9-11 discussions losing strength October 13, 2001 4:34 AM   Subscribe

Is it just me, or has the wind gone out of MeFi's sails in terms of discussions relevant to the Big Question? [inside]
posted by Opus Dark to MetaFilter-Related at 4:34 AM (24 comments total)

911-related discussion seems forced, grumpy, and listless. Everyone seems to have chosen a reality from the available menu, and nobody wants to change his order. Both defense and offense seem anemic and half-hearted. I'm certainly feeling puny - I can't seem to work up much squabble energy either.

But the lack of op-ed vim and vigor as it relates to my subjective evaluation of 'quality content' is not what disturbs me. What disturbs me is the odd temptation to just say 'to hell with it', buy an Old Gory for 89 cents and wave it along with the rest of the throng waiting for the first wave of Enduring Freedom action heroes to return home. IOW (without the sarcasm) it really is much, much harder to opine ideas and solutions which are at odds with, and more intellectually demanding than, the simple, viscerally satisfying, call to arms.

I am on the terrifying verge of not wanting to add complexities to an already overwrought equation.

MeFi seems to be reflective of my own mental fatigue. The scary part is that the tendency to conserve mental calories is atavistic, I think, and if I can't remain focused, inquisitive, open, and deliberative, how can I expect others to resist the Lo-Cal allure of the wargame Lazy-Boy?

Aggravating a natural tendencey toward slack-jawed, critical entropy is the slow, steady, grinding down being accomplished with eerie, effortless efficiency by Fleischerisms, Bushisms, Rumsfeldisms, and an ever-expanding Rice-fortified propaganda network.

Is anyone else tired? Just pooped? Does anyone else feel like buying a car at zero percent, dumping pomo, getting selectively religious, and disappearing into the great wad? Hopefully, it's just me, suffering a little Saturday-morning-after-arguing-with-my-girlfriend weltschmerz. Probably just need a rest...just that I used to be able to drop into MeFi to refuel...but lately, it, too, seems to be running on empty.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:35 AM on October 13, 2001

Is this the next stage down from NewsFilter? TherapyFilter? Sorry to hear that you're feeling poorly, Opus. In these situations, I always try the "step away from the computer" option. The world is still out there, robust and recalcitrant as ever.
posted by rodii at 7:43 AM on October 13, 2001

You might consider, too, finding someone to talk to--like, a real person (we're all just AI bots, after all). It honestly sounds like you may have a touch of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Whatever you do, just don't ignore how you're feeling. Nip it in the bud....

You can send your $10 co-pay to my PayPal address. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 8:02 AM on October 13, 2001

To address the substance of your question, Opus: I know exactly what you're saying. I have no real desire to repeat the same arguments in thread upon thread, especially when the substance of a dissenting opinion is rarely addressed.

I have made it quite clear where I stand re: Bush, Cheney, Operation Dramatic Name, etc., and it simply feels redundant to keep making the same "Dove" arguments in response to the chest thumping and flag waving. Especially since I'm not entirely sure that I'm taking the right stance on this issue. I mean, I know that violence breeds violence, but goddamn...this is some hardcore shit to turn the other cheek to.

Naturally, I can only speak for myself, but I'm just not in the mood to bang my head against this particular wall anymore. Emotions are running too high at the moment, mine included.
posted by Optamystic at 9:13 AM on October 13, 2001

The problem for me is that it's a zombie horse, Opus. MeFi has been pretty heavily focused on the whole terror saga for the last month plus; we've spent hundreds of hours and millions of vowels on it. In essence, I think we've pretty much beaten it to death... but on it plods.

During the first few days of this - as it was during most of good ol' Desert Storm - the networks were doing 24 hour coverage, and 95 percent of it was filler content. Informative, sometimes, speculative, sometimes. But mainly it was just keeping the networks from dead air when they felt it wouldn't be proper somehow to return to normal broadcasting.

What is there really to keep us going here, really? Sure, OK - this Mohamad Heikal fella may well be an expert mid-east analyst. That doesn't mean he's neccesarily right, and it definitely doesn't turn by a degree the juggernaut that's been unleashed. He's filling dead air, in an informative way. The guide to understanding Islam, also just filling dead air - understanding Islam isn't going to change the course of events either.

The Ghurkas, "Why do they hate us" , 1,000 'I's... whipping at the zombie horse. it's like watching a low-scoring football game that lasts continuously for 30 days. Eventually, the color commentators and experts are all just scrambling for a reason to talk, to try to put the game in some sort of context, when no context is needed. The game is the game, and nothing we do or say here is going to affect the outcome.

I'm not saying that there won't be moments when discussion is warranted; there will be more than we can imagine, I expect. We have years and years to live through this. Lucky us. But eventually, everyone will have to settle down, let loose of our deathgrip on the minutae of the subject, and accept the fact that we are all, in the end, just spectators to a game that will play out in its own way and in its own time.
posted by Perigee at 9:26 AM on October 13, 2001

After a few hours sleep and black coffee, I'm wincing, and I hate to wince.
I do sound like a wounded violinist, don't I? A 12 year-old wounded violinist.
Sorry. I'll notch down the avatar's puerile self-involvement function...
and I'll work on the wordiness glitch...
...and, the new keyboard with the breathalyzer lockout feature should be arriving any day.
::major wince::
Still, it's interesting to hear from others who are feeling wrung, wash-boarded, and more than a little irrelevant. Like Perigree says, the game is afoot. Right now, rants in this tiny corner of the Internet have about as much influence on events as a mote in Jupiter's eye.
posted by Opus Dark at 10:08 AM on October 13, 2001

t's like watching a low-scoring football game that lasts continuously for 30 days. Eventually, the color commentators and experts are all just scrambling for a reason to talk, to try to put the game in some sort of context, when no context is needed.

That's sort of how the Radio 3 commentary of Test Cricket (the kind that lasts for up to five days) works. Eventually the commentators get more interested in cakes they've received from the Listeners at Home.

Pancakes, anyone?

(Certain MeFi Yorkshiremen may disagree with my estimation of Test match Special, however.)
posted by Grangousier at 10:10 AM on October 13, 2001

I'm not sure the lack of enthusiasm isn't a reasonable position, given the realisations that
i) the likes of your average MetaFiltarian is probably being told a minute fraction of whatever's really going on, and
ii) We can all Discuss until Osama turns into a pink unicorn, but the likelyhood of anything anyone says here influencing anything to do with the outcome, or even anyone else's perception of the outcome, is zero.
posted by normy at 10:13 AM on October 13, 2001

Where do I get my own Old Gory? What's that, a blood-covered Betsy shredded on the ends from snapping in the wind, then used to tie a splint?
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:53 AM on October 13, 2001

You can get your old gorey here. I'm feeling a little of the same. It might be time to go on a long bike ride, or fly a kite, or go fishing for a while.
posted by bragadocchio at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2001

I blame Bert.
posted by y2karl at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2001

forced, grumpy, and listless

Hello? Oh sorry I thought someone was calling me ....
posted by feelinglistless at 12:55 PM on October 13, 2001

Cricket -- isn't that just a bunch of people standing in a field looking at each other feeling a bit bored?
posted by feelinglistless at 12:57 PM on October 13, 2001

"The Gurkhas: Why do they hate us?"
posted by rodii at 1:07 PM on October 13, 2001

Don't like to diss my own crowd but MeFi's main defect, imo, is hating complexities. Almost everyone keeps restating their case, as if they hadn't read other members' comments, just to justify their already-set-in-stone prejudices. In worst-case-scenarios, which are becoming more common than they were even a month ago, it's all a bit "my dick/Dad/pancake is bigger than yours".
OpusDark's complaint, like mine and many others', is not personal. So please don't come with those fresh air and sunshine remarks. It's about MetaFilter becoming superficial and rudely assertive and dogmatic.
Even pre-September 11 members who once were flexible and open to discussion have become stuck in their grooves and closed to even the slightest tune coming from elsewhere.

"Adding to complexity" is a sign of intelligence. We all already know what we already know and think. This is a community weblog; not a multiple personal weblog gone mad.

Unless the question raised is addressed I fear the worst. Boredom comes from all of us becoming boring. Open up, people!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:37 PM on October 13, 2001

Jeepers, Miguel - I have to be reading this wrong. Are you suggesting that the problem with Metafilter is that people have strongly held opinions and beliefs?

Everybody has their sticking points - everyone deserves 'em. What we've been seeing here lately is simply an increase in the percentage of post-topics that people feel strongly enough to stick to their guns on.

It's unlikely - and a little absurd - to suggest that the rabid Christians are likely to turn and say, "Well.. I guess maybe there might not be a god..." Nor will the rabid Athiests suddenly accept the possibility that God is out there somewhere. Both sides have their core belief systems. You want a quick 100-plus thread? Bring God into it, and watch the opposing forces come out to assert themselves.

Same thing goes with liberals and conservatives, hawks and doves, sneeches with stars and sneetches with none-on-thars. You can't muck with core beliefs; they in many ways are the framework of personalities, defining the sharp edges of men and women.

I just checked the front; nobody's chewing each other about migrating chincilla, Limp Bizkit, date rape drugs... if I may suggest it, take a look at the character of the topic, and make allowances for people's core beliefs.

posted by Perigee at 2:26 PM on October 13, 2001

Opus, Ethel is doing a much better job asking questions about Operation Dramatic Name than MetaFilter. The links here are either “Support America, or else,” “Why should I?” or “Hope you’re feeling better.” Ethel moved past.

Besides, Internet discussions are rarely more than one person discussing topics with himself. If you want dialogue, get away from the computer.
posted by raaka at 2:44 PM on October 13, 2001

Er, which 'person' above suggested that the glories of TMS (test match special) had been moved from the crackly backwater of radio 4 longware (198LW) to the Imperial majesties of Radio 3. They've been on Radio 5 Live before but not on r3 for years!
posted by nedrichards at 4:15 PM on October 13, 2001

nedrichards: Good god, you're right! Bloody hell. Goes to show how little attention I pay.

It used to be true about the cakes, though.

I used to be a person, but now I'm just a 'person'.

posted by Grangousier at 2:07 AM on October 14, 2001

opy,in all that shit, was their a question."Right now, rants in this tiny corner of the Internet have about as much influence on events as a mote in Jupiter's eye." so cool, a sheen malaise, your sooo suave opy. THEN WHY POINT IT OUT? you want a debate? I/ll put aside my funny bones and give you one. but your afraid, like that 12 year old who hides behind rather tripe cynicism."Same thing goes with liberals and conservatives, hawks and doves" DOVES>>>hell ive just seen a almost complete ideaological change in most thinking people. There all hawks(or else playing one for prudence sake) there is nothing more pathetic then a liberal talking war. there is plenty to discuss, how many history folks do we have...alot of liberal gladhanding"demonstratation rah-rah. no, raise a historical point and you get 'thowooped'
posted by clavdivs at 8:53 AM on October 14, 2001

And then there's the other side.

Those of us who usually lean more liberal but now because we support a limited war effort (yes, I want the bad people dead but I'm not naive enough to not realize good people will die. Call me evil but if given a choice it's better that the dead good people are not me and my neighbors) are automatically lumped into the "Dick-Cheney-with-a-woodie" war reactionaries who are treated to article after article about "how much America sucks, and hey I'm not saying per se that we deserved this but, you have to think still..."

posted by owillis at 2:27 PM on October 14, 2001

I wonder if Cheney's thing makes that little stuttering "bionics" noise when he gets a woody.
Nobody with a cardiovascular system that jammed up has all his own naughty bits still firing all by themselves.

posted by dong_resin at 3:40 PM on October 14, 2001

>my dick/Dad/pancake is bigger than yours

New tagline candidate!
posted by machaus at 4:31 PM on October 14, 2001

owillis, I am completely in your "liberal leaning but supporting a limited war effort camp," and we are definitely the maligned minority lately. But at least we have the comfort of knowing we're right, right?
posted by pardonyou? at 6:59 AM on October 15, 2001

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