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Come Get Yer Sully Here!
January 18, 2010 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Come here to talk about Andrew Sullivan.

unSane posted a well-worth-reading FPP that is unfortunately being derailed by discussing the pros and cons of Andrew Sullivan. I suggest that seeing as how he isn't the author of the main article of the FPP - although he has commented on the article's revelations - that any Sully bashing/defending continue here so that the story can be discussed, as opposed to it being crowded out by one pundit's comments on the story.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing to Etiquette/Policy at 9:34 AM (269 comments total)

It's one of the two links in the FPP. Dude derailed his own post.
posted by smackfu at 9:38 AM on January 18, 2010


How does a discussion about the author of one of the links constitute as a derail?
posted by cjorgensen at 9:39 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish I'd never fucking mentioned Sully. I only added him in for a bit of context since he's been out in front of this story since the beginning and he's the first/only person in the media to have hit on this (which is where I saw it).

I've never been so fucking infuriated by the responses to one of my posts. This is the kind of thing that makes me much less likely to make FPPs. I'm particularly angry at Blazecock for having started the whole thing and done a first-class job of thread-shitting, without making any comment whatsoever on the main link in the post.
posted by unSane at 9:41 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


So we're not allowed to link to Sully unless he's endorsing a right-wing point of view, is that it?

Fucking insane.
posted by unSane at 9:41 AM on January 18, 2010


What exactly is it about Sully's commentary that you people disagree with?
posted by unSane at 9:42 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


unSane: "I wish I'd never fucking mentioned Sully."

Better not mention Greenwald either. One of the regulars in political threads has severe issues with him.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:44 AM on January 18, 2010


How does a discussion about the author of one of the links constitute as a derail?

To clarify - the main link of the story is about faked suicides at Guantanamo Bay. The supporting link is Andrew Sullivan commenting on the story. I think the main link warrants far more attention than yet another tiresome circular argument about whether Andrew Sullivan is a soulless opportunist or simply changed his mind. I regret even taking part in that discussion. I made this thread to give the main link of the FPP room to breathe. It's a far more important story than Andrew Sullivan will ever be.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:44 AM on January 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


I was just about to dive into that thread. Glad I saw this first.
posted by slogger at 9:45 AM on January 18, 2010


Also, can I point out that when I posted this, there was no other reaction to this piece that I could find on the web. I did not want to editorialize and you are all capable of Googling Scott Horton yourself, so I added the link where I found the piece. Guess I should have waited until Daily Kos picked it up, eh?
posted by unSane at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2010


unSane is not at fault here, Blazecock is. He left a hot Cleveland Steamer in the middle of that thread and wouldn't drop the issue when people called him on it.
posted by billysumday at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't get the Sully hate. As pointed out in the other thread, if you want to criticize someone's argument, talk about the merits of his argument. Criticizing his past is lazy. And if you are going to criticize his past, at least get some basic verifiable facts right. It doesn't help your argument when you get those kind of things wrong.
posted by dig_duggler at 9:49 AM on January 18, 2010


unSane: "Guess I should have waited until Daily Kos picked it up, eh"

Not safe either, I'm afraid. I once had a post criticized because it was merely via Kos.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:49 AM on January 18, 2010


I lived in a world where I had no idea who Andrew Sullivan was. Metafilter shattered that world for me. I have no opinion on the man's position as regarding the OP, but still think it's fair game once linked.

Also, if you post in the same thread 4 times in the first 9 comments, you might want to step away and let the discussion unfold.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:51 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does a discussion about the author of one of the links constitute as a derail?


Did you notice nobody discussed anything Sully actually said?
posted by unSane at 9:51 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


fuck, now the thread cops are here
posted by unSane at 9:52 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I regularly began to encounter the diminutive 'Sully' when that fellow landed that airplane, and started hating it at around the same. This MeTa serves to inflame my hatred while simultaneously confusing me since it's about a different guy with the same stupid nickname.

'Sully' takes the same amount of time to say as 'Sullivan' and for Christ's sake you're not best buds anyway stop it stop it stop it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:53 AM on January 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty furious too, unSane. It's an important story and the discussion on MeFi has really been spoiled. Nice job, anti-right-wingers-who-hate-Sullivan.
posted by Nelson at 9:54 AM on January 18, 2010


Andrew Sullivan? I once saw him go twenty-one rounds against 'Gentleman Jim' Corbett.
posted by box at 9:55 AM on January 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


How does a discussion about the author of one of the links constitute as a derail?

It'd be like if someone posted something that Ronald Reagan once said, but instead of talking about what Ronald Reagan said, one person just posted, over and over again "YA BUT ONE TIME HE VOTED FOR FDR."

Okay, so he voted for FDR one time. What we're talking about is Reagan's economic conservatism and deinvestment of important government agencies.

YA BUT ONE TIME HE VOTED FOR FDR.

Okay, I understand, but this is more about how Reagan is attempting to-

YA BUT ONE TIME HE VOTED FOR FDR

And then repeat that cycle ad nauseum. It's stupid and immature, and I feel bad for unSane, because it's a totally fine post about something really important.
posted by billysumday at 9:56 AM on January 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


On the other, fuck that guy.
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on January 18, 2010


That was a lousy derail. Focusing on Sullivan's credibility seems to be missing the point, since I don't think anyone is relying on his word for details of the torture/murder. He's a pundit, not a reporter - he is making moral/political arguments that you may or may not find persuasive. If you find his reasoning valid, then you are free to adopt that reasoning as your own. But is anyone really responding to his blogging by saying, "Oh, well, Sullivan said it. That settles it. That's good enough for me."? That does not seem to be the kind of audience he is cultivating or attracting. I don't see what's motivating the comments much besides a sense that Sullivan is getting away with something, but that really seems to be GYOB territory and definitely not worth cluttering up a post on a critically important topic.
posted by chinston at 9:58 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm stunned that it's 2010 and anyone is talking about trust or credibility in reference to journalists or bloggers. I mean, does anyone have a news or opinion source that they just believe without critical thought regarding bias, motive, or quality of sources? If so, please name names...

Alternatively, if we're using credible to mean 'shares my politics, and has consistently over time', carry on, I guess.
posted by a young man in spats at 9:58 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It does seem childish to me to disallow someone the opportunity to learn and grow and mature beyond their earlier attitudes. If MetaFilter were only made of people who had fully-formed worldviews from the moment they were old enough to form thought, it would probably have the most dogmatic, boring, and tiny participant base imaginable.

Brandon totally derailed and does this every time Sullivan is mentioned. It's like he carries a grudge which will never be assuaged. I can only hope that if I ever revise any of my own views, I didn't make any of the former, less-matures statements in any forum Brandon reads, or I will never be able to put the past behind me and move forward with a new outlook on the world.
posted by hippybear at 10:01 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


ANDREW SULLIVAN ROOTED FOR THE YANKEES BUT NOW HE LIKES THE METS FUCK THAT GUY, I ALWAYS LIKED THE METS.
posted by empath at 10:02 AM on January 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


You know, if I was in some situation where I was saving a bunch of puppies with other people and Sara Palin showed up to help, I would let her. Even if she was only saving one puppy and even if I knew the next day she would be on Fox news with the headline, "Sara Palin single handedly saves building full of puppies! Proves liberals are weak and inefficient! " It might grate on me, but dammit she's saving a puppy.
posted by cimbrog at 10:04 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


She's totally going to eat it.
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on January 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


unSane wrote What exactly is it about Sully's commentary that you people disagree with?

Absolutely nothing.

What I disagree with is giving the evil little opportunistic hack linkage.

He, Andrew Sullivan, is at least partially responsible for the whole sorry state of affairs due to his support for Bush in 2000. He is/was a right wing extremist.

He may have had a change of heart recently, or he may have simply seen which way the wind was blowing. That doesn't matter.

What does matter is that the man shouldn't have a scrap of credibility on any issue, but especially on the issues of the "War on Terror" and the (mis)treatment of America's detainee population.

He's saying the right stuff, now, but so what? Giving him linkage, and credibility, is just plain not a good idea.

I'm sorry you linked to Sullivan too, it's a topic that needs to be discussed and I do agree that turning the threat into an anti-Sullivan fest isn't particularly good. But the fact remains that he simply is not credible on this topic, that linking to him is wrongly granting him the credibility and popularity he so desires, and I don't think it was entirely wrong of Blazecock to point out that his commentary is worthless.

Did you notice nobody discussed anything Sully actually said?

Because what he actually said is irrelevant. The issue is his credibility in saying such things, and he has none.

Sullivan voted for, and gave material and possibly critical support to, the people who are responsible for the torture. He now wants to backpeddle and claim that he thinks torture is bad. His credibility on the issue is nonexistant.

hippybear wrote It does seem childish to me to disallow someone the opportunity to learn and grow and mature beyond their earlier attitudes.

If he has really changed his mind, that's great. I'm very much in favor of people changing their minds.

But saying "oops, now I think torture is bad" doesn't magically grant you credibility, or make up for the fact that you're one of the people who helped bring about the torture regime of Bush.

Sullivan hasn't even started groveling and apologizing enough to make up for the evil he helped bring into the world.
posted by sotonohito at 10:06 AM on January 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know who else can go fuck themselves? Christopher Hitchins.
posted by Artw at 10:06 AM on January 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


It really shouldn't have to be that we can't make posts with links to one pundit simply because we know that one user will, without fail, derail any and all posts involving links to that pundit. Or should it? It seems unbalanced, to me.
posted by billysumday at 10:06 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sullivan voted for, and gave material and possibly critical support to, the people who are responsible for the torture. He now wants to backpeddle and claim that he thinks torture is bad. His credibility on the issue is nonexistant.

My recollection was that Bush did not run on a platform of "I will torture people, that's for sure! Bush '00!" Sullivan turned against Bush and the Republicans about 7 years ago.
posted by billysumday at 10:09 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


It does seem childish to me to disallow someone the opportunity to learn and grow and mature beyond their earlier attitudes.

That's especially relevant considering how much leeway and fresh starts that the person who discredited Sullivan has been given here.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ha! I saw "Andrew Sullivan" in this post and immediately thought, "Blazecock, I'm assuming."
posted by brundlefly at 10:13 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can think of quite a few threads I've seen lately on MeFi that seem to go down this road. It's like the main story or idea is too big, too intense, or too horrific to acknowledge, so we all devolve into petty squabbles about something we can actually wrap our brains around, like judgment of a off-topical person, presentation of information, or some other derail-inducing side point.

I think the best we can do is to continually attempt to address and quell the minor issues and slog our way towards the big ones. I think that that's what's trying to be done here.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:13 AM on January 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


That's especially relevant considering how much leeway and fresh starts that the person who discredited Sullivan has been given here.

That's a bit of an unnecessary derail. Which is, I know, ironic, given the circumstances of this MeTa.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:14 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Brandon totally derailed and does this every time Sullivan is mentioned.

Blazecock Pileon, not Brandon, and, yeah, I'm not going to say "every time" but it's a really really idenitifiable trend, BP. Picking your battles on that front a little more would be awesome; the whole Shall Not Brook Commentary From That Scoundrel feel of the reaction to Sullivan in the thread in question is jarring and has kind of gotten in the way of an actual discussion of the ostensible subject of the post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:14 AM on January 18, 2010


But saying "oops, now I think torture is bad" doesn't magically grant you credibility, or make up for the fact that you're one of the people who helped bring about the torture regime of Bush.

This is dishonest bullshit. Prior to the Iraq invasion, we knew that Iraq was torturing it's people. It was one of Andrew Sullivan's stated reasons for supporting an invasion. It was simply unfathomable to many people that the US was torturing people at the time. As soon as Sullivan got an inkling of the US torturing, he looked into it and basically turned on a dime against he Bush administration.

Do you all shit on every link to Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias because they supported Iraq invasion?

If Sullivan is guilty of anything, its of excessive rhetoric in support of his causes. He was excessive in support of the war, excessive in his support of Obama and excessive in his attacks on Palin.

But I appreciate his passion and thoroughness even when I disagree with him. Even when I was reading his blog mainly to find something to get pissed off at him about, back when he was a war supporter, his wonderfully eloquent posts on gay marriage both brought the issue to my attention and made me a thorough supporter of it, when I had previously been completely ambivalent about it.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


So as not to continue the derail, I'll ask my question here:

Blazecock, how can we hope to win over the conservative warmongers in the US to a more reasonable point of view (a difficult task in any case) if our reaction to those who have reconsidered their stance is to continue castigating them for taking positions that they have since renounced? Should we not instead be thanking them for making a tough decision that will likely cost them friendships and, in the case of public figures like Sullivan, the support of many who helped them gain their positions of influence? Should we not be holding them up as examples for others to follow?

I don't agree with everything Andrew Sullivan writes, but if I'm discussing him with a pro-war friend, my message is simple: "Look at this dude. This dude is awesome. He thought things through and changed his mind about the war, and you should too."
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 10:16 AM on January 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


As soon as Sullivan got an inkling of the US torturing, he looked into it and basically turned on a dime against he Bush administration.

And, I should point out, that Andrew Sullivan never for a second bought the bullshit that it was just a few bad apples, which can't be said for a lot of center-left commentators, let alone war supporters.
posted by empath at 10:18 AM on January 18, 2010


But saying "oops, now I think torture is bad" doesn't magically grant you credibility, or make up for the fact that you're one of the people who helped bring about the torture regime of Bush.

Sullivan turned against the Iraq War in 2004, prior to the election, and was offering full-throated condemnation of torture in the War on Terror long before anyone on the right was. Sullivan was a [i]leader[/i] on the right in condemning torture, and in exposing its use. This isn't about which way the wind is blowing--he's been out in front of it for a long time, including earnest apologies and taking responsibility for supporting Bush in 2000.

Your hatred of Sullivan is either irrational or simply ignorant in light of his actual record.
posted by fatbird at 10:19 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Should we not instead be thanking them for making a tough decision that will likely cost them friendships and, in the case of public figures like Sullivan, the support of many who helped them gain their positions of influence? Should we not be holding them up as examples for others to follow?

See also: John Cole at Balloon Juice and Charles at Little Green Footballs
posted by empath at 10:19 AM on January 18, 2010


I guess Blazecock would have a pretty fucking hard time with St Paul as well.

All that 'road to Damascus' bullshit. All the letters to the Apostles. Damaged fucking goods.
posted by unSane at 10:21 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Brandon totally derailed and does this every time Sullivan is mentioned.

Blazecock Pileon, not Brandon


Oh, shit! Wow, how embarrassing. I suffer from "confusion of the Bs" and am seeking immediate medical treatment. I apologize for any and all confusion which is not my own as the result of my statement.
posted by hippybear at 10:22 AM on January 18, 2010


the whole Shall Not Brook Commentary From That Scoundrel feel of the reaction to Sullivan in the thread in question is jarring and has kind of gotten in the way of an actual discussion of the ostensible subject of the post.

Maybe. But the link is either part of the post, or it's not. If the purpose of including Mr. Sullivan's opinion was to fill out the post, I'll stay away from criticizing its inclusion. If it's not filler, criticism of his views — all of them — are fair game in a post about heinous war crimes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:23 AM on January 18, 2010


No, it's not. It's a derail that ruined the thread.

I'll tell you for a fact that anytime a post comes up on torture, Andrew Sullivan is going to come up, and unless you want to make torture 'a thing which metafilter cannot discuss', then I suggest that you rethink your impulse to shit in every single torture thread.
posted by empath at 10:27 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the link is there, it's fair game. Simply calling criticism a derail doesn't make it true, no matter how many times that falsehood gets repeated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese: Not safe either, I'm afraid. I once had a post criticized because it was merely via Kos.

I'm not familiar with the circumstances of your post, but personally I'd have been wary of them as a source. They usually try to steer the conversation about an issue rather than report on it objectively. That's not to say they can't be objective, of course.

Hypothetically, if I were going to include them as a commentary source within a post, I'd probably have tried to minimize their contribution in some way to make room for more verifiably objective reporting.

So here we have Andrew Sullivan, who is also not typically an objective reporter. But, like Daily Kos, he has reported on certain issues and events before they've been picked up by the mainstream media.

I think we can all agree that Sullivan's motivations notwithstanding, when such reporting happens and is objective, it's a good thing. So I fail to understand BP's justification for attacking him. unSane did minimize Sullivan's commentary: "Some comment here, but the article speaks for itself." He directed our attention back to the main article written by a solid source.

BP: "His actions make him a non-credible media commentator, and linking to him lends him and his views undeserved legitimacy."

I'm sorry, but you're attacking Sullivan as non-credible without bothering to directly address what he is saying about this specific issue in his 700-800 word blog post because you're concerned not that he might have his facts wrong, but because you don't like the guy? Please.
posted by zarq at 10:28 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Criticizing the content of the post is fine, but you're not doing that. You're making a tangential ad hominem attack, which you've done many times before.
posted by empath at 10:29 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've liked Sullivan ever since I started reading his blogs on the situation in Iran. I must say though, that he once identified Cheney as "sexy" gives me pause because, like, whoooaaa.
posted by angrycat at 10:30 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


In otherwords: "Hey, what Andrew said in that link is wrong because of X, Y, and Z" is totally fine.

"Oh, this asshole again?" is not.
posted by empath at 10:31 AM on January 18, 2010


Sullivan voted for, and gave material and possibly critical support to, the people who are responsible for the torture. He now wants to backpeddle and claim that he thinks torture is bad. His credibility on the issue is nonexistant.

Voted? Dude is a UK national just now applying for a Green Card. Your credibility on the issue is nonexistent.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:32 AM on January 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Simply calling criticism a derail doesn't make it true

you had nothing of substance to say about what was actually said by sullivan, so it can't be called criticism
posted by pyramid termite at 10:33 AM on January 18, 2010


empath: "See also: John Cole at Balloon Juice..."

Funny you should mention him - since I consider him and Mr. Sullivan to have both transferred their apparent psychological need for a well-intentioned father figure from Bush to Obama.

I'm not sure a switch from licking the right boot to licking the left boot constitutes much in the way of personal development.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:35 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the link is there, it's fair game. Simply calling criticism a derail doesn't make it true, no matter how many times that falsehood gets repeated.

Okay, how about you address the real point here - that it seems you don't really understand Sullivan's positions over the last 8 years that you criticize him for? Your criticisms seem to be unfocused and honestly don't make a bunch of sense. Let's start with voted for Bush twice (wrong) and work our way out from your grievances there. He once supported a candidate who ended up torturing is not a really good argument...
posted by dig_duggler at 10:35 AM on January 18, 2010


Look, here is why this is such a bad idea. Sully has continued to work on this story and has been posting all day.

He has a response from Baumgarner here:
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/01/bumgarner-splutters.html

and photos of Camp No here:
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/01/camp-no.html

However in all good faith I CANNOT post these links into the main thread because it will just stir up the pot of shit again. As a result, the Metafilter community is poorer. Way to go.
posted by unSane at 10:36 AM on January 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


... and yeah, I have problems with Sullivan's current stance on certain issues, but it doesn't mean I'm not grown-up enough to critically read his posts, look elsewhere for more information, and draw my own conclusions on a case-by-case basis.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:36 AM on January 18, 2010


If the link is there, it's fair game. Simply calling criticism a derail doesn't make it true, no matter how many times that falsehood gets repeated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:28 PM on January 18 [+] [!]


You know, if your criticism of Sullivan had had anything to do with the subject at hand you would be right. But it didn't. It was about Sullivan and that was it. Hell, if I hadn't known of your history on this site, I would have assumed you were in support of torture since you were spending so much effort to lambaste someone who stood against it. This was pure axe grinding and nothing more. It was of zero worth in that thread. Zero.
posted by cimbrog at 10:37 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Simply calling criticism a derail doesn't make it true, no matter how many times that falsehood gets repeated.

Simply repeating "Andrew Sullivan is a douche" doesn't make it criticism no matter how many times you refuse to read or react to the particular commentary to which the poster linked. Don't like what he says on this topic? Great. Tell us why what he says today is bad, not why he was bad six years ago.
posted by shothotbot at 10:38 AM on January 18, 2010


Shorter Blazecock Pileon: Sullivan supported Bush in 2000, therefore everything he says is wrong.
posted by fatbird at 10:39 AM on January 18, 2010


Fair enough, I was wrong about his voting for Bush, as opposed to just endorsing him and his dad.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 AM on January 18, 2010


And if you have a blanket policy of hating/not believing anything by a particular author maybe you should stay away from threads discussing those authors. I don't poke around in Ayn Rand threads because I don't think there is a lot I could add. Even if there is someone wrong on the internet.
posted by shothotbot at 10:40 AM on January 18, 2010


Shorter Blazecock Pileon: Sullivan supported Bush in 2000, therefore everything he says is wrong.

... even the things I agree with.
posted by unSane at 10:41 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarq: "I'm not familiar with the circumstances of your post, but personally I'd have been wary of [Daiily Kos] as a source. They usually try to steer the conversation about an issue rather than report on it objectively."

Well, that's just it. Kos had literally nothing to do with the substance - such as it was - of my post. One of the diarists there had brought my attention to an article in a Vancouver newspaper that I would never have seen otherwise - so courtesy seemed to require a hat-tip "via".

So it didn't even rise to the level seen here of "You quote X's opinion and I hate X so the opinion must be bullshit". It was "You quote a newspaper article noticed by X and I hate X so you shouldn't have mentioned that article."
posted by Joe Beese at 10:42 AM on January 18, 2010


shothotbot: "And if you have a blanket policy of hating/not believing anything by a particular author maybe you should stay away from threads discussing those authors. I don't poke around in Ayn Rand threads because I don't think there is a lot I could add."

I would say that Ayn Rand threads on MetaFilter are the exclusive domain of people who hate Ayn Rand with a passion.
posted by brundlefly at 10:45 AM on January 18, 2010


It was "You quote a newspaper article noticed by X and I hate X so you shouldn't have mentioned that article."

Ah. Yeah, that's ridiculous.
posted by zarq at 10:46 AM on January 18, 2010


If Ayn Rand hadn't existed, MetaFilter would have had to invent her.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:46 AM on January 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


What is it you disagree with in Sully's post, Blazecock? Sotonohito has already said they didn't disagree with anything but objected on principle to "giving the evil little opportunistic hack linkage."
posted by unSane at 10:46 AM on January 18, 2010


The funny thing about the hate-on that BP and others have for Sully is that he's one of the most ardent, articulate critics of torture around, and has been for the last six years. He's written many posts explaining his early support for Bush and his later rejection of Bush, taking full responsibility for, and apologizing for, exactly what BP and others criticize him for. Unlike others such as Megan McArdle, who came late to the party and offered tepid "Okay, in hindsight, not so much..." apologies, Sullivan has consistently been a model of someone trying to make up for being wrong in the first place by being absolutely transparent about his earlier support and how wrong it was.
posted by fatbird at 10:48 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the link is there, it's fair game.

If the link is there, go read it and say something substantial about the contents. Sullivan's not a new face on the scene that people need an insider's heads up about or something, and you expressing your dislike and distrust of him is itself a rusty old saw at this point. Please consider just not engaging on the subject of Andrew Sullivan in the future when you don't have something substantive and on-point to contribute.

Simply calling criticism a derail doesn't make it true, no matter how many times that falsehood gets repeated.

I'm calling a derail a derail, in my capacity as a guy who's essentially a professional derail identifier. This doesn't seem ambiguous at all. Please find a way to avoid doing it in the future.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:48 AM on January 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


Was your including Mr. Sullivan's op-ed just filler? Or does he have a legitimate voice in this matter?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 AM on January 18, 2010


empath wrote his wonderfully eloquent posts on gay marriage both brought the issue to my attention and made me a thorough supporter of it, when I had previously been completely ambivalent about it.

Really? That's actually one of the things that makes me more than a bit irrational about Sullivan.

He's gay.

He was a gung ho, no holds barred, supporter of Bush in 2000.

How the heck can I trust, much less appreciate or endorse, someone who will gleefully and wholeheartedly endorse a member of a political party that has the stated goal of criminalizing their own sexuality?

Gay Republicans are, from my POV, literally insane. They say "yes, I don't agree with the Republican position that I should be locked away because of how I have sex, but other than that I'm totally for their position!" That is an attitude that I find unfathomable, and thus I can't trust them in the slightest.

Someone who is willing to betray their own sexuality, and all of the people they've ever had sex with, is a person who will betray anyone and anything else. He's already committed the ultimate act of betrayal, he has betrayed himself, I figure after that any other betrayal would be second nature to him.

unSane wrote However in all good faith I CANNOT post these links into the main thread because it will just stir up the pot of shit again. As a result, the Metafilter community is poorer. Way to go.

Yes, its truly a shame that the statements from Col. Bumgarner exist nowhere except on Sullivan's tainted blog. Certainly they don't exist on the website of the actual news agency that reported on them: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5h97BGvSdx97hHzNDkUiDzI8JsB7A

Such a horrible shame that the only possible way we can ever get that data is via the commentary blog run by Sullivan. What a shame.....
posted by sotonohito at 10:50 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would not have known about the AP article unless Sully linked to it. This is the point of blogs, you know. To aggregate and contextualize information.

Also, whoah on the gay Republicans thing.
posted by unSane at 10:53 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I regularly began to encounter the diminutive 'Sully' when that fellow landed that airplane, and started hating it at around the same.

My last name is also Sullivan (NO RELATION though we were in the same dorm when I was in college and he was in grad school) and you're awfully lucky that this is the first time you've encountered "Sully."

Everyone whose last name is Sullivan is called "Sully" a lot.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:54 AM on January 18, 2010


Was your including Mr. Sullivan's op-ed just filler? Or does he have a legitimate voice in this matter?

That's your response to valid criticism here? Gosh.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:55 AM on January 18, 2010


Was your including Mr. Sullivan's op-ed just filler? Or does he have a legitimate voice in this matter?

To all of us but you and sotonohito, yes.

How the heck can I trust, much less appreciate or endorse, someone who will gleefully and wholeheartedly endorse a member of a political party that has the stated goal of criminalizing their own sexuality?

Perhaps if you actually read Sullivan consistently, you might understand why. But if you dismiss him out of hand, you'll just write him off as insane.

One key to the puzzle of why Sullivan can support the Republicans is that, as Sullivan continually documents, the Democrats aren't very good at gay issues either. Bill Clinton enacted DOMA and DADT, and actually ran ads in southern states bragging about stopping gay marriage there in 96. He's also been continually critical of Obama for punting on gay issues since he got into office. He's gay, but he's not a single issue gay voter.
posted by fatbird at 10:56 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Was your including Mr. Sullivan's op-ed just filler? Or does he have a legitimate voice in this matter?

If you'd read the blog post, you'd know that he offers a wider perspective on the meaning of Mr. Horton's revelations, and how deeply we Americans were deliberately misled by our government during Bush II, how the neocons continue to maintain those lies, and how we continue to be kept from the truth by the Obama administration's refusal to challenge the established status quo.

Just so you know, if you'd attacked the inclusion of the link as editorializing, then you might actually have had a case.
posted by zarq at 10:57 AM on January 18, 2010


Was your including Mr. Sullivan's op-ed just filler? Or does he have a legitimate voice in this matter?

I've already said that I included the blog post because there was literally no other comment on this piece on the internet when I posted it. And his legitimate voice in the matter comes from the fact that he has been front and center in the anti-torture dialog in the American media for YEARS now.

But of course he supported Bush in 2000, so, fuck him.
posted by unSane at 10:57 AM on January 18, 2010


This is recollection-ville, but I don't remember gay marriage/rights/etc being much on the radar in the 2000 campaign. Was it a major issue? Fully ready to eat crow on this, but I just don't recall it.
posted by dig_duggler at 10:59 AM on January 18, 2010


Leaving aside that apparently Blazecock Pileon has a history of having a hate-on for Sullivan, I'm not so sure I get why this is a derail. I've seen people react the same way to Freeper links, and if Blazecock Pileon put Sullivan in the same credibility camp as a nut freeper, then where's the derail? I don't see anyone ever saying, "Yeah, but what about the substance of the hate blog I linked to? Saying you hate the hate blog for being a hate blog is such a derail!"

And I know it sucks when thread commentary doesn't go at all as expected, but seems to me that link would produce predictable results (based on prior results).

I feel for unsane on this, but I guess I tend to have a knee-jerk reaction against people that fire off so many quick posts as he did at the beginning of this thread. If you can't take the time to put an argument together into a cogent comment, it's time to hope someone else can make your point.

And I am willing to concede BP's comments are a derail, since a profession derail spotter chimed in (seriously mean that). All I am saying is that I don't see it or get how it is.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:00 AM on January 18, 2010


Let me rephrase, I don't remember a major distinction between the two candidate's positions..
posted by dig_duggler at 11:00 AM on January 18, 2010


This is recollection-ville, but I don't remember gay marriage/rights/etc being much on the radar in the 2000 campaign. Was it a major issue? Fully ready to eat crow on this, but I just don't recall it.

Hell yeah, it was. One of the Rovian strategies to get the vote out was to also have local/state initiatives to restrict gay rights.
posted by cimbrog at 11:01 AM on January 18, 2010


how many times do you have to repeat an ad hominem before it stops being fallacious, again?
posted by bonaldi at 11:03 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, you're equating Sully with a hate blog? I'm outta here.
posted by unSane at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2010


Really? In 2000? Which states had referendums? I remember the push in 2004, just not so much 2000 and the google is failing me (although I'm admittedly not trying very hard).
posted by dig_duggler at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2010


This is recollection-ville, but I don't remember gay marriage/rights/etc being much on the radar in the 2000 campaign. Was it a major issue? Fully ready to eat crow on this, but I just don't recall it.

I don't recall it either, perhaps maybe at crazy Republican base fundraisers or something.

Wikipedia says it was the budget and "nation-building". Another site has a fuller list, and nothing about it is to be found. Again, Bush probably made allusions to "family values" and other such nonsense when campaigning, but none of the three sides in the election were discussing gay issues as a matter of policy at all.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2010


No, I am not equating Sully with a hate blog, like I said, he's previously barely registered on my radar. What I am saying is that the reaction to his link is the same, and I don't get it.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2010


Gay Republicans are, from my POV, literally insane. They say "yes, I don't agree with the Republican position that I should be locked away because of how I have sex, but other than that I'm totally for their position!" That is an attitude that I find unfathomable, and thus I can't trust them in the slightest.

A) The national GOP platform does not say that gays should be "locked away" because they are gay.

B) Log Cabin Republicans are very much in favor of equal rights and non-discrimination. They are a voice within the Republican party, just as many other groups are, who try to sway policy and legislation from the inside. Which is how progress is made. Not from without, but from within. Read their mission statement.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Really? That's actually one of the things that makes me more than a bit irrational about Sullivan.

He's gay.

He was a gung ho, no holds barred, supporter of Bush in 2000.

How the heck can I trust, much less appreciate or endorse, someone who will gleefully and wholeheartedly endorse a member of a political party that has the stated goal of criminalizing their own sexuality?

Gay Republicans are, from my POV, literally insane. They say "yes, I don't agree with the Republican position that I should be locked away because of how I have sex, but other than that I'm totally for their position!" That is an attitude that I find unfathomable, and thus I can't trust them in the slightest.


Well, one, that's not the GOP position, and two, Bush actually was no worse than Clinton on gay issues.
posted by empath at 11:07 AM on January 18, 2010


Gay Marriage wasn't a big issue in 2000--Rove's gay marriage amendments happened in 2004.

However, Bill Clinton passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 96, three months before the election, then campaigned on having passed it. That kind of took the wind out of the sails of the gay marriage movement until 2004 when Rove actually made it an issue again.
posted by fatbird at 11:07 AM on January 18, 2010


Really? In 2000? Which states had referendums? I remember the push in 2004, just not so much 2000 and the google is failing me (although I'm admittedly not trying very hard).

Ah, you're right. 2004 was the big year. My memory fails.
posted by cimbrog at 11:08 AM on January 18, 2010


Or does he have a legitimate voice in this matter?

Then who does, and why didn't you link to them instead of derailing the thread with ad hominem attacks against one blogger who's apparently scooped his colleagues?

While there's nothing from, say, Glenn Greenwald or Juan Cole as yet, Spencer Ackerman has linked to the Harper's piece at Firedoglake (after Sullivan's). Is he a "legitimate voice", or does his initial support of the Iraq War likewise disqualify him? Will it ever be "legitimate" to link to them and their peers, in your view, or does Metafilter require constant policing against their inclusion? With the Atlantic's pronounced rightward skew since 2001, how can Sullivan's constant reminders of America's torture legacy and prisoner abuse record on their site be something that must not be mentioned elsewhere?
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:10 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rove's gay marriage amendments happened in 2004

Right, and that and Abu Ghraib are what caused him to switch teams, for the most part.
posted by empath at 11:10 AM on January 18, 2010


The only way to read all the Sully stuff is to imagine the big blue guy from Monsters, Inc. is the guy being referenced. Then it is easy to realize it's all a derail and focus on the important point of that FPP: three people were murdered and their deaths deliberately made to look like suicides to spare someone high up possible embarrassment.
posted by misha at 11:14 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow. Just fucking ... wow. If this is the kind of trash that we're putting up with...? I guess "yes we can't."
posted by Damn That Television at 11:17 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gay Marriage wasn't a big issue in 2000--Rove's gay marriage amendments happened in 2004.

Civil unions were an issue, as were same sex couples' rights. Vermont in particular was a battleground, because they had legalized same-sex civil unions the previous year.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on January 18, 2010


I can't find the link now but could swear that one of the stories about this said that Joe Hickman, the person at Gitmo who blew the whistle on this, was a lifelong republican who was inspired to join the army by Ronald Reagan, who he considered the greatest president we ever had. Is Hickman not credible about torture at Gitmo either?

I think recanting on their tainted past gives them some credibility in a "only Nixon can go to China" kinda way.
posted by Challahtronix at 11:27 AM on January 18, 2010


Sullivan voted for, and gave material and possibly critical support to, the people who are responsible for the torture. He now wants to backpeddle and claim that he thinks torture is bad. His credibility on the issue is nonexistant.

Someone covered Sullivan not being a citizen and therefore ineligible to vote

Material support being:
any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials;
Critical support appears to be a phrase you made up.

Conclusion: You don't know what you're talking about.
posted by electroboy at 11:30 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My analogy above sucks, and I would like to retract it. I wasn't trying to conflate the two at all.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:35 AM on January 18, 2010


Why is everybody so pissed off lately?
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:37 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


100 posts in this thread and 60 in the other and not one addressing anything Sullivan, you know, actually wrote.
posted by sweet mister at 11:37 AM on January 18, 2010


I think recanting on their tainted past gives them some credibility

That's pretty much my feeling on it, too. Naturally, it would have been better had he never supported Bush nor the Iraq War in the first place. But I know plenty of otherwise reasonable people who did, who have since changed their minds about both. This, to me, shows a far greater ability to absorb and understand information - as well as the important ability to swallow your pride and admit when you're wrong - than the rock-ribbed BUSH WAS RIGHT Republicans (however few of them there may be now). And here, we're not even talking about someone who supported the Republicans in 2006, or even Bush in 2004. We're going on ten years here. What's the time window on credibility?

I think if you take an absolutist stance where only those who were on your side all along are allowed to be considered credible, you pretty much discount one of the largest components of modern politics - the ability to change people's minds. Campaigning, talking to people, publishing, spreading information; do we do these things to preach to the choir? Or in the hopes that we can also change minds, get people to "see the light", and be convinced that our interests are their interests?

I don't try and presume people's motives. Maybe Sullivan is an opportunist, but as empath pointed out, his stance on torture has remained consistent whether it's been perpetrated by Iraq or the US. So there's probably reason to believe his change of heart is sincere. What I do know is, there would have been very little progress made in this country if we never welcomed people who changed their minds on issues.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:40 AM on January 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


electroboy If you don't consider campaigning for Bush to be "giving him material support", then I guess we don't have much to talk about.

Marisa Stole the Precious Thing I may need to rethink Sullivan. All I really remembered was that he was a Bush and war cheerleader. To me that says "really loves torture". Now he says he doesn't. To me that says "opportunist". You say I'm wrong, and others have supplied some links that say that too, so I'll do some more digging.

I still don't think I'll ever like him, but I may come to recant my support for Blazecock's attacks on the man.
posted by sotonohito at 11:53 AM on January 18, 2010


100 posts in this thread and 60 in the other and not one addressing anything Sullivan, you know, actually wrote.

I did.

unSane did too.
posted by zarq at 11:54 AM on January 18, 2010


What I do know is, there would have been very little progress made in this country if we never welcomed people who changed their minds on issues.

Well said.
posted by zarq at 11:56 AM on January 18, 2010


Now he says he doesn't. To me that says "opportunist".

It's not "now" he says he doesn't. He's been clearly and vocally against torture for six years now--it's one of the things that made him endorse Kerry in 2004. He led the flip-flop amongst right wingers against the Bush administration. The fact that he was early and loud refutes the charge of opportunism. He's also made no attempt to hide or gloss over his earlier support.
posted by fatbird at 11:57 AM on January 18, 2010


Here's a direct quote from Andrew Sullivan: "The terrorists have done the rest. The middle part of the country - the great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead - and may well mount a fifth column." Fuck him. That's not "supporting the Iraq war", that's attacking the mere concept of dissent. The "media voice death penalty" is perfectly valid in this case. If Andrew Sullivan understands just how wrong he was, his only honest response is retire from the opinion business.
posted by aspo at 11:57 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


If Andrew Sullivan understands just how wrong he was, his only honest response is retire from the opinion business.

Right, because it's obviously better to disappear than to spend the next decade clearly articulating why and how you were wrong, and supporting the opposite.

Seriously, you're taking his thoughts from five days after 9/11 and banishing him from public discourse when he's been one of the most effective anti-torture advocates around for more than six years, from before it was fashionable and opportunistic to be anti-torture?
posted by fatbird at 12:01 PM on January 18, 2010


Oh and to clarify, that wasn't a one time thing. Mr Sullivan was quite vocal on "anti-war protesters (and Muslims) are traitors" front.
posted by aspo at 12:03 PM on January 18, 2010


Gay Republicans are, from my POV, literally insane. They say "yes, I don't agree with the Republican position that I should be locked away because of how I have sex, but other than that I'm totally for their position!" That is an attitude that I find unfathomable, and thus I can't trust them in the slightest.


Wow, this is the most superficial reading of what is or is not important to people who might be gay and/or Republican. I have known a few gay conservatives who agree more with some of the stances of the Republican Party than Democratic, and their point of view is that they'd like to move the R Party away from fundamentalism and social conservatism and back to fiscal conservatism and limited government. That's not necessarily going to happen by just joining the Democratic Party, nor is it a tactic that indicates insanity.

If you can't trust people who take a difficult and unpopular stance in an effort to fight for what they believe in, that's up to you. It doesn't mean that other people need to narrow their views to a finely honed partisan stance in order to qualify as sane.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:07 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh and to clarify, that wasn't a one time thing. Mr Sullivan was quite vocal on "anti-war protesters (and Muslims) are traitors" front.

The archives are here, feel free to pull additional examples.

The fifth column thing was particularly egregious, but I'm willing to give him a pass on that in the few days after 9/11.
posted by empath at 12:09 PM on January 18, 2010


Mr Sullivan was quite vocal on "anti-war protesters (and Muslims) are traitors"

I think he's been really consistent about not attacking Islam.

He wrote a fairly measured piece in Oct 2001 quite openly stating that the problem is fundamentalism, not Islam, and draws connections between fundamentalist Christianity and fundamentalist Islam. It's a theme he's continued to expand on -- except instead of focusing on fundamentalism, he's focused on Islam and Christianity when put forward as political systems -- he now calls it Islamism and Christianism.
posted by empath at 12:14 PM on January 18, 2010


THIS IS EXACTLY HOW MLK JR. DAY SHOULD BE SPENT.

/CHEESEBURGERS
posted by pwally at 12:16 PM on January 18, 2010


I would just like to know what is so objectionable about a cat looking at a pizza tia
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:19 PM on January 18, 2010


I would just like to know what is so objectionable about a cat looking at a pizza tia

It was those awful wall hangings. You would think a cat would have better aesthetic sensibility than that.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:25 PM on January 18, 2010


If you don't consider campaigning for Bush to be "giving him material support", then I guess we don't have much to talk about.

Probably not, but mostly because you have no idea what you're talking about. Was Sullivan selling guns to the Bush administration?
posted by electroboy at 12:31 PM on January 18, 2010


This is the kind of thing that makes me much less likely to make FPPs.

Also, can I point out that when I posted this, there was no other reaction to this piece that I could find on the web.

Yeah, I'm pretty furious too, unSane. It's an important story and the discussion on MeFi has really been spoiled. Nice job, anti-right-wingers-who-hate-Sullivan.

I don't see what's motivating the comments much besides a sense that Sullivan is getting away with something, but that really seems to be GYOB territory and definitely not worth cluttering up a post on a critically important topic.


These four comments to me espouse a view that is problematic for me as a long time member and lover of Metafilter. There is:

a) no obligation to post FPPs;
b) no obligation for every 'topic' or news story to get a thread;
c) no hurry to post links, if it is a breaking news situation; and
d) no obligation to have a meaningful discussion on the links posted.

In many ways, these impulses detract from Metafilter's best-of-the-web mission. I submit that, if Mr. Sullivan's writings are so well known to cause reactions such as this, as a whole it might be that he's been linked too much. This is not to excuse bad behavior in the thread. This is, I suppose, the same old complaint about Newsfilter, but I think that even Newsfilter has its place here as long as the links offered either have something novel about the analysis or are discussing a super duper OMG breaking news situation, which MeFi actually does amazingly well in those once every other year sort of situations.
posted by norm at 12:32 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


empath: he also wrote plenty of columns equating modern Islam with fundamentalism. I was trying to read through his archives for more quotes but I keep coming across lines like "MILLER TIME: Judith Miller is a great and courageous journalist. In the current circumstances, when she is clearly a target for terrorist attack, her candor is truly remarkable. " and all that anger comes rushing back and I can't continue reading.
posted by aspo at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2010


You know aspo, the normal way to read a blogger is to read their current stuff and, if you're interested, work backword.

The whole nub of this Sullivan issue is that people like you are taking almost-a-decade old opinion of him and using it to dismiss him now. Bloggers change, and Sullivan actually has an excellent track record of publishing dissenting views to his and changing his mind in response to new information or cogent arguments.
posted by fatbird at 12:41 PM on January 18, 2010


norm, you're saying that since Blazecock has a hissy fit at the mention of Sullivan's name, nobody should post links to anything Sully writes? Because the only problem anyone seems to have had with my FPP is that *I linked to Sullivan*.

You also edited out in your quotes that Sullivan was the first person to link to Scott Horton's story and has been following up all day, as well as having been pushing the torture story for years now. It wasn't a random link. He was the only site linking because he was out in front of the story.

Also, I don't believe 'best of the web' is Metafilter's prime directive, despite it having been a slogan at one time.
posted by unSane at 12:44 PM on January 18, 2010


No, I clearly said that the behavior in thread was not justified by the choice of commentator. And I didn't 'edit out' any of your context. The fact that only one person had linked to the story is a reason to wait on posting it to flesh out the post and collect better content.

Metafilter is a community weblog. It's where the breadth of membership and eyes on the web yield amazing treasures that none of us individually would ever find. Turning into a discussion forum for the news du jour cheapens it.* If you must do a news post, offer something better than you'd find elsewhere.

You can add 'e) there is no obligation to moderate your own thread' to my complaint list too. This isn't a symposium and you're not doing a presentation.



*Yeah, yeah, that ship has sailed. Consider my argument aspirational.
posted by norm at 12:58 PM on January 18, 2010


Someone covered Sullivan not being a citizen and therefore ineligible to vote.

And his road to to a green card might have hit a bump if the feds prosecuted him for smoking a joint on a federally owned beach in Provincetown last summer instead of dropping the matter.
posted by ericb at 12:58 PM on January 18, 2010


A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others.

Something meeting all these criteria, I think, would be 'best of the web'.
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:00 PM on January 18, 2010


seriously, you consider a long and revelatory investigative piece about the possible torture, murder and cover-up of three men by the US govt to be 'news du jour'?

more so than this, say?
posted by unSane at 1:08 PM on January 18, 2010


I have no problem with linking the Horton piece. I had seen reports on it this morning but not the actual reporting, and I think it's FPP worthy for sure. My comments were directed towards the comments and attitudes I was referring to-- a general problem, not a callout on your post. Note further that only two of the four comments I linked to belonged to you, and that I didn't attribute the quotes either, because I wasn't trying to accuse any particular member of doing anything heinous.

My nearly eight year old FPP you link was about a policy article that I thought was really important and not going to be even noticed by most people. I wouldn't make the same post today, but that was my thinking. Since you're checking my posting history, you'll probably note that I've made something like two FPPs in the last five years. It's not because I don't know how. It's because I practice what I preach and only try to post something uniquely interesting that I don't think most people would have seen or paid attention to.
posted by norm at 1:26 PM on January 18, 2010


I'm waiting for the Aliens vs Predator vs Nav'i movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:36 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


oneirodynia wrote I have known a few gay conservatives who agree more with some of the stances of the Republican Party than Democratic, and their point of view is that they'd like to move the R Party away from fundamentalism and social conservatism and back to fiscal conservatism and limited government.

If the Republican party didn't have a majority who favored criminalizing homosexuality, I'd agree with you on gay Republicans. Can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good and all that. Can't be a single issue voter.

But when the "single issue" is "if these people had their way you'd be in prison", I think it kind of becomes necessary to be a single issue voter. Who gives a damn about economic issues, or whatever it is they think makes the Republicans the best party, when removing your rights, and quite likely putting you in prison or some sort of "rehabilitation" is a top priority for the party?

"Yes, yes, I know the Republicans hate people like me with the burning passion of a thousand suns, and if I succeed in getting them into a position where they can enact all their policies I'll be thrown in prison, but I really like their stance on public education so I'm all for them!"

That's simply a crazy position to take. You don't support people who have harming you as one of their major objectives, not if you're sane you don't.

Either gay Republicans are convinced that somehow they're so special that when the Republican Revolution comes they won't be put up against the wall with the other deviants, or they have no sense of self preservation.

Either way, either they're genuinely insane, or so radically different, so alien, in their thinking that I literally can't comprehend their thought processes. Either of those conditions means I can't even begin to predict what motivates them, which in turn means I can't trust them. People working hard to get put in prison are simply too strange for me to comprehend. You work to avoid getting put in prison, you work against the people who want to make you suffer, but they do the exact opposite. That makes them crazy in my book.
posted by sotonohito at 1:45 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Either way, either they're genuinely insane, or so radically different, so alien, in their thinking that I literally can't comprehend their thought processes. Either of those conditions means I can't even begin to predict what motivates them, which in turn means I can't trust them. People working hard to get put in prison are simply too strange for me to comprehend. You work to avoid getting put in prison, you work against the people who want to make you suffer, but they do the exact opposite. That makes them crazy in my book.

Your failure to understand them does not constitute a critique of their beliefs. It's just your failure to understand them.
posted by fatbird at 1:59 PM on January 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


professional derail identifier

You totally need to put that under Occupation in your profile.
posted by shelleycat at 2:16 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


sotonohito: "gay Republicans are convinced that somehow they're so special that when the Republican Revolution comes they won't be put up against the wall with the other deviants"

In every war, there are collaborators.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:17 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


In every war, there are collaborators.

More it's that they probably share the Republican Party's paranoid hatred of taxation and social services enough to hold their nose about the family values junk.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


fatbird I'll admit the possibility that I'm simply misinformed.

I just looked at the Log Cabin Republicans site, and to me what they're saying looks like insanity level delusion/denial.

They occasionally mention the minor, piddling, little detail that the modern Republican party exists, in large part, to imprison, kill, or at the very least curtail the civil rights of, all gay people (including Republican gay people). But they never actually address that point, they just sort of skim past it as if it didn't really matter.

From "Why It's Okay Being A Gay Republican":
The party will change only from the inside. Pressure from the outside, from the far left won't work. The GOP must be transformed one person at a time, across America on the grassroots level by gay Republicans and their fair-minded allies. Across America, gay Republicans are shattering stereotypes and educating rank-and-file Republicans about the importance of fairness and equality for gay and lesbian Americans. This is the right path to progress.
Sounds laudable, except for the minor detail that it isn't working, and their donation of money to Republican politicians means their civil rights get further hammered.

In fact, they seem to be relying on the Democrats as a shield against their preferred party. I note, for example, that the defeat of the gay marriage bill in New Jersey is portrayed by the Log Cabin Republicans as a horrible example of the Democrats failing to get things done. The fact that no Republicans voted for it was completely ignored.

They don't seem to ever actually address the issue of why they think it's a good idea to give financial support to a political party dedicated to harming them, if they do I haven't found the page yet, and I've been digging. They seem to have this huge cognitive dissonance going. They talk endlessly about taxes and whatnot, but never talk about the core issue that the Republican party wants to harm them.

They also have a whole page devoted to a tribute to Ronald Wilson Reagan, the man who is largely responsible for the fact that the USA had no actual response to AIDS.

Do you know any website by a gay Republican where they explain why they want to help the people who want to put them in prison? I'd like to read it if you know of one.
posted by sotonohito at 2:35 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


the modern Republican party exists, in large part, to imprison, kill, or at the very least curtail the civil rights of, all gay people

can we have some cites on the 'in large part' 'imprison' and 'kill' parts of that sentence?
posted by unSane at 2:40 PM on January 18, 2010


Dude, why are you even encouraging him.
posted by billysumday at 2:41 PM on January 18, 2010


Show me where in the Republican platform it says "put gay people in prison, or just kill them".

The fact that a large part of the base would do everything you say doesn't mean that the party stands for it officially, or even that it's likely to happen. As of Lawrence v. Texas, gay sex is now, not just legal, but constitutionally protected. A gay conservative doesn't need to worry about being put up against the wall. A gay conservative can point to a lot of Democratic failures to protect gay rights. And a gay conservative can reasonably conclude that it's better to fight from the inside than harangue from the outside, especially when it means supporting everything else they stand for that the Republican party is traditionally identified with.

Again, the fact that you can't wrap your head around it doesn't mean it's crazy, it means you've got some empathizing to do.

If you were gay conservative, could you really vote for the Democrats, with their record on gay rights, and them standing against everything else that you think is important?
posted by fatbird at 2:48 PM on January 18, 2010


sotonohito, I think it's possible to be gay, and American, and still disagree with the Democratic party on some issues - maybe even enough to refuse to support them.
posted by nangar at 2:49 PM on January 18, 2010


Good lord, people, disengage!
posted by billysumday at 2:52 PM on January 18, 2010


I just looked at the Log Cabin Republicans site, and to me what they're saying looks like insanity level delusion/denial.

the modern Republican party exists, in large part, to imprison, kill, or at the very least curtail the civil rights of, all gay people

Well, something is delusional here.
posted by empath at 2:53 PM on January 18, 2010


Dude, why are you even encouraging him

yeah, sorry
posted by unSane at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2010


I think we're forgetting that sullivan is english, I think perhaps blazecocks inner welshman was reacting to this.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:31 PM on January 18, 2010


FWIW, Sullivan sees Coakley losing by double digits.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:47 PM on January 18, 2010


So do lots of other people, as I scan through the interwebs. Time to buy stock in private health insurance, I guess?
posted by billysumday at 3:51 PM on January 18, 2010


FWIW, Sullivan sees Coakley losing by double digits.

I just saw that. It's the first thing I've ever read by him, and I think it's safe to say the last. Blind, incoherent pessimism can be every bit as dumb and detached from reality as blind, incoherent optimism.

Yes the race has gotten close, but even if Coakley loses, they will probably finish up Health Care before the new guy is seated. Senators don't take office the moment the election ends. As far as his claim that health care cannot pass even if Coakley wins- that's just being a jackass.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:55 PM on January 18, 2010


ps

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/


for rational, non jackass analysis of this and all other things political. I can't link that enough.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:56 PM on January 18, 2010


I just saw that. It's the first thing I've ever read by him, and I think it's safe to say the last. Blind, incoherent pessimism can be every bit as dumb and detached from reality as blind, incoherent optimism.

Eh, read more than one post. The thing about Sullivan is he is really, uh, raw, I guess, compared to other political writers. So he gets pissed and writes something like what you just read, then a reader writes in and is like hey man, cheer up, and he'll post that reaction and then his response to that reaction. If you're looking for TRUTH, Sullivan is definitely not your guy but if you're looking for an OPINION that is timely and usually well informed, then he's not bad.
posted by billysumday at 4:00 PM on January 18, 2010


You know, Sullivan often infuriates me, because he doesn't seem to GET IT so many times when a simple bit of empathy could work wonders for his thought processes (hello, abortion). That said, he is a classic Catholic intellectual, even if he doesn't so self-identify any more. He has a (naive) Catholic need for a nice bright line in the sand, and a likewise Catholic need to find that line through (apparent) rational argument. I was raised a Catholic myself, and attended Catholic schools, and this seems obvious. This does lead him correctly, in my opinion, on the torture issue. (But, then, I understand his thought process.)

I'm sorry BP, but you are simply wrong about Sullivan and torture. He is one on the very few (only?) pundits out there that has been loudly and consistently beating the drum about the horrors of our torture regime from the second it became known. This is an issue on which he does have credibility, because of his complete consistency. He never, not once, supported torture. Yes, I get it, he was with the bad guys in the early 2000s. He gets it too!

Torture is a mortal sin he cannot, as a Catholic intellectual, overlook. I think if you thought of him first through his intellectual tradition, and not through something as slight as a political party, you could see that Sullivan, at least, believes he is being true to what he believed all along. (Just to be clear, I am not endorsing the Catholic intellectual tradition!)

And honestly, I don't even like the guy. I read him to find out what the smart right-wingers think. But these selective quotations and reductions of what has been a years-long transparent thought process on his blog seem really superficial and dishonest.
posted by Malla at 4:13 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Damn, if Nate Silver has Brown a 3:1 favorite, that's the best news I've heard all day.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:18 PM on January 18, 2010


[Sullivan] is/was a right wing extremist.

Man, that's a crazy and as irresponsible as the wingnuts' use of "communist".
posted by Neiltupper at 4:19 PM on January 18, 2010


You know, Sullivan often infuriates me, because he doesn't seem to GET IT so many times when a simple bit of empathy could work wonders for his thought processes (hello, abortion).

Sullivan can be counted on to turn it up to 11 on quite a few issues in which he's obviously wrong to many of us. What saves him is that he always prints good dissents and addresses the points they raise honestly, and occasionally changes his mind in light of them. He may be frequently wrong, but he's not dogmatic, and his blog is one of the best places to find alternate points of view to his.
posted by fatbird at 4:27 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes the race has gotten close, but even if Coakley loses, they will probably finish up Health Care before the new guy is seated.
Not according to what I heard on NPR yesterday. 538 gives her only a 25% chance of winning? Crap.

posted by angrycat at 4:51 PM on January 18, 2010


Sorry, that second part shouldn't have been in italics.
posted by angrycat at 4:52 PM on January 18, 2010


You know, Sullivan often infuriates me, because he doesn't seem to GET IT so many times when a simple bit of empathy could work wonders for his thought processes (hello, abortion).

I really don't know where you're coming from here. After the Tiller shooting, he posted a long, moving series of personal stories about abortion on his blog.

It's So Personal

In one of them, he writes:
I have to say I am beginning to believe that these abortions, given their excruciating moral and personal choices, may be the most defensible in context of all abortions. And yet they seem to be taking life in a more viscerally distressing way. I need time to think and rethink these things. I would not have without reading these extraordinary accounts.
One thing I like about him is that he wears his heart on his sleeve in a way that most bloggers don't.
posted by empath at 4:57 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My impression of Andrew Sullivan from every time I've seen the man on television is that he is a self-regarding loudmouth bullying douchebag who, like so many not-as-smart-as-they-are-verbose 'pundits', is better at shouting down others than making a connected argument.

There, did I do it right?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:16 PM on January 18, 2010


"Do you know any website by a gay Republican where they explain why they want to help the people who want to put them in prison? I'd like to read it if you know of one."

Krusty the Klown: Well, he framed me for armed robbery, but man, I'm aching for that upper-class tax cut! [votes for Sideshow Bob]
posted by Challahtronix at 5:33 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


One thing I like about him is that he wears his heart on his sleeve in a way that most bloggers don't.

One thing I loathe about him is that he confuses his heart with his brain.

He's a person with an excellent education and a facility with language. He's made a career out of being a contrarian. (Cf. Bell Curve.) He's now convinced that every little blip across his synapses is meaningful—so meaningful that it must be posted and followed up on until he achieves release.

empath, did you follow his obsession with Sarah Palin's pregnancy? Was that okay with you? "Things to attack Sarah Palin on" seems to be a vibrant renewable resource—why was he demanding gynecological records to prove a meaningless point?

And that quote you found so moving? They were "extraordinary accounts" only if you have zero involvement or interest in the abortion debate. In which case, you should shut your yap, which Sullivan did not do.

He can wear his heart on his sleeve, his spleen on his cuff, his penis wound round his neck and tied in a Windsor knot. He's arrogant and ignorant, and there's lots of better-written, better-informed stuff to read.
posted by dogrose at 5:36 PM on January 18, 2010


Is this Andrew Sullivan character as annoying as Margaret Wente?
posted by KokuRyu at 5:41 PM on January 18, 2010


NOBODY is annoying as Margaret Wente. It's physically impossible. She's like the speed of fucking light of annoying.
posted by unSane at 5:57 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know who else can go fuck themselves?

banana slugs!

sorry.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:59 PM on January 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


You know who else can go fuck themselves?

banana slugs!


How do they get any work done at all???
posted by hippybear at 6:11 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: If the link is there, it's fair game. Simply calling criticism a derail doesn't make it true, no matter how many times that falsehood gets repeated.

Dude. Take a step back. The thread wasn't about Sullivan, it was about the torture and likely execution of innocent people.

In other words, in a post about a monstrous crime, because a linked comment thread comes from a dude that has said stuff you don't like in the past, you totally derailed the thread into talking about what a horrible person wrote it.

Hate the man all you want, but compared to the reality of torture and execution, Andrew Sullivan is irrelevant. Talk about what he said, not who you think he is. Surely, if he's really evil incarnate as you seem to think, there will be plenty to take apart in the substance of THIS comment, not comments he made elsewhere on other topics.

The focus should be on the men that died, and the people that allegedly tortured them to death, not a columnist.
posted by Malor at 6:16 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to live in the Santa Cruz mountains, and we had an apple tree. One year we made about 8 apple pies and set them on the counter to cool. The next morning all of the pies had shiny reflective banana slug slime trails all over them. It looked like a bunch of slugs had a skating party all over the top of our pies.
We put whipped cream on top of the pies and they were good.

Even though I fall on BP's side of this fuss, I'm guessing that somewhere in this story is a parable about how best to read Andrew Sullivan.
posted by Killick at 6:32 PM on January 18, 2010


Slug infestation: The worst part is waking up to a slime trail that ends right over the head of your bed.
posted by angrycat at 6:49 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll post the comment I was going to post there here:
--
His political affiliation should make one question whether he is a credible voice in the media about the subject of war crimes. If he's going to be cited, that's fair comment.
He's a starry-eyed kool-aide drinking Obama fan on every other issue. He's even been telling people to vote for Coakley. He also voted for Kerry in '04. I'm not really sure what impact you think his affiliation has on this.

In fact, he's too pro-Obama for my tastes, but this is not pro-Obama stuff.
An avid Bush supporter is, quite simply, less credible on the topic of torture than someone who was not an avid Bush supporter.
I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say here. If someone who was a bush supporter says "torture is bad" it actually means that torture is good? Is that what you're trying to say here? We should consider Sullivan's support for bush when weighing his arguments against torture? That since he was wrong on bush he's also wrong on torture and actually torture is good?

Or what?

--
She's [Sarah Palin] totally going to eat it [a puppy].

Or like Bill Frist, perform illegal medical experiments on it


It would have been hilarious if he'd been deported for smoking a joint on federal property, though.
FWIW, Sullivan sees Coakley losing by double digits.
...


I just saw that. It's the first thing I've ever read by him, and I think it's safe to say the last. Blind, incoherent pessimism can be every bit as dumb and detached from reality as blind, incoherent optimism.

Yes the race has gotten close, but even if Coakley loses, they will probably finish up Health Care before the new guy is seated. Senators don't take office the moment the election ends. As far as his claim that health care cannot pass even if Coakley wins- that's just being a jackass.
The race hasn't been getting 'close' Brown has been getting farther and farther ahead. The latest PPP Poll has him up by 5%. and in the one before that he was only up by 1%

I can understand why people would think the election would kill the bill, though. It only passed by two votes in the house, and without the stupak amendment a few dems and Joseph Cao will vote against it. And without having 60 seats in the senate, there won't be any way to get a new bill through the senate. The house would have to vote for the senate bill as-is.

On the other hand, they could pass something pretty major through reconciliation, including a public option. Frankly, I think we'd be better off if they tried that, rather then this clusterfuck.

Also, 538s statistics are good but their policy stuff is whack. They didn't think the public option was a good idea initially and have supported a VAT like tax.
posted by delmoi at 9:39 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is Boston's doing isn't it? Seriously, fuck Boston. It's a city of inbreeds easily dazzled by flashing lights.
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, but you're attacking Sullivan as non-credible without bothering to directly address what he is saying about this specific issue in his 700-800 word blog post because you're concerned not that he might have his facts wrong, but because you don't like the guy? Please.

This is no different to, e.g. MeFi's attitude to Christopher Hitchens, who has written a bunch of good stuff, but we'll dismiss it because (a) he was for Iraq and (b) he said some true but unpleasant things about Mother Theresa, for example, because blind orthodoxy with the in crowd du jour is way more important than what people are actually saying.

sotonohito, I think it's possible to be gay, and American, and still disagree with the Democratic party on some issues - maybe even enough to refuse to support them.

You could, for example, disagree with their enthusiastic support for DOMA and 'Holy' Joe Lieberman and Tipper Gore's husband as the presidental ticket in 2000.
posted by rodgerd at 9:50 PM on January 18, 2010


The thread wasn't about Sullivan, it was about the torture and likely execution of innocent people.

I guess that leads up to the question of what the thread would've been without the Sullivan argument. A hundred posts of "yes, torturing and murdering innocent people is wrong"? Single-periods the whole way down? Everybody who could be bothered posting that they find all of this torture and murder to be quite shocking, or perhaps unsurprising, and that the man who revealed it is very brave? Paris Paramus coming back to the site to explain to all the dumbass libs that torturing and murdering innocent human beings is a moral imperative as long as they're not Americans?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:43 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess that leads up to the question of what the thread would've been without the Sullivan argument.

Maybe sometimes things are posted to MetaFilter because they are a quality read, not because they provoke quality discussion. Not every thread has to have contention. Heck, not every thread even has to be long! Some of the most interesting things posted to the Blue (IMO) seem to not draw a lot of comment because commenting is not always necessary.
posted by hippybear at 11:42 PM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


In that case, who cares about what the discussion was about?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:59 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"For Gods sake, vote for Coakley. Not for Coakley. For the rest of us." -- Andrew Sullivan

Man what a blinkered right winger.
posted by delmoi at 12:13 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess that leads up to the question of what the thread would've been without the Sullivan argument. A hundred posts of "yes, torturing and murdering innocent people is wrong"?

What are you saying? That the thread had to be shat upon in order to save it?
posted by Ritchie at 1:16 AM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not really saying anything, I don't think. Just noticing something I hadn't noticed before.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:31 AM on January 19, 2010


Does anybody else remember when Sullivan was first a writer for and then the editor of The New Republic and turned it into all-Clinton-hate-all-the-time? When he was a cheerleader for the circus that was the Contract with America and the impeachment? He was pretty unpleasant long before he was a blogger and a really long time before his Great Awakening.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:57 AM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I apparently didn't, but good God, markkraft does. (A quick summary of many--but not all--reasons why Sully is awful.)
posted by kittyprecious at 5:05 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Keep gnawing that bone.
posted by unSane at 5:11 AM on January 19, 2010


Keep gnawing that bone.

Pot, meet kettle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:16 AM on January 19, 2010


I'll never forget the night no matter how hard I try when I walked out my back door and saw a couple of Leopard Slugs getting it on.
posted by Sailormom at 5:30 AM on January 19, 2010


Seems the only cure for a diosectomy is a sullyed disposition.
posted by peacay at 5:38 AM on January 19, 2010


I'd like to get really high with Sullivan and Coates at The Atlantic offices. We wouldn't invite McArdle, though, 'cause we'd be like "Chicks cannot hold their smoke, dat's what it is."
posted by octobersurprise at 5:50 AM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Palin/Bristol baby conspiracy is Teabagger-level weird. I'm not crazy about the guy, and don't care if people loathe him. The issue to me with that mess was entirely different. But at least we were able to hash this out. Who's next for dissection?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:51 AM on January 19, 2010


Who's next for dissection?

Why the attempt to divert discussion away from Sullivan, who is the reason for your call out?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:59 AM on January 19, 2010


Just trying to lighten the mood, BP. If you want to talk more about Sullivan, you're of course welcome to. Knock yourself out.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:19 AM on January 19, 2010


I dislike Sullivan as much as anyone, for all the reasons mentioned above, but you can hardly expect a site-wide policy of never linking to the guy. He has an important and widely-read blog and he's been pushing the torture issue very consistently for a long time now -- it's natural to link to his discussion of the issue in a post about torture, especially if his was the only real online discussion at the time the post was made. I don't think every link to him has to be read as an endorsement of his self-regard. In the context of this story, he doesn't need to have "credibility" -- the facts of the story get their credibility from Scott Horton. And Sullivan's Republican past is definitely a derail.
posted by creasy boy at 6:29 AM on January 19, 2010


I was wrong about gay Republicans.

High profile Republican politicians campaigning on gay hate had apparently given me a false image of the Republican base. Polling shows they aren't as crazy anti-gay as I had thought. My impression was that Joe Republican was basically in agreement with Sally Kern, and of course a lot of them are, but not the supermajority I'd assumed, or even apparently a very strong majority.

Given that I can see how it is possible to be gay, and Republican, without being insane, and that I was wrong to say that gay Republicans were insane.

Thanks to the people who kept attacking my incorrect position, I'd still be wrong if you hadn't, and I appreciate your smacking me upside the head with good arguments.
posted by sotonohito at 6:52 AM on January 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


I was wrong about gay Republicans.

You now owe all 23 of them an apology, you meanie.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:03 AM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


delmoi: ""For Gods sake, vote for Coakley. Not for Coakley. For the rest of us." -- Andrew Sullivan"

Dear Massachusetts Voter,

We thank you for supporting Martha Coakley. After all, there's no point in buying a candidate if she doesn't win.

Signed,

Amgen
Astra-Zeneca
AT&T
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Boston Scientific
Cigna
Eli Lilly
HealthSouth
John Hancock Life Insurance
Humana
Kindred Health Care
Merck
Novartis
Pfizer
Raytheon
Sanofi-Aventis
United Health
Vanguard Health Management
Verizon
posted by Joe Beese at 7:07 AM on January 19, 2010


The post is about torture and a bunch of people make asses out of themselves bitching about the author of a link, not about what the author wrote about torture, but about the author's character. It's a shame people need to stroke their own egos and ruin a fine discussion. It's bad behavior.
posted by caddis at 7:38 AM on January 19, 2010


Passive aggressive attacks are bad behavior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:48 AM on January 19, 2010


Given that I can see how it is possible to be gay, and Republican, without being insane, and that I was wrong to say that gay Republicans were insane.

Thanks to the people who kept attacking my incorrect position, I'd still be wrong if you hadn't, and I appreciate your smacking me upside the head with good arguments.


I respect the hell out of you for saying this. You're a class act for taking the time to breathe, think, research and then draw a new conclusion based on new information.

I can only speak for myself here, but I've been frustrated to the point of despair over the Republican/Conservative opposition to same-sex civil unions, gay marriage and protection from hate crimes. I find it completely unfathomable that a group of people would actively try to prevent any other group from being given the same equal, legal rights and protections that they enjoy. It makes absolutely no sense to me, and it's completely infuriating. I have two friends whose partners died unexpectedly and found they had no rights to do anything to fulfill their partner's wishes unless granted permission to do so by their partners' families. That's unjust and wrong and a total travesty.

You're not alone in your anger and frustration.
posted by zarq at 7:49 AM on January 19, 2010


I find it completely unfathomable that a group of people would actively try to prevent any other group from being given the same equal, legal rights and protections that they enjoy. It makes absolutely no sense to me, and it's completely infuriating.

I honestly believe that many (if not most) Republicans give two shits about gay marriage (or gays at all). The thing is, they have to make the correct mouth noises to keep the support of a group of people who vote with their hate, not with their brains. I agree its infuriating that some people don't want gays to have the right to marry, but it's more infuriating to me that gay marriage has become a method of 'galvanizing the base' rather than a concept to be debated and ultimately agreed or disagreed with. I actually have more respect for an idiot who doesn't want gays to marry because they're afraid of what will happen to 'teh kuntry hurf durf' than some calculating Rovian douchebag who has discovered that saying "Marriage = Man + Woman" is worth another ten points at the polls.
posted by Pragmatica at 7:58 AM on January 19, 2010


Dear Massachusetts Voter,

We thank you for supporting Martha Coakley. After all, there's no point in buying a candidate if she doesn't win.


So -- Brown and his truck would be better, then?
posted by angrycat at 8:00 AM on January 19, 2010


a bunch of people make asses out of themselves bitching about the author of a link, not about what the author wrote about torture, but about the author's character. It's a shame people need to stroke their own egos and ruin a fine discussion. It's bad behavior.

Does this mean we can now start focusing our discussions of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski on their work as opposed to their sexual transgressions?
posted by philip-random at 8:18 AM on January 19, 2010


angrycat: "So -- Brown and his truck would be better, then"

To quote Johnson (Samuel, not Lyndon B.):

It is difficult to settle the proportion of iniquity between them.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:23 AM on January 19, 2010


Does this mean we can now start focusing our discussions of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski on their work as opposed to their sexual transgressions?

Ooh, fun. It'll be just like bringing up Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd around Republicans.
posted by electroboy at 8:27 AM on January 19, 2010


Ooh, fun. It'll be just like bringing up Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd around Republicans.

The new deflection they're using, as I've found when trying in vain to explain to a few people how Fox News is biased, is "what about Dan Rather and those Bush military records"? You can't win in 99.9999% of the cases.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on January 19, 2010


After all, there's no point in buying a candidate if she doesn't win.

You know, I agonize about this as much as anyone -- it was literally impossible to do anything in Massachusetts yesterday at home because your phone would be ringing off the hook with various people calling you to harass you about who to vote for -- but I'm not really sure drive-by sneering helps anyone solve political problems and the "your candidate is just as bad!!" snarking is what got us here in the first place.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd really fucking love to see this site go without a triple-digit comment, highly contentious MeTa thread about something that amounts to nothing. If we put our minds to it, we can achieve it.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on January 19, 2010


philip-random: "a bunch of people make asses out of themselves bitching about the author of a link, not about what the author wrote about torture, but about the author's character. It's a shame people need to stroke their own egos and ruin a fine discussion. It's bad behavior.

Does this mean we can now start focusing our discussions of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski on their work as opposed to their sexual transgressions
"

As long as you don't try to claim that Manhattan was anything but mega-creepy.
posted by minifigs at 8:35 AM on January 19, 2010


Does this mean we can now start focusing our discussions of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski on their work as opposed to their sexual transgressions?

I would think if someone did a post on Ingmar Bergman, and included a supplementary link to an essay by Woody Allen and people started talking about Allen's sexual transgression that would pretty much be a derail.

NAPDI [Not a Professional Derail Identifier]
posted by marxchivist at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You may not be a PDI, marchivist, but you may want to apply because that is spot on.
posted by cimbrog at 8:38 AM on January 19, 2010


marxchivist, thanks for the comment. Rational, in context, more or less on the nose. I love how it speaks to NOT resorting to knee-jerk emotionalism (grounded in judgment) and challenges us to keep our reason when the impulse is to surrender to our passion.
posted by philip-random at 8:57 AM on January 19, 2010


zarq Blame my parents, without their influence I'd likely be a Limbaugh/Coulter/Palin fan rather than the obnoxiously certain liberal I am today.

As it is, and thanks to them, I am actually able to acknowledge that I'm wrong if presented with evidence. Also thanks to them I like to source things if I'm in an argument where facts exist. "Who told you that?" was my mother's constant refrain in arguments. I was a much bigger prick during my late childhood and early adolescence than I am today, and the constant intellectual beatdown from my parents, especially my mother, and the fact that my father had much the same personality that I do so I could see in him how obnoxious I was being, are pretty much the only reasons why I have the ability to acknowledge that I'm wrong.

I started this morning digging up polling data to demonstrate that the Republican base was crazy anti-gay, and instead turned up polling data indicating that while Joe Republican is a bigoted homophobe, most of them don't actually endorse the views of Sally Kern and her ilk, with around 77% of Republicans of the opinion that homosexuals should be protected from losing their jobs purely on the basis of their sexual orientation.

In an effort to prove myself right, I found data that proved I was irrefutably wrong. Thanks to my parents I'm not really the sort of person who can simply ignore that, much as I'd like to. I don't really think that counts as personal virtue so much as the single facet of my personality that might, for people inclined to be charitable, make up for the obnoxious prick bits.
posted by sotonohito at 8:59 AM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm heading out to vote for Coakley.

Ah, State Senator Scott Brown, one of only three legislators who voted to deny financial assistance to Red Cross workers who had volunteered with 9/11 recovery efforts while at the same time "sponsor[ing] House Bill 4423, a measure to provide a tax-subsidized bond to build a golf course in Newport, a town in his district."

The guy is a right-wing conservative, anti-choice, anti-stem cell, homophobic former soft porn model.

Meet Scott Brown [video | 10:14].
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on January 19, 2010


Just the sort of 实事求是精神 we need around here if we're going to build socialism in one website, sotonohito.
posted by Abiezer at 9:11 AM on January 19, 2010


jessamyn: " I'm not really sure drive-by sneering helps anyone solve political problems and the "your candidate is just as bad!!" snarking is what got us here in the first place"

I didn't know that we were here to help solve any political problem other than the one that some people hate Andrew Sullivan so much that they derail threads in which he appears.

Someone quoted his pleading for Coakley support. If my past indiscretions have disallowed me a comment in rebuttal - even in the more casual precincts of the grey - I will understand if you delete the comment.

However, if it's the nature of the rebuttal that displeases, I don't know what to tell you. Those are her campaign contributors. (Links available on request.) And I think they have a lot more to do with how we got here than any inter-party mudslinging.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:31 AM on January 19, 2010


The new deflection they're using, as I've found when trying in vain to explain to a few people how Fox News is biased, is "what about Dan Rather and those Bush military records"?

You can always go the Jane Fonda -> Ted Turner -> CNN route too.
posted by electroboy at 9:33 AM on January 19, 2010


jessamyn: "it was literally impossible to do anything in Massachusetts yesterday at home because your phone would be ringing off the hook with various people calling you to harass you about who to vote for..."

From the Great Orange Satan:
Coakley lost this race about a week ago. That's when two big things happened.

First, she started heavy robo calling. By heavy, I mean hundreds of thousands of calls. Normally, that's a good thing. The problem here is that there was horrible coordination between the various organizations doing the calling. The result was that many crucial voters have been getting calls 5 TIMES A DAY.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:42 AM on January 19, 2010


I didn't know that we were here to help solve any political problem other than the one that some people hate Andrew Sullivan so much that they derail threads in which he appears.

Criticizing an individual with a long and abusive political history is not "derailing" when he is part of the post in question.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 AM on January 19, 2010


Seconding zarq: sotonohito, you set a fine example.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:50 AM on January 19, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: "Criticizing an individual with a long and abusive political history is not "derailing" when he is part of the post in question"

I don't really have a dog in this fight - so I apologize if I seemed to be criticizing you.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:53 AM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


^ I don't know if that was intentional, but it was kind of funny.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:02 AM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?

Seriously, I wasn't criticizing anyone. I do think that the emphasis on Sullivan in the original thread was overshadowing a more important topic - so I would consider that a derail. But that only matters to me personally inasmuch as I felt bad for the poster, who probably hoped for something else. And to the very limited extent that I think it's behavior to be discouraged - an extent that does not reach to creating a MetaTalk thread - it's as much the responsibility of the people who took issue with the anti-Sullivan comments as those who made the comments originally.

Now pass me those beans, will ya?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:13 AM on January 19, 2010


I don't really have a dog in this fight - so I apologize if I seemed to be criticizing you.

Since we're talking about criticizing Sullivan, no problem.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 AM on January 19, 2010


Since we're talking about criticizing Sullivan, no problem.

Sullivan is clearly the most evil commentator to ever touch finger to keyboard and that empty gun you are sticking to is not rusty nor leaving an imprint of the butt on your face.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 AM on January 19, 2010


Huh, that was kind of nasty. Cheerio.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 AM on January 19, 2010


I don't know if that was intentional, but it was kind of funny.

Opportunists like Andrew Sullivan make a living off of playing folks like you like a fiddle.

As much as you dislike me personally enough to keep up with your campaign of lazy sniping, unlike Sully, I don't align myself with political parties who fuck over people who aren't straight, people who don't have health insurance, people who don't want their emails read and their phones tapped, and people who don't like the idea of their government turning into a colonial empire, torturing and murdering for profit.

This is just Metafilter, so enjoy your lazy jokes while the Sullivans of the world fuck you over and sideways. Cheerio.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 AM on January 19, 2010


What have I learned from this?

-- Linking to an opinion piece from Sully, even if nobody disagrees with it, and even if he is the lead in pushing the story, and has been for years, and even if he is not remotely responsible for the credibiilty of the story in question, will lead to your post being derailed into a GRAR discussion of Sully and why nothing he says must ever be linked to on Metafilter.

What has Blazecock Pileon learned from this, including being explicitly called out by Cortex for having derailed the thread?

*crickets*
posted by unSane at 10:32 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't subscribe to The Atlantic. I'm also not running a campaign against you. You do, however, have issues.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on January 19, 2010


I'm also not running a campaign against you.

How many times have you sniped in this thread alone?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on January 19, 2010


*crickets*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:40 AM on January 19, 2010


*sprays insect repellant*
posted by jonmc at 10:53 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


BP, can I clarify something for you? You were one of my first contacts, and I've agreed with you far, far more times than I've disagreed with you. This thread is not a call-out. Alright? This is about an attempt to give unSane's story room to breathe.

As simply put as possible: Sullivan is not and was not the story in the FPP. Alright? I know you keep repeating that he was in the FPP there, so it's all fair game. But come on. He was one person commenting on the main link of the post, and you didn't even address a thing he wrote on his blog. You addressed opinions he had nearly a decade ago; opinions that he has since recanted. And you know all this, yet felt determined to make the thread all about Sullivan, ironically overshadowing the far more important story about the torture that you keep correctly saying is a horrible thing.

I strongly recommend reading marxchivist's anaolgy up here. It pretty much hits the nail on the head. I think we all get how much you detest the guy. I just wish you'd have given the subject of the story - the US torturing and murdering innocent people - the same kind of attention you gave to a pundit you believed supported these practices years ago.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:54 AM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Video of leopard slugs doin' that thang.
posted by barrett caulk at 11:00 AM on January 19, 2010


felt determined to make the thread all about Sullivan

UGH.

I made one comment about him, because he was linked to in the post. The other three comments were direct responses to other people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:04 AM on January 19, 2010


Sometimes I think it's helpful to look at the overall problem people are referring to and say "If I step away from this particular topic, will the problem everyone else is referring to go away?" In this thread's case, the answer is, I think, yes.

I respect that you feel strongly about Sullivan BP, but I think your insistence on maintaining the discussion about it in that thread, a discussion that would have ended had you not been continually responding to other people's criticisms, was what the derail was made out of.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:08 AM on January 19, 2010


"Pot, meet kettle.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:16 AM on January 19"


While we're on the topic of people changing their views....


"That childish "Pot. Kettle." stuff might have worked a few years ago, but no more.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:04 AM on June 11, 2009"
posted by HopperFan at 12:35 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You are ridiculous. Grow up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on January 19, 2010


I'm also not running a campaign against you.

How many times have you sniped in this thread alone?


Well, a "campaign" would imply that I sprung out of bed this morning with the thought of mocking BP. Hardly. This is another callout thread where I have made silly remarks like many before. You happened to figure prominently in this one. But, since you're damaged goods, I will henceforth labor to avoid such in the future.

However, if you earnestly believe this scenario in any degree then I submit to you that your sense of perspective is severely impaired and really there's not much more that can be said.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:30 PM on January 19, 2010


I made one comment about him, because he was linked to in the post.

How many comments have you made in HERE attempting to justify that "one comment," though?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:36 PM on January 19, 2010


However, if you earnestly believe this scenario in any degree

Sullivan's manipulative behavior over the last twenty years is quite clear to anyone who is not a liar or an idiot. If you think this "scenario" is wrong, you need to repair your own perspective, friend.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:45 PM on January 19, 2010


Blazecock, I'd strongly suggest that you might want to re-evaluate your own in this case; three men died. They were tortured to death at American hands, and the military has apparently attempted to make it look like suicide.

That's important. Andrew Sullivan is not important.
posted by Malor at 1:47 PM on January 19, 2010


I don't care about Sullivan or most any other loud mouthed media whore, actually. But this isn't some crusade here.

Anyway, I sincerely apologize regardless of any right or wrong on any level. I'm going to go ho'ponopono here and try to just sail clear. Adios.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:48 PM on January 19, 2010


How many comments have you made in HERE attempting to justify that "one comment," though?

What a bizarre question. Isn't the entire point of Metatalk to address this call-out?

I respected Marisa enough to take this matter here. Would you prefer this discussion be taken back to the front page?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:48 PM on January 19, 2010


Anyway, I sincerely apologize regardless of any right or wrong on any level

Thanks for being sincere about apologizing for your cheap shots. It would be better if you didn't make them in the first place, but there you go.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:54 PM on January 19, 2010


That's not how you do it.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2010


A moment's silence for BP, who apparently is under the impression that everyone owes him an apology.
posted by unSane at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2010


What a bizarre question. Isn't the entire point of Metatalk to address this call-out?

It may have begun this way, but to be honest, it's starting to look more and more like you stomping your feet and saying "but I'm RIGHT!" each time someone new comes in and says "the thing you're right ABOUT wasn't even the POINT."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on January 19, 2010


That's not how you do it.

That's not how you "adios" or "cheerio", either.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:00 PM on January 19, 2010


BP, you're a troll. Go die in a fire. How is that?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:02 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan & BP knock it off ffs. Burhanistan, this is the second "please cool it" message we've passed on to you in MetaTalk. Really, please cool it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:07 PM on January 19, 2010


You're in absolutely no position to call anyone a troll. You were trying to get a rise out of me from your first comment in this thread.

I'm not going to give you any satisfaction of telling you to go "die in a fire". I'm just not going to stoop to your level.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:07 PM on January 19, 2010


Is this where you go to have yer boils lanced?
posted by Mister_A at 2:13 PM on January 19, 2010


I'm sorry, jessamyn. I will not respond to his comments any further.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:15 PM on January 19, 2010


I try to be a positive person and part of that for me is avoiding things that are pointlessly or egregiously negative. That said, I've been reading this thread all day off and on and I find it fascinating. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think a big part of it is the main object of the thread being steadfastly unwilling to concede anything no matter what. The irony of that is delicious on so many levels. There have been a bunch of really interesting reactions by other people as well--there's just a whole spectrum of human behavior going on in this one thread.

Also, how often do you read a contentious MetaTalk thread that includes slugs doing the wild thing?! Awesome.
posted by Kimberly at 2:53 PM on January 19, 2010


(slow clap)
posted by billysumday at 2:59 PM on January 19, 2010


Now that that's settled, can we go back to freaking out over Coakley here? Because I think it's just too much for the universe to ask that I deal with this election with no cigarettes, no exit polls, and no Metafilter thread, frankly.
posted by enn at 3:12 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't freak out about Coakley. She's going to get killed. Everyone (in Dem politics) has already commenced with the autopsy and blame-laying and are trying to move on to the next stage of dealing with "what this means." Nothing we can do. Go read a book, watch a movie, ride a bike. Hell, if it'll cheer you up, read that thread about the coroner's notes on deaths in Monroe County, IN. Wait. Nevermind. That might not do the trick.
posted by billysumday at 3:30 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, enn, if you're intent on freaking out about this, I'm sure you could make a pretty solid MeFi post about the election and get your freak on (not in that way) with lots of members here who are also, I'm sure, likewise freaking out.
posted by billysumday at 3:39 PM on January 19, 2010


enn, I've been watching Coakley's InTrade stock rise (a little bit) and fall (a lot) all day. My Brown-supporting coworker actually tried to give me a pep talk because I'm so down. An FPP might actually give me a heart attack, in a bad way.

But, dude, I hear you.
posted by oinopaponton at 3:58 PM on January 19, 2010


Yup, freaking here too.
posted by angrycat at 4:20 PM on January 19, 2010


"You are ridiculous. Grow up."

BP always thinks that everyone else is a troll but him. My point with posting that was that people can and do change their minds.

I'm glad that he now thinks that "Pot, kettle" is just fine, because in reponse to the above, my reply to him is the same.
posted by HopperFan at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2010


BP always thinks that everyone else is a troll but him.

I didn't call you or "everyone else" a troll. Please speak for yourself next time, thank you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:57 PM on January 19, 2010


Now that that's settled, can we go back to freaking out over Coakley here? Because I think it's just too much for the universe to ask that I deal with this election with no cigarettes, no exit polls, and no Metafilter thread, frankly.

I had a nightmare that Coakly lost last night. I think I seriously need to stop reading the news.
posted by afu at 6:04 PM on January 19, 2010


Clearly BP wants the last word on Mr. Sullivan. I hereby yield the last comment to him, and shall forthwith discuss Ms. Coakley, as enn proposed...

Yeah, it doesn't look good for her. She described Curt "Bloody Red Sock" Schilling as A YANKEES FAN. I'm surprised she wasn't hung in effigy in Fenway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:07 PM on January 19, 2010


Well, it's over.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:33 PM on January 19, 2010


So WTF was that about? Gigascale Dem incompetence? Or the awesome political power of the Tea Party? Because if it's the later I think I've got to start putting together an escape plan.
posted by Artw at 6:55 PM on January 19, 2010


WTF was that about? Gigascale Dem incompetence? Or the awesome political power of the Tea Party?

Both, in a perfect storm of MOTHERFUCKER GODDAMN.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:57 PM on January 19, 2010


NPR reporting health insurance stocks up by the close of the market today, buoyed by the idea that health care reform is in serious trouble.
posted by angrycat at 7:05 PM on January 19, 2010


As usual the GOP brought a gun to the knife fight, and the Dems brought a banana.
posted by unSane at 7:10 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


.

Can anyone say referendum?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2010


Passive aggressive attacks are bad behavior.

I wasn't singling out any particular person, and that wasn't passive aggressive. It was just plain aggressive.
posted by caddis at 7:07 AM on January 20, 2010


Go die in a fire.

We shouldn't get too cozy with this sort of talk, no matter how much play it gets around the four corners of the internet. It's still a fucking injunction to die.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:38 PM on January 20, 2010


We shouldn't get too cozy with this sort of talk

Meh. He's a classless jerk, so it's nothing to get too upset about. Luckily there aren't too many of his kind around here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:58 PM on January 20, 2010


kid_ichorous, your comment is refuted.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:47 PM on January 20, 2010


Oh, give it a rest, Blazecock. All those grudges are unhealthy.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:51 PM on January 20, 2010


You have no self-awareness, whatsoever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 PM on January 20, 2010


Never mind, I'm not chasing after any more of your bait. Go fish elsewhere.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:58 PM on January 20, 2010


Look, BP, I don't want to be your friend, but I also don't like being anyone's enemy. If you want to build me up in your mind as a bad guy, then that is your business. But, I think it's pretty unfair and unsound logic to consider me the one trolling here when you call me a "classless jerk" well after our pointless squabble was put down and I asked you to give it a rest. It's unfortunate that everything with you has to be worked out in these threads rather than in private since you have disabled MeFi mail, but that is also your perogative. Making amends with others is not the worst thing in the world.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:25 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Plus, you like Pan Sonic so you can't be all bad.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:40 PM on January 20, 2010


Get a room, you two.
posted by electroboy at 6:29 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Making amends with others is not the worst thing in the world.

Giving the cheap shots a rest is not the worst thing in the world, either, when you had plenty of chances to stop.

And you didn't ask anyone to "give it a rest." You were snide and condescending in every comment. "Adios" and "Cheerio"? "Die in a fire"? You are seriously pretending you are the good guy here?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:03 PM on January 21, 2010


I'm closing this up. I feel like I'm doing nothing this week but tell people to cut it out with stupid interuser back-and-forths.

BP and Burhan, you've each both been part of at least two of those, and it's not really new behavior for either of you either and it really, really needs to stop. Find some way to cut it out yourself so we don't have to do it for you, please.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:58 AM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


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