a place for intellectual inbreeding? November 12, 2003 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Is Metafilter, as a community, in the process of degenerating from a gathering of the web's most interesting minds to a place for intellectual inbreeding? [more]
posted by VeGiTo to Etiquette/Policy at 5:58 PM (264 comments total)

I remember. Once upon a time, there was a great diversity of opinions on this board. Metafilter has no doubt become decidedly left-wing, but believe it or not, there were once some great convervative minds who participate here, who no longer do due to the hostility they experienced. Even Steven Den Beste - the encyclopedia, the biblical-length-comments-poster - whose contribution was usually well-researched and informative, decided it is no longer worthwhile to post here last year. Whether or not you agreed with his opinions, his pragmatic factual contribution is something to be missed.

Most communities start off with a lot of enthusiastic and diversed, yet civil, discussions. But in some communities, eventually a narrow equilibrium is established around one mainstream opinion. When those who are supporters of the mainstream opinion starts to treat their oppositions with contempt and hostility, the oppositions begin to leave, and new ones refuse to join. This causes a feedback loop of "purification", where the scope of discussion become narrower and narrower, and the opinions of the members become homogeneous. In the case of Metafilter, I'm afraid I am seeing evidence of it becoming a "tight little we-hate-Bush in-group", as languagehat put it.

I am by no means conservative. I probably agree to 1 out of every 5 policies that Bush endorses. Hell, it might surprise you to find out, I'm not even American. But I made the big mistake of trying to dissect Bush's foreign policies from a positive angle on this thread, from which I received about 50 instances (out of 80 something comments) of personal attacks and troll-calling. Sure, I may have made one attempt at context shift (by asking "is deceit a bad thing a priori?" as a general question when the discussion was specifically about Bush), even though I still don't think it was really out of context, but is one semantic error worthy of the abuse I received?

It might be interesting if Matt conducts another one of those political survey, to see how far to the lower-left of the matrix do MeFites now congregate. I'm afraid we are beginning to hear the very last voices of the dissidents to the Metafilter mainstream opinion.

Just like those before me, I am tempted to give up, but I haven't yet. I love this place - I think it is the greatest place on the web, and I would hate to see it become any less great than it is now. I post this fully expecting a rational discussion, and a logical assessment of the current situation. Though I have a very bad feeling of this turning into another flamefest, I sincerely hope that scenario to remain firmly in the realm of my nightmares, not anywhere else, and certainly not in a place I love so much.
posted by VeGiTo at 5:58 PM on November 12, 2003


1. Den Beste was and is a pompous blowhard. If you're going to miss someone non-lefty, choose Dan Hartung, maybe.
2. You posted a weak link that you admitted was merely to counter another post -- very bad form indeed, as you should have kept it in the first thread -- and then you moderated your own thread. You are therefore an evil person, and deserved to be spanked. Well, not really, but still...
3. Now you're brining it to MeTa to complain about EchoChamberFilter. This particular plaint has been done before, I'm sure you're aware, and is nonsense. I invite interested parties to find the relevant discussions.

People believe what they believe. They will argue those beliefs, if they're the arguing type. If your beliefs do not match up with the majority in a given place, in a given time, and you are committed to arguing about them, then either suck it up and dive in, or stop whining, I'd suggest. Or stay the hell away from the (often maligned, for good reason) political threads here.

The 'metafilter mainstream position' (which it is true may be characterized as left/libertarian leaning, according to our last go around with the political compass) is that way because the majority of individuals here have those beliefs, for better or worse. How the fuck to you propose to change that? Convince heaps of people that they're wrong, and tilt the balance? Give me a break.

Harsh, perhaps, but what on earth are you actually suggesting here? Open up membership (and send personal invites to some Freepers to balance the scorecard)? Well, we've discussed that recently too, haven't we?

Or are you just venting? (in which case, well, thanks for playing, but you've just eaten ten minutes of my life that could have been more profitably spent, so fie on you, fie I say!)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:17 PM on November 12, 2003


I agree to an extent. 2 and 3 years ago, I used to post a lot more frequently here. I used to be one of those (semi) conservative posters, too. I just got tired of the same old arguments, and feeling like I was being jumped on every time I said something that wasn't liberal. Don't get me wrong, I'm liberal when it comes to a lot of things, and I agree with a lot of the things I've heard on MetaFilter. Some of those things have even changed my mind a few topics.

That doesn't change the way I felt though. In the end, I think I've just outgrown trying to bring the whole world into picture for myself. My attitude now is more laid back - I don't care to exert myself into arguments. I don't want to debate anything. I don't care enough (which probably means I am more of a reason for my dropping out of the community than anybody else's views).

Ultimately, I don't have "extremist" views on any kind of topics. I don't take well to anyone who does. Therefore I won't debate my views because I don't think it will go anywhere. I just get on with myself.

I was sorry to see Steven Den Beste go, though. He was one of my favorite contributors, and I thought he was right about a lot of things.
posted by tomorama at 6:20 PM on November 12, 2003


A very well-reasoned argument, VeGiTo... but I'd more convinced by it if it were musings out of the blue, not prompted by you taking some heat in a MeFi thread. But you took a few slaps in a discussion, and now MeFi is run by intolerant liberals...

Just like those before me, I am tempted to give up, but I haven't yet.

...and, regardless of their contributions and intellect, I'm not sure I'd be so quick and happy to equate myself with the former-MeFites who bid a loud, dramatic, whining adieu to this place... Take it on the chin. It's the only way to abide MeFi.
posted by Shane at 6:21 PM on November 12, 2003


Whether or not you agreed with his opinions, his pragmatic factual contribution is something to be missed.

bah

holgate nostalgia? of course
thinking fondly about rodii's ideas? yes
wishing, say, dhartung or owillis posted more? probably, yes
missing aaron's well-reasoned Tory arguments? certainly

but if your point is MeFi's pinkos chased DenBeste away, well, good luck

Metafilter has no doubt become decidedly left-wing, b

sorry to break the news, but the White House has become decidedly more right wing -- opposition by individuals still thinking for themselves and not ready to endorse Bill O'Reilly's "you're either with us or a terrorist" position was all but certain

also I resent that you pretend to be this progressive centrist when most of your output here has been along the lines of this badly-informed, single-link, easily torn apart fpp

I'd try to spell out my arguments more clearly and with better links. but if you'd rather see yourself as a victim of left-wing aggression, have fun. also, there's plenty of warblogs where you'll find people eager to appreciate this kind of insights (ie the "rich are getting a raw deal in the USA")

oh, yes, and congratulation for the wellreasoned argument

five fresh fish you're a fucking idiot.

posted by VeGiTo at 2:26 PM PST on April 14


so much for civility. congratulations, amd good luck slaying the Pinko dragons
posted by matteo at 6:23 PM on November 12, 2003


stav:

People believe what they believe, and they should also argue for what they believe. What I am complaining about are one-liner rebuttals that have no backing whatsoever, provides no new information, and serves no purpose other than to agitate and alienate. That is intellectual laziness. That is crudeness. That's something that I wish there is less of.
posted by VeGiTo at 6:24 PM on November 12, 2003


I was contemplating a response, but I see The Free-Range Chicken has beaten me to the punch. Instead, I'll save you all valuable reading time and put forth a hearty hear hear.
posted by The God Complex at 6:28 PM on November 12, 2003


Fair enough. I'm not fond of quipfilter either, even if have been one of its worst offenders at times.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 PM on November 12, 2003


I think this was pretty thoroughly hashed out in the thread. I can understand your distress at feeling pounced upon, but the reality here is that if you leave a gap in your argument, someone is going to find it and challenge it. In the long run, that makes all our arguments better. Getting defensive when challenged and using provocative language towards other users is guaranteed to add fuel to the fire.

We all know the bias of the proponderance of members with regards to certain issues, but there is no tyranny of the majority. There are members with all kinds of opinions on any given issue, and it is a disservice to everyone to try to peg them to a particular political position before they have spoken for themselves. It shouldn't matter how many people believe X or Y: you say your bit, then listen to other viewpoints; they either broaden your perspective or they don't. It only takes ONE person to present a persuasive argument that can make you think.

No one keeps track of whose views are "popular" here; no benefits accrue from being in the majority opinion the most often. All one can and should do is to express their thoughts as clearly (and respectfully) as they can, and to keep an open mind to other people's thoughts and observations.

Many people have come to Metafilter overly shy and sensitive about having their views challenged. It is increasingly difficult to have the types of wide-ranging, unfettered discussions offline that we have here, and I for one think it is of tremendous value to have a place where we have to thoughtfully and carefully express and defend our points-of-view, rather than turning away in silence and keeping them to ourselves. Hang in there, analyze what went wrong, adjust your presentation if you feel it would be productive to do so, ignore those more interested in fisticuffs than dialogue, and jump back in—that's what we all do. The alternative, as you say, is to give up and leave.
posted by rushmc at 6:32 PM on November 12, 2003


Except for that last part. The well-aimed quip is a solid historical staple!
posted by The God Complex at 6:33 PM on November 12, 2003


What I am complaining about are one-liner rebuttals that have no backing whatsoever, provides no new information, and serves no purpose other than to agitate and alienate. That is intellectual laziness. That is crudeness. That's something that I wish there is less of.
posted by VeGiTo at 6:24 PM PST on November 12


dude, somebody hacked your account. check out this crap posted under your name (name-calling, trolling, outrageous statements not supported by any links, etc)


five fresh fish you're a fucking idiot.
...
posted by VeGiTo at 2:26 PM PST on April 14


For some reason, the name "Mars Saxman" reminds me of "Marxism"
posted by VeGiTo at 8:58 AM PST on April 12


Soaking the Rich This post probably won't be very well received in this forum which is mostly consisted of lefties, but can you really justify stealing such a disproportionate amount from the rich?
ually.
posted ((by VeGiTo)) on Apr 11, 2003

I believe that a democratic Middle East will approach the living standards of the United States, along with China and Eastern Europe, while Western Europe becoming stuck in its continual decline with its backwards anti-capitalist policies and aging demographics. I bet my money on it.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:22 PM PST on November 10

I always knew Bush was bluffing about the WMD. I question the ethics of that, but it was strategically important nonetheless. What it did is that it made it politically possible to attack.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:33 PM PST on November 10




need I go on?


*sound of savage Communistic lynch mob approaching, smelling Centrist blood*
posted by matteo at 6:35 PM on November 12, 2003


Whoa. On preview, a lot of people haven't gone home for the day yet.. oh well, I will post anyway..

In answer to the original question, hogwash. Those that are left of Bush include a huge swatch of people that are considered centrist to the rest of the world. I think most Metafilterites are moderates. In a Slate article that I found really interesting lately, they wrote

Bush still embraces the center, but it's the center of the national Republican spectrum, on ground that was previously occupied by the far right.

Some people here can be rather peckish (har! Sorry chickenfolk) at times, but I think that decrying the lack of a particular brand of politics based on who posts how and at what volume is like decrying the lack of morality in Nevada. Sure Las Vegas is loud and (pleasantly) debauched, but there are plenty of calm, sane and balanced stuff going on nicely in the background.
posted by dness2 at 6:36 PM on November 12, 2003


Well, for one thing, you have a President even more polarizing than Clinton, an unwon war and a bunch of powerless know-it-alls on all sides venting their rage at their powerlessness while trying to get the last word in. The people who don't like Bush vent about him. Others vent about his policies. How about that brilliant plan for occupation, anyway? For another, Christ, yes, there probably will be a flamefest now. You can change other people or you can change the way you feel about what they're dwriing. Which one is easier?

I disagree with this tight little we-hate-Bush in-group, too. It just seems that way. It's always irritating when a lot of people feel strongly about a situation and you just don't agree with them. It just seems like they're throwing elbows on a crowded bus---how about that for a [public transit] Friedman metaphor?--it's not a happy topic. It's very easy to get upset over it.

I'm Iraqqed out for the day myself.

Oh, yeah--what stavros said there, at least, for the first few paragraphs...
posted by y2karl at 6:37 PM on November 12, 2003


Well said, rushmc.

TGC : everything in moderation, which is my feeling about the discussion here, too.

On preview : whew - fast mover of a thread.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:38 PM on November 12, 2003


Umm... does anyone else interpret just a hint of self-righteousness in an argument that Metafilter is devoid of "the web's most interesting minds" because, essentially, people obviously don't think you're one of them- as your MetaTalk post seems to indicate as your denied expectation?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:39 PM on November 12, 2003


Thanks matteo, for ripping apart like that. Out of my 100 or so comments, you picked out my worst, and some cases you didn't even quote the entire comment. One example is the last comment of mine that you posted.
posted by VeGiTo at 6:40 PM on November 12, 2003


everything in moderation

Except on Saturday. On Saturday all bets are off--or on, if you're at the track. Regardless, I agree. Amidst what will surely be much MetaMadness, let our example of comradeship shine as a beacon for all the gravitate towards.
posted by The God Complex at 6:52 PM on November 12, 2003


you picked out my worst, and some cases you didn't even quote the entire comment.

OK, you're right. let's see all of it:


five fresh fish you're a fucking idiot.

If I made $1 million and I only get $100 000 out of it, I won't be laughing to the bank. I'd be crying bloody murder.

By the way, you may want to look to Hong Kong for an example of a working flat-tax system. Everybody pays 16% there. It is consistently ranked as one of the freeist economies in the world, and recent difficulties notwithstanding, it has also been a buzzingly successful one for many decades.
posted by VeGiTo at 2:26 PM PST on April 14


yeah, quoted in its context the "you're a fucking idiot" looks way better than it did. look, it's okay that you argue that Bush lied on purpose because it was the only way to wage a just war. nutty, but you're entitled to your opinion. but since many people in Iraq are dying every day and will continue to do so, try to get some link to prop up stuff like that, OK? otherwise you'll just look... ahem...dumb

and the one-link "soaking the rich" fpp was torn apart by the whole community with -- pardon my Freedom French -- a fuckload of links. try to spell out your arguments more clearly. or people here will -- metaphorically -- kick your ass

Bulgaria's standard of living surpassing France's in 10 years? man, you need links to prop up stuff like that, you know, something. anything...


dead horse: this supposedly commie bastion is crazy for iPods, Matrix and LOTR MPAA products, likes Starbucks and McDonalds and Nikes, thinks sweatshops are not the end of the world because GAP stuff is cool, thinks nuking Japan was OK because the Axis deserved a little ass-kicking...

bunch of Pinkos indeed

I hope you never meet a real European/South American anarchist -- you'll crap your freedom-loving pants

posted by matteo at 6:55 PM on November 12, 2003


Like it matters.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:17 PM on November 12, 2003


Pinkos are people who like that singer, right?

Gap stuff IS cool. And Walmart rules, especially for buying souvenirs in Hawaii.
posted by dness2 at 7:20 PM on November 12, 2003


The problem is not the disappearance of right-wing ideologues from MeFi. It would be great if we could get rid of the left-wing ideologues as well. The real problem is the total disappearance of non-ideological people who are more interested in intelligent discussion. Dan Hartung was a big reason why I joined, but today it's beyond my imagination that he would have any desire to post to the wankfest that political threads on MeFi have become.
posted by fuzz at 7:32 PM on November 12, 2003


#######################
# it's just a website #
#######################
#     get over it     #
#######################
posted by angry modem at 7:34 PM on November 12, 2003


aw, do we have to do this shit again?
ok, ok, ok, we get it - the site is happy hour for morons, ronco™ for the web, it totally sucks and we're all drooling inbred halfwits. except you.
posted by quonsar at 7:38 PM on November 12, 2003


and little stevie best-dente.
posted by quonsar at 7:39 PM on November 12, 2003


I'm not going to repeat what I said in the thread. I'm disappointed (but not a bit surprised) to see this thread in turn get right to the personal insults and irrelevant jabs. (Stav, you wasted your own ten minutes. Nobody made you construct seven paragraphs of putdown.) It's amazing to me how many people think it's perfectly OK for MeFi to turn into an echo chamber, and that dissidents should just "suck it up." And it's pathetic that people think dragging out somebody's worst moments is an argument for dismissing everything they have to say. If that becomes SOP, not many of us are going to remain standing.

I just hope some of the waiting hordes who manage to get in are good solid conservatives who will force y'all to think a little before resuming your tribal chants.
posted by languagehat at 7:41 PM on November 12, 2003


umgowa, bwana!
posted by quonsar at 7:43 PM on November 12, 2003


and little stevie best-dente

I could think of about 5 more regular contributors who quit because of the hostility, and I am really bad at remembering names. I just didn't link to them - as matteo said, not my style. I don't like to saturate my posts with a million links... I prefer to have a couple high impact focal points.

(Although Steven's article linked to 2 more of those who were fed up.)
posted by VeGiTo at 7:43 PM on November 12, 2003

What I am complaining about are one-liner rebuttals
Man, get a sense for humor, would ya?

Besides, anyone who thinks I'm a liberal should come on over and check out my gun collection. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:44 PM on November 12, 2003


I could think of about 5 more regular contributors who quit because of the hostility>/i>

ok. you. best-dente. and five or six other guys. we get it. we suck. throw another hog on the spit boy, the funny neighbors are joining us for din-din..

posted by quonsar at 7:47 PM on November 12, 2003


quonsor: the key phrase there was "I am really bad at remembering names". I'd say for every 100 names I see on Metafilter, I probably remember 1.
posted by VeGiTo at 7:49 PM on November 12, 2003


(Stav, you wasted your own ten minutes. Nobody made you construct seven paragraphs of putdown.)

Not that I have to speak for him, but I don't think what he said qualifies as putdown. It was well-reasoned and deserved my hear hear.

I just hope some of the waiting hordes who manage to get in are good solid conservatives who will force y'all to think a little before resuming your tribal chants.

Nobody has a problem with that. They have a problem with "you're a fucking idiot" and that sort of thing. And maybe with Quonsar, but god knows why ;)
posted by The God Complex at 7:52 PM on November 12, 2003


VeGiTo,

say what you want about my style, you're hardly the perfect user to lecture the whole community about manners and non-partisanship


languagehat,
sai chi è ancora più patetico? chi finge di non rendersi conto del fatto che un utente che ha al suo attivo soltanto 3 links (dei quali 3 su 3 fanno schifo) e 120 commenti (dei quali almeno 25 sono insulti o semplici invettive senza pezze d'appoggio) non è certo l'utente ideale per fare delle lezioncine a tutta la comunità

ma grazie della tua lezioncina.
so che ti piace fare il nostro professore e dare qualche bacchettata sulle dita agli scolari indisciplinati.

posted by matteo at 7:57 PM on November 12, 2003


veGiTabLeHead: hell, i'll give ya 10%. let's say 1,717 have left due to hostility. how is this masturbatory excercise in "let's play 'what's wrong with this picture'" going to do something the other ____________ (insert number that suits you) similar threads couldn't do?

i have an idea. once a day lets have a metatalk thread on whats cool about mefi. myself, i admit it's The God Complex's cute ass that keeps me coming back for more.
posted by quonsar at 7:58 PM on November 12, 2003


matteo: Since when does saying "I prefer..." become lecuring YOU about your style?

And I think it is great style that you talk about me in a language I don't understand. Though I can probably guess what you said:

"This fucking guy only posted 3 links and about 120 comments and he's here talking shit?"

It's ok, you can put that in the light.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:00 PM on November 12, 2003


so che ti piace fare il nostro professore e dare qualche bacchettata sulle dita agli scolari indisciplinati.

"i play snooty professor, and the wench plays my student, to whom i must administer a scholarly spanking."
posted by quonsar at 8:04 PM on November 12, 2003


Nobody made you construct seven paragraphs of putdown.

Wha wha wha? Putdowns? I think not, amigo. I threw a coupla jabs in there, but it's not like they were totally undeserved.

Now it's my turn to ask if you've been drinking. (It's just past morning here, so the answer to the obvious question is 'no, I haven't. At least not yet.' Heh.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:04 PM on November 12, 2003


myself, i admit it's The God Complex's cute ass that keeps me coming back for more.

I knew those pictures of me and Lynch would get out one of these days.
posted by The God Complex at 8:05 PM on November 12, 2003


VeGiTo: 120 comments? You're not a user, you're a spectator!
posted by mischief at 8:06 PM on November 12, 2003


Or was it the ones of me and Paris Hilton?
posted by The God Complex at 8:06 PM on November 12, 2003


Thanks quonsar. Do you mind translating the rest of that? You don't have to if you don't want to.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:06 PM on November 12, 2003



no, Vegito, I was talking to languagehat

and anyway it was more like "This guy only posted 3 weak, trollish ill-informed links and about 120 comments, 20 of which are either rude or linkless outlandish statements, and he's here talking shit?"

posted by matteo at 8:07 PM on November 12, 2003


minds to a place for intellectual inbreeding?

Intellectual masturbation is more like it. And a lot of people breaking their arms congratualating themselves on being so enlightened and swell. And when there's safety in numbers people get arrogant and nasty and condescending. or they act mystified that any one might possibly disagree with them. Ultimately if you do you'll be dismissed as insane or stupid or evil.

You can still find intersting things here and learn a thing or two or get a laugh, but politically speaking this place stopped being about debate a long time ago. It's not even about persuasion or advocacy(since most of the more causehappy members do more to put me off their causes than convince me) anymore. It's a circle jerk.
posted by jonmc at 8:08 PM on November 12, 2003


Yes, I spectate a lot. I don't usually say much, unless I feel strongly about something. But as I watch, I do notice stuff, and I noticed a lot of people that I used to read have left. I will not be missed if I leave, but the point is, I am not and will not be the only one.

Metafilter is my food for thought and I hate to have it lose its diversity.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:09 PM on November 12, 2003


ya want fries widdat?
posted by quonsar at 8:12 PM on November 12, 2003


I have to agree with Matteo. I'm a conservative but I'm sure my position would be the same if I were a socialist: I appreciate MetaFilter because everything gets criticized. You'd have to be slightly myopic not to notice there's nothing like a consensus among the liberals and lefties here. It makes no difference. And even if it did - who wants to be part of a like-minded community?

The respect I have for other users has nothing to do with their political leanings. Basically, I respect anyone who sticks up for what they think is right and listens to others. If anything, conservatives are worse at doing this than liberals and lefties.

We proceed by accumulation and discussion, with no (sick) wish to reach agreement; never mind consensus. MetaFilter is the sum total of a heck of a lot of (by and large) reasonable and passionate individuals. Can there be anything better?

What did you want - a conclusion? An answer?

Is there any better exercise (since questioning ourselves is, by definition, so difficult) than having our own prejudices, arguments and opinions subjected to the prejudices, arguments and opinions of others?

In a word: no.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:13 PM on November 12, 2003


Perhaps part of the problem is that it is becoming increasingly difficult in America to actually defend the so-called "conservative viewpoint" because the results of this administration's implementation of it are rapidly becoming indefensible?





Nope. That's not it.

Look, I'm pretty liberal, but part of what I enjoyed about MeFi was the actual conversation (i.e. 'weblog as conversation'? Ring a bell?) with folks on the other side of the line. That's very rare now, here.

I'm often embarrassed for the liberal side by the obscene, hate-filled rhetoric that is spouts forth here day after day, trying to masquerade as actual, you know, discourse. Just look at the language used here -- "pompous" "suck it up" "defensive" "stop whining" "crap posted" "evil" "powerless know-it-alls" "dumb" "fucking idiot" -- its all inflammatory name calling, whether in support of or opposition to the central thesis.

I heard a nice man from Italy say on NPR today that the US needs to spend less time using its mouth and more time using its ears. I think that goes for Mefi as well - we (all of us) have to stop shouting and listen (read) carefully what other people think. Debate the issues, not the personalities.

And stop all the name calling. It doesn't help.
posted by anastasiav at 8:14 PM on November 12, 2003


at least q's genius translator gave us a fantastic new tagline

MetaFilter -- I Play Snooty Professor


I also like Miguel's a lot:

Metafilter -- In a Word: No
posted by matteo at 8:17 PM on November 12, 2003


How about

Metafilter: It's a circle jerk.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:19 PM on November 12, 2003


And yes, I know matteo, you will quote me later on on that one-liner. But doesn't matter anymore? The damage is done.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:21 PM on November 12, 2003


Even a perfunctory study of the crucial MeFi group hug shows that it occurs only after the most divergent and irreconcilable opinions have been violently and cathartically expressed. It goes beyond the (beautiful but slightly insincere) "let's agree to disagree" cliché. What it really means, imho, is: "OK, we are as we are; we've taken note of what we all think; we've lashed and hammered it out; no agreement was reached; but we're all human beings and this has gone as far as it can go, so...next!"
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:22 PM on November 12, 2003


BTW, Vegito, you're a fucking idiot.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:22 PM on November 12, 2003


MiguelCardoso:

I don't know if this is what you mean, but my point is there IS a concensus on Metafilter, or at least a pretty close one, and it lies on all things liberal. Anything outside that boundary is stomped on and ripped apart violently by the rampaging horde. Not the issue at hand - but the PERSON.

I wish this is a place where no agreement was reached.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:26 PM on November 12, 2003


What's funny is I really do come to MeFi for the links.
The opportunity to interject some humor is secondary.
posted by mischief at 8:29 PM on November 12, 2003


Please explain your term "liberal", guy.

'cause what I see on MetaFilter isn't necessarily "liberal", it's common human decency and compassion. MetaFilter has a lot of people who would prefer to see people happier and healthier. I don't think this is a particularly "liberal" trait.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:30 PM on November 12, 2003


I wish this is a place where no agreement was reached.

What are you, nuts? It is one of those places. Why do you think these flamewars erupt in political threads, because the cabal likes a ruckus? Or because the majority of people here have a problem with state-sanctioned murder? Because, you know what? I have no problem with that "leftist" policy, though I don't know when it started being only leftist.
posted by The God Complex at 8:31 PM on November 12, 2003


I don't know if this is what you mean, but my point is there IS a concensus on Metafilter, or at least a pretty close one, and it lies on all things liberal.

And a fairly narrow definition of liberal* at that. I still consider myself somewhat left of center, but I'm also willing to entertain viewpoints from anybody. Plus, even when I disagree with someone, I try to remember that person may have very valid, legitamite reasons for their point of view from their life experiences and upbringing, and not a)assume that they're insane or evil or stupid, or b)engage in dumbass amatuer psychoanalysis or sociology. In short, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, which is a skill a lot of people here have lost.

* NPR listening, vegetarian, knee-jerk anti-military, anti-religious, anti-law enforcement, anti-death penalty, anti-Israel, anti-globalist(possibly the most vague political term ever), hardcore enviornmentalist, etc. Question the party line on any of these things and you become a facist ogre to a lot of people here. The irony is that most of these people will go on and on about "dissent," but they don't seem to like it when people here voice dissenting opinions from their own.
posted by jonmc at 8:36 PM on November 12, 2003


The mood in MetaFilter may be reflective of the mood of its member's governments.

When you've got a government that lies to the public, that routinely violates its own constitution, that jails more people than any other nation on earth, that is heartlessly cutting back on social programs of all sorts while at the same time delivering multibijillion-dollar payouts to its corporate cronies...

...well, I mean, you'd just have to expect some of that violence and hatred and small-heartedness to affect the MetaFilter culture.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 PM on November 12, 2003


I agree with jonmc. Don't shoot! I'm also a liberal. One of the good guys, okay?

Però, ho solamente due cento commenti, quindi...
posted by tss at 8:48 PM on November 12, 2003



CSI-watching, meat-eater, pro-military, lapsed Catholic very much in favor of the separation of Church and State, pro-law enforcement (but zero tolerance for rogue cops), personally anti-death penalty but let US states decide for themselves, pro-Israel, pro-globalist but anti-sweatshop, not very excited by environmental issues sorry)



BOO!


and, tss, non preoccuparti: va bene lo stesso

posted by matteo at 8:49 PM on November 12, 2003


VeGiTo:

Your point was well presented and the proof of that is the very interesting discussion it generated. Yet you seem to be striving to get people to agree with you and bristling when it doesn't happen. I understand profoundly - and applaud - your wish that MeFi be a place where no agreement was reached.

But you're engaging in an all-or-nothing fallacy here. You say the problem is, basically, everyone here agrees, in this case, to be liberal. And your utopia is that everyone should disagree.

The truth isn't (can't be) that simple. What you're saying is:

1. There is a consensus. (your perception of reality)
2. There shouldn't be a consensus. (your normative wish)

The problem is that these two conditions are never met. There's always some agreement; there's always some disagreement. Sometimes liberals disagree with each other; conservatives agree with liberals. It's true, for instance, that I've become substantially more left-wing since I joined MetaFilter - and I've studied political philosophy all my life. Isn't this good? Hell, who needs to become more right-wing?

Also, being liberal in the U.S. is almost a moral imperative, because the political system is so savagely capitalistic and Darwinian. The reason Europeans like me come here is because conservative U.S. boards - to us - are unacceptably right-wing. MeFi is critical, cosmopolitan, conscious of the world.

It's not about agreement or consensus - it's about exposition and discussion. You can't have it both ways - that we all know. But, less intuitive but no less true, is that you can't have it either/or either. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:58 PM on November 12, 2003


Oh, wait, I forgot, sanctimonious, and fond of doing the "I've-seen-everything-twice-and wasn't-too-impressed-I'm-doing-you-a-big-favor-by-letting-you-exist-on-the-same-planet-as-me" pseudo jaded routine, which we all find sooo impressive.

Wouldn't wanna leave anything out.

Hey, at least I can admit I'm an immature fuckup without a firm clue about anything*, how about the rest of you.

*not that that negates my right to speak my mind (or gut)about anything
posted by jonmc at 8:59 PM on November 12, 2003


and BTW matteo, I wasn't neccessarily talking about you, believe it or not.
posted by jonmc at 9:01 PM on November 12, 2003


I get the impression that the sort of conservative firepower which could counter or at least put up a solid fight against the foaming-at-the-mouth-with-rabid-ideology Mefi hordes is currently gainfully employed at well funded conservative think tanks or at the sort of PR firms which specialize in creating fake citizens' groups.

Some smart and principled conservatives are for the moment quiet, troubled by the new authoritarian tendencies of the Republican Party under George W Bush.

Others, such as Kevin Phillips (who coined the wildly successful "Southern Strategy"), have gradually become appalled at the grinding class warfare approach of what once was a noble party.

Thus my question - how much of the disappearance of conservative voices from Metafilter is due to:

1) the later adoption of the technology of the Internet by liberals - conservatives (and libertarians) are, statistically, quicker to embrace new technologies than liberals. But in the last 1-2 years a new tide of liberals has embraced the net; have they 'colonized' sites such as metafilter as their feelings of being disenfranchised by mainstream media and alienated and angered by Bush Adm. policies grow?

Or to:

2) the "Group Polarization" process by which isolated, self referential groups have been observed to become more ideologically extreme.

Or to:

3) An actual lack of solid argumentative ammunition on the part of those conservatives who cannot bring themselves to admit that many core Republican Party strategies are fundamentally deceptive.

4) ____ (insert your explanation here)

5) Liberals are everywhere! Run!


As an aside - there is nothing more vicious than the tyranny of those hypocritical liberals who will exert vicious retribution and then - perhaps in the surface honesty for their lack of self awareness - cloak denial of their vengeful behaviors in self righteous grimaces.

It is no coincidence that the most "permissive" region of the US - now considered (along with California) as the heart of liberalism itself in America - was also the home of Jonathan "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God" Edwards....

Even as there is an expansive undercurrent to the best of American conservatism there is, correspondingly, a vicious undercurrent in the political correctness of much of contemporary American liberalism.

Maybe it all balances out somewhere in the nth dimension.
posted by troutfishing at 9:08 PM on November 12, 2003


MiguelCardoso:

The words "no agreement was reached" were yours, I simply re-used them to show that it is simply not the case. An agreement was reached, and it was reached among the greater majority. The "disagreements" we still see stay inside a very narrow confine, and the messengers of arguments that are exceptions to this rule are ripped apart.

Also, your argument about metafilter's "diversity" and my claim of the lack thereof started off very well, until you started inserting political innuendo. If you start off with an assumption that "Hell, who needs to become more right-wing?" when we are talking about diversity of discussions in Metafilter, well, there simply is nothing left to talk about.

You opinion about US conservatives would be entirely appropriate in a political thread, but the context right now is about accepting dissenting voices in Metafilter.
posted by VeGiTo at 9:11 PM on November 12, 2003


The notion that there's a leftist bias here is completely spurious. The factions here are a lot more fragmented than left-versus-right, and it leads to arguments, just like in every other community.

How about if we try to have a nice, forced-smile period where we never fight? When is "National Brotherhood Week"?
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:21 PM on November 12, 2003


i feel so goddam fucking pretty.
posted by quonsar at 9:25 PM on November 12, 2003


Mayor Curley - Sounds kind of liberal to me. You wouldn't be from Boston now, would you.....
posted by troutfishing at 9:40 PM on November 12, 2003


MetaFilter: Hell, who needs to become more right-wing?

Hey, I'm originally from Cleveland. You know, Kucinich-ville? (Actually I liked it better when it was the place Drew Carey and Arsenio Hall came from...)

As for the issue at hand, when more and more Conservatives are abandoning sites like MetaFilter and closing themselves into their own "Echo Chambers" (and DenBeste and his Clueless blog is a prime example), it's going to make MeFi seem more like an Echo Chamber itself. But it's not the fault of the ones who stay, it's the fault of the ones who leave. If America survives the next election cycle, it will slowly reverse itself. But if not, I'll still be posting to MeFi from my new home in Canada, eh?
posted by wendell at 10:21 PM on November 12, 2003


but are you as pretty as me?
posted by quonsar at 10:39 PM on November 12, 2003


VeGiTo: so what's your definition of liberal again?
posted by bshort at 10:41 PM on November 12, 2003


... and what's wrong with intellectual inbreeding?
posted by mischief at 11:14 PM on November 12, 2003


but are you as pretty as me?

I just don't know, quonsar. I certainly feel pretty - is that enough? In fact, I feel not only pretty but also witty and bright! So much so that, truth be told, I pity any user who isn't quonsar or me tonight.

Is this the case with you too? If it is, please join me now in singing, so this thread may be vindicated:

I feel charming,
I feel liberal,
Oh, so charming
And liberal too:
It's alarming how charming and liberal I feel!

And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I'm real.
;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:30 PM on November 12, 2003


Bonus points for posting on the half hour.
posted by The God Complex at 11:40 PM on November 12, 2003


yes, VeGiTo, you're right - the place is a mess. i'm less sure that this thread will help though. look around for somewhere else and use this place for the occasional good thing that turns up, or some mindless banter. things change - if necessary, move on.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:01 AM on November 13, 2003


I applaud your crusade, languagehat; I just think it is misdirected here. But everyone deserves one staunch defendent, I suppose.

It's a circle jerk

It seems to me to be more an issue of some people being uncomfortable with open debate and getting defensive when people don't immediately embrace and convert to their point of view. Dismissing something because you disagree with it is the height of elitism, and if I've seen anyone habitually displaying intolerance of late it's been you, with your ongoing screed against the site and its membership.

I don't know if this is what you mean, but my point is there IS a concensus on Metafilter

Hardly. It's a tilt at best. And as five fresh fish notes, neither humanism nor secularism are "liberal" or "leftie" attitudes.

Also, what Miguel said.
posted by rushmc at 5:20 AM on November 13, 2003


(except for that last post)
posted by rushmc at 5:21 AM on November 13, 2003


I'm a Republican.

What am I doing here?
posted by konolia at 6:04 AM on November 13, 2003


Really good conservatives wind up at the Wall Street Journal, fortunately.

*fills SUV tank with Texas Tea*
posted by hama7 at 6:06 AM on November 13, 2003


if the context is accepting dissenting voices , then why dont you accept the voices that dissent with you ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:10 AM on November 13, 2003


I'm a 6 foot cock. I belong in politics.

What am I doing here?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:12 AM on November 13, 2003


It seems to me to be more an issue of some people being uncomfortable with open debate

I have no problem with open debate, but that's not what goes on here much anymore. Plus you're assumptions about what makes me "uncomfortable" are a perfect example of the armchair psychoanalysis I was referring to.

And I don't have any ongoing screed against the site. There are people here I disagree with, sure, but that's there prerogative. My opinions and tastes may be different from a lot of peoples here, but I thought that was the point of this place. But apparently it means I'm "intolerant." Interesting gambit but it dosen't wash.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 AM on November 13, 2003


Only love can make it rain
the way the beach is kissed by the sea
Only love can make it rain
like the sweat of lovers laying in the fields
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:41 AM on November 13, 2003


shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up
posted by mcsweetie at 7:05 AM on November 13, 2003


Thank you mcsweetie, for that cogent and coherent argument.

Thanks for calling, next!
posted by jonmc at 7:15 AM on November 13, 2003


andrew cooke:

Can you recommend another community I can go to where intelligent debates happen and there isn't one dominating point of view?
posted by VeGiTo at 7:38 AM on November 13, 2003


Usenet
posted by matteo at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2003


bleat!
bleat!
bleat!

*sigh...*
posted by Shane at 8:01 AM on November 13, 2003


Mommmy! MetaFilter's disagreeing with me again!
posted by i_cola at 8:22 AM on November 13, 2003


shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up
mcsweet's just practising for O'Reilly's run for office ; >
posted by amberglow at 8:33 AM on November 13, 2003


I've been here a lot longer than most of you whelps and I assure you this place has gone down hill, not just from political debate but the attitude in general.

We've lost a lot of great people, and not just conservatives. If I had anything resembling self-control I'd never come back, but I'm fascinated by train-wrecks.
posted by Mick at 8:47 AM on November 13, 2003


I love you all.
posted by Cyrano at 8:51 AM on November 13, 2003


The reason many people here are left-wing is because it's the correct opinion.
posted by Summer at 8:58 AM on November 13, 2003


Much of the criticism of VeTiGo was because his arguments were full of holes,
but instead of addressing that directly, he claimed unfair attacks.
MeFi'ites know that even the best posts bring out trolls,
and we learn the best way is to ignore them, go on with the talk, and relax.

The fact that this is web conversation puts us at an advantage:
Unlike in person, we can easily ignore comments invalid or annoying.
So if you're seeking a debate rather than a fight, you can easily manage.
(And the left-right complaint is as worthless as what the trolls are deploying--
      You can't claim a bias exists on this site
      because our words aren't censored--wrong, left, or right.
      Claim what you want about the leanings of this population,
      you can still make your point with rational presentation.)

But if you would rather leave MetaFilter in some dramatic, public pout,
know that martyrdom's overrated, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
posted by troybob at 9:01 AM on November 13, 2003


VeGiTo: I think you need to stop taking things so personally and realize that people disagree.

You also need to think about how you're putting forward assertions and seriously think about whether you're going about it in the best or most effective way. Your MeFi post sucked, for several reasons, and just because people called you out on it doesn't mean that they hate conservative voices, it just means they hated your post.

Here's a little checklist that you could use, you know, if you wanted to.

1. Post something because it's good, not as a reaction to another post. If you want to criticize a post do it in the comments, don't do it on the front page. As Matt has requested several times: don't crap on the front page. It reflects badly on the community when you do.

2. Don't moderate your posts.

3. Don't use inflammatory language in your front page posts. Let the links speak for themselves. If you want to make a wildly partisan statement do it in the thread. I realize that this isn't usually followed, but it really should be.

4. Try posting about non-political things once in a while. You'll find that you'll be seen as a good MeFi citizen when you do. A perfect example of this is Hama7.

5. Find a list of logical fallacies (like this one) and make sure you don't commit any of them. If you're trying to win an argument through overgeneralizations and context shifts then you're going to be seen as trolling, because you're not arguing your original point, you're trying to find an argument that you can win.

on preview: Troybob, you rock in so many ways.
posted by bshort at 9:04 AM on November 13, 2003


IMO, the only person left who can still save this place is Matt. I know he has a long standing hands-off policy, but at the very least he should state clearly against commments that are ad hominem in nature. I would suggest banning personal attacks completely, but that might not be possible here... However Matt should at least persuade the crowd to stop throwing flames at each other and start focusing on the subject matters

Some people here mistaken me as someone who doesn't like it when people disagree with me. That is completely wrong. I love cogent arguments and civil debates. If you disagree on an issue, you can and should try your best to destroy the merits of issue, but not the messenger who brought it up.

I'm afraid we are in desperate need of intervention from the only person who has the power to do so.
posted by VeGiTo at 9:06 AM on November 13, 2003


MetaFilter is dead. Forget it. Right now this is mostly a place where the lefties come to whine and lie.
posted by 111 at 9:09 AM on November 13, 2003


For a place with no conservatives, there sure are a lot of conservatives complaining in this thread.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:41 AM on November 13, 2003


My opinions and tastes may be different from a lot of peoples here, but I thought that was the point of this place.

Then why constantly harp on those others for those differences? If you accept that your tastes, etc. are your own, and that others have different ones, then what is the purpose behind sneering at the poor, misguided, educated, elitist fools who think the wrong thoughts, express their politics in the wrong way, drink the wrong beer, and listen to the wrong music? I don't get it. I agree with you on some issues and disagree with you on others, but I feel no compulsion to slander your character in those instances where we disagree, and it seems to me that that's essentially what you're doing to whole groups of users here in one fell swoop.

But apparently it means I'm "intolerant."

Obviously, it's not your opinions that make you intolerant, but the condemnations of others' opinions.

This is not meant to be a pick-on-jonmc post. I think the points apply directly to the topic at hand. It strikes me as very pot&kettle-ish to defend one group's right to be heard by condemning another's right to speak.
posted by rushmc at 9:42 AM on November 13, 2003


monju_bosatsu:

There are about 5 or 6 people who complained here. And out of those, at least 3 who were openly left of the center.

This just tell you that how far to the radical left MetaFilter has become - it is starting to alientate even those who are mildly liberal.
posted by VeGiTo at 9:46 AM on November 13, 2003


First, you have to convince Matt that MeFi is in a state from which it needs to be saved. Considering that he had first post in a dental floss commercial without any criticism of its suitability for the front page, he may be more content with MeFi than dissatisfied. I may be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:48 AM on November 13, 2003


Then why constantly harp on those others for those differences? If you accept that your tastes, etc. are your own, and that others have different ones, then what is the purpose behind sneering at the poor, misguided, educated, elitist fools who think the wrong thoughts, express their politics in the wrong way, drink the wrong beer, and listen to the wrong music?

Because a lot of the time (and I'm not talking about you rush) it goes well beyond "I don't agree with you/don't like that kind of music/book/beer" to I don't like it/agree with it and anyone who does is an idiot/deluded/evil/neocon, whatver, usually in a smug, self-righteous, often mean-spirited way. And when that opinion is the majority, it makes people feel that much safer in piling on someone, which I hate no matter who the "pilee" is. And when it's my opinions/tastes being mocked, I defend myself, which anyone with a backbone would do.
posted by jonmc at 9:53 AM on November 13, 2003


I think what is happening on MeFi is probably pretty illustrative of the German theorist Noel-Neuman's concept of the Spiral of Silence. The basic jist is that individuals who feel their opinion is popular express it, and those who feel their opinion is unpopular keep quiet. Is that tendency the fault of the majority or the minority? Both, I think one could conclude. Those who hold the majority opinion here seem to do a good job not just defending their positions, but do so well enough to squelch further discussion by the minority. The minority simply are tired of taking what they feel are overwhelming attacks, so they simply exit stage right. Now, you can argue all you want that the reason conservatives get beat on so much here is because their positions are so terribly wrong, but I don't think driving them out the door really benefits the community. The ideal that I think VeGito is striving for is not a place that doesn't have a consensus, but rather a place where the majority who hold that opinion are more willing to engage in civil and constructive debate that encourages continued participation by all sides. We're all guilty, to a certain extent, of piling on others and offering smug one-liners. However, there is something to be said for raising the level of discourse and not just tolerating, but encouraging the opinions of others.
posted by marcusb at 10:21 AM on November 13, 2003


troybob gets the gold-poetry star. :)

If one wants a civil and constructive debate, one should follow bshorts advice.
posted by dabitch at 10:28 AM on November 13, 2003


The only bias I have noticed on MetaFilter is that right-wing trolls get smacked around by more people than left-wing trolls. But those are trolls. As for the non-trolling public, I think you are making mountains out of molehills.

If you really have something to say, ignore the blowhards and just type away. Those of us who read and think about all the cogent arguments from either side are not going to be swayed by annoying people who attack you personally. Have some integrity, if you believe in what you type, why worry about assholes trying to tear you down? The people that you ostensibly relate to will judge you by the merits of your post, not by personal insults directed at you by a tiny fraction of the community.
posted by cell divide at 10:41 AM on November 13, 2003


You can't claim a bias exists on this site
Because our words aren't censored--wrong, left, or right.
Claim what you want about the leanings of this population,
You can still make your point with rational presentation.

Thank you troybob.

Maybe we can improve the level of debate on MeFi
If we require that all postings be made in verse.
Poetry has the power to seperate truth from lie,
As long as you don't do haiku, that would just make it worse.
posted by wendell at 10:52 AM on November 13, 2003


cell divide:

I agree that I should keep typing in face of adversity, because I believe in what I type.

But I am not so sure about making mountains out of molehills - you may have underestimated the strength and number of the trolling public. An almost unacceptably high percentage of the posts here are insults and personal attacks. Either the trolling public is consist of a large proportion of MetaFilter, or they are exceptionally vocal.

If you are right and it is the latter case, then I hope the rest of us can participate a bit more often, to improve the signal to noise ratio here.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:52 AM on November 13, 2003


sorry VeGiTo,

there is only one person here that I can think of who consistently posts from a "radical left" standpoint and he tends to get stomped on more than most.

From my perspective, as a *gasp* left wing European, quite a lot of people here seem to have centrist/right views.

Who's right, you or me?
posted by johnny novak at 10:54 AM on November 13, 2003


what I see on MetaFilter isn't necessarily "liberal", it's common human decency and compassion

Thanks for the best laugh I've had today! Yes, "liberals" are on the side of right and justice and "conservatives" are evil tools of the Dark Lord. Smite them!

anastasiav and jonmc are my heroes of the week.

rushmc: Thanks for the reasoned disagreement, and I'm even willing to accept the "misdirected" to the extent I'm taking out a couple years' worth of growing irritation on this particular issue. But I still think VeGiTo has been more harshly treated than his missteps warrant.

I miss evanizer.
posted by languagehat at 11:09 AM on November 13, 2003


Then get your own blog, fuckwit.

/kidding
posted by tr33hggr at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2003


Thanks, wendell, but I wouldn't say poetry's inherently true,
though I hope MeFi'ites get my point and don't just see it as playing.
But making an attempt to rhyme, with the consant review,
it makes you stop to think more about what you are saying.
posted by troybob at 11:14 AM on November 13, 2003


Like anastasiav said, we used to be able to have constructive conversations with people here. But many of the people I once argued constructively with are now gone, driven away by those of you that prefer barbs to discussion and the Fark forum to the Well.
posted by gd779 at 11:35 AM on November 13, 2003


Here we go again.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:39 AM on November 13, 2003


But I still think VeGiTo has been more harshly treated than his missteps warrant.

Oh, come on. He told someone to fuck themself, and continutes to espouse some belief in fair and civil debate, completely ignoring any of the comments about his own lack of civility. A number of "conservatives" (alert: buzzword!) spoke out in this thread--against him, no less--and all he can say for himself is that some of them were "openly left."

Thanks for the best laugh I've had today! Yes, "liberals" are on the side of right and justice and "conservatives" are evil tools of the Dark Lord. Smite them!

The point being that someone who is against the war and George Bush et al--those are the common complaints about leftism, I assume--aren't necessarily liberal. There are probably people from all walks of life who recognize what a fuckup for a president he is, and how immoral state-sanctioned murder is a means of lining the pockets of big business in America.

I think the problem with American politics (and perhaps politics en masse) is that people tow the party line because they think it's what you're supposed to do. If the majority of this place is anti-war, anti-Bush, there's nothing you can really do to change that, short of telling people to keep their opinions to their selves.
posted by The God Complex at 11:40 AM on November 13, 2003


Maybe we can improve the level of debate on MeFi
If we require that all postings be made in verse.
Poetry has the power to seperate truth from lie,
As long as you don't do haiku, that would just make it worse.


Be aware when separating truth from lie
In the small matter of rhyming MeFi
Lie won't work, nor buy nor cry
Best stick with we or free. Or pee.
posted by liam at 12:40 PM on November 13, 2003


it goes well beyond "I don't agree with you/don't like that kind of music/book/beer" to I don't like it/agree with it and anyone who does is an idiot/deluded/evil/neocon, whatver, usually in a smug, self-righteous, often mean-spirited way.

I am as opposed to that sort of behavior as you are, but you seem to see it in many places where I don't. But I'll agree to disagree about that, if you'll agree to present some evidence supporting such claims when you make them, since accusing people of such behavior without supporting it is mere ad hominem and contributes to the effect you are trying to oppose.

Maybe we can improve the level of debate on MeFi
If we require that all postings be made in verse.
Poetry has the power to seperate truth from lie,
As long as you don't do haiku, that would just make it worse.


You shame me, sir.
posted by rushmc at 12:49 PM on November 13, 2003


people tow the party line because they think it's what you're supposed to do.

Supposed to do? According to whom? And what are the consequences if one doesn't?
posted by rushmc at 12:50 PM on November 13, 2003


VeGiTo, thanks for saying what needed to be said.

And to brother Jon, who wrote the following:
Because a lot of the time (and I'm not talking about you rush) it goes well beyond "I don't agree with you/don't like that kind of music/book/beer" to I don't like it/agree with it and anyone who does is an idiot/deluded/evil/neocon, whatver, usually in a smug, self-righteous, often mean-spirited way. And when that opinion is the majority, it makes people feel that much safer in piling on someone, which I hate no matter who the "pilee" is.
Fucking word, man.

And if those of you who post things like this:
what I see on MetaFilter isn't necessarily "liberal", it's common human decency and compassion. MetaFilter has a lot of people who would prefer to see people happier and healthier.
don't realize the absurdity of that argument (in particular, the implied corrolary that people who disagree with you lack common human decency and compassion, and would prefer not to see people happier and healthier), you need to realize you're the problem.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:51 PM on November 13, 2003


Troybob is once more bringing some civility
With rhyme and meter to this den of imbecility.
If only everyone would follow his lead
Flowers might grow where quonsar's elephant peed.
posted by languagehat at 12:59 PM on November 13, 2003


I'm afraid we are in desperate need of intervention from the only person who has the power to do so.

Praying to your god will get you nowhere. Try presenting a rational argument instead!!

/humor
posted by rocketman at 1:15 PM on November 13, 2003


rushmc, to give just a few very quick examples of what jonmc might be talking about from this very thread:

opposition by individuals still thinking for themselves and not ready to endorse Bill O'Reilly's "you're either with us or a terrorist" position was all but certain (read: we think for ourselves, you just imitate right-wing broadcasters)

Perhaps part of the problem is that it is becoming increasingly difficult in America to actually defend the so-called "conservative viewpoint" because the results of this administration's implementation of it are rapidly becoming indefensible? (read: isn't the problem that you're wrong, and we're right?)

Why do you think these flamewars erupt in political threads, because the cabal likes a ruckus? Or because the majority of people here have a problem with state-sanctioned murder? (read: unlike us, you have no problem with state-sanctioned murder).

Also, being liberal in the U.S. is almost a moral imperative, because the political system is so savagely capitalistic and Darwinian. The reason Europeans like me come here is because conservative U.S. boards - to us - are unacceptably right-wing. (read: well, exactly what it says, actually...)

The reason many people here are left-wing is because it's the correct opinion. (again, requires no interpretation)

Like I said, that's just a quick scan -- and this is a MetaTalk thread. I don't think some of you truly realize how prevalent statements like this are. Of course, maybe you don't think those statements are problematic, which is itself a problem (imho).

And rush, this statement of yours to VeGiTo seems to me the height of irony:

Obviously, it's not your opinions that make you intolerant, but the condemnations of others' opinions.

That is exactly why VeGiTo posted this -- because his opinions got condemned simply because they're not in line with the (vast) majority.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:17 PM on November 13, 2003


For a place with no conservatives, there sure are a lot of conservatives complaining in this thread.

No kidding. Is it time yet to drive off these whining martyrs with our single-minded liberal groupthink? I'd like to start missing Vegito as soon as possible.
posted by rcade at 1:23 PM on November 13, 2003


Just wake me up when he cuts off his own hand.
posted by Mid at 1:34 PM on November 13, 2003


Also, being liberal in the U.S. is almost a moral imperative, because the political system is so savagely capitalistic and Darwinian.

just an OT aside, since this kind of insanity is at the core of MeFi's problems: that's a very stupid thing to say by any standards whatsoever. The USA is the greatest promoter of social improvement in the History of the world. The USA saved and rebuilt Europe. The USA is the greatest donor of development aid ever. If it's so "Darwinian", why do so many people (including many whose average competitive/productive skills are close to zero) want to move to the United States? Why not choose Iran or sub-Saharan Africa or Portugal?
posted by 111 at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2003


that's a very stupid thing to say by any standards whatsoever

And that's not an insult coupled with a hyperbole. Not by any standards whatsoever.
posted by rocketman at 1:47 PM on November 13, 2003


For a place with no conservatives, there sure are a lot of conservatives complaining in this thread.

This is actually an interesting comment, so I decided to review the thread. As near as I can tell, there are about 14 users who more-or-less agreed with VeGiTo (tomorama, fuzz, languagehat, jonmc, anastasiav, tss, andrew cooke Konolia, hama7, 111, mick, marcusb, gd779, pardonyou?) To my knowledge, of those 14, only three would likely describe themselves as "conservative" (Konolia, hama7, and 111). By contrast, 28 more-or-less disagreed with VeGiTo (or, like rcade, just wish him gone) (stavros, shane, matteo, the god complex, rushmc, dness2, y2karl, xquzyphyr, wolfdaddy, angry modem, quonsar, mischief, miguelcardoso, five fresh fish, troutfishing, mayor curley, wendell, bshort, sgt. serenity, mcsweetie, shane, i_cola, amberglow, troybob, monju_bosatu, dabitch, johnny novak, rcade).

What I find most significant in the thread is not that there were "a lot of conservatives complaining in this thread" (there weren't), but rather that so many non-conservatives had the guts to call a spade a spade.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:47 PM on November 13, 2003


Actually, pardonyou?, I believe if you read konolia's comment closely, she more-or-less disagrees with VeGiTo.
posted by rocketman at 1:54 PM on November 13, 2003


Wow, a lot has been said.

Yes, I spectate a lot. I don't usually say much, unless I feel strongly about something.
This site works by sharing which you may. Your bolded words: you take it personal so you post it. See what may be wrong too. In a discussion which the site tries having it seems to work best w/o personal baggage yours and theirs if not you have an argument. Ignoring may mean you don't have to have "the last word" nor take it personally.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:01 PM on November 13, 2003


Why are we making sides here?
Post a Thread on MetaTalk:Want to post a discussion thread on MetaTalk? Pick an appropriate category and ask away.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:13 PM on November 13, 2003


Let me preface this comment by admitting that I'm likely wrong.

I enjoy MetaFilter, not for the politics, but for the personalities. Beyond all the guidelines, and callouts, and brouhahas we suffer here, there's a community of characters, all people who have strong beliefs.

How each seats him or herself at this Meta-Table is unique, and revealing. Each shows his and her political leanings. Each shows his and her passions.

Isn't it great that we can do this, day after day, and still come back? We can come back and continue disagreeing? I may be an ardent leftist, but I have no problem getting into a discussion with jonmc (who's a little bit left), and I have no problem getting into a discussion with UncleFes (who's a little bit right), and I have no problem getting into a discussion with Steve_at_Linnwood (who's a lot to the right - especially compared against me).

I engage in name-calling and snarks sometimes, and sometimes that's okay. Sometimes it goes too far. A lot of what I contribute here isn't up to the bar set by some of the more prolific members, but I'm comfortable with that. A quick search of my "greatest hits" would probably return a lot of poop jokes.

So why is it we can get together at meetups and get along, mostly? Why can we head over to #mefi and be pleasant? But we get heated-up and passionate and red-faced here?

VeGiTo, I'll admit I think this is a tired issue - MeFi leans left some, depending on where you're looking from. We all know that. As far as people (both conservatives and liberals) leaving, maybe they just change. They grow. We all do. As that's happened, some have chosen to remain here, and others have chosen to leave.
posted by rocketman at 2:18 PM on November 13, 2003


matteo: and anyway it was more like "This guy only posted 3 weak, trollish ill-informed links and about 120 comments, 20 of which are either rude or linkless outlandish statements, and he's here talking shit?"

I didn't think you needed a spiffy low user number to post to Metatalk. Plus, what's the rationale for resorting to another language to put VeGiTo down? It's like passing notes in History class about what a dork X is, when he's sitting right there. Like, let's not just keep X out of our special club, let's also make sure he knows we don't want him.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2003


Although if someone posts in another language, you could always take it to a translation site (there are a number of free, automated sites on the web), find out what it means, and then write a response in kind, again via the translation site</sneaky way to hold one's own
posted by orange swan at 2:48 PM on November 13, 2003


Metafilter: we are the best
superior fucks on the web,
yet fading now without the Beste,
we whine and gripe, a flow and ebb
of circle-jerk-angst, cyclical
and perpetual, a lame tale
of dumb words, far too cynical;
we fear this site will get too stale.
posted by dazed_one at 3:12 PM on November 13, 2003


111: The USA is the greatest promoter of social improvement in the History of the world. The USA saved and rebuilt Europe.'

Helloooooooo! Europe built the US in the first f*****g place. And before that civilizations begat civilizations. The world didn't start in 1776 ya know!

Apologies to the group for the outburst but I am heartily sick of hearing the 'we saved yurr ass now be grateful Euroweenies' line. Abnormal service will now be resumed...
posted by i_cola at 3:27 PM on November 13, 2003


/buys i_cola a pint.
posted by dabitch at 3:38 PM on November 13, 2003


Europe built the US in the first f*****g place

That's an interesting history lesson, as the USA fought to get rid of Europe at any cost. Europe is a scenic garden/ museum/ library of good intentions and good looking people, but it has yet to stand up and fight for the liberty it created in theory but is currently failing to support in practice (except for the UK, Italy etc etc). It's not uncommon among certain circles to knock the USA, but it's also deadly wrong. Also please get rid of that patronizing social security system of yours, will you? Promote wealth by promoting hard work and rewarding merit and thrift!
No more derailing etc etc
posted by 111 at 3:40 PM on November 13, 2003


There once was a site named Mefi
And left of the center it lie
But then righty VeGiTo
Said "lefty's not neato"
And made baby Jesus cry.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:51 PM on November 13, 2003


It's like passing notes in History class about what a dork X is, when he's sitting right there. Like, let's not just keep X out of our special club, let's also make sure he knows we don't want him.

Saddam, while at the opening of the congress, once observed two men passing a note. saddam drew his pistol and shot them both. later, "it was discovered" that in deed there was a plot.

yeah right. Matteos use of another language is great, this place needs more non-american members. but if you must attack matteo, use his words...

Let them vote with their guts, and ultimately fatten
the people who'll make literally a killing sending poor rural
Southern kids off to war. And anyway the Southerners'
faith in God will come in handy to pray not to get sick


see, it's easy and they cannot really defend themselves. miguel says basically there is just exposition and discussion here, he has lost the point and i doubt if he ever had it. the point is to come to consensus or an agreement. the rest is just mind whappa and what have you.

What I find most significant in the thread is not that there were "a lot of conservatives complaining in this thread" (there weren't), but rather that so many non-conservatives had the guts to call a spade a spade.

oh brother. guts?, to type in some words?
what about someones beliefs that change, what of ones reversal on previously held arguments...can't find them...well thats good, because you would seem to be dossier building if so.

No kidding. Is it time yet to drive off these whining martyrs with our single-minded liberal groupthink? I'd like to start missing Vegito as soon as possible.

heh, you know theres allot of truth in this. rcade could have had my account on account of some no good accounts i said once, but he did not, perhaps he may have regretted this but...

I smell the deft waft of underestimation.

That's an interesting history lesson,

to say the least
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on November 13, 2003


saddam drew his pistol and shot them both

Well, I'm not exactly shooting matteo, clavdivs. Just saying I think his comment was poor form. The same thing he did with VeGiTo, really, except to his face in a language he understands.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:17 PM on November 13, 2003


saddam was in poor form also.

it was not poor form IMO. (Matteos comment)
admit it, you translated it and are a better person for it.
posted by clavdivs at 4:31 PM on November 13, 2003


And if those of you who post things like this:

what I see on MetaFilter isn't necessarily "liberal", it's common human decency and compassion. MetaFilter has a lot of people who would prefer to see people happier and healthier.

don't realize the absurdity of that argument (in particular, the implied corrolary that people who disagree with you lack common human decency and compassion, and would prefer not to see people happier and healthier), you need to realize you're the problem.


You (and others who have made similar comments) are seeing more than is there. The fact that someone observes "human decency and compassion" on the site does not imply that anyone else lacks it, any more than someone noting that I have a computer in my room implies that you do not.

What I find most significant in the thread is not that there were "a lot of conservatives complaining in this thread" (there weren't), but rather that so many non-conservatives had the guts to call a spade a spade.

You neglect to note that some of those in your second list (e.g. Miguel) would also identify themselves as "conservatives."
posted by rushmc at 4:31 PM on November 13, 2003


And rush, this statement of yours to VeGiTo seems to me the height of irony:

Obviously, it's not your opinions that make you intolerant, but the condemnations of others' opinions.


That comment was in response to jonmc, not VeGiTo.
posted by rushmc at 4:34 PM on November 13, 2003


It's not just us.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:39 PM on November 13, 2003


Plus, what's the rationale for resorting to another language to put VeGiTo down?

bah.
that part of my comment started with

"languagehat,"

ie it meant that I was talking to languagehat. I had already expressed my opinion about VeGiTo quite clearly.
and since my English is definitely worse than languagehat's Italian, and I didn't want l-hat to misunderstand me (I didn't mean to sound snarky with him), Italian was the best tool to communicate with him. for me, Italian is more nuanced. that's all. I wish my English was good enough, but it isn't (I'm a self-taught English speaker, in school it was all Latin and Greek and French)

clav,
you really didn't like that comment of mine huh?
do you have any relatives in Mississippi?
did I offend you or something?
;)

anyway I completely stand behind it: it's great that so many people vote against their economic interests because what they really care about is their "cultural" interests. just allow me to be sarcastic about it. it's sad but funny how many working-class and middle-class American voters manage to be their own worst enemy when they go to the polls, somehow.

and anyway, 50% of personal bankruptcy cases in the USA come from health-care costs people are unable to repay. if you'd like to defend such a system, be my guest
(hey, since you're checking out past comments of mine, in the past I linked some good articles and studies about the madness of the US health care system, I'm sure you can dig those up either)
posted by matteo at 4:58 PM on November 13, 2003


monju_bosatsu: Excellent link. It illustrates the problem quite well and is very applicable to the situtation in Metafilter.

matteo: good thing I live in Canada then. Though our free-for-all heath-care system has its problems too.
posted by VeGiTo at 5:02 PM on November 13, 2003


Precisely, one of its problems is the supply shortage of certain drugs.
posted by VeGiTo at 5:06 PM on November 13, 2003


matteo: ...«Che hai tu, Bocca?
non ti basta sonar con le mascelle,
se tu non latri? qual diavol ti tocca?»

E che devo dire per non fare il professore? "Va fa'n culo"? Non voglio imprecare nè latrare; preferisco mantenere la civiltà.

posted by languagehat at 5:34 PM on November 13, 2003


And anyway the Southerners'
faith in God will come in handy to pray not to get sick



does your reasoning apply to just southerners.

I have no problem with you making blanket statements about people you have little or no understanding.

go right ahead,
make some more
because you cant defend rash statements like that.
can you.

it's sad but funny how many working-class and middle-class American voters manage to be their own worst enemy when they go to the polls, somehow.

ya, somehow. somehow they go to the polls and vote. and we really cant export our voting system to say, Italy...

can we;)


(jocularity does not count)
posted by clavdivs at 5:34 PM on November 13, 2003


I wish I spoke English as poorly as Matteo. Sheeeeyit.

I guess I should explain this: "What I see on MetaFilter isn't necessarily "liberal", it's common human decency and compassion. MetaFilter has a lot of people who would prefer to see people happier and healthier."

Perhaps I'm simple-minded, but to me it seems that the hardcore right-leaning folk tend to take an "every man for himself" atttitude toward our (real life) social structure.

The general MetaFilter population seems to run counter to that mold. Politically liberal or politically conservative, we seem to have a lot of people who care about people -- enough, at least, to be ready to learn and ready to discuss how things can be improved.

In other words, most of us all seem to be pulling for much the same thing, though through different means.

«Che hai tu, Bocca? non ti basta sonar con le mascelle, se tu non latri? qual diavol ti tocca?»
Chewbacca? You bastard, did you rip a murderous one in the latrine? What the devil did you eat?

posted by five fresh fish at 6:41 PM on November 13, 2003


VeGiTo:monju_bosatsu: Excellent link. It illustrates the problem quite well and is very applicable to the situation in Metafilter.

I actually agree with this point, VeGiTo, but I still think that partisanship had little to do with why you were attacked in that thread: it was instead your idiotic ideas.

Frankly, most of us have heard too many of Bush's idiotic ideas, as they have been pitched at us incessantly for two years from every media system possible.

When we get a chance to attack idiotic ideas, we jump at it. I will acknowledge that Bush-flavored idiocy creates an extra intensity which does little good for anyone, but is an inevitable product of our current divisive climate, nationally and globally.

Every day Liberals see fine arguments ripped to shreds by bold, arrogant fallacy on the most dominant media. Speaking for myself, I hate the fallacy more than the partisan positioning of the speaker.

Many here have pointed out very well the harm we do to this community by engaging in partisan savagery. Yet, remember that the genesis of your frustration and this thread was not partisanship per se. Listen to the chorus: it was your idiotic ideas.
posted by squirrel at 11:41 PM on November 13, 2003


does your reasoning apply to just southerners.

mostly, yeah

I have no problem with you making blanket statements about people you have little or no understanding.
I try do do some reading, keep up with things.
and at least in my ignorance I sure can read a map.

because you cant defend rash statements like that.
can you.

I thought I just did. of course one is free to disagree, and argue that America's proletariat (I'm cool, huh?) is being well served by the Republican Party

somehow they go to the polls and vote. and we really cant export our voting system to say, Italy...

now that you mention it, it's funny:
in 1992-1993 Italy changed her proportional electoral law, and made it much more similar to the "winner-takes-it-all" American system. A year later, with the new USA-style system, this man was elected.


(...)
The "liberal" label can still spell death at the polls.
For outsiders, the absence of class-based politics is the enduring mystery of American society. Among US analysts it is a matter of ideological disagreement.
David Brooks, a commentator at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, believes the divide is cultural rather than economic. It is the divide between the urban, cosmopolitan and liberal culture of the coasts where there are "sun-dried tomato concoctions" on restaurant menus - what he calls Blue America - and the conservative, church-going, gun-owning, patriotic and mainly white culture of Red America.
Red America eats meatloaf and votes for George Bush because it identifies with his cultural values. Its people are not envious of the top 1% of the population, Mr Brooks argues, because in Red America they never meet them. Instead, they consider themselves lucky to live in their own modest communities where prices are so low they see little they cannot afford.
"I didn't find many who assessed their own place in society according to their income," he reported. "They don't compare themselves with faraway millionaires who appear on their TV screens. They compare themselves with their neighbours."
Paul Krugman, a Princeton economist and Mr Brooks' liberal counterpart on the comment pages of the New York Times, argues that this cultural divide is more manipulated than natural, and serves to mask the society's ingrained inequity.
"There has been a tremendously successful campaign to shift the focus from economic elitism to cultural elitism," Mr Krugman said. "Because the president uses short words and talks tough, he is seen as an ordinary guy."
Certainly, most Americans appear to take Mr Bush at face value - as a plainspoken, homespun Texan, rather than the scion of a wealthy East Coast family. It is hard to imagine his real social background passing so unremarked in a British election campaign.
His party has also toyed with the cultural imagery of class, in one instance arranging for party loyalists to wear street clothes and workmen's hard hats at a rally for the Bush tax cuts.
The memo sent out to would-be demonstrators stressed that "If people want to participate - AND WE DO NEED BODIES - they must be DRESSED DOWN, appear to be REAL WORKER types etc."
In the end, the televised rally involved the president's supporters dressed as the working poor, cheering for more money to go to the rich. It is hard to think of a more fitting tableau for Bush's America.


posted by matteo at 12:06 AM on November 14, 2003



languagehat,

E s'io non fossi impedito dal sasso
che la cervice mia superba doma,
onde portar convienmi il viso basso,
cotesti, ch'ancor vive e non si noma,
guardere' io, per veder s'i' 'l conosco,
e per farlo pietoso a questa soma.


;)

posted by matteo at 12:15 AM on November 14, 2003



subtitles for MeFi's non-Italian-speaking minority:
and were it not
That I am hinder’d by the rock, wherewith
This arrogant neck is tamed, whence needs I stoop
My visage to the ground; him, who yet lives,
Whose name thou speak’st not, him I fain would view;
To mark if e’er I knew him, and to crave
His pity for the fardel that I bear.


posted by matteo at 12:27 AM on November 14, 2003


WHY Y'ALL WHISPERIN'?
posted by quonsar at 4:17 AM on November 14, 2003


rcade could have had my account on account of some no good accounts i said once, but he did not, perhaps he may have regretted this but...

You're one of our national treasures, Clavdivs. If loving you is wrong I don't want to be right.
posted by rcade at 5:37 AM on November 14, 2003


monju: Good link!

As it clearly indicates: "Blame the Right! They started it." ;-P
posted by mischief at 6:50 AM on November 14, 2003


subtitles for MeFi's non-Italian-speaking minority

This cracked me up, matteo. And isn't exchanging Dante quotations more fun than hollering "asshat"? (No? All right, then.)

Oh, and five fresh fish: I loved the Chewbacca translation!
posted by languagehat at 7:27 AM on November 14, 2003


matteo: believe it or not, a lot of what I've been trying to say in political threads here coincides with a lot of what was said in that piece you quoted. But I'd add two things: one, that there's a small but mouthy minority on the left that may choose leftism because they wish to separate themselves from the Wal-Mart shoppers and pick-up drivers and sometimes they can alienate the "red state" folk who up until recently were the democrats core constituency. Two, maybe it's time for the left to fight fire with fire and court that vote actively. Call George Bush a spoiled rich brat and tell voters that he has more in common with your boss than you. Some may call it pandering to the lowest common denominator, but as a freind of mine said recently "pander away to whatever denominator you have to." It's difficult to make changes if your not the guy with the seal in the funny shaped office. A big part of what got Bill Clinton elected is that he could court both the bubba vote and the sun-dried tomato vote with some aplomb.
posted by jonmc at 8:11 AM on November 14, 2003


now that you mention it, it's funny:
in 1992-1993 Italy changed her proportional electoral law, and made it much more similar to the "winner-takes-it-all" American system. A year later, with the new USA-style system, this man was elected.


yeahyeahyeah. I meant other elections Matteo....the christian demokrats....remember your history?


Let them vote with their guts, and ultimately fatten
the people who'll make literally a killing sending poor rural
Southern kids off to war.


your defending this? sounds like some farmer fattening his pigs.

your evading the issue, so your wrong, there is no disagreement. I'm happy to live with that.
Oh, your map retort is scary.

The "liberal" label can still spell death at the polls.

try using some of your own thinking. This deluge of mundane political/socio observation is....SHIT.

Red America eats meatloaf and votes for George Bush because it identifies with his cultural values

um, ah, um. right


'red america' eats meatloaf
voting emcompasses cultural values.
red america votes for bush.


you sound like a condesending fuck up and besides it was not good and perhaps that is why i even bother with you, because you are smater then this...

dam, never thought i could be wrong there on that observation.

see admitting wrong is ok.

" It's difficult to make changes if your not the guy with the seal in the funny shaped office."

so, jon, when you move into the white house are your going to make you office...funny looking?

how is it difficult, what changes, what decisions are left to others?

ah fuck it, Miguel is right. (I LOVED THAT GRANNY PIC)
posted by clavdivs at 8:38 AM on November 14, 2003


There's a huge amount of ridiculous and even insulting utter bullshit in this whining "poor beleaguered conservatives" wasted trainwreck of a thread. Many of my values DO spring directly from compassion, yet immediately get me labelled as a "liberal" or "treehugger"; now I'm not supposed to admit this because it implies the right are uncompassionate? Bullshit.

But I'm biting my tongue and looking for a more productive discussion...
posted by Shane at 8:47 AM on November 14, 2003


> my point is there IS a concensus on Metafilter, or at least a pretty close
> one, and it lies on all things liberal. Anything outside that boundary is
> stomped on and ripped apart violently by the rampaging horde.

And is that not a Good Thing? The more it becomes the case, the better the trolling.
posted by jfuller at 10:55 AM on November 14, 2003


There's a huge amount of ridiculous and even insulting utter bullshit in this whining "poor beleaguered conservatives" wasted trainwreck of a thread.

You so clearly missed the point of the thread. It's not about conservatives vs. liberal -- it's about the side with the most voices shouting down ideas with which they disagree. It could just as easily be the reverse -- conservatives/centrists in the majority, liberals in the extreme minority. The net effect -- as VeGiTo noted way at the top of the thread -- is that many reasonable voices from the "other side" tend to leave the community. I know for some the advice is: "don't let the bastards get you down," but it's really not a lot of fun to be a relatively intelligent person posting what you truly and honestly believe to be reasonable views, only to face the howling shitstorm that inevitably results. I'll grant you that some will at least attempt to rebut your arguments with logic -- unfortunately, more will just call your arguments "stupid." The smart ones decide this behavior outweighs the good of the site, and simply stop posting. Others (like me) are just stubborn and addicted.

So the question for the group is: Is it a good thing if some that are out of the majority just grow tired and leave? If so, enjoy your little circle jerk. If not, you might want to think about avoiding arguments that amount to little more than "I'm right, you're wrong" or "I'm smart, you're dumb," or "I'm good, you're evil."
posted by pardonyou? at 11:22 AM on November 14, 2003


pardonyou?, you're offering an either/or choice when there are other options.

One can cheer opposing voices leaving the site and not enjoy the "little circle jerk", as you've written. One could just as easily be dismayed that opposing voices leave the site and enjoy our "little circle jerk."

We can offer rational arguments and still want the opposing views to disappear. We can even choose ballpoint pens!!!

But I figure we all participate here as long as we enjoy our little circle, jerk.
posted by rocketman at 11:41 AM on November 14, 2003


VeGiTo, I'll admit I think this is a tired issue - MeFi leans left some, depending on where you're looking from. We all know that. As far as people (both conservatives and liberals) leaving, maybe they just change. They grow. We all do. As that's happened, some have chosen to remain here, and others have chosen to leave.

[does her "Go, Rocketman!" dance on the sidelines]

Well-supported arguments of whatever political persuasion can usually find plenty of defenders around here, and crap posts generally are quickly (and yes, sometimes savagely) dissected. I wouldn't want it any other way.

VeGiTo, if you're tired of the view from the bottom of the dogpile, I suggest a logical argumentation course that will help you avoid fallacies and build stronger cases in support of your worldview. Do the homework and you'll be amazed at the cast of characters who will chime in on your side.

The alternative is to spout irrational hyberbole and to nurse a persecution complex. Sure, it's easier, but do you really want to be 111 when you grow up?
posted by clever sheep at 11:46 AM on November 14, 2003


pardonyou? - I think you and languagehat are ignoring the fact that the original post sucked. It just did.

Here are a few of the reasons that are independant of the views of any of the participants:
  1. It was reactionary and had no real purpose other than as a response to another post.
  2. The poster insisted on closely moderating the thread.
  3. People didn't take their gripes directly to MeTa, they shared them in the thread.
  4. VeGiTo refused to have a rational discussion. He was so hell-bent on being right that he kept shifting the context and substance of his argument.
  5. VeGiTo also viewed the pile-on as some sort attack on his political view rather than an attack on his posting style which most likely explains his moderation style, although after viewing his previous posts I think this is a personal habit rather than a post-specific behavior.
If you read through the original thread you'll see that the comments start out as complaints about the form of the original post, then VeGiTo gets all defensive and starts making broad, inflammatory comments and immediately takes offense when people argue against him.

Things degenerate from there.

To the conservatives that feel persecuted here: cry me a river. People have opinions and it makes no sense to bitch and moan when they don't agree with your opinions.
posted by bshort at 11:59 AM on November 14, 2003


you sound like a condesending fuck up and besides it was not good and perhaps that is why i even bother with you

I've been a fan of your gnomic one-liners (we all love Cioran after all) since you've joined MeFi -- even if I've noticed that you've recently gone back to some of your early-clavdivs-as-wellread-cranky-badass persona -- but really, take the time to give me with your point of view since you find me so condescending (ah the classic "outside agitator" argument...)

the Guardian story puts the finger on a very real phenomenon you can't possibly deny (being too smart for that): the absence of class-based politics in America. Brooks' and Krugman's argument (both pretty interesting, I think) don't convince you? OK.
Give us your idea, then
Why is that happening?

your defending this? sounds like some farmer fattening his pigs
well, it's a -- not very politely worded, I admit, but you're hardly a standard of civility yourself sometimes -- opinion (and as such highly debatable)
but it's at least based on some hard-to-refute facts (ie the Republicans apparent love of big government only under the form of corporate welfare, when it helps their industrial supporters and the rich in general, leaving the poorer and less educated part of their voters to hold the bucket. but of course I may very well be wrong and it's in the working class economic interests voting for Bush).
I'm not that condescending because, say, I'd much rather Jessica Lynch found a more humane way to raise money for her college education than to go off to war doing the fighting Jenna Bush is apparently unwilling to do, her daddy's rhetoric notwithstanding.
I wish trailer park kids wouldn't have to enlist if they want to go to college, and a decent health care plan. (immigrants doing the fighting for your country only because they're gambling their life on the chance of becoming US citizens, doesn't that strike you as odd? as a patriot, I mean?)

heh

so much for my being "condescending", huh?

re "fattening his pigs": well, there's undeniably a lot of fattening going on in the actual political system. only, the pigs are someone else's

and I stand by my point: if one is willing to trade health care for National Sanctity of Life Day, one would be better off praying not to get sick in the future (and take lots of vitamins, too). sorry if you don't like it. or if, God forbid, I sound "shrill"

;)



sidenote
your Italy reference strikes me as odd. what about the Christian Democrats? they won for 48 years in a row because the PCI was considered unelectable and too extreme -- but they governed by consensus, granting the working class very generous welfare benefits, thus incorporating in their agenda most of the PCI key liberal and populist points (the ultimate example of triangulation, 40 years before Bill Clinton).
fact is, they hardly screwed their working-class voters by granting handouts and tax cuts only to the top 1% of the population. they did exactly the opposite, hence the huge Italian deficit of the Eighties and early Nineties.
if you're alluding instead to the conspiracy theories about the CIA stealing the 1948 election or being involved in Aldo Moro's 1979 kidnapping, I don't have an answer. they're still conspiracy theories, as I said

posted by matteo at 12:07 PM on November 14, 2003


Is it a good thing if some that are out of the majority just grow tired and leave?

A good thing for whom? Presumably it is good for them, since they freely made the choice to leave. Is it good for the site/community? That's more complex, but I would argue that in many cases, it is, because often those who leave are those who become dissatisfied that their lecturing and hectoring is not immediately embraced by the masses as gospel. Those who learn to present their views more thoughtfully, and to actually engage the ideas of others rather than just shouting a simplistic dogma at them, usually stick around a while. Personally, I would rather have 100 thoughtful, respectful posters on the site with whom I habitually disagreed than 1 rude patronizing twerp who feels it is their mission to reveal their sacred truths to the rest of us—even if my views entirely coincide with theirs.

It's crazy to think that you can come to Metafilter and just state your opinion, and that that alone will convince anyone of anything. All that will do is garner nods of agreement from those who already agree with you. To convince someone who disagrees with you, or even someone with no set opinion on the matter, requires some argument, some reasoning, some whys and wherefores. Yet so many seem to arrive with the expectation that saying "XYZ sucks" is a persuasive argument, and are shocked when people don't accept it as such and respond accordingly.
posted by rushmc at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2003


bshort:

I am sick of your hyperbole and gross (selective) oversight.

1. I already apologized for referring to Gore's speech on my FFP. Half way down the thread I said I wish that post can be judge on its own merits, though you probably missed it (or blocked it out of your selective memory).

2. I am not moderating may post as much as trying to foster a debate. Am I supposed to take personal insults without any kind of defense? And how the hell can I "moderate" a thread when I can't fucking delete your posts? It doesn't matter who started the FFP, my voice is as big as yours. There is no moderator on this board other than Matt. (Even though you're obviously trying to play one.)

3. My gripe about Metafilter is general and not specific to my FFP. I pointed to it as an example because it is the most recent one in my memory. I have experienced and observed similar problems previously, and MeTa is designed for griping (or praising) about general matters on Metafilter.

4. *I* refuse a rational discussion? Can you do me a favour and try to find one comment in that FFP where I was emotional and directly attacked a person. *I* was the one who was trying to have a rational discussion and was being insulted. Just because you don't agree with my arguments, doesn't mean I didn't try to have a rational discussion. I context shifted *once*, and I don't even think it was a context shift because it directly applies to Bush's policy. But even if I give you that *once*, how was I "so hell-bent" on changing the context?

5. Yes, it is a habit of the likes of you to pile on anybody who doesn't agree with you, and it is not a post-specific behaviour.

I rarely get emotional anymore because I am so used to this on this site but you sure know how to take it to a higher level you condescending piece of shit.
posted by VeGiTo at 12:55 PM on November 14, 2003


I* was the one who was trying to have a rational discussion and was being insulted.
...
but you sure know how to take it to a higher level you condescending piece of shit.
posted by VeGiTo at 12:55 PM PST on November 14


Tourette symptomatology?
posted by matteo at 1:10 PM on November 14, 2003


matteo you are pro at selectively cutting and pasting some words aren't ya?

But even in the words that you copied, you missed something: I said I "WAS" trying to have a rational discussion.

Nice try. Play again.
posted by VeGiTo at 1:16 PM on November 14, 2003


so you think it's OK to say "condescending piece of shit" in the same thread where you asked for more civility and complained about those unruly liberals?
posted by matteo at 1:22 PM on November 14, 2003


It's inconsistent, and it undercuts his message, but it's certainly no capital crime.

At least I'm not losing sleep over it.
posted by rocketman at 1:26 PM on November 14, 2003


VeGiTo, if I concede that you are 100% correct that MeFi is becoming an intellectual inbreeding ground where a small handful of brave and intellectually rigorous conservatives are mercilessly shouted down by hordes of blinkered liberals, then will you just LEAVE ALREADY?

Stride on out of here with a background trumpet fanfare and leave us to our circle-jerking misery...and as is oft said, don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.
posted by clever sheep at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2003


matteo you are pro at selectively cutting and pasting some words aren't ya?

We are all responsible for ALL of the words that we submit here, not just some of them. There is no way to take an epithet out of context, if that's what you're suggesting.
posted by rushmc at 1:30 PM on November 14, 2003


Woah, check this out guys, matteo's GREATEST QUOTES!!

(I'm learning from the "professor" here... He says selective quotes are good, so I'm just trying to be one of you guys now, you know, and do the right thing.)


gleefully kicking innocent people's asses
posted by matteo at 4:53 PM PST on August 5

Asia are made up of scary fuckers
posted by matteo at 8:57 AM PST on August 5

you'll soon be appreciating the tv broadcasts of all those Arabs getting killed

It's an interesting read for the "we're winning the war on terror" DenBeastie Boys
posted by matteo at 6:21 AM PST on August 5

Well how fucking scientific, okay.
posted by matteo at 4:06 AM PST on November 14

nyanyanyanyah
posted by matteo at 12:53 PM PST on November 14


On preview: I'll will find some of your words too.
posted by VeGiTo at 1:33 PM on November 14, 2003


The biggest problem on MeFi/MeTa is pig-wrestling.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:38 PM on November 14, 2003


rocketman: it was perfectly consistent, as indicated by the keyword "WAS" in that sentence, which implies that I have tried long and hard to be irrational, but my opponents (those arguing against me) don't, and that has triggered an emotional response in me even though I'm trying very hard to suppress.
posted by VeGiTo at 1:39 PM on November 14, 2003


long and hard to be NOT* irrational
posted by VeGiTo at 1:40 PM on November 14, 2003


Why don't we all take a step back from this thread?
(I know I don't want to go back and read some of the silly shit I've said.)

This has gone to a point no longer served by debate,
so the only thing left is ego, hurt feelings, and hate.
posted by troybob at 1:49 PM on November 14, 2003


troybob:

I agree. After almost 200 comments in this thread, I am pretty much exhausted and have given up trying to drive the point home rationally to certain people here who are uncurably irrational.

A step back is a good idea. This thead (and this place) really has stopped being about rational debates long time ago, I just refused to believe that it. Until now.
posted by VeGiTo at 1:53 PM on November 14, 2003


the 48' election was no theory, it is an established fact. glad you picked that up.
aldo moro? don't no nothing about that.

well, it's a -- not very politely worded, I admit, but you're hardly a standard of civility yourself sometimes
thank you for saying so, that is what i meant, your rhetoric is not as lucid as some example of my blurts.

you sound like a condescending fuck up

I withdrawal this statement.

(immigrants doing the fighting for your country only because they're gambling their life on the chance of becoming US citizens, doesn't that strike you as odd? as a patriot, I mean?)
No, it does not. This has gone on since wars where fought. I don't like it, for example the irish during the civil war, but i cannot change it.
posted by clavdivs at 1:58 PM on November 14, 2003


This is what happens when you drag the heckler out of the audience and give him a microphone on stage.
posted by mischief at 1:59 PM on November 14, 2003


Someone needs a hug.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:02 PM on November 14, 2003


clavdivs: that statement serves better unwithdrawn.
posted by VeGiTo at 2:08 PM on November 14, 2003


McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll McTroll
posted by angry modem at 2:10 PM on November 14, 2003


the 48' election was no theory, it is an established fact.
look, I admit I'm no expert in post-war Italy CIA stuff, but over here the evidence is not considered as crystal-clear. I'll look it up, send you some papers -- trouble is I'm afraid most of my material about that is in Italian. again, over here it's not considered established fact. CIA-fueled slush funds for the Christian Democrats, yes. KGB funding for the PCI, yes.
a little pro-Republic "tweaking" of the Monarchy/Republic post-war Referendum? yes
Donald Sutherland's throwaway line in JFK "we stole Italy's election" actually created a shitstorm and big debate over here when the movie came out. then, as now, facts are considered murkier than that. my guess? likely. but not certain. especially it's not certain that the alleged CIA tweaking really did throw the vote for the DC -- they were probably going to win anyway. close, but they looked like winners
I may be on a limb here 'cause the history of Italy's 1948 is very, very complicated, documents are still being discovered, so many crazy factors to evaluate (Togliatti's assassination attempt, Bartali's historical Tour de France victory, etc). again, I'll look it up.

you sound like a condescending fuck up
I withdrawal this statement.


just don't. "MeFi -- I Play Snooty Professor", remember?

;)


VeGiTo,
"well how fucking scientific" is not -- unfortunately -- my work. I indicated (italics) I was quoting a great man like Bill Hicks, but you didn't notice it since you were too busy trying to dig out ultra-quick some of my past comments. anyway I agree with the substance of Hick's quote, "the earth is 12,000 years old" is "how fucking scientific" indeed. Carbon 14, anybody? Dinosaurs in the Bible?

and yeah I'm pretty proud of "DenBeastie Boys" (feel a tingle of recognition? have you toured with them, too?) but again (as I acknowledged in that thread, you just didn't read carefully) it's not really my work. it's a little riff on a Holgate original, "DenBestie Boys"


and yes, if you're point is MeFi got worse, you're right -- we lost Holgate, and you joined in

:)

keep digging


posted by matteo at 2:20 PM on November 14, 2003


matteo:

I dug those up to illustrate a point, and that point is that taking quotes out of context serves no purpose. Especially the times when you don't even quote the entire SENTENCE, let alone the entire comment.

Time to go back to college, Mr. Professor?
posted by VeGiTo at 2:24 PM on November 14, 2003


VeGiTo, do yourself a favor, and just step back from the keyboard for a few hours and, if you must, come back later with a clearer head. It's obvious you feel very invested in this thread, but just a few posts ago, you agreed with troybob that a "stepback was a good idea." For pity's sake, follow through, man.
posted by clever sheep at 2:45 PM on November 14, 2003


shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up
posted by mcsweetie at 2:56 PM on November 14, 2003


that Bill O'Reilly impression is coming along excellently, mcsweet ; >
posted by amberglow at 2:59 PM on November 14, 2003


Wh-oooooah dude! I just saw some guys rip each other to shit on the innernet. It was, like, TOHHHH-TaLLY awesome. I really need to spend even more time in fronna tha PC toob.
posted by i_cola at 3:03 PM on November 14, 2003


> ego, hurt feelings, and hate.

fuller proposes small addition to mefi taglines list. Apologies to Matthew but godwinism in all its hues turns up everywhere.
posted by jfuller at 3:49 PM on November 14, 2003


Matteo,
here is a book , i hope you read this, it is good and balanced. The proof is not really in documents or what have you in Italy, it is what is known here. (the u.s.)

yes, the CIA role was limited, but projections of the communists winning the whole show was enough to make J.J. and Co, nervous. The elections are not the real meat though, the kicker was how to funnel tax dollars to CIA projects without congress going berserk. And more over, any vote warder (american trained) who would have observed the polling process would have guessed that bribes and such where taking place. Now, what is not known for sure was the Zorin plan, wether it was cia black ops or a Sov plan.

how does it feel to be trolled matteo? I made my point and if you think im going to debate healthcare with you, have you bring up "my posting style" and then try and wade through the morass of your "evidence" (some of which i do agree in principal) your wrong. I don't want to debate that. I wanted to admit to your hyperbole which you did.

Donald Sutherland's throwaway line in JFK "we stole Italy's election" actually created a shitstorm and big debate over here when the movie came out.

Really, over a second rate movie? WOW.

I withdrew the statement for myself Matteo, not you, where do you figure in that decision i made. Had nothing to do with you.

BTW, Holgates loss is no real loss as he seemed to be a condescending prick, i should know, i am one too at times. But i know when i'm wrong or should admit so, Holgate just muddied the challenge and slanted "his take" on the matter to better suit his argument. (Cambridge did him proud).
as far as losses, I'm with Stavs, Dan Hartung is and probably will be the finest poster this place has seen. I wish he where around more but maybe...now im speculating, anyways, your appreciateed Dan.

p.s. Matteo, please don't ever offer to send me anything by mail again, do we understand another.
posted by clavdivs at 4:50 PM on November 14, 2003


only to face the howling shitstorm that inevitably results.

If one has the courage of one's convictions, the howling inevitability rarely stirs a branch.

Many thanks.
posted by hama7 at 5:05 PM on November 14, 2003


Advantage: mischief (and me!)
posted by squirrel at 5:05 PM on November 14, 2003


you sure know how to take it to a higher level you condescending piece of shit.

you were kidding right veggie? you gotta be kidding ...
posted by specialk420 at 5:51 PM on November 14, 2003


Sooo-eee! Pigpigpig! Sooo-eee!

I tell y'all, it shouldn't be called "taking the bait," it should be "lunging at the rotten 'tater." Y'all you didn't trawl poor ol' Vegito, ya hogtied him -- getting him so mad that he can't even get his feet under himself, even after being untied.

Muddy out here, though. Real muddy. Hope y'all you didn't wear yer Sunday Best.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:42 PM on November 14, 2003


you were kidding right veggie?
I do have a feeling it will come to this

"I can still lick ya with me tounge..."
posted by clavdivs at 7:27 PM on November 14, 2003


You know, fffish, I think it's possible that our sour spirit broke a tiny little heart today... and it just makes me sick.
posted by squirrel at 11:32 PM on November 14, 2003


Who wants number 200?
posted by squirrel at 11:33 PM on November 14, 2003



posted by darukaru at 4:51 AM on November 15, 2003



posted by quonsar at 6:49 AM on November 15, 2003


Let the comedy begin.
posted by clavdivs at 9:09 AM on November 15, 2003


The proof is not really in documents or what have you in Italy, it is what is known here. (the u.s.)

Right. Just like the proof for 9-11 or Iraq is not really in documents or what have you in the U.S., it is what is known in Afgahistan or Iraq.

Sorry to contribute to the celebration of circle jerking and panty-wadding, but that has to be one of the most US-centric arrogant pieces of shite I have ever had the misfortune to read. I sincerely hope you were exaggerating, clav.
posted by romakimmy at 11:59 AM on November 15, 2003


you confuse arrogance with truth. I have no arrogance concerning what happened, it is beyond that.
I'm not sure your intelligence analogy is quite accurate. From de-classified sources, the fact that the CIA funneled money into the CDs' coffers and other psycological operations is not my arrogance, perhaps Angletons....whats your question? You are right, it is 'U.S. centrist' since that is where the money came.

The larger scope was not helping the DC win but creating a funnel for money into intelligence operations so, as i said before, congress would not find out. (wouldn't be a secret then would it?)
now that is arrogance.

Right. Just like the proof for 9-11 or Iraq is not really in documents or what have you in the U.S., it is what is known in Afgahistan or Iraq.

Hmmm, why did saddam go into his highest bunker mode. (alert G, the highest iraqi military readiness level, not used since 1991) shortly before the September 11 attacks?
posted by clavdivs at 7:52 PM on November 15, 2003


Because he, like the CIA, FBI, and US Government, knew that the shit was about to hit the fan? It's not like the 9-11 attack was a big secret. The behaviour of the stock market the days preceding the event are proof enough of that.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 PM on November 15, 2003


Woh woh woh.... FFF, you don't really want me to repeat my famous quote on ya do you?

The market was clueless about 9-11 before 9-11. The market was largely flat after a rally around April, 2001. In fact, on September 10, 2001, it went up!! I was invested and I remember thinking "oh shit this is gonna kill the economy" when those planes hit the building, but not before.

How can the market be "proof enough" of some consipiracy surrounding 9-11 if it didn't crash catastropically in the days preceding the event?? You can keep babbling with your baseless claims, but those who actually have a brain can go verify the facts themselves.
posted by VeGiTo at 1:25 AM on November 16, 2003


*points to MSN, declares Truth; considers FoxNews backup.*
posted by squirrel at 1:36 AM on November 16, 2003


That's an interesting history lesson, as the USA fought to get rid of Europe at any cost.

Clearly you didn't learn any history then. Sure, the USA did that, but WAY after Europe colonized North America (i.e. 200 years after). The person you were responding to was correct, Europe did, effectively, 'build the US'.
posted by wackybrit at 1:53 AM on November 16, 2003


"Die, MetaFilter, die. Die, MetaFilter, die. Die and be damned, that you have turned your back on one of your most beloved sons, who sweated blood on your behalf, who stood in the ford of the river and defended you against all who said you were a pestilent beast, who bent his mind to your service not for gain or hope of it, but merely due to his affection for what he considered your virtues."

This is still my favorite "imminent death of Metafilter" thread. We seem to get better at it each year, but I have to say that this latest installment is a bit of a letdown. Were are those high soapboxes, those alliterative phrases, the drama, the piquance?

Truely Metafilter is dying. Die, die, die.
posted by Perigee at 5:25 AM on November 16, 2003


why did saddam go into his highest bunker mode. (alert G, the highest iraqi military readiness level, not used since 1991) shortly before the September 11 attacks?

I'm familiar with this claim, and I've even read Con Coughlin's book, where the claim was first made
A dutiful Hollinger/Richard Perle employee, Coughlin manages to give some ammo to the Woolsey/Mylroie "Saddam-did-it" contigent (the fact that even Dick Cheney seems to be keeping them at arm's lenght is cause of some concern to me, but whatever).

as fff points out above, if Saddam did in fact declare "alert G" (again, a claim not often used even by people willing to try to sell aluminum tubes snake-oil), well maybe he did it because his intelligence people did their homework and did not ignore the many warning signs (spooks all over Europe, Egypt, Philippines, whatever, knew that something big was going to happen, and warned Washington.

You can keep babbling with your baseless claims, but those who actually have a brain can go verify the facts themselves.

exactly! let's go verify the facts (and thanks for the MSN link!):
looks like almost everybody in the intelligence community knew about the threat but the White House -- that's some serious negligence. and Condi Rice hadn't even read some Tom Clancy (not to mention her intelligence briefings, don't they actually pay her to read those?) and didn't know terrorists can hijack planes and crash them in DC -- me, I'd have fired a few good men and women at the CIA and NSC, if I were President, but whatever)

even the FAA -- the FAA, for Chrissakes -- knew bad shit was going down:
FAA says it cautioned airlines of hijack threat before attacks

also check out FBI Agent Williams memo about flying lessons, and the fact that Bush received specific warnings, and a lot of other interesting things

and anyway, "why" is a great word. my favorite word, when it comes to 9-11, actually
posted by matteo at 7:34 AM on November 16, 2003


Thanks, Perigee; that was indeed a classic thread. Besides the Ezrael peroration you quoted, there were y6's "So fuck you guys, I'm outa here" rant, "beat me off violently" and its followups and their followups, mathowie's "People come and go, I think the site has grown pretty big and sort of moved onto new people. It's like saturday night live," metrocake's "Hotel MetaFilter," and evanizer's first post ever: "If we all operate with the highest of our personal standards and with common civility, and all try to ferret out and post interesting links, then MeFi will continue to be way cool." Good times, good times.

I miss evanizer.
posted by languagehat at 7:41 AM on November 16, 2003


shit matteo, we all knew something was coming. I read Cons book too and why did you not mention the other stuff in the prolog?

Oh, you win with your Guardian links and "why" question.

Why, oh WHY?.

and Condi Rice hadn't even read some Tom Clancy (not to mention her intelligence briefings, don't they actually pay her to read those?) and didn't know terrorists can hijack planes and crash them in DC

is that why?
what does this mean, oh your being a silly billy.

you make intelligence work and it's ethos so clear Matteo.


why was it an Intel failure, is that the what you seek matteo or why Bin Laden and Co. would plot such a cowardly deed. I would assume if you want to know why OBL did it, well that would make you curious into the mind of a mad man which i can see, reading about crime and spies is informative.

please keep your snark on track or we can start talking about Addis Ababa.
posted by clavdivs at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2003


how does one "build a country".
sorry, i have visions of pilgrams with funny looking hammers and saws the size of a Pinto.
Slavery "built" this country.
The sweat of Immigrants who faced similar conditions when arriving here.

also the despoitic nature of european politics "built america" european greed for gold, and trade routes.

and i leave France outta this part for the most.
France gets so much crap thrown at them. But they at least have the Balls to stand by a claim or stance, sure, they may be hedging bets or what have you back then or even now, But the really don't seem to have alot of bullshit like some others do. VIVE LA FRANCE.

One must grasp the anti-european sentiment americans have and still do (which i think i can say is over as america is now the one "pre-empting attacks") concerning americans reluctance to die in european wars. IT WAS STRONG. and now europe feels the same, basically, towards the U.S.
posted by clavdivs at 9:43 AM on November 16, 2003


Vegito: in the days immediately preceding the attack, an abnormal number of puts were placed. You may have been dismally unaware that something was coming down, but there were others who were not.

Point of it is that if Saddam upped his alert status, it's not surprising: there's evidence that a good number of people know the shit was coming down the pipe.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2003


and didn't ashcroft and other administration people stop taking commercial jets right before 9/11 too?
posted by amberglow at 10:10 AM on November 16, 2003


anti-european sentiment americans have and still do

have=had.
posted by clavdivs at 10:39 AM on November 16, 2003


look, knowing this was going to happen is not some revelation. Roosevelt knew Japan had plans, to say the least, desires to attack the U.S. for over 20 years...

now if you guys have any Guardian articles stating that the pentagon and world trade center will be attacked on sept. 11, lets see it.
posted by clavdivs at 10:44 AM on November 16, 2003


//languagehat: I miss Evanizer//

miss Sir Walshingham, too?
I guess you're neither one of the "puerile idiots not being worth the monitor ink" nor an "appeaser", then. good for you.

heh


please keep your snark on track or we can start talking about Addis Ababa

no, let's do it. what about it?

also, what's the problem with the Guardian? is that paper really so much less reliable than, say, the Telegraph?
I don't see where's the problem, really -- 911 was a terrible, monumental failure of American intelligence (and a terrible performance by the USAF, btw -- they missed either all 4 hijacked planes or stopped just one from crashing into a building, and the window of opportunity to stop them was wide enough, 90 mins or so).
it's not about Bush's good or bad faith -- for now that's simply alt.conspiracy speculation, therefore irrelevant (the lack of a serious, well-funded speedy inquiry on 911 is also a problem, since you mentioned Pearl Harbor you know very well that a few hours later a congressional commission was already gathering material for the official investigation). plus, I'm not that snarky, and you know it.
a little sarcasm never hurt anyone I guess
posted by matteo at 11:02 AM on November 16, 2003


yeah, shoot down an airliner over New York City....
ok, you start the links on the USAF failures. Lets keep it there for now. I'll respond. Im not to up on that "failure" look, they had all the info on Pearl but no may to co-ordinate it effectively.

Addis ababa is text book occupational failure of a much larger power ATTACKING another. Italy could barely control the roads and only the major parts of the city. Why?
Military and intelligence failure? No. underestimating the opponent is a tenet of conventional and un conventional warfare.
i like snark, i just wish it was more exact, as a whole.

I miss evan as well. (esp. Sir W)
posted by clavdivs at 11:31 AM on November 16, 2003


fff, did you even read the article you linked to?
Not only does the relatively modest action belie some daring market conspiracy by those in touch with terror plans, but the pre-Sept. 11 market history is also consistent, more or less, with business as usual. Adam Hamilton of Zeal LLC, a consulting company that does research on markets worldwide, has crunched the numbers and recently told Insight magazine:

"The market was in bad shape in the summer and early fall, and you know there were a lot of people who believed that there would be a sell-off in the market long before Sept. 11. For instance, American Airlines was at $40 in May and fell to $29 on Sept. 10; United was at $37 in May and fell to $31 on Sept. 10. These stocks were falling anyway, and it would have been a good time to short them.”

The downward trend in the airline stocks was backed up in the pre-Sept. 11 trading picture.

Insight reported that there were repeated spikes in put options on American Airlines during the year before Sept. 11 (June 19 with 2,951 puts, June 15 with 1,144 puts, April 16 with 1,019 and Jan. 8 with 1,315 puts). In the same period, United Airlines had slightly more action (Aug. 8 with 1,678 puts, July 20 with 2,995, April 6 with 8,212 and March 13 with 8,072).
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2003


//clavdivs: "ok, you start the links on the USAF failures. Lets keep it there for now. I'll respond"//

US Air Force commanders considered crashing fighter jets into hijacked planes on 11 September because of a lack of armed planes, a BBC investigation reveals. ...But, as a new BBC programme Clear The Skies reveals, the threat of an attack from within America had been considered so small that the entire US mainland was being defended by only 14 planes.
As a result unarmed planes were diverted from training missions in a desperate bid to increase the number of fighter planes patrolling American airspace...
Pilot Duff said: "For a long time I wondered what would have happened if we had been scrambled in time.


re: Addis Ababa. you're making sense (but also consider Italy's military budget back then and US present 400 bn $ Pentagon's pork). I'm just having trouble locating English-language links about it -- most of my stuff for that period is paper-based and Italian language, please allow me some time.

and anyway we're giving back their obelisk, anyway (perfectly OK with me, it's pretty ugly and I'm not a fan of Facist loot. now, if only Tony Blair would call Athens and...)
posted by matteo at 11:54 AM on November 16, 2003


No, I didn't read the article. My recollection from two years ago was a huge kerfuffle the month after 9-11, with a fair bit of media attention on there having been a lot of stock market action that indicated there was foreknowledge of the event.

If that was unfounded, then I guess my claim that even the market was aware that an attack was imminent is wrong.

Which doesn't make a jot of difference to the overall point: Saddam putting his gang on high alert isn't a sign that he was involved with the attack. There are many indications that a lot of organizations -- the FAA, the US administration, etc -- knew something big and bad was going to happen soon.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2003


LOL. I just read the article. One can certainly tell how much effort I'm putting into this discussion!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2003


the threat of an attack from within America had been considered so small that the entire US mainland was being defended by only 14 planes.

And now?
posted by rushmc at 12:23 PM on November 16, 2003


For clarification, clav, after matteo posted this (ellipsed for clarification purposes, all emphasis mine):

...but over here the evidence is not considered as crystal-clear...again, over here it's not considered established fact....Donald Sutherland's throwaway line in JFK "we stole Italy's election" actually created a shitstorm and big debate over here when the movie came out. then, as now, facts are considered murkier than that....I may be on a limb here 'cause the history of Italy's 1948 is very, very complicated, documents are still being discovered, so many crazy factors to evaluate...

That's what I considered arrogant. That your assumption of what we in the US 'know' is the absolute truth and anything that is found here just doesn't count fer shit. Like one set of declassified documents outweighs another just because they carry the seal of the almighty US of A on them.

But then again that could just be my personal quirk - I tend to distrust one set of documents as much as I distrust three differents sets of documents. Or one version of a story as much as three different versions of a story. Because there are a million and one versions of a story or an event; the "truth" lies somewhere between the layers.

Enough rambling. I apologise for starting off another shitsorm with a hamfisted analogy, and, if I somehow misunderstood your intent, clav, mea culpa.
posted by romakimmy at 12:43 PM on November 16, 2003


one set of declassified documents outweighs another

clearly it all started with "James Jesus The Dread" and his buddies in Washington, but lots of the documents came from the Italian side simply because the huge slush-fund scandals of the early Nineties here gave DA's the chance to crack the system open -- hence the revelations about the various CIA/KGB slush funds for the DC and PCI.
1948 is key, the only problem I have with clavdivs analysis is that it was hardly "stealing the elections" (Ollie Stone's clumsy-as-usual-line) -- it was certainly a form of tampering (and the Pentagon did have a plan to invade in case of PCI victory at least until the early Sixties), but there was no actual ballot-stuffing in such a way as to swing the elections the other way.
not even the massive US financial intervention could do that. Don't forget that the anti-PCI front had the support of the Church -- that alone could swing the vote in 1948 Italy. "Dio ti vede, Stalin no" -- "God, unlike Stalin can see you (when you're at the polls)" was the slogan uttered by priests in every church that year. talk about the effectiveness of today's tv ads, hehe

anyway the early Nineties graft inquiries here gave us a lot of insight on how campaign finance worked. nobody is dissing Washington's documents. but it was a 2-way-thing, there was plenty of people receiving those dollars. and they left a trail too, over here not in DC. just that
posted by matteo at 1:07 PM on November 16, 2003


squirrel,

I linked to MSN so you can verify stock and market indice prices on and before September 11, not for its opinionated pieces. It was linked out of convenience, but those facts can easily be verified on your favourite (more liberal??) financial sites. If you seriously think that MSN somehow misreported prices on those days to cover up some sort of conspiracy theory, you are seriously, seriously deluded and are increasingly out of touch with reality.
posted by VeGiTo at 1:30 PM on November 16, 2003


// VeGiTo: "If you seriously think that MSN somehow misreported prices on those days to cover up some sort of conspiracy theory, you are seriously, seriously deluded and are increasingly out of touch with reality".//

ah, the fine art of strawman building by the Right is getting increasingly clumsy (I can take shameless, at least it's marginally funny, but clumsy gets boring fast).

anyhoo let's come back to the original argument:

Claim: In the days just prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the stocks of United and American Airlines were shorted by parties unknown.
Status: True
.
Origins: On 11 September 2001, four planes were hijacked and used in the Attack on America: American Airlines Flight 11 leaving Boston bound for Los Angeles, American Airlines Flight 77 leaving Washington bound for Los Angeles, United Airlines Flight 175 leaving Boston bound for Los Angeles, and United Airlines Flight 93 leaving Newark bound for San Francisco. Each of these planes was deliberately crashed, killing all on board — two into the World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Pennsylvania. (Only the delay in takeoff of UA Flight 93 and the actions of the alerted passengers on board prevented it from becoming yet another instrument of destruction resulting in an even greater loss of life.)
The operation had taken years to plan, and the perpetrators knew well in advance which airlines would be affected.
In the month prior to the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, highly unusual trading activity involving American and United Airlines stock was noted by market analysts who at the time had no idea what to make of it. Wildly unusual discrepancies in the put and call ratio — 25 to 100 times normal — were observed in stock options of the two airlines. In one case, Bloomberg's Trade Book electronic trading system identified option volume in UAL (parent of United Airlines) on 16 August 2001 that was 36 times higher than usual.
...
On 10 September, another uneventful news day, American Airlines' option volume was 4,516 puts and 748 calls, a ratio of 6:1 on yet another day when by rights these options should have been trading even.
No other airline stocks were affected — only United and American were shorted in this fashion.


posted by matteo at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2003


matteo:

Lol, and you are the pinnacle of clumsiness. How does "being shorted by parties unknown" become a conspiracy theory that somehow american intelligence community has pre-knowledge of 9-11?

You probably forgot that bin ladin and his organization has hundreds of millions stashed away right? You don't seriously think that he hides all of that under his pillow, do you?

And if you read that article FFF posted, it says that those airlines were in a downtrend before 9-11, and it was business as usual that they are being shorted that way.

So are you clumsy, lazy, or simply deluded? Sometimes I think it's all three.
posted by VeGiTo at 2:04 PM on November 16, 2003


become a conspiracy theory that somehow american intelligence community has pre-knowledge of 9-11

if you read the links above, you'll see that the US intelligence community had received many warnings before 9-11. it is not a conspiracy theory, it's fact.
the conspiracy theory (ie the speculation) comes in only when people start debating whether it was ignored because of incompetence or bad faith

So are you clumsy, lazy
neither -- after all I'm still taking the time to respond to your comments after the temper tantrums and random insults you spewed around here, that should put on every sane's person ignore-list

or simply deluded?
heh, actually I was starting to think there was still hope to see you making sense on MeFi (or in your blog), it's probably a sign of delusion allright


anyway I'm happy you (temporarily?) dropped the "fuck you"'s. makes your prose more readable

wink

posted by matteo at 2:14 PM on November 16, 2003


Ok, matteo, the claim i was defending was:

If you seriously think that MSN somehow misreported prices on those days to cover up some sort of conspiracy theory, you are seriously, seriously deluded

And your response to me addresses neither a claim that MSN really did misreport prices, nor a claim that the intelligence community profited from the "pre-knowledge" by shorting stocks.

If you are not addressing these two points, please don't construct your response by quoting me.
posted by VeGiTo at 2:21 PM on November 16, 2003


I never said anything about whether or not the conspiracy theory existed - I don't know enough to say. What I do know is that the market behaviour before 9-11 does not constitute as proof that one existed, in response to FFF's orginal claim.

Stop "context-shifting", deal?
posted by VeGiTo at 2:28 PM on November 16, 2003


So are you clumsy, lazy, or simply deluded? Sometimes I think it's all three.

You're quite the piece of work, aren't you? You have expressed at least a half-dozen times, in this thread alone, that you are upset with people who make comments just like the one you made, above, and feel that MetaFilter is going to hell in a handbasket because of it.

The statements below are yours, verbatim.

What I am complaining about are one-liner rebuttals that have no backing whatsoever, provides no new information, and serves no purpose other than to agitate and alienate. That is intellectual laziness. That is crudeness. That's something that I wish there is less of.

...

I could think of about 5 more regular contributors who quit because of the hostility...

...

I don't know if this is what you mean, but my point is there IS a concensus on Metafilter, or at least a pretty close one, and it lies on all things liberal. Anything outside that boundary is stomped on and ripped apart violently by the rampaging horde. Not the issue at hand - but the PERSON.

...

Some people here mistaken me as someone who doesn't like it when people disagree with me. That is completely wrong. I love cogent arguments and civil debates. If you disagree on an issue, you can and should try your best to destroy the merits of issue, but not the messenger who brought it up.

...

An almost unacceptably high percentage of the posts here are insults and personal attacks. Either the trolling public is consist of a large proportion of MetaFilter, or they are exceptionally vocal.

If you are right and it is the latter case, then I hope the rest of us can participate a bit more often, to improve the signal to noise ratio here.

...

*I* refuse a rational discussion? Can you do me a favour and try to find one comment in that FFP where I was emotional and directly attacked a person. *I* was the one who was trying to have a rational discussion and was being insulted. Just because you don't agree with my arguments, doesn't mean I didn't try to have a rational discussion.


See that black spot rapidly vanishing over the horizon? That's your credibility. Wave it goodbye: it looks like it's gone for good.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:47 PM on November 16, 2003


FFF: I thought I already addressed that.

After almost 200 comments in this thread, I am pretty much exhausted and have given up trying to drive the point home rationally to certain people here who are uncurably irrational.
posted by VeGiTo at 2:50 PM on November 16, 2003


then it's clearly contradictory, VeGiTo

since you're convinced that there are "uncurably irrational" people here, you got somehow "exhausted" (hint: drink a Gatorade or have a Power Bar or something, eat a banana, you'll feel much better) and therefore you feel it's OK to become abusive, the exact thing you opened this MeTa thread to whine about (and frankly, the same kind of behavior you had already shown in this community, see my links above)

so, you're trying to make your point with "uncurably irrational" people by being abusive

bah
posted by matteo at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2003


get a frickin' room already, you two
posted by quonsar at 4:08 PM on November 16, 2003


matteo:

You brought up the claim of "clumsiness" firs, and I simply restated that to show that it applies to you too. I have also shown quotes of you that show that you are not all that calm and unabusive as you claim to be. Moreover, what happened to our discussion of MSN and the stock market's prediction of 9-11? Oh, you are now silent on that issue because it has become clear that you attempted "context-shift" while quoting me and there is nothing more you can say about it.

So it is not contradictory, because there is absolutely no way of communicating rationally to you.

Why do you pretend to be a self-righteous "professor" of community when you obviously commit all of the crimes that you profess against?
posted by VeGiTo at 4:15 PM on November 16, 2003


"I have also shown quotes of you that show that you are not all that calm and unabusive as you claim to be."

no you didn't. you did admit in a comment you were misquoting me / quoting out of context (and the "abusive" stuff was a direct Bill Hicks quote. do you like Bill Hicks? he was really cool). so, are you a liar as well? and anyway you're the one who opens MeTa threads whining about the Evil Liberal Vulgar MeFi Gangbang trying to rob you of your innocence, not me.
snarkiness is part of the environment here anyway (especially when you post weak fpp's like "the rich are getting a raw deal in the USA" and the community barrel-shoots it out of the ballpark. but this is another matter)

"what happened to our discussion of MSN and the stock market's prediction of 9-11?"
no, _your_ discussion with another poster who happened to make that point, not me -- I mentioned (with some sarcasm, yes, congrats for catching that if you did) that linking MSN is lame, just that, and I pointed out that there was very suspicious activity in the stock market before 9-11, which is true (hence somebody made a lot of money off 9-11 because they knew it was going to happen. who? we don't know). and that there were many intelligence warnings, ignored by the White House: true again.


"Why do you pretend to be a self-righteous "professor""

I never did, God forbid, you didn't read carefully (ah, "exhaustion" must be taking a terrible toll). "I Play Snooty Professor" is a very wrong, very funny translation of my Italian comment that quonsar found somewhere on an automatic translator. but you were "exhausted" so that must have escaped you.

anyway you just said that you're exhausted (or was that another contradictory statemenent of yours?). have that Gatorade, it'll help. or a Pepsi Blue



you're free to spend the rest of the night happily searching my comments since the day I joined here, and try to dig up something like your beautiful "five fresh fish you're a fucking idiot".
dig dig dig



heh

posted by matteo at 5:18 PM on November 16, 2003


can i get a great big <neener/>? i thought so!
posted by quonsar at 8:45 PM on November 16, 2003


You boys need to take your meds.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 PM on November 16, 2003


VeGiTo: 'Though I have a very bad feeling of this turning into another flamefest...'

You've helped make it so. Take your own advice and quit it, because this is crap.
posted by attackthetaxi at 12:48 AM on November 17, 2003


Aha!

I must say that I agree that the stridently far-right viewpoints of some members have been absent. I think this does make the place less colourful, but am not sure how to mourn this.
I find that some right-wing posters, with the notable exceptions of clavdivs and dhartung do not spend much time on their arguments, just seem to enjoy being loud. This, IMHO, is why they are taken to task and seen as all bluster and no payload. This happens to all posters who have vapid arguments, as I have experienced myself at times.
So the problem becomes a chicken and egg type. Do some right wing people feel persecuted here because they have weak arguments and are unwilling or unable to address this, or because those arguing against them are using weak arguments, but are legion. I think it is the former.
dhartung, though I think of him as an apologist for the worst abuses of humanity over the past 50 years, has interesting and evocative comments which are well researched. He is entitled to his opinions, although not unlike the rest of us he does not react well to being challenged on his core beliefs.
The rest of the 'alternative' voices that are 'missed' by some were all sound and fury, signifying nothing and dominated by an inflated sense of self-importance, IMHO. No ears.

On preview, what rushmc said.
posted by asok at 5:37 AM on November 17, 2003


See, what you're not getting is that many left-wing posters are equally strident without getting called out and piled on for it. The reason you don't get it is that you agree with their views. The very left-wing troutfishing takes care to present reasoned arguments and substantiating links; many others are content to sneer, joke, and fling poo at anyone who violates the consensus. I'm not standing up for conservatives because I think they're somehow better or more deserving than lefties or (god knows) because I think they're right, but because I think they have the right to express their views as freely as lefties without being held to higher standards. I realize there's little point in my saying this, because I will get a chorus of "No, they really are dumb, and bad arguers to boot"; it's hopeless expecting partisans to realize the results of their own bias. Furthermore, matteo will accuse me of being professorial again. But I can't help it, it pisses me off to see this smug self-righteousness. "We can't help it if we represent all that is good and holy and they are apologists for the worst abuses of humanity!" Yeah, right.

And as for "what rushmc said": with all due respect to rushmc, who is usually on the money, "no benefits accrue from being in the majority opinion the most often" is pure bullshit. Wanting to be "in the majority opinion" is a basic feature of humanity; we're herd creatures, terrified of finding ourselves in the middle of a hostile crowd. It's sort of like high school, except MeFi is a clique run by the nerds who got picked on in the real high school, so they get to do the picking-on this time around and chant "We're individualists!" in perfect unison. Spare me the rationalizations. At least some people openly say "Yeah, this is a left-wing site, and right-wingers should respect that or leave"; it's repellent but honest.
posted by languagehat at 8:04 AM on November 17, 2003


Matteo, i made my case about Ethiopia, The 48' election and many other points. Yeah, i don't write that well, but when i can muster a decent sentence i choose to no longer waste it on your obvious anger towards others. I know, i do the same But i will choose to stop. Besides, VeGito is doing a fine job in many aspects and this person is right your shifting your tone and statements. As far as USAF negligent on 9-11, no one will win that.

i guess that was your point.
and for what it is worth, What Languagehat said.
(to me, matteo, your statements towards LH show your true colors so to say, to call LH professor names and the like is the height of ignorance and trollish as you can only seem to want to make LH look like some editor, well his voice, like Dan Hartungs, is vital to mefi IMO, wisdom tells me ((and experience)) that jealousy, or what ever concerning someone else intelligence and wisdom is the apex of frightened thinking or worse, your just trying to cover your ass)
posted by clavdivs at 9:12 AM on November 17, 2003


Romakimmy: I re-read my statement and again, i did not make myself that clear, my fault. BUT...
I look at the 48' election this way, truman and Co. where very worried about italy going communist (from Keegans report) and I believe The newly formed CIA was responding to the CDs wish for cash, not just Psy-ops. It is arrogant to think that the Italian people would stand by and have the U.S. "run" the entire election, that would NEVER happen. Matteo is right (except he forgot to mention the communists pretty much controlled the labor unions) in this regard, the role was limited but it signaled the wide interpretation of the National Security Act of 1947.
posted by clavdivs at 9:20 AM on November 17, 2003


"We can't help it if we represent all that is good and holy and they are apologists for the worst abuses of humanity!" Yeah, right.

the basis for what you just turned into a (not very intellectual honest, I'm disappointed) caricature is in fact what Pasolini called (as I'm sure you know better than I do) "scelta di campo" -- ie, choosing where you stand.
it's not about politics, much less about parties, it's about choosing a side, especially in a time of war.
war is a polarizing force, as you -- as someone who was there in the Sixties -- know quite well.
it's very difficult -- and not very honorable in my mind -- to live in a time of war without taking a stand. it's sinning by omission, by silence. one way or another.
it's very human to rationalize one own's live-and-let-die choices -- ignoring the reality of war, of poverty, of injustice. but it's pretty weak to accuse of -- of what, of being God forbid "shrill", or "partisan"? -- those who actually chose a side.

At least some people openly say "Yeah, this is a left-wing site, and right-wingers should respect that or leave"; it's repellent but honest.
If MeFi's "shrill, intolerant" left-wingers are the problem, I also suggest you check out some popular right-wing warblog. I do. a few days ago, in one of those sites, a very popular one, I pointed out that since another user had argued that at least 25% of all Muslims were AlQaeda agents/potential suicide bombers they have to be killed.
I pointed out that his comment meant that about 260 million Muslims worldwide have to be killed (there's about 1.2 bn Muslims total). the other users collective answer: there's a lot of killing to do, hopefully not that many Muslims, but it needs to be done.
oh, and they're for the forcible relocation of all Palestinians to Jordan. a lesson in tolerance, indeed, for this shrill, snarky left-winger huh?
and I won't even flog again the "left-wing in America means center or even right-of-center in most other Industrialized nations" dead horse again because it would be offensive to remind it to someone as smart as you, l-hat

Furthermore, matteo will accuse me of being professorial again.
it wasn't an accusation. it was a joke, not particularly funny but certainly much less snarky than most.
and for all I know you really are a Professor in RL (judging by your blog's topics at least)

As far as USAF negligent on 9-11, no one will win that.
yeah, if 14 planes to defend the whole USA are enough for you, and if the pilots thinking about crashing into the hijacked jets because they were unarmed, if all that is not negligence, no one will the argument. I suppose you always leave your house's door open and car open

he forgot to mention the communists pretty much controlled the labor unions
"pretty much controlled" is not precise enough: very large unions were pro-PSI, not pro-PCI. but if you search above for "triangulation" I already wrote that the DC was very good at triangulating, ie their being in favor of very generous welfare requests by unions emasculated a lot of the PCI arguments. also, in 1948 Italy the "Church vs Unions" fight was an easy win for the Church. It was a very Catholic country back then, much more than now

your shifting your tone and statements
am I? too bad I'm not the one yelling "fuck" all around the site then opening MeTa threads complaining about people's bad manners. but you're of course entitled to your opinion

is the height of ignorance and trollish ...
that jealousy, or what ever concerning someone else intelligence and wisdom is the apex of frightened thinking or worse..

keep up with the insults, I never care. I didn't care about Steve's, or Vegito's, yours are the same for me. I don't care. Languagehat knows I like him, dhartung was/is a precious user here. but the only user who's vital for MeFi is Haughey, or whoever he decides to sell/give administrator's rights to. everybody else is expendable, me you l-hat dan everybody
and keep chasing me around various threads, call me names, whatever. have fun.
posted by matteo at 9:58 AM on November 17, 2003


ah well, wrong again matteo. Sure, Matt is the vital factor in metafilter but without posters, what is metafilter? If Metafilter was 404 tomorrow, I'm sure the mefi folks would find another spot. Yes, i call you names because it is so easy, and if you dont care, simply do not respond.

everybody else is expendable

ok, let us use your method.

-Matt decides that enough is enough, that his contributors to his site are expendable.
ok, lets say
they are expended (given free t-shirt on the way out)

they are all expended....what would metafilter be then?
(remember everyone is expended)
posted by clavdivs at 10:25 AM on November 17, 2003


they are all expended....what would metafilter be then?
(remember everyone is expended)



what happens then?
easy: after he IP bans us all, Matt opens the floodgates again, lets another few thousands users in, in a few months.
MeFi will be up again, we all won't be part of it.

see how easy it is?

Haughey's clearly is the only non-expandable user



, i call you names because it is so easy

the perfect definition of a troll


posted by matteo at 10:44 AM on November 17, 2003


what happens then?
easy: after he IP bans us all, Matt opens the floodgates again, lets another few thousands users in, in a few months.
MeFi will be up again, we all won't be part of it.


sounds like a nasty affair, a metapurge. and something i would not want any part of nor would raise an ounce of anything to "re-join" if this happened.

Saddam had the same theory, in a sense
ban everyone
reopen the "floodgates"
and the "MeFi' would be "up again".

By it's nature matteo, metafilters "vital" member is matt, saying this is like saying the sun shines in California. (perhaps not today;) so i see a need to explain the fallacy of your argument.
posted by clavdivs at 11:40 AM on November 17, 2003



languagehat: champion of the little man.
;^)
posted by squirrel at 5:03 PM on November 17, 2003


matteo: I know it was a joke, and I was being jokey in my reference to it. I'm actually not terrified of being called professorial (and I'm aware that being professorial is one of my vices).

it's about choosing a side, especially in a time of war.
war is a polarizing force, as you -- as someone who was there in the Sixties -- know quite well.
it's very difficult -- and not very honorable in my mind -- to live in a time of war without taking a stand. it's sinning by omission, by silence. one way or another.


Yes, war is polarizing, and I know all about how it affects people's thinking. To be very clear about this, I am not saying people should not take stands: I have made my stand on the issues of Bush and Iraq very clear, and I was at the peace marches before the war (for all the good that did). What I am saying is that those of us who take stands should remember that those who take different positions are not vile, inhuman creatures who need to be shouted down but people much like ourselves who happen to think differently. They may change their mind someday, and this is more likely the better we treat them. I believe in taking positions and stating them forcefully, but I don't believe in propaganda or cruelty, and MeFi is full of both.

And yes, I know the right-wingers do their full share of it. That doesn't make it OK.

On preview: what the fuck is that supposed to mean, squirrel? Because I don't like seeing people shouted down, I'm Schwarzenegger?
posted by languagehat at 5:27 PM on November 17, 2003


"no benefits accrue from being in the majority opinion the most often" is pure bullshit. Wanting to be "in the majority opinion" is a basic feature of humanity

So now I'm inhuman, am I? That's it, languagehat...meet me with yer seconds at dawn....

If you look at the quote in context, you will note that I was limiting it to "on Metafilter." Some may indeed work to be "in the majority opinion" IRL, where there can be consequences, but that's not what I was discussing.

(And I doubt you meant it literally, but humans have NEVER been a herd animal.)
posted by rushmc at 6:04 PM on November 17, 2003


Cream pies at dawn it is!
OK, OK, I was overgeneralizing, and I don't like being in the majority myself. But you see my point. (And your willingness to give me the benefit of the doubt rather than a bunch of links to sites proving that Homo sapiens is not a herd animal is much appreciated.)
posted by languagehat at 6:09 PM on November 17, 2003


I think squirrel was just saying you need a nice new corn broom, LH.

that, or he was saying you need to grope more women...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:04 PM on November 17, 2003


Reference to O Brother, languagehat: gubernatorial candidate Homer Stokes, friend to the little man. Kindly return that fork to your pocket.
posted by squirrel at 9:22 PM on November 17, 2003


Ah. All right then, squirrel, I'll call off the hounds. And I'll definitely start groping more women.
posted by languagehat at 7:24 AM on November 18, 2003


And your willingness to give me the benefit of the doubt rather than a bunch of links to sites proving that Homo sapiens is not a herd animal is much appreciated.

Hey, I'm not half so bad as they make me out to be.

(48.3% as bad, to be precise.)
posted by rushmc at 7:24 AM on November 18, 2003


languagehat -

Believe me, I am aware of pack mentality, and abhor it.
The thing is, from my point of view, there are hardly any 'left-wing' posters here, certainly those who have strident views are 'piled on'. There are many people who hold centrist or liberal views here. During the time I have been here the political centre of Mefi has shifted a fairy-step to the left, perhaps, but that still leaves it squarely in the middle.
Aside: I very seldomly would post 'what x said', as I see that as a waste of time. If I have nothing to add to what has been said then my 'me-too' post is a waste of everybodys' time. Like pile-ons. Is that everybodys' or everybodies or everybodys?

'it's hopeless expecting partisans to realize the results of their own bias'

The thing is, I have to adjust my understanding of the political spectrum when involved in these US-centric online communities, as well as much of my frame of reference. This reflects the vast difference in the shift of the political spectrum from US to Europe, possibly. Or maybe it reflects my character and upbringing, anyhoo I disagree with your description of Mefi as a 'left-wing' site. Left-wing for a North American site, maybe, but not from a wider perspective.

I applaud anyone who can present a strong, well argued position, regardless of their political bent. I have not encountered any arguments that have swayed my political beliefs here, but I have encountered many that challenge them, and give me the opportunity to examine why I believe things, sometimes strengthening my resolve.

I have also become more tolerant of opinions that I would have ignored in the past, when they are well presented and expressed. So, on a personal level Mefi has widened my political discourse, rather than constricted it.

'Wanting to be "in the majority opinion" is a basic feature of humanity; we're herd creatures, terrified of finding ourselves in the middle of a hostile crowd.'

Personally, too much agreement leads to suspicion in my case. That is why I find main-stream media so disturbing, and un-natural. Any mono-culture becomes tedious. Aside: I have tried to train myself to recognise and acknowledge the many methods that the media use to lend their message weight. e.g. White, well-spoken guy in suit presenting program? - Assume liar. And boring, i simply saturated with knowledge about how the Northen-hemisphere dwelling capitalist rich perceive their world.

As regards the 'worst abuses of humanity' comment, that was hyperbolic, I was expressing in an extreme way my opinion of my interactions with dhartung in an attempt to show that this forum is a good place to have ideas treated on their own merits, despite any (possibly erroneous) assumptions that one may make regarding the poster.

So, mostly we agree, mostly. Metafilter is a good place to test out ideas within a community which will treat most cogent arguments respectfully. Personally, I don't think this has had a detrimental effect on 'right-wing' posters, other than to cause them to pause before posting, perhaps. Less noise on both sides of the imaginary political divide would be beneficial.

I, however, must admit to not missing evanizer one little bit. / pointless snark. You know he has his own blog?
posted by asok at 9:29 AM on November 18, 2003


I, however, must admit to not missing evanizer one little bit. / pointless snark. You know he has his own blog?

Yes, and a well-designed place it is. And yes, matteo, I'm aware he was around for a while as sir walsingham. To both of you (and anyone else who finds my missing him odd): As annoying as he could be in political threads/flamewars (and not many of us are at our best in that context), he made one of the best posts ever (I and others begged him to post more, but he seemed to be nervous about posting), he was the first to comment favorably on my own first post (you never forget your first "good post!"), and he was a perfect gentleman at MeFi meetups; I'd buy him a single-malt any day. As for his nasty remarks about MeFi: he feels he was chased out by a lefty cabal, and regardless of how you feel about the truth of that, surely you can understand his reaction. When divorced people start sounding off about their exes, I don't point out the latters' good qualities, I just listen sympathetically.

And I don't have a political litmus test for friends, real or virtual.
posted by languagehat at 10:16 AM on November 18, 2003


and he was a perfect gentleman at MeFi meetups; I'd buy him a single-malt any day

I'm sure that it's true, that in RL "Mr. Evan Izer" is a very polite, tremendously entertaining and kind man.
but it doesn't have anything, anything at all, to do with MeFi's "evanizer" and "sir walsingham" , it never will.
apples and oranges
it's like arguing things like "too bad dhartung went away, he's a very handsome guy" or "yeah, Den Beste sent me a great gangsta rap CD once, I was sorry to see him go"
who we are -- or aren't -- in RL doesn't -- and shouldn't -- have anything to do with what we do and how we behave in this community

And I don't have a political litmus test for friends, real or virtual.
good for you. but I guess that you do have a behavioral litmus test for friends, right?
posted by matteo at 10:50 AM on November 18, 2003


who we are -- or aren't -- in RL doesn't -- and shouldn't -- have anything to do with what we do and how we behave in this community

What an extraordinary notion.
posted by rory at 12:31 PM on November 18, 2003


languagehat, for what it's worth, I would be pleased to buy you a single malt any day. Although we clearly disagree on a number of issues, I've recently -- in this thread and others -- come to regard your positions as eminently reasonable and fair.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:47 PM on November 19, 2003


Why, thank you, sir!
posted by languagehat at 1:58 PM on November 19, 2003


degenerating from a gathering of the web's most interesting minds...

Speaking as one of the absolutely lowest user ids still active (#206), I don't remember MetaFilter ever being 'a gathering of the web's most interesting minds' (no matter what #58 says). Did that happen one of the weeks I was in the hospital?
posted by wendell at 7:40 PM on November 19, 2003


« Older Asheville NC meet-up   |   Italic tags Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments