I don’t know at what point I changed my feelings towards Daily Kos and I am even less able to define exactly the reasons for this happening.
A couple of days ago, Kid Oakland wrote a diary on here and it was beautiful to read. It was elegant and it was thoughtful.
Yet it upset me a little because it reminded me of what great diaries used to consistently hit the recommended list here. Great diaries by some great writers.
They are still around of course and they still get written. Those that I don’t admire are my problem not the diarists. My opinion doesn’t matter. It is what gets a flood of recommends that does.
I change, Daily Kos changes. It is an inevitable process. Who am I to say it is for the better or for the worse?
I do know that if I were to say I found something was offensive I would be accused of being guilty of trying to impose my own values on others. It is not popular to have these sort of personal values and to try and express them. Worse, I might be thought to be trying to deny the right to free speech; that constitutional right to say whatever you feel, whatever its impact on others. It is almost as bad as if I was criticising those who demand the constitutional right to hold guns designed for their specific ability to kill people efficiently.
In any case, the rules on Dkos have not changed that much since I first joined this site. I can’t honestly point out that anything is much different. Perhaps there has been a slight change in the frequency of certain diaries; an envelope enlarged a little bit by each successive shock diary wanting to get a small edge on the shock of the last one. Even so, I would be hard pushed to objectively show that this has occurred.
I suppose that it is because of my age that I find some things on here that previously I would have called vulgar. I say “previously” because I now feel my perspective will be misunderstood if I use that word. You see “vulgar” can mean ”common: being or characteristic of or appropriate to everyday language; "common parlance"; "a vernacular term"; "vernacular speakers"; "the vulgar tongue of the masses” and if this interpretation is made then I would find myself in an immediate class argument. Of course, when I say I find more vulgarity here than I believed I saw before, I mean diaries that I personally find ”untutored and uncouth, objectionable, conspicuously tasteless”.
The fallacy of my argument is contained in that word “personally”. It is my perception, my criteria for good writing, my perception of what I like to rest my eyes upon when I open up Daily Kos for the first time each day.
No. I have to accept that so much is to do with me rather than with any shared experience with others of what Daily Kos seems to be becoming. It is not to my taste to attack political opponents by excessive branding of them as fascists, even though I feel some of their methodology bears more than a passing resemblance. It is not in my nature to try and tear down the awfulness that passes for so many as religious thought by derision and assaulting their beliefs by daring them to object to my language whilst knowing the degree of offence that I would create.
Yeah, I know. Too many years of reading the Guardian and the Independent have led me to believe that the most powerful written arguments are conducted in a different form of political discourse than that used by me in the pub. I still believe in courtesy to others and in respect for opinions derived from the life experiences of other people. It is, after all, an extraordinary sort of impertinence that chooses to insult another for the conclusions that they have struggled to achieve, however much one disagrees with them. I try and oppose anything with which I don’t agree by using a language that reflects some sort of humility in my own arguments. It is a humility that is not intended to be subservient, merely one that avoids the sort of arrogance that denies equality between you and your opponent.
Yet, I repeat, my opinion doesn’t matter at all. It is what gets the most recommends that counts and there is no doubting that strong, powerful blows strike harder in attention getting than quiet, reflective discussion.
It is all to do with marketing and selling. Our readership are consumers and need entertainment like anyone else. That is where a strongly stated “fuck”, an allusion to Goebbels and mentioning the anatomy of Jesus comes in so handy.
I suppose that those who don’t do this are sadder than the sad car salesman who tells his potential customers that the Dodge in his showroom may have a suspect suspension. Eventually he will close down his car lot and drift away. A sucker who whinges about the lack of honesty in the big dealer across the road, who stands laughing as he watches his competitor fail whilst feeling the wad of dollars and customer recommends in his back pocket.
As I said, I don’t know when I felt I, or Daily Kos, had changed. I’m sorry if certain of our readers and contributors drift away, though. Of course, there will be ten waiting to take their place who know how to shock and jerk the strings of the community in the way that those who have gone never understood. No matter. The site is not about them. Or me. My opinion doesn’t matter once I decide to recommend or not recommend a diary.
The same happened when I voted against our nice Mr Blair coming into power. From then on, my opinion didn’t matter.