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Funny how an internet 'community' that prides itself on being 'progressive' and 'evolved' so often descends into vile acrimnious name-calling...

Yep, I remmeber way back in the day, a scientist came out with some results that, in his opinion, 'proved' that, on average Asians were the smartest, Whites in the middle, and Blacks at the bottom. Miss Laura very personally excoriated this researcher, calling him a whole host of colorful names. I found (and still find) such behavior a distraction, and when I asked a very simple question, the gist of which was: I know nothing of this guys methods, or if what he says is true, but a) Why insult him personally and b) objectively, if different 'races' have different physical attributes (more melanin vs. less, waxy vs. crumbly ear wax, epicanthic folds, susceptibility to genetic diseases etc.), why is it not possible that they also could have intellectual differences? She and others were saying this researcher shouldn't even be allowed to publish such stuff, and I was asking for free and open discussion. Shoot, I was MOST EXPLICITLY not defending this guy's findings. I WAS defending his right to have an honest inquiry without being bullied, threatened and personally insulted. I was instantly insulted, by several people, Including the author of the diary, and she also informed me, from 'on high', that some subjects were not open to discussion, were beyond the range if civil discussion. Ahh, mine old enemy: PC, the thought-control of the left...

Only problem with this idea that some subjects are clearly too vile to be discussed is... who gets to decide? It reminded me of the researcher in the SouthWest who pretty much proved that there was native-American cannibalism in prrehistoric times (one only has to look at the fortess-like ruins of places like Canyon De Chelle and Mesa Verde to inmagine a people under seige...) He proved this conclusively, using DNA and other evidence. And for his trouble, he was attacked, received death threats, I believe he lost tenure, and his academic career was laid waste. All for asking 'unpleasant' questions.

I pointed all of this out in subsequent posts, and all of it was met with a shit-storm of vitriol that took me utterly by surprise. I mean, I was shocked, am still shocked, by the very personal, acid-tongued abuse hurled my way. When I and a few others ased repeatedly for a civil discussion, especially an end to ad hominem attacks, more spittle came flying out of the ether as a chorus yelled at us to go #%$@ ourselves.

I was a 'red diaper baby', raised by former Communists who believed in free speech. They even believed in constitutionally protected hate speech. They believed what the ACLU believes, and for the same simple reason: No one is wise enough, or impartial enough, to be the arbiters of what ideas are or are not acceptable for discussion. They supported Lenny Bruce's fights, and the American Nazi Party's (not an easy thing for a Jewish family to do).

But here, in out enlightened corner of the blogosphere, we do have arbiters, would-be censors, and most tellingly - they seem to be the ones who really like to attack most personally those they disagree with .

Today, another purveyer of virtue (or at least a self-appointed policer of it) published a diary entitled "Grow. The. F***. Up" which commented vociferously and angrily on the incredible bad taste of those who ignored the Russert love-fest to decry his fealty to the military/industrial/pharma/penal complex. By the way, is it just me, doesn't the title kind of water down her plea for civilty? So, I dug into the Russert blogs and was amazed to find that virtually anyone who had anything 'not nice' to say about Tim Russert was pilloried with zeal, burned with vitriol, slimed, labelled a 'troll', HR'd etc.

Now, this diary is not concerned with whether Tim Russert was a good father or husband or co-worker. Truth be told, it's not even concerned with his 'performance' (an apt word, I think) as a news-o-tainment-man. No, it's concern is with the fact that the mob mentality, the 'lizard brain' and all of those other things we find grotesque in the Hannity/Coulter/Savage/Limbaugh et. al. world... are alive and well here @ Kos.

The level of personal invective hurled at anyone who dares voice a minority opinion is breathtaking.

If we are so evolved, if we are so 'progressive', if we are so damn different, then why do we sound so similar?

My $.02 for the week.

Gentlemen/Gentlewomen, start those flame engines...

Or better yet, try a little tenderness, humility, humanity and civility. Try to forge a community that really does stand out for its support of humane values, enlightened discussion, and a firm agreement to civilly agree to disagree.

Originally posted to samc1959 on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 05:44 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'll bet that back in caveperson days (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JFinNe

    there was one person who went around smearing feces on the cave wall to make sure everyone understands that it's a natural substance and a part of our lives.

    (0+ / 0-), (0+ / 0-), it's off to kos I go...

    by doorguy on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 05:50:22 AM PDT

    •  Hold your nose, but don't quit breathing (0+ / 0-)

      I was going to write that that 'person' wouldn't have lasted long in my cave, but then I reminded myself that one of my toddlers spent many a nap time painting his signature on the bed room walls, and I never kicked him out, so yes, an alternative view must be tolerated from time to time, however unpleasant it might seem at the time.

      Sometimes, however, the better part of valor is knowing when to fight or flee.  When one senses that an unpleasantry will not be tolerated in a highly emotional state of reverence, then get the heck out of there fast.

      "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

      by JFinNe on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 06:08:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The complaint that people had (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JFinNe, fleisch

    was that the people who did not like Russert did not allow for a week of mourning before piling on with their vitriol.

    But as I have thought about it, if you have strong (and negative feelings) about someone, those are going to come out the most at the moment you hear of the person's death.

    Would it have made any sense for Daily Kos to fill up with a bunch of "Boy, I really hate that Russert" two weeks ago, when he was still much alive? People would have wondered why the posts about Russert then.

    Then people said, give it a week. But a week after someone's death, no one is any longer interested in hearing people's opinions about the deceased. S/he's old news then, people have moved on.

    So, for better or worse, the time when people are going to express their strongest opinions (both positive and negative) about someone, is concurrent with the person's death.

    And this is also the time when people's feelings are the most raw. When people who feel strongly about the person will be most upset about people who express strong views of the person that run contrary to their own.

    I used to think it was just people who did not know how to express themselves who resorted to rank insults. But I just recalled Christopher Hitchens comments on Jerry Falwell the very evening Falwell died. I know people here don't agree with his point of views, but he is definitely literate and articulate. And he used the occasion of Falwell's death to be as insulting and condemning of Falwell as he possibly could be.

    The point being, it's right when someone dies that we are most inclined to make our strongest statement about that person.

    I used to think I would never resort to such behavior. But on reflecting, I found that I have such low regard of some people on right wing radio that hearing of their death would fill me with glee. And I might even become one of those really rude people on Daily Kos posting negative comments about that person to spoil his memory. So there you go.

  •  At first I thought it was a Myers-Briggs faceoff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aramis Wyler, Dave1955

    With the more numerous feely F types, unable to understand the lack of empathy from the thinky T types, who were unable to understand the lack of analysis.

    However, this is clearly untrue, because, as you point out, the people arguing for civility were doing it in a most uncivil manner.

    Well, perhaps it's not untrue.  People who get their feelings hurt can easily lash out without regard for the feelings of others (or perhaps they believe that others demonstrated they have no feelings).  The protector is the most frequent personality type, and there was a lot of protecting going on.

    I'm one of those minority personality types (INTP) whose way of processing information gets misunderstood more often. People think I'm being argumentative, and I don't think I'm arguing at all; I'm just looking for the reason behind their position.

    That being said, I don't resort to foul language or insults. That's probably because I think it makes people sound vulgar and ignorant, and it undermines the point of their argument.  

    But what's the Internet without a flame war?

    Silence is not an effective reply to propaganda.

    by fleisch on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 08:25:35 AM PDT

  •  your hope is laudable (0+ / 0-)

    namely:

    Try to forge a community that really does stand out for its support of humane values, enlightened discussion, and a firm agreement to civilly agree to disagree.

    however, you could possibly have heeded your own counsel before dropping this little loaded, coded and really unhelpful comment:

    and she also informed me, from 'on high', that some subjects were not open to discussion, were beyond the range if civil discussion. Ahh, mine old enemy: PC, the thought-control of the left...

    if it is respectful engagement that you want, perhaps actually honoring this principle yourself might be in order?

    the "PC" remark was far too far.

    _________________________________

    "it's not my stop but the view is better."

    -9.75 (economic), -7.18 (social)

    by dadanation on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 07:31:25 PM PDT

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