Simply insipid anti-GOP propaganda post April 28, 2005 9:47 AM   Subscribe

This isn't a good post and is an example of framing that should be avoided.
posted by dios to Etiquette/Policy at 9:47 AM (156 comments total)

The topic itself is stupid. Basically, the user's point is that high level GOP members have connections to College Republicans. That is the most insipid point that one could put effort into making. It doesn't really pass the "no shit!" test.

As the topic can't stand on its own merits, then one can look at whether it is likely to induce good conversation. But the topic is framed horribly. What good is going to come of a discussion where it begins from the premise that Republicans are evil. That sort of divisiveness will not lead to fruitful discussion. It will be a me-too circle jerk about how evil Republicans are. If someone from that side pipes up to suggest they aren't evil, they will just be shouted down with the standard litany of LeFi grievances.

If we want to discuss things, can we not do so without demonizing at the outset anyone who might have an opposing viewpoint?

For the record, I will not engage in this topic any more than my initial statement, so don't bother making this about me. Address the topic as presented; using this as a place to insult me is not appropriate and won't do any good as I won't be commenting in this thread.
posted by dios at 9:47 AM on April 28, 2005


Calling Republicans Evil is cliche' anymore.. They know they're evil, and don't apologise.
If anyone else knows of a way to infer that they are evil without actually calling a spade a spade, I'd be willing to adopt it.
posted by Balisong at 9:54 AM on April 28, 2005


Let's stand back while dios throws around a bag of little footballs, all green.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 9:55 AM on April 28, 2005


Mr. Bucket for the win.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:57 AM on April 28, 2005


The comments in the thread primarily refute the premise of the post, so I'm not sure what your complaint is. Whether the post was poorly framed is a matter of opinion, but your argument that dissent "will just be shouted down with the standard litany of LeFi grievances" is obviously false thus far.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:57 AM on April 28, 2005


No dios, what it comes from is how small of a world it is. And yes, that point can be made of both parties. But for now, one is the majority, and that one will bear the brunt of the criticism.
posted by rzklkng at 9:57 AM on April 28, 2005


You know, you're right Mr. Bucket, the level of political discourse here reminds me more and more of the comments on LGF every day.
posted by loquax at 10:00 AM on April 28, 2005


This wasn't the greatest post, but it seems that opinionated posts generate better discussion than neutral ones, whether the thread runs in favor of the post or against it. It's better to argue against a viewpoint than to whine about it being expressed in the first place.
posted by BoringPostcards at 10:01 AM on April 28, 2005


that should have been "an opposing viewpoint"
posted by BoringPostcards at 10:02 AM on April 28, 2005


[T]he level of political discourse here reminds me more and more of the comments on LGF every day.

A bit dramatic, don't you think?
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:03 AM on April 28, 2005


No, Alex, remember all those threads where we openly wished for the deaths of those with different political viewpoints, just like LGF?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:09 AM on April 28, 2005


No, Alex, remember all those threads where we openly wished for the deaths of those with different political viewpoints, just like LGF?

Oh, yeah. Now I remember. How silly of me.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:10 AM on April 28, 2005


I can't believe this, but I agree with Dios here. Just about the post not being that good. It also eats up a whole lot of front page space to say something that should be obvious. m_b's point is good, too, though, there really wasn't the expected pileon dios when he entered the post.Shit, now I'm confused again. Which side do I agree with? See, this even-handedness will get me nowhere.
posted by OmieWise at 10:11 AM on April 28, 2005


It also eats up a whole lot of front page space to say something that should be obvious

Front page space is not really a protected resource that will run out.
Just because someone takes up 10 lines, doesn't mean that your post is limited in any way.
posted by Balisong at 10:15 AM on April 28, 2005


Balisong-I know, but it's a badly constructed post. Construction includes how it looks on the front page. When I saw the post I thought, "hm, this person doesn't really have the makings for a decent FPP but they're trying to stretch into one by including a bunch of commentary with thier paltry links." That's what I meant by taking up front page real estate.
There may be another, good, FPP in there somewhere. I think the impersonating a SS heavy is pretty interesting.
posted by OmieWise at 10:20 AM on April 28, 2005


I do not agree that the "topic" is stupid. I do agree that the framing is bad. If I recall the basic premise of the movie _Bush's Brain_, it was that the Campus Republicans or Young Republicans (or whatever their proper name is--my own affiliation doesn't attach a lot of importance to names of political sub-groups) was the place where Karl Rove honed his Machiavellian (and I am not saying by this "evil"). However, another part of that movie clearly showed that there are rational, intelligent people who are also Republican, some of whom got steamrolled by the Rove Juggernaut.

The connection that could have been implied, if the original topic had been better framed, is that Rove or his actors, seem to be concerned with a level of control that insulates and isolates Bush from people who do not see the world the way that Rove does.

I work in academia, and I know a couple of colleagues who are afraid to "come out" as Republicans because of the knee-jerk, gut-level reactions of people who are liberal/leftist. I do think, though, that the vituperativeness of the responses are in reaction to the attacks on our liberties perpetrated by the so-called defenders of freedom, the Republican Party of America.
posted by beelzbubba at 10:21 AM on April 28, 2005


Bad post, perhaps.

But if it attacked the left, would dios post a complaint to MeTa? (Someone else, probably. But dios?)

And isn't this exactly the sort of "framing" the left has been subjected to for a whole decade or two now? Fuck it. This is mild (and perhaps even fumbling) in comparison. Let it stand. And grow a hide.
posted by loquacious at 10:22 AM on April 28, 2005


I know a couple of colleagues who are afraid to "come out" as Republicans because of the knee-jerk, gut-level reactions of people who are liberal/leftist.

That, and that the persecution complex is a great motivator to monkeywrench the system covertly.
posted by Balisong at 10:26 AM on April 28, 2005


>>(Jay Bob Klinkerman, no really, no kidding, that's his name)

OH GOD YOU ARE DERAILING YOUR OWN POST WITH TEH LOLBOMBS!
posted by naxosaxur at 10:31 AM on April 28, 2005


Dios, here's how you frame a post:


posted by AlexReynolds at 10:38 AM on April 28, 2005


BoringPostcards : "it seems that opinionated posts generate better discussion than neutral ones"

They generate more discussion, but not better discussion.
posted by Bugbread at 10:40 AM on April 28, 2005


A bit dramatic, don't you think?

No. Not really. The comments here aren't as bad as some of the worst elsewhere, but they're trending in that direction. I used to participate in the political discussions here, but I barely do anymore because of the lack of tolerance for dissenting opinions, the ad hominem attacks on posters and the obvious hatred of "republicans" or "right wingers" (often in a juvenile way) on the part of many active posters on metafilter. The worst part is the general tolerance of the status quo by many of the intelligent and thoughtful posters whose opinions I respect.

I find it amazing that that hundreds of people can debate matters of art, history, literature or science in a civil and enlightening way, but whenever the current administration comes up, everyone feels the need to repeat the same tired one-liners and digs at anyone and everything associated with the usual cast of characters. But whatever, this is nothing new. I'm sorry to see such a great site solidify its reputation as a "left wing" site instead of striving to be something more than a dailykos or DU clone, at least when it comes to the politics posts.
posted by loquax at 10:45 AM on April 28, 2005


I'd agree, except for Optimus' well-placed comment. There is hardly room for LGF comparisons.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:48 AM on April 28, 2005


As if he was reading my mind, nofundy decides to insinuate his political opponents are pedophiles! But don't worry, he had a little smiley face there, he was just kidding. Classy.
posted by loquax at 10:49 AM on April 28, 2005


Here are another couple of my all time favourites. No, I don't think I'm too far off base with my comparison.
posted by loquax at 10:56 AM on April 28, 2005


Bad post indeed.

But if it attacked the left, would dios post a complaint to MeTa?

If it attacked the left, would people be defending it, even half-heartedly? ("Well, it's badly framed, but yada yada...") No, it would be shouted down by the massed voices of the like-minded throng, and probably would have been deleted by now. I don't much care for dios, but he's right about this one, down to the fact that the discussion immediately turned to attacking him and his kind ("They know they're evil, and don't apologise"... "Let's stand back while dios throws around a bag of little footballs, all green").
posted by languagehat at 10:58 AM on April 28, 2005


No, it would be shouted down by the massed voices of the like-minded throng, and probably would have been deleted by now.

You know, I'd just once like to see actual evidence for this, instead of anecdotal assertions from the right about this kind of editorial control.

Anyone have concrete examples of this, or is this just nonsense?
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:02 AM on April 28, 2005


I'd just once like to see actual evidence for this, instead of anecdotal assertions from the right about this kind of editorial control.

Is languagehat a memeber of The Right now?
posted by Cyrano at 11:11 AM on April 28, 2005


If someone from that side pipes up to suggest they aren't evil, they will just be shouted down with the standard litany of LeFi grievances.

Let's stand back while dios throws around a bag of little footballs, all green.

That didn't take long at all. Anybody want to post about "talking points"? Who's up? We already got "persecution complex", we need "talking points".

Seriously, people. The MeTa proves dios's point: MeFi is sliding toward an LGF of the left. Now, the left may or may not be the "correct" side of US politics, but that doesn't mean that we have to shout down every person who doesn't agree. It's embarassing to MeFi and embarassing to the users who do it.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:11 AM on April 28, 2005


(Or member. You know, whatever...)
posted by Cyrano at 11:12 AM on April 28, 2005


Is languagehat a memeber of The Right now?

He isn't the only one to have made that assertion. My question stands.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:13 AM on April 28, 2005


MeFi is sliding toward an LGF of the left.

When right-slanted posts are deleted and we call for the deaths of people who hold right-wing ideologies, then you have a point. Until then you're just being dramatic.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:15 AM on April 28, 2005


This wasn't the greatest post, but it seems that opinionated posts generate better discussion than neutral ones

It's about the links. Great links can generate great discussion. Having to spice up the link with opinion just shows it was a weak link.

No, Alex, remember all those threads where we openly wished for the deaths of those with different political viewpoints, just like LGF?
posted by Optimus Chyme


Acutally there have been many threads here that sounded like LGF. The reagin death thread could easily be an LGF thread. There have been other hateful threads on metafilter. You can pretend they don't exist if it makes you feel better. But they exist, and it's getting worse.

I say, fuck you Reagan and the horse you rode in on. I have at least the satisfaction that he has probably been shitting his pants like a baby for years and the people closest to him are thrilled that he's died.

Nothing like LGF at all.
posted by justgary at 11:16 AM on April 28, 2005


I agree with dios that this was not good framing.

I've been interested in the role that the College Republicans play in current political strategy; I would be curious to read more about it. But this post's opening line turned me off immediately.
posted by taz at 11:17 AM on April 28, 2005


MeFi is sliding toward an LGF of the left.

I have no doubt that there's a contigent of users who would like MeFi to become that, and there is the natural human tendency to condemn assholic behavior in those we disagree with louder than in those we agree with.

But still, if a lefty makes an outrageous or obnoxiously over-the top or combative statement, most users, even far lefties will usually tell him to put a sock in it, and there's still plenty of middle-of-the-road and right leaning posters around. Some of the leftie MeFites have called for more of them since debate is more fun than an echo chamber.

That's what separates us from LGF.
posted by jonmc at 11:21 AM on April 28, 2005


As LGF blows,
we see Metafilter suck.
Balance is achieved.
posted by crunchland at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2005


While not a long participant in discussions here (woo $5!), I am a very long time lurker and avid reader. It seems like someone has been calling this site "too leftist" for a long time now. I, personally, don't see what's changed.
posted by melt away at 11:26 AM on April 28, 2005


Until then you're just being dramatic.

So does that mean that until the Bush administration starts making women wear burqas everyone needs to quit comparing them to the Taliban? Or maybe when people say that they're trying to make the point that it ain't that bad yet, but it could certainly get there? And maybe the LGF comparisons are trying to make a similar warning about the state of political discourse here?
posted by Cyrano at 11:29 AM on April 28, 2005


Here are another couple of my all time favourites. No, I don't think I'm too far off base with my comparison.

Because you can find a few examples of left-wing extremism here? I can probably find a few examples of right-wing extremism here, too.

The right comparison is between the general tenor of the discussion here and the general tenor of the discussion of LGF. I don't find the two at all comparable.
posted by anapestic at 11:30 AM on April 28, 2005


As if he was reading my mind, nofundy decides to insinuate his political opponents are pedophiles! But don't worry, he had a little smiley face there, he was just kidding. Classy.
posted by loquax at 10:49 AM PST


Great job reading my mind loquax!
And, yes, in comparison to LGF, I'm damn classy.
Are you stalking me?

Yet another dios whine thread in MeTa.
God (dios) knows bad framing so y'all quit picking on poor dios!
posted by nofundy at 11:30 AM on April 28, 2005


justgary, Reagan was already dead--how does that compare to making death threats?

The post wasn't presented well, but it's an interesting topic, and has great current (and historical) relevance. And we've had posts about College Republicans before--some racist thing they did--a bake sale or something?
posted by amberglow at 11:31 AM on April 28, 2005


So does that mean that until the Bush administration starts making women wear burqas everyone needs to quit comparing them to the Taliban? Or maybe when people say that they're trying to make the point that it ain't that bad yet, but it could certainly get there?

When I suggested similarities between the authoritarianism prevalent in this country under Bush, and the developing conditions of fascism in early 1930s Nazi Germany, I was told I was Godwin'ing a thread. I'll leave the "left-wing" bias here at that.

And maybe the LGF comparisons are trying to make a similar warning about the state of political discourse here?


posted by AlexReynolds at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2005


Optimus Chyme : "remember all those threads where we openly wished for the deaths of those with different political viewpoints, just like LGF?"

You mean the Pope threads?
posted by Bugbread at 11:35 AM on April 28, 2005


I'm sorry to see such a great site solidify its reputation as a "left wing" site

But Metafilter has always had a steep left slant to it. Were you not around in 2000? I think the difference is that in the past there's been several high-profile, heavy-commenting and relatively thoughtful centrist/ right-leaning types to balance things out and at the moment there's a bit of a vacuum in that direction...
posted by furiousthought at 11:38 AM on April 28, 2005


thedevildancedlightly writes "Seriously, people. The MeTa proves dios's point: MeFi is sliding toward an LGF of the left. "

No, it's sliding toward a "whiner-ocracy", where whoever can whine loudest on MetaTalk wins by getting posts that threaten his ideology deleted.

You'd think that people would welcome weak assertions by their ideological opponents, relishing the ease with which a weak argument can be demolished. But rather than make the counter-argument they just whine to matt for a deletion. Have some balls. You're acting like a bunch of cry babies: "dat post isn't in line with my prejudices, waaaaah, daddy it hurts, waaaah!!!"

If the post presents a weak argument, then comment in the post and win the argument, dios. If you can't win the arguments on the merits, don't come to MetaTalk whining to have the post thrown out of court.
posted by orthogonality at 11:39 AM on April 28, 2005


By the way, I would never claim that MeFi doesn't slant left. It clearly does. But so what? Are there not allowed to be sites where most of the users are liberals? If you think that it's sad that there's a leftist site, then nothing anyone does, short of total capitulation to your point of view, is going to satisfy you. But dissent has always been tolerated here, and I don't see a lot of tolerance over at LGF.
posted by anapestic at 11:45 AM on April 28, 2005


If you can't win the arguments on the merits, don't come to MetaTalk whining to have the post thrown out of court.

My point was not about the original post. It was about the rabid pile-on of personal attacks against dios that started for raising the issue. Things like

I agree that a weak opinion ("Holy crap! Republican leaders were Republicans in college!!!") lends itself to being shot-down. The problem is that there's a rabid personal pile-on anytime somebody even suggets the flaw in the post's logic. Eg, "Let's stand back while dios throws around a bag of little footballs, all green." As it happened this thread didn't get all of the normal comments ("talking points", "footsoldier in the neocon army", "brainwashed", "corporate whore", etc), but that's the problem in my book.

In an ideal world I'd agree that weak posts by one "side" or the other would be great! However, when they immediately get filled with "choke on GWB's cock" that pretty well kills the intelligent discourse.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:45 AM on April 28, 2005


You mean the Pope threads?

Or how about Dios' lovely comment during the Terry Schiavo threads about how anyone who'd support letting her die with dignity would be "singing and dancing" once she had finally passed away? I suppose this passes at what will balance the left-leaning Metafilter. I'm sure I can dig up something verbatim, if need be.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:48 AM on April 28, 2005


Like MeFi is lefty. Sheesh.

posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:53 AM on April 28, 2005


the level of political discourse here reminds me more and more of the comments on LGF every day.

thank dios god that there are those who eloquently help raise said level with careful, informative fpp's about John Kerry lying about baseball, teh liberals being bad, and the fair and balanced MEMRI gentlemen monitoring the Muslim savage hordes

whew!
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on April 28, 2005


Exactly. MeFi is showing an increase in extremism, both on the right and on the left. And since there are more people on the left, the overall trend is for extremism to the left. That doesn't mean that no-one is extreme on the right, just that the distribution of left and right ends up with more left assholes than right assholes.

I'm pretty liberal myself, which is why this bothers me. It sucks when the people who agree with you politically make people with your position look like asses.
posted by Bugbread at 11:57 AM on April 28, 2005


Matteo, you're the best!
posted by loquax at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2005


Like MeFi is lefty. Sheesh.

So that greasy feeling I get from reading dios' thread is just crude oil! I knew it!
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm pretty liberal myself, which is why this bothers me. It sucks when the people who agree with you politically make people with your position look like asses.

Yup.
posted by languagehat at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2005


It's like that Oliver Stone movie discrediting all conspiracy theorists with its laughable plot, bugbread.
posted by breezeway at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2005


JFK, I mean.
posted by breezeway at 12:01 PM on April 28, 2005


dios has teh centipedes in his vagina.
posted by quonsar at 12:04 PM on April 28, 2005


Just another reason why I've abandoned politics for chronic alcoholism...
posted by warbaby at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2005


lol @ 'LeFi'

<333333333333 dios
posted by angry modem at 12:10 PM on April 28, 2005


Wow. When the dittoheads start boo-hooing that MeFi is "getting as bad as LGF," that might mean that they are finally, finally, finally, catching that glimmer of self-reflection that will inevitably (since it is the truth) lead them to realize that they have been willing shills for the most confiscatory, radical, and anti-American administration in years.
Principled people can only hope.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:12 PM on April 28, 2005


dios has teh centipedes in his vagina.

I don't know what this means, but it sounds uncomfortable. Or like it tickles. Or both.
posted by OmieWise at 12:13 PM on April 28, 2005


Still waiting for proof that Metafilter deletes right-slanted posts for having that political slant, languagehat.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:16 PM on April 28, 2005


You know I would be a lot more willing to think of people on the opposing political side as intelligent people of good will if they would at least be willing to get into the fray and engage in a battle of wits with us instead of whining to MetaTalk about how the site is too lefty.

If your side of the argument in question really has any merit, argue it. Or are we left to assume that you really do just want to shut down the dialog?
posted by beth at 12:22 PM on April 28, 2005


When the dittoheads start boo-hooing that MeFi is "getting as bad as LGF," that might mean that they are finally, finally, finally, catching that glimmer of self-reflection that will inevitably (since it is the truth) lead them to realize that they have been willing shills...

If you'll read the thread you'll see it's more than just the alleged dittoheads. Quite a few self-proclaimed lefties are pissed off at the very closed-minded attitudes that you're displaying.

You're saying that anybody who doesn't agree with you (1) is a "dittohead", and (2) is a shill. You claim that you are the only one who has a claim to truth and light in the world and everybody else is wrong and irrational. Open your mind! Realize that you can disagree with other people without having to attack them personally or assume that they're shills.

Again, you are what makes MeFi look like a pile of knee-jerk reactionaries.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:26 PM on April 28, 2005


Or are we left to assume that you really do just want to shut down the dialog?

Some of us do argue what we believe in, quite fervently. I don't think that I have the same politics as dios (I didn't vote for Bush, nor do I ever plan to vote for a member of the Bush clan), but that doesn't mean that I can't be opposed to the personal attacks as opposed to the political slant.

Yes, I think it's a bad thing that some FPPs are framed in a way that makes MeFi look silly. But more important is the tone of debate around here that accepts personal pile-ons for anybody who dares to disagree with the orthodoxy.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:30 PM on April 28, 2005


I can't wait to see how a lefty president and congress stands up to MeFi's scrutiny, because I don't think MeFi is as left-leaning as many here believe.

Anti-Bush? Yes, MeFi is for the most part definitely that. However, I personally know more than a few independents and libertarians (even some Libertarians) who are also anti-Bush, but I do not expect them to greet any ol' democrat with open arms. I suspect many MeFites also fall into that category.

So, dios et al, bide your time, and relish in the fact that so many proclaimed lefties (like their righty counterparts) can't construct a decent argument.
posted by mischief at 12:38 PM on April 28, 2005


thedevildancedlightly: If you look over my commenting and posting history, you will see I'm not some lefty who thinks that anyone who disagrees with me is a dittohead. I'm not lefty at all, I'm staunchly free-market and pro-liberty, and therefore anti-Republican-Party-as-it-currently-stands.

And, I'm not afraid to tell you, that you were one of the members I had in mind. The very things you assume about me betray the dimensions of the miniscule world you are living in.
I've read almost every comment by you since you joined. What else can I say?
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:42 PM on April 28, 2005


Interesting comment over in another thread.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:44 PM on April 28, 2005


And, I'm not afraid to tell you, that you were one of the members I had in mind

I know you did, that's why I responded to it.

The very things you assume about me betray the dimensions of the miniscule world you are living in

Ignoring the extraneous personal attack, there are two problems with your logic. (1) I was right in my assumptions. (2) You assume that what I post on MeFi represents my entire worldview. When I agree with what everybody else is saying (which is pretty frequent) I stay out of it. Therefore you only see posts when I disagree.

I think the assumptions you made betray you much faster. You assume that I'm a "dittohead" when I don't listen to talk radio (the original source of the term), don't read LGF, don't read Drudge, don't have a radio reciever implanted in my brain with a direct connection to Republican Party Headquarters, etc. On the other hand I do read DailyKos and Salon on a pretty regular basis. So, if anything I'd think of myself as the opposite. Or maybe "well informed."

And I'm hardly a shill for the Bush administration. I didn't vote for him in 2000 or 2004, I don't ever plan to vote for a Bush clan member, and I live in San Francsico (where putting a "W" sticker on your car is in invitation to have it egged). Just because I don't think that everything the administration does is evil hardly makes me a "shill." It's quite possible that there is a good policy that is being proposed despite the fact that Bush is involved. Or that there is a rational reason behind a policy that most MeFites refuse to even consider. Or it's possible that I'm just playing devil's advocate (not coincidental that the username includes devil) to see if there's a good counter-argument.

If you want to see the "dimensions of the miniscule world" I'm living in then I'd love to go out for coffee with you sometime and we can talk about any topic you want and I'd be happy to advocate for either side. Drop me a line next time you're in the greater SF area.

In the meantime, if you want to resort to personal attacks instead of rational discourse that's your right. I think it makes you look immature and uneducated, but I'll let MeFi members decide that.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:54 PM on April 28, 2005


No, it's sliding toward a "whiner-ocracy", where whoever can whine loudest on MetaTalk wins by getting posts that threaten his ideology deleted.

Or are we left to assume that you really do just want to shut down the dialog?

Except this all started with the phrase, "an example of framing that should be avoided" which does not in any way call for a deletion.

I suppose he could have said, "Claiming Republicans are evil is not really the best way to start off a well-reasoned political debate" but the usual suspects would still assume he was trying to shut the thread down.
posted by Cyrano at 1:07 PM on April 28, 2005


All else said and done, I'm still waiting to hear from languagehat for some kind of defense of his truly foolish comment above.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:14 PM on April 28, 2005


MeTa[2]
posted by clevershark at 1:17 PM on April 28, 2005


tddl:
Yes, I'm sure you're quite reasonable and lovely in real life. I'm rather better in person, too, but I ain't perfect, and, again, all I can see is your posting history.

I know what a dittohead is, and you admittedly know exactly what I meant. If, when I say "dittohead," you think "me," maybe you should reexamine some of your positions and make sure that they are based on sound logic and principles. It's not very often that reasonable arguments just so happen to justify the positions that the propaganda advocates.

As far as personal attacks go, sorry, I've been pretty touchy lately: I'm being robbed to fund murder (cue the [who?] rolling their eyes in unison, "That's such an exaggeration!")
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:22 PM on April 28, 2005


Optimus Chyme : "remember all those threads where we openly wished for the deaths of those with different political viewpoints, just like LGF?"

You mean the Pope threads?
posted by bugbread at 11:35 AM PST on April 28


Are you really this dense, bugbread? In the threads about the Pope, 95% of the responses were either those gay-ass single periods or long encomia to how awesome and holy JPII was. Only a few of us - myself included - pointed out that this man ignored years of child molestation and was somewhat responsible for the explosion of AIDS in Africa because of church-approved disinformation. So in this case, maybe 5% of MeFites are leftist extremists, if that's your criterion.

Conversely, on LGF 95% of the responses to, say, Marla Ruzicka's death are as follows:

"Couldn't have happened to a nicer tool."
"First class, major league moonbat and 2005 St. Pancake Award Nominee."
"I don't give a rats behind about this loser."
"I'm having another drink to celebrate another moonbat meeting a well deserved demise."

Worst comment about JPII on MeFi?

"would a good man let millions die from aids, whilst thwarting countless anti-aids programmes unless they stated abstinance was the only answer?

i think not. i thought he was an evil little man when he was alive and i still think so.

and i will never, never respect, revere or praise a man who ensured that child rapists went unpunished and had a policy not to involve the police, law or courts."

Compare this and this and get back to me.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:31 PM on April 28, 2005


If, when I say "dittohead," you think "me," maybe you should reexamine some of your positions and make sure that they are based on sound logic and principles.

That's fair. The reason I thought "me" was because I know what my reputation on MeFi is, even if I don't feel like it's deserved. I know that my comments are often seen that way, so I think I need to work on framing them more clearly.

As far as personal attacks go, sorry

No worries. It's easy to get carried away online, I think I did it back to you so let's call it even. Peace.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:42 PM on April 28, 2005


Peace to you, too.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:47 PM on April 28, 2005


Optimus Chyme : "In the threads about the Pope, 95% of the responses were either those gay-ass single periods or long encomia to how awesome and holy JPII was."

I'm pretty sure you're thinking of different threads than I am, then. You mention homosexual-rectal periods; I take it you're referring to the post-death thread? (I didn't read that one, sorry). The pre-death thread contained:

I hope he dies this weekend, what a great excuse for a party.

I'm hoping that he'll lapse into a coma for the next thirty years myself...

If he croaks today, the fact that the status quo will continue is all that's going to stop me from pissing out the remnants of some excellent champagne on his statue on Roncesvalles Ave. in Toronto.

I am disappointed to learn that they no longer smack the Pope on the head three times with a silver hammer while shouting his name to make sure he's dead.

I hope the pope rots in hell with Reagan and Hitler and Mussolini.

The bastard gave Pinochet his blessing. That's reason enough to kick the guy on his deathbed.

Fuck the pope!

Pope = bad
Catholic Church = Evil

Berek doesn't believe in Hell, but if it exists the pope deserves to burn it.

Catholics Mourn as Death of Papacy Draws near. Now that would be something I'd celebrate with a clean conscience!

Who cares if he's on his death bed...


And Metafilthy indicates there were a few deleted comments as well.
posted by Bugbread at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2005


Plurality of thought, a legacy of our liberal founders, is what makes our country great. Plurality of thought makes MetaFilter great, too.

That there are people who love and hate that which I hate and love, respectively, gives me hope for the future, both nationally and on MetaFilter.

Silence on either side is a death knell for either place.

Long live the assholes, who keep hope alive!
posted by breezeway at 2:13 PM on April 28, 2005


Sorry, I was insensitive. When I refer the USA, I don't mean to exclude thinkers from elsewhere. The internet doesn't, and I shouldn't. Please forgive my thoughtlessness.
posted by breezeway at 2:17 PM on April 28, 2005


INSENSITIVE ASSHOLE.

you're the one I pity, foo
posted by COBRA! at 2:20 PM on April 28, 2005


Dios is appealing to neutral rationality and how it's become unhinged due to lefty ideology (speaking as a blue-stater myself). But if you go back to his posts, it seems like he rarely practices what he preaches. A typical dios entrance into a thread begins when he says something, and then two or three people respond with counter-arguments often backed with appropriate links, and then he flies off the handle and starts whining about being persecuted. I don't have the energy to be empirical at the moment, but I'd wager that roughly half his posts are "I think so-and-so about issue X" and the other half "KOS reading lefties hate me because I'm a beautiful Republican martyr in a sea of moon bats."

And if anyone deserves a call-out, it's the d-man for his tone-deafness when it comes to circulating gay and racial stereotypes. If you don't understand why you've been called out on this, please edumacate yourself.
posted by bardic at 2:25 PM on April 28, 2005


Languagehat, still waiting to hear proof that right-slanted posts are deleted from Metafilter. It would be good of you to respond with evidence, sir, to back up your serious and otherwise specious claim.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:29 PM on April 28, 2005


AlexReynolds, still waiting to hear proof that languagehat is a member of "the right". It would be good of you to respond with evidence, sir, to back up your serious and otherwise specious claim.
posted by casu marzu at 2:32 PM on April 28, 2005


In making this comment he is aligning himself, whether deliberately or not, with others here of a self-admitted ideological bent, including Steve_at_Linnwood, who have made that claim, to defend the position that this site is not only left-wing, but has posts deleted that do not agree with the site administrator's political views.

As I said before, my question stands and I am ready to change my position if he has evidence otherwise. So far, he has remained stumm.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:39 PM on April 28, 2005


Hitler liked classical art.

Hitler was a Nazi.

I like classical art.

Therefore I am a Nazi.

I would dispute the above conclusion, but there's really nothing I can say in the face of your inexorable logic. So: Heil Hitler!
posted by casu marzu at 2:46 PM on April 28, 2005


Languagehat, still waiting to hear proof that right-slanted posts are deleted from Metafilter.

He didn't say anything of the sort. He made an offhand prediction that posts of that tenor "probably would have been deleted by now", as plenty have in the past, left-leaning and right-leaning both. If you'd been around here more than six months, you'd know that.

Personally, I'm still waiting to hear why genocide survivors need to get over themselves and just "move on" and how LH is a member of "The Right". With us or against us, I guess.

In making this comment he is aligning himself, whether deliberately or not, with others here of a self-admitted ideological bent, including Steve_at_Linnwood, who have made that claim, to defend the position that this site is not only left-wing, but has posts deleted that do not agree with the site administrator's political views.

When did you stop beating your longtime companion?
posted by dhoyt at 2:49 PM on April 28, 2005


Woot!
Godwin in the house!
posted by schyler523 at 2:50 PM on April 28, 2005


bugbread quotes anothe Mefite: "I am disappointed to learn that they no longer smack the Pope on the head three times with a silver hammer while shouting his name to make sure he's dead."

That one isn't necessarily snark. The head smacking business is actually the traditional way to ascertain the Pope is dead, and apparently it was done to John Paul II.

As to the rest of the celebratory comments about the Pope's (then impending) death, true enough: I didn't like seeing them when they first appeared and I don't like seeing them now, but I'd never argue for deleting them.
posted by orthogonality at 2:51 PM on April 28, 2005


When did you stop beating your longtime companion?

Wow, you never tire of trolling, do you?
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:58 PM on April 28, 2005


I would dispute the above conclusion, but there's really nothing I can say in the face of your inexorable logic. So: Heil Hitler!

All of your babble, of course, has nothing to do with what languagehat said.

Either Matt deletes right-wing posts for their ideological content, or he doesn't. Languagehat suggested this takes place. That's a serious accusation. I'd appreciate any evidence he has of this.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:02 PM on April 28, 2005


AlexReynolds : " All of your babble, of course, has nothing to do with what languagehat said."

Nope. Has to do with what you said.

AlexReynolds : " Either Matt deletes right-wing posts for their ideological content, or he doesn't. Languagehat suggested this takes place. That's a serious accusation. I'd appreciate any evidence he has of this."

Either LanguageHat is a right-winger, or he isn't. You've suggested he is. That's a serious accusation. I'd appreciate any evidence you have of this.
posted by Bugbread at 3:06 PM on April 28, 2005


Let's start democrat.metafilter.com and republican.metafilter.com and see which one gets more posts
posted by angry modem at 3:17 PM on April 28, 2005


Either LanguageHat is a right-winger, or he isn't. You've suggested he is. That's a serious accusation. I'd appreciate any evidence you have of this.

Fair enough: ignore what he said. His accusation is clearly less important than a rhetorical technicality. You're absolutely right.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:23 PM on April 28, 2005


Wow, you never tire of trolling, do you?

"B-b-but, Dad—I learned it by watching you!"


Languagehat suggested this takes place. That's a serious accusation.

Yeah. That is indeed a very, very serious accusation. Posts may be getting deleted on the internet? Hell, that is big time. Alert the global media. Some bytes may have disappeared from a website at some point. Or not.

In other news, the genocide of several hundred thousand people occurred, and your preening, self-absorbed response is that their families should "get over it". Perhaps you should take your own advice, re: languagehat's very serious comment—which is not nearly as callous and lame as your own—and get over it.
posted by dhoyt at 3:30 PM on April 28, 2005


For the record, I will not engage in this topic any more than my initial statement, so don't bother making this about me. Address the topic as presented; using this as a place to insult me is not appropriate and won't do any good as I won't be commenting in this thread.

Weirdly similar to the definition of a troll.

I can understand why dios would call out the FPP in question. I don't like the crazily framed FPPs either. However I can't say much more because I used the amazing power of my eye muscles to ignore the FPP in question and therefore I don't know if an interesting discussion resulted anyway.
posted by fleacircus at 3:31 PM on April 28, 2005


AlexReynolds : " Fair enough: ignore what he said. His accusation is clearly less important than a rhetorical technicality. You're absolutely right."

I think the safest course of action, and the one being taken by everyone here, is to ignore (or, at least, certainly put no weight behind) what either of you have said. You've both made unfounded statements, you're both avoiding providing evidence. But, certainly, if you want to continue going after LanguageHat for a rhetorical technicality, be my guest.
posted by Bugbread at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2005


Yeah. That is indeed a very, very serious accusation. Posts may be getting deleted on the internet? Hell, that is big time. Alert the global media. Some bytes may have disappeared from a website at some point. Or not.

Read from the start of the thread, starting with what caused this post to happen in the first place; perhaps you'll figure it out. One can hope and dream.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2005


In making this comment he is aligning himself, whether deliberately or not, with others here of a self-admitted ideological bent.

Which is, apparently, the ultimate sin. /Jake E. Lee solo

I think languagehat might have been suggesting that the post would have become a shitstorm and would have been deleted on that account, but I'll let him speak for himself if he feels the need (and if he doesn't, get over it. Christ.)
posted by Cyrano at 3:40 PM on April 28, 2005


You've both made unfounded statements, you're both avoiding providing evidence. But, certainly, if you want to continue going after LanguageHat for a rhetorical technicality, be my guest.

Fallacy of equivalence, but nevermind.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:41 PM on April 28, 2005


His accusation is clearly less important than a rhetorical technicality.

Oh no, zis is indeed a very, very, very serious accusation! Ve vill never stop until ve gets to ze bottom of it! Ve vill scour ze earf until ve find ze evidence! Ve vill make a list! Ve haf vays of making you talk, Herr Langvagehat! Sig Heil!
posted by casu marzu at 3:44 PM on April 28, 2005


Wow.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:51 PM on April 28, 2005


EQ2.
posted by Bugbread at 4:10 PM on April 28, 2005


Let's start democrat.metafilter.com and republican.metafilter.com and see which one gets more posts - angry modem

Because, you know, everyone that posts to or visits MeFi is
A) American and
B)falls into one side of the strict binary democrat/republican.
Right.
posted by raedyn at 4:18 PM on April 28, 2005


raedyn : " Because, you know, everyone that posts to or visits MeFi is
"A) American and
"B)falls into one side of the strict binary democrat/republican.
"Right."


Er...that doesn't really relate to what angry modem said, though. He didn't imply that everyone would join one or the other. Just that some people would join each, and one would have more than the other. Non-Americans and non-bipolar-Americans would join neither.
posted by Bugbread at 4:21 PM on April 28, 2005


Which is, apparently, the ultimate sin. /Jake E. Lee solo

That redeems the thread all by itself.
posted by jonmc at 4:28 PM on April 28, 2005


I don't think mefi is either anti-right or anti-left. I think we're just anti.

That redeems the thread all by itself.

Seconded.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 4:37 PM on April 28, 2005


Metafilter: Anti.
posted by Bugbread at 4:38 PM on April 28, 2005


What ever happened to peace, love and flagging posts?
posted by [!] at 4:42 PM on April 28, 2005


Damn, I thought that said "peace, love and flogging posts" and got excited for a minute that we were going to see some action at last.
posted by dg at 4:45 PM on April 28, 2005


I don't think mefi is either anti-right or anti-left. I think we're just anti.

As four wise men put it:

Well I'm against it
I'm against it
Well I'm against it
I'm against it
I don't like politics
I don't like communists
I don't like games and fun
I don't like anyone
And I'm against...
I don't like Jesus freaks
I don't like circus geeks
I don't like summer and spring
I don't like anything
I don't like sex and drugs
I don't like waterbugs
I don't care about poverty
All I care about is me
And I'm against...
I don't like playing ping pong
I don't like the Viet Cong
I don't like Burger King
I don't like anything
And I'm against...
Well I'm against it
I'm against it
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on April 28, 2005


I don't know what they have to say,
it makes no difference anyway -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I'm against it!

Your proposition may be good,
but let's have one thing understood -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
And even when you've changed it or condensed it,
I'm against it!

I'm opposed to it.
On general principles I'm opposed to it.

For months before my son was born,
I used to yell from night to morn -
"Whatever it is, I'm against it!"
And I've kept yelling since I first commenced it,
"I'm against it!"
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:07 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm against tits!

No, wait--
posted by Bugbread at 5:13 PM on April 28, 2005


PinkStainlessTail wins the thread.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 5:14 PM on April 28, 2005


OT Drama Queenery (we're allowed to use it but you're not): The GOP has terrible terrible makeup artists. See what you get when you make us angry? ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:27 PM on April 28, 2005


For once I find myself agreeing with mischief.

Also, I still find myself scratching my head in bemusement when you yanks trot out the words 'left' and 'right'.

Is it because 'Republican' begins with the letter 'r' that means that all who support the current administration must automatically be 'right-wing' and all who oppose its policies are 'lefty'? And how do we reconcile that with the fact that 'Democrat' begins with 'D'?

Simpleminded and annoying. But funny, in a sad way, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:29 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm against tits!

If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
posted by jonmc at 5:33 PM on April 28, 2005


Also, I still find myself scratching my head in bemusement when you yanks trot out the words 'left' and 'right'.
Me too. Somehow, I don't think that what is left and right here means that same over there and wonder how many different versons of left and right there are - perhaps that goes some way to explaining the confusion sometimes?
posted by dg at 5:53 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm still waiting to hear from languagehat... I'm still waiting to hear from languagehat... I'm still waiting to hear from languagehat...

Wow, I go away for a while and AlexReynolds turns into a broken record. Well, here's the good news, AR: you're hearing from me! Now, here's the bad news: I'm not going to go running off to do your research for you. I had little enough respect for you to start with; when your immediate response was to call me a right-winger (or, in your later elaboration, a tool of the right -- or would that be "fellow traveler"?) I lost what little was left. If you don't understand what I was talking about, especially after various people have explained it to you, you're a fool, and I don't suffer fools gladly. But feel free to keep bloviating about my very serious accusations.

In other news, thank G*d for PinkStainlessTail and jonmc.
posted by languagehat at 6:01 PM on April 28, 2005


God: "Don't blame me for jonmc. I took him out of the oven half-baked."
posted by jonmc at 6:03 PM on April 28, 2005


Mmmmm. Baked.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:06 PM on April 28, 2005


Maybe Mat'll close this thread, too.
posted by fixedgear at 6:19 PM on April 28, 2005


I can hereby testify that languagehat is a dyed-in-the-(red)-wool Communist.
we routinely meet, speaking Russian (me, badly, him flawlessly) and plan the imminent dictatorship of the proletariat.
posted by matteo at 6:30 PM on April 28, 2005


speaking Russian (me, badly, him flawlessly)

He speaks Russian while wearing a Greek sailor hat? alk about multicultural, dude...
posted by jonmc at 6:36 PM on April 28, 2005


In other news, thank G*d for PinkStainlessTail and jonmc.

and casu marzu!
posted by dhruva at 6:47 PM on April 28, 2005


G*d bl*ss *s, *v*r**n*!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:13 PM on April 28, 2005


*o* isn't an emoticon, it's 'god' for the textually meek.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:24 PM on April 28, 2005


stavrosthewonderchicken wrote: "For once I find myself agreeing with mischief."

That's what I get for forgetting to take my meds. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:28 PM on April 28, 2005


My girlfriend told me this story one time about how she went to this adult store looking for "marital aids," and she asked for a recommendation from the clerk. He said "I highly recommend the dios. It's our biggest dildo. I also recommend this butt plug, that's if you're into playing with your Steve_At_Linnwood."
posted by shmegegge at 7:41 PM on April 28, 2005


If you don't understand what I was talking about, especially after various people have explained it to you, you're a fool, and I don't suffer fools gladly. But feel free to keep bloviating about my very serious accusations.

For whatever its worth, you did imply Matt was deleting threads and posts that aren't "left", whatever that means. (Your unwillingness to admit that notwithstanding.) Maybe I'm a fool, but you can't own up to what you said, and perhaps that's worse. Meh.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:01 PM on April 28, 2005


"Matt was deleting threads and posts that aren't 'left' "

Well, the ones he has not deleted have certainly been left.
posted by mischief at 8:23 PM on April 28, 2005


"I highly recommend the dios. It's our biggest dildo. I also recommend this butt plug, that's if you're into playing with your Steve_At_Linnwood."

He continued, "Of course, if you do play with your S@L, make sure you get an enema first. Otherwise, you end up with shmegegge everywhere."

This is why Matt made closure.
posted by graventy at 8:33 PM on April 28, 2005


If it attacked the left, would people be defending it, even half-heartedly? ("Well, it's badly framed, but yada yada...") No, it would be shouted down by the massed voices of the like-minded throng, and probably would have been deleted by now.

The italicized quote above is what languagehat said, AlexReynolds. The implications that languagehat most likely had were: if a majority of MeFites objected to the post, called it trolling, baiting, etc, Matt would probably delete it because it was simply a noise-making post.

You, on the other hand, are a noise-making poster. Every other comment you have is trying to pick fights with people. Respectable people at that. Instead of yelling at the wind, why not just learn some humility from your deleted MeTa thread and back off the personal commentary? You are in no position to judge others around here. Glass houses and all. You've got the greatest glass house around here, and most of your windows, aka your credibility, is shattered.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:33 PM on April 28, 2005


The implications that languagehat most likely had were: blah blah blah

No, his implication was that Matt has an editorial policy of deleting posts for not agreeing with a liberal slant, which clearly isn't true. Which, by the way, was related to dios' original complaint. Which, by the way, you're ignoring.

You, on the other hand, are a noise-making poster. Every other comment you have is trying to pick fights with people. Blah blah blah.

As for my posting record, it's right here and I'll let my AskMe record speak for itself, in particular.

Glass houses and all.

Glass houses, indeed!
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:01 PM on April 28, 2005


You're right. With the "blah blah blahs", you clearly deserve my utmost respect. Please accept my humble apologies. I'm going to run with languagehat's last thought, which probably should be repeated: If you don't understand what I was talking about, especially after various people have explained it to you, you're a fool, and I don't suffer fools gladly.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:12 PM on April 28, 2005


Please accept my humble apologies.

Apologies accepted, thanks.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:16 PM on April 28, 2005


This thread has yet to produce a sentence to equal Thanks a lot, my boss is a closet furry.
posted by y2karl at 11:12 PM on April 28, 2005


*o* isn't an emoticon, it's 'god' for the textually meek.

blessed are the textually meek , they shall inherit the metafilter.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:29 AM on April 29, 2005


The textually meek wouldn't want it.
posted by dg at 4:36 AM on April 29, 2005


He continued, "Of course, if you do play with your S@L, make sure you get an enema first. Otherwise, you end up with shmegegge everywhere."

While I'm sure graventy meant this to imply that I'm a bad person, or my comment was, or what have you, I found this hysterical.
posted by shmegegge at 4:42 AM on April 29, 2005


which isn't meant to be a criticism of graventy, btw. good on him. well said. and so forth.
posted by shmegegge at 4:43 AM on April 29, 2005


jonmc : " If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"

You can have it. I'll just go dig up another one, the graveyard's full of 'em.
posted by Bugbread at 5:48 AM on April 29, 2005


*tucks thread in, kisses forehead*

*departs, closing door quietly*

[close thread?]
posted by dfowler at 5:54 AM on April 29, 2005


*Sneaks in, totally goes Uncle Ernie on thread*
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:25 AM on April 29, 2005


(disgusted)
Oh, Pink Stainless! You made me do a google image search for 'Uncle Ernie', knowing that I'd hafta look at THIS, you you .... rapscallion YOU!
posted by dfowler at 7:19 AM on April 29, 2005


meh, enough of this spinning in place.
posted by koeselitz at 9:47 AM on April 29, 2005


Man, y'all are crazy.
posted by klangklangston at 1:43 PM on April 29, 2005


Actually shmegegge, it wasn't meant as an attack. I just found your statement funny, and your nickname TOO appropriate to pass up. :)

And now, looking at the definition, I'm under the impression that enema or not, playing with your S@L would result in a lot of shmegegge.Hell, it happens EVERY DAY here in Metafilter. hehehe
posted by graventy at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2005


word to your moms.
posted by shmegegge at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2005


As someone who was virulent and violent and completely beyond the pale in the Regan thread, I mostly (not completely) agree with dios's complaint in this post.

I pretty much don't think that partisanship in general is a good thing, and I especially don't think that partisanship public discourse is a good thing (and please look up "partisan" and see that it has connotations beyond merely having an opinion or taking a side). Even so, I'll go along with the idea that partisan posts on MeFi aren't inherently bad.

What tends to really annoy me, to get me feeling the opposing viewpoint is really and truly wrong, is hypocrisy. What bothers me is that contentious, very biased, very partisan right-wing posts and comments to MeFi are criticized for being those things, while similarly contentious, very biased, and very partisan left-wing posts and comments are applauded...for being those things, quite apart from the content. Why is it a moral failing for dios to "troll" but a virtue for nofundy to "troll"? That's what I don't get. In that context, I'll side with dios. It shoud be repeated, however, that dios himself "trolls" and is not the best example for the most high-minded and neutral discourse.

Finally, there are definitely a few of us who are on the left side of the political spectrum, languagehat among us, that every now and then complain that the leftist bias on MeFi means that the rightwing members are held to a much tougher standard than the most of the rest of us. You don't have to be a wingnut to agree with that criticism, AR's attempt to tar everyone with that brush notwithstanding.

Languagehat: I would like to ask, if you happen to read this, to consider joining me in being suspicious of and attempting to avoid counterfactual arguments. I've really come to think they are very, very counterproductive.

Um, even though I think I agree with you about your supposition.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:26 PM on April 29, 2005


Ethereal Bligh writes " What tends to really annoy me, to get me feeling the opposing viewpoint is really and truly wrong, is hypocrisy. What bothers me is that contentious, very biased, very partisan right-wing posts and comments to MeFi are criticized for being those things, while similarly contentious, very biased, and very partisan left-wing posts and comments are applauded...for being those things, quite apart from the content"

If that's true, I agree it's a problem.

But the complainers here are Steve_at_Linnwood and dios, both of whom have a track record of derailing threads and making ad hominem attacks, in order to avoid debating the merits of the issues raised in posts they object to. This was pointed out by several commenters in Steve's meta post, and Steve himself pretty much admitted as much -- while getting in a typical Steve ad hominem at the same time:
But I long ago gave up on debating here on MetaFilter. Makes as much sense as nofundy sparing with people on Free Republic.... A link to a opinion piece by a washed up politician?
Given that track record, my take was that Steve_at_Linnwood and dios were essentially trying to derail threads at the Meta level because they knew they couldn't win the debate on the merits.
posted by orthogonality at 9:48 PM on April 29, 2005


As it isn't entirely fair, without giving some evidence of it, to characterize dios as a thread derailer who avoids arguing the merits of the issues raised by making ad hominem attacks, here are six comments by dios. They are presented in their entirety, with paragraph breaks deleted. Each comment is dios's only comment to that particular thread. Links are provided to the comment so that readers can judge the context for themselves.:
Excellent! Two superb posts in a row! Since this website has become, for the most part, nothing more than a daily list of pet issues that certain users are outraged about, it's nice to see that today we can discuss our collective and unified outrage about the lack of gay acceptance and our hostility to Christians. This should be fertile new grounds for "me-too"ing.
Talk about moving the goalposts.
WTF? How is this a FPP? A link to a blog about a guy coming to your town to sell his book that you don't like. You are outraged. On what possible grounds is this thing Metafilter-worthy? This is a pathetic FPP trout. GYOBFW.
So he is telling the truth and the rest of the men there are lying. It couldn't be something as cyncial that he might be lying in search of some fame or a book deal or something.
Freen, is your point that we should go in and kill more and more until they are all dead? If not, then wtf is your point? Because you obviously are against the idea of trying to reach an agreement.
I am so happy to hear many of my liberal friends condemning moral relativism. I agree. Its complete bullshit. Lets all be proactive to never let people try the moral relativism argument anymore on this site. It's just too bad that the same rejection of moral relativism wasn't strong in '01 when a bunch of our comrades on the left were trying to sell the relativism argument and tell us that islamofascists weren't evil, just different. But we won't do that anymore, will we? We will call a spade a spade, right? Islamofascists are evil like Alan Keyes. Now, if you will excuse me, all of this talk of 19 year old lesbians motivates me to go masturbate furiously.
posted by orthogonality at 10:29 PM on April 29, 2005


Languagehat: I would like to ask, if you happen to read this, to consider joining me in being suspicious of and attempting to avoid counterfactual arguments. I've really come to think they are very, very counterproductive.

Hmm. Well, since I appreciate your eloquent agreement with my take on the hypocrisy of the MeFi majority, I'm willing to consider it. But you'll have to expand a little if you want to convince me. I find that arguments of the kind "What if it were the other way around?" can be effective in getting people to see the point. I know that I freqently force myself into a little more objectivity by asking myself such questions. Why exactly are they "very, very counterproductive"?
posted by languagehat at 2:41 PM on April 30, 2005


I find that arguments of the kind "What if it were the other way around?" .....can be effective in getting people to see the pointWhy exactly are they "very, very counterproductive"?

When people do consider the "what if it were the other way around" argument, then they're forced to see those they oppose as human beings rather than convenient whipping boys, (and this goes for both sides of the political and cultural spectrum) which can cause all sorts of uncomfortable complications to anybody with a lick of empathy. See the film The Last Supper or Donna Minkowitz's book Ferocious Romance for further explication.

Mind you, I'm not saying that the left's moments of pigheadedness is somehow equivalent to the rights history of outright oppression, merely that if we want to actually achieve anything we need to rise above knee-jerk infantile oppositionalism.
posted by jonmc at 2:58 PM on April 30, 2005


"Why exactly are they 'very, very counterproductive'?"

Counterfactual arguments, I'm talking about. For example, "If I'd been Paris Paramus, you'd have disagreed with me."

We all think this way, because we have a verty strong urge to understand what people do in terms of their motives and psychologies. The thing is, though, is that it's stacking the deck. Not just in the typical ways, but in a very unanswerable way since it's a counterfactual. ("In an alternate reality, you'd act differently than you did, thus demonstrating that you are hypocritical.")

I've come to think that arguing in this style, even if we can't avoid thinking this way, is "very, very counterproductive" because it's an assumption of bad-faith that is mostly unanswerable...but is usually answered by counter-accusations of bad-faith.

Otherwise, I agree with the utility of "shoe on the other foot" arguments, except, um, mostly when they're directed at ourselves or people we agree with. When directed at our opponents, it really takes some care and skill to present the point in such a way that it is actually helpful and illuminating as opposed to the sort of thing I'm criticizing above, which is really more like a "gotchya" than it is a way to reframe the discussion in a way that creates understanding.

This sorta sounds like a trivial objection of mine, but I don't think it is. As you know, I've been involved in online discussion for a long, long time now, and I've long been trying to understand why things mostly go wrong and most discussions make things worse, not better. In the last couple of years, this particular habit of thought/rhetorical tactic has really started to sort of stand out to me as very troublemaking. You see it everwhere, quite especially in political discussions.

For example, it's perfectly obvious to me that partisanship in US politics has meant that on positions such as war and deficit spending what policy is "correct" is more a function of which party holds the administration and favors a war or deficit spending policy. (Just as an example, not a point I want to discuss here.) So it's easy to make charges of hypocrisy, "Well, if Bush 41 had been President, the Republicans would have been eager to go into Kosovo if the President had pushed for it." I do believe that specific example is true (for some definition of "true"1), and I do believe that such partisan motivations influence much MeFi debate and create many opportunities for hypocrisy. But if hypocrisy really exists, surely we can actually point to specific acts of hypocrisy rather than appealing to a counterfactual to create one. It's pretty hard for accused hypocrites to defend the actions of their alternate-reality versions of themselves. :)

1 "Truth" in the context of counterfactuals is very problematic. Some (like myself) would assert that strictly speaking, it's a contradiction in terms. On the other hand, though, this is deeply part of our congnition so we can't just wave it away as irrelevant.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:31 PM on April 30, 2005


When directed at our opponents, it really takes some care and skill to present the point in such a way that it is actually helpful and illuminating as opposed to the sort of thing I'm criticizing above

See, this I agree with. If you're saying "if the shoe were on the other foot" has to be deployed with great care or it becomes counterproductive, I agree with you. I thought you were saying it was bad in and of itself and should never be used, which seemed over the top.
posted by languagehat at 6:25 AM on May 1, 2005


Yeah. Counterfactuals are useful as constructive thought experiments. They're really bad when used as attacks. But the thing is, they're almost always used as attacks (in this sort of context).

BTW: good to see you back around these parts. Funny that you're here while I've been mostly away. Or is that not a coincidence? :)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:31 PM on May 1, 2005


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