"left" vs "right" mudslinging? December 25, 2001 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like a lot of political threads like this one or this one seem to boil down to "left" vs "right" mudslinging? shouldn't we be more interested in rejecting labels rather than pushing them?
posted by mcsweetie to Etiquette/Policy at 1:47 PM (15 comments total)

I'm not sure how honest this plea is, since it's coming from the guy who mocked "Irrational Patriotism Kill War Yeehaw Good disorder". We can't stereotype based on "left" or "right" but it's okay to stereotype based on local dialect and geography?
posted by gd779 at 1:55 PM on December 25, 2001


Both those threads are great examples of how not to post at metafilter. Look at postroads troll-bait editorial on the front page:

Usually, with age, lefties grow up and move Rightward.

That is just asking for trouble.

Also, SDB's agenda is pretty clear to any regular reader, his link is an ignorant anti-war bash loosely disguised as an unfunny joke.

These threads got what they asked for, blame the posters.

shouldn't we be more interested in rejecting labels rather than pushing them?

The posters, in my opinion, simply don't want that. Instead of linking to something insteresting and politically balanced and leaving the generalizations behind they prefered to go the troll route. Leave the generalizations behind and you'll have a much better chance of intelligence discourse.
posted by skallas at 3:21 PM on December 25, 2001


Shouldn't we be more interested in rejecting labels rather than pushing them?

We should be interested in expressing our opinions, as well as listening to those with different opinions. Whether that results in labeling or delabeling is beside the point.

I disagree that these posts had an agenda. SDB said he posted that WACKA thread because he thought it was funny. It was funny. Everybody else's comments were pretty funny too. Postroad's post was... well, I don't really know what it is, but it's worthwhile for people to ask and answer what labels like left and right mean, especially nowadays. That thread evolved to the point where you, mcsweetie, can ask the question: Shouldn't we move past labels? So I don't see how, in the end, the thread devolved into something bad.

Mudslinging is stylistically bad. Arguing is just what MeFi is for. These back-and-forths are going to happen one way or another. When I posted that the NYT's 9/11 death toll was thousands lower than other people had been saying, it immediately "devolved" into a war/peace thing. I don't think that my post was politically motivated, but it was read that way. If anything, we should be looking for issues that redivide map. "Feminist" stuff seems to do that&mdashFeminism is the one social issue on which few have a well-thought-out position.
posted by rschram at 3:34 PM on December 25, 2001


We can't stereotype based on "left" or "right" but it's okay to stereotype based on local dialect and geography?

wow, now thats a stretch. but to answer your question: no it isn't. the post was actually a diss on both hands. I just figured that if one person airing a bunch of bizarre stereotypes about one side is funny, then airing out both sides would only compound the hilarity!
posted by mcsweetie at 3:51 PM on December 25, 2001


McSweetie is right. Unfortunately in this respect MeFi is merely reflective of society at large. Most people seem to be more about defending their original position, no matter what bizarre contortions of facts it may require than in actually learning something.
Also there is the human tendency to think that when someone holds a viewpoint opposed to yours that they are either crazy, evil or stupid. I used to think this way, however experience has taught me that people often has very good and valid reasons for their views even when they are diametrically opposed to my own. I don't have to then agree with them but I am obliged to show them respect.
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on December 25, 2001


Well said, jonmc. However, I'm still going to opine that I think Fred's thread was his usual blinkered bullshit (sorry, mate, but I calls 'em as I sees 'em), but it did spark a reasonably interesting discussion about (now it's time for my own hobbyhorse) the total inadequacy of the labels 'left' and 'right' and how devoid of real meaning the terms are today.

Also, I found it ironically hilarious. Postroad, locked into his narrow worldview (as is clearly shown by a quick tour his posting history here) getting all up in Arthur Miller's face, who is perhaps equally locked into his own narrow worldview. The key difference being Arthur Miller is a relatively great writer, and Postroad is one of thousands of IntArWeb insta-pundits, myself included.

Funny in a slightly sad way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:55 PM on December 25, 2001


I should note that I would defend Postroad's right (as long as he does not violate community standards in any truly egregious way) to continue to post his opinions, despite the fact that they are totally orthogonal to my own, to the death.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:04 PM on December 25, 2001


Funny in a slightly sad way.

There's something redundant about that...
posted by y2karl at 11:14 PM on December 25, 2001


...to the death.

Or at least until someone broke a nail. I mean, come on!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:17 PM on December 25, 2001


jonmc... you're right as well. I never thought in terms of left-wing and right-wing until I started getting involved with mefi and actually communicating and debating my thoughts. not that I'm totally complaining. the greatest thing about mefi is that you can express a thought and get a million different counter-thoughts and viewpoints that you can use to bolster your original thought, change it, or abandon it outright.

anyhow, is there a name for people who judge issues using their conscience and common sense, without the benefit of antiquated labels?
posted by mcsweetie at 11:52 PM on December 25, 2001


[...]is there a name for people who judge issues using their conscience and common sense[...]

As it is now, and as it shall ever be...user.mefi/n+1.
posted by Opus Dark at 12:05 AM on December 26, 2001


The key difference being Arthur Miller is a relatively great writer, and Postroad is one of thousands of IntArWeb insta-pundits, myself included.

What's key about that difference? Do literary giants have more to offer when they dabble in political causes than the rest of us rabble?
posted by rcade at 5:59 AM on December 26, 2001


Looking beyond the usual political labels (right/left, conservative/liberal) can be enlightening, as George Ochenski's latest Missoula Independent column--"The conservative contradictions are stacking up"--shows quite clearly.
posted by Carol Anne at 6:22 AM on December 26, 2001


As it is now, and as it shall ever be...user.mefi/n+1.

hehe. uh that was a joke, right?
posted by mcsweetie at 9:19 AM on December 26, 2001


anyhow, is there a name for people who judge issues using their conscience and common sense, without the benefit of antiquated labels?

Intelligent? Rational? Sane?
posted by rushmc at 8:32 AM on December 27, 2001


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