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Update [2005-7-3 14:37:15 by socratic]: To clarify any possible misunderstanding about the purpose of this diary: this isn't a diary about the relative merits of two arguments, and I'm not writing because my feelings were hurt. This is about boundaries of debate. Quotes herein are uncredited to prevent distraction from my observation that sometimes we go too far here.

Recently I participated in a thread in which the topic of SUVs came up.  Now, before we go any farther, I'm going to state three things:

  1. I drive an SUV.
  2. I walk to work and drive so few miles annually that, according to TerraPass, I pollute less than a Prius.
  3. I can't afford to buy a new car right now, and when I can, in a few short weeks, my priorities will be servicing student loan debt and saving up to buy a house.

There.  My sins are on the table.  I also eat meat, own guns, like baseball, hold doors open for ladies, think "ladies" is a compliment, tell my niece to be whatever she wants to be and not to let anyone hold her back, tell my nephew the same damn thing, support gay marriage, oppose "starter" marriages, watch "West Wing", watch C-SPAN, read Tom Clancy, read Howard Zinn, and shower regularly.

I was born in a red state, educated in a blue state, grew up partly in a foreign country whose environmental policies would make even the most devout environmentalists among you look like Texas oilmen, and I now reside in a (different) red state.

I disagree with some of you about some things.  I agree with most of you about a lot of things.  And I always vote for Democrats (except that I voted for a Republican friend of mine who successfully unseated a wingnut in a Republican primary for a county council seat, if you can believe it).

In the SUV thread, when I confessed my sin of driving an SUV, I mentioned that I liked my SUV because it was safer for me, partly because I know how to drive one properly without rolling over and party because I have personal experience with the relative safety in an impact.  Now, I don't want to get into a debate about SUV safety in here, and I'll delete the diary if it goes that way.  I'm here to talk about civility.  Let's just (please) leave it at this: I believe that, for my purposes and driving experience, an SUV is safer; some people disagree; I nonetheless could not afford to change cars if I wanted to at the moment.

One person said this:

I'm not surprised you're not apologetic because you're whole post is just an expression of selfishness.

I was pretty angry about that comment, because I hadn't yet discussed the fact that money prevents me from being an idealist.  But, eh, it's at least a factually accurate statement: my comment to which he or she is replying was, in fact, focused on my reasons for driving an SUV.  In spite of the comparative non-selfishness of my driving habits (e.g., walking to work), the poster was right to say that my reasons for my choice of cars, as far as I'd revealed them to that point, were selfish.

Another person said this:

[T]here are plenty of options other than big, gas-guzzling SUV's.  There are smaller SUV's that get better mileage, like the RAV4 or the CRV, or the Ford Escape Hybrid.  There are also mini-vans, and the PT Cruiser.  I don't know what SUV you own, but I'm sure there's one out there with better mileage....

I wasn't angry at all about this comment.  Why should I be?  Though the poster was calling me out, he or she made thoughtful criticism and offered alternatives, rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks.  As it turned out, the poster didn't actually tell me any new information, but he or she was trying to, and that's what matters.

But then someone made the following two comments:

But if your attitude is "safety for me, screw you" then it would be karma if you rolled over and died, as happens with tragic frequency around here.

It would be even more karmic if you hit some of your family members in a regular car and were fine yourself but they died, what with that unequal bumper height and all...

But selfish assholes never think of these things.

Wow.

Here's the thing.  The commenter offers an argument that has merit.  Vehicle heterogeneity is a problem (albeit one that would not be fixed by outlawing SUVs, as there are still 18-wheelers and commercial vehicls out there, as well as bridge overpasses, cliffs, bicycles, pedestrians, and family pets to be mowed down by or mow down, as the case may be, even the most diminutive personal automobile).

I don't have a problem with disagreement.  I certainly don't have a problem with being called out for a position that some might think is wrong.  I don't even have a problem with being called a "selfish asshole" on the Internet.  That's all in the nature of a passionate debate, and I'm not afraid of it.

The problem I have is that this is a community, supposedly with people who are working together to make a better, more progressive world.  And yet we have commenters who would wish death on me and my family ... because of a policy disagreement.  

Now 99.9% of the time, this doesn't happen.  Even in abortion threads, the debate is passionate but rarely violent.  There are, however, a few occasions when people will say too much, and this happens to be the first time I've been subjected to it.  Normally I'd let it pass, but because we're celebrating America's Indepedence Day tomorrow, and because we're about to get into a brawl with a Republican Party that is vulnerable, I thought I'd take the opportunity to comment on civility at Daily Kos.

This is a community.  We fight.  We're also working together (most of us) to do good things in this country.  All of us are imperfect.  Many of us are not orthodox.  None of us deserves to have someone wish for the death of our families.

So here's my Fourth of July wish:

First, have a happy, safe, wonderful holiday with friends and family.  We've got a lot of work to do making the world better, but we can take a break to celebrate America tomorrow.

Second, when you find yourself in a heated debate, or when someone says something you cannot agree with, please don't wish death on that person or his or her family.  Try to elevate debate, not lower it into the slop.  Try to win, but try to win on the merits.  Fight, but remember who the real enemy is.  Be passionate, but remember to think outside yourself.  America is great because we debate with people who are different and subject our arguments to the public consideration through elections.  Here at Daily Kos, let's try to raise the level of debate, out of respect for our country, out of respect for ourselves.

Thanks and Happy Fourth!  Can't wait to get back to the business of taking our country back starting Tuesday.

Originally posted to socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:22 AM PDT.

Poll

Have you ever said something here that might have gone a little bit too far?

33%13 votes
12%5 votes
5%2 votes
15%6 votes
5%2 votes
28%11 votes

| 39 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I drive an SUV. (4.00)
    1992 Ford Explorer. And it is dying. And I intend to drive it until it dies. By year's end, we will probably be able to afford a replacement, a nice, high mileage replacement. Used, natch. Not a hybrid, which is my real desire -- but certainly not another SUV.

    We bought it when we found out we were pregnant. It was 7 years old, with 106K miles on it. Whatever.

    My SUV has a Kerry sticker, a "Dissent is Patriotic" sticker and now a "Downing St." sticker.

    I'd love to drive a hybrid right now. I'd love to have had the money to buy something less ridiculously gas guzzling when we bought the Explorer, but we didn't.

    So fucking sue me.

    People say the most asinine shit here sometimes -- myself included. I've made more fucking apologies here for my behaviour in the heat of the moment...

    Eh. Whaddya gonna do.

    Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

    by Maryscott OConnor on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:26:24 AM PDT

    •  I need to learn to be concise... (4.00)
      I think I'll delete what I said and put what you said in a blockquote... :)  

      My bumper is currently pristine.  I'm straight but I live in a very gay part of town, so I've been toying with getting a sticker that says something like "STRAIGHT, TOLERANT" (though the word "tolerant" sounds so paternalistic to me).

      I also have to figure out who the "good" people are in Georgia for '06.  Shyam Reddy.  Cathy Cox?  I know she's got some Diebold baggage, but she's also got a lot of momentum...

      But I digress.

      Happy Birthday America!

      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:32:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Me? (4.00)
    Never.

    The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

    by Armando on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:32:04 AM PDT

  •  The only people... (4.00)
    ...who have ever wished death on me know me personally.  ;-)

    I drive an SUV, albeit a smaller one (RAV4)...they are not the root of all that is evil and I get pretty tired of people equating driving one with being a Republican or a hypocrite.  

    *my $2.53...price of gas I paid yesterday in Ithaca, NY.

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:35:18 AM PDT

    •  Oops (none)
      I meant to add that while I've gotten into a few less than happy back-and-forths here, none have ever gotten ugly.  

      Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

      by Barbara Morrill on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:37:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's because you're not an asshole. (4.00)
        Some of us (ahem... who, me?) cannot make that assertion.

        Don't know why it's taken me so long to get to the place where I am willing, at least, to apologize for bad behaviour.

        Now, if I could just stop the fucking behaviour, I'd be onto something.

        Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

        by Maryscott OConnor on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:51:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are some people who... (4.00)
          ...didn't get that memo.  ;-)

          Besides, one woman's "bad behavior" is another's "no shit and I wish I said that!"  

          Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

          by Barbara Morrill on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:05:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  good luck on that one (none)
          my last name starts with the same two letters and i'm assuming you've got that dangling thing between them, too (now that didn't sound quite right, did it?  anyway...)  seems some of that comes in the blood, particularly when you add in some of the other shite i've seen you write about (cuckoo cuckoo - we've got it all over the family).  so we seem to be stuck with our little outrage button that makes us go POP, but it sounds like you've also found the key to being at least semi-socially acceptable sometimes:  the ability to make the apology.  but if you're anything like me, you only apologize for the manner and the offense, but not the content, if the content was right.  won't apologize for what i believe to be true and/or necessary.  so there.
        •  this would certainly include me, too: (none)
          Some of us (ahem... who, me?) cannot make that assertion.

          For a relatively minor poster here, I've gotten myself into brawls far too many times.  Including -- not long after I became a Kossack -- with the dreaded Armando.  (cue:  cliche movie tension hit)

          I later learned that this is very nearly rite of passage here, like confirmation to Catholics, or a Jewish Bar Mitzvah. And I'd say that both Armando and myself were assholes in our exchange, even though I've come to respect him tremendously and always seek out what he has to say.  He's a smart, insightful bastard indeed.

          So I'd like to be a more civil person.  And god knows I'm trying.  

          But hell's bells, I'll take honest over civil any day.  Truth is too important these days, and in too short a supply, to be subjugated to niceties.  

          ...ESPECIALLY when rightwing serial liars, power grabbers, and other assorted fascista types -- and their paod propagandists -- know full well that they can selectively employ the concept of "civility" to shut off unwanted criticism and scrutiny.  And many a sucker falls for it, some with the best intentions.

          Our corporate press obstensibly values "civility" so much that an F-word is considered beyond the fucking pale.  And yet they routinely endorse the astronomically greater obscenities of official government lying...not to mention the hate-filled propaganda of Limbaugh the Enraged Drug Addict, Coulter the Lying Slag, and so on...

          See, I can't keep civil when talking about these people.

          I'll keep at it.

          But:  TRUTH before CIVLITY.  Way before.

          If you're able to combine both, you have my undying admiration.  And I shall study at your feet.

          •  lest I seem like a stalker... (none)
            If you're able to combine both, you have my undying admiration.  And I shall study at your feet.

            I meant this in general, pertaining to anyone... not particularly to you, MSOC.

  •  The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good (4.00)
    I used to even cut the plastic windows out of junk mail, so I could recycle the rest of the envelope, but then I read an article that pointed out the need to prioritize, and how even the most ardent environmentalist has to give him/herself a break once in a while.

    Do all you can, but don't loose cite of the big rabbits.

    E.g., maybe you could get a second job in order to afford a Prius, or you could use that second-job time to lobby for better mileage standards, and maybe accomplish a whole lot more.

    So cut yourself some slack.  You deserve it.

    •  Thanks (4.00)
      Second job isn't really an issue right now, or, rather, won't be in about 10 weeks.  

      Here are some good things I do:

      1. I use fluorescent light bulbs in any sockets that will take them.
      2. I leave lights off as much as possible and use the fortuitous orientation of my apartment to get lots of natural light.
      3. I buy high post-consumer content printer paper.
      4. I walk to the Subway on the corner (sandwich shop, not mass transit).
      5. I try to take short showers.
      6. I try to accelerate and decelerate smoothly in traffic, to minimize the "bad" parts of driving.

      Here are some bad things I do:

      1. I drive an SUV.
      2. I use dual monitors on my computer, and they're not flat panels.
      3. I run an air purifier almost constantly.
      4. I sometimes forget and leave my window open at night, letting the air conditioned air escape.
      5. I get plastic bags at the grocery store.

      :)

      Happy Birthday America!

      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:43:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oops (none)
    "don't loose sight"
  •  Simple Kindness matters (4.00)
    I think it is sad when people's anger with the world turns into personal meanness against other people. A lot of people simply have mean, violent petty minds, and does not matter what political label they call themselves. The better people in this world learn to be compassionate, kind, and loving even in the midst of the injustice and misery in the world, they also don't wish violence upon other sentinent beings.
    •  I'm havng real trouble with this right now (none)
      having watched the advance of militarism and greed proceeding to where we are now for years and not being able to do anything about it. Then today I read about the natural progression of the human tendency toward oppression and tyranny that thinking people know must be opposed everywhere and always by something like the Bill of rights.

      The Bush administration shows contempt for civilized behavior when they refuse stand up forcefully and clearly against detention without trial and torture.

      This is the result. Don't read the links if you're not pretty well anchored. I haven't read them. I just read the summaries at http://dailywarnews.blogspot.com/

      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1520136,00.html
      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1520186,00.html

      More horrors from Iraq, Negroponte style. Having been in the USAF during Iran-Contra, and finding myself powerless to oppose it, I am beside myself.

      I do not turn my anger on others but neither am I a very good neighbor. I avoid going out in public as much as possible to avoid the inevitable wingut contacts. I'm not sure I can respond to their dark ages mentality with civility.

      "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." R. Diesel, 1911

      by nuttymango on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:11:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beautifully Written, Socratic (4.00)
    I was called an "idiot" because I like voting in person earlier today.  

    It didn't hurt my feelings, but it was kind of a show-stopper.  I'll debate with the best of 'em, but my intent in debate isn't always to WIN per se - but to learn more about other people's views and perpectives.  If all they have to offer is name-calling I'm not learning and they aren't advancing their cause.  Nobody wins.

    I have an SUV too - I have to where I use it.  The alternatives that were suggested almost all have car frames rather than truck frames.  Mine is ten years old and I hate filling it up at the pump.  But actually there are few alternatives on the market anymore that are smaller and offer true off-road capability that I can't do without on washed out mountainous roads.  Everything in America is just too damn big...

    Yes I too have been bitchy at times here and generally try to go back and apologize after the fact.  

    Apologies also go a long way - at least I value them.

    Thanks for posting this diary.  I have been thinking about the same for a while...

    •  The Problem Is... (4.00)
      ...when people could simply read what you wrote and engage with your argument, but instead look at what you wrote and trying to intuit who you are as an indication of why you wrote what you wrote.  

      Of the 55k+ people who've registered at DKos, I've met about a dozen.  I can't help to "really know" what somebody is "really like" by reading their comments on a damn political blog, and neither can anyone else.  This place would function a hell of a lot better if everyone just accepted that fact, and devoted their attention to what somebody wrote intead of why they wrote it.

      •  Typo (none)
        I can't hope to really know...
      •  I agree in part but you can't negate (none)
        the fact that people will tell you something about what has shaped their opinion on something and for me that is interesting stuff.  We all have life experiences that inform our decisions - some of those experiences push us towards emotion visceral conclusions while others push us toward logical thought.  

        Sometimes you hear or you yourself share something about you that explains why you think a certain way.  You were there for the "idiot" exchange I believe and I read your comments.  Thanks for coming to my - or rather our collective - defense.  I guess all I concluded about that poster who shall remain nameless he really liked the US Mail.  That's okay.  

        But it would have been nicer to say have a debate where we could agree that maybe both voting in person and mail-in ballots could live happily in the same place as they do here in DC.  He wasn't in an "open" mood so that's okay right?  

        It is what it is, but I think some people just don't really register that there are other human beings on the other side of the comments and that telling them to fuck off however well protected you are by miles and miles of fiber optics you are still touching someone in a way that you might not really want to if you just thought about it for a few moments...

        •  Two Different Things (4.00)
          Offering up personal details or context is fine, and even assuming acknowledged and qualified person details can be appropriate.  For instance, if somebody is railing on about subject X and you're quite knowledgeable about subject X, I don't think it's out of line to say something like "I'm expererienced with that subject, and I suspect, by your comments, that you're not.  The reason I say that is that if you were, you would know that XYZ, etc."

          What is NOT acceptable is reading a comment or argument that's not consistent with what you do or want to believe, and then assuming the person making that comment or argument either isn't acting in good faith or doesn't share the desired values that you arbitrarily define.  For instance, you made a comment about many people, like you, preferring to vote in person.  The person responded by saying something like "of course you think that, because you must be white, and live in the suburbs, and own a McMansion" and all kinds of other tripe.  That's just an extreme case of it, but it happens on almost every single contentious thread, that people read something they find disagreeable or threatening to their beliefs, so instead of addressing the content of the argument, they assail the content of the commenters character.  

          •  Oh yeah sorry - duh - I get your point and (4.00)
            thanks for hanging in ther with me - dense moment.  Yes I completely agree and you know what else - it is not a crime to be white or live in a suburb so people should really try to stay away from that kind of classist racist stuff even if they think they aren't being perjorative they really are.

            Asking people what their deal is is much better than making it up...

            •  God, What a Simple But Great Suggestion (4.00)
              I don't know if I've ever seen someone write "I can't figure out why you would believe that; is it possible that you [fill in the blank]?"  Probably prevent a lot of acrimony, and maybe even get better dialogue out of the deal.
              •  This is a flat media (none)
                we hear no voice intonation to go on - not everyone including myself is always great at actually articulating their views on paper - there is a lot of room for misunderstanding.  

                Benefit of the doubt and asking for clarification usually ends in a happy way...

              •  Point in case (none)
                "we hear no voice intonation to go on"

                AHHH - damn typos and half thoughts!

                We have no voice intonation to go on

                or

                We hear no voice intonation

                see and you're saying what is she talking about is she a moron or you ask me about my mistake and I clarify...

              •  No kidding (none)
                That's the best suggestion I've heard in a while.  

                But, then again, we're bad liberals for wanting to understand our enemies rather than blow them up.

                Happy Birthday America!

                by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:45:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well (none)
                I haven't written exactly that, but I tried to write something like that a few times. In some cases, it was still taken as an accusation and responded to with acrimony (or was rated "unproductive" by someone). Sometimes, there's no way to truly write what's on your mind and avoid upsetting some people.

                "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?" -- Slim Pickens in "Blazing Saddles"
                "I have more than 2 problems." - the Coach Z

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 05:38:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Go too far? ME??? (none)
    So what, you think you're better than me?  'Cause that's what I'm reading, here.  

    Asshole.  Fuck you and anyone who looks like you!!

    (S to the NARK)

    •  Stuff it in a pie, Gilligan! (4.00)
      Nobody looks like me!  Thank god!

      Though someone said I look like Robin Williams.  Poor guy.

      Happy Birthday America!

      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:52:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been told so many... (none)
        ...people that I supposedly look like, that I have no idea what the hell I must look like.  

        Actors, musicians, etc.  who look NOTHING like each other -- I've been compared to them all.  Sometimes I'm flattered, sometimes I'm appalled.

        I think I must be some kind of blank, tabula rasa...people see what they wanna see.  I'm a FREAK, man!!!

        Great diary, by the way.  I agree with your point wholeheartedly.   I strive not to be an asshole, myself, but I am too often unsuccessful.  My family has always been comfortable gearing into yelling, cursing, fighting asshole mode, and I'm probably the worst of the bunch.

        I'd rather be honest than merely civil, but I'd love to be both.

        •  I'd rather be honest than anything (none)
          But most of us don't know each other here.  I, in fact, don't know if I know a single person on dKos personally.  I know of two people who are here and know who I am (because I revealed my username when I was talking to them), but I don't know their online personas.  It's conceivable that I've gotten into an argument here with someone I know and care very much about out in the real world.

          Given how easy it is to toss out the old "fuck you" in the quasi-anonymity of the Internet, I try to restrain myself ... just a bit ... and ask if I'm going to say something I really want to say.  I don't always succeed, but I'm trying to get better.

          Happy Birthday America!

          by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:14:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We need to stand together (4.00)
    to get rid of bushco asap. No car is the right car for everybody, but these differences are so petty compared to the reality of our political situation.

    We need civility for solidarity.

    It is better to die standing than to live on your knees. - Emiliano Zapata

    by cotterperson on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:47:35 AM PDT

  •  Care to link (none)
    us to these diaries?
    •  I intentionally didn't (4.00)
      I didn't want to call out the people, only the comments.  This isn't meant to be a spiteful diary against any one person.

      Happy Birthday America!

      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:53:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You did call (none)
        them out whoever they are by posting a diary about their comments. Now the right thing to do is to link us to that diary. How do I know if those comments are real or not?
        •  What purpose would it serve? (4.00)
          I hold no animosity to those folks.  I don't want to distract from the point of the diary, which is that sometimes we go too far, myself included.

          I could make the point without those quotes, or I could go fishing for similar quotes that happened to other people around here.  But what difference would it make?

          As for the truthfulness of the quotes, you'll just have to trust me.

          Happy Birthday America!

          by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:09:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because it'll (none)
            put those comments in context either way. I know people who have been killed by "safe" SUV drivers (those who choose SUVs for their supposed safety and have ended up killing people who don't have big cars) and  I can see why many won't buy the "safety" arguments if you ever made one. Dkos is a large community and there are many who cannot separate their real-life experiences from virtual ones.
            •  I did make a safety argument... (none)
              ...and I did say that the car was safer for me.  I also said I recognize that SUVs are not safer for others, but that that's a red herring: take all the SUVs off the road, and there would still be a hell of a lot of things that could kill you.

              But you're missing the point of this diary if you want to compare the relative merits of the safe vs. unsafe positions.  That's a fine discussion to have, and I'd welcome the chance to explain myself (again) and to clarify all the things I'm doing to try to make myself a "good" SUV driver.  The point of this diary, however, is to note three instances, intentionally out of context, of behavior that, in my opinion, is not productive here.  If you'd like, I'll go and find a comment I've made in the past and paste it in as another example.

              Happy Birthday America!

              by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:25:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let us see. (none)
                These comments are unproductive because they get too personal for you. But you are unwilling to accept the possibility that your position may itself be too personal for some of the respondents. If you did say the SUV was safer for you and you do know that a SUV hitting another car may not be safe for the driver/passengers of that car, then why do you disagree if someone calls you selfish. Some comments that you copied may be too personal but then again, I don't know where the commenter was coming from and depending on the flow of conversion may not actually be as obnoxious as your copy/paste job suggests.
                •  No (none)
                  Did you read this diary?

                  I was pretty angry about that comment, because I hadn't yet discussed the fact that money prevents me from being an idealist.  But, eh, it's at least a factually accurate statement: my comment to which he or she is replying was, in fact, focused on my reasons for driving an SUV.

                  Happy Birthday America!

                  by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:41:36 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is a (none)
                    two-way street. You may have your reason and the said commenter may have his / hers. I have read your post and ,frankly, I am not getting anything but "I got my feelings hurt" from this diary.  Besides, you don't have to be an idealist to recognize that a particular choice is not a very pragmatic one. On this topic, you don't have to be a millionaire to drive a Toyota Corolla. Not telling you what to do or drive, of course, as it is none of my business but I find this argument of yours rather irrelevant.
                    •  Well, you'll just have to trust me then. (none)
                      If my feelings were hurt, I would have named names.  If my feelings were hurt, I'd probably be using a lot more profanity.  And if my feelings were hurt, this would probably be a GBCW diary.

                      As to my financial situation, I'll just fax over my bank statement right now, ok?  Then we can discuss its relevance to my decision matrix.

                      It's entirely possible that you're just trying to provoke me to say something antagonistic so you can point and say "hypocrite!", but I'm just not going to take the bait.

                      Happy Birthday America!

                      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:54:17 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Trust?? (none)
                        Trust has nothing to do with this and your financial situation is none of my business. Look, it is a contentious issues and this blog has a significant anti-SUV presence.Feelings will get hurt on both sides. Civility is a two-way street and I don't see how "Look at me, I'm a martyr" diaries help advance civility.
                        •  heh, martyr. (none)
                          I think I can at least clarify our debate here.  I think language that wishes death upon an opponent or the opponent's family is per se unacceptable.  You (apparently) don't.

                          I would also like to make the meta-point that, for anyone reading the preceding thread, this is, in my opinion, a good way to have a discussion with clear disagreement without resorting to base behavior.

                          So, we disagree.  Whatever, I'll still sleep tonight.  But you've certainly shown civility.

                          Happy Birthday America!

                          by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:05:30 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  If you want to... (none)
              You can click on his user id and then back track through his posts.

              He made note of posts...not names. Seems like his idea was to focus on the actual tone of the discussion rather than fall into an X said/Y said debate.

              "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

              by kredwyn on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:07:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Careful with that axe (none)
          This diary isn't about SUVs.  And it's not an investigative piece.  With all due respect, because I really don't want to instigate anything here, Socratic isn't obligated to provide "sourcing" for you or anyone.  I think you're proving his point for him; trying to undermine the credibility of a diarist's premise is just a more sophisticated version of "I hope you get in a wreck."

          "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

          by The Termite on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:13:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The nature of conversations (none)
            is such that they can be what we want them to be. There are no hard and fast rules. The diarist , if he/she had no intentions of discussing SUVs, could as easily have written a non-SUV diary. And I do recognize that Socratic isn't obliged to provide "sourcing" but linked diaries are more helpful if your premise fails to hold in a vaccum. So there.
            •  You're right (none)
              Feel free to continue to harangue.  It's your right.  

              Just know you are haranguing.  Or, at least, it seems that way.

              "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

              by The Termite on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:38:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  You are a bad person (4.00)
    Me?

    I ride a bike to work, 20 miles each way, uphill in both directions.

    I take cold showers.

    I converted my television into an indoor herb garden.

    My family and I convert our shit and our dog's into our own fertilizer.

    If it isn't free range or free trade, I don't eat it.

    As a hobby, I turn swords into plowshares.

    I once spent three months in a tree.

    Clearly, you need to be more like me, and less like you.  From the six days I've spent on DailyKos, I'm pretty sure you are "aping Republican memes" or something.  Stop aping those memes.  Just stop it.

    Okay, okay, </snark>.

    I think your meta-point is really well made.  Most liberals and progressives are not as evolved as they'd like to believe, or as they'd like others to believe.  Myself included.  I'm no Tom Hayden either, man.  I might be past the need to drive a honking truck around, but I'm against the death tax, and I've been pilloried for it.

    My attitude?  Fuck the lefter-than-thou crowd.  Their kind of "with us or against us" absolutism that landed us in the mess we're in right now.  People evolve at their own speed, and in their own ways, and choose different issues to become passionate and energized and activist about.  If you're pulling your weight on just one issue, just one cause, you're doing more than 99% of Americans and you're all right with me.

    As long as you're not one of those assholes that speeds up as soon as I put on my turn signal to make sure I can't change lanes.  That I cannot countenance. :)

    "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

    by The Termite on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:57:16 AM PDT

  •  I've been called all kinds of things here (4.00)
    I'm pretty sure at this point most of the ones doing the name calling are living in dorms and don't have the first clue about life, or otherwise totally removed from reality.

    As they say around here, their sh*t don't stink. Mostly because they've had so little contact with reality, they don't even know they sh*t, just like the rest of us.

    I get real sick of them.

    I mean, I got a dog who crawled under my porch an hour or so ago who won't come out and I think she's hurt herself, but she won't let on --- so here in a few minutes, I'm going to be bellying under that porch to likely do doggie surgery and get her out to get her to a vet.

    There's no poetics for that. Yet, no doubt, from what I've seen of a few people on here, me shinnying under that porch will qualify me as a stupid racist pig who hates women (despite the fact I'm a women) and no doubt a polluter.

    <sigh>

    •  Dorms (none)
      I'm pretty sure at this point most of the ones doing the name calling are living in dorms and don't have the first clue about life, or otherwise totally removed from reality.

      Funny, I used to make the same assumption, but now I'm no longer sure.

      Somebody who's been banned from here at least three times started causing a ruckus at The Next Hurrah a few months ago.  There is a group of people who think that I'm a paid shil for...I'm not sure who they think is paying me, but they're convinced that anyone who would disagree with them must need to be paid for it.  (Talk about narcissism.)  Anyway, these people thought it was cute to threaten to post my name on Daily Kos.  That's a huge fucking no-no.  Not because I'm some shil, or because of a Gannon/Guckert situation, but only because, like most others on Daily Kos, I made the decision to not post under my name, and the decision to post a user's real name lies with the user and nobody else.  So, one of these people started causing a ruckus at TNH, and I had to do a little cybersleuthing.  

      To my surprise, this person wasn't a late teen or twentysomething, as their behavior seemed to indicate.  No, this person is over 40 years old, has been a federal employee, and appears to have some type of professional background.  

      So, not everyone acting like an obnoxious college sophomore is a college soph.  

  •  Having read the other thread... (none)
    .. you are mischaracterizing the inital spat that degerated into bad karma.

    The person in question was attacking you position that SUV's are safer, something you even reinterate here.  The boldface truth that the other person was pointing out was that SUV's are only safer for the occupant ( sometimes not even that ) as opposed to all of the people that happen to be near you who are less safe.  You may not have the choice now to change your vehicle, but you made a choice to buy a SUV at some point and now are trying to claim yourself the victim here.

    Just admit your fault ( of buying a SSUV in the first place ) and faulty logic ( SUV's are safer ) and move on to a more productive life.

    •  Nonsense (none)
      The person in question was attacking my position that SUVs are safer.  That person responded self-righteously and did not consider, for a moment, that I might not have an option currently.  In the other thread I said I had "no apologies" about driving an SUV, and that's quite true, because it's pointless to.

      I believe I have admitted thoroughly that I recognize the "badness" of driving an SUV, and I dispute your characterization of my logic as faulty, but, irrespective of all that, are you going to defend calling someone a selfish asshole and (a different person) wishing death on me and my family?  

      I'm no victim, snowmoon.  In fact, being a victim is something I'm expressly fighting against.  We don't need victims here, we need adults.

      Happy Birthday America!

      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:20:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, gotta disagee. (4.00)
      I consider myself an "expert" driver, if there is such a thing.  I have over 2 million miles on my CDL, which does not include all the non-commercial miles I"ve driven.  No accidents, not one.

      Now that I no longer do long-haul trucking, I still drive a V-10 3/4 ton Dodge Ram.  Why?  The mileage is pitiful, no question about that.  However, I still pull a horse trailer, so that settles the truck issue.  And, when getting on the interstate, or climbing mountains, I want the power to get the job done.  Further, this truck has just shy of 600,000 miles.  Trade it in?  I think not.  It has been the best vehicle I've ever owned, bar none, and with that mileage I'd get 50 cents on a trade in.

      Now having said that, I will drive a truck til I can no longer drive.  Why?  Because I need to keep myself safe when one of the other inattentive, or drunk, or inept drivers on the road smashes into me.  I am a good driver, and have the record to prove it.  But I'll tell ya, you drive 2 million miles and then you come talk to me about the 80% of drivers on the road that have no business behind the wheel.  Speed kills people, but you sure can't seem to convince the commuters of this fact.  And the aged, who aren't being tested regularly after age 60.  And let's not forget the RV drivers, who's total driving experience has been the new Gran Prix every 2 years, for 30 years.  Pulling an RV, or driving an all-in-one, is NOT the same as driving a car.  At all.  But geez, all summer long I'll just try to find my way past you all as you're weaving across both lanes, basically careening at 65 miles per hour out of control.

      Sure there are bad truck drivers, but that's a whole other rant.  And you bet your booty NAFTA is a big part of that problem, along with the DOT rules.  

      You got a problem with pollution, don't worry about SUVs.  How about putting a stop to luxury Hummers first?

      "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 1700+ dead Americans, 100,000+ dead Iraqis, all on your head. WWJS?

      by Miss Blue on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:27:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, (none)
        That Ram is safer as long as most people don't drive them.  It's the same nonsence that drives the idiots to buy even bigger vehicles theres days.  As long as more massive vehicles do not require more stringent driving tests/licences there WILL be a problem and those larger vehicles are a danger to those around you.

        The damage you are doing not only to gas prices, long term global warming, road decay, etc... do those outweigh what you perceive is a safer driving experience?

        •  Don't get your point. (none)
          Am I safer?  Hell yes - from the incompetent drivers around me.  Did you not get that?

          And if someone in another truck hits me, I'm still safer.

          Get a clue bud - what I'm saying is:  you aren't going to get rid of big vehicles until people LEARN HOW TO DRIVE.  Period.

          Increase education, as in drivers ed, don't give licenses after 60 without road tests, and force RV drivers to pass written and behind-the-wheel CDL tests.  

          "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 1700+ dead Americans, 100,000+ dead Iraqis, all on your head. WWJS?

          by Miss Blue on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:56:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I lived in Boulder, CO (none)
      which is a pretty okay town for driving a regular car. But I used to visit friends who lived in Loveland.

      I also grew up in the farm country of upstate NY. There are places where the SUV is a very necessary vehicle.

      In many situations, SUVs are a lot safer than the Prius. Frankly, I wish that my parents were back to driving their Miata rather than the Prius. That little car literally saved their lives...I don't think the Prius will hold up in a collision with my Sunfire.

      But if I move from NY to MD...do you really expect me to trade my truck in for something that is "approved?" Why? Are you willing to help me with the added expense?

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:20:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good rant (none)
    Thanks for this.

    But what the hell is a starter marriage?

    •  Kids these days... (none)
      Apparently it's all the rage to get married once, for two or three years, get the kinks out, learn how to live with someone, get divorced, be single for a few more years, and then marry someone for keeps, now that you've got the skills to make it work.

      My generation is so confused...

      Happy Birthday America!

      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:47:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (none)
        as someone for whom other might call my first wife "a starter marrage" I have qualms.  Big ones.

        If there is something at fault besides ignorance it's a that society pushes young couples to wed without so much as an iota of knowledge on how to work things out.  We are, as you are keenly aware of, a sociery that wants bigger, better, faster, and sooner.  Add it all up and there will be more "starter marrages" just like those people that don't deserve to be behind the wheel of a car ( or SUV ) there are many people that lack the basic skills for a relationship let alone marrage.

        Thankfully I was able to learn quite a bit from my "starter marrage" and I am happy married with the asperation for a family.

        •  For whatever we may disagree on.. (none)
          Please understand that my comment about starter marriages was part-snark.  I think we agree 100% on this: I don't have anything bad to say about (most of) the people who go through them but, as you aptly noted, society that "pushes young couples to wed without so much as an iota of knowledge on how to work things out."  That was well said.  I wish marriages weren't where we got our training wheels.

          I'm not, by the way, married, and I never have been.

          Happy Birthday America!

          by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:16:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I hope you don't delete this diary (none)
    I'm one of these carpers about words thrown carelessly and needlessly.  That gets mistaken for wishing we never heard inconvenient voices, but, no it's something far different, it's about basic respect for people you are disagreeing with.

    I should just shut up right here before I look as though I believe I have never committed the sin of an unthinking, impatient, presumptuous assholish word, because everybody has their moments, but it's not instinctive to me to let words fly out of my mouth.

    And I can be a harsh judge of those who aren't as measured with their own words. So yeah, let me join you in your disgust. It is far less offensive to me that you drive an SUV than wishing a particular comeuppance for you that involved possible harm to someone in your family.  Selfish asshole, indeed.

    People will misunderstand this, I'm sure.  I love sassy, unapologetic voices as long as there is respect and lack of presumption about the people who might disagree with those unapologetic voices.  That's the problem in a nutshell.  And, the solution.

    And if anyone can find an instance where I didn't live by my stringent code:  Aw, Fuck, so what, may  you step on a crack and break your Momma's back.

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

    by Cathy on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:59:46 AM PDT

    •  Sorry but (none)
      I don't share your or diarist's disgust with those comments. If-then constructs are not inherently disgusting unless the shoe fits.Then again, you can't really complain if the shoe fits.
      •  Well, there ya go (4.00)
        The shoe does not fit.  I do not drive an SUV.  But, there goes that presumption again, that I couldn't possibly be objective, that I'm secretly incapable of seeing the menace of SUV's, etc.

        Don't you see that that's the problem?  Not the point about whether somebody disagrees with the passionate hatred of SUV's contribution to worsening the environment, but presuming that he's simply a selfish asshole that needs to see how less safe they really are by hitting a family member in a lesser vehicle and by golly then he'd see how selfish he is...

        "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

        by Cathy on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:11:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh?? (none)
          I was referring to sentences that conform to a If-Then construct. For example-


          But if your attitude is "safety for me, screw you" then it would be karma if you rolled over and died, as happens with tragic frequency around here.

              What's wrong with the sentence above if you don't take it personally? And let me reiterate what I've been arguing in this thread, civility etc. is a two-way street and anybody can take anything personally. Some of us may take things personally and post new topics highlighting the hurting things, some may respond the way commenter did.
                   

          •  If You Didn't Intend Offense... (none)
            ...you were very sloppy with your comment.  By failing to include an explanation that you were dealing in abstracts, it's a pretty fair reading of your comment to assume you were directing it right at Cathy.
            •  Why are these (none)
              comments offensive?

              I don't share your or diarist's disgust with those comments. If-then constructs are not inherently disgusting unless the shoe fits.Then again, you can't really complain if the shoe fits.

                     If A then B isn't exactly disgusting given A is false. If A is true then ,yeah, you can make a case that the "then" scenario is disgusting. Given the sentence I quoted in my previous post, I don't necessarily find the "then" scenario disgusting.

              •  All right, how does the shoe fit (none)
                If I agree with the "but if" or the "then" or both or I what if I object to that last bit about selfish assholes?

                You're parsing this to death.  Perhaps your point is that there was no personal intent, because of the "but if, then" construct, but it isn't a matter seeing myself in the construct, it's not wanting anyone to be presumed to be a shallow, selfish asshole to even offer that the "but if" in the first place.  The fact that it was offered showed presumption about the person who disagreed.

                "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

                by Cathy on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:42:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The If (none)
                  in the opening sentence defines "selfish asshole". Selfish is very obvious actually as
                  But if your attitude is "safety for me, screw you"

                      is very close the text-book definition of selfishness. The asshole part is a bit tricky because frankly it is too subjective and, personally, cocksucker would've done as well or better <considering it gets more people more riled up>.Bottomline,the name calling and such simply follows from the if-then construct and cannot be invalidated without first invalidating the said construct. One more thing, the shoe doesn't fit unless and until it fits. You and the diarist took offense for nothing. Either that or it hit too close to home.

                  •  Well (none)
                    The shoe doesn't fit, as I do not, under any circumstances, believe "safety for me, screw you" unless you think that I have that attitude simply because I drive an SUV.  In that case, I reckon there are a good number of people who would dispute that.  Anyway, I've resisted jumping into this whole "if...then" business to defend myself, because it's not an argument I can win, because it can easily degenerate into "yes you are, no I'm not, yes you are, no I'm not."

                    Anyway, let's face it.  Cars are dangerous.  A 1978 Honda CVCC plowing into a stopped Nissan Pathfinder could do serious damage to everyone.  Guns are dangerous too, as are knives, bags of cement, the little plastic things that used to bind six-packs together.  If we're talking about safety, we can get a lot more mileage (pardon the pun) out of talking about driving habits rather than vehicle mass, when, at highway speeds, kinetic energy quickly passes a point where any car is going to be dangerous, no matter the starting mass.

                    If I see someone spanking their children, applying makeup, yelling on a cellphone, working a laptop, eating lunch, or getting a blowjob while driving down the interstate, I'm going to be pissed that that person is threatening my life, no matter what car they drive.

                    Happy Birthday America!

                    by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:04:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well (none)
                      If someone is , for example, yelling on a cellphone,that is not paying attention, while driving then he/she is threatening life of others on the road. The shoe, doesn't it fit? You can call that driver an asshole if you wish. If as you say, shoe didn't fit you had absolutely no reason to take offense considering there are people to whom this label perfectly applies.
                      •  Ok, let me sort this out... (none)
                        You're saying that if the condition didn't apply to me, I can't take offense, because it didn't apply to me, and therefore it can't, logically, cause offense, because it doesn't apply to me.  

                        Basically, pursewarden, you've exhausted an extraordinary number of words to say "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me," which, if you'll look up into your title bar, is ironically echoed in the title of this diary.

                        And, furthermore, you make my goddamn point for me.  I'm not taking personal offense at the words as applied to me; rather, I'm taking general offense at the lowering of the quality of debate through the use of incendiary and inflammatory language that should have no place here, especially when the same point could be made without it.  Which, to bring all this right back around to the beginning, is why I didn't attribute the quotes to any particular person: because this is about debate, not about a vendetta.

                        Happy Birthday America!

                        by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Nope. (none)
                          What I'm saying is that if-then construct, however  offensive, if accurate furthers the dialogue or at least makes the point. Language, incendiary or otherwise, is just a tool and acts as a means towards an end. Sometimes incendiary language is a better tool at making a point. If you've identified a person as a selfish asshole then a language that highlights his selfishness and is directed in a way that resonates with his asshole-self may be more apt. It isn't lowering the standard if you've to temporarily stoop down to make a point.
                          •  Ok, well.. (none)
                            We're never going to solve this, since we have different worldviews.  You think language is just a tool (as evidenced by your meticulous deconstruction of it).  I think language is just a tool too, but I also think there are limits.

                            A parable: Someone has built a brick wall in front of my driveway, and I need to go to the grocery store.  Do I grab the sledgehammer and knock the thing down in an orderly way, removing sections as I go, or do I use a piece of dynamite to blow the thing up, scattering debris and causing a nuisance?  

                            So, no, "however offensive" doesn't hold any water with me, since, at some point, you become that which you are opposing, and that is destructive.

                            Happy Birthday America!

                            by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:36:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you know (none)
                            the person who constructed this wall was a selfish asshole then dynamite may be a better option because it demonstrates you can be a bigger asshole. It depends on the context obviously.
                          •  Now you're just hurting my brain. (none)
                            Was it good for you?

                            Happy Birthday America!

                            by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:44:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  You don't see the presumption (none)
            in that "But if, then" construct?  Nobody is saying it was so uncivil as to wish death upon a family member.  The "but if, then" construct loses all of "benefit of the doubt" intentions when the post ends by saying that selfish assholes are just like that.

            It's not a matter of hurt feelings or taking things too personally it's about objecting to this limited way of making a point, of presuming that you're dealing with someone who can't see past their lack of objectivity to see the merits of your arguments.

            "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

            by Cathy on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:25:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  However, (none)
              it is true ONLY for selfish assholes. The "selfish asshole" description follows from the previous "if" scenario. Now you can disagree that commenter's "if" scenario is lacking but no one to my knowledge has made such a case so far. They are reacting to the "then" scenario only.
              •  That point was so basic (none)
                and unobjective that no one could disagree with it.
                Who thinks safety for me, the hell with everyone else is "OK"?  Or especially that it's "OK" to advocate it.   Nobody.

                So why was it offered?

                And you began your comments on this diary by doubting that words had ever been said.  I agree with the diarist because his example is just one among many.  Forget the "but if," many of these blown up with righteousness ideas are offered here without bothering to "if".  Offered daily by people who won't take the time to understand anything beyond a two-deminsional, you're either for it or against it, with me, or with the enemy dimension.

                And this was the diarist's point.

                And I couldn't possibly agree more.

                "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

                by Cathy on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:56:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In that case (none)
                  the diarist could've come up with an example that was actually accurate in the context. As far as your question, who thinks that way, well apparently there are quite a few who think that way and don't mind telling one their opinions.

                           I didn't doubt that the words weren't being said, I demanded a context. How is that for a multi-dimensional worldview. Eh?

                  •  You doubted that (none)
                    the words were ever said.  You didn't just say "in what context, please"  You said how were you to know the comments were made.  What is that?  How do you parse that and make it anyting other than just asking for context.

                    How's that for parsing your words to death, eh?

                    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

                    by Cathy on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:07:07 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I asked (none)
                      How do I know if those comments are real or not?

                             It wasn't me doubting the veracity of those comments. It was me asking him/her to provide me with a tool or procedure to gauge the accuracy of those comments.

                      •  there's about this much >< difference (none)
                        between veractiy and accuracy.  You doubted the truth of these comments and you have been parsing every word of every comment you chose to counter to prove what exactly?  That you have the right take on how people ought to feel about speculative arguments?

                        You refuse to see that the point is our objection to one making arguments this way, presumption of character or motive being the premise of one's argument instead of taking it to some place that might actually produce thoughtful discourse.  It's not about victimhood, hurt feelings or martyrdom.  

                        "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

                        by Cathy on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:45:00 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  There is a (none)
                          difference between the accuracy of a manuscript and that of online commentary. Words can be parsed to mean anything you want them to especially if context is completely ignored. I'm all for thoughtful discourse but dismissing arguments without recognizing the context helps thoughtful discourse how? As far as my position is concerned, I don't find these comments disgusting and I explained why those comments when they are viewed in the proper context are hardly disgusting.
                          •  A-HA! (none)
                            I'm going to take, like, my fifth try to say I think I understand the disjuncture.

                            "I'm all for thoughtful discourse but dismissing arguments without recognizing the context helps thoughtful discourse how?" you say.

                            Well, I am most certainly not dismissing the foundational argument as such (I may disagree with it, but that's not the same thing, and it's not the issue in this diary).  I am dismissing the unhelpful language in which it is framed.  I am saying that an if...then... argument (to use the object of your fixation) that terminates with if...then...DIEDIEDIE simply does not lend credibility to the speaker's words.

                            Do you really think there's a difference between the accuracy of a manuscript and that of online commentary?  "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."  Is that any more or less parseable because it's from a written document?

                             Happy Birthday America!

                            by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 02:13:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Response (none)
                            Language isn't unhelpful given the context. If a person A says or espouses a position which can be summed up as "I care about myself and I don't give a fuck if you live or die because of my actions" (or concisely "Fuck You") then any response to such a person may require unhelpful language. It is about context, really, and therefore I didn't find the language unhelpful.

                              You are confusing veracity of a manuscript with the message it contains. The message that you type online comes from you and if you are quoting someone I have no way of verifying whether the message so quoted is accurate or not without any external help.

                          •  Are you a law student? (none)
                            This has been a fascinating, if moderately frustrating, exchange.  I applaud your tenacity, even though, from where I sit, it's like a bulldog has latched on to my fucking arm... heh.

                            I'd be curious, after all this, to see how many things we actually agree about, because, like Catholics and Protestants, if it all comes down to the number of fingers we've got up in the air when you're giving a blessing, we should probably shift focus to what we have in common.

                            (PS. the fingers in the air thing is an old stereotype of the distinction offered humorously. I'm more than aware of the theological differences between the branches.) :)

                             Happy Birthday America!

                            by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 02:31:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  If someone (none)
              If someone responded to me with supportable assertions that SUVs are destructive (over and above gasoline-powered vehicles in general), if someone made a germane argument about rollover fatalities and bumper-height issues -- as the commenters did -- I'd be happy to admit I was wrong.  But to bind up an "argument" with language wishing death on someone deflates a person's credibility.

              If you put shit on a salad, it may still be a salad, but I don't want it in my living room.

              Happy Birthday America!

              by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:37:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Good grief (none)
            This is Daily Kos, not a first semester linguistics or philosophy course. Chill, for  gawd's sake.
  •  Not sure why, but ... (none)
    I'm actually much nicer online than I am in person.

    Go figure.

    I have to work on the opposite problem ... being more tolerant in real life.

    •  Online is So Much Easier (none)
      My guess is that many of the people who are needlessly agressive on Daily Kos aren't particularly assertive in "real life."  

      This excludes, of course, the attorneys and the politicos.  Thus, folks like Armando and myself have a good vocational match for our penchant for verbal pugilism.  

      But for the most part, online is easier.  You don't have to look at the person you've pissed off, and you don't have to work as hard at being tolerant of the person online, because they didn't just forget to pay the phone bill or put down the toilet seat...at least not your phone bill or your toilet seat.  

      •  So true (none)
        Which is not to mention the fact that everyone who pops off about SUV drivers or insert politically incorrect demographic here probably knows and likes (or loves) plenty of same.  And they'd never dream about castigating those friends and loved ones for their behavior the same way they do strangers on a blog.

        "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

        by The Termite on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:43:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If it makes anyone feel any better... (none)
          I did lecture my sister (lecture is a harsh word, but she's my sister for goodness sake) that she didn't "need" a GMC Yukon for her 5'2" self and her two small children.  I told her she should get a Volvo for the daily kid-commute and an old truck for the horse shows.  I said it all with a smile on my face, because I was sitting in my car (which is nowhere near as big as a Yukon but is still an SUV) at the time.  

          I really want to do a dKos meetup here in the ATL some time so I can meet some of you people...

          Happy Birthday America!

          by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:48:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hell Yes (none)
          Either that, or they're the most smug, self-righteos leftier-than-thou people you could imagine, and that's why it's easy for them to castigate those not exactly like themselves, because they have no friends.  

          I have several friends who voted for either Bush or Nader in 2000 who voted for Kerry this time around.  I think they would have been less likely to do so if the people who voted for Gore in 2000 shunned them as apostates or complete morons.  

  •  I think we just need to accept.. (4.00)
    ..that Dean's "Big Tent" isn't really all that big as far as some people are concerned.

    It's just so much easier to be a self righteous prig than it is to extend some level of understanding for someone to hold different values than you do.

    The reality is the number of SUV related deaths is around 10% of all highway related deaths. I think the bigger picture here isn't that SUVs are inherently evil, it's that people need to learn to bloody pay attention when they drive.

    Maybe we should advocate that instead? Get off the phone, stop day dreaming, quit looking at the person next to you while you drive, etc. I bet the death rate across the board will go down.

    I have 4 kids and I did a lot of activities that meant I had all 4 children, my wife and a lot of gear to bring. Typically it meant going into areas where a mini-van would be useless. So I owned a SUV, why because it was the only vehicle that did everything I needed. How many people stop to think about that simple fact? That indeed some people absolutely have to own a SUV because it's the only vehicle that fits their lifestyle demand.

    Now I don't LARP as much as I used to so my need for all that room is gone. As is the need for the semi-off road capabilities. So I've switched vehicles. I did however go with my dad to buy himself a decent truck (I understand all the new gizmos better than he does). Once again buying an unpopular vehicle as far as some are concerned because he needs it.

    I saw someone defend the person who wished death because of context. I'm sorry there's never really a defense to wishing someone death. It's a petty infantile thing to do. Anyone who does it should not only apologize publically but should be recognized as a knee-jerk reactionary.

    Never in my life have I wished death on anyone simply for disagreeing with me. And I'm for the  death penalty under some circumstances. So if my evil self can avoid it, I'm sure all the "good and pure" people should be able to as well.

    If you saw my response in the beef = bad thread as well I'll admit to not having much patience for sanctimonious diatribe. The level of discourse on here should be a bit higher quality, be it about if they like pie fights, their choice of vehicles, or even if they put on their pants or shirt first. We're supposed to be the understanding and open party. But then the Right has their christian Taliban and I suppose we have our extremists as well.

    Yes I know this is a diary length comment, but socratic already has this one in place and I think it's an important point.

    And remember tomorrow to watch out for the real danger on the roads, the inebriated drivers.

  •  Just for kicks. (none)
    I saw a SUV the other day at the mall with a very anti war statement on the back for memorial day..

    1600 dead, no WMD, happy memorial day

    Next to it was a post it note.

    The are over there for you;  You gas guzzling son of a bitch

    Some how I think it's appropriate for this thread.

    •  Well (none)
      I said I wasn't going to get into the relative merits of SUVs, but you actually bring up an interesting point:

      If you looked at all the cars on the roads today, I think you'd probably find that we're all guilty.  If my car gets, oh, 19mpg on average, and an 'efficient' sedan gets 26mpg on average, when we have the technology to make cars that get, say 55mpg, the only people who are "right" are the bare handful who are driving the few cars that get extraordinary mileage rather than simply a little better.  All of us are guilty.  Unless the Post-It Note writer drives an electric car or a bike, they're over there for him or her too.

      The problem is not SUVs as such as much as it's a gasoline economy.  We've tied ourselves to a dirty option, and if any SUV is dirtier than any non-SUV, then any internal combustion engine (with a very, very limited set of exceptions) is an order of a magnitude dirtier than, say, hydrogen (though even hydrogen carries with it the problem of pollution from the power plants needed produce hydrogen in the first place.

      Would the world be better without SUVs?  Maybe, but Atlanta is hazy because of cars in general, not because of SUVs alone.  And plenty of cities in countries that don't have a lot of SUVs have serious car pollution problems.

      Still, I would have laughed if I'd gotten that sticker.

      Happy Birthday America!

      by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:30:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like.. (none)
        defeatism, Bush could never loose the last election so why did we vote?  Because every vote sends a message.

        The fact that your vehicle will not change the environment or overall road saftey is true.  But your peice of mind is just the reason why we are spiraling down a gasoline fuled hole.  If the distance we travel every year is not depenadnt of the car we drive, then getting a toyota that gets between 30-40 mpg would mean you would have used HALF the gasoline that your SUV will use.

        •  And we return (none)
          We return to the fact that ye olde newe car isn't an option right at the moment.

          I still think it's funny that, at least according to TerraPass, my big ol' SUV and I produce less pollution, annually, than a Prius (comparing my X thousand miles per year to, I suppose, a "typical" 12,000 or so miles per year in the hypothetical Prius).  

          And, I still disagree with your premise somewhat simply because, to use an inflammatory example, if the Hiroshima bomb had only been 60% as destructive, it still would have killed a shitload of people.  Thus, I agree with your foundational premise that the gasoline economy itself is a bad thing, and I really am doing what I can to promote radical change in our energy infrastructure rather than little symbolic (in my view) chippings away at the problem.

          Happy Birthday America!

          by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:55:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But, (none)
            As I pointed out you still made a choice, to now play the victim seems like you can't take responsibility for your PAST choices.
            •  Oh dear, oh dear... (none)
              If you want to keep tossing around that I've a victim, go ahead, but I certainly don't see myself that way.  If you interpret anything here that way, I can't account for that, so I won't try.  

              As to my PAST choices, that's a shockingly presumptuous statement you make.  Maybe a car was given to me?  Maybe someone gave me a deal that I couldn't refuse (meaning "couldn't", not "wouldn't)?  Maybe the car belonged by my long lost uncle who died of a brain tumor caused by pollutant chemicals leaking from a high-technology-but-zero-emissions experimental power plant and the damn thing means a lot to me?  None of those is true, mind you (though the second one is close), but you seem to be assuming I'm some thoughtless affluent suburbanite who decided to buy an SUV, damn the consequences, fuck the liberals.

              Happy Birthday America!

              by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:17:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Still (none)
                You can't just take responsibility for your own actions.  It's a shame you can't just keep the discussion civil and have to resort to humor to deflect the conversation.

                I'm out of here until you can take resposibility for your own actions.  We ALL have choices in our lives if we want to make them.  

                •  What the hell are you talking about? (4.00)
                  Where have I not taken responsibility for anything?  Good lord.  And how is "resorting" to humor not keeping the conversation civil?  

                  You, snowmoon, need to take responsibility for your willingness to make assumptions about people.  What do you know about me and my ability to make choices I might want to make?  Zilch.  What choice, pray, would you say I make?

                  Lest there be any misunderstanding, I take full responsibility for who I am, what I believe, what I've done, what I've learned, and where I want to be in the future.  

                  Happy Birthday America!

                  by socratic on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 01:39:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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