
posted by tkolar at 3:38 PM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter is not about the links. MetaFilter is about the thinks, which are in turn about the links.

And the thinks there are to think about the Obama speech are awesome. When I read about it this morning I was thrilled, even at the multiple removes of a reporter's excerpting, a wire editor's twiddling, and a greasy-pawed college journalism department's usual publication process. MeFi has upped my quality of life by linking the full text from the front page. Thanks, caddis, you done right.
posted by eritain at 4:20 PM on March 19, 2008


The site has no obligation to serve topical content as quickly as possible, that's what news sites and political blogs are for, and I believe mefi is pretty much at its worst in terms of post quality (and, pretty often, closely correlated thread quality) when folks use it more to break news than to present information well.

Nailed it.

We need six months to a year of no-topical-fpps to re-calibrate the MeFi system. There's been too much slack allowed, and our nearly endless supply of n00bs — and apparently a few of our older users — are under the impression that MeFi is a breaking-news-and-politics blog.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:08 PM on March 19, 2008


And the shmucks. Er. The dinks and their links.
posted by ~ at 5:08 PM on March 19, 2008


To Obama: the cause of, and solution to, all of MetaFilter's problems.
posted by Eideteker at 5:19 PM on March 19, 2008


You're right, cortex. There's room for disagreement on this and I'm not frothing about it. I guess what I see in this speech is artwork which happens to also be news and politics. I mean it's making people cry, and not just Obama supports. That's something special. It's not just a news event that's also on CNN (which I totally understand would make crap for a one link post).

So yes. Sure. Maybe people would start slinging even more political shit because of the circumstances if it was linked to early on. But that wasn't the visceral response I was getting at. And I think the standard here for links to art (see lots of links to free music, video and such without context) has always differed from that of links to news. It's true that what's art is a matter of opinion, though it's hard to argue that this thing hasn't had an emotional impact on at least some. If you have your political cap on you're going to view this as iminurmefi sees it (where's my historical context, I want a post that's a PhD dissertation, etc.), but I favor Smedleyman's view. I guess the conservative thing to do is take your approach, but I wouldn't have been so conservative in trying to moderate this one.

under the impression that MeFi is a breaking-news-and-politics blog.

This time, it's only about the politics and news if you have that crap on the brain. There have been enough speeches in the last year with far more political "content" to make you either blind or disingenuous to suggest that that's what's important here.
posted by drpynchon at 5:35 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaTalk: You know, fuck you right back

/obligatory

in all seriousness, metafilter is about the links. the live post is "ok."
posted by mrgrimm at 7:39 PM on March 19, 2008


"Many of us have lost track of the number of things that people thought would completely redefine a moment in time. If history teaches us anything, it's how extremely rare it is for people to actually know at the time what will be historic and what will not."

But that's my point, the fact that you (generally) don't know, or don't think it will be historic, just because you or whomever isn't plugged in, doesn't mean it isn't.

There are people who have no idea - still don't - how critical the August Putsch was. Just sort of a "oh, Russia fell. Yeah, bfd."
Your criticism of my perspicacity doesn't validate your apathy.

In case you're not following the news, there's a whole different tone now, it's not like anyone on Metafilter is alone in saying "Gee, this is pretty significant."

On the larger issue - sure, maybe it could wait, I'm not big on topical, and certainly it should have been more fleshed out. I'm perfectly willing to accept that.
But don't tell me something isn't important just because, hey, you're not into it so how can it be?
posted by Smedleyman at 7:52 PM on March 19, 2008


(Indeed, why is this here? We don't know that China holding talks with the Dali Lama is significant. We don't know if anyone is going to remember a week from now. It's topical. It's political. How's it differ from the last 48 times that Everything Changed in the Chinese rule in Tibet? (no offense to the actual post))
posted by Smedleyman at 8:00 PM on March 19, 2008


"most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others....
Look at the links that carry 10 or 20 comments to see what everyone is talking about. Is the link you're about to post provocative enough to show to everyone? If so post away.
A good thread values uniqueness over novelty."

That last bit seems to be what the debate is about. In this sole instance here, I'm leaning toward unique. Shitcan the other Obama threads if you like.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:05 PM on March 19, 2008


But that's my point, the fact that you (generally) don't know, or don't think it will be historic, just because you or whomever isn't plugged in, doesn't mean it isn't.

There are people who have no idea - still don't - how critical the August Putsch was.


So if I'm following you, you're saying that there would have been tremendous value to posting a link to a news article on the day of the Putsch instead of waiting a week to let people gain perspective on it and produce a much more comprehensive post giving context to the event?
posted by tkolar at 8:23 PM on March 19, 2008


Damn, that thread is a commercial for trolling. It works. Everyone helping one manipulative asshole get them frothed up.

Don't feed the trolls, folks. It's not an empty slogan. Seriously, stop. You're hurting metafilter.
posted by mullingitover at 8:24 PM on March 19, 2008


Damn, that thread is a commercial for trolling. It works. Everyone helping one manipulative asshole get them frothed up.

They're not just hell to moderate because they're long, unwieldy, filled with passionate folks, and so quick-moving we can't keep up with them. There's also this problem
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:41 PM on March 19, 2008


maybe a "post at your own risk" and just leave it to the dogs.pity, i would have really liked to analyze the speec with others but i guess that was never going to happen. was a very good speech though.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 8:51 PM on March 19, 2008


Damn, that thread is a commercial for trolling. It works. Everyone helping one manipulative asshole get them frothed up.

Don't feed the trolls, folks. It's not an empty slogan. Seriously, stop. You're hurting metafilter.
posted by mullingitover at 11:24 PM on March 19 [+] [!]


Bullshit. An off the cuff comment with no evidence. Hurting metafilter?? Who are the trolls?
Which comments are trollish? You have the insight to tell everyone who is straight up and who is not?

Please indicate the comments.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 8:57 PM on March 19, 2008


TrolleyOffTheTracks writes "Who are the trolls?"

One person (guessing who it is I'll leave as an exercise for the reader) is trolling, and the poor saps responding angrily are helping him succeed in his trolling career. It's one thing to simply debunk with a link and move on, but diving into the muck is just demonstrating that trolling works here.
posted by mullingitover at 9:14 PM on March 19, 2008



TrolleyOffTheTracks writes "Who are the trolls?"

One person (guessing who it is I'll leave as an exercise for the reader) is trolling, and the poor saps responding angrily are helping him succeed in his trolling career. It's one thing to simply debunk with a link and move on, but diving into the muck is just demonstrating that trolling works here.
posted by mullingitover at 12:14 AM on March 20 [+] [!]


OK. I'm laughing. You got me. Either your response is obfuscation or it is piece of subtle business or it is pointing to that which is so very evident. Hmmmnnn. I choose #3. I choose that which I think is self evident.

Good God, I voted for you in the last election, did'nt I?
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 9:37 PM on March 19, 2008


It's weird how some people here are so slow to predict that Obama's speech will be a major political watershed, and yet they were able to predict with great certainty the outcome of that thread before it was ever posted.
posted by tkolar at 9:37 PM on March 19, 2008


They're not just hell to moderate because they're long, unwieldy, filled with passionate folks, and so quick-moving we can't keep up with them. There's also this problem

I think I understand why you haven't done it, but it's precisely that plus the fact that it's just gone on for far too long (500+ comments on a great speech about unity, most of which are shit slinging between members of the same goddamn party, seriously?) that makes me think you should just go on and pull the plug on that Terri Schiavo of a thread.

Really, the doctors tell me its brain turned to fluid long ago, it was probably blind when you thought it was looking at you, it needs to be force-fed, and people are picketing outside and having narcissistic demonstrations and fucking things up for the other patients. Honestly, I'm waiting for Patricia Heaton to show up. Even having the "remove from activity" button wasn't enough to encourage me to try to make a constructive contribution to that conversation, mostly because hitting that button in such a context feels not unlike humanity failing.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:54 PM on March 19, 2008


It all has to do with bailiwicks, tkolar.. We just don't have as much experience judging watershed political speeches, which are rare, as we do front page posts.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:58 PM on March 19, 2008


It may be a bit premature to call the speech a "watershed"....maybe looking back a few years later and charting changes or progress made thereafter, but let's all calm down a bit here.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 PM on March 19, 2008


I tried to short-circuit the trolling with nerdiness by making a math joke, but no one appreciates math jokes :(

[integral] (1/(cabin)) d (cabin) = log cabin + C = houseboat
posted by spiderwire at 10:02 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


it was all of the true believers wanting to be The Person Who Posted it to Metafilter.

caddis' prize was being The Person Who Posted The Obama Speech. If he had kept his pants zipped for a few days while some context was built up someone *else* might have posted it, and then where would he be?


What a load. Do you think I wanted to post this? Do you think I wanted to piss off Cortex and the other admins? OK, I will admit that I was in a pique reading Cortex's reasons for deleting the first post, but I posted this not to get it under my name (Cortex is right, the way I posted it was thin, and frankly it is not one of the posts I would point to to show what wonderfully obscure things I have found or how well I could craft a post), no, this was posted because I strongly believed that it needed to be on the front page. Given the number of comments and favorites it is getting I think a significant number of others agree (and those favorites are not for how I did it, but for the substance of the speech itself). I cashed in tons of goodwill and pissed off people whom I respect tremendously. Rather than stoke my ego I paid a price for putting it up. I would have much rather that it had been someone else. We can argue all day over how best to put it into context, how long to wait, etc, etc., but I think it speaks for itself. It is so eloquent that few commentators will ever do it justice, either here or in the media. I still believe that it is the right thing for it to be up, but if I had it to do over I would be far, far less contentious in my actions. Cortex didn't deserve any of that, and I don't just mean the angry screed. (Note to self, always wait that extra ten minutes prior to hitting post when you are feeling vexed.) If I had it to do over I think I would have decried politely the prior deletion and said that I was putting it up myself and asked that it be allowed to stay for at least a few hours to judge how community felt about it or something to that effect.

This isn't important because of the political race or about Obama beating Clinton etc etc. That aspect is so boring. It is important because someone with a real audience, not just some obscure professor in a class with twenty students, has talked to the nation like an adult about race, has acknowledged both the black point of view and the opposing point of view as valid. It is usually, almost always, a one sided diatribe accusing the other side of not getting it. That may be smugly satisfying, but it doesn't open doors to discussion. Few if any politicians make this acknowledgment and none so eloquently. The sppeech is important mainly for what it has to say about race, not for what it has to say about the race. If only the latter then it doesn't deserve to be on the front page given the other open threads, but those other open threads are about the race, not about race. That distinction was missing in most of this discussion. If I had made a better post I would have made that point more eloquently. I am no Obama.
posted by caddis at 10:40 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Intelligent Discourse: 1
Bitching: 0


Sorry Phire, you shouldn't have placed all those bets at half-time. Current score for that thread stands at:

Intelligent Discourse: 3
Same old Obama/Hillary talking points and name-calling you could find on any other site: 57
posted by Gary at 10:58 PM on March 19, 2008


Do you think I wanted to post this... no, this was posted because I strongly believed that it needed to be on the front page.

"The power of Obama compels me! The power of Obama compels me!"

Given the number of comments and favorites it is getting I think a significant number of others agree (and those favorites are not for how I did it, but for the substance of the speech itself).

Nuthin' to do with nuthin'.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:10 PM on March 19, 2008


Do you think I wanted to post this?

Yes.
posted by tkolar at 11:16 PM on March 19, 2008


Gary is basically right. After halftime John McCain's campaign manager came it to muck things up and remind us that even if we are enthralled by an eloquent message on race that there is still a political fight going on. (By the way MetaMan, Hilary is done, stick a fork in her.)
posted by caddis at 11:31 PM on March 19, 2008


By the way MetaMan, Hilary is done, stick a fork in her.

MetaMan's not here, you want the crap pile two doors down.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:38 PM on March 19, 2008


Geez, MetaMan is acting like he read Jessatex's reasons for standing against politicsfilter here and used it as hir gameplan over there!
posted by mwhybark at 12:00 AM on March 20, 2008


Geez, MetaMan is acting like he read Jessatex's reasons for standing against politicsfilter here and used it as hir gameplan over there! dhoyt!
posted by OmieWise at 4:41 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Instead of contemplating whether or not the speech is historic and will be remembered through the ages, maybe we should focus a little closer to our own earthly domain -- whether the threads that resulted from it will amount to anything whatsoever. Because looking at the 500+ messages on the blue side, and nearly 300 here, it's hard to see what we can distill from either of them that would be of much value.

Some of you said that it was vitally important that we discuss the speech, but can anyone point to any deep insights that resulted from posting it to the front page? Something crucial that would have otherwise never come into existence had Caddis not chosen to spitefully defy Cortex?

And here? After all of these replies to this thread, it seems that the people who thought that it should have been posted still think it should have been posted, and the people who didn't still don't. Was there really any point?
posted by Dave Faris at 7:40 AM on March 20, 2008


You make a good point, Dave. Despite caddis's self-serving "I was taking one for the team!!" response above, it seems pretty clear to me that the thread was, on balance, another politicsfilter shitfest. But, then, I was of the "don't post" persuasion anyway.

I don't think, however, that the thread being crappy obviates this discussion. I think it's worth discussing these things even if the positive results aren't manifest. At least next time we'll have that thread to point to as a warning.
posted by OmieWise at 8:14 AM on March 20, 2008


“you're saying that there would have been tremendous value to posting a link to a news article on the day of the Putsch instead of waiting a week to let people gain perspective on it and produce a much more comprehensive post giving context to the event?”

Not so much - more that there would have been value to making a post on the day of the Putsch that includes enough links to give people who aren’t aware of its signifigance some context on it.

The day it happened, yes, I think those radio broadcasts would have been disturbing and valuable. I think a rundown of who was behind the coup and their motives, the degree of crisis that it was and so forth would have been tremendously valuable and educative such that three days later people would have understood the tremendous significance and drama of Yeltzin’s arrival, his standing atop the tank, all that.

The difference is one between “Meteor headed towards us!” and “Meteor narrowly missed Earth months ago *cough*”

Again - the post itself, I’m not defending. Nor that there should be more topical posts short on info.
I’m just eschewing this idea that there can’t be a timely post - and that such a post is can be more valuble and dramatic and useful in discussion in medias res than in retrospect after the matter has been long settled.

But of course, that’s sometimes and limited to unique events. I merely argue - this is one.
It doesn’t seem so to some folks because of the glut of other political posts which, I agree, do fall more readily under your (et. al.) criteria.

I also sympathise with the task of predicting if a given topic is significant enough to overcome that criteria.

But I attribute not seeing - this specific speech only - as significant to either not being aware of many of the issues involved, the aforementioned Obama fatigue (which I readily cede to) and the general shallow perspective of the cursorily informed - which unfortunately includes a good deal of the media (the “he read it off a teleprompter!” comments and such).

It’s not so much that we need perspective looking back - because it’s intellectually stimulating and agreeable to attempt to predict the ultimate resolution of this (and use it as a benchmark for Obama’s future performance - if he fails to live up to this, or succeeds - either way - what drama).

Much like Muhammad Ali’s changing his name or refusing to be inducted - those stories had an initiation and a resolution many months later and even then the drama was ongoing.

That the rhetoric here or elsewhere doesn’t live up to the expectation we have, or should have, to rationally discuss the issue and introduce concepts and information to each other in a stimulating manner doesn’t - or shouldn’t - mean we shy away from such a thing. That is, I believe, the experiential ideal we’re here for.

But again, that’s a broader general principle that really only applies to this specifically as a unique ongoing event and something I think should be discussed here.

It doesn’t address how the post itself was framed and sundry issues. Those I cede to the guys doing the actual work, moderating and whatnot. They say it’s tough, ok, I believe them. They think it should be deleted because it’s a crummy post, ok. It’s not my neck, so, sure.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think there should be any post on this speech at all, anymore than I think - theoretically - we should have waited until the Putsch was over until posting on it - who knew it was going to last 3 days before the fact?
It would have been a fun 3 days debating, sharing information and trying to see the outcome of the event before the wheel stopped turning.
And at the end we would have been wowed by the turn of events and thoroughly gratified and overwhelmed by the image of Yeltsin on the tank.

Well, those of us who had followed it, others would bitch about why are we posting a story about some drunk.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:30 AM on March 20, 2008


Man, having any sympathy for Hillary at all is really making me aware of how hard it must be to be a conservative on this site. That everyone is yelling about MetaMan being a troll, but no one has called out people like fourcheesemac who have said far more offensive things about Clinton, is crazy. I like both candidates, but the unevenness of treatment here is astounding.

Yes, the thread has pretty much gone to shit, but it really isn't just because of one pro-Clinton poster.
posted by mdn at 9:20 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac needs to take some of the heat for that thread being a wash, agreed. Part of the problem with The Speech is that it concerns several topics that are so near and dear to people's hearts in this almost desperate way that it becomes difficult to reign that in to have a discussion. MetaMan may or may not have been being sincere (my bets are on "no") but no one could leave it alone. Similarly fourcheesemac said some really shitty things about Hillary and I'm sure, if pressed on it, would say some variation of 1) it's true and 2) "desperate times..." etc.

In between the crappy potshots there has been some good stuff going on in that thread, but I just sort of wonder if anyone who was in the "it must be posted!" camp really thought

1. it was going to go any better than that?
2. it would have gone better than that with a better presentation or better timing?
3. continued presence of these political threadwrecks is compelling evidence for a different approach to breaking newsfilter posts even of very important stuff (outside of natural disaster/911 type stuff)?

My perspective is heavily informed by the fact that this thread and that thread having taken up a disproportionate amount of my time in which I would rather be doing something else, which is why I'm turning the question back out to other people.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:59 AM on March 20, 2008


I regret posting it, not just for the way in which it was posted, but for the way in which it turned out as well. I think I must be naive in thinking that we would have been able to discuss something beautiful without devolving the way it did. I am going with number 1, and number 2.
posted by caddis at 10:10 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


That everyone is yelling about MetaMan being a troll, but no one has called out people like fourcheesemac who have said far more offensive things about Clinton, is crazy.

I agree, I think his comments have been vitriolic and awful, and I think the insistence by other people in the thread that Obama is consistent and pure on all counts is divisive in its own way. I intimated that MetaMan is a troll/sockpuppet above, and I'd like to clarify that this isn't because of his position re. Clinton, but because his comments are not internally consistent and started off so grating. Just on the issue of where Obama stands, he's accused him of being too far to the right, left and too centrist. That kind of inconsistency doesn't strike me as sincere.
posted by OmieWise at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2008


MetaMan has made something like 40 posts on the thread, all as negative and inflamatory as he can make them and going of in kinds of directions. Opinions kind of split as to whether he's trolling or not (My own opinion would be "Are you fucking crazy? of course he's trolling") but theres certainly something up there.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2008


Yeah, I'm not saying MetaMan is clean - some of his comments seem reasonable and others seem unfair or just nutty. But there are a lot of Obama supporters on the thread who have made very unfair statements about Clinton, and fourcheesemac in particular has been honestly just offensive.

I dunno, I really don't know why I keep going back - I always want there to be a way to discuss these things intelligently, and there just never is. And what's so ironic is that's exactly what Obama is meant to promise! But he can't seem to do it against Hillary, or at very least his supporters can't...

People just cannot talk about politics at a remove. It always becomes emotional, and the decisions are made based on vague ideals and strong moralistic urges, but not on sensible interactive thinking. i'm sorry for getting mixed up in this stuff yet again.
posted by mdn at 10:54 AM on March 20, 2008


Also, from the POV of someone without a dog in this fight, MetaMan kinda got unfairly treated from the start - he was called out as a troll long before he had said anything that was really over the line, and long after many Obama supporters had made very questionable comments about Clinton... It's not hard to see it as though he got ganged up on and struck back. - anyway - I'll leave it here.
posted by mdn at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2008


I think breaking newsfilter stuff--outside of the few threads that are quite obviously devoted to spreading up-to-the-minute information to other members who don't have access to other sources (like the thread on the fires in SoCal)--works the worst when it's just a single link and an implicit "discuss." The motivation for posting something that is widely available from other news sources is usually because the poster wants to have a good discussion with other mefites, which isn't in itself bad, but if you don't put it together in a meaty way so that there is something obvious to discuss, people are going to seize on whatever they feel like talking about, which will be interpreted as 'nitpicking' (at best) or trolling (at worst) by those who want to talk about something else. Cross that with a subject where people feel really, really passionately about their position, and it's a recipe for disaster.

I think Malor's comment in that thread summed up exactly where it went wrong. I don't think people need to write a dissertation to make a post, but if you don't provide any context at all for a post like that, I'm not sure how people are supposed to intuit that discussion should be limited to talking about what the speech means, and where to go from here, and how to understand some of the problems he's pointing out.

Even the most carefully composed political FPP probably would suck, though, because there's just a contingent of people here who are evidently completely and totally unwilling to have a political discussion where they concede that people acting in good faith can look at the same set of facts and still legitimately prefer a different candidate. I dunno if it's residual anger and frustration from the past 7 years bubbling up or a character flaw or what, but there's definitely a lot of that low-level condescension and disbelief that someone could hold a different opinion that eggs on people like fourcheesemac and MetaMan.
posted by iminurmefi at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2008


Opinions kind of split as to whether he's trolling or not

I think it's both. He's definitely trolling, but throwing just enough substance in the posts to keep generating responses.

At this point, though, it's time to be asking what there is to be gained from the thread? His inflammatory postings, cheap touche' lines and slippery perspectives have dominated the conversation for the past day. He seems more interested in inciting reactions and scoring points than in a sincere representation of his beliefs. It's not as though anyone will convince him to become an Obama supporter, and it's also not as though he's going to convince anyone to become a Clinton supporter. Whether or not he's a sincere supporter of his candidate, he's enjoying stirring the pot too much to stop. He's succeeded in drawing far more attention to himself than to the post topic, and I feel like an idiot now for trying to address some of his points. It doesn't matter. The conversation has reached a stalemate, and since he won't release his grip on the thread, there's not much chance it'll get back to the topic of race in America as it relates to the Presidency or give people who are uncertain of their support any useful information.

It's probably a compliment to MeFi that people are slow to recognize. I'm so used to pretty good conversation here that it takes a long, long time for me to believe that someone is just trying to be an asshole - the benefit of the doubt here is pretty generous. After a while, though, there's no other conclusion. I feel like I'm on the old Air America blog at this point.
posted by Miko at 11:19 AM on March 20, 2008


Oh god, now he thinks he's funny...
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on March 20, 2008


Can I just collect a few of fourcheesemac's comments here? I called him out on one of them in the blue but there are several others and this is FAR FAR from a complete list:

(After calling HRC a racist) Or I should say, Hillary is a opportunist, for whom racism is not out of bounds if necessary. I doubt she cares one way or the other about the color of anything but money.

HRC sounds like a squawking chicken uttering her ghost-written, uninspired truisms and lies about "fighting" for the little people she never cared much about before all of this.

I swear to god she reminds me of Imelda Marcos.

if she can't be president then she's gonna break all your toys and storm home to her mansion in Chappaqua.


What I'd like to see most is fourcheesemac and MetaMan off in their own thread commenting back and forth to each other, and everyone else in the caddis thread. Is that possible? I totally agree with mdn in finding this really frustrating. As she said, I can't even begin to imagine what the frustration of being a conservative here must be like.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:29 AM on March 20, 2008


Saying that Hillarys been trying to use race as a weapon for a while isn't exactly controversial.

The other stuff, yeah, it's kind of ich. At least there isn't 50 FUCKING COMMENTS worth of it.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on March 20, 2008


MataMan is either crazy or helpless, and as a person with OCD I'm thinking he has no power over his compulsion to have the last word, whatever that word is. He's probably loosing sleep and hasn't eaten in over 24 hours. He won't even react to a legit offer. If there is a way to contact his loved ones I urge that it be done.
As for the post, a bear could moonwalk through there and no one would notice. I'd like to see him given some time off and that wreck of a thread deleted.
Instead I'll just vanish for a bit.
posted by dawson at 11:32 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


At least he's started including some cites with his bombast.
posted by Floydd at 11:35 AM on March 20, 2008


I don't think it's really fair to lay the blame for the trainwrecking at the feet of one or two people. Everyone who reacted and enabled the troll is partly to blame.

But honestly, a thoughtful, reasoned thread about emotional issues on a public and popular message board that allows anonymous comments and sockpuppet accounts? What could possibly go wrong?
posted by Dave Faris at 11:40 AM on March 20, 2008


Oops, accidentally posted this over at the other thread

It's a trainwreck of a thread with 105 favorites and posts like "Thanks metafilter for the wonderful discussion. This community is very smart, considerate, and can write like no other I've been involved in."

I think it's possible to over focus on the trolling/negativity.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2008


I'd like to see him given some time off and that wreck of a thread deleted.

Please don't delete the thread. Let it stay there as the recommended open thread when you delete all the other politicsfilter posts for the next 29 days. At that point you may as well leave it open for the PA primary as a catch-all for that.
posted by Gary at 11:42 AM on March 20, 2008


“1. it was going to go any better than that?”

On it’s own, yep. With the history of the other politicsfilter posts, nope.

“2. it would have gone better than that with a better presentation or better timing?”

Yep. Could have been more neutral - as a benchmark in the discussion on race in the U.S. - as opposed to ‘rah Obama/Hillary/McCain.

“3. continued presence of these political threadwrecks is compelling evidence for a different approach to breaking newsfilter posts even of very important stuff (outside of natural disaster/911 type stuff)?”

Question presumes the post being politically charged/slanted. I don’t think the answer is to eliminate all newsfilter posts. By the same token I dislike the obitfilter, rush to post first stuff.

I think iminurmefi’s implicit argument for more focus is well taken -that breaking newsfilter works worst (granting exceptions like the SoCal fires) when the idea is to run something up a flag pole and see who spits and who salutes.

Other threads - when they’re doubles - are held to a sort of weighing standard - e.g. which post is meatier, better, more informative, more conducive to reasonal discussion, etc. No reason not to let it stand that way for breakingnewsfilter. Maybe give the poster a 2nd shot at it. Something. Such that the folks who just want to blather about how great Obama is or how bad he sux are visibly and pointedly off topic.
But I’m just extemporaneously speculating. Y'all are the mods. Way out of my depth.
But the title of this thread is “Should we FPP the Obama speech?”
So I’m saying “yes, but...”

I mean there hasn’t been anything (far as I know) on McCain’s gaffe. And really, I don’t think it would warrant an FPP.
But I can see how nesting the gaffe into an examination of McCain’s statements, policies, the trend of the action in the middle east, the questions it raises with the Iran and whether we’re conducting raids or by-proxy war with them - would make something interesting to talk about.
Then you’re not saying “Hey, lookit what McCain said! He sux!” you’re actually examining the issue the statement is rooted in and the potential future flowering of the larger situation.

Just depends on your own focus really. If it’s shallow, it’s probably not going to be much of a post (like tracers, my argument points both ways).

Meh. Been playing with legos with my kids, so my brain has been on nifty stuff with legos, so I posted on legos.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:48 AM on March 20, 2008


cortex writes "I can agree to disagree with you on this; honestly, 'visceral' is not a word I think of as having anything to do with what the blue does well. I'm not imagining that a time-delayed, more reflective post about the speech would be wholly free of snark or lazy/snipey rhetoric or any such thing, but I do think it would be less, and less welcome, and it's precisely the lack of hot-on-the-fire viscerality that would help on that front. Mefi is not an activism blog; it's not a rally; it's not a political boxing match. When it starts to look like any of those things is, in my opinion, when it is failing to be what makes this place good."

But how do you get that across to people, aside from these discussions? Most people who come to Metafilter never read Metatalk. I imagine trying to achieve some imaginary ideal is nearly impossible, particularly when it goes against the nature of many people here. I realize it must be frustrating to deal with newsfilter posts, but I don't see what you envision (e.g., posting about an important political speech weeks after the fact) ever happening here, unless you do something more concrete to communicate these very specific wishes to all the members of the site. Talking about it here will only reach a very limited segment of the site membership.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:14 PM on March 20, 2008


This is what I've been trying to say about the results of fanatical belief in the goodness of any one political opponent over another; it leads to irrationalism.

Heh.
posted by Floydd at 12:35 PM on March 20, 2008


Clearly I've got this guy in mind, but I do wonder if it would be a sensible and reasonable pony-request to suggets a choking mechanism preventing users posting more than 50 times on a given thread within 48 hours, basically as a flame-war dampening mechanism and to prevent people flooding threads with POV-spam.

Though I've never actually seen anyone do that on MetaFilter before. I like to think that if cortex hadn't already declared the thread to be the land of the lost he's be getting a bit of a talking to right now, and possibly being asked to have a bit of a sit down.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on March 20, 2008


Cortex can't silence the amazing phenomena which is MetaMan.
posted by Gary at 12:59 PM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


Heh.
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on March 20, 2008


i'm surprised someone actually made the ParisParamus comment. i was thinking the same thing but wasn't going to say it out loud.
posted by spiderwire at 1:15 PM on March 20, 2008


Other threads - when they’re doubles - are held to a sort of weighing standard

Actually they're not. Unless there's an overwhelming "one in a hundred" reason to preference the later one over the earlier one, the earlier one stays. This is to keep us from having to judge doubles on their merits, however it does sometimes mean that people rush to be first and their lame posts stay when others could have done a better job.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:20 PM on March 20, 2008


i'm surprised someone actually made the ParisParamus comment. i was thinking the same thing but wasn't going to say it out loud.

** to be clear, i decided i was wrong, and like i said in the thread, i don't think he was trolling. just the natural result of a thread going downhill.
posted by spiderwire at 1:41 PM on March 20, 2008


“...however it does sometimes mean that people rush to be first and their lame posts stay when others could have done a better job.”

Well, there ya go. Maybe rectify that in some way. I’m not saying the arguments on the opposite side here aren’t valid.
Merely that there are unique circumstances to some posts.
Hell the ink this got in the Sun Times alone... I personally think this particular issue (not necessarily the post itself) breaks those one in one hundred odds.
But yeah, there’s some flexibility there that results in a poorer post potentially staying. But maybe the other stuff could be folded in and give greater resolution to the thread.
So you value the flexibility more or the post or what? Maybe cut a deal with the poster. I dunno. Just offering my two cents. Don’t get why people rush to be first over having something nifty to chew over in the first place so maybe I’m not the best resource here.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:07 PM on March 20, 2008


Cortex can't silence the amazing phenomena which is...

And a MetaFilter in joke is born!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:10 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


But yeah, there’s some flexibility there that results in a poorer post potentially staying. But maybe the other stuff could be folded in and give greater resolution to the thread.

What it avoids are moderator judgment calls on "which post is better" which is worse than a less-good post staying. The guidelines only work if they basically can operate without us having to spend too much time justifying things with "well I just liked it better" Sometimes this means valuing the process over the quality but honestly it doesn't happen much. It's very rare now that there are two similar or double posts where great conversation has happened in both of them by the time we see them. In some cases we'll tell people to please repost good stuff in the one that we're leaving open.

However, in our desire to not 1) automate this, and always have a human looking at it 2) not make it a mod judgmet call thing which would just mean endless MeTa threads and fights and GRAWR, we do it this way which is more or less objective except in extreme cases which we think are going to be non-controversial.

In this particular case, we had removed I think one sort of "meh" posting of the speech but there was no double-post situation. Axing caddis' post in the hopes that someone would make a "better" post just seemed like a futile effort and really not something we do, so we left this one. Really many people in many situations can make the argument for "but this is a special situation that involves having special procedures!" and while I think this speech was great and think people should go read it, we're still back looking at "special snowflake, you are not a" in the index.

It would be easier to make this argument if MeFi was dedicated to this sort of post, which would mean it was practically a requirement for MeFi to 1) have this GOOD speech posted and 2) have a GOOD post about this GOOD speech posted 3) moderate the hell out of the thread so that we would have a GOOD discussion about the GOOD post about the GOOD speech. However, MeFi is not like this and so it did not go like this. Changing the rules or guidelines to accomodate these rare situations isn't really going to fix the larger problems/reasons why that thread didn't go better.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:43 PM on March 20, 2008


we're still back looking at "special snowflake, you are not a" in the index.

I suddenly and powerfully want us to actually have an index.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:51 PM on March 20, 2008


Oh, sorry, I borrowed the index back in 2006. Did you need it back?
posted by languagehat at 3:00 PM on March 20, 2008


see skippy, damned
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:09 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, having any sympathy for Hillary at all is really making me aware of how hard it must be to be a conservative on this site. That everyone is yelling about MetaMan being a troll, but no one has called out people like fourcheesemac who have said far more offensive things about Clinton, is crazy. I like both candidates, but the unevenness of treatment here is astounding.

Proper spelling and grammar goes a long way, I think.

It's kinda a shame that the thread devolved, though I think it lasted a fair while as a pretty good discussion.
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on March 20, 2008


Geez, MetaMan is acting like dhoyt!

MM, from the thread (obviously, excerpted):
"We are not what we seem to be...always remember that." THis immediately precedes a bit of Mefi filk taken in part from Macbeth.

Omie, do you know something we don't know? Is someone we know peeping out from behind that mask?

Or is it all only so much sound and fury, signifying nothing?
posted by mwhybark at 5:15 PM on March 20, 2008


Yeah, I turned into a real asshole in that thread. I'm giving myself a time out.


I apologize.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:42 PM on March 20, 2008


Y'know, on reviewing MM's posting history, I'm less inclined toward the puppet idea.

MM has expressed a consistent pro-Hillary position, distaste for contemporary popular music while claiming experience in the music industry, a knowledge of education and parenthood and theater and in particular the Greeks, and both an interest in words and language and poetry and a concern with oratory as a political tool.

I realize I should link, but I find that a tad creepy and what I write above is easily verifiable.

A concern with the popular preference for skilled orators is right from classical political history and theory. It of course would tend to lead one to mistrust Obama. Exposure to that set of ideas would also cover the left-field references to masks and roles.

I'm not sure how Bill Clinton's rhetorical skills fit in, but MM cites the economic and polling success of the Clinton era, not Bill's speeches.

So while the inconsistent rhetorical positions adopted in the thread seem to signify trolling, it's possible they may simply represent a distaste for consistency as a debating style married to a genuine, deep-seated antipathy toward a political candidate who embodies that set of skills with such mastery.

Indeed, MM's repeated characterization of Obama as 'effete' would tend to reinforce this analysis.

YMMV.
posted by mwhybark at 5:52 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac, the 94 people who favorited this comment bear some of the blame for your performance in that thread. You definitely had the crowd at your back in there, while you did your tiddley-wink battle with metaman.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:46 PM on March 20, 2008


*adds thread to recent activity*
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:41 PM on March 20, 2008


Wow... I make that 64 posts, with a flounce-out at the end. Is that some kind of metafilter record?
posted by Artw at 8:24 PM on March 20, 2008


the problem is too many presidential election threads came before. the solution was to let this one get to the front page but then not to post so many other ones later.

also, any data on how many threads for the last election? Is it really more or is the community divided on who they like and since a lot of Obama people are passionate and will comment a lot, those folk who support Hillary don't like it.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:29 PM on March 20, 2008


Interesting set of questions, Ironmouth. That might actually make a great MeTa of it's own self.

I recall a great deal of "Yes more president election filter" and "No more president election filter." I do not recall any passion for the candidates. There were, I think, more folks posting from a conservative viewpoint - at LEAST half a percent more - than currently.
posted by mwhybark at 8:42 PM on March 20, 2008


Oh wow. I don't have the other thread on my Recent Activity because I knew I'd obsess over it and refresh constantly and not get any work done, so I decided to read it in a month when things had cooled down. But I skimmed the thread out of curiosity just now and checked out MetaMan's profile - holy crap. about 70 comments out of 100-odd comments were posted in that thread. I think having 70% of your activity be focused on anything is a good indicator that you need to step the fuck away from the keyboard, but YMMV.

I know that there are two camps on MeFi in terms of "It's about the links" vs. "It's about the comments". I know I certainly come to MeFi for the intelligent discussion and I think it's a bit of a shame that there's this inherent disapproval of a post that's essentially "This happened, discuss." I mean, I understand why the mods are leery of posts like that, but a lot of us hang out on MeFi because the level of discussion oftentimes really is better than that of the rest of the internet. The thread is a trainwreck, but that doesn't mean the sentiment behind posting the thread wasn't genuine and well-meaning, y'know?
posted by Phire at 9:15 PM on March 20, 2008


Wow. Deletions!
posted by Artw at 9:25 PM on March 20, 2008


Yeah I deleted a few "you're a useless cunt" comments and surrounding nonsense because they were getting flagged all to hell. I also gave MetaMan the night off and dropped him an email about it. I swear this is going to be the thread -- the Speech Thread, not this one -- that is seriously making us think about comment limiting/restrictions. 60+ comments by one person in a 700+ comment thread and a bunch of normally decent MeFi posters reduced to spewing completely inappropriate bile in response, I don't even know what to do about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:36 PM on March 20, 2008


If nothing else (and there is much, much else) this has proven cortex right. I even feel sorta bad about the Obama post I did last week. I'll never do another. Well, at least not for a few years.
I need to defrag my brain.
I suppose we'll know Obama has really arrived once firefox spell checker recognizes his name
posted by dawson at 9:46 PM on March 20, 2008


Thanks for that. I was beginning to suspected you guys were just letting that guy run rampage to proove a point.

(and deleteing my comment snapping at him is absolutely fair, though TBH I still stand by it. Removing his flounce-out and return seems a little odd though.)
posted by Artw at 10:06 PM on March 20, 2008


Thanks, caddis. Sometimes you have to destroy a village to save it.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:20 PM on March 20, 2008


Exposure to that set of ideas would also cover the left-field references to masks and roles.

Oh no, not the return of Phil Cubeta!
posted by Locative at 10:42 PM on March 20, 2008


I was overloaded between work and home, so I didn't get to read or post anything til now.

And I'm feeling pretty happy about that. Wow, that Speech Thread is a disaster.
posted by dw at 11:32 PM on March 20, 2008


Oh no, not the return of Phil Cubeta!

I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking it.
posted by EarBucket at 7:02 AM on March 21, 2008


I was beginning to suspected you guys were just letting that guy run rampage to proove a point.

Nope, not our style. However as I said above, threads that move as quickly as that one did with the sheer volume of responses and heated debate are pretty much impossible to moderate given our current system. When we say "these sorts of threads don't go well here" we don't just mean that people don't act well in them, we mean that they can't be paid attention to like the site normally is because they operate differently from "normal" threads here. I did pretty much nothing yesterday but check out flags on that thread, reply here, teach my Getting Started With Excel class, and finish up the backtagging project. By the time I'd checked out a flag on an offending comment, there were already 30 more comments after it.

For a comment to truly be deleteable in MeFi proper, it has to be pretty derailing, or in bad faith or obviously trolling. We don't really have a mechanism to step in and say "I think you've had enough time in the sandbox here..." and giving MetaMan a timeout was actually pretty extralegal as far as the MeFi guidelines go which I feel pretty on the fence about. It's easy to silence opposing viewpoints and simmer things down, but that's neither cool nor tactically kosher.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:46 AM on March 21, 2008


Has there ever been a thread outside of metatalk that's not been deleted, but simply locked? In these kinds of situations where a thread goes all juggernaut about its isness, it could be considered to pull the thread itself a timeout, rather than the most excited individual(s) in it. Lock it with a note like, "this thread closed for 24 hours for cleaning," deal with flag backlog and actual other things, and reopen after that period. That'd avoid outright axing a discussion, and drain quite a bit of the kind of heat that comes from people excitedly vying for last words.
posted by Drastic at 8:03 AM on March 21, 2008


We literally have no mechanism for a close-but-don't-lock on non-metatalk threads. I don't know for sure that Matt has never hacked one close by extraordinary means, but it isn't in the toolset.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 AM on March 21, 2008


Yeah adding a feature like that would involve a whole new set of guidelines for something that really happens at most once a month. Plus it's a real edgy judgment call, as I said above, to do something like that and in a thread with hundreds of participants, would generate more than a little "fuck you" email. It's not really a feature that solves more problems than it creates.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:27 AM on March 21, 2008


In other words, don't post threads like that anymore.

I'm thinking about this seriously. I mean, if it's well-known enough for people to have strong opinions on it, does it really belong on MetaFilter? I mean, the archetypical MetaFilter, with the deprecated "best of the web" standard? I thought MetaFilter was supposed to be about hidden treasures, not advancing causes (noble or otherwise).

I'm not calling for a moratorium or a burning or anything drastic, but I sure wish people would think about things a bit more, and in that light. I actually came to MetaFilter as a news site; somewhere between "mainstream media" and OMGWTFIGOTTABLOGABOUTTHISSHIT. In other words, because of the filter aspect. And I'm not saying we can't do news. I enjoyed (probably the wrong word) the recent Tibet thread posted by adamvasco with comments by homonculus. But there's something fundamentally different between what happened in that thread and what happened (happens) in threads like this one.

An important aspect of the "self-link" rule is that you can't be fully impartial to content you're close to. Similarly, if you think "I can't wait to post this!" maybe you should. Go outside and take a walk, bring the garbage cans back in, and straighten the shoes in the entryway. It's not about the timeliness; we've already established "posting before anyone else gets to it" is a motivation. It's about being dispassionate. I generally hate it when people trot out dictionary definitions, but I don't mean it condescendinly. dispassionate: free from or unaffected by passion; devoid of personal feeling or bias; impartial; calm. You'll never be free from bias, and I don't think anyone should be free from passion. But you can be calm, reflective, and moderate. There's a reason for that. Outragefilter. Outrage fatigue. Where do these terms come from?

I'm pretty sure Black folks in Alabama were outraged at segregation. But without calm, focus, and planning, I don't know that they would have been as dramatically successful. Certainly not if they had rioted. And caddis' taunt to cortex in his post was the equivalent of a brick being thrown through the Blue.
posted by Eideteker at 8:56 AM on March 21, 2008


And now that I'm thinking about it in that way, caddis' behavior was more like Rev. Wright's (angry, defiant, divisive) than Obama's response; the very speech he was posting. Somewhere along the way, the meaning was lost.
posted by Eideteker at 8:58 AM on March 21, 2008


Yeah, ANYONE could have predicted that some rnadom nutjob would post 70+ times to the thread in what amounts to deliberate sabotage. That's entirely predicatble.
posted by Artw at 8:58 AM on March 21, 2008


Whoo-hoo, comment #350!

COMMENT LIMIT REACHED FOR USER #20821 IN THIS THREAD. ENJOY YOUR TIMEOUT.
posted by Eideteker at 8:59 AM on March 21, 2008


Damn you, ARTW. You ruined my fun AND my joke.
posted by Eideteker at 8:59 AM on March 21, 2008


I regret having posted in that thread.

In thread posting limits seem reasonable as long as they're set at some high level where "if you cross this line, you're clearly too heated over the issue to think clearly." 50 seems about right.
posted by drezdn at 9:02 AM on March 21, 2008


Deepest apologies.
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on March 21, 2008


Yeah, ANYONE could have predicted that some rnadom nutjob would post 70+ times to the thread in what amounts to deliberate sabotage. That's entirely predicatble.

I realize you're being sarcastic, but at this point in the Internet's life it actually is entirely predictable.
posted by Gary at 9:16 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've seen it across the internet many, many times before. But on Metafilter? I've not seen it happen before here. Maybe I just don't visit enough politicsFilter threads, but it seems very unusual.
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on March 21, 2008


(In fact, as some have pointed out, it probably worked a hell of a lotbetter because that sort of thing is so rare here)
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on March 21, 2008


"...on Metafilter? I've not seen it happen before here. Maybe I just don't visit enough politicsFilter threads, but it seems very unusual."

It's like when the aliens come to visit and act all nice and friendly and eliminate disease and poverty and stuff? But nobody trusts them at first because we Earthlings have never, you know, seen an alien and shit? But then the aliens are all nicey-nice and helpful and whatever and us Earthlings think "Hey, maybe these aliens aren't so bad" and shit and they've got this book that starts out pretty good and maybe we'll just hop in their spaceship and take a little visit, check it out, see what's the haps in Alienville and all.
Then we figure it out.

"To Serve Man."
It's a cookbook.
posted by Floydd at 9:30 AM on March 21, 2008


Yeah, ANYONE could have predicted that some rnadom nutjob would post 70+ times to the thread in what amounts to deliberate sabotage. That's entirely predicatble.

It's in the realm of the foreseeable; I think it'd be a heck of a stretch to predict it, per se, but it's kind of the natural 20 slot on critical hit table 12b, Things That Go Wrong In Highly Contentious 'Issue' Threads. Every once in a while we'll see a really, really aggressive one-on-one or one-on-many in a long thread, and while 60 or 70 comments is pretty damned unusual it is not, I don't think, unprecedented. (Infodumpers, start your engines.)

But more to the point, it's an extreme example of a less-extreme class of behavior that does arise in these threads: people having lengthy, heated, not particularly respectful or even-handed or even remotely good faith arguments with each other over divisive aspects of whatever the topic is. The post can act as a bump and a set for some really spikey, noise-like behavior.

With breaking stuff, the contemporality of the issue doesn't help—people are still often having first reactions, which I think adds a lot of heat to the fire and makes it harder (what with passions high) for folks to step back and say, "you know, I agree with you on x but not on y and I think z is where we're looking at this differently, and because I feel strongly about z I'm inclined to react badly to what you're arguing".

But back to the line about predicting it: no, no one knew MetaMan or fourcheesemac or anyone else in that thread specifically was going to react so viscerally to the situation, and certainly no one knew a many-dozen-comment marathon from MetaMan was in the offing, but I don't think it's unfair at all to say that the probability there was higher than in almost any other set of conditions you could apply to a metafilter post.

And by the same token, I'm not deluding myself into thinking that the post done differently or later would have been bulletproof or wouldn't have had arguments and bad behavior, but I don't think it's unfair to say that the probability of big badness would be a lot lower, and the likely amount of badness in general would in fact be a lot lower as well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 AM on March 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


it's kind of the natural 20 slot on critical hit table 12b, Things That Go Wrong In Highly Contentious 'Issue' Threads.

Heh, now things like that are representative of the metafilter I love.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on March 21, 2008


Well, here's hoping that that post is not only One for the History Books, but One for the Ash Heap of History. Some of those comments are longer than the Obama speech. And few are very edifying.
posted by dawson at 10:13 AM on March 21, 2008



Yeah, ANYONE could have predicted that some rnadom nutjob would post 70+ times to the thread in what amounts to deliberate sabotage.


One nutjob with 70 posts, or 10 nutjobs with 7 posts a piece. Either way the total amount of nutjobbery was predetermined.
posted by tkolar at 10:36 AM on March 21, 2008


Man, I'm baffled why people were so obsessed with responding to everything MetaMan said. After the first few dozen exchanges, it was just a repetition of "OBAMA SUX!" "NO HILLARY SUX!" but nobody could resist going through the cycle another time. I tried to rerail the discussion and then sighed and removed the thread from Recent Activity.
posted by languagehat at 10:48 AM on March 21, 2008


One nutjob with 70 posts, or 10 nutjobs with 7 posts a piece. Either way the total amount of nutjobbery was predetermined.

Nutjobbery seems to have returned to baseline without him. We'll see what happens when he's let out of his box.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on March 21, 2008


You did a good job, lh. At some point, though I remained in the thread, I just worked to tune out MM and concentrate on some of the other discussions that arose - onlyconnect and DaShiv were able to have a meaningful exchange, and there were a few other good posts.

I think it's just harder to fight trolling at MeFi because people are reluctant to believe that's what's going on. There's a sense that if we all try earnestly enough to convince the troll, they made a concede a point or even see the light. But it would be nice if it didn't take seventy posts for the situation to dawn on us -especially when it was pointed out directly.

My new rule of thumb: "Anyone" who uses "that many" "quotation marks" is probably "trolling."
posted by Miko at 10:52 AM on March 21, 2008


I almost got sucked into a long back-and-forth in that thread but was saved by a nice, gentle email from garlic, bless his soul. I accomplished what I wanted, which was for MetaMan to include cites, but I was so frustrated by his style that I wasn't as polite as I could have been. I probably would have continued to poke him just to see him twitch if not for that little voice of sanity in my MeFiMailBox.
posted by Floydd at 11:05 AM on March 21, 2008


There's a sense that if we all try earnestly enough to convince the troll, they made a concede a point or even see the light. But it would be nice if it didn't take seventy posts for the situation to dawn on us -especially when it was pointed out directly.

Yeah, that's probably a biggest part of the problem. It seems like when someone jumps in with the "don't listen to that troll" it only drags the conversation down another level. Now people have thrown the "first punch" (as he put it) and he has license to start name calling and talking down to all the "little minds" up against him.

It doesn't matter if he was technically a troll or not. He was being a condescending asshole and that should be enough of a reason to ignore him, flag his posts, and hope he gets a timeout.
posted by Gary at 11:06 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


(That was phrased poorly. I think both those things only inflame the problem. One is humoring the guy and wasting your time writing long passionate posts when it's clear he's not listening. The other is people wanting to be first to shout "troll, troll!" which derails the discussion further. If you do think he's trolling take it to MetaTalk).
posted by Gary at 11:10 AM on March 21, 2008


He was a troll. Special attack: Exploding vine bomb posts.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on March 21, 2008


and giving MetaMan a timeout was actually pretty extralegal as far as the MeFi guidelines go which I feel pretty on the fence about. It's easy to silence opposing viewpoints and simmer things down, but that's neither cool nor tactically kosher.

I'm someone who thinks that the mods generally do a great (GREAT) job here, and I was being driven crazy by MetaMan. I'm pretty uncomfortable, however, with a timeout for posting what amounts to an opposing view. I suspect he was trolling, which is something we don't truly see very much of here, but even still, it's hard for me to justify cutting him off when all of his interlocutors get to continue to keep posting. I have no doubt people his comments were getting flags galore, and it was clear that he was invested in stirring the pot. I'm not sure what the solution is, and I know this instance doesn't comprise a new policy, I just wanted to register my discomfort.
posted by OmieWise at 11:41 AM on March 21, 2008


We're generally pretty uncomfortable with it too, if that's a comfort. He wasn't timed out for posting or defending an opposing view, though; he was timed out for making and not seeming to give up on a really extraordinarily combative and shit-stirring stand in a headache of a thread. It was a weird, hyperactive way to interact with the site, and comparable in a lot of ways to things that we more often time folks out for: if you're going way over the top and we can't trust you to calm yourself down, we'll consider calming you down the hard way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:57 AM on March 21, 2008


I understand, and I mis-wrote when I suggested that he got the timeout for having an opposing view. I never thought that. I meant to point out that his view was opposing and he's the only one who got the timeout, which is not at all the same thing. And I also understand the trolling, and jessamyn made clear her discomfort (which I would have assumed anyway). I was just registerin'.
posted by OmieWise at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2008


Part of the strange issue to is trying to figure out "what is going to work to slow this down...?" It was clear by the time psmealy was hurling epithets that all that really needed to happen there was a "hey psmealy, chill" and that would work. That's because I know him, somewhat, and he's a known quantity with a track record of decency and general usefulness around here. The same is true for a lot of other hotheads in that thread. Past performance is an indicator of future performace here in most cases. MetaMan is a total cypher. I don't know him. I don't know his track record, he has pretty much NO history on the site to speak of and as a result he gets treated more as an "outsider" when there's a question about what he's up to.

The sort of reverse is true with AskMe comment deletions. If you're new, we'll go to extra lengths to explain things to you. If you've been around a while or if you've got a track record for lulz posts, we may just delete your comment and give you the night off.

So yeah he got timeouted because 1) we had no idea what would work 2) he was not, to my eyes, showing a good faith effort to do ANYTHING but keep the fires stoked. If you're not winding down after 70 comments, you're not going to. In a thread accelerating at normal speed we might drop someone a "hey ease off a little?" note and then check back in to see how that was going and follow-up with them. These sort of forest fire threads don't allow for that. I honestly have no idea how moderation works at big politico sites where this sort of interaction is the rule rather than the exception but I'm happy I don't work there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2008


A mod having a quite word with him 40 posts in might have worked, or flat out established that he was a problem user. I wish i'd thought to directly request that (and ignored the "You're on your own") because engaging these types (as I and others did) or hoping they'll go away never works.
posted by Artw at 12:43 PM on March 21, 2008


“Changing the rules or guidelines to accomodate these rare situations isn't really going to fix the larger problems/reasons why that thread didn't go better.”

Hence my - “maybe I’m not the best resource here” I’m not arguing with you there. Just offering my thoughts on general principles. I don’t know dick about running a web site.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:48 PM on March 21, 2008


Brace yourselves; according to the Obama speech thread, there may be a post that manages once again to combine both politics and religion (two great tastes that taste great together) tonight!
posted by onlyconnect at 1:31 PM on March 21, 2008


As I mentioned in that thread, the Obama speech thread should be allowed to remain open until November and all election related discussion and links can stay therein. A single mega-thread of political wank.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:46 PM on March 21, 2008


If McCain wins, that thread stays open until 2012. No matter who gets the democratic nomination, the in-fighting and blame over a loss will make us all long for the days of Nader-backlash.
posted by Gary at 2:05 PM on March 21, 2008


That last point could probably be better made by redirecting dw to the meta thread, and is slghtly OTT for here really.

Well you're welcome to do that. You've been following that thread and this one, you lobbied for this one to be posted, you seem to want a Wright post on the frontpage (or I assume you would have discouraged dw or directed him to MeTa). Do you like the trainwrecks?

It's entirely appropriate to respond to dw here as the request was made here, the threat of a new thread was made here...
posted by OmieWise 6 minutes ago [+]
Or, to put it another way, why is my comment contra a new fuckfest OTT, while yours tacitly approving a new fuckfest not?
posted by OmieWise 4 minutes ago [+]


I am now, apparently, out of order for suggesting that peopel who discuss the possibilty of a perfectly reasonable post (which, IMHO, is a no hoper, but not through any fault of the prospective poster) should be treated with any degree of politeness or that meta matters hsould be discussed on meta.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on March 21, 2008


Artw if you're going to crosspost between that thread and this one, would you mind terribly including links? I have pretty much stopped reading the other thread and I have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:16 PM on March 21, 2008


Well, to be fair, you did encourage dw to post the Wright links in that thread, and then a few minutes later scolded Omiewise for posting an opposing view. So it did come off sounding a bit weird.

<>>
posted by onlyconnect at 2:18 PM on March 21, 2008


There were supposed to be hugs in those brackets! That's what happens in Metatalk, though -- it just sucks the hugs right out of us!!!
posted by onlyconnect at 2:19 PM on March 21, 2008


Well, hugs back.

FWIWI scolded him for dumping in the thread, and if I had to give an opinion on "should there be a new post on Wright" the answer would be "not right now, but but a detailed comment on it could be interestung" - sorry if it came over as anything else.
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on March 21, 2008


I believe I can do a post on black liberation theology and TUCC that doesn't even mention Obama. But if it's going to get everyone's knickers in a twist, then I won't do it. I'm always happy to do religious expository on here, but I'm tired, it's Good Friday, I think I'm coming down with a cold, I've spent half the week shuttling between web-related meetings at work, and honestly, sitting in front of the TV watching March Madness while drinking delicious chilled grain-based alcoholic beverages sounds more appealing.
posted by dw at 2:26 PM on March 21, 2008


note: Everyone needs a <>>
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hugs to you too, dw! I'm off for home, where I am hopeful to engage in some delicious beverages myself.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:31 PM on March 21, 2008


FWIW I scolded him for dumping in the thread, and if I had to give an opinion on "should there be a new post on Wright" the answer would be "not right now, but but a detailed comment on it could be interestung" - sorry if it came over as anything else.

Artw, FWIW on my end I really didn't see myself as dumping in the thread. I saw myself as taking part in a sub-conversation in the thread that you were also a part of. I didn't think it was out of line to suggest that the conversation belonged in this thread, per se, I just thought it was strange that only my part of that conversation drew an admonition. No hard feelings on my part.

I believe I can do a post on black liberation theology and TUCC that doesn't even mention Obama.

This would still amount to a post about Obama, at least in my eyes. Why else would we be talking about TUCC now? A post about black liberation theology that didn't mention TUCC might avoid being about Obama.

One of the, largely unremarked, things about breaking-news political posts is that they are a bit like the boy who cried wolf. Once you've shot your wad you've used up (and by you I mean everyone interested) the ability to post about it again even if something more real and interesting comes along. Since these are, by definition, developing stories, it's really ends up constraining the discussion.
posted by OmieWise at 2:36 PM on March 21, 2008


No hard feelings here. I'm probably following that thread a bit too closely anyway, but hey, I am (apparently) to blame for everything bad that happens in it.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on March 21, 2008


I am (apparently) to blame for everything bad that happens in it.

Oh, god no! That thread contains multitudes.
posted by OmieWise at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2008


I am (apparently) to blame for everything bad that happens in it.

No, that would be caddis.
posted by tkolar at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2008


Once you've shot your wad you've used up (and by you I mean everyone interested) the ability to post about it again even if something more real and interesting comes along.

Of course, the flip side of that (particularly for elections) is that if you wait for some resolution to be reached before posting, you won't ever get to post about it until after the election is over.

Huh. Actually that flip side looks pretty damn good now that I think of it.
posted by tkolar at 3:11 PM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


note: Everyone needs a <>>

A stabby thing?
posted by Burhanistan at 5:37 PM on March 21, 2008


I never leave home without mine.
posted by Artw at 8:16 PM on March 21, 2008


To say that Obama's presidency would be a non-event because no one man can sweep aside the system is ridiculous. It's the same as saying that the office of the president is meaningless, and, as offices go... I gotta say that one does carry weight. Do you overturn history simply by putting someone new in that seat? No. And I dare to posit that fans of whatever candidate know that. I am astonished, Stynxno, by your pessimistic appraisal of the Obama fan's enthusiasm. The "no experience" card is an easy one to play, but it's been discussed about a million times over that there is no strong correlation between greatness and experience when it comes to presidents, or at the very least that there are notable enough exceptions to make render the "no experience" card far short of a conversation-ender. The fact that people on the left are getting excited about a presidential candidate is, I think, more than an occasion to look down your nose at them as coffee-sipping white hipsters (though really, who are you and I to catch or cast that kind of stone anyhow???).
posted by scarabic at 9:11 PM on March 21, 2008


Take it to, um, the one that isn't meta.
posted by Artw at 9:14 PM on March 21, 2008


One of the, largely unremarked, things about breaking-news political posts is that they are a bit like the boy who cried wolf. Once you've shot your wad you've used up (and by you I mean everyone interested) the ability to post about it again even if something more real and interesting comes along.

Omie, I have wept at your grave in North Carolina, and that's just not so (1).

'Black liberation theology' (sans TUCC, OK) is a germane thread idea. 'Demagoguery thru them ages' might be another. A broader-brush examination of the ways that a) race in general and b) black males in particular have been portrayed in the media over the past 150 years in the US might well provide some meaty threadmaking material too.

For that matter, the history of the development of a black middle class in Chicago and environs is a much more focused topic and please note none of these ideas stems from a shot wad, as it were, but rather stem directly from the specific thread at issue.

Will we actually see them posted? Oh, I don't think so. But that has to do with our ethnic and economic makeup, not with the general or specific useless pointlessness of political threads. Here let me sharpen that a bit: it has to do with our personal and specific uselessness and pointlessness, not our generic tendency to stupid bickering.

It may be noted that I am personally a profoundly misanthropic and cynical person.

(1) While OmieWise is not taken by me to truly be Naomi Wise, I do take Omie's username to indicate we share a commonality of taste and perspective on a number of things. My weeping at Omie's grave is a rhetorical trope, for now, and not to be taken as a statement of journalistic reportage. Although next week I will be in NC and a county over and with a company-paid rental car. So ten days from now, it might actually be true.
posted by mwhybark at 10:45 PM on March 21, 2008


One in ten black men is imprisoned. Blacks have a right to be pissed even today. Slavery might be over, but they're still being fucked by the white man.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:02 AM on March 22, 2008


One in ten black men is imprisoned. Blacks have a right to be pissed even today. Slavery might be over, but they're still being fucked by the white man.

Yeah, that's the problem in all of this for Obama.

By ignoring race, he was selling himself as the magical black man who had grown up in the U.S. but due to economic and social circumstance had managed to avoid having the very healthy dollop of righteous anger that comes from getting the short of the stick due to your race.

The story being pushed with these videos is that he has been in fact steeping in that anger every Sunday for the last twenty years, and has as a mentor a man who embodies that anger.

Also, I think, that despite his mixed heritage when it came time to choose a culture for himself in the form of a church he chose a black church.

America may be ready for a black president, but it is very definitely not ready for an angry black president.

My guess is that there will be a continuing push to tie him specifically to the African-American community (even praising him for the great work he's done for that specific group) and to a lesser extent to the righteous anger in that community. He in turn, will be countering with more of his multi-cultural family ties and his message that he understands anger, but that he himself is too full of hope to allow such things to affect him.
posted by tkolar at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2008


boy. the lines are so blurry in here.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:33 AM on March 22, 2008


boy. the lines are so blurry in here.

Sorry, let me be clearer.

There is absolutely no way that YFC can win the general election. They may seem plausible now, but with both race and gender working against them (not to mention their past), what looks like broad support now will vanish like the morning dew when the when the Republican machine kicks into high gear against them.

The truth is that if they were really electable they would have clinched the nomination in the primaries already, and not be relying on the super-delegates to put them over the top. The only way they'll be able to win is to make backroom political deals and who knows what sort of shenanigans that will lead to?

The people supporting YFC may not be idiots, but they are willfully blinding themselves to the obvious. It's great that they're loyal to YFC, but they need to realize that loyalty to YFC is *not* loyalty to the Democratic party -- and in fact is likely to cost the Democrats the Whitehouse.

What's amazing to me is that YFC probably knows all this and yet still carries on. This is ego, plain and simple -- sacrificing the good of the party and frankly the good of the country in exchange for the ever smaller possibility that they might get the nomination (and then of course lose in the popular election).

In this sense I think YFC's supporters are displaying a particularly harmful sort of ignorance. With this small but vocal crowd of people cheering them on, they will continue to hang onto their futile and damaging candidacy. And since YFC lacks the self awareness to see how screwed they are in the big picture, the people here who continue to support YFC are directly contributing to the loss of what should be the easiest Democratic victory in 40 years.

Clearer?
posted by tkolar at 12:59 PM on March 22, 2008


YFC? like KFC?
posted by dawson at 1:07 PM on March 22, 2008


(Relax. The blur I was obliquely referring to was more of a (pedantic) procedural one... where this thread is more to discuss the existence of a thread about the speech and the trainwreck that ensued, and that the content of the speech probably ought to go in caddis' thread out front.)
posted by Dave Faris at 1:34 PM on March 22, 2008


what looks like broad support now will vanish like the morning dew when the when the Republican machine kicks into high gear against them.

You think the majority of the US population is still gonna fall for the same tired GOP bullshit? Hasn't clued in that they're a bunch of lying hypocrites who inevitably fuck everything up?

I dunno. I should hope y'all are a bit brighter than that.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:35 PM on March 22, 2008


YFC? like KFC?

Your favorite chicken sucks!
posted by tkolar at 1:36 PM on March 22, 2008


it's kind of the natural 20 slot on critical hit table 12b, Things That Go Wrong In Highly Contentious 'Issue' Threads.

cortex swings his Banhammer of Justice. You die.

Dump this screen? (Y/N)
posted by spiderwire at 2:23 PM on March 22, 2008


You pray to jessamyn.
A voice rings out, 'Mortal, thou hast pleaseth me.'
You resist!
cortex touches you.
Your purse feels lighter.
The thief runs away laughing!
You feel stupid!
You feel weak!
The weight of your armor encumbers your movements.
posted by spiderwire at 2:28 PM on March 22, 2008


I've no idea if Pew is any good at polling, but there may be hope that the majority of Americans are walking away from their abusive relationship with the GOP.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:25 PM on March 22, 2008


Really good post
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on March 26, 2008


Ehh. Not so much.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:31 PM on March 26, 2008


OK, on the original business -- could Metaman get the weekend off? I stopped following that thread a few days ago, and now I peeked in, and he just can't let go.

I kinda feel like he needs to get up, go outside, and, you know, do something with his life besides make 130+ comments in the SAME THREAD. So much noise, so little signal.
posted by dw at 9:00 PM on March 27, 2008


He did chill out for a while, pretty much enough to convince me that he wasn't a troll as such... but he's ramped it up to full strength again now.

Threads pretty close to dead though, so action seems pretty futile. If he spread that shit to another thread though I'd argue for the banhammer (and no, not in any fun, cutesy, ironic way)
posted by Artw at 9:09 PM on March 27, 2008


He did chill out for a while, pretty much enough to convince me that he wasn't a troll as such... but he's ramped it up to full strength again now.

He was given a time out. He seems to be dumb as a box of rocks, so he really does lower the level of discourse.
posted by OmieWise at 4:47 AM on March 28, 2008


He was given a time out.

Sorry, that isn't clear. I mean that he was given a timeout before, which might account for his "better" behavior. He doesn't have one now, as far as I know.
posted by OmieWise at 4:59 AM on March 28, 2008


He seems to be dumb as a box of rocks
Now, now. No need to insult boxes of rocks.
posted by Floydd at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2008


Do we have "ignore user" functionality? If we did it'd really help me in not telling him to fuck off again. Sad to admit don't have good self control there.

But then theres the constant problem with "ignore user" and troll-like individuals: the other people replying to him.
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on March 28, 2008


Do we have "ignore user" functionality?

I hear there's an add-on for your brain that can do it. It requires a more powerful processor, though, as well as a good controller card.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:37 AM on March 28, 2008


As I said, I just find it useful as a tool to avoid telling people to fuck off when I know anything they say is going to be pointless and irritating to me. Generally more useful on other sites, I've never particularly seen a need for one here before so I've not looked for it.

Oh, and fuck off.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on March 28, 2008


Artw:
If you're using Firefox, install Greasemonkey, and then google for the "Mondo Meta" script. It allows ignoring individual users, as well as comments containing whatever words you specify, or, conversely, highlighting them in case you want to catch comments by some poster you particularly like. Very nice.
posted by bugbread

I haven't tried it, but you may find it useful.
Have a nice day, and fuck off!
posted by Floydd at 11:51 AM on March 28, 2008


...and a merry fuck off to all!
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on March 28, 2008


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