Go to previous post:
And speaking of SF fans at the front,

Go to Electrolite's front page.

Go to next post:
More on the late Harry Warner, Jr.:

Our Admirable Sponsors

March 31, 2003

Apocalypse now: Okay, that’s it. We no longer live in anything like a consensus society.

To the contrary, my daily commute takes me past a corporation that has declared its desire to see me killed.

Where’s the Ohio National Guard when you really need it?
Upside to being shot dead by Federal troops at the behest of the New York Post: Dittohead brother-in-law might actually feel slightly regretful. Hiya!

UPDATE, NEXT MORNING: I shouldn’t have been up at 1:30 AM, much less letting the world get to me. But this definitely gets to me. The admirably moderate Calpundit has been posting about feeling equally alienated by the extremes of left and right. But the difference between the two is illustrated perfectly here. On the left, an untenured professor at a “teach-in” who calls for a “million Mogadishus.” On the right, the New York Post, circulation 600,000.

Obviously, the next time some backwoods militia moron calls for the murder of liberals, I’m entitled to advocate the killing of New York Post staff. Oh, wait. We don’t need to postulate backwoods militia morons calling for the murder of folks like me. We have well-paid media stars on that beat.

In fact, the whole argument about “extremism” is based on the essentialist—and false—idea that views like Professor DeGenova’s are in some way an “extreme” form of views like (for instance) mine. Based on this kind of thinking, both Calpundit and the Post, in their different ways, lay responsibility for the DeGenovas of the world at the feet of people like me. So long as a single speaker at one obscure protest event calls for the death of American soldiers, it’ll be okay for major newspapers to advocate the shooting of protestors. So long as anyone calling themselves a “liberal” or a “leftist” gets themself into a censorious snit over Adrien Brody kissing Halle Berry at the Oscars, it’s okay to characterize the rest of us as prissy killjoys.

I’m generally all for the kind of practical politics Kevin Drum advocates. And I’ve already written about the need to put away the damn puppets. But I’m starting to get the sense that it doesn’t matter. They want us silenced. They’ll wear away at the left and the antiwar movement, using every Professor DeGenova example they can find. Then when they’ve disposed of us, they’ll come for Kevin Drum. [01:27 AM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Apocalypse now::

Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 01:56 AM:

Reading the piece, I can sort of understand the anger at the comments which provoked it.

What really scares me is not the reaction, or the "ha, ha, only joking" ending, or anything of the actual content: the frightening part is that a major New York newspaper printed it.

That's what poisons political discourse.

Mr Ripley ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 02:42 AM:

Unsettling fallout: I received an email from my racist uncle on the subject in which he tied De Genova's hateful statement to the fact that he studies rap music and Latino cultures, which evidently started him on "the path away from good sense." Didn't blame the university or suggest that malleable young minds would be deformed, though --that't the job of the know-nothings at the Post.

Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 03:01 AM:

Having spent the 1960's as a child, I have no idea if the current schism is as bad or worse. One thing, it's easier for people to be incivil.

I think we're all familiar with the attacks on al Jazeera's site after they aired the US POW footage.

Today, one of the web hosts I use was the recipient of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that took several sites off the air. I would guess that several of those sites hosted on that server did not express an opinion on the war, Bush, nor Blair. But someone decided that an opinion expressed on of the sites hosted on that server warranted the collective punishment of everyone using that server.

Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 04:18 AM:

There's another aspect to the NYP talk-piece that bears thinking about; the common belief in the US media that the incident in Mogadishu involved a grand total of eighteen deaths.

Don't the five hundred dead and roughly a thousand injured natives, most of them civilian by-standers, count? (Of course not, because they're niggers -- and, as Africans, they're the kind who can't sue us or riot in our cities for using that word to describe them.)

I'm reminded of discussions of Vietnam that wring their hands over the 60,000 dead. (No, guys, it was a couple of million. More, if you count the Khmer Rouge putsch in Cambodia as a side-effect. But after all, they were only gooks ...)

Or the tendency to count Gulf War One as an overwhelmingly bloodless war, with under 200 casualties (and somewhere in the 50-250,000 range on the other side, but they're wogs so they don't matter).

Modern warfare is not bloodless, but these right-wing pundits would like us to think that it was because it serves their murderous agenda. There's a revolting racist undertone to the deliberate discounting of foreign death tolls, and it's been adopted uncritically across all the US media, as far as I can see, including such relatively mainsteam outlets like the New York Times and CNN.

(I'd better stop right now, because the more I think about this the angrier I'm getting, and being angry is not a good precondition for doing a day's work.)

Clark Myers ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 07:20 AM:

Oh, I'd hate to believe the media think only of the American dead. Be nice if the history books reflect that:

"...Master Sergeant Gordon used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. ...last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, "good luck."Then, armed only with his pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded....Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers ...and was fatally wounded...actions saved the pilot's life"

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohsom.htm

- Unlike the Ohio Guard - who were called by the Governor and had not been federalized - I don't think these 2 volunteers of extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty shot a lot of innocent bystanders.

Andrew Phillips ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 07:45 AM:

I think the columnist missed the subtext. Okay, a million Mogadishus would mean 18 million dead US soldiers. And how many hundreds of millions of dead locals?

From the rest of the tone of the guy's column, he should have been asking to pin a medal on the prof's chest. Or promote him to senior advisor to Rumsfeld.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 08:48 AM:

And this is how they win. Liberals call for candlelit vigils. Conservatives call for your death. Every year, they crank up the pressure a little more.

And what are we doing about it? Nothing. We *should* be surrounding the offices of New York Post offices, daring them to shoot us now. Remember -- the only thing that McViegh did wrong was choosing his target -- if he'd blown up the New York Time, then that would have been good.

We'll complain, we'll go on -- and the discourse has taken one step more away from us.

Again.

We need to stop defending, and start attacking. Defense doesn't win. Civil Discourse and Civil Disobedience is predicated on your opponent being civil. The very fact that Ann Coulter is *well paid* for calling for our deaths shows how badly we've failed with civil discourse. Not at. With. It is a tool that is not working.

Throw down the goddamned candles, and pick up the torches. Politics in America is now based on intimidation and fear. Every quiet vigil you hold is one more ecouragement to them that you'll continue to roll over when they roar at you. It is time to show them that we will fight.

Or, maybe we won't. Maybe the real core problem is the liberals aren't willing to fight for what they believe. I've seen way too many "Well, if you get them angry, they'll just ban demonstrations" and whatnot. I've seen way too many "We have to be united" cop-outs. If this is the case, we're lost, utterly. We're not united. They Are Against Everthing We Believe In. They own the government. They own the press. They are subverting the vote.

They are one "election" away from winning it all, if that far.

And they are slowly, but surely, putting the thought into America's mind that shooting those who don't belive as you do is acceptable.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 09:17 AM:

Don't the five hundred dead and roughly a thousand injured natives, most of them civilian by-standers, count? (Of course not, because they're niggers -- and, as Africans, they're the kind who can't sue us or riot in our cities for using that word to describe them.)

More than that. Firstly, "most" implies that there were very few people actually shooting at the Rangers in Mogadishu. There were in fact, a great deal of them.

By any rational standard, Mogadishu is a US victory -- a small, ill prepared unit is ambushed, surrounded, and laid siege too. Given the fact that the Mogadishu militas were armed, often with automatics weapons, and the Rangers were outnumered at least 10-1, and that the militas were using civilians to hide among, knowing that the US soliders would be initially loathe to shoot into them, *and* the Rangers were pinned, could only get limited air support, and had no armor support, the two companies -- not even a battalion -- held off several brigades of militia, for almost a day, until relieved.

The solider dragged through the streets? Part of a seperate action on the same day.

So, the rangers were outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped.

This has happened before. To Her Majesty's troops, in Africa. Care to guess the name of that battle?

(pauses)

Rourke's Drift.

In fact, Mogadishu has to count as an amazing victory. A plan went badly wrong -- we should have lost the entire assault group. The rangers fought hard, and well, and did thier damndest to not kill civilians -- though they did, in large numbers, partly because of the milita tactics, partly because when your surrounded in a city, and you shoot back, and miss, those rounds will land somewhere.

Furthermore, despite the losses, the mission achived almost every one of its objectives -- missing only Aidid himself. Aidid's regieme was seriously weakned, if we'd stayed the course, Somalia would almost certainly be a better place to live in today. If we *had* been doing nation building, it would be a very different world today?

So? Why is this battle considered such a tragic loss to the US?

Simple. The date. October 3, 1993.

Figure it out.


(pause)

It happened during Cliton's term. It's better to have a loss that discredits Clinton than a victory which supports him. And, of course, that history is being rewritten, which is why it's now Les Aspin, not Maj. Gen. Garrison, who refuses armor support (nevermind various inter/intra service rivalries) -- and, of course, how it was really Al-Queda support that let them nail the choppers (another insult to Africans -- 'You can't beat the US without someone else showing you how.')

Clinton does deserve a great deal of shame for how he reacted afterwards, firing his FP team and pulling out. But by any rational standard, Mogadishu was a victory for US forces, snatched from the jaws of defeat. But politically, it's better to call that a defeat.

Welcome to America.

Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 09:46 AM:

There's another aspect to the NYP talk-piece that bears thinking about; the common belief in the US media that the incident in Mogadishu involved a grand total of eighteen deaths.
Don't the five hundred dead and roughly a thousand injured natives, most of them civilian by-standers, count?

When I read the call for "a million Mogadishus", I was appalled for exactly that reason. The speaker clearly had no idea what kind of price he was expecting other people to pay to achieve the result he was looking for.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 09:53 AM:

I think civil liberals and civil conservatives should get together and make a serious issue out of civil discourse. Maybe start a co-blog or something.

Now, I don't mind saying, contra Erik, that as a right leaner, I have heard liberals make death threats to conservatives:

"We should go to Washington and stone Henry Hyde to death," Baldwin was quoted as saying to a cheering crowd. "And then we should go to his house and kill his family."

Baldwin made these hilarious remarks in an appearance on my favorite television show, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," which airs on NBC-TV.

Some time after Clarence Thomas started with the Supreme Court an African American guest on one of PBS's shows expressed her wish that Thomas's wife might feed him poison so he would die.

I'm not saying this to aggravate people here. That piece in the Post is just obscene. It's obscene opinion and obscene journalism. I think Patrick has hit the nail on the head. And I'd love to hear how people (short of sinking a huge amount of money into a magazine effort) could start some vehicle, some venue, built around the serious idea of civil discourse about the issues that divide Americans.

I ain't heard anybody on the right volunteer this idea (which is no credit to conservative journalism.)

--k. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 10:07 AM:

Erik, this is going to sound like every X-Men comicbook ever written, but it's not yet 7 in the AM as I type this on the West Coast and I haven't had my comic yet. Still: If we stoop to their tactics, we become no better than they are.

It's the same thing when I hear people clamor for a left-wing Limbaugh. (We have one. Michael Moore. I think a great many people here have noted at one point or another their embarrassment at his efforts on "our" behalf?) --One of the great problems facing us at the moment is that political discourse has become so vitriolic, so poisonous, so polarized that dialogue and compromise--anything but my party right or wrong my party--is nigh impossible. You don't heal that by putting down candles and picking up torches and pitchforks. When somebody's trashing the system you don't fix it by leaping in and helping them kick it down.

There are more ways to fight for what you believe than bringing a gun to a knife fight. (Or bringing a puppet to a protest march.) You're moved to gun up for two reasons: either you're feeling threatened, or you're so assured of kicking the other side's ass that you feel all right about unleashing the bully within. I don't know whether the gun the New York Post brought--resorting to ugly and clumsy rhetorical hyperbole in a lame attempt to point up the ugly and clumsy rhetorical hyperbole of the other side (and as a side note: the soundbitten nature of DeGenosha's quote should have you raising your eyebrows a little and thumbing through Google. Not that I have yet--see above re: coffee--and not that I'm stating there's a context that would make DeGenosha's sentiment admirable, but I can imagine contexts in which it is understandable, and I can't imagine the New York Post bending over backwards to present it in any context other than that which bests suits its yellow journalistic crap)--I don't know whether this particular gun is due to feeling threatened or chest-thumpingly superior (the current situation with regards to the war in Iraq is chaotic enough that it can be read in any of a number of ways), but I don't think this contretemps is going to be helped by escalation.

Of course, my idea of a "proportionate response" to this violation of Marquess of Queensbury would be to surround the New York Post's offices. With candle-lit vigils. (And they'd just use their news ticker to make fun of us. Great.) --So maybe it's just another question of rhetoric. And maybe the coffee will help. So I'm going to go get some.

--k. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 10:09 AM:

"Haven't had my coffee yet," that first paragraph should have read. Which I imagine is clear enough in retrospect, but.

Gareth M. Skarka ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 10:27 AM:

I agree that the extremes on both sides are ridiculous, and the fact that their outrageous behavior is growing more acceptable is troublesome.

However....

Am I the only one who thinks "what d'ya expect---it's the Post"? I mean, come on, it's a rag, and I think most folks know that it's barely a step above the Enquirer when it comes to journalistic integrity.

Forgive me if I can't get too upset at the thought of a idiot ranting. That's what idiots do, after all.

Folks like Coulter and Moore aren't the mainstream, no matter how many times they try to portray themselves that way. I have faith in the fact that the majority of Americans can recognize extremists when they hear them.

alkali ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 10:36 AM:

John Farrell writes:

[[[Now, I don't mind saying, contra Erik, that as a right leaner, I have heard liberals make death threats to conservatives:

"We should go to Washington and stone Henry Hyde to death," Baldwin was quoted as saying to a cheering crowd. "And then we should go to his house and kill his family."]]]

If you saw that show, you know you have falsely described what actually occurred. If you didn't, well, you know now.

Timothy Burke1 ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 10:42 AM:

About my puppets essay, a student activist wisely observed to me, "It doesn't matter if we don't let the Spartacist in the crowd anywhere near the podium, or even if we boot him out of the march: if he's within a half-mile of us, someone's going to take his picture and say, 'Look at the antiwar freaks'".

That's a fair observation, and the same thing is happening with de Genova: his opinion is being misrepresented as typical or normative, and being misrepresented in this fashion with deliberate intent.

Now on the other hand, the fact that he was given a platform during a teach-in shows that at the least the "respectable left" continues to demostrate errors in tactical judgement. Understandable in this context: there were 30 professors in a six-hour teach-in, and it is very, very hard within the constraints of academic collegiality to say 'no' to a fellow faculty member who expresses interest in speaking up during such an event. If it's an non-tenure track assistant professor like de Genova, it's easy to see how someone like Eric Foner might not know what such a person might do given an official platform on which to stand.

On the other other hand, I would say that while de Genova took a very silly and reprehensible and extremist position, his views derive from a much more widely held logic. They bear at least some family resemblance to the general suite of positions that begin from several similar assumptions: 1) the United States or the West is the primary vector of social injustice in global society; 2) the protection of sovereignity (cultural, national, economic) is the primary moral imperative of our times and 3) 'by any means necessary', that oppressed peoples and societies have a right to pursue the achievement of their sovereignity at all costs.

That suite of positions is by no means the normal "left" argument, but it certainly informs one very strong strain of thinking and action on the left. Opposed to it is the 'interventionist' left of Berman, Hitchens, Gitlin, that seeks to extend justice to all human societies and accepts the validity of human universals--and accepts the use of power and force--and the 'pragmatist' left, which follows a kind of kinder, gentler utilitarianism. There are other traditions, too: an anarchist-libertarian left that sees all forms of institutional power as suspicious, a marxian left that is mostly interested in the ills of capitalism without subscribing to the defense of sovereignity , and so on.

So I would say it's not quite right to treat de Genova as a completely unrepresentative freak--but it's even more incorrect to hold him up as an example of what the antiwar movement is.

Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 10:58 AM:

About my puppets essay, a student activist wisely observed to me, "It doesn't matter if we don't let the Spartacist in the crowd anywhere near the podium, or even if we boot him out of the march: if he's within a half-mile of us, someone's going to take his picture and say, 'Look at the antiwar freaks'".

This appears to be the specific political application of the general observation that the media gravitates toward the visibly loony members of any group being observed. Lord knows we've seen it happen often enough at sf conventions, when reporters ignore the rooms full of more-or-less soberly clad individuals discussing art and literature in favor of an interview with the individual in a badly-fitting chain-mail jockstrap who's learning an alien language through past-life regression.

Mark Bourne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 11:25 AM:

Speaking of speaking out on "action faction" tactics --

After this op-ed piece was printed in last Thursday's Oregonian (the state's big daily), not only did I get a call from a local TV news reporter wanting to interview me, but Rush Limbaugh made it the centerpiece of a segment on his radio show and his web site.

Dogs and cats are sleeping together, bowling pins are singing arias, black is white, I'm on Limbaugh -- and he (in his sidelong way) agrees with me! Next up: ice cream concessions in Hell soar!

Maybe by being on Rush's show, I'm now flagged as a Friendly in Ashcroft's national loyalty database. Don't know how I'd feel about that....

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 11:59 AM:

I keep on thinking that "the Left" is constantly being forced into a defensive stance. In a defensive stance, there is a tacit admission that such evil nonsense as de Genova's does, in fact, belong to us and that it is our job to shut him up. How can we talk about the things that need to be done we're constantly trying to clarify the things we haven't said?

I don't think that nonsense like de Genova's is a right/left issue, but a humanitarian issue, a failure of logic, a lack of civility, just plain wrong. I want people to say that, over and over again. Is there a way to decline the bait without leaving "the Left" completely undefended? Can't we turn the conversation away from categories that don't exist and into a conversation about what is and isn't useful, productive, or civil?

Maybe not. I don't know. But it sure seems like we spend too much time bailing and not enough time sailing. The question is, how deep is the water in the hold? There's a big difference between a bit of water from the normal working of a ship and a hole in the hull. I get the feeling that we're not very good at noticing the difference. On the other hand, I could be all wet. Too much of this seems too unreal for me to sure of any of my ideas.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 01:09 PM:

alkali,

If you saw that show, you know you have falsely described what actually occurred. If you didn't, well, you know now.

With all respect, I did see it. And you can see it too, here. Your link to biercephile is not convincing. What aspect of late night TV is not prestaged?

My point is that threats made against people of different political viewpoints should not be encouraged, applauded or emulated. The NY Post jerk does not belong in the newspaper business. What he wrote, basically an incitement to violence, is a disgrace.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 01:16 PM:

Mark, did you read that Limbaugh web page? He's just using your comments about the protestors as a club to beat the entire anti-war movement.

Rachel Heslin ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 01:34 PM:

Back when we were dropping bombs on Kosovo, I had a letter printed in the LA Times which basically said that the real conflict wasn't between Serbs and Albanians any more than the earlier war was between Serbs, Croats and Bosnians. Rather, the real war was between extremists of any stripe and normal people who wanted to lived normal lives.

Sounds like it's a universal battle. Me, I'm on the side of Normal Lives.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 01:40 PM:

Returning to the subject of journalism and political slant, Peter Arnett just got fired:

NBC announced Monday that both NBC and National Geographic severed their relationships with veteran war correspondent Peter Arnett.

In an interview that aired on Iraqi TV Sunday, Arnett said that the U.S. "war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another war plan. Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces."

Arnett is hardly a radical. He's the very model upon which this whole media/military joint venture is based. His lack of enthusiasm seems to pose a real threat to the powers that be.

Mark Bourne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 01:45 PM:

Avram -- Oh, I know it, but that doesn't surprise me at all. What did surprise me was that (a) he was willing to note that a "so-called war protester" might actually have a rational point, and (b), more remarkably, he made no mention at all of my bashing Bush as a president and as a human being by comparing him unfavorably to Clinton. He didn't even mention it in the radio segment, which I'm told went on for a good ten minutes. He didn't use the Bush-bashing as a way of tearing down anything further I had to say. (And he linked to the entire op-ed from his web site instead of only quoting parts out of context. I doubt that Michael Moore would have been so professional.)

I don't think he "just" used my comments as a club. He did that, yes, but that's what he does as part of his shtick. Predictable. The whiff of "I'm so correct even the Lefties are agreeing with me" does pucker my brow. But the fact that he was willing to say that a Pinko Leftie Bush-hater had a reasonable idea in his head, without simultaneously labeling me as a Pinko Leftie Bush-hater, is what struck me.


Reimer Behrends ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 02:50 PM:

Lydia wrote: I don't think that nonsense like de Genova's is a right/left issue, but a humanitarian issue, a failure of logic, a lack of civility, just plain wrong. I want people to say that, over and over again. Is there a way to decline the bait without leaving "the Left" completely undefended? Can't we turn the conversation away from categories that don't exist and into a conversation about what is and isn't useful, productive, or civil?

Agreed. I consider myself a democrat and republican (with lowercase "d" and "r", respectively) first and foremost. I believe that the ability to make decisions, up to and including the change of government, without bloodshed to be such a great invention that it predates even sliced bread. I also happen to hold a majority of points of view that are traditionally considered to be left-liberal (the word "liberal" being used here in its traditional European sense, not the modern US-American one), and a minority that I'd label as value-conservative. But those are second to the aforementioned core principles.

As to "the Left" and "the Right", I am reminded of a quote from the movie Philadelphia: "This is the essence of discrimination: formulating opinions about others not based on their individual merits but, rather, on their membership in a group with assumed characteristics." Categorization is convenient; in fact, it is human to categorize things, events, even other human beings, if only for the fact that the brain can deal with only so much detail at once. But the foundation of any democracy is reasoned discourse: This discourse is likely to be heated and emotional at times, and often oversimplifies. But in the end, we cannot afford prejudice, fear, and anger to dominate over reason in the political arena. That way lies not only the dark side, but the end of democracy. And the best thing any single person can do to help the side of reasoned discourse is to contribute to that side themselves: the best way to drown out noise is to increase the signal level.

One way to escape categorization is to defy it. Whenever I have gotten involved in lengthy political discourse, I have been careful to cover all my bases, and to avoid conforming to obvious stereotypes. It is sometimes tedious to state the obvious, but it has its benefits. People that I've engaged in political discourse with usually know my political tendencies -- but they have likely also heard, for instance, my sharp criticism of communism or "militant pacifism", and know better than to perceive tendencies as black-and-white categories. It also cuts down on people making assumptions in general.

The view of the media is another thing, of course. Bad journalism is like pouring a bucket of paint over a canvas and calling the result a painting; good journalists use brushes and several colors, and work out the details: with their individual styles and biases, but with the general goal of differentiating the important aspects. You typically don't have a problem with good journalists anyway, and with bad journalists you can only influence the color of the paint in their buckets, or what particular canvas they are throwing it at.

At the same time it is probably a good idea to remember that the media do not make or even shape public opinion to any big extent. The main power of journalism is still considered that of agenda setting: determining what topics people talk about. To some extent, sensationalist trash like the New York Post piece or de Genova's utterances will be unavoidable, because it sells. And discussing it as content is ultimately pointless, since that is likely to follow the garbage-in, garbage-out principle. But in a year or so (probably earlier) the New York Post article will have been forgotten, and the only taint remaining is likely to stick to the Post itself.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 03:00 PM:

John, I don't doubt there've been a few self-described lefties who've made death threats against conservatives, but there's nothing like parity of numbers, level of threat, continuous application of pressure, or overall nastiness. Also, violent lefty rhetoric tends to come from the fringes, not from media stars and public officials.

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 03:51 PM:

What I found scariest about Kevin's post was that he regards it as "extreme" to fight the ban on late-term abortions (which he even referred to as "partial-birth" abortions). He's accepting the far=right's definition of what is "extreme" and wants us to lie down and die when they apply it to us. By next week we'll have to pretend we don't know people who believe in such extremnist ideas as ...oh, wait, if liberals or Democrats believe in them, the already are extremist ideas.

David Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 04:25 PM:

As it happens, I bought the R2 DVD of "Blackhawk Down" at the weekend (it was in a sale), and one of the features is a commentary track by three Mogadishu veterans.

I've not listened to the whole track yet, but these guys were there, and they seem to accept the tweaks made to tell the story on film. And, by their reckoning, their mission achieved its objective. They rehearsed for things going wrong, including chopper crashes and other casualties.

And they'd been there, and friends had died there, and they couldn't understand why there was such incredible political sensitivity to soldiers getting killed.

But I'm not sure I want to watch all the movie at the moment, even to hear these guys. It seems to be a good example of a well-sorted DVD.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 05:07 PM:

John, I don't doubt there've been a few self-described lefties who've made death threats against conservatives, but there's nothing like parity of numbers, level of threat, continuous application of pressure, or overall nastiness. Also, violent lefty rhetoric tends to come from the fringes, not from media stars and public officials.

Yeah, what she said. And when this fruitcake from the fringes calls for a million Mogadishus not only does the right shriek and point at the entire Left, real, credentialed, serious members of the Left have to as well. And explain all over again that's not what we're about. When Ann Coulter calls for the bombing of the NY Times, she gets multi-million dollar book contracts. I'm afraid Patrick's right. We no longer live in a concensus society. I'm beginnning to give up hope we may ever do so again. We may have entirely lost the war.

MKK

Reimer Behrends ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 05:26 PM:

Charlie Stross write: There's a revolting racist undertone to the deliberate discounting of foreign death tolls, and it's been adopted uncritically across all the US media, as far as I can see, including such relatively mainsteam outlets like the New York Times and CNN.

I am not sure if it is racism as such. I'm pretty sure that the allied forces in World War II preferred the deaths of German soldiers over those of their own men. That's just human. Of course, to sell it as a military commander, you usually try to dehumanize your enemy, but the major tool of dehumanization these days is generally more anonymity than racism (though I do see some elements of the latter, too). But instead the major strategy seems to be that you'll get much detail in the news about the individual soldiers on your side ("our boys"), whereas the other side is little more than a non-descript mass of anonymous people. The death of a thousand people is, as we all know, a statistic, not a tragedy.

However, this whole thing does illustrate the problem with a unilateral war, which is a lack of accountability. In our representative democracies, the principle of accountability is a major part of the checks and balances. If politicians screw things up to badly, they can be voted out of office. It doesn't work all that well sometimes, but it keeps a lid on things. However, you are only accountable to your voters: you are not accountable to the soldiers or civilians on the other side that you get killed. So, when in the course of war decisions are made, they will be made to minimize your side's casualties and maximize the other's, whenever there is a tradeoff. You do not have to pay any price for the death of enemy soldiers, fanatic veterans and involuntary conscripts alike, so there is no incentive to minimize them beyond the basic sensibilities of your voters. This is especially worrying if an effective war is part of your political core strategy.

The big deal with going through international organizations first is that it ensures that the people on the other sides have advocates, too. It may be less convenient, just as it is less convenient to get a law passed at home if you don't happen to be an autocratic dictator, and you may have to deal with people who have ulterior motives. But if you are a competent statesman and have a good cause, you should be able to deal with that, just as you deal with lobbyists at home.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 05:36 PM:

"Jockey of Norfolk, be not bold, for Dickon thy master is bought and sold."

That's the problem with the intersection of 'representative' and 'lobbyist'. The folks in the US administration aren't there as a matter of political compromise; they are there as bought and paid for servants, to enact a specific agenda.

bkw ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 05:44 PM:

in the interests of fair-mindedness, the actual content from the article is :

Hey, if a campus crank can wish for personal calamity to befall U.S. forces in Iraq, why not fantasize about a volley of Kent State-style militia musketry rattled off in his general direction?

the author did not write:


we should string all liberals up against the wall and let the national guard have at it!

many of the posts here are disgusted at the post article's author's statement -- without considering the fact he made that statement in reaction to a fairly disgusting quote from Nicholas De Genova.

although arguably, that quote is being taken wildly out of context. there was another article i'd read somewhere where mr. genova clarifies his statement -- that he wasn't referring to the black hawk down incident specifically, but rather the situation in mogadishu where they kicked out the americans and opted for self-determination, instead of having a specific course of action imposed upon them by the americans (sort of like what we're doing now in iraq).

-----

I'd hate to believe the media think only of the American dead. Be nice if the history books reflect that:

blame it on the america-centric viewpoint of the authors, who are concerned with themselves and their own first and foremost -- which is (er, used to be) natural.

-----

Conservatives call for your death.

where, please, are you seeing this?

some of the later posts seem to refer to a coulter piece. i'm afraid i can't speak to this, as i don't pay any attention to her.

Remember -- the only thing that McViegh did wrong was choosing his target -- if he'd blown up the New York Time, then that would have been good.

wow, here i'd thought the only thing he did wrong was to murder people who had nothing to do with his political statement, in the interest of his political statement.

And they are slowly, but surely, putting the thought into America's mind that shooting those who don't belive as you do is acceptable.

there are plenty of right wing nuts that already believe this to be true. i've run into a number of leftists who also believe it. this thought is already here. guess what? so is racism, homophobia, antisemitism, classism, and all kinds of other -isms. its existence does not imply the existence of any kind of agenda by the Administration.

-----

It happened during Cliton's term. It's better to have a loss that discredits Clinton than a victory which supports him.

thank you for a thoughtful analysis of the conflict in mogadishu. i'd always thought the negative spin was a result of an effort to paint any kind of military action as "evil" and all members of our armed forces as "babykillers" etc. i'm not certain why the media would portray mogadishu as a failure to browbeat clinton, when it seemed to go out of the way at other times to treat him as their darling.

who benefits?

-----

And I'd love to hear how people ... could start some vehicle, some venue, built around the serious idea of civil discourse about the issues that divide Americans.

why not? easy -- it's not nearly sensational enough. not nearly inflammatory enough. not nearly entertaining enough. :)

-----

... the real war was between extremists of any stripe and normal people who wanted to lived normal lives.

Sounds like it's a universal battle. Me, I'm on the side of Normal Lives.

bravo, bravo.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 05:50 PM:

The bit about how McVeigh should have blown up the New York Times is, in fact, a famous quote from Ann Coulter.

Brr ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 06:51 PM:

thnk tht n mprtnt thng bt Kvn's cmmnts s bsml gnrnc - th srt shrd n ntl m thrts.

Kng ws nt mdrt. H ws trbl-mkng cmmnst nggr. Whn h ws mrdrd, nd sfl brd, yrs ltr, h bcm mdrt. Whl h lvd, h ws rdcl. mn wh ws n strngr t jl, mn wh Drd T Nt Spprt r Bys n Vtnm, t ctr t ctr.

FDR ws nt mdrt. H ws n vl mn, wh sght n vl Nw Dl - n whch rght-wngrs r *stll* tryng t dsmntl. dn't hv src, bt rmmbr sng fgr n hw mny nwspprs spprtd hs ppnnts n r-lctns - t ws vrwhlmngly gnst hm. H ws bttrl htd by th lts.

Donald Johnson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 07:00 PM:

I can't see Mogadishu as a victory and I couldn't care less what President was in charge. 18 dead Americans and hundreds of dead Somalis, many of them possibly innocent civilians. Rah, rah.

The Americans "won" because they were better trained and presumably had better weapons. But as I understand it, the whole thing was a mistake, with the Americans getting involved too deeply in local politics. Nothing to be proud of that I can see.

gina ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 07:53 PM:

I don't care which way you look at it. Wishing a repeat of a Black Hawk Down incident upon our U.S. troops is still wrong. If I read the New York Newsday correctly De Genova not only said, "I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus." He prefaced it with, "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the the U.S. Military." He's deliberately wishing for the downfall of our troops or the U.S military in general. And if all the U.S. troops in the enitre armed forces were obliterated, who is supposed to protect the country? I simply couldn't justify that statement to the mother and father of a 19 year girl taken prisoner of war nor any serviceman in Uniform for that matter. That was strictly uncalled for with folks on the front line right now. Nothing hurts worse than not getting support from home. Support the soldiers, at least, if you don't support the politics of this war because they took an oath of loyalty and service to defend our consitutional rights whatever our views are, and some have already died for it. That Mogadishu remark hit way below the belt.

What I don't understand is why anti-war activists don't protest against the atrocities that Saddam Hussein has committed and is still committing. I know you all watch the news or read it, at least. We've already witnessed the desperate state of hunger the civilians are in. We've witnessed the capture of POWs and relief aid drivers. Unfortunately some of those POWs have already been executed and tortured and mutilated. A woman was hanged for merely waving at coalition troops. Men are forced against their will to fight or have their family members raped and executed. They've already been fired upon by Fedayeen and used as human shields. Saddam's forces were careless enough to put anti-aircraft missiles in market squares killing several citizens. Torture beds have been found in hospitals, machine guns are used in sacred mosques...should I go on? I mean, this is bad. Seriously bad. If you're not seeing the signs, people, you need to wake up.

Saddam Hussein is a nasty, nasty man with a nasty regime that has committed every act of Perfidy against Geneva Convention Rules. Remember you're protesting about the rights of innocent Iraqi civilians, and clearly for years they have been violated by Saddam Hussein. So protest him and wish a Million Mogadishus on his ass. It seems to me there is more talk about the extremes of Bush's administration than there is about Saddam Hussein and the heinous crimes being committed against our soldiers and his people right under your nose. So ask yourself if it's the rights of the Iraqi people you are really worried about or are you snivelling about the infractions of your own?

Rachel ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 07:55 PM:

Um, I think Brr's post used to have vowels in it -- or am I just reliving my Hebrew skills that I understood it the first time around?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 08:19 PM:

To "gina": You have no idea what I've said in the past about Saddam Hussein, or Baathist atrocities, or the enormities committed by Islamic fundamentalists or authoritarian Arab regimes.

If you were interested in actual discourse, you could have discovered with very little effort that I've said plenty about these issues, quite a bit of which you might even agree with. But you're not interested. Quite the contrary, you're just a drive-by looking to score points off of what you imagine to be some "antiwar" people.

I'm not going to bother to argue to you that I'm quite aware that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy who presents a real challenge to global security. I'm not going to explain at length, for the Nth time that I'm not a pacifist or opposed on principle to any projection of American military power.

Because you know what, if you cared, you could have found that out. You could have guessed just based on the quotes on my sidebar, to say nothing of dozens of posts in my archives. You don't care; you're just another internet troll trying to shout down a conversation, and counting on fair-minded liberals to let you get away with it.

I'm not going to let you get away with it, Off with you, and the search engine you rode in on.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 08:29 PM:

You know, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to write a “ginabot” that would scour the blogiverse for antiwar-looking comment threads and spam them, possibly using some sort of Markov-chain automated text generator.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 10:20 PM:

David: True, but it would be wrong. Er. Yes. Very wrong. Also opens the door to retaliation. Probably wrong of me to be thinking that everyone I like, right and left, has more variable diction than the trolls and megaphones ...

Rachel: By local policy, vowels are the price of excessive incivility. As it happens, I paused for a few moments' uncharacteristic second thoughts before disemvowelling Brr's post, wondering whether I'd misread it. Then I decided it didn't matter. You (that's the theoretical you, not the Rachel-you) have to have much better control of tone, and more reason on your side, before I'll allow you to be unpleasantly condescending to Kevin Drum. You have to either have near-perfect control of tone, or be black, for me to countenance words like nggr.

ben ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 11:55 PM:

We no longer live in a concensus society. I'm beginnning to give up hope we may ever do so again.

This thought has been bothering me for ages. I feel a want to leave the nation for this reason. How can we reconcile the situation? I'd love to hear your ideas/plans/thoughts+.. a couple:

Create more political parties, with actual power. Two major party options is not enough to represent the diversity of the entire American community properly. I'd love to see a dozen or more signigicant parties battle it out!

Seperation of Corporation & State

Instill/Create companies with a high ethical business practice. I don't see how this could be possible with where we stand today, but hey it's a thought.

Politician Lie Detector/IQ testing


There are probably more, better ways of developing a positive American culture. I hope we figure something good out, something fantastic.. or lots of positive little good programs that add up proper. Otherwise, I do not see a bright future for the USA. Dare I say no future. This, of course, is down the road a ways.. i think..

not a big political analyst, an american who is concerned and interested,

ben

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 12:31 AM:

Culture is a machine for mediating choice.

What you're seeing, what we're all seeing, right now is an attempt to remove general access to various kinds of choice.

There's a religious constellation -- attached to questions about social change, particularly related to medical and reproductive technology, but also about being able to maintain a very large lie about human orgins -- and a corporate constellation -- attached to questions about the extent of the rule of law and the exercise of power, but also about being able to maintain a very large lie about economic concentration being of general economic benefit.

Actually defeating those things involves changing a lot of hearts and minds, because both those general questions of choice are sincerely believed by a great many people to be to their benefit, whether such could be demonstrated by quantitative analysis or not.

Ardsgaine ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 12:49 AM:

"Throw down the goddamned candles, and pick up the torches. Politics in America is now based on intimidation and fear. Every quiet vigil you hold is one more ecouragement to them that you'll continue to roll over when they roar at you. It is time to show them that we will fight."

What a bunch of crap. When was the last time a bunch of conservatives rioted in the streets, turning over cars and smashing windows? The Far Left is the primary source of violence in American Politics, and has been since the 60's. Your spouting is just another example of how the Left has been advocating violence to effect political change for the past 30+ years, and what was it prompted by? One off-the-cuff, unserious remark by a conservative writer. Give me a break!

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 01:22 AM:

I've figured it out. Why the Iraqi conscripts are fighting to the last ditch rather than surrendering, why people who fled Saddam's terror are returning to fight on his side, why Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, the leading Iraqi Shiite cleric, has sent instructions to his supporters and secret cells in Basra, Najaf, Karbala and other southern Iraqi cities not to start an uprising or support the American-led coalition in any way.

It's Ann Coulter's fault.

Listen to her, back in 2001: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

That got transmitted worldwide.

So the good folks of Iraq are looking at that and saying, "Okay, gotcha. 'Kill their leaders,' check. 'Invade their countries,' check. Any reason to think they aren't planning to convert us to Christianity too? Nope. Allah akbar!"

Poor fellows, they live in a place where what's in the newspapers and on TV is what the government wants to put in the newspapers and on TV. How were they to know Coulter's a nutjob who's only speaking for herself rather than stating official government policy?

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 01:30 AM:

It's not like merely winding up enserfed to an oil company or six is a good option, either.

People who have a plan for democratic reconstruction and a clue about public relations talk about the plan; delicately, so it doesn't sound like a bribe as such, but they talk about it, to get it on the table as a political option both at home and abroad and to create it as a position in the hearts-and-minds part of the conflict.

These folks are all deeply aware of information management; that's the only kind of news they expect to get from a government. The ringing silence, the ringing indifference to that need to ennunciate the plan is telling them something.

Joe Maller ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 01:46 AM:

Did anyone actually read through to the end of the NYPost article?

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 02:00 AM:

What a bunch of crap. When was the last time a bunch of conservatives rioted in the streets, turning over cars and smashing windows?

That would be Florida after the 2000 elections. The results of that riot were a whole lot more catastrophic for our country than any number of peace protests.

The Far Left is the primary source of violence in American Politics, and has been since the 60's. Your spouting is just another example of how the Left has been advocating violence to effect political change for the past 30+ years, and what was it prompted by? One off-the-cuff, unserious remark by a conservative writer.

Well, no. It's prompted by 20 years of watching the religious right infiltrate the media, government, and other social institutions all the while lying through their teeth about anyone, like me, say, or Erik, who disagrees with them. It's prompted by the possibly irreversible degradation of our public discourse such that people no longer know what rationality, civility, and reason, let alone liberalism, are. It's prompted by 20 years of being reasonable, well-behaved, rational, and civil, and being shouted down by a bunch of wing nuts who, though they are probably a minority, are now in control of this country and its institutions. It's 20 years of that kind of frustration. I said some months ago during the thread in this blog on MWO, that it can never be right to add lies, incivility, and shrieking to the public discourse. I got email from T saying she agreed with me, but it was an article of faith, and what if we're wrong? Well, I begin to believe maybe we are.

MKK

Buzz ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 02:23 AM:

I would not put De Genova on the left side of the political fence [if there is one], more like authoritarian, neo-facist.

Yehudit ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 02:31 AM:

"Because you know what, if you cared, you could have found that out. You could have guessed just based on the quotes on my sidebar, to say nothing of dozens of posts in my archives. You don't care; you're just another internet troll trying to shout down a conversation, and counting on fair-minded liberals to let you get away with it."

It's clear to me that gina is using "you" in the plural. It's also clear to me that she writes clearly and constructs a coherent argument, which makes her not a troll, unless on Electrolite the word "troll" has expanded to mean "anybody whose comment puts me on the defensive." Even LGF has a more restricted definition than that.

Yehudit ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 02:43 AM:

"I keep on thinking that "the Left" is constantly being forced into a defensive stance. In a defensive stance, there is a tacit admission that such evil nonsense as de Genova's does, in fact, belong to us and that it is our job to shut him up. How can we talk about the things that need to be done we're constantly trying to clarify the things we haven't said?"

The Right doesn't whine about whether it's their job to shut up Pat Buchanan or Trent Lott. They just do it. The Left needs to adopt that kind of ruthlessness toward its own wackos instead of complaining they're being smeared with a broad brush - it just makes them look like they're trying to avoid taking responsibility.

It may or may not be "fair" but that's how it looks. I am tired of seeing the Left make excuses for extremists. I don't take Stand Down seriously anymore because they wouldn't take a stand on "David Byron," a Stalinist mysogynist jerk who posts on every single thread. The Left has been mealy-mouthed about the anti-semitism in its ranks.

Those who have called the Left to account such as Michael Walzer, Todd Gitlin, Nat Hentoff, and Christopher Hitchens have my utmost respect, although I disagree with much of their politics. (Paul Goodman was one of my heros of the 60s because he called the New Left extremists of that era to account.) They all have the advantage of being elder statesmen who have seen this kind of shit before, but that's what elders are for, if anyone listens to them.

Skarl ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 03:18 AM:

Yehudit:

The 'Left' cannot "shut up" de Genova. First, because there is no such organization. Second, because he made his comments at a campus rally - not in a left-wing publication. Third, because no matter how much searching is necessary, publications like the NY Post will search out someone willing to make such stupid comments, even if it is only a "campus crank".

The right-wingers you mentioned are politicians - they can be controlled to some extent by their party - not untenured professors.

But more importantly, how are these extremists the responsibility of anyone but themselves and those who publish their views? How are they the left's "own wackos"?

Keep in mind that it is the opponents of left-wing policies that pollute the media with the views of irrelevant radicals. Not the Haydens or anyone else posting to this thread. Not me.

And the the NY Post's statement that De Genova is not "worth the effort" - while printing his statements, and implying in their headline that he somehow represents the university - emphasises how much they must search to find such an objectionable viewpoint.

Timothy Burke ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 07:27 AM:

Yehudit:

Pat Buchanan is still around, and unless I miss my guess, has had some speaking engagements in the past two years or so. Trent Lott is still in the Senate, with a little "R" next to his name.

If de Genova is representative of the left, broadly speaking, because he spoke in a teach-in that featured 29 other professors at one university in one city of a large nation, then Buchanan and Lott are STILL representative of the right. Because you're using a single person on a single occasion speaking in a single fairly unimportant venue as an example of someone the Left is accountable for. By that standard, conservatives are vastly *more* accountable for Coulter, Gary Savage, David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and a host of equivalent crazies.

If you get to claim the right has disciplined them because they no longer have access to the central intellectual and political stages that define American conservatism, well, problem solved. De Genova has never been (and will never be) invited to speak at a Democratic Convention (like Buchanan did) and he will never sit in the US Senate (like Lott did). He will never write a best-selling book (like Coulter and Savage have). De Genova will not be publishing his work in Mother Jones or the Nation, I think I can predict with some confidence. He won't even be a professor at Columbia in a while, I'm guessing.

If the examples you cite are right-wing effectiveness at dispensing discipline, then problem solved, parity achieved.

Now that being said, I noted above, and would continue to insist that de Genova is an extreme example of one important, problematic lineage of thinking on the left, and that lineage of thinkers needs to regard someone like him as an authentic indictment of the problematic tendencies in their thinking. But then the same would be true for some conservatives and Buchanan.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 07:55 AM:

Ardsgaine: I found out some years ago that someone I once knew had been married to someone who was murdered by the Klan. Not in the 50's or even the 60's -- but at Greensboro, which IIRC happened in the late 70's. I acknowledge this is the latest right-wing mass murder I can remember; since then the violence has been more random and retail (e.g., James Bird) rather than organized and wholesale -- but the Left, for all its noise, never went in for wholesale murder.

An obvious difference is that left-wing violence has been from individuals or tiny groups of fruitcakes (e.g., the Symbionese Liberation "Army"), while right-wing violence was largely part of the establishment. Consider the number of Klan members with mundane influence, or the National Guard at Kent State, or the number of the rioters at the Florida vote count who were on the staffs of congressional conservatives.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 08:26 AM:

As the anonymous Skarl posted:

"No matter how much searching is necessary, publications like the NY Post will search out someone willing to make such stupid comments, even if it is only a 'campus crank'."

Quite right. That's what I've been saying. There will always be some De Genovas spouting ignorant "tough talk." The difference between the mainstream left and the mainstream right is that it takes very little effort to guilt-trip liberals and leftists into a lather of self-criticism over a few De Genovas, while it takes an enormous media effort to pressure the mainstream right into the ENORMOUS SACRIFICE of forcing a racist senator to become MERELY the Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

Meanwhile, the anonymous Ardsgaine says:

"When was the last time a bunch of conservatives rioted in the streets, turning over cars and smashing windows? The Far Left is the primary source of violence in American Politics, and has been since the 60s."

You're quite right. For instance, we've all read about those many far-left "militia" groups in the rural West. You see them all the time, with their red hammer-and-sickle flags hanging off the gunracks of their pickup trucks. And well do we remember 1995, when leftist extremists blew up a Federal office building and killed 168 people. Oh, and don't forget November 2000, when a group of enraged liberals, specially flown down from the Upper West Side, stormed a ballot-counting session in Florida, helping to tip the disputed 2000 election in the direction of Al Gore.

It was disgraceful, I'm telling you. Wine and cheese on the walls. On the ceilings! Those poor conservatives never had a chance.

I'm just puzzled as to why, while you're at it, you neglected to include the standard canard about roughneck union organizers pushing pregnant women off sidewalks. For decades, this peculiar trope appeared with startling regularity in the Readers' Digest. One came to imagine pregnant women being lined up, like bowling pins, to be pushed into the gutter by grimacing Trotskyists. Oh, that left-wing violence.

Meanwhile, Yehudit says:

"The Right doesn't whine about whether it's their job to shut up Pat Buchanan or Trent Lott. They just do it."

Color, sky, planet, interrogatory.

Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 08:30 AM:

In response to the question of when the Right riots (apart from 2000, and the whole Klan thing, neither of which I care to touch), I'm going to point out that the behavior of the nominally right-wing Cuban community in Miami during the Elian Gonzalez business was not all candlelight vigils. And that was in large part about anti-Communism.

And let's talk about which side's fringe has militias and murders people and such. Timothy McVeigh, James Kopp, the militia movement, Christian Identity. If the Left is responsible for one loudmouth fool at a university somewhere, what responsibility does the Right that preaches the illegitimacy of government and the evils of modernity and human freedom have for those guys?

The Right doesn't shut Trent Lott or Pat Buchanan or Ann Coulter up. It ignores their evil oputbursts, and does the minimum possible to placate public opinion when forced. If Trent Lott was just speaking his mind. So was Nicholas de Genova. Both are pretty disgusting.

When Yehudit removes Lott, I'll kick De Genova out of Columbia. Can't do that? Well, neither can I. But pardon me for thinking "reasonable people" should be more concerned about *the freaking Senate Majority Leader* (who kept a senior role even after losing the majority leader job) than one guy at a university somewhere.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 09:21 AM:

The Right doesn't whine about whether it's their job to shut up Pat Buchanan or Trent Lott. They just do it.

For the record.

Pat Buchahan, in the news.

Trent Lott, in the news.

My, Messrs. Lott and Buchahan certainly are silent! Note that these are calls to current searches, not static pages. You'll see how "silent" Messrs. Lott and Buchahan are.

What a bunch of crap. When was the last time a bunch of conservatives rioted in the streets, turning over cars and smashing windows? The Far Left is the primary source of violence in American Politics, and has been since the 60's.

And the right wing never uses force to gain it's means. I guess all those abortion doctors were just standing there. I guess all those blacks hung from trees, the gay man dragged to death by a car, and the kids in the Murrah building "just fell down."

Screw the goddamn "riot" in Florida. We're talking the advocation, and execution, of cold blooded murder for political reasons. It's happening now, it has been happening, and it has been the right wing pulling the trigger, tying the nooses, and building the bombs. A liberal says something stupid, and he's marked for death. Meanwhile, James Tyler Williams managed to firebomb three synagogs, and killed a gay couple before getting caught. James Kopp kills a doctor with a rifle shot through his window -- killing the doctor while he was sitting at home. Somebody decides to send anthrax spores through the mail -- to the Senate Majority Leader, other Democrats, and various "left wing" media outlets.

The right doesn't use violence? What a contemptible lie! The right silences its most contemptible voices? What complete and utter bullshit.

The liar, here, is you. Hiding behind a username, no less. I call you out. You are just one cog in the evil in this country, and I not only hope you meet the fate that you so richly deserve, I hope I'm there to witness it.

This, folks, is what I mean. They kill, then they claim that we're the killers. Bullshit. No more.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 09:43 AM:

And the whole time they're doing it, they're whining (no other word for it; they could give Eddie Haskell a run for his money) about how they're always the victims.

Can't they pull themselves together and show a little dignity and self-respect? The conservative Republican men I grew up around would rather have had their fingernails pulled out with pliers than do that kind of whining, puling, self-pitying routine in public. Or at home, for that matter.

I mean, look at John Farrell: conservative, but a well-spoken, well-behaved, intelligent man. Why can't they be more like him?

The hopeless streak in me says that if they read this, they'll just whine some more: see see see, you leftists are too oppressing me, oooh how cruel, mom make them stop it ...

I am embarrassed for them, and I resent it.

Iain Rowan ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 10:00 AM:

In response to the comments that anti-war protestors do not demonstrate against Hussein.

There are many people and organisations who have been protesting the violence that Saddam Hussein does to his own people. They have been doing it for years. Decades. They have been protesting about his human rights violations long before our governments jumped on that train. Protesting about them to whom?

To our governments, by and large, in order to try to persuade them to stop supporting Hussein diplomatically. To persuade them to stop selling Hussein materials to better equip his army. To stop them sending service personnel to train parts of his army. To persuade them not to send Rumsfeld to shake Hussein's hand in the eighties, when the man had already been responsible for the use of chemical weapons, to persuade them not to give Hussein lines of credit to buy military equipment, as the UK government did, when it already knew that he was a barbarous murderer.

Sadly, those governments did not listen. But that did not mean that there were not people protesting. I think it's more illuminating to turn the question around to those who are hawks now, who wave the flag of Saddam's brutality at every opportunity to justify the war: where were *you* twenty years ago when he was killing and torturing his own people? Where were *your* voices of protest then?

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 10:11 AM:

Teresa, it's been pointed out that freudian projection explains a large part of right-wing rhetoric. One example would be the WSJ decrying the 'politics of personal destruction' allegedly practiced by the Clinton administration, while simultaneously running every accusation that the right could dredge up. I call this the 'sometimes it's good to throw stones *because* you live a glass house' tactic.

Other examples would be the (successful) renaming of 'elite' to mean 'professors and middle-class big-city folk' rather than 'those with money and power'; 'draft-dodger' to mean 'democrat', while republicans with other priorities get a pass (or couldn't get in because all of the places were taken already).


PS - I sent you e-mail, about my previous post.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 10:17 AM:

Teresa, thank you for your kind words. And truthful. I had to laugh when I read Yehudit's comments. For God's sake, all I do at other conservative blogs is whine about Buchanan and his ilk—and they're fickin' never going to go away.

Check out David Frum's excellent piece in the latest NR. The truly sad fact is that NR is constantly going to have to refight that "John Birch" battle Buckley did years ago just to keep the conservative mainstream legit. (I was also happy they deep-sixed Anne Coulter after that stupid article she wrote saying we should kill Muslim rulers and convert their countries.)

But yeah it is sad. Frum's going to have to write that article again in a few years when Son of Buchanan crawls out of the swamp and "makes a name" for himself.

joexx ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 10:23 AM:

fromj oepos tedon april 12003 1023a mtwop roble mswit hthei nterp retat ionha ivest henyp ostco lumn1 theco lumni sjoki ngabo utdes iring kents tatet ohapp anexa mpleo firon ythei ronyi smaki ngthe point maybe notag oodon ethat ifthi sprof essor cande siret hedea thsof milli onsof peopl esome oneel secan jokin sireh isdea thmay betha tsnot agood jokeb utits ajoke thats hould becle artoa nylit erate perso n2eve nifth ecolu mnwer entjo kingi tisal socle artha titdo esnot menti onany other antiw arpro testo rsoth ertha nthep rofes sorhi mself quote heyif acamp uscra nkcan wishf orper sonal calam ityto befal lusfo rcesi niraq whyno tfant asize about avoll eyofk entst atest ylemi litia muske tryra ttled offin hisge neral direc tionh isgen erald irect ionno tanyo therp erson sdire ction soaga innol itera teper sonwo uldre adthi sasca lling forth edeat hofal lanti warin divid ualst hatsn oteve nremo telya fairr eadin gofth eedit orial

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 11:03 AM:

Gee, this person must have been on the net almost from its inception to get the address "joe@hotmail.com". Over 1300 Web references in Google! And 5500 postings to Usenet!

Looks like he has a record as a spammer, too.
See http://www.coastside.net/coastside/support/email/filters/

Hestia ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 11:18 AM:

But Joe, the point is that in any kind of context, no self-respecting publication would ever--should ever--sink to the level of even joking about that sort of thing. A condemnable statement by one nutball speaker turns into a disaster when it's parroted in a national newspaper (of sorts).

And how exactly is "fantasiz[ing] about a volly of Kent State-style militia musketry rattled off in" even ONE person's "general direction" somehow more acceptable than in many? It's still a mean, contemptuous article that should never have been published, and people are correct to be outraged--even if it is the Post.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 11:20 AM:

The IRONY is making the point, maybe not a good one, that if this professor can desire the deaths of millions of people, someone else can (jokingly) desire his death.

Ha, ha, only serious. I think you misunderstand the meaning of irony. If irony is a figure of speech in which the intended meaning is opposite of that expressed by the words used, then the real irony of this piece, is that the author says he's just kidding about wanting protesters dead.

In fact, though, the piece isn't really ironic at all, either way. It's just a cheap piece of chest-beating, that pretends to be intimidating, in a "See, this could happen to you" sort of way. And of course, as others have pointed out, it's an effort to smear anyone who's not wholeheartedly behind this war.

To cut to the chase: I think the real problem is that, generally speaking, "the right" manages to define itself through it's least threatening members, while defining "the left" through it's most threatening. And conservative pundits, writers, speakers, and politicians have been fairly successful at selling that message to America.

Martial ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 11:37 AM:

When did you learn that Saddam was a bad man and that he oppressed people? When did you start demonstrating for the human rights of Kurds?

"The situation in Kurdistan has taken a tragic turn. For about a year the Iraqi government has been conducting large-scale operations against the Kurdish minority, which constitutes nearly a third of the population of Iraq."

From a letter to the Editors of the New York Review of Books, May 29, 1975, signed by twenty-two largely left-wing intellectuals and academics. You'll recognize several of them because, over the years, they have been the sort of people who can't quite seem to shut up about state-sponsored evil, wherever it lurks. Sure, some of them have even criticized US foreign policy: give them credit for being consistent in the application of their moral values, rather than applying them contingent upon current interests.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 12:32 PM:

Re: James MacDonald:
"Poor fellows, they live in a place where what's in the newspapers and on TV is what the government wants to put in the newspapers and on TV. How were they to know Coulter's a nutjob who's only speaking for herself rather than stating official government policy?"

This is an interesting point. If (as my French friend informs me) French TV chuckles over the NY Post's photo of the UN Security Council with the weasel heads superimposed over the French and German delegates, is it so much of a stretch to think that some Middle Eastern media may have picked up and disseminated Coulter's comments?
Obviously Coulter's words aren't official gov't policy. But if the President is really the deeply committed Christian he professes to be, can his intentions deep in his heart be that different? (Even if he's a pious hypocrite they needn't be different.)
With the increasing consolidation and control of big media, people like Coulter, Limbaugh, Savage, etc. in fact =do= more or less represent the administration's view. They're just the growling pit bulls who can be momentarily restrained ("Down, girl!") when they start growling too loudly.


Sara ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 12:50 PM:

On Nicholas De Genova (upthread), the right-wingers are also distorting his degree of status and influence. Ph.Ds in the humanities and social sciences such as anthropology are overproduced and there are not enough teaching jobs for them, let alone tenure-track assistant professorships. Non-tenure track assistant professors are generally regarded as departmental cannon fodder, just up the evolutionary ladder from adjuncts, who are hired to teach individual courses. Many of these lower status academics (and graduate students who see their future) are becoming very politicized and bitter. I don't know De Genova's particular relations with his department or his psychology, but a non-TT asst. professor might well decide he or she had nothing to lose by speaking out, not identifying with the institution. Whereas full and long-term professors like Hobsbawm and Foner at Columbia (they are both Marxists) would weigh their words more carefully. De Genova may have been stressed out from overwork (the asst. prof. is expected to publish heavily and he has produced chiefly articles, as his Columbia CV shows) and didn't have time to reconsider his speech, especially since he was chosen to speak at the last moment.

I speak from a little experience, since I am a Ph.D. in classical history and have tried for three years to find a full-time academic job, to no avail. The right-wing ideologues disseminate an outdated view of academics as privileged, easy shoo-ins for tenure, college teaching being not "real work" and only slightly less sybaritic than Hollywood acting. This is *not* true. They furthermore never point to _their own_ ideologues and think-tankers, paid $150,000 a year by places like AEI and the Olin Foundation to write books that sometimes have no footnotes or documentation whatever, just the unsourced anecdotes right-wingers love. David Brock's _Blinded by the Right_ reveals this.

I am not condoning what De Genova said; I think his "million Mogadishus" remark was idiotic, and with friends like these, who needs enemies? But I wanted to explain the possible social context a little more.

Josh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 01:01 PM:

John Farrell: Coulter didn't get axed because of her notorious "kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" column, she got axed because she attacked her editors elsewhere in the press. Their decision wasn't nearly as principled as you make it out to be.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 01:17 PM:

Good point, Jon. All I know about him technically is that his IP address is 67.66.179.214.

What I know about him personally:

1. He doesn't know Patrick's name.
2. He uses ALL CAPS for emphasis
3. He uses the ancient and contemptible "It was a joke; where's your sense of humor?" trope to excuse offensive speech.
4. He uses its sibling trope, "You just didn't notice that it was intended ironically," for the same purpose.
5. He learned his definition of "irony" on the internet.
6. He uses that stupid, tendentious style of argument that Emma recently anatomized so brilliantly in Late Night Thoughts.
7. He's lecturing a professional editor on an elementary principle of language, which would be fine if it happened to be an apposite point; but alas, what he's saying is neither honest nor accurate.
In short, I don't see any good reason why he should continue to exist in his current form. And since I've had in mind to try a new kind of super-lossy compression I thought up the other day ...

(Walks off, whistling, as she rolls up her sleeves.)

Invisible Adjunct ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 01:29 PM:

De Genova is untenured, yes, but is he indeed non-tenure track? He is listed on his department's web page as an "assistant professor," which usually means tenure-track. Non-tenure track professors are usually called "visiting assistant professors" or "adjunct assistant professors" (both of which categories De Genova's department also lists). I hear you, Sara (my situation is similar to yours), though, like you, I don't think marginal status excuses such idiotic and irresponsible comments.

Yes, there is a double standard: those over on the right too often get a free pass. It's not fair. But the reality is, extremists like De Genova will be used to discredit more moderate left-liberal positions.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 01:41 PM:

De Genova is an idiot, and discredits stupid people everywhere. I think the stupid portions of our society should be made to take greater responsibility for extreme statements made by their individual adherents.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 03:21 PM:

Josh,

Please read.

bkw ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 03:47 PM:
t's nn Cltr's flt.

h. nd f wr t sk rndm rq n th strt wh nn cltr ws, wht r th dds 'd jst gt blnk lk?

brl knw wh nn cltr s, nd lv n th stts. wht mks y thnk th rq ppl r fghtng bcs f sm stpd thng nn cltr sd?

wll, mb l jzr tk th cmmnt nd plstrd t ll vr th rwvs. dd thy?

bkw ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 03:58 PM:

'm crs t s wht jxx wrt tht ws s hrrbl tht h ws cnsrd, bt nt ngh t spnd th ffrt t rrrng ll th lttrng.

rdng ths cmmnts sctn hs bn mst llmntng. mst f th "rght"-wng blgs rd, th mmbrs r whnng nd cmplnng bt th "lft wng md." pprntl, ccrdng t sm flks n ths brd, t's th rlgs rght tht's tkng vr th md nd ll thr nstttns f pwr.

fscntng. jst fscntng.

Josh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 05:27 PM:

John Farrell: I've read that column before; in fact, it was the very basis of my statement that Coulter wasn't sacked for her "kill their leaders and convert their people" column. The relevant quote, from my perspective, would be:
"We did not "fire" Ann for what she wrote, even though it was poorly written and sloppy. We ended the relationship because she behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship, and loyalty."

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 05:31 PM:

David Moles wrote:

You know, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to write a “ginabot” that would scour the blogiverse for antiwar-looking comment threads and spam them, possibly using some sort of Markov-chain automated text generator.

It's been done — on Usenet, at least. Wave your hand if you remember Serdar Argic and his automated spew of Armenian Holocaust denial.

Jrm ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 06:00 PM:

Dd Ptrck ctlly rd th rtcl h clms t b cmplnng bt?

H sys: "T th cntrr, my dl cmmt tks m pst crprtn tht hs dclrd ts dsr t s m klld."

Fnn; th rtcl ddn't sy nthng bt Ptrck Nlsn Hydn. Nr dd t sy nthng bt nt-wr ppl n gnrl. t dd xprss dsr fr Knt Stt ncdnt md n DGnv's drctn. Bt Ptrck sn't DGnv's ltr g, s h? mn, f smn clls fr th dth f nn Cltr b nm, dn't tk t prsnll.

Pls, th whl dtrl ws prtt bvsl srcstc. t ws lk th Pst ws syng, "Wldn't w b wfl f w clld fr DGnv's dth nd w rll mnt t? Wll, DGnv ws mlln tms wrs, bcs h clld fr th dths f mllns, nd h rll dd mn t."

Th fct tht y'll rct s strngl t th (ttrl mstkn nd prnd) mprssn tht th Pst ws cllng fr smn's dth jst prvs thr pnt. f th hd mnt t -- nd thy bvsl ddn't -- thn th wld ndd hv sd smthng wfl. Whch dmnstrts wh DGnv s vl fr hvng sd th rl thng.

natasha ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 06:28 PM:

Ardsgaine - "The Far Left is the primary source of violence in American Politics, and has been since the 60's."

If the Army of God, the guy who picketed Matthew Shepard's funeral, and the folks who overthrew several democratic governments in Central America in the 80s (in a storm of bullets and torture) seem like Far Leftists to you, then frankly, you frighten me. A lot.

Yehudit - I don't know why they put up with that David Byron character at Stand Down, either. Max Sawicky said he didn't feel he could kick him out unless he was disruptive. Guess he doesn't feel that defending the Taliban's treatment of women and calling feminists Nazis is particularly bad form. He weaves just enough of a rational leftist sentiment into his rantings to make the whole lot of us look terrible.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 06:51 PM:

Good point, Jon. All I know about him technically is that his IP address is 67.66.179.214.

If that ain't a hint....

His machine name is adsl-67-66-179-214.dsl.rcsntx.swbell.net. SBC uses a simple code for it's dsl -- 4 letters for city, two for state. I don't know what "RCSN" expands to, but TX? That's a gimme.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 06:52 PM:

bkw -- As far as I can tell, it's the corporate right that's taking over the media and other institutions of power. Take, as an aexample, Clear Channel Communications, which currently owns about 11% of the nation's radio stations (and in some markets, a much higher percentage -- for example, in Minot, ND, it owns all six of the city's commercial stations). And recently Clear Channel has been organizing pro-war rallies.

rdsgn ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 06:57 PM:

"Th lr, hr, s y. Hdng bhnd srnm, n lss. cll y t. Y r jst n cg n th vl n ths cntry, nd nt nly hp y mt th ft tht y s rchl dsrv, hp 'm thr t wtnss t."

S mch fr cvl dbt, h?

m nt cnsrvtv.

m spprtr f wmn's rght t chs, wh lvs t tll ths "pr-lf" dts wh cll m n th phn fr dntns: "Np, srr! 'm pr-dth. Dfntl pr-dth." Stps thm cld vr tm.

m n thst wh hs hd nmrs rgmnts wth rlgs nts bt prr n schls, vltn vs crtnsm, nd th nn-xstnc f Gd.

m n nt-rcst wh hs wrttn nmrs lttrs t th dtr dnncng th plgsts fr th Cnfdrc wh clm tht th Cvl Wr wsn't bt slvr.

m scl lbrl wh spprts th lglztn f drgs, th rght f gys t mrr, nd n gnrl, th rght f cnsntng dlts t ngg n whtvr srt f sx flps thr swtch.

Bt m ls blvr n lssz-fr cptlsm, nd stng dfns fr th S.

S fnd mslf t dds wth bth lftsts nd cnsrvtvs. n ll th rgmnts 'v hd wth bth sds, hv gnrll njd mr cvlt frm ppl wh dntf wth th rght, thn frm ppl wh dntf wth th lft. Tht's nt crss th brd, bt jst gnrl trnd.

cld ls g nt rgmnts bt whthr wht sprmcst rgnztns blng n th rght sd f th pltcl spctrm, r th lft. ftr ll, t *ws* th Ntnl SCLST Prty. N pnt n tht, thgh. 'm nw t blg wrld, nd 'v dcdd tht t's smpl nt frmt cndcv t cvl dbt. t's grt plc fr chrldng, bt nt dbtng. Ths blg hs ts fllwng, nd th'r gng t sht dwn nyn wh dsgrs wth thm. Th sm thng hppns n thr blgs 'v sn.

Hv gd lf, flks.

Anon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 07:43 PM:

Good point, Jon. All I know about him technically is that his IP address is 67.66.179.214.

If that ain't a hint....

His machine name is adsl-67-66-179-214.dsl.rcsntx.swbell.net.


Isn't someone getting a little obsessive? Geez, get a life.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 08:38 PM:

Obssesive, Mr Anonymous? I fail to see how...

whois 67.66.179.214

is obsessive. It took me, oh, three seconds?

I do internetworking for a living; mapping IP addresses to names is a fundamental part of how the Internet works. If you decide to use anonymous logins to spew your propaganda, you really should not do so from a machine with a fixed IP address -- esp. when that fixed IP address goes to a DSL line at your house. There's many words for this, but "dumb" is probably the easiest for you to comprehend.

I note that your message is coming from Italy, specifically, a machine of Fastweb.it's, in Milan. Now, it's possible that you are in Milan. Somehow, however, I doubt it. You did, however, make a little tiny error in posting a machine that runs NTP -- which means I now have a quite accurate timestamp of when you posted. And, of course, so does the sysadmin running that subnet. (Giuseppe. No kidding. Nice guy, and his English is *way* better than my Italian, at least over a chat link. I digress.) Turns out he's running NTP too, and is busy running the connection down, since he was there already, and didn't really want to go home and get two hours' sleep.

Probably just another bug-hunt, though. Day in the life of a sysadmin -- find the holes, chase down those abusing them. Send some email, make some calls -- IRC has made our life much eaiser. Shame Giuseppe had to be in the office this late, or, well, actually, I guess "early" would be a better word, but such is the life of a BOFH.

Pray, sir or ma'ma, that I never truly get obssessive about you.


Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 09:18 PM:

Patrick, if you feel like I'm being too heavyhanded, you're welcome to fire me. You knew my tolerance for boredom when you asked me to moderate.

If you're one of the people whose posts I just disemvowelled:

Don't imagine that I did it because I disagreed with your ideas. I dearly love a good argument. I have, however, run out of hope that you'll provide us with one on this issue.

(Not one of you--not one--noticed that the first person in this thread to lose his vowels was a leftist.)

You might want to consider the old advice about how if you can't be entertaining, you should be pleasant; and if you can't manage either, you should strive to be useful and well-informed. While it's true that we all have infinite value in the eyes of God, our fellow human beings are inclined to be quite a lot pickier than that.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 09:48 PM:

Josh, John, I remember that incident, and I'm inclined to think you've both got right on your side. She was way out of control -- more so than usual, I mean. Firing her for disloyalty meant they didn't have to fire her for her opinions; but her most recent set of opinions had been pretty hard to swallow.

They finessed it. I don't think you guys are going to be able to pin it 100% on either cause. You're welcome to disagree, of course.

Cheem ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2003, 10:47 PM:

Just to be nitpicky, that joexxx message was not compressed nor was any information lost. Although I think it would have been better if you'd also done a one-for-one substitution of the letters and provided a nice little clue somewhere.

Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 12:31 AM:

The thing that hits me hardest in the gut about this stupid De Genova/Kent State "thought experiment" is that there are folks out there who seem to think (or are willing to suggest in "jest") that Kent State was only a tragedy for the left. It's a bit like suggesting that Pearl Harbor was a tragedy solely for Hawaiians.

Cheers,

SL

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 12:40 AM:

What an extremely good point.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 12:48 AM:

No hints, Cheem; simple substitutions are, well, simple I hope this works; it's very late and I'm dropping off. Here goes:

mph ikhuexfl pbma max bgmxkikxmtmbhg atrwxg zboxl max gr ihlm vhenfg:

1. max vhenfg bl chdbgz tuhnm wxlbkbgz dxgm lmtmx mh atiixg tztbg. bm'l tg xqtfiex hy bkhgr. max bkhgr bl ftdbgz max ihbgm, ftrux ghm t zhhw hgx, matm by mabl ikhyxllhk vtg wxlbkx max wxtmal hy fbeebhgl hy ixhiex, lhfxhgx xelx vtg (chdbgzer) wxlbkx abl wxtma. ftrux matm'l ghm t zhhw chdx, unm bm'l t chdx. matm lahnew ux vextk mh tgr ebmxktmx ixklhg.

2. xoxg by max vhenfg pxkxg'm chdbgz, bm bl telh vextk matm bm whxl ghm fxgmbhg tgr hmaxk tgmb-ptk ikhmxlmhkl, hmaxk matg max ikhyxllhk abflxey. jnhmx: "axr, by t vtfinl vktgd vtg pbla yhk ixklhgte vtetfbmr mh uxytee n.l. yhkvxl bg bktj, par ghm ytgmtlbsx tuhnm t oheexr hy dxgm lmtmx-lmrex fbebmbt fnldxmkr ktmmexw hyy bg abl zxgxkte wbkxvmbhg?" abl zxgxkte wbkxvmbhg. ghm tgr hmaxk ixklhg'l wbkxvmbhg. lh tztbg, gh ebmxktmx ixklhg phnew kxtw mabl tl vteebgz yhk max wxtma hy tee tgmb-ptk bgwbobwntel. matm'l ghm xoxg kxfhmxer t ytbk kxtwbgz hy max xwbmhkbte.

bkw ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 02:07 AM:

ah, so we get censored for questioning the accusations some other people post?

or censored for wondering what joexx wrote -- theresa has a wonderful laundry list of reasons why she decided to put his post in the blender. i'd've liked to have seen what he wrote to earn such condemnation, if only to avoid such behaviour on my part.

although the second half of the smurfed post, i had ruminated about the disconnect between how the "right" views the media bias, and how some of the "left" here view the media bias. maybe you're not allowed to say things like that. i have no idea.

oh well. this post will probably also be squelched -- hey, it's your blog, it's your moderators, and we're all here by your good graces.

i had heard good things about this place, and i was hoping for a decent forum with decent discussion -- but such is difficult when posts keep getting eviscerated.

but i guess i'm just not entertaining or pleasant enough.

i'd sincerely like to hear what was so objectionable about my two previous posts -- but i hardly expect it.

(Not one of you--not one--noticed that the first person in this thread to lose his vowels was a leftist.)

why should this matter? i object philosophically more to people's voices being taken away in an apparently subjective manner ("apparently" because all i have to go on is theresa's say-so).

cheerios.

bkw ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 02:24 AM:

ealier MK had posted:

It's prompted by 20 years of watching the religious right infiltrate the media, government, and other social institutions all the while lying through their teeth about anyone, like me, say, or Erik, who disagrees with them.

that's interesting, because i'd argue that the religious right is less "mainstream" than it was twenty years ago.

As far as I can tell, it's the corporate right that's taking over the media and other institutions of power.

is it the right that's "taking over" these companies and institutions, or is it that these types of companies are fundamentally "right-wing" in and of themselves?

what does this have to say about the population of the right -- that the majority of these "old, rich, white guys" that run the companies and listen to talk radio are all conservatives, so naturally their spheres of influence are thusly informed?

what does this say about the population of the left, that they haven't achieved this level of influence? has the left tried? can it, without taking on the trappings or behaviours of the right?

there's that old joke about how "left" demonstrations draw thousands of people even on a weekday, and yet "right" demonstrations draw two young republicans -- because the republicans have jobs.

perhaps this is changing. there was a story a couple days ago about the "die in" -- one woman set herself down on the sidewalk, careful to keep her clothes clean. when a reporter asked if she expected to get arrested, the woman replied, "no, i have a job to get back to."

so it's interesting, to see a "career" person who also wishes to demonstrate (even if the effacy thereof is somewhat questionable).

but anyway. i'll stop here, since i'm probably going to get narfed anyway. :)

cheerios.

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 02:52 AM:

Erik wrote:
I don't know what "RCSN" expands to, but TX? That's a gimme.

Bet it's Richardson. Suburb, north of Dallas.

Oh, and speaking of Kent State, I knew someone who knew one of the people who were killed there. (I was the same age, but attending a different university a hundred miles away.) I can't imagine anyone actually wishing that on anyone. But apparently a lot of people not only have much weirder imaginations than I do, they have much weirder imaginations than I can imagine. Too bad they aren't all science fiction writers.

"Make books, not war."

Cheem ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 04:03 AM:

fatnj rfhwf mamhm akpfi erfat njrap grrgw hmmur pmuaf trmyk guifa mfkbp charm quiet

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 09:31 AM:

BKW, if you think you were disemvowelled for wondering what happened to Joexx, you are (1.) thick, (2.) ignoring everything I said on the subject, and (3.) giving yourself airs. I don't care about your politics, or rather about your political writing. It is not very interesting, and you do not otherwise recommend yourself. I suppose it's far more consoling for you to imagine that you're being quashed for your triffically challenging ideas, and not because you're coming across as a petulant, self-important bore.

Also, you say things like "censure" when you clearly mean "censor" (and say "censor" when it's not applicable), and sign off not with "cheerio", which is a British idiom, but with "cheerios", which is a breakfast cereal. As I said earlier, those who can't manage the greater virtues would be well advised to cultivate the smaller ones. If you can't be fascinating, be pleasant; if you can't manage that, be earnest; and if you must be tedious, you should at least do it in decent prose.

The other thing I'll charge you with is being just plain lazy. You've asked twice now what Joexx said, but you haven't bothered to try to read it. All of the methods I've used here -- a simple substitution cipher; decapitalizing, depunctuating, and rebreaking into groups of five; and disemvowelling -- can be read. That's the point.

(The enciphered version is the most recondite of the lot, but substitution ciphers are so easy to break that puzzle magazines offer them by the dozen as entertainments. If even that level of ingenuity is beyond you, consider that you have one version of Joexx's text that's enciphered but has normal wordbreaks and punctuation, and another version that's depunctuated and rebroken but is otherwise unenciphered. That is: the first version is a complete key to the second. This takes no ingenuity at all. You could regenerate the plaintext using MSWord search-and-replace commands.)

My idea of a happy outcome here is that you will somehow WAKE UP and turn into a normal, interesting, engaged human being. The world is full of wonderful things, and good conversation is better than wine. I beg you think it possible that you could be having far more fun than you are.

Timothy Burke ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 10:26 AM:

In one de Genova discussion--maybe Max Sawicky's--someone indicated that he's tried to explain or expand on his views somewhere. Anyone seen anything of this kind?

Invisible Adjunct's observation struck me, too: de Genova is listed as an assistant professor, which often indicates that he's tenure-track but untenured. I saw elsewhere on the Columbia site, however, that he's listed as instructional, so his status is somewhat difficult to discern. In any event, lots of assistant professors deal with the stress of that condition without getting onto public panels and saying appallingly stupid things.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 12:02 PM:

Cheem sez: Just to be nitpicky, that joexxx message was not compressed nor was any information lost.

If we're being nitpicky (and assuming you're discussing the five-blocked version), information was, in fact, lost. Word juncture is information in written English. It's the redundancy of written English that means you can still read it...because there's word-juncture information in your brain, as a part of the network that represents your knowledge of English. You can put this information back in, restoring the loss, but that doesn't mean it wasn't lost.

The substitution-cipher version is a better case of non-lossy obscurement. But you still need to bring information (the cipher key) to the table to understand it, so it requires more information to read than the un-obscured version, and therefore there has been data loss. A little tiny bit.

Either method, of course, is LESS lossy than disemvowelment, which can still, with trouble, be read: redundancy is our strength.

Long as we're being picky.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 01:02 PM:

I'm still waiting for the Right to disassociate itself from Vin Suprynowicz.

Jack Womack ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 02:21 PM:

Timothy, DeGenova wrote a letter last week to the Columbia Spectator:

http://www.columbiaspectator.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/03/31/3e881bf8297f2

In which he attempts to elaborate and qualify.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 03:10 PM:

James,

Yikes--I never heard of this guy, but from your link he looks to me like a subset of the Joe Sobran/Lew Rockwell nest!

BTW--has anybody noticed that Target="new" doesn't seem to work anymore when writing in links?

Timothy Burke ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 03:27 PM:

Thanks, Jack. I just saw that URL on Invisible Adjunct's site as well.

And holy god, it makes things *WORSE* for de Genova, to be honest.

David Neiwert ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 09:19 PM:

Well, conservatism and liberalism have always had their extremists. What's always mattered is the nature of their respective relationships.

That is, how close are the two sectors? To what extent do extremist values and ideas permeate the mainstream and affect the public debate?

I would argue that in the 1960s and even into the '70s, mainstream liberals had a far closer relationship to their extremists than they do now. Radical leftist memes and values were much more common and even acceptable then. Nowadays they're being drawn rightward, becoming much more centrist, in large part because of the gravitational pull being exerted from the right.

And on the right, the growing closeness of extremist elements with mainstream conservatism is eminently visible. This is particularly true when it comes to memes from the far right migrating to the mainstream, thanks to such folk as Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan.

On the other hand, Mr. de Genova's views do not appear anywhere among mainstream American liberals, even in a mutated form. The only memes I can think of that resemble his clearly radical anti-Americanism are those that float about on the anarcho- and vegan left.

Moreover, there are very few de Genovas out there. OTOH, there is a nearly endless supply of right-wing extremists generating all kinds of memes that somehow appear in places like Fox News.

Indeed, that was the underpinning of the Trent Lott controversy. Lott's associations with neo-Confederates was problematic precisely because they are in fact right-wing extremists. The line that got him into hot water was a favorite among these extremists, and Lott was just trotting it out for public consumption, like so many other similar memes.

His supposed punishment merely was a whitewash of the GOP's dirty little secret: It cannot win a national election without the support of its extremists.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2003, 09:44 PM:

By the way, I still don't see what Ann Coulter meant by "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too."

I mean, check me if I'm wrong, but John Walker Lindh went off to join the Taliban. That is, to keep women subservient in the home, to make sure that everyone worshipped correctly and often, and to keep dissent against the government at a minimum. John Walker Lindh was a conservative. How is executing a conservative going to intimidate liberals?

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2003, 01:16 AM:

John -- Are you thinking of TARGET="_blank"? That's one of the four special values the TARGET attribute can take.

Hey, Remember info seems to be working, at last!

Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2003, 04:11 AM:

>>So long as anyone calling themselves a ?liberal? or a ?leftist? gets themself into a censorious snit over Adrien Brody kissing Halle Berry at the Oscars, it?s okay to characterize the rest of us as prissy killjoys.

I wouldn't call myself a prissy killjoy, but I did actually think that Adrien Brody's behavior was inappropriate.

Sure, at first I laughed with delight, but then I said: yuck. He didn't just give her a jubilant hug and a playfully lecherous Groucho eyebrow-waggle and leer -- he mauled her. It was ungentlemanly and caddish.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2003, 09:04 AM:

Avram,

Thanks--I'll use hat from now on....

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2003, 09:05 AM:

I mean, besides my hat, I'll use "that" from now on, too....

Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 11:45 AM:

"Or the tendency to count Gulf War One as an overwhelmingly bloodless war, with under 200 casualties (and somewhere in the 50-250,000 range on the other side, but they're wogs so they don't matter)."

Lest we forget: The estimated 50,000 who disappeared from the greater metropolitan Basra area after the revolt which Bush the Elder repeatedly called for during the Gulf War finally happened, but Hussein having withdrawn his troops from Kuwait by that time, we stood by until the uprising was mercilessly obliterated, finally instituting no-fly zones after a decent interval...

Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 11:54 AM:

One is torn over whether to view Coulter and the staff of the New York Post as harmless idiots, or as the naked face of Bush-era conservatism revealed.

If the latter, then it isn't enough for the government to be granted the power to label pretty much any American citizen seized on American soil as an "enemy combatant" and jailed for life without trial and, if they are successful in fightng this through the courts, without access to a lawyer. No, what they'd really like is for anyone who opposes the government to be shot. (As per the Post.)

More than that: They simply want to kill anyone who disagrees with them. (As per Coulter.)

Ignore for the moment the fact that the Ohio State National Guard pretty much fired blindly into a crowd, their high-powered rifles striking down students who happened to be wallking across the campus in the distance. This, though, is the kind of behavior that a literal-minded Post editorialist would have been not merely condoning but clamoring for.

But, you know, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few innocent bystanders. Conservative pundits imagine that the kind of actions they call for are only going to target whoever they branded as "liberal" that day? (The Taliban, for Christ's sake?) Well, I guess they figure, as long as none of the fallout lands on their particular heads...