February 21, 2007

Eric Alterman thinks there should be a "blogging council" to condemn bloggers who go wrong.

Alterman is talking with Mark Schmitt on the new Bloggingheads. They've just discussed the problem the Edwards campaign had with the bloggers it hired. (Eric says, and I agree, "You can't credibly blog for a campaign.... You can have a campaign blog as long as it's not a real blog.") And they're fretting about the way bloggers can damage a campaign by floating a rumor. Then Eric comes out with:
"I think it would be valuable if we had... uh... I mean, there's some sense where blogs correct themselves if you read enough of them, but I still I think it would be good if we had some sort of, you know, blogging -- you know -- council, where we could condemn people. Sort of... responsible body. You could still blog if you want. Nobody's going to stop you. But we're going to... everybody's gonna know that you're not to be trusted... unless you can sort of apologize or answer for yourself."
Alterman's affect is so flat that you can't detect if perhaps he's joking. In any case, I'm sure he doesn't think it is too likely to happen. But I was put off by the mindset he revealed. He'd like a blacklist.

Anyway, if there were such a list, it wouldn't be the case that "everybody's gonna know" anything. We'd just be forced to blog about the damned council and what's wrong with it. It could never be neutral. Why do I feel so sure I'd be condemned by a council appointed by Alterman?

Also in this Bloggingheads segment, Alterman complains that bloggers mix too much about their personal lives into their political opinions, as if they think the personal information bolsters the argument: "Tom Paine didn't say 'Common Sense' is a good idea because I'm such a hip guy." But of course, Tom Paine would have blogged, and he probably would have come across as a cool guy, and we would perceive that as bolstering his argument.

Eric is especially perturbed by Andrew Sullivan's personal revelations, notably his description of curling up with his boyfriend in bed on Valentine's Day. I can't find that post on Sullivan's blog, and I looked through the archive of that week, which didn't seem too personal at all. In fact, it has an extraordinary variety of posts on many subjects that are not Sullivan's personal life.

In the course of expressing his hostility toward personal blogging, Alterman lets us know that he went to a "dirty movie." Then it turns out it was the surrealist classic "Exterminating Angel," directed by Luis Bunuel and screened at Lincoln Center. This reminds me of the time my friend ridiculed the hell out of me for saying I was just doing some light reading, and then had to confess that the book was "The Clouds" by Aristophanes. [CORRECTION: Joseph Angier points out in the comments that the movie playing at Lincoln Center was "'Exterminating Angels' - which is some kind of new French arthouse quasi-porno film that screened as part of a Film Society of Lincoln Center festival last week." And I do hear Eric say the "s" in the recording. My point still stands though, because we're talking about a very classy, arty film.]

ADDED: A commenter points me to Andrew Sullivan's Valentine's Day column. It reads in full:
We watched "Basic Instinct" last night with a bottle of champagne and freshly-made brownies. I'd never seen it before. It was washed down by a HD Sunrise Earth special on Machu Picchu. Life is good when you're in love and have a widescreen television.
Here's what Alterman said:
Too many bloggers feel that their private lives are intrinsically interesting. And maybe they are. But in a very unhealthy way. In a very Us Magazine, not even a People way. In an Us Magazine way. And I think that interferes with the quality of ... the ability of one to make one's argument on the quality of one's argument....

And I think too much blogging is taken over with too much cuteness, too much personality, and not enough of the quality of the argument....

Getting off the topic of silliness, like Andy, Andy, curling up... I just noticed this because last week he wrote about Valentine's Day, how happy he was to be curling up in bed with his boyfriend to watch a DVD. I'm like: Why do I have to read this?
I didn't find the post because I used the search terms "bed," "boyfriend," and "curl," none of which appears in the post Alterman referred to. Would Alterman's council condemn me if I wrote that I detect a whiff of homophobia?

IN THE COMMENTS: Snarky, but true, from Undertoad:
[I]t's no surprise that Alterman doesn't like bloggers to show their personality. Because he loses in that category.
AND:
Beware bloggers of ill motive and shoddy skill. You are being watched. And for the glory of all the blogosphere and the citizens therein, you shall be brought to the scouring light of truth by this Council.

Look out!

83 comments:

Pogo said...

Funny how quickly certain people seek to restrain others, either by the state or here, via some kind of star council. Sheesh.

What a stupid idea. Can how stupid this idea is be the first agenda item on the new Blogger Student Council?

Jeff said...

The leftist will to power (and more importantly, control) rears its ugly head.

scott said...

A little bit of Greek comedy is not exactly heavy going. As a law professor, I'm sure you'd read much more arid text at work.

Now if you'd been reading Aeschylus, your friend might have had a point.

tjl said...

"Funny how quickly certain people seek to restrain others"

It's not surprising in the least that Alterman should come up with this idea for a council to denounce bloggers he disapproves of. The left is visibly obsessed with ferreting out deviations and meting out suitable punishments.

Ann Althouse said...

Scott: Why are you assuming it was at work? Anyway, I really was saying that "The Clouds" was light reading. It was my friend who had a big laugh at that (and told my son that one day he'd realize how funny it was).

High Desert Wanderer said...

Can I be the first to be blacklisted?

You know, it would soon be a badge of honor to be condemned by any sort of council...

Bruce Hayden said...

Why do I get the idea that Alterman either expects to sit on the council, or have it filled with his friends?

LoafingOaf said...

Here's Sullivan's Valentine's post. Not sure why someone would get perturbed by that little post. I thought it was kinda sweet.

Sullivan drives me crazy on certain subjects ever since he started jihading on the Bush administration. It's the other stuff that keeps me reading him. And I'm sure I'll like his blog a whole lot more once Bush is gone.

A blogging council is about the worst idea I've heard in a long time. Oh, how they wish they could have an "official body" to condemn all the blogs on their hit list. You know, all the blogs they're so concerned about that they have to create "watch blogs" to condemn every single post they make.

Look at the way they're practically calling for InstaPundit to be arrested for supposedly being a genocidal maniac extremist. lolol

scott said...

I'm sorry, I wasn't quite clear. I was merely suggesting that your day job would involve dryer reading, not linking it to where you were reading 'The Clouds"

Andrew Pass Educational Services, LLC said...

Ridiculous. People need to know how to triangulate data for themselves. It's not up to some council to do it for them. Is Eric going to suggest that we start burning the computers of those who are put on the council's list?

Andrew Pass
http://www.pass-ed.com/Living-Textbook.html

vbspurs said...

He'd like a blacklist.

Okay, we need to find a right colour for a blogger "black"list.

Blacklist is taken in general, so that's out.

"Red list" was used during the McCarthy Era for suspected Commies.

They say there is a "Pink list" for those in Hollywood, who don't share their ultra-progressive views (this is why Bo Derek can't find work!).

So for bloggers, what colour?

It should be tied to blogging somehow, so yellow is out (you can't use highlight markers on blogosphere)

Cheers,
Victoria

Joe said...

"Nobody expects the Blogger Inquisition!"

P. Froward said...

"Tom Paine didn't say 'Common Sense' is a good idea because I'm such a cool guy."

He's right, on that point: Smart people can be wrong. Stupid people can say true things.

I don't know who this guy is, but can I assume he's never used the word "chickenhawk"? Heh heh heh. Google says... he runs around shrieking it all day long! What a slimy little creep. But don't forget, the genetic fallacy is still a fallacy, even if the guy pointing that out happens to be so abysmally stupid and dishonest as to use the "chickenhawk" "argument". This irony is for entertainment purposes only.

SMGalbraith said...

Alterman's proposal brings to mind that great Mencken line
(paraphrasing): The desire to save the world often masks a desire to rule it.

Pogo said...

On second thought, maybe Alterman should start his boneheaded council, and point out the blogs no one should read, and name the names on the list of bloggers who should be shamed.

I'd call it it The Crucible.

Joseph Angier said...

My guess is that Alterman meant "Exterminating Angels" - which is some kind of new French arthouse quasi-porno film that screened as part of a Film Society of Lincoln Center festival last week. How the filmmakers defended their misleading title, I have no idea.

Maddad said...

You think he's taking blogging too seriously? I think most of the four gazillion bloggers out there would have problems with his little "council" idea.

Not too mention, who would be on the "council" and how many cat pictures can they stand to look at?

Mike said...

Fascism - Oppressive or dictatorial control.

Charles Bird said...

I heard Alterman on O'Reilly's show a while back, and he was the only person who was more obnoxious and belligerent than the host. I never took him seriously after that.

Ann Althouse said...

Charles: Yeah, it's painful to watch how he stomps back in every time then very genial Mark Schmitt starts to talk.

Joe Baby said...

How Soviet of him.

ClearCommentary.com said...

Although I don't see any merit in a 'blogging council,' inherent in this medium is the oblique invitation to meld personal and political sentiments and reflections. It's also the case that, on balance, the best arguments are made sans personal references, anecdotes, and the omnipresent use of the first person singular.

I naturally gravitate towards blogs that rely on evidence that is well organized and adroitly argued and avoid those that don't comport with the basics of good English usage.

That stated, the regulatory reflex, which is almost irrepressible in people like Alterman, is not consistent with the nature of our intellectual open form. In this instance, it stems from the desire to relegate those blogs that we might deem less worthy to a lower status--I, and I might dare say, most others, already do that by not reading them, which is a fate worse than consigning them to stocks at the edge of the blogosphere.

Best,
ClearCommentary.com

ClearCommentary.com said...

BTW, my blog is at:

www.clearcommentary.com or
http://clearcommentary.townhall.com

Since I already have two sites I won't be blogging at blogspot.com

JohnK said...

Alterman is one of those pathetic little mediocrities who in another time and place would be a very dangerous person. Put him Weimar Germany, revolutionary France or early Soviet Russia and he would be full fledged rhetorical thug pushing the brown shirted masses to smash windows and heads. As it is, he is just fascist little prick whom you hope will disappear like a rash if properly ignored. I almost hope he would start such a council just so I can start blogging and get on the blacklist.

sonicfrog said...

He is one of the group-think crowd. They want to homogenize all information to match their POV. His view of the world is the only correct one, and anything that deviates from that must be banished.

These are the same group of people who wish to bring back the fairness doctrine. Their stated goal is to reduce misinformation spread through the airwaves, but the true goal is to neutralize their most successful critic, Rush Limbaugh.

For those who are not old enough to remember the F.D., repealed in 1986'ish, in a nutshell; if a broadcaster aired the views of one political party, the broadcaster was required to give equal time for the other political POV. And when I say give, I mean give. In a world where opinions are sold like potato chips, if the Jones's bought twenty bags of Nacho Flavored Doritos, and the Smiths complained becuase they felt you were favoring the Jones's, you, the chip manufacturer, would have to GIVE the Smiths twenty bags of their favorite flavor, Ranch Flavored Doritos.

I agree with the observation that Limbaugh's brand of truth is, well, imaginative, but his liberal counterparts are no less fanciful. With the fairness doctrine back in place, most broadcast political venues, as they exist today, would not be able to survive. Why? Because it is easier to refrain from broadcasting anything that might draw fairness doctrine compliance, than it would be to try and give equal time to every Sean, Ed, and Randi.

Uh Oh, getting hungry. Must eat breakfast!

kcom said...

To smgalbraith: I just saved that Mencken line from a website the other day. Assuming they quoted it right, it goes "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule it."

It obviously struck a nerve with me. I think it sums up the global warming hysterics quite succinctly.

To Mike: "Fascism - Oppressive or dictatorial control." I think your definition needs a little bit more nuance. These statements would be equally accurate:

Communism - Oppressive or dictatorial control.

Authoritarianism - Oppressive or dictatorial control.

Iranian clerialism - Oppressive or dictatorial control.

Just about any one party state ever - Oppressive or dictatorial control.

Words really should have some meaning and fascism should have some meaning beyond (as people tend to use it today) "I don't like what you're doing therefore you're a fascist."

Or even to be more in line with what you said, "I don't like you telling me and everyone what to do, therefore you're a fascist. Oppression is oppression (and repression is repression) whether fascism is involved or not."

Undertoad said...

I try and try to take Alterman seriously, but that last bh.tv segment was appalling. I noted this on the bh.tv forum, but basically, it's no surprise that Alterman doesn't like bloggers to show their personality. Because he loses in that category.

JohnK said...

The very same people who will go to the matresses in the name of the First Amendment when some guy can't get government funding for his performance art because Christians are offended by him defecating on a crucifix before an audience are in love with the Fairness Doctrine the one government policy that really did have a chilling effect on free speech. Before Reagan ended the fairness doctrine there was no such thing as talk radio and all of that wonderful free expression that goes with it because stations were afraid to let one side have its view heard. After the FD was abolished free political speech and expression reigned on the airwaves. Now people like Alterman would like nothing better than to bring it back. Go figure.

JohnK said...

"Or even to be more in line with what you said, "I don't like you telling me and everyone what to do, therefore you're a fascist. Oppression is oppression (and repression is repression) whether fascism is involved or not." "

Recession, Repression, it is all the same thing man.

Daryl Herbert said...

Alterman is so stupid and lazy, he repeats an attack on Sullivan that's been made 1,000 times before, and he fails at it.

Who the hell is so incompetent that he can't call Andrew Sullivan a narcissist and make the charge stick?

This isn't even the first time he's done exactly that. (see: "Eric Come Lately," the links in that blog entry, and "Narcissism Death Match")

And by "exactly that" I mean make a weird, ham-handed attack on Sullivan's supposed "narcissism" that comes across as transparently homophobic.

I hate Eric Alterman more than I hate any other blogger. It must be his sneering, in-your-face mannerism and the dismissive way he trash talks Israel (while claiming to be Israel's best friend). He writes hateful asides like:

"And yet in the very same room, weeks earlier, I felt like I would have been run out of town had I mentioned that Israel was killing innocent civilians for no good purpose."

He's the only BloggingHeads.tv contributor that I've deliberately avoided.

High Desert Wanderer said...

"Okay, we need to find a right colour for a blogger "black"list."

I'd submit "bluelist" as my choice. I of course got the idea from the "Blue Laws", and I think it would fit nicely with the whole "moral standard" idea he seems to be trying to push.

JorgXMcKie said...

I like the idea of calling it the "Blogger Student Council" because Alterman is so evocative of the most irritating of those who got on HS Student Councils or the college equivalent.

Too many little wannabe dictators for my taste.

Bigwig said...

Not to defend EA, but wouldn't typical hetero male responses to variations on the post look something like the following?

Boring.

"I just noticed this because last week he wrote about Valentine's Day, how happy he was to be curling up in bed with his wife to watch a DVD. I'm like: Why do I have to read this?"

Boring, and kind of icky.

"I just noticed this because last week he wrote about Valentine's Day, how happy he was to be curling up in bed with his boyfriend to watch a DVD. I'm like: Why do I have to read this?"

Kinda hot.

"I just noticed this because last week she wrote about Valentine's Day, how happy she was to be curling up in bed with her girlfriend to watch a DVD. I'm like: Why is this post so short?"

Why deride the guy for a response that is probably as genetically based as homosexuality itself?

MikeT said...

And just how does he expect to actually get legitimacy for this group? By popularity, that's how. Few things are resolved by logical argument anymore. It's just the popularity of the ideology these days. Some good bloggers will be kicked to the curb, while shrill nutjobs with the "right ideas" get vetted.

AJ Lynch said...

Wow - I don't recall such unanimity of opinion amongst the Althouse commenters. Must be about time for hdhouse or dtl to spring to Alterman's defense.

Laurence said...

Sign me up.

Robert Stacy McCain said...

Why deride the guy for a response that is probably as genetically based as homosexuality itself?

Thank you, Mr. Hardaway! But seriously ... a preference for heterosexuality implies an aversion to homosexuality. It is therefore not surprising when people who aren't gay express disapproval of homosexuality. The term "homophobia" is an attempt to classify as a psychological disorder an attitude that is utterly commonplace.

Mike said...

Fascism - Oppressive or dictatorial control. (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd Edition).

I don't think Eric Alterman is a fascist (though he is many other disagreeable things) but I find it amusing that it is his ilk who are prone to hurl that term, yet it is they who are the control freaks.

Jay Manifold said...

If all he wanted were an Underwriters Laboratories for blogging, it wouldn't be a problem. But these are the sort of people who insist that LGF is a hate site because it quotes actual statements, in context, by people who want to kill us saying, whaddaya know, they want to kill us. A blog-UL would be able to rate blogs only on things like layout, grammar, etc -- the moment it got into ideological content, its legitimacy would collapse. Too many extremists want to denounce less-extreme people for, among other things, extremism. ;^)

"I'm bein' repressed." -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Roger Sweeny said...

Would Alterman's council condemn me if I wrote that I detect a whiff of homophobia?

Probably, but if YOU ran the council, you could condemn Alterman for homophobia.

"Quis custodiet custodes ipsos" (Who polices the police?)

Red Queen: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose is to mean-neither more nor less"
Alice: "The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things"
Red Queen: "The question is which is to be master-that's all"
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Pogo said...

Better than a Blogger's Student Council, maybe this would be preferable:,

"DINGO: Oh, wicked, bad, naughty, evil Zoot! Oh, she is a naughty person, and she must pay the penalty -- and here in Castle Anthrax, we have but one punishment for setting alight the grail-shaped beacon. You must tie her down on a bed and spank her!
GIRLS: A spanking! A spanking!
DINGO: You must spank her well. And after you have spanked her, you may deal with her as you like. And then, spank me.
VARIOUS GIRLS: And spank me.
And me.
And me.
DINGO: Yes, yes, you must give us all a good spanking!
GIRLS: A spanking! A spanking!
DINGO: And after the spanking,the oral sex.
GIRLS: Oral sex! Oral sex!

GALAHAD: Well, I could stay a BIT longer."

Barry said...

You're on notice!

PatCA said...

Wow, self-criticism, denunciations...is this the new Little Red Book? Stay tuned for the purges!

in_the_middle said...

So, Robert Stacy McCain,

What about Acrophobia: The fear of spiders is mostly unfounded, but commonplace. Is that not a phobia, then, either?

Mike said...

"Protector of the 'sphere"!!! I like that, Barry.

rafinlay said...

If EA wants a blogger council, there is nothing to stop him. He can BE the council and publish his own blueblacklist. Of course, he kinda does, only no one pays the right kind of attention to him. (Peope keep reading Sullivan, despite EA's disapproval.) Just wait for the next proposal, regarding enforcement of the council's decisions. Maybe Google can help. Or the Chinese.

Roger Sweeny said...

Eugene Volokh has thoughts on a similar (?) situation:

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_02_18-2007_02_24.shtml#1172048647

Seven Machos said...

It really is funny how the left wants to set up councils and bodies to control and judge. I'm sure this has been discussed here.

My two cents is that I always recall an article I had to read in college by these professor-types who wanted people to have to get a license to invest their own money. It was to protect them, you understand. Because God forbid someone would lose money in an investment.

TMink said...

OK, I do not read the blogs mentioned, I am busy with the three or four that I currently enjoy. But I would EXPECT someone blogging about Valentine's Day to mention what they did with their honey. Wouldn't you? If I had difficulty with the gender of their honey, I would just not read that post or their blog.

They are just little blogs, what is the big deal? Will someone ask me to quit posting photos of my children on my family blog because my children are all white? Or will some Dookie complain that photos on my artsy photo blog only have photos from UNC?

Let them. I care not. And perhaps neither should any of us.

Trey

Fen said...

I don't think Eric Alterman is a fascist (though he is many other disagreeable things) but I find it amusing that it is his ilk who are prone to hurl that term, yet it is they who are the control freaks.

Classic projection. The Left always accuses us of what they really want to do.

Barlycorn, John said...

Hillary said "the problem with the internet is that there are no gatekeepers."

These guys are all of a piece.

"Thinking's hard! We need someone to tell us what to think." -- A. Lefty

Seven Machos said...

What is it that mainstream people on the right want to control? Don't give me Jerry Falwell, either. He's o more mainstream than Ward Churchill

Because I can think of a lot of things people on the left want to control: healthcare, campaign finance, what you can say in campaign commercials, certain kinds of hateful speech. The list would go on and on here.

Letting people decide at a local and individual level is a very conservative thing.

Mellow-Drama said...

I don't want to defend EA, but I admit that there are some blogs I read that are almost entirely impersonal, and when the author suddenly throws in something intensely personal it's a little jolting, no matter what their orientation. That's not to say this wasn't homophobic; it isn't like someone describing in great detail some intensely personal situation; just a sweet little mention of his general state of mind.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat said...

I think it would be good if we had some sort of, you know, blogging -- you know -- council, where we could condemn people.

I don't understand. If Alterman wants to condemn people, what's stopping him? You don't need a council for that. Heck, I can condemn people all by myself. Watch this:

Eric Alterman is a clueless moron!

See what I mean? Condemning people is easy.

Simon said...

SMGalbraith said...
"Alterman's proposal brings to mind that great Mencken line (paraphrasing): The desire to save the world often masks a desire to rule it."

He was paraphrasing Daniel Webster, who observed that there are men among us who mean to rule well - but they mean to rule.

Simon said...

Theo - I don't know, but I would bet real money that there's a law review article about textualism somewhere out there that revolves around that line. ;)

Mike said...

AJ Lynch said: "Wow - I don't recall such unanimity of opinion amongst the Althouse commenters. Must be about time for hdhouse or dtl to spring to Alterman's defense."

Wow, indeed! Everybody appears to view this idea as a stinker. That’s got to be some kind of record, Eric.

XWL said...

Does seem rather remarkable that someone from the sinistral side of the blogosphere could say something that is so indefensible that it goes undefended in a well populated comment thread hereabouts.

Bravo, Mr. Alterman, bravo.

That, sir, is quite an accomplishment.

williakz said...

I wonder if history might help us here. Have "councils" to filter speech ever been created in the past? If so, were they formed, staffed and supported by mainly left or right leaning folk? Do any still exist today? Have they been effective and are their efforts generally applauded or condemned? Just asking...

Cedarford said...

Eric Alterman is such a good little Jewish Stalinist.

The thoughts on the Internet need regulation. The firm, but friendly guiding hand of the state to stamp out incorrect thought, harmful counterrevolutionary opinions that hinder progressivism and the betterment of humanity.

What a twit. Wants the worst of academia PC imposed on the larger society. Because, as we all know, efforts like that of the Duke Group of 88 attacking their own students and denying presumption of innocence..just play out so well!

I agree with the observation that Limbaugh's brand of truth is, well, imaginative, but his liberal counterparts are no less fanciful.

No less fanciful, but completely humorless and determined to shove their beliefs down other's throats by agencies of law and regulation. Rush doesn't call for that except to say that free speech ends when Americans side with and defend enemies out to kill innocent Americans under dormant sedition laws. A position I agree with.

reader_iam said...

All I know is that I found myself mentally substituting the word "correct" for "critical" in that last bit of discussion about critical thinking skills. There! That's more like it!

A blogging council to "condemn"--what a telling word choice.

Steven said...

Eric Alterman? I'm surprised anyone pays any attention to him anymore. The Central Committee stripped him of his license months ago.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

Gosh, I hate the term "homophobia."
The prefix "homo" comes from the Greek word for same, not the Latin word for man. And "phobia" means fear, not disgust or revulsion. So, it should be used to mean "fear of sameness."
Why I let things like this annoy me, I'll never know.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Will the Council send you a JPEG that you can put in your sidebar to tell the world that they've put you on double secret probation? (Really someone should come up with the graphic whether or not they go ahead and set up the Council.)

If we really want to improve the blogosphere, how about bringing back the code duello? Should filter out the ranters right quick!

Joanne Jacobs said...

I write very little about my personal life. (It is boring and, well, personal.) I don't mind reading a sweet Valentine's post, but a blog gets excessively personal, I skip the post or stop reading altogether.

The blogosphere is a very large place with lots of good blogs, bad blogs and cat blogs. I am not required to read any blog that I don't like and I don't object to what other people choose to read.

If Eric Alterman wants to attack other bloggers for inaccuracy or poor thinking or anything else, he can do so and may inspire like-minded bloggers to take up the critique. Creating a "council" wouldn't add to his credibility or powers of persuasion.

BTW, Aristophanes is lots of fun and very easy reading.

Naked Lunch said...

Alterfascism!

The "Blogger Ethics Panel" idea has actually been out there for a while. I wouldn't get too worked up about it, but, it looks like alot of readers sure are.

Barry said...

Paul Zrimsek said...

Will the Council send you a JPEG that you can put in your sidebar to tell the world that they've put you on double secret probation? (Really someone should come up with the graphic whether or not they go ahead and set up the Council.)

The Council is working on it.

Mike said...

Naked Lunch said: "The "Blogger Ethics Panel" idea has actually been out there for a while. I wouldn't get too worked up about it, but, it looks like alot of readers sure are."

Just making fun of a stupid idea. It's what we do.

Revenant said...

Gosh, I hate the term "homophobia."
The prefix "homo" comes from the Greek word for same, not the Latin word for man. And "phobia" means fear, not disgust or revulsion. So, it should be used to mean "fear of sameness.


That's a bit like complaining that the neologism "Islamaphobia" means "fear of submission". It ignores the modern meaning of the root words in question, which is "the religion of Islam", not "submission (to God)".

The "homo" in "homophobia" means "homosexual", not "same". You're assuming the word is built from scratch from Greek roots, which of course it wasn't. It is derived from two common English words, "homosexual" and "phobia", that were themselves derived from Greek many years ago. That's the etymology given by dictionaries.

Revenant said...

Eric Alterman is such a good little Jewish Stalinist.

Ok, I give up -- why's his religious affiliation relevant?

vbspurs said...

Ok, I give up -- why's his religious affiliation relevant?

Because "good little Methodist Stalinist" just doesn't have the same bitchy backhanded compliment ring to it?

Cheers,
Victoria

Seven Machos said...

Agree with Revenant wholeheartedly. What on earth does Jewishness have to do with being a Stalinist? It's like saying someone is a canary-loving Democrat. So?

It's weird, Cedarford, because I agree with a lot of your analysis. But I discount your analysis and question my agreement because I know that your whole worldview is mired in some kind of weird Jewish criticism. It really would behoove you to try to ask yourself, when making a statement, whether Jewish people or Israel really matters, and whether your statement would be just as powerful if you left out the part about Jewishness.

In this case, your initial statement would be just as powerful: Eric Alterman is such a good little Stalinist.

I don't know if what the rest of what you said is any good because I stopped reading as soon as I read that. And I can't stand Eric Alterman. But the fact that he is Jewish -- something that I never even thought about before -- has nothing to do with my distaste.

I say all of us righties pitch in and buy Cedarford a subscription to Commentary.

downtownlad said...

I hate the term homophobia as well. It is not fear of gay people that they have, it is hatred and disgust There's a difference.

Gary Rosen said...

Nobody's listening to you, 'Furd. A few are laughing. When's the last time anyone actually responded to you seriously?

Pogo said...

Seven, I concur with the absence of need for referring to religion in mentioning Stalinism, however, there is a small caveat.

"Jewish Stalinist" probably refers to the 1940s, 50s, and 60s when there was considerable support in the Jewish community for the Soviet Union even after it became widely known that Jews were being murdered by the thousands in Russia. The connotation then, to me, is that of a man who would sacrifice himself, his family, and his community to an ideal, even after the ideal became evil. The student radicals of the 60s were often led by red diaper babies, children of the Stalinist left, often Jewish. (Read Norman Podhoretz and David Horowitz, but for god's sake don't let anyone see you.)

That said, it's usually safest simply never to mention this era or its consequences, because most people don't kow this reference and assume you are simply an anti-semite, even if, like me, one is of the idea that the Jewish people brought us a great degree of our Western civilization and these excursions into utopian madness are not unique to Judaism. That is, it's utopianism per se, not any one religion, wherein lies madness (as in militant Islam today)

amba said...

It reminds me of the control-freak Puritans, and the way they quickly drove good people like Roger Williams to dive overboard and form more open colonies of their own.

rafinlay said...

I know! Let's refer the whole homophobia/Jewish Stalinist matter to the Council for a ruling on the acceptability of thesse terms in a blog!

kcom said...

Congratulations, Rafinlay. You have just learned to love Big Brother. He will be so happy. :)

TallDave said...

I thought Sully's post was kind of cute, perhaps even sweet.

If Alterman were on the right, they'd call his comment homophobic.

Roger Sweeny said...

Theo Boehm,

Thanks for the correction.

Gang of One said...

"Okay, we need to find a right colour for a blogger "black"list."

Maybye it should be a "green list". Just saw the Nader doc and he suggested that Nader should be expelled from the country(and removed from the Daily Show according to his blog).

Hecla Ma said...

Alterman and his ilk love to create important councils to silence or destroy those who do not fall in line.

There's a word for it...let me think...