Re: The Perils Of

1

If you really want to see some ugliness around this, try the comments here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:02 PM
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It's probably a good proxy for some of the values of the candidate. But once it gets down to details, it's a much weaker proxy. If a candidate hires a blogger that's reasonably well-known, chances are that blogger has said lots of intemperate or ill-advised things at one point, and the style of a personal blog probably isn't the style desired for a political blog.

So I don't think Edwards will say 'fuck' in the SoTU, but it's probably a safe bet that he's pro-choice.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:11 PM
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I think it's fair to infer values from staff, but it's important to fold the number of staffers and the relative importance of the staffer into any such evaluation.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:11 PM
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"Do y'all know that Amanda of Pandagon was hired by the Edwards campaign to head their blogging operation?"

Given the fact that eight zillion right-wing blogs have been having conniptions about it for a week, and left-wing blogs did all their congratulations last week, yes. (Don't ask questions you don't want answers to.)


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:12 PM
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"Michelle Malkin, noted all-American fucktard prick"
Obama's totally not hiring you now, even though you're both Muslim.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:12 PM
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I'm figuring this is dog-whistle politics for us. 'Head Blogger' isn't a particularly high profile position: I don't know if this is a safe bet, but I'd guess that Edwards is expecting outrage over his having hired a profane feminist blogger to be too hard to communicate to the 99% of the country who doesn't give a damn to go anywhere. As long as she doesn't write anything embarassing on the official blog, he shouldn't be damaged by it.

But, it sends a message to Daily Kos and other netrootsy types that Edwards is one of us, which should help him with the internet fundraising.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:13 PM
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"If a candidate hires a blogger that's reasonably well-known, chances are that blogger has said lots of intemperate or ill-advised things at one point,"

I don't agree. The difference in style between a Mark Kleiman, or Matt Yglesias, or a Kevin Drum, and an Amanda Marcotte is... large.

I probably shouldn't characterize Amanda's style, since I'm not a fan (I was a fan of Pandagon when it was Jesse, and then Jesse and Ezra -- whose differences in style with her are also dramatic), but a lot of cursing and rage is not unusual; while she's hardly alone in that style, this is not so of more than a few well-known bloggers.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:17 PM
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Your impression of her posting style seems pretty common, but I must say I've never seen it myself. She curses a lot, but more as a stylistic thing than an indication of how heated she's being - or at least that's how it reads to me. On the rage? I spend a fair amount of time reading, say, Atrios, and thinking 'man, is he pissed off' -- I don't find myself reacting that way to Amanda.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:23 PM
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I don't mean to say she doesn't have her fair share of excitable posts, just that rage doesn't strike me a lot coming from her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:25 PM
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I hate to say this, but I blame the patriarchy.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:25 PM
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I did say "not unusual," as opposed to something indicating a more frequent predilection, such as "is usual," and I also said that "she's hardly alone in that style"; beyond that, I won't be going.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:27 PM
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I disagree. Not every blogger swears, or has the same style. But that's only to say that each well-established blogger would be attacked differently. I'm sure if I wanted, I could go through Yglesias' posts and cherrypick them so that he appeared to be an overprivileged brat with no real life experience, and then spin that as "The choice of Harvard brat Yglesias, who thinks [XYZ.] to run the blog apparatus for Edwards reveals that Edwards' commitment to poverty, because Yglesias thinks XYZ, which is just absurd."

Amanda's more polarizing, and I'm not a fan of her style either, but it's hard to blame her for a smear campaign that seems to focus on her appearance.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:28 PM
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Eh, consider my comment directed at everyone else who says similar things about her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:29 PM
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It is wrong, however, to lie. And it's wrong to pretend that a smear campaign against a feminist isn't motivated primarily by sexism.

And let's admit it: any woman with a public face is going to get attacked as foul-mouthed/shrill/strident. Any avowed feminist is going to get the man-hating dyke label. Anyone who wants to talk about race and rape (the Duke case) is going to be a lightning-rod.

Practically speaking, yes, it's worth being way cautious politically. On the other hand, isn't part of our beef with the Democrats that they're way too cautious? It's gonna be pretty hard to get someone who tells it like it is without occasionally sounding angry.

I think the Johnson analogy--gotcha--doesn't work so well; Amanda, as far as I can tell, is intellectually honest. Though, as I said while posting at the same time you did, I wouldn't have taken down any of my old posts if I were in her shoes, for exactly this reason.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:29 PM
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Gary, is this the right forum to criticize people for being profane on their blog?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:30 PM
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There's supposed to be more words in 12 to make that last sentence make sense.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:31 PM
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Oh goody, we've got the "she shouldn't swear" argument going again. Fuck.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:32 PM
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I'm also not a fan of Atrios. (For one thing, I've usually already read what he's linked to.)

But I'm not hardly trying to tell anyone they shouldn't adore either Mr. Black or Ms. Marcotte.

I do think that deleting your past posts is both bad form, and pointlessly futile, although nothing worse. I'd emphasize the "pointlessly futile," though. (Similarly, people who try to go pseudonymous after a long history of their blog being under their real name; good luck with that.)


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:32 PM
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He hasn't really; just noted that non-profane bloggers are findable. I am kind of interested in talking about what looks to me like the disproportionate hate Amanda gets, but Gary hasn't said anything worse than 'not a fan' and shouldn't be the poster boy for Amanda-hating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:33 PM
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10: I sort of agree. I don't read her much, but there are, I think, pretty big differences between Marcotte and Atrios. He's said that he uses talk radio as his model, and he primarily focuses his ire on the Republicans as Them. Marcotte, insofar as she focuses on women's issues, is likely to occasionally focus on men as Them. (That's only based on a couple of posts that I've seen excerpted, though.) People who vote for Dems--and particularly those who are likely to listen to talk radio--are OK with the Republicans as Them. Insofar as some percentage of those people are men, you're going to find a subset that's not comfortable with men as Them.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:33 PM
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When I read Marcotte's postings on the Duke case (back when she first wrote them), I thought they would come back to bite her in the ass eventually. I didn't expect said biting in the context of joining a presidential campaign because, well, I would have expected a major campaign to hire somebody with a less Tourettic writing style (Shakespeare's Sister, for example). I wouldn't have hired her for the same reason I wouldn't have hired Steve Gilliard. -shrug-


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:35 PM
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"...but it's hard to blame her for a smear campaign that seems to focus on her appearance."

Sorry, I don't know who here this applies to. Neither have I followed the kerfuffle closely enough to know about stuff about her appearance.

I damned well don't give a flying fuck about however fucking much fucking cursing crap anyone lets fly with, though; excessive care about Bad Words is a shitty way to go through motherfucking life, and anyone who disagrees with me is clearly an asshole who should go fuck themselves, the dickwads. Piss on that.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:37 PM
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17: I don't think the argument is that she shouldn't swear; just that I wouldn't advise any campaign to pick up me or you as bloggers either.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:39 PM
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"Gary, is this the right forum to criticize people for being profane on their blog?"

I don't know: has someone been doing that?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:39 PM
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I would have expected a major campaign to hire somebody with a less Tourettic writing style (Shakespeare's Sister, for example). I wouldn't have hired her for the same reason I wouldn't have hired Steve Gilliard. -shrug-

That's actually the best description of my sense of this.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:40 PM
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I didn't blog about the Duke case for the very reason Apo points out in 21. Admittedly, that case has turned out to be a fucking nightmare for anyone who talked about it (except the "women lie, and black strippers are inherently unreliable" assholes whose racist/sexist beliefs happened to work out for them this time). But it *did* raise a lot of issues about rape, race, and class, and I don't think it's blameworthy to have addressed them. You can't win for losing sometimes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:40 PM
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Caution is a beautiful thing. I pretty much agreed with everything Amanda said about the Duke case at the time she said it; as I mentioned here not too long ago, you just don't expect a prosecutor to be trying to railroad people who have good lawyers and media attention. But I don't think I have anything aggressively wrong on the written record from back then, just because I figured writing about it could wait for convictions. (Although I may have comments out there somewhere -- I don't remember any.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:40 PM
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Wait, was it Ben or Gary who wrote this column?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:41 PM
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"17: I don't think the argument is that she shouldn't swear; just that I wouldn't advise any campaign to pick up me or you as bloggers either."

Any campaign that would hire me would be crazy; I'm one big walking skelton, with no closet. Finding material to make me appear like Lee Harvey Oswald, but more lunatic and traitorous is child's play.

I'd have to have adopted pseudonymnity sometime back in the mid-Nineties, at the very latest, and probably more like the Eighties or Seventies.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:44 PM
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23: I would think it would depend on what the campaign wanted to accomplish. I'm going to sound like a fucking asshole here, but it seems to me like political blogs get two kinds of readers: folks who are wonky already, and people who like to play partisan asshole. If what you want is to hire someone who actually *writes* well, and has a clear sense of voice, and might attract readers outside of those two categories (say, stereotypical suburban moms, or Working Americans), then hiring someone like Amanda or you or me is probably the way to do it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:45 PM
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I pretty much agreed with everything Amanda said about the Duke case at the time she said it

What I disagreed with her about was the idea that no woman would ever put herself through this if her story wasn't true. As I said either here or at my place, people do insane, self-destructive things all the time. If they didn't, my blog would only have half as many posts in the archives.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:46 PM
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14: Turns out Amanda didn't pull her old posts -- technical difficulties were the culprit, as one of those stirring the pot on this thing has admitted.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:47 PM
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Yeah, I generally don't hold people to absolutes in their writing unless I'm being a twerp about things. "No X would ever Y" usually means that it's really unlikely that an X would Y, which in this case was, I think, a fair assessment. Wrong, but it's the same guess I made, and would make again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:48 PM
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30: If you're trying to attract stereotypical suburban moms or Working Americans™ then hiring a blogger with archives full of posts about her open marriage (in your case) or countless posts about genitalia and mocking religion (in mine) is an extremely dubious strategy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:49 PM
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I pretty much agreed with everything Amanda said about the Duke case at the time she said it

I seem to recall some of your comments here on that case, and you were (IIRC) much more cautious in your comments, and were explicit in that you could see that it might be a very weak case. That is, I think you said that you assumed there had to be more there, b/c prosecutors don't go after rich white kids without something to hang the case on. My sense--from where, I don't know--is that Marcotte didn't show such caution.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:50 PM
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31: And I wouldn't have nearly as much business.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:50 PM
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I thought it was agreed that she didn't delete posts, it was a technology problem that deleted several months' worth (including Ezra's entire tenure there, he says.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:51 PM
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I don't think that's the audience. My guess would be it's a move to try to steal some of the young, feisty college student vote away from Hillary, because that's the group that's active online and follows blogs.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:52 PM
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Well, yes. That was why I was saying caution is a beautiful thing. But if I'd had to bet money at the time I was saying cautious things, I would have bet that Amanda's less temperate posts were going to look accurate in retrospect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:52 PM
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34: Obviously. But if you want someone who has a *voice*, you're probably going to get someone who isn't Cautious and Gentlemanly about content, either.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:52 PM
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27: Sadly, there are now lots of people who will expect that prosecutors are railroaders. A few are (and should be railroaded out of the profession), but the overwhelming majority aren't.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:53 PM
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My guess would be it's a move to try to steal some of the young, feisty college student vote away from Hillary

From Hillary?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:54 PM
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31- Are you saying half your blog is written when you're feeling insane and self-destructive?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:54 PM
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Well, I kind of think that too -- that is, I think there's more 'Well, if he didn't do this, he did something else' than there should be in the profession. I just don't expect it to happen in a case that got this much attention.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:55 PM
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Assuming Amanda appeals more to young women, Armsmasher, and that they won't be put off by the rape case stuff?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:56 PM
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But if you want someone who has a *voice*, you're probably going to get someone who isn't Cautious and Gentlemanly about content, either.

Insofar as the candidate is supposed to be the voice, you probably don't want staff with their own voices. OTOH, Marshall Whittman is much, much, much nuttier and/or strident than Marcotte, and he (a) has had a long political career, and (b) is now staff on the purported Republican frontrunner's campaign.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:57 PM
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43 - Heh. No, just that these sorts of posts dominate the archives.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:57 PM
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What really bothers me about the way the talk about the Duke case has played out is that it's ended up being about false rape accusations, period. The fact that a bunch of drunk college students had strippers over to a semi-official college activity apparently gets a complete pass since, you know, they didn't actually rape anyone.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 12:59 PM
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It really was hard for it not to play out like that, though, and to the extent that it did, it was more Duke's fault than anything. If they'd reacted when the accusations were made with: "No opinion on the rape charges, but you violated school rules by drinking and hiring strippers" they'd look much better now.

One thing that really throws me about the case was the horrifying email one of the players sent later that night. Given that the rape doesn't seem to have happened, was the interaction with the stripper somehow hostile enough to have set off that kind of rage, or did the player just habitually talk like that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:03 PM
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48: Actually, I don't think they got a pass. I'm pretty sure that the university doled out some pretty harsh medicine for the lacrosse team and for the students involved. And I don't think that the three defendants got a free pass, either, since (if the accusations are, in fact, false) they have been publicly branded for almost a year as rapists.

Agreed that other bad stuff was happening there, and certainly not the kind of thing that we should expect at one of America's (cough) elite universities. But can't we all agree that the rape allegations were head and shoulders above all the rest that took place that night?


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:04 PM
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Hmm. Everyone who said "let's wait until the trial, since nothing hangs on a bunch of people from the internet reaching any conclusions" award yourself a point. People who said "surely, there was a rape here" get penalized a point. People who said "these guys didn't do it, and she's lying about it, and I know this for totally fatuous reasons, plus I heart white people" should just STFU.

On another note, I'm glad KC Johnson exists, but he also creeps me out a bit. Or a little more than that.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:04 PM
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49: I'm convinced that it was that specific e-mail that sold Mike Nifong on the allegations being true.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:05 PM
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It sold me. Who talks like that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:06 PM
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a semi-official college activity

far be it from me to defend anything Duke-related, but I don't think you can call it "semi-official". It was a party taking place off-campus in a privately rented house. Hiring strippers is perfectly legal. The only legitimate issue you cite is underage drinking.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:06 PM
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45: Rapists. Oh, and apparently Duke lacrosee players.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:07 PM
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50: They got a pass in the public mind, pretty much.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:07 PM
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55 was directed at 53. Oops.

54: You are now branded forever as a defender of things Duke-related.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:08 PM
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I think you're mistaken, B. The public still considers them racist assholes, based on the documented behavior. They get a pass on being rapists because, well...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:09 PM
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54: Eh, it was a party that the lacrosse team was having. To celebrate a victory, if I'm remembering correctly Hence, the "semi." If it were a party hosted by someone else that a lot of lacrosse players just happened to be at, I'd feel differently.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:09 PM
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Agree with Apo.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:09 PM
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58: Cool, I hope you're right. I admit I haven't spent any time trying to find out. I do have a (reactionary) friend/former student who has been periodically messaging me ever since the fucking case broke in order to defend the honor of the accused, so my viewpoint might be a little misshapen.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:11 PM
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54: I don't think that works. It was a lacrosse team party. My sense of how universities look at things is that organizations of which the university is officially cognizant can and do get blamed for things their members do even outside of the 'official' activities of the organization -- punishing the lacrosse team for this sort of thing (drinking, strippers) seems perfectly conventional to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:11 PM
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57: Apo is now the official Unfogged scapegoat for Dick Vitale? And J.J. Redick? Awesome. You fucking suck, Apo.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:11 PM
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Who talks like that?

LB, if you're ever in my neighborhood, stop by. I'll introduce you to some students who talk like that, though they know better to do so in public.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:12 PM
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No thank you. I like my sheltered life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:13 PM
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Although, if they're ever drunk and/or accused of rape and/or in a Borat film, all bets are off.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:13 PM
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32: "14: Turns out Amanda didn't pull her old posts -- technical difficulties were the culprit, as one of those stirring the pot on this thing has admitted."

37: "I thought it was agreed that she didn't delete posts, it was a technology problem that deleted several months' worth (including Ezra's entire tenure there, he says.)"

I really haven't followed this, because -- and no offense to everyone who cares a lot -- I really amn't very interested.

But I'm not clear how to reconcile the above with this by Amanda:

UPDATE: Since people are determined to make hay over this quick shot of a post, I'm deleting it and here's my official stance. The prosecution in the Duke case fumbled the ball. The prosecutor was too eager to get a speedy case and make a name for himself. That is my final word.
So did someone hack the site to post that, or was Amanda lying about deleting her post, or is the information from y'all less than authoritative and on this, or what?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:14 PM
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What did the e-mail say? Google isn't yielding anything immediately (mostly newer stories with "Email This to a Friend").


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:14 PM
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Besides, the last two people on Earth who should criticize anyone for the tone or temperance of their remarks are Malkin and Riehl. Whenever I look at Riehl's blog, the other side of my screen gets spittle on it.


Posted by: Paul | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:15 PM
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67: I'll tell you how to reconcile it, Gary. Amanda deleted one post, and Danny "heard" that she'd deleted "posts," and made an accusation that he hadn't bothered to check (which he also admits). Then when he found out that there'd been a technical error over, at least, one of Jesse's old posts, he extrapolated again.

The fun part is he's doing all this in a post where he accuses Amanda of being a sloppy blogger.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:16 PM
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51: Yay! I get a point!

Adding to FL's suggestions, anyone who attacked Jeralyn Merritt for her skepticism about the accusations loses 10 points.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:16 PM
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defend the honor of the accused

Oh sure, those people are out there, but the lacrosse team didn't come off well as a result of this at all.

Dick Vitale? And J.J. Redick?

Whoa whoa whoa now, I can scan and post my UNC diploma if I have to.

62: Yeah, but I happen to think that's really fucked up. I had parties at my apartments in college that were attended more or less exclusively by members of my fraternity, but those were *my* parties, not fraternity parties.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:18 PM
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Here's the email. The writer talks about having strippers over the next night again, murdering them, and coming in his pants as he flays their bodies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:18 PM
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"But if you want someone who has a *voice*, you're probably going to get someone who isn't Cautious and Gentlemanly about content, either."

This seems an idiosyncratic usage of "voice," since Yglesias, Drum, Ezra, and Kleiman all have distinctive voices; not as distinctive as, say, a Hunter Thompson, but they certainly have personal, distinctive, styles. So did Jesse, who was hired by a campaign last year (where is he now, I'd like to know, though).

"Marshall Whittman"

Wittman.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:19 PM
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70: Who is "Danny"?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:20 PM
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Dan Riehl


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:21 PM
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Eh. I think there's a difference between a college student party in which one invites, duh, other college students, and a party where one hires strippers to celebrate winning a game, in terms of semi-officialness.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:21 PM
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73; Yeah, like FL, I know guys who could (or could have, as I think it's a function of youth) make that or a like comment as a joke.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:21 PM
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Jesus, that's disturbing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:22 PM
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75: I was going off the sig. on the post re. Amanda; I haven't a clue who he is.

74: IMHO, and all those guys do good work, they all have extremely boring writing styles. This is not unrelated to their being "legitimate" political bloggers.

Anyway, it's not like Amanda's not operating in a tradition to be proud of. Cf. Ivins' death, and her having been fired from the NYT for making Dirty Jokes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:23 PM
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70: "67: I'll tell you how to reconcile it, Gary. Amanda deleted one post"

67: "I thought it was agreed that she didn't delete posts"

So the way to reconcile the statement that she didn't delete posts with her statement that she deleted her post is that she deleted a post.

I'm not sure we agree on what "reconcile" means, either. I'm familiar with the usage that includes "does not completely contradict."


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:24 PM
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Gary, don't be a pain. Deleted A post /= deleted postS. Surely anyone as literal-minded as you are realizes that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:26 PM
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She said she was deleting the lacrosse post. The incorrect allegation was that she had deleted Jesse Taylor's farewell post.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:28 PM
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She didn't delete the post, she replaced it with a short explanation. If she were applying for blogger tenure, this might be relevant to something. She going to write PR for a politician, for chrissakes.


Posted by: Sven | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:29 PM
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blogger tenure

Want.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:29 PM
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I will say that the entire Edwards-Marcotte flap is a safe bet to be a finalist for the 2007 Soggy Biscuit Award.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:32 PM
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87

There's a long year yet ahead for freaking out in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:35 PM
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It's not going to beat tittygate.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:35 PM
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80: "75: I was going off the sig. on the post re. Amanda; I haven't a clue who he is."

Sorry, what "post re, Amanda"?

And what's this guy got to do with anything I've said, specifically that which I said which you were replying to? It seems a complete non-sequitur. Why should I care about some guy named Danny somewhere? What?

(Dan Riehl is a flaming lunatic; but I have no idea what he has to do with what I wrote in 70.)

"74: IMHO, and all those guys do good work, they all have extremely boring writing styles."

Fair enough, but irrelevant to their having a voice. Okay, you're using "voice" idiosyncratically. Boring voices are voices, so long as they're distinct -- otherwise you wouldn't need the modifier.

"Voice" means, in the usage I'm familiar with, "distinct"; not "the kind of voice I prefer, and find most interesting."


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:36 PM
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88: Tittygate was 2006.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:37 PM
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74 - He's on the staff (online communications director) of Gov. Strickland's communications office.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:39 PM
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"Gary, don't be a pain. Deleted A post /= deleted postS. Surely anyone as literal-minded as you are realizes that."

We're clearly talking past each other. You're talking about all this stuff other people said somewhere else. I don't know anything about that. The claim was that Amanda had deleted no posts, as I read it. If 32 and 37 were intending to speak only to "posts," as in a claim that she deleted a whole bunch of posts (which I'm unfamiliar with: as I said, I'm barely aware of this kerfuffle), while agreeing that she deleted a post, fine.

83: "The incorrect allegation was that she had deleted Jesse Taylor's farewell post."

Similarly, I know nothing about this, and it hadn't been brought up here before, and wasn't part of the discussion.

I'm going to shut up now, because this is deeply pointless and uninteresting, and life is short.

The only remaining thing I'll say is to this, 84: "She didn't delete the post, she replaced it with a short explanation. "

Sheesh. I'll have to keep that one in mind next time I delete a post, and replace it with a short explanation: I'll just tell people that that means I didn't delete it. Who could argue?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:46 PM
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Can we get back to the thing the really important thing here? How crazy do you have to be to call Amanda Marcotte ugly?


Posted by: BG | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:53 PM
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She didn't delete the post, she replaced it with a short explanation. If she were applying for blogger tenure, this might be relevant to something. She going to write PR for a politician, for chrissakes.

Good point -- too much integrity is a big liability in that position.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:54 PM
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79: It's important to remember that (1) young men are moral cretins, (2) violent imagery is cheap and vivid, and (3) young men have an absolute fascination with violent imagery (and perhaps this is particularly true of guys with little real life exposure to violence). Straight Out of Compton is now almost twenty years old, and I assume the graphic violence has grown and become more grotesque. And I want to say that there was a recent movie--Saw?--about dismembering male participants of some sort of sex club. (I heard a piece on the radio by the producer, IIIRC, and I think the movie was successful enough to spawn imitators.)

All of which is to say that I can't imagine writing the e-mail, but I can imagine receiving it in college. I would have thought that the guy was a bit weird and creepy, but not that he was psychotic.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:54 PM
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this is deeply pointless and uninteresting, and life is short.

Agreed.

93 is right. Amanda's totally cute.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:57 PM
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Goddamnit, Gary. This isn't the debating society of the Scottish Ancients. Apply a little common sense.

It's being made out as if she tried to "disappear" the post altogether and pretend it never happened. She replaced it because it was an obnoxious, off-hand comment that didn't represent her position on the subject.

She didn't want to get into it because, now, as an employee of the campaign, she can't dive into all her feminazi theorizing and provide even more grist for the online fuckwit mill.


Posted by: Sven | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:57 PM
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It will be interesting to see how this goes for Amanda and the campaign both. I hope it works. I'm not a huge fan of her blogging--she's maybe a little too quick to assume the worst of people--but I've learned from reading her.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 1:59 PM
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Yes, cute and smart and with Texas wit: a devastating combo, esp. for us Yankees.


Posted by: BG | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:00 PM
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According to Malkin's site, the deleted post is from last month after Nifong pulled the rape charges:

http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:FCRE3nc38l4J:pandagon.net/2007/01/21/stuck-at-the-airport-again/+airport+duke+lacrosse+duke+rape+marcotte&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a

Stuck at the airport again.....
Published by Amanda Marcotte January 21st, 2007

Naturally, my flight out of Atlanta has been delayed. Let's hope it takes off when they say it will so I don't miss my connecting flight home.

In the meantime, I've been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area and good fucking god is that channel pure evil. For awhile, I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and fucked her against her will--not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out. Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:01 PM
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To be fair, that is a blisteringly stupid comment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:07 PM
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It is, isn't it. I hadn't realized it was so recent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:12 PM
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That's making me rethink 98. Maybe not so much being too quick to assume the worst as too slow to admit error or recognize common ground. Or maybe some of each. But she's also smart and writes well and is right more often than she's wrong, which puts her ahead of most folks.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:15 PM
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Who talks like that?

Some of the nicest guys I know. Not all my friends do it, but sometimes you're just bullshitting to see who can say something outrageous and funny, and a lot of things get said that you wouldn't want made public, and sometimes it's just, "Dude, too far," and you all sit in uncomfortable silence for a while before you burst out laughing. Lighten up, people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:21 PM
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Hm. Well, now we know why assholes think that saying stuff like that is okay; after all, nice guys do it too.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:23 PM
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96:Amanda is ok, but as long as we are in sex-object mode, I gots this crush on twisty. It is the fashion-sense, in all seriousness: bluejeans, plain white t-shirt, and gimme cap are the ultimate in sexy haute couture. Or maybe I am gay, or a sexist asshole. Hard to tell some days.

Amanda, amanda ,whatever is the matter with amanda. Besides finding her content challenging, as I should and expect to...and she is far from the most radical feminist on the webs...I feel she lectures me, like, like, well I just watched The Squid and the Whale this week.

Twisty is just a punch in the nose. Not necessarily affectionate or hostile, depends on the reader how the reader takes it. Twisty makes me laugh, at myself, and with her.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:23 PM
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Yeah, stupid and offensive. But as Amanda might say, "Where the fuck were all these handwringing misogynist assholes when the LA Fucking Times gave Jonah Goldberg a column?"


Posted by: Sven | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:24 PM
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104: Fratty.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:24 PM
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Right. I've made jokes about killing and eating people on this very blog. He strikes me as a lunkheaded ass who doesn't know how to tell a joke and has watched American Psycho too many times.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:26 PM
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Unfortunately, both are Southerners and especially Texans, and I hate all Southerners and Texans. Except Molly.

Nothing worse than a self-hating bigotted Texan.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:26 PM
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Who talks like that?

Bob Saget!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:36 PM
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"Not all my friends do it, but sometimes you're just bullshitting to see who can say something outrageous and funny, and a lot of things get said that you wouldn't want made public, and sometimes it's just, "Dude, too far," and you all sit in uncomfortable silence for a while before you burst out laughing"

This should be in first person, or possibly third, rather than in second.

"Lighten up, people."

It's a good thing that whenever there's discussion of an "ism," be it sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, whatever, and enough people are participating, someone doesn't inevitably says that, or it might be devalued. It's always a keeper.

It's especially useful when the speaker isn't a member of the set in discussion, because that makes them more objective, and apt to be correct in recognizing that anyone offended is being over-sensitive.

That way such complaints are always immediately dismissed, rather than listened to, which would be, after all, really annoying. Discussion might get all boring, then, and, as we know, people should never have to think about what they say, because there's nothing more dreary than that.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:46 PM
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Lighten up, Gary.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:47 PM
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Gary had a good weekend over at ObsWi, where all marveled at his erudition and wisdom, and unanimously him nominated for either Secretary of State or UN General Secretary.

I am like all Iago-green with bitter frustrated envy, and considering abandoning blogging, reading, and thinking. My dogs like me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:53 PM
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Cheer up, Bob: come the revolution, Bob, you'll be on top, and I'll have been shot.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 2:59 PM
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The tittygate lady just got promoted to Salon's former "", now called "The Blog Report". They haven't changed to logo to reflect that yet, however.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:03 PM
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"Daou Report"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:03 PM
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"They haven't changed to logo to reflect that yet, however."

So it'll be the "B" in "Blog" as boobies? (Mustn't disapoint Ann Althouse.)


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:09 PM
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I just remembered. Didn't Mr. "Reasonable Style" Drum make some Pretty Fucking Stupid comments about the gentler sex?


Posted by: Sven | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:09 PM
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You mean apart from the "where are all the women bloggers" meme?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:11 PM
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I just noticed that Kurtz briefly mentioned the kerfuffle at the end of his column today. Here's how he rendered "fucked":

As noted by OpinionJournal's James Taranto, Marcotte wrote last month of the Duke rape case that she "had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and [sexually assaulted] her against her will -- not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out. Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."
A misguided attempt at sarcasm? "No comment," Marcotte e-mailed Friday. "But thanks for asking!"
An accurate substitution, or not?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:17 PM
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119: "I just remembered."

Presumably you're arguing with someone, somewhere, who claimed that Drum, Yglesias, Kleiman, and Ezra Klein, were all gods who never wrote anything stupid.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:20 PM
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Yeah, I was thinking of a provocative logo to put poor Wonjette to shame.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:30 PM
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104: Some of the nicest guys I know. Not all my friends do it, but sometimes you're just bullshitting to see who can say something outrageous and funny, and a lot of things get said that you wouldn't want made public, and sometimes it's just, "Dude, too far," and you all sit in uncomfortable silence for a while before you burst out laughing. Lighten up, people.

Shit, if some of the nicest guys you know might have said that (and you know, not all jokes about killing people sound like that. I've made jokes about killing people) I don't want to know your friends. If some of the nicest guys you know might have said that, I'm not sure I want to know you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:34 PM
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I've criticized Amanda in the past, and I'll do it again. She has a hyperbolic style common to the snarky sites, and most people who read her admit this, but assert that she still makes good observations if you just take her the right way. I don't think she actually does. Her posts never actually say anything accurate and defensible, they just create the false memories that they do in people who read them, because reasonable feminists will automatically come up with a reasonable version that's close to what she's saying and substitute that subconsciously.

I remember making a claim that her posts did often make accurate and insightful observations (even indirect ones) when defending her at some other rightish site, and when asked to provide examples, I went to her site and went back a month and read each of her posts, and couldn't find anything. It's really quite amazing how a sympathetic reader gets the impression that she's, deep down, a reasonable writer, but I don't think she is. (Whether she's a reasonable *person*, or is able to write reasonably in other contexts, is an entirely different question.)

I've been thinking about taking one of her posts and trying to analyze every claim in it to see how the balance ends up being, with true, defensible, and indefensible claims tallied.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:39 PM
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Now I'm not sure what, specifically, you think is disturbing about that email that isn't disturbing about jokes about killing people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:40 PM
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"Her posts never actually say anything accurate and defensible"

and non-trivial, and about feminism. Necessary qualifiers.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:41 PM
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Speaking of hyperbolic: "Her posts never actually say anything accurate and defensible...."


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:44 PM
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126: It's a joke about killing someone you have no personal contact with or knowledge of (that is, not "I'm going to kill my co-worker if he doesn't stop using nasal decongestant at his desk") and flaying them for sexual gratification.

You see, jokes like the one in my parenthetical are funny because the guy really is kind of annoying -- while you don't actually want to kill him, in some counterfactual kind of way you sort of do a little. Someone who doesn't actually want to get his rocks off by murdering and flaying a stripper, but in some counterfactual kind of way sort of does a little? Freaks me the fuck out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:45 PM
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"and non-trivial, and about feminism. Necessary qualifiers."

Ah.

I have no dog in this, having mentioned I'm not a fan of Amanda M., but I'm going to go out on a limb here, and predict that there's some faint, ever so trivial, miniscule, chance, that a couple of folk here may not leap to agree with your speculation as to how many of them read her, and what goes on inside their heads when they do.

Just a small chance, you understand. As a rule, most people welcome being told that the speaker understands their thinking better than they do, and that they're incompent at judging other people's writings. So I've long observed, anyway.

(That most people are, in fact, poor readers, doesn't affect that welcome.)


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:49 PM
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I tend to agree with 125; not the hugest of Marcotte fans myself. (For that matter I guess I don't really understand Bob's affection for Twisty, whose signal-to-noise ratio has seemed lower still every time I've had occasion to read her. And that whole anti-transwoman thing was severely ugly.)


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:51 PM
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On the Duke thing. If you're on a sports team at a university, and you have a party with your friends who just happen to be on that sports team, usually the university will say that you are representing the university and expect you to behave accordingly. Even if it's unofficial. First rule is don't embarass the school.

On the e-mail. It looks shocking and disgusting and over the top, and devoid of context, it's very hard to say whether he's referring to a movie in-joke or semi-serious or psychotic, and whether the reaction were, "oh, like in Hostel", or "right on, i hates me some townies, too" or "oh, god, we had to invite him, didn't we." It's still pretty extreme, though, and a lot hard to gloss as just a joke.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 3:56 PM
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129: while you don't actually want to kill him, in some counterfactual kind of way you sort of do a little.

I'm not sure that humour in general, especially shock comedy, generally functions on the basis of a counterfactual yearning, much less an attachment to some known person. "Dead baby in a blender" jokes, for example, would seem to function the opposite way, as gallows / discomfort humour about things the people telling them wouldn't want to see or do.

What makes the e-mail straight creepy (and it is) is the weird specificity of the image, which lends some credibility to the possibility of a "counterfactual" thing going on there. The "joke" isn't functioning the way shock and gallows humour tend to function.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:02 PM
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130: I mainly mentioned the theory about the "false memories" because that's what I felt was going on in *my* head so that, for several months, I read and enjoyed her. IIRC, she was one of the first blogs I read regularly.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:05 PM
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Again, I don't know, people have some dark places in them, and among some friends, it's ok to share a little bit. Once, a friend said something so shocking that he was worried that he was going to have nightmares about it. But I don't think that the people who don't say those things don't have it in them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:07 PM
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133: LB's joke about the annoying co-worker isn't shock comedy or gallows humor, though. I think it does involve a counterfactual. I think we can rule out the e-mail being shock comedy, since ... someone help me out here? and we can rule out the gallows humor because these are jocks. I mean.

OK, so those aren't arguments. But if anything, I think the type of humor LB's talking about, with the hyperbolic expression of mild ill-will (Would you genuinely wish some small indignity on the co-worker? Well, killing him is just that times 1,000,000.) is the closest thing to what the e-mail could even plausibly be without being despicable.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:09 PM
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Sure, I'd agree with that. What makes me go for the 'counterfactual' angle is that the guy is talking about a real life situation -- that is, "What are you doing this weekend?" "Oh, I figured I'd reenact the BTK killings with a couple of strippers, wanna help?" sounds to me like a gross joke, maybe too gross but not scary, if it's from someone who'd get prim at the prospect of actually hiring strippers. Once it's from someone who in fact just got his rocks off from watching a stripper he and his buddies hired, it starts looking more like "What'd really be fun is..."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:09 PM
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And you'd have to know the person to know how likely they would be to find acting out what they say in a counterfactual world revolting or satisfying. What makes the Duke email creepy is the sense that he would find it satisfying, but it's very hard to say why one gets that sense. Maybe the word "bitches," or maybe just that we know he'd been accused of something not so different from what he wrote about, or maybe our impression of Duke lacrosse players.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:10 PM
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I have an idea. Why don't we invide Kotsko over and have a flame war? This is too civil.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:10 PM
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Ogged, are you saying it's shock humor? Because I've never known anyone that used shock humor among friends. The use of shock humor in a non-standup or movie context would be completely new to me.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:10 PM
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137 to 133.

To 135: Again, I don't know, people have some dark places in them, and among some friends, it's ok to share a little bit. Once, a friend said something so shocking that he was worried that he was going to have nightmares about it. But I don't think that the people who don't say those things don't have it in them.

"It" in the last sentence being "a slight, and easily repressed, but nonetheless real desire to murder and flay women for sexual gratification"? Because I think you're wrong about that. I certainly hope you are.

If that's not what you're saying, I don't understand you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:12 PM
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Because I've never known anyone that used shock humor among friends.

I have. Shit, I do this. I'm not sure I'd call it "shock humor," but it amounts to the same for the purposes of this discussion.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:12 PM
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135: people have some dark places in them, and among some friends, it's ok to share a little bit.

Obvs. But I don't know, sharing the "dark places" isn't the same as just cracking wise for shits and giggles. My friends and I might be able to listen to NOFX's "Kill All the White Man" in the vein of sarcastic humour, but if one of them actually starts "joking" about how we should go out and kill some white men tonight, it's not the same thing.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:12 PM
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Without the context of the guy's personality it's impossible to tell, but the phrase "while cumming in my Duke issue spandex" makes the whole thing seem like it's purposefully ridiculous to my ears.

Replace "Duke issued" with "Unfogged issued" and I could see half of the commentariat here posting the same lines (with better spelling).

But maybe that proves a different point.



Posted by: delores delurk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:12 PM
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"...I mainly mentioned the theory about the "false memories" because that's what I felt was going on in *my* head so that, for several months, I read and enjoyed her."

Of course, if you'd just said that, you'd have been on perfectly safe ground. It's the difference between self-analysis, and projecting it on others, or between mind-reading one's self, and writing as if you can mind-read others, far better than they can mind-read themselves.

"IIRC, she was one of the first blogs I read regularly."

n00b.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:13 PM
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"This is too civil."

Fuck you, Emerson.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:15 PM
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140: I've never known anyone that used shock humor among friends

I know many such people. A group of friends is the best place to use shock humour, because it's least likely to be misunderstood. But shock or gallows humour isn't just a case of "say the most offensive thing you can think of."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:15 PM
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144: Yeah, see, I'm pretty sure you're wrong about that last sentence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:15 PM
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Because I think you're wrong about that.

Dunno. A guess a poll won't help.

but if one of them actually starts "joking" about how we should go out and kill some white men tonight, it's not the same thing.

Slack, you're such a honkey. I joke about killing whitey with my Indian friends.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:16 PM
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141: I think he means the ability to even think about and say these things. If I tried right now, could I come up with something extremely macabre and unsettling? People intentionally trying to shock not only their friends, but themselves. Like I said, I don't have any personal experience with this kind of humor, but I'm aware of it.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:16 PM
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Actually, my Indian friends are surprisingly hostile to whitey; in a way that, say, my Chinese friends aren't.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:17 PM
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Thanks, Gary. I'm fine now.

Isn't there a Monty Python skit where the lawyer says something like "Sure, my client has intense, constantly-recurring fantasies of serial rape and murder -- don't we all?"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:20 PM
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145: I'm aware the comment was somewhat incendiary. I tend to take a very distrustful view of human cognition, and so if someone accused me of some weird unconscious bias or misperception I wouldn't take it as an insult, because I don't identify with my brain that way. But most other people do. So I might be more careful about that.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:20 PM
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Ogged is steroetyping again.

Like his mother didn't beat him when **he** put sand in his friend's butt.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:21 PM
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I really don't want to defend the Duke players, because in my experience lacrosse players really deserve most of the opprobrium they get....but what he says is so obviously over-the-top that it's *very* hard to take with some of the breathless faux piety (that's how All Men Are We Poor Handmaidens We) that was displayed around the blogosphere. "however there will be no nudity" sounds like the begin of a lead-in to a (badly done) joke... and while the guys are assholes for thinking that sort of thing is funny, it really doesn't make them psychotic.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:21 PM
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Indian, as in South Asian? Wouldn't surprise me. I know Punjabi Sikhs who get hassled by rednecks who think they're Muslim terrorists. The prevailing day-to-day Chinese stereotype in most places these days seems to extend mostly to "bad drivers" and "hang out at the library a lot."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:22 PM
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155 is a good point.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:23 PM
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India Indian, yeah, but not Sikhs. I don't hang out with those turban-wearing dagger-carrying terrorist types.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:24 PM
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So, ogged. I'd like to better understand this "shock humor". Exactly where is the humor value? Is it in the fact that the speech act is transgressive? Is it in the fact that the person would *dare* say it? What attitude is the person saying it presumed to have toward it--ironic detachment (i.e. you and B's back and forth about "Hooker." and "Racist." and such), or something else?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:24 PM
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Ogged's just trying to casually allude to how many gentes he's down with.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:24 PM
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Exactly where is the humor value?

That's why I didn't want to call it "shock humor" because it's not really about the humor, it's about saying things out loud. I don't actually do this--seriously--because I'm totally uptight in real life, but I have friends who do, and I actually kind of appreciate it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:26 PM
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155: I'm not getting you. Of course it's over-the-top -- I'm not reading it as the description of a plan -- I just can't make it function as any kind of joke that isn't scary creepy in a way that I did in fact think was fairly unusual until this conversation got going.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:26 PM
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144: I can sort of see weird fantasies about offing people who have and abuse power over you. There were moments during my year of gruntwork for an insurance company when I could almost see how going postal could look like a good idea to someone who didn't have a university to go back to. But weird fantasies about torturing and killing people you regard as your inferiors? I have a hard time coming up with a non-sick explanation for that one. OTOH my personal demons are of the lamest imaginable sort, so I suppose I shouldn't generalize.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:26 PM
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155: Sort of agree with Cala, I think. Didn't someone around here come up with "rape the face"? ('though Google's not showing it.) That strikes me as a similar, if not quite as graphic, sort of use of language.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:26 PM
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161: OK, so which particular aspect of it is enjoyed/appreciated by the people who say it?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:27 PM
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Here's an example: in some movie, Nick Nolte says, "he'd crawl over his dying mother to fuck his sister," and how can you not make up your own horribly vile scenarios after you hear that?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:28 PM
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And if that line doesn't make you laugh, I can't help you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:29 PM
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Um, that was me and the face raping.

LB, here's the lead in I'm imagining: Duke's a Div-I school, and has probably had countless informational sessions for athletes on what looks bad at the university, and what is policy when in Duke attire. I can see "nudity" coming up, and someone arranging strippers and joking, "no worries, we won't violate the nudity policy" and then going on to make a tasteless and unfunny joke about not messing his shorts till AFTER the strippers are dead, not naked.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:30 PM
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But "he'd crawl over his dying mother to fuck his sister" is pretty different from "let's get together and kill our moms and fuck our sisters," isn't it?


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:32 PM
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164: Cala came up with it either quoting or mockquoting Jeff Goldstein.

166: Man, I'm just getting hung up on the first person/third person distinction here. "He's so vile that [over the top scenario]" sounds very different to me than "I'm so vile that [over the top scenario]."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:32 PM
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158: India Indian, yeah, but not Sikhs.

You're missing out. Many Sikhs are very clean and articulate, and also quite accomplished.

165: I'd lay odds that Ogged is splitting hairs when he says it's not about "humour" but about "saying things out loud." Of course laughing when people say horrible things out loud is about humour. It's like when kids laugh at saying the word "poop" out loud, only as adults we graduate to doing the same shit with sex, violence and death.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:34 PM
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168 makes sense to me. Let's call in an analytic philosopher to explain why.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:35 PM
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171: Wasn't that the whole point of The Aristocrats?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:35 PM
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Ogged is splitting hairs

I'm just trying to be precise when I'm not sure what I want to say. It's about humor in some sense; one responds by laughing, not by saying "yeah, good plan." But the primary function of the activity seems to be to explore the dark side, rather than yucks.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:36 PM
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Exactly where is the humor value?

Because the punchline is so unexpected. Y'know, either you appreciate it or you don't, and it isn't really easy to do well, either. So when it falls flat, it falls REALLY flat.

I'm sure I've offended people with pedophilia jokes before.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:37 PM
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168: Since the comment, given your hypothetical policy and reaction to it, can be seen as needling the administration for misplaced or unbalanced prudery in its policy while not properly prohibiting the truly horrible, I think that the humor stops being *about* the shock, and simply uses the shock as energy to direct against the real target (the stupid school administration). This might be why your interpretation makes it seem not evil.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:38 PM
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I'm sure I've offended people with pedophilia jokes before.

Dude, those were jokes? I feel so betrayed.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:39 PM
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168 does have some plausibility. Still yuck, but that explanation would make a certain amount of sense.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:40 PM
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"Exactly where is the humor value?"

Is there such a thing as objective humor value?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:41 PM
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I think 168 (and 176) would make the joke not a shock joke, which doesn't help us shed light on ogged or apo's defense of shock humor.

175: I don't think the unexpected in itself has any humor value, though. It has to be unexpected *and* transgressive. And my question was: what attitude is the speaker presumed to take to the transgression?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:42 PM
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the unexpected has become increasingly expected over the last 20-50 years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:42 PM
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168 just isn't ringing true for me. That may be because when I initially read the email, I interpreted the 'no nudity' as a reference to some altercation with the complaining stripper -- that she'd said she wouldn't get completely nude or something.

But even under the 168 interpretation, the joke stays vile for me -- "Heh, if the stupid administration won't let us be titillated by nudity [so far a reasonable joke], we'll have to find some other way to be titillated [still nothing too weird] like by flaying strippers after we kill them [that this comes to mind as an alternative means of titillation is fucked up]."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:42 PM
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Dude, those were jokes?

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Also, shock jokes are often for the entertainment of the teller, not the person hearing. The funny is the other people's reactions.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:43 PM
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173: Zigackly.

179: Is there such a thing as objective humor value?

Why, yes. Yes there is.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:43 PM
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179 Yeah, one yuk of humor is worth one util of welfare, which is worth about 3 cents in today's trading.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:44 PM
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How many hamster orgasms, John?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:45 PM
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182: I think it's more like someone working at a company (or going to a primary/secondary school) with a very strict dress code joking about things that don't technically violate the dress code, like wearing assless/crotchless pants (chaps?). The person telling the joke isn't presumed to be talking about themselves, even though they're talking in the first person.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:46 PM
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This thread is gross. Everyone's chiming in to say that they don't like Amanda, b/c she swears, and everyone else is chiming in to say that "jokes" about flaying strippers aren't so bad.

Jesus, people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:47 PM
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"b/c she swears"

What the fuck?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:49 PM
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187: I'm trying to picture what Duke's rules could be like to have a loophole permitting murder.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:49 PM
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126: The obvious answer is that the email was written in response to a rape accusation. If you people can't catch the tone of hostility and aggression in the email, then god help you.

The guy may not be a psycho, but he's definitely a misogynist asshole who I wouldn't give the time of day to.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:50 PM
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188: I think maybe one person objected to Marcotte's swearing (I can't even remember that), and people are saying that flaying jokes are not so far outside the norm of this sort of joke as to mark the author as psychotic rather than crude, thoughtless, and creepy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:50 PM
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192: Nonetheless, I think you understand what I'm getting at.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:51 PM
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B, you have to have standards.

"Amanda swearing" = bad

"Jokes about murder" = funny.

Standards are what make civilized society possible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:51 PM
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192: Actually, Ogged said that the joke could have been made by some of the nicest guys he knows, which is what freaked me out. I'm sure the odds are the guy who wrote the email isn't ever going to murder and flay anyone, but I think scary creepy is a minimum reading.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:51 PM
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190: Right, that would just make the joke stupid and juvenile, because it's not sophisticated enough to acknowledge that obvious point. Besides the revoltingness of the imagery and the misogyny of course. But still, maybe not evil.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:51 PM
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Ogged said that the joke could have been made by some of the nicest guys he knows

Well, not that joke, because it's crude and poorly written, but ones like it. There's a difference!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:53 PM
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193: You're attributing hypocrisy collectively to a group of people for containing individuals who hold mutually incompatible opinions. That's one of the things Amanda does that annoys the crap out of me.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:54 PM
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196: Yeah. This may be something where I'm disqualified by my gender as oversensitive, but I'm getting stuck on the distinction between 'misogyny' [as displayed in this joke] and 'evil'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:54 PM
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I think scary creepy is a minimum reading

Cala's half-convinced me that it could be merely nasty creepy. OTOH I'm white and male.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:54 PM
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198: "hypocrisy" s/b "double standards"


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:55 PM
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Well, not that joke, because it's crude and poorly written, but ones like it. There's a difference!

That's what I'm hoping for -- that whatever the fuck it is you're thinking about that your friends do is something that would not sound like this email to me. If they really belong in the same box, you've got some fucked up friends.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:57 PM
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LB, you're probably old enough to be told that all men have fantasies about rape and murder all the time.

You've probably been told that it's sex. Nope.

That's what little Catholic schoolgirls are raised to believe. "Dear, wear clean underwear whenever you wear those patent-leather shoes, because you know how boys are, heh heh. that's all they think about"

You're probably asking: "Gandhi? That skinny little guy?"

Yup. Him too. Rape and murder, constantly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:58 PM
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191: The obvious answer is that the email was written in response to a rape accusation.

I had forgotten this aspect of it. This actually would move it into the category of "super-moronic bravado." ("Call me evil, will you? I'll show you evil! Detroit, what?! That's just how I roll, dawg!")


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 4:59 PM
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199: Even making the joke means that the person is too comfortable with misogyny, but if we assume that the speaker considers the described action to be over the top, then the things that the speaker considers to be maybe OK *might* not rise above misogynist assholery, like a person who would date rape someone and not feel guilty about it. Still pretty evil, but maybe not psychotic.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:00 PM
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Actually, Ogged said that the joke could have been made by some of the nicest guys he knows

Insofar as some of the nicest guys I know are also crude, thoughtless, and creepy, I guess I could see that--it's a function of mis-socialization, I think. (It reminds of the nice guy/asshole brouhaha a while ago: lots of "nice guys" have had little exposure to women and are creepy around them, and lots of assholes are comfortable enough around women not to be. I'd choose the assholes, too.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:00 PM
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You're attributing hypocrisy collectively to a group of people. . . . That's one of the things Amanda does that annoys the crap out of me.

And one of the things that annoys the crap out of me is being told that I'm attributing things to people, collectively or individuallly, when I'm not. What I said was that this thread is gross. Last I heard, a collection of words on the internet /= a group of people.

not that joke, because it's crude and poorly written, but ones like it. There's a difference

Then why'd you bring up your friends?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:01 PM
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you've got some fucked up friends.

This is annoying. I think you have a very strange picture of the kinds of things people might think and say to good friends, and how those things relate to how they behave in the world. Whether someone makes a shocking remark about pedophilia doesn't make him more or less fucked up than someone who doesn't.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:01 PM
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204: It moves it into the category of hostile misogyny.

206: I'd choose not to be friends with either group, myself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:03 PM
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209: Or, more accurately (b/c I have friends who say jerky shit too), I'd be friends with them, but I'd also tell them why that shit is fucked up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:03 PM
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191, 204: If I understand the timeline, the email was sent the same night, before the players were aware of any accusation. If that's wrong -- if it postdates the accusation -- then I'm much less bothered by it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:04 PM
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209: It would be hostile misogyny regardless. Whether or not it's misogynistic isn't at issue for me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:04 PM
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207: Your 188, due to the juxtaposition of observations, and especially in light of 193, seemed to me to be implying that part of what you found gross were the double-standards of criticizing Amanda for bad language and defending a lacrosse player for obscene and horrible language. If you didn't intend that, apologies.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:05 PM
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182: Flaying strippers after killing them comes to mind in our cultural context because we've all seen/heard movies, urban legends, and news stories about serial killers. Hard to say whether frequent allusions to American Psycho are a guaranteed sign of violent misogyny.

I'm posting presidentially because I have a running joke with a friend (a quiet, gentle, gentle, gentle, fragile man who would never harm a human) about stacking dead hookers: "Should we take your car or mine?" "Oh, probably yours, my trunk's full of dead hookers again." "How's the new apartment?" "Great. Lots of closet space, you know, for the hookers." Sick and wrong? Maybe. Evidence of my misogyny, or his? I really don't think so.


Posted by: Jimmy "History's Greatest Monster" Carter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:06 PM
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188: "...and everyone else is chiming in to say that "jokes" about flaying strippers aren't so bad."

Lizardbreath, pdf23ds, myself, and the others, should accept our status as unpeople.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:07 PM
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I think you have a very strange picture of the kinds of things people might think and say to good friends, and how those things relate to how they behave in the world. Whether someone makes a shocking remark about pedophilia doesn't make him more or less fucked up than someone who doesn't.

And I think that I can't make sense of the email other than from the point of view who finds the prospect of killing and mutilating a woman a little bit titillating. And I don't want to know anyone who finds that titillating, and expects to be able to bond with other men over it, at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:07 PM
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Ogged, could we have an example of the sort of joke you're talking about that one of your friends would tell?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:08 PM
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214: Jimmy, see my 137 for an explanation of why your joke doesn't freak me out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:08 PM
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214: a quiet, gentle, gentle, gentle, fragile man who would never harm a human

They say that about all the best serial killers. But yeah, that would just look like an example of gallows-humour-among-friends to me, not necessarily misogyny. The e-mail is different, whenever it was sent, but it can be hard to put a finger on exactly why.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:10 PM
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215: Well, I sort of switched sides after Cala's 168.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:10 PM
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182, 216: You're just trying to see how many times you can write the word "titillating" now before someone calls you on it.

(How do you titillate an ocelot? You oscillate its tit a lot.)


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:10 PM
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Well look, if we're now going to draw some very fine distinction between the email and Jimmy Carter, then my friends are definitely on the Jimmy side of the line. The "real life" distinction seems pretty ad hoc to me though.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:11 PM
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208: You're not being fair. LB specifically said IF your friends fit into the same box as the Duke email writer, then they're fucked up. You said yourself in 197, not that joke, and that there's a difference. Okay, so what's the difference? No fair getting irked at LB for lumping your friends in with the Duke jerk when you're the one that made the connection to begin with.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:12 PM
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Emerson is also a nonperson.

207: "What I said was that this thread is gross. Last I heard, a collection of words on the internet /= a group of people."

And that: "Everyone's chiming in to say that they don't like Amanda, b/c she swears, and everyone else is chiming in to say that 'jokes' about flaying strippers aren't so bad."

That's where you characterized a variety of people of different views as "everyone."

Last I heard, "everyone" was "a group of people."


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:14 PM
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188, 192, 193: B, what you did there is very similar to what pdf23ds objects to about Amanda's style in 125.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:14 PM
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I'm reminded of an article I read in the New York Observer about Bob Saget and how he is not the kind of guy you think he is, but instead a comedian's comedian who works very very blue. It includes several anecdotes illustrating this, including:

In comedy circles, there's a famous Saget story about the night his first daughter was born. After a very difficult birth, during which Sherri Saget and her baby almost died, a friend showed up to find Mr. Saget looking utterly destroyed, unshaven, unrecognizable, but holding his newborn.

"Oh my God, Bob, she�s beautiful," the friend said.

"For a dollar, you can finger her," Mr. Saget replied.

"This story continually comes back to me," he said, groaning. "Oh boy, I was a wreck, and I was just operating on whatever sick mode I'm always in anyway. I don't remember, but I don't think a dollar is enough money for something that crosses the line that much. I would have said $5. The option for me was to go, 'Oh my God, we just went through the worst thing, it was horrific, it was terrible.' I said all that stuff. And then I capped it with that. But there's no way this is going to play properly, and pretty much I would say my life is doomed and they'll be taking me away."

I read this and thought it was really funny. And horrible. And funny, very funny. But horrible! But also, totally funny and it made me like Bob Saget a lot.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:17 PM
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225: I'd say that one important difference is that she's not taking a strict moral superiority stance with the comment, but instead chiding us for dropped (presumed) shared standards. I don't get that note when reading Amanda at all. This interpretation lies partly in the history of B's comments here.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:17 PM
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222: It doesn't seem ad hoc to me. Like, apo's never made a joke I've seen that's done more than make me wince because it's an awful joke -- it all sounds goofy-shocking. Likewise with JC's joke; I think I've probably made or laughed at jokes about killing a hobo.

This: "Hey, in real life we hired a real stripper to really be sexually gratified by her. As a joke, I'm now going to proffer an alternative means of being sexually gratified by a stripper -- murdering and mutilating her. Oh, you're laughing, but you know it'd be kinda hot." is what the Duke email sounded like to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:18 PM
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226 is pretty damned funny.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:19 PM
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214: Yeah, that kind of joke is an example of how easily we accept misogyny. Does it make Jimmy or his buddies especially misogynist? Possibly not.

Full disclosure: my bf and I have a running joke about his being a serial killer with heads in the basement. This is based on my going out to visit him, sight unseen, for a week, and having asked him straight up if he was a serial killer before I did it. Of *course* the joke is a way of defusing tensions about misogyny and violence.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:19 PM
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225: Indeed; and part of what I'm implying is that perhaps pdf's objections to Amanda have to do with similar misunderstandings of the difference between rhetoric and actual accusations.

To wit, in 224: you'll notice, Gary, that I said "everyone" and "everyone else." I think that it's therefore quite clear to anyone who isn't determined to be offended that I'm quite consciously making an "accusation" that in fact, does not--cannot--literally apply to "every one here."

But hey, I'm quite willing to hand over the "you're just looking to be offended" crown to you and pdf and whoever else wants it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:22 PM
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This: "Hey, in real life we hired a real stripper to really be sexually gratified by her. As a joke, I'm now going to proffer an alternative means of being sexually gratified by a stripper -- murdering and mutilating her. Oh, you're laughing, but you know it'd be kinda hot." is what the Duke email sounded like to me.

We don't really know what the context was. He could have meant to parody someone else at the party who had said something about nudity, or about respecting Duke, or whatever.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:23 PM
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228, 229: 226 is safely funny because it's so far over the line; the Duke email is creepy because it's closer to something that really happened.

If Saget's daughter was molested and he offered a crack at her crack to the friend who came to offer support, that wouldn't be funny.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:23 PM
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B is an enabler.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:26 PM
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232: No, we don't know those things. Absent those things, it's fucking sick and creepy. I don't see why you're arguing that we should bend over backwards to extend the benefit of the doubt.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:27 PM
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231: So was 188 intended in jest/sarcasm/irony? I overlooked the "everyone"/"everyone else" (or dismissed it as stylistic flourish), and assumed the remark was otherwise meant at face value. If you were instead working a form of the feminist/lightbulb joke, my apologies.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:28 PM
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231: "Everyone", in the most generous non-literal sense, means at least two people. Which I think was Gary's point.

And I'd be greatly interested to hear your ideas on what rhetoric is, and on what level it needs to be true in order to be worthwhile. You'll notice my criticisms of your original comment did not fail for taking your rhetoric too literally.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:29 PM
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I don't care about the Duke lacrosse guy--all lacrosse players are scum, as I understand it--I'm just saying that there's not a clear distinction between the lacrosse email and Jimmy Carter.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:29 PM
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You're swinging at imaginary enemies, B. Nobody's criticizing Amanda for swearing. I mean, really, look where we are having this conversation. What I'm saying is that she might be a poor choice to represent a national presidential campaign. And nobody's really defending the creep's joke, just saying that it was a joke, however unfunny and creepy it might be.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:33 PM
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233 seems pretty much right.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:33 PM
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231:

[...] I think that it's therefore quite clear to anyone who isn't determined to be offended that [....]

But hey, I'm quite willing to hand over the "you're just looking to be offended" crown to you and pdf and whoever else wants it. If I may ask, when someone offends you, what is your reaction when they explain to you that the only reason you are annoyed is that you're looking for offense and finding it where none was given? I'm curious what you think is appropriate.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:33 PM
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Crap, ruined formatting. One more time.

231:

[...] I think that it's therefore quite clear to anyone who isn't determined to be offended that [....]
But hey, I'm quite willing to hand over the "you're just looking to be offended" crown to you and pdf and whoever else wants it.
If I may ask, when someone offends you, what is your reaction when they explain to you that the only reason you are annoyed is that you're looking for offense and finding it where none was given? I'm curious what you think is appropriate.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:35 PM
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I also endorse the analysis in 233.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:35 PM
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Specifically, B, if I take something Amanda says that seems over the top and assume it's hyperbole, and reduce the hyperbole while trying to keep the essential meaning until I find something reasonable, and I never end up with anything reasonable, can I not reasonably conclude that the statement's point is just wrong? I'm willing to be instructed here, and will try not to be too contentious.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:35 PM
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Oh, and directly:

To wit, in 224: you'll notice, Gary, that I said "everyone" and "everyone else." I think that it's therefore quite clear to anyone who isn't determined to be offended that I'm quite consciously making an "accusation" that in fact, does not--cannot--literally apply to "every one here."
You appear to be missing the point that I was referring to people, such as myself, LB, Emerson, pdf, and so on, who are in neither category.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:38 PM
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235: because not extending any benefit of doubt to these particular people has left a lot of folks in an untenable rhetorical position from which they must either climb down embarassingly, further step up the rhetoric in hopes of victory, or try to change the subject in an unconvincing manner.

The guy sounds creepy, but I've seen more people try to be funny over email and fail horribly (and get fired!) than I have murder strippers.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:40 PM
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all lacrosse players are scum

As a proud Marylander and the brother of a lacrosse player, I feel I should point out that they aren't really a universally bad crop. No worse (and no better) than, say, soccer or football players.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:44 PM
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247: Now there's an endorsement! But wouldn't rugby players fit that sentence better than soccer players?


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:48 PM
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239:"What I'm saying is that she might be a poor choice to represent a national presidential campaign. "

I think Amanda and the Edwards campaign are a near perfect fit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:52 PM
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182: To be clear, I'm only arguing that this moves him, at best, into 'nasty creepy' territory back from 'proof that Duke men plot rapes in e-mail!' (which is how much of the discourse when the thing broke went), that that move is only probable if you take the target of the e-mail to be whinging about university standards ('they said no nudity near the Alma Mater, not no murders and they didn't say ANYTHING about flaying or drive-by shootings'), that it wasn't a funny misogynist joke in any case, but that 'RAPES you in the FACE!!!' is still really damn funny.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 5:56 PM
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250: Even funnier because I briefly conflated Jeff Goldstein with Jeff Goldblum when I was reading the linked comment.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:00 PM
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This is neither here nor there, but I happen to think that Yglesias does have a distinctive voice. I think it's quite possible to have a voice and still be careful and civil. (I prefer these two to "cautious" and "gentlemanly.)

I actually think LizardBreath might be a good example of a slightly more mellow tone that's still complex and distinctive.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:03 PM
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252: But Yglesias' distinctive voice is notable for frequent misspellings and occasional incidents of really poor reasoning.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:06 PM
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Yglesias definitely has a distinctive voice. He writes in an interesting style as well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:07 PM
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249: How so?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:13 PM
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252: "I actually think LizardBreath might be a good example of a slightly more mellow tone that's still complex and distinctive."

Sure.

253: non-sequitur much? He's also tall, after all.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:14 PM
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253: What amazes me about Yglesias isn't the occasional incidents of poor reasoning, it's the frequency with which he exhibits a depth of understanding of how the world works that's rare in people who have been around a lot longer and seen a lot more. Producing what he produces would be impressive at 40. At 15, or whatever he is, it's freakish.

LB is also wise. And she can spell, and she's temperate without being wishy-washy, and good stuff like that.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:14 PM
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247 - Maryland is slightly different because there is a tradition, apparently not present elsewhere in the country, of lacrosse being played by people who are not rich white prep school assholes. (A Slate piece on the Duke case noted this; see also the admittedly fictional Bunk.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:22 PM
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"...it's the frequency with which he exhibits a depth of understanding of how the world works that's rare in people who have been around a lot longer and seen a lot more."

It's genetic. Or environmental, But there are none so lucky as those raised by brilliant compassionate people. The money and other advantages are nothing compared to that.

Check out Rafael or a grandparent.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:25 PM
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Huh. I have a friend from Maryland who played lacrosse in high school, and was actually offered a lacrosse scholarship to Vassar. He decided he'd rather go to Teo U. and not play lacrosse. I don't know any other lacrosse players, but he always did seem rather different from the stereotypes.

Where I come from, of course, nobody plays lacrosse.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:26 PM
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Where I come from, of course, nobody plays lacrosse.

Too many Native Americans, I suppose.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:30 PM
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258. And let's not forget rural Maryland's love of jousting.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:33 PM
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256: I have a hard time resisting cheap shots. It's a character flaw.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:33 PM
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261: That must be it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:34 PM
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249: I am running around the blogosphere and it seems like it is "Defend Marcotte Day" So I am thru criticizing Marcotte or even Edwards today, because, like I really admire and respect both and any gripes I ave are not sigificant compared to that.

But I don't engage Michele Malkin. I want to eat her brains, with a fine Chianti and some fava beans. And I want the "mainstream" political world to ascend to the level of the blogosphere, with "fucks" everywhere, and white-hot partisanship and real freaking passion.

We are all fucking better than them.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:35 PM
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265: Ew, don't put those brains in your mouth. They're... infected with crazyhatejuice. Or something.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:39 PM
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249: Apparently McManus is willing to starve for the cause of sick humor.

Also, I'm adopting "We are fucking better than them" as a personal motto, even though I realize that as a double-entendre it's grammatically deficient.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:40 PM
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I had fava beans for dinner.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:41 PM
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^
"are"


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:42 PM
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253. There is that too, plus all the Basketball which goes totally over my head. (The three readers who have met me may now make the requisite shorty jokes.) But I actually find him subtly amusing and his policy hyperbole quite lyrical. He can take a problem that's blindly infuriating and talk it down to "let's calm down to figure this out," and then back up to "it's quite possible there exists a solution." In otherwords it's his very lack of shrill that I find distinctive. There's enough snark there to be a bit of a wise ass, but also enough humility to be taken seriously.

I haven't systematically studied this, but I've just noticed over the years that when I go through phases when I can read no other non-blogfriend political blogs whatsoever, I can still read Yglesias. Also, to riff on bob, there was some goofy thread when he was poking fun of himself for not being nearly as accomplished as his forebears and his father suddenly popped up to make the most sincere speech of, "are you kidding? i'm so much prouder of how beautifully you write about such important things" and I was like, wow that's actually kinda sweet b/c it's true. (Without disparaging the father all.) Despite the fact that he factually oozes ivory tower, he's got some bizarre sense of determined--to-be-practical-no-matter-how-hard.

I find LizardBreath to have a similar if different mix of unshrill concern and . . .shall we say, tackle. A visceral sense that the writer has at their root the beliefs that problems must be tackled, not just growled about. There's a lot of writing that we admire for its cleverness, its humor, its snark, its grasp of facts, its pitch-perfect shrillness. But for me to feel someone is wise, somehow--even-keeled enough to make the quick gut judgements I might have to rely on--I need a little more earnestness. A sense that the writer is willing to ask questions and be a little self-deprecatory and vulnerable about the uncertainties in their opinions in order to really assemble the better solutions.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I feel that a named LizardBreath might be a good Edwards blogger.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:42 PM
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Crap! Having failed to correctly insert "all" in my first comment, I hereby vow to use the fucking preview.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:43 PM
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257, 270: Yes, actually, I ought not disparage MY. He does some things very well indeed.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:45 PM
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"Defend Marcotte Day"

Well, let me say that Edwards should keep her and she'll do a fine job. And I expect she'll be writing in a very different voice than she did at Pandagon.

But I was surprised at the choice and expected the very WingNet circle jerk that's taking place. Just like if he'd hired Kos, that post about the dead mercenaries would have reappeared on every right wing blog in existence and they'd be speaking of nothing else.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:49 PM
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What I don't get is why anyone cares what right-wing bloggers think about Edwards's hiring decisions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:52 PM
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266: "265: Ew, don't put those brains in your mouth. They're... infected with crazyhatejuice. Or something."

BSE.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:54 PM
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That would explain a lot.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:56 PM
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Let's look at my original comment again, shall we?

This thread is gross. A comment about the thread itself. By which I meant, "unfortunate and gross juxtaposition of two subjects." I then went on to elaborate, in a very brief and admittedly breezy style, what, specifically, I meant.

Everyone's chiming in to say that they don't like Amanda, b/c she swears,

Oh look, it's hyperbole! In fact, NOT everyone is saying that they don't like Amanda, and the people who are saying they don't like her AREN'T all saying that that's b/c she swears. Nonetheless, an awful lot of people *are* feeling compelled, for some reason, to say (in effect, I paraphrase): "I, personally, don't like Amanda's blogging." For whatever reason. I find it worth remarking on that so many people felt the need to make that clear. It troubles me.

and everyone else is chiming in to say that "jokes" about flaying strippers aren't so bad.

Again, we have . . . . hyperbole! First of all, if everyone's doing the first thing, then there isn't an everyone else. Funny. Ha! And of course, just as with the first half of the sentence, neither everyone *nor* everyone else is, in fact, saying that jokes about flaying strippers aren't so bad. However, a lot of people are feeling compelled, again, to go on the record saying (again, I am going to sum up a broad consensus; I am aware that what I'm saying is, in fact, representitive of no one's specific exact point. This partly b/c I don't want to point fingers, specifically so that people won't take offense, and also b/c I am being lazy) saying that they, personally, think the email joke about flaying strippers isn't *so* bad, after all, people make jokes like that all the time. Again, I'm a little bothered that folks seem to feel the need to make a point of saying this.

What the juxtaposition suggests to me is that, on the one hand, we (collectively, as a group) feel the need to distance ourselves from a lefty feminist blogger who has a tendency to shoot of her mouth, but also a need to extend the benefit of the doubt to jerky misogynist guys. Surely there are good and benign reasons for this: it is good manners and good sense to be generous to one's enemies and stringent with one's allies.

On the other hand, it looks--as I said to begin with--gross.

All that said (and you see, now, why my original post was breezy; I was aiming not to be a pedantic bitch), grow a pair. "Gross" isn't exactly the insult of the year.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 6:56 PM
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Here's a game: match the blogger with the presidential candidate most likely to pick him/her as its official blogger!


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:00 PM
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274 - Because just as Ann Coulter can keep getting invited onto talk shows or Dinesh D'Souza can get his "liberals hate America, and so do I" book reviewed in the Times, the Malkinites and Pajamoids can, despite their continuing and seemingless bottomless series of humiliations*, get mainstream journalists who are not on the face of it actively evil (just credulous and dim) to write hit pieces in non-partisan outlets like the Hotline.

* Jamilgate and Khameneicorpsefest alone were, what, in the last three months? And yet these people still infect our discourse as though they were serious analysts who just happened to get one or two wrong.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:00 PM
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273: See, apo, I don't know who made the choice, but I see that as the point. I think Marcotte was picked in part because of the potential controversy, not in spite of it. It is a move to grab the netroots where they matter, not in HRC's million-dollar website, but where we live and what we care about.

And what do we care about? Pandagon, the Weblog, Farber, Silber, Ogged, Gilliard...all the "little people" who do this bcause they care, because they have to, because they'll risk putting themselves out there.

Somebody up there in that campaign likes us. Likes us, for us, as we are. Possibly the spouse, who has commented at Ezra's.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:00 PM
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Oh, and agreed: LB's a model of strong feminism and a moderate tone ("unshrill," I think we can agree, is an unfortunate word choice). The thing is, though, that a moderate tone doesn't get attention--if you're a woman blogger--quite the way that occasionally shouting does. It doesn't work the same way for guys. For my money, LB is much smarter and much more interesting than, say Drum: but she's not the one that's the bloggy equivalent of a household name, is she?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:02 PM
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272: "He does some things very well indeed."

You're quite right about his utter inability to spell, though. It drives me mad, and particularly because he uses a spell-checker, rather than proofreading, so inevitably almost every post is full of ludicrous errors of typos that result in the correctly spelled wrong word -- as well as lots of given names being misspelled, because he can't be bothered to check the spelling.

I put up with it, because he generally makes such good points, but it seriously interferes with my ability to read him without pausing to gape every few sentences at the malapropisms.

Spell-checkers are evil, evil, evil: anyone who relies on one is insisting on misspelling. (If you're simply incapable of checking spelling on your own, or are dyslexic, you're exempted from this ukase.)


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:03 PM
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What the juxtaposition suggests to me is that, on the one hand, we (collectively, as a group) feel the need to distance ourselves from a lefty feminist blogger who has a tendency to shoot of her mouth, but also a need to extend the benefit of the doubt to jerky misogynist guys. Surely there are good and benign reasons for this: it is good manners and good sense to be generous to one's enemies and stringent with one's allies.

I'm with you on the rhetorical exegesis, but I don't think this paragraph is a fair representation of what was going on in the thread. It's not Amanda vs. Duke lacrosse players. There's discussion of Amanda and there's discussion of Duke lacrosse players, including speculation about what could possibly possess someone to send an e-mail like that, but the latter reads to me more like "what the hell could he have been thinking?" than extending the benefit of the doubt.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:05 PM
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277: Given your explanation, I think that my original criticism stands. You were grossed out, partly, by the double standards, as I said, right? So I was correct about the implications of your comment. My criticism was this: a comment thread is a group of people with many different viewpoints. Just because some people on the thread criticized Amanda and others defended the lacrosse players doesn't mean that any one person did both. In fact, I'm not aware of anyone who did both except myself. (Apostropher?) So unless your comment was a reaction to me alone, you were criticizing other people collectively for having a double standard because different people showed the two halves of it, but not both at once. Which is what I said before.

I also don't think that a person doing both of those things is using a double standard, but that's another issue, and not why I responded to your original comment.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:06 PM
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277: OK, B, I understand what you're saying a lot better now.

That said, I think some of the criticism of Amanda and some of the fine-grained analysis of the Duke email was more about pedantry than about being "generous to one's enemies and stringent with one's allies".


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:07 PM
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282: Thanks for the new vocabulary word.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:09 PM
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274: In addition to 279, consider also that today's rightwing blogger is tomorrow's nationally syndicated newspaper columnist; see 107.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:10 PM
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"For my money, LB is much smarter and much more interesting than, say Drum"

And that is kinda my point about Marcotte and the Edwards campaign. They could have chosen Drum, or someone like Drum. I think they deliberately chose to take a risk of frankly historical dimensions. I think they will stick with Marcotte, no matter what.

I am not quite sure yet what it means.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:10 PM
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I am not quite sure yet what it means.

It may mean that Elizabeth Edwards isn't about to cede the feminist vote to Hillary Clinton.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:16 PM
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279, 284: Those are good reasons for paying attention to right-wing bloggers generally (though I'm glad other people do it so I don't have to), but I still don't see any reason to care what they think about this particular hiring decision.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:16 PM
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"For my money, LB is much smarter and much more interesting than, say Drum: but she's not the one that's the bloggy equivalent of a household name, is she?"

Kevin has been blogging since at least August, 2002. Those who started back in the 2001-2 era had a great advantage in establishing themselves, and attracking attention in a blogosphere smaller by orders of magnitude. I daresay that if LB had been posting as heavily as Kevin back then, and then been picked up by Washington Monthly, that she's be as well-known.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:18 PM
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291 is spot-on. The blogosphere was tiny not so long ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:21 PM
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Gary's right in 291 - the first-wave warbloggers (and politics bloggers) had a huge advantage in promulgating themselves when newspapers and magazines started to discover the phenomenon (and promptly excised the whole post-links.net/Diaryland history of the medium in favor of celebrating Instapundit).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:24 PM
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281: On first order, I don't like the term shrill, for the gendered reasons you're probably alluding to---in my male dominated college environment one of the only times I felt really put down in a sexist way was when a then immature guy friend, grasping at straws during a losing argument, brought up my "shrill and annoying voice." The whole tenor of the argument changed, the whole room (of guys) instantly was laughing at me and agreeing with him, or pitying me. He totally exploited the gender imbalance. (He later apologized when chided, and seems to have learned his lesson. ) So shrill is not my favorite choice of word.

But I'm a descriptive amateur linguist, not a prescriptive one. I don't want the word moderate. It's way too vague. I am alluding specifically to the tone exemplified in extreme in 2004 with the "hermaneutic order of the shrill" and all that. That is a blogospheric word that describes a very specific, almost desperate, exasperation with our political situation. How do you want to replace it and maintain its new precision? If I have to leave unshrill out, I choose mellow, not moderate.

And I just don't think the tilted reality of the comparative size of the pool of named female bloggers versus named male bloggers is proof that mellow female innately can't grab people. There may be some annoying and unfortunate statistical conflation (perhaps due to hysteretic pre-conditions partially created by sexism) making a blogger who has the character set [mellow, grabbing, named, famous, free-to-go-pro, female, smart, liberal] troublingly rare, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily impossible. Or couldn't happen soon. There is always a first time.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:26 PM
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Which leads me to a slightly different question -- LB, you've occasionally made noise about wanting to do something different with your career, and everyone here clearly thinks you're a fantastic blogger. Have you ever thought about doing that, maybe on an initially unpaid basis, for an advocacy group or the like? Seems like it could possibly bridge the gap between "being an associate is unfulfilling" and "being a civil rights lawyer won't pay my rent".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:28 PM
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291 thri 294, inclusive.

FDL and Greenwald have broken thru the legacy wall, and I think they have done it in part by being, umm, not mellow.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:30 PM
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290: Did you mean to address my 284? I don't see how your comments relate to it.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:35 PM
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286: "282: Thanks for the new vocabulary word."

Mere pleonasm. You might find this hebephrenic.

But I have to warn you of the consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:38 PM
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298: You know, I know that using thesauruses when you don't already know the meanings of all the words is bad, but even when you do and you're just trying to use it to remind yourself of the word in question (which is really the only way they should be used) I've found that they never actually help me to find the word on the tip of my tongue. Useless, they are.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:42 PM
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Actually, second thoughts in the shower:

the distinction isn't between "shrill" and "moderate" (substitute whatever words you want). The distinction is between people who are very precise and careful in choosing their words, and people who employ literary license--things like hyperbole and polemic. The latter are part (not all) of what I mean when I talk about someone having a "voice."

Journalistic writing all tends to sound alike, because journalism puts a high premium on exactness and refraining from exaggeration or understatement. Writers who are freer to use those things tend to have more distinctive voices.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:42 PM
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300: I'm having a hard time coming up with examples, but surely precision and care can be part of someone's persona as much as hyperbole and polemic can.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:45 PM
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290: Because of the "rightwing blog -> FOX -> MSM" path that previous stories have taken, I half-expect that John Edwards's next interview with Tim Russert will include a question about the Duke case and what Amanda wrote abut it. It might be good to have a response ready. Even better to just shoot them down before it gets that far.

273: The dead mercenaries post might be less of a big deal if the "Blackwater is Dick Cheney's private army" story takes off after Waxman's hearings this week.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:46 PM
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an awful lot of people *are* feeling compelled, for some reason, to say (in effect, I paraphrase): "I, personally, don't like Amanda's blogging." For whatever reason. I find it worth remarking on that so many people felt the need to make that clear. It troubles me.

Could it be as simple as a "me too" group identifying thing? She's a fairly popular blogger, and more or less on "our" side here politically, so it could otherwise be taken for granted that everybody here would like her, more or less. I didn't like her blogging either, and felt kind of encouraged to see that I wasn't the only one. Maybe that's all there is to it? Or not.

I'm also happy to see I'm not the only one who's annoyed by Yglesias' spelling.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 7:57 PM
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Personally, I posted my comment because LB pondered out loud why it was that some other people didn't like her blogging. I was just answering her question.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:01 PM
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The distinction is between people who are very precise and careful in choosing their words, and people who employ literary license--things like hyperbole and polemic. The latter are part (not all) of what I mean when I talk about someone having a "voice."

So having a voice means saying stuff that is not really true and then excusing it by claiming that it it was OK because you felt REALLY strongly about what you were saying? I suppose. But who would want to seek to have a voice based on a lack of precision and use of overstatement?

Is it really your contention that you cannot have a distinctive voice if you are accurate in the facts you report?


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:02 PM
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297: Damn, sorry. I meant 287.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:03 PM
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295: Thanks for the flattery, and to everyone else who said the same. I've thought about that sort of thing, but I get stuck on (1) not really having enough spare capacity to feel as though I could commit to a decent volume of substantive blogging, and (2) the anonymity thing. If I were comfortable promising I could turn out a respectable word count, I might think about looking for some advocacy group that wanted an anonymous blogger.

But I really need to focus more, rather than less, on my real job.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:04 PM
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It might be good to have a response ready.

How about, "Who cares who John Edwards hires?"? Although actually, I'm quite confident Edwards can deal with any such questions on his own.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:05 PM
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305: Precision ≠ accuracy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:06 PM
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309: In my experience, polemical bloggers are neither. (Well, some of them misrepresent people they quote worse than others, and some do things like selective quoting and others don't.)


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:08 PM
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I'm also happy to see I'm not the only one who's annoyed by Yglesias' spelling.

I'm annoyed by people who are annoyed by Yglesias's spelling. It's pretty clear he's got some spelling wires crossed in his head, and given that he typically turns out four or five of the most worthwhile posts in all of political blogdom every day, I want to flay all the spelling nitpickers.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:09 PM
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305: Come on, there's a difference between rhetorical exaggeration and untruth. People use absolutes (always, never, everyone) all the time, and where they're reasonable (as meaning the vast majority of the time, hardly ever, most people) it's fair enough to say that they're true. Everyone does that sort of thing sometimes -- it's just a sliding scale for how much you do it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:09 PM
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I'm sure you're only meaning to protest nudity restriction at Duke, ogged. Flaying indeed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:12 PM
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A fine line, the crossing of which some people seem too ready to forgive in themselves and their allies.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:13 PM
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311: My father spells like Yglesias -- all the brains and education in the world, a clear and fluent writer, and can't spell 'maybe'. There's got to be some very localized area of the brain that controls spelling and is broken in the two of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:14 PM
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314 to there's a difference between rhetorical exaggeration and untruth in 312


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:14 PM
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Everyone does that sort of thing sometimes

Stop misrepresenting. You'll annoy allsome of the literally-minding people.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:14 PM
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"The distinction is between people who are very precise and careful in choosing their words, and people who employ literary license--things like hyperbole and polemic. The latter are part (not all) of what I mean when I talk about someone having a 'voice.'"

The way "voice" is used in common usage neither excludes the former, nor requires the latter. Raymond Carver did not use hyperbole and polemic, and yet is commonly considered to have a distinctive voice. So did Hemingway. And on and on.

Voice is not the opposite of "journalistic writing," either. Edward Murrow, I. F. Stone, Ernie Pyle, John Hersey, William Shirer, and on and on, did not lack for voices. (If you want to refer to, say, the style Henry Luce invented for Time, or something more specific, that would be clearer as an example of lack of voice.)


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:15 PM
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317: You know, I got halfway through that sentence, saw the 'Everyone', and left it in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:15 PM
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312: See 244.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:16 PM
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312: "People use absolutes (always, never, everyone) all the time, and where they're reasonable (as meaning the vast majority of the time, hardly ever, most people) it's fair enough to say that they're true."

No, they're never reasonable.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:18 PM
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For the record, Amanda's hyperbole isn't what bothers me about her writing. I have no reason to think that the reason I disagree with her is that I have problems adjusting for it.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:20 PM
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I swear, this thread is making me want to start a blog, invite you all to comment, and ban you one-by-one to keep the little bitchiness quarantined before it spreads to all the other turkeys all over the internet and we have a pandemic.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:22 PM
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I'm having a hard time coming up with examples, but surely precision and care can be part of someone's persona as much as hyperbole and polemic can.

w-lfs-n?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:22 PM
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315: "There's got to be some very localized area of the brain that controls spelling and is broken in the two of them."

The problem isn't having trouble spelling; the problem is being unable to tell if there's even a possibility that you're misspelling the word; otherwise there's no excuse for not looking it up.

I'm not some magically perfect speller; but when I am doubtful if I'm spelling a word correctly, or how to spell it correctly, I drop it into google, and in under a second I've found out. My typo rate in comments is high, because I do them with great speed, and I don't care that much if I make a few errors. My typo rate when I blog, while by no means zero, is low, because I bother to slow down and check my spelling.

If you're dyslexic, you simply can't tell you've got a word wrong, and you'll have to painfully look up almost every word; that's different than simply being too lazy to bother checking your spelling and not caring, if you're not dyslexic.

Of course, how sensitive or not people are to that sort of thing, and to punctuation, and other points of writing, is purely subjective; that I'm hyper-sensitive isn't something I can change any more than I can change how I feel about nails scraping on a blackboard, and any more than someone who isn't bothered by that can change that reaction.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:26 PM
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I had been thinking of old-time news reporters and journalists, or LB and BG most of the time. Or the styles of philosophers, which are recognizable to those in the field and rarely employ polemic because really, who gets that excited over mereological sums?

w-lfs-n's voice consists of long, elegant sentences that remind me of 18th century British aesthetics.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:26 PM
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Did I say I think Yglesias is a bad writer because he can't spell? No. But I can spell, so his shitty spelling sticks out at me and distracts from his writing. People who have perfect pitch are presumably much more bothered by small intonation problems than I am.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:27 PM
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324: LittleBitchNotYetPhD?


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:28 PM
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328 is genius.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:28 PM
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Oh shit, that was an analogy, wasn't it?

Also, what Gary said.

Also, 323: that was really funny even though I don't completely understand it.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:30 PM
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And it could be to 323, too. I should start a blog, but all it would say is ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Then I would get hired by the Biden campaign.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:31 PM
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Okay, so Cala goes to Biden. Who's up next?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:32 PM
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325: I don't know from Yglesias, but Dad has no idea when he's misspelling something - I wasn't kidding about getting 'maybe' wrong. He's not dyslexic: he reads very quickly and doesn't do reversals and such when he misspells things. I have no understanding of what's wrong with him, but he's simply incapable of turning out a respectably spelled piece of prose. (Spellcheckers knock it back to just the homonyms, but that still leaves a lot.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:34 PM
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308: To me candidates' hiring decisions, and how they make them, are valid issues. Sure, the Head Blogger doesn't have quite the same stature as the campaign manager or whatever, but if Edwards wins in 2008 who knows what being Head Blogger (why does that sound so dirty?) might lead to? If Amanda were some crank I would be less likely to vote for Edwards for fear that she'd be put in charge of FEMA or something.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:34 PM
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LB for Barry O.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:35 PM
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334: Sure, but I don't see where the opinions of your political adversaries enter into it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:36 PM
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333: My wife is somewhat the same way, although maybe not as bad. She routinely forgets how to spell perfectly ordinary words that she's spelled correctly many times.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:37 PM
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332: But I'll be secretly working for Obama, because in my present state of mind, all I'll do is help Biden insert his foot in his mouth even more.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:37 PM
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"The distinction is between people who are very precise and careful in choosing their words, and people who employ literary license--things like hyperbole and polemic. The latter are part (not all) of what I mean when I talk about someone having a 'voice.'"
The way "voice" is used in common usage neither excludes the former, nor requires the latter.
Let me be (even) clearer: If you are using hyperbole and writing polemic without precision and care, you are better characterized not as "having a voice," but as a bad and careless writer.

Hunter S. Thompson was one of the most precise and careful writers around. That's the difference between him and almost everyone who thinks they are making use of his style.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:41 PM
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"Then I would get hired by the Biden campaign."

Be sure to explain how articulate the other campaigns' bloggers are.

"She routinely forgets how to spell perfectly ordinary words that she's spelled correctly many times."

Most people will when sufficiently tired, or in a state of low blood sugar, or in similar condition; happens to me all the time.

And I can't type a sentence, or a few words, without making a typo. I had to backspace several times just writing this comment. This is the process I go through with every sentence I type, pretty much.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:46 PM
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I will explain how they are all articulate, but I'm not making any youtube movies.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 8:47 PM
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311: I'm amazed at how quickly Yglesias can write. He can a raise a question, zoom to the key point, say something interesting and convincing about it, sum everything up satisfactorily, and then make his exit in the absolute minimum necessary number of words.

Maybe his bad spelling is a function of the way he works. (Alternatively, perhaps he's a sociopath, like most people who can't spell. )


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:09 PM
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I think he once said something about not understanding people who say they like thinking about ideas but hate to write--that he actually likes to write, and can therefore write a lot really fast. Or something like that, anyway; it was a while ago.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:18 PM
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I didn't expect said biting in the context of joining a presidential campaign because, well, I would have expected a major campaign to hire somebody with a less Tourettic writing style (Shakespeare's Sister, for example).

Haven't read all the thread (or Farber), so if this is old news, well, damn. But: my inside sources tell me that Shakespeare's Sister was offered the gig but turned it down.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:19 PM
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You have inside sources, M/tch?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:21 PM
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"I think he once said something about not understanding people who say they like thinking about ideas but hate to write--that he actually likes to write, and can therefore write a lot really fast."

I write a lot, really fast (I'm not saying I write or analyze remotely as well as Matthew; that's a different point).

But I have no trouble whatever understanding bright people who hate to write; writing is a specific set of skills and learned techniques, and you can be the brightest person in the world, but if you've not either been well taught, or put some effort into learning the tools of writing, you're going to be at sea.

That's never a pleasant feeling. What's hard to understand about that?

Personally, every word I've written in the last one and a half hours has been written while I'm watching Heroes and Studio 60. Insofar as they're readable, it's because I learned quite some time back how to turn out reasonably coherent copy on automatic pilot. That's not because of any native "talent" on my part, but simply because I've acquired tools. It's no different than if I'd learned carpentry, or plumbing, techniques. Since I haven't, should I ever be put again in a situation where engaging in those endeavors was necessary, I'd be entirely at sea, and frustrated, and wouldn't want to try.

The same goes for people who don't like to write who haven't learned the tools to blither reasonably clearly, and with a point, on semi-automatic pilot.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:30 PM
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336: I'm afraid we might be going in circles here, teofilo. I take note of what Malkin and Reynolds and the rest say, because it tends to get repeated up the ladder. I'm guessing that might happen here if Edwards becomes the frontrunner. I think "Edwards can hire who he wants" is not the best response to the criticism because (a) that could justify him hiring an unqualified person, and I don't think Amanda's unqualified, and (b) it wouldn't inspire me to confidence in the candidate--it sounds like something GWB would say to justify a Supreme Court nomination.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:31 PM
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You have inside sources, M/tch?

In this case, yes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:37 PM
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I think we are going in circles, Todd. For one thing, I see no reason to presume Edwards will be the frontrunner (maybe he will, but it's much too early to tell), so I figure at this point defending his staffing decisions is his responsibility. If his hires show evidence of poor judgment, don't vote for him. And the right wing will savage him no matter what he does (likewise with all the other Dem candidates), so I figure ignoring them is the best approach right now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:38 PM
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"Haven't read all the thread (or Farber), so if this is old news, well, damn. But: my inside sources tell me that Shakespeare's Sister was offered the gig but turned it down."

Your sources may be confused, insofar as she took the job of "Netroots Coordinator" for Edwards, a different position than the "Head Blogger" title Amanda took. They both took jobs with Edwards.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:38 PM
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What's hard to understand about that?

Ask Matt; I'm just the messenger. Personally, I hate to write.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:39 PM
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"Personally, I hate to write."

He wrote in the online medium where everyone knows each other from their constant writing.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:43 PM
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Ironic, innit?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:44 PM
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You're WRONG, Gary!

It's not my sources who are confused, it's ME. So there! Advantage, M/tch!

I heard about this a couple of weeks back and just in casual conversation. But now that Gary mentions it, I remember it was the "netroots coordinator" position that was being discussed (apparently Marcotte was under consideration for that as well). When I heard about Marcotte getting some kind of job with Edwards with some sort of relationship to the internet, I blithely assumed I knew what I was talking about.

Let me know if any of you want any stock tips . . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 9:47 PM
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Non-sequitur, but I predict everyone wil be blogging and reporting about this tomorrow.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 10:10 PM
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Yglesias' high pitched whine 2 words into his sentences when he's on talkingheadsblog or whatever its called annoys me far more than misspellings.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 10:11 PM
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People largely can't help how their voice sounds; not without being professional actors, or taking training/coaching, anyway.

Also, people are commonly surprised when they hear their own voice played back on a tape recorder, and hear it the way everyone else does, rather than overwhelmed by their own bone conduction, which deepens the the way you hear it. "I sound that high-pitched!?" is the most common reaction.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 10:23 PM
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332: If Lawrence Rey Topham runs again this cycle, I'm totally going to blog for him.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 11:16 PM
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I don't mean his voice in general. Obviously thats rather immutable.

Its like he just needs to take a nice deep breath, possible of buddha.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02- 5-07 11:28 PM
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So having a voice means saying stuff that is not really true

Yes, that's what I said. Having a voice means LYING. /sarcasm

and then excusing it by claiming that it it was OK because you felt REALLY strongly about what you were saying

Yes. That too, is what "hyperbole" means. Lying, and then excusing it. Oops, I guess I wasn't done with the sarcasm.

I suppose.

Funny, I don't. But if you say so.

318: Gary, dear, learn to read. I said "that's what I mean when I talk about having a voice." Again, since it's impossible to be too pedantic, it seems, or to underestimate the audience's ability to comprehend allusion of any sort: specifically, that's what I meant, upthread, when I was saying that Amanda, unlike Yglesias, has, in my opinion, a clear voice that doesn't sound like pretty much every other reasonable, civil, political blogger in the world. This is my opinion. I am not saying that "voice" and "precision" are in opposition. I am clarifying something I had said earlier that seemed to cause you some trouble. I hope this helps.

But I kinda doubt it will.

But who would want to seek to have a voice based on a lack of precision and use of overstatement?

As I said rather clearly, I think, it depends on who your audience is and what context you're writing in.

Is it really your contention that you cannot have a distinctive voice if you are accurate in the facts you report?

No.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:11 AM
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312

It is true this is common. However there are also people like me who flip out when people misuse terms like "mathematically certain" (as in if Ronald Reagan is re-elected a nuclear war is mathematically certain). Just something to keep in mind.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 2:16 AM
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336

Well if your political adversaries can barely contain their glee because they think you have just done something incredibly stupid you probably should consider the possibility that they are correct.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 2:21 AM
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277: I find it worth remarking on that so many people felt the need to make that [Amanda's blogging sucks] clear. It troubles me.

It really shouldn't trouble you. Her blogging does pretty much suck in certain ways, according to many of those who otherwise politically agree with her. It's not all that troubling to say so. She's Socrates, of course, compared to her attackers from Wingnuttia, but that's not exactly a high bar.

On the other hand, though:

362: Well if your political adversaries can barely contain their glee because they think you have just done something incredibly stupid

You should consider that they're the same geniuses who staked their reputations on claiming Jamil Hussein didn't exist. No halfway serious person should give a good Goddamn what Michelle Malkin says about the sun rising in the East, let alone about Amanda Marcotte's blogging.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 3:41 AM
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362: I do wish the Uncle Remus tales weren't so racist in form, because a lot of the punch lines are useful and non-racist. With that caveat, I would say that "Don't throw me in that briar patch, Br'er Fox," is not advice to be listened to from one's opponents.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 4:57 AM
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Isn't the point of having a "Head Blogger" that you have someone on the Internet who can be relied on to hose down [enter wingnut here] with snark when the inevitable smear campaign kicks off? Perhaps the ideal would be to have a Serious Blogger and a Snarky Blogger.

Anyway, what would happen were the judgments applied to this person's e-mail here used on Rude Pundit? He/she/it's written some pretty sick shit over the years, usually directed at leading personalities in the Republican Party. But that doesn't make it all right, you know...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 5:22 AM
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As usual, the far-right bloggers are making lots of diversionary noise on this issue, but when you take away a lot of the irrelevant questions, there's simply this issue: is this a prudent choice on the part of the Edwards campaign in terms of achieving campaign goals? For a "head blogger", what you want is: 1) someone whose site has a lot of eyeballs on it (check); 2) someone who can get a lot of other people linking by putting something forward (check); 3) someone who is good at mobilizing communities to send in money and do campaign work (semi-check, but here the problems begin). So far kind of so good.

But then I think as you tally up, a decent number of left-to-liberal bloggers maybe find Amanda Marcotte's writing style and typical content not their cup of tea. I'd be one of them, which I'm sure doesn't surprise anyone. It's certainly not a question of profanity: that's totally cool with me. It's the take-no-prisoners, everyone-but-me-is-wrong tone, which is not my cup of tea regardless of the politics of the blog. Of the bloggers who are centrally focused on gender, also, I just don't find her one of the people with the most interesting take or angle on things, one of the people who makes me think about something or persuades me. There are a lot of other bloggers I'd turn to first (Bitch among them) when a gender question is at the forefront.

None of that matters in the overall context of blogging. There are a lot of blogs that aren't my cup of tea; normally that isn't even something worth talking about. They're there, it's fine, some people like them, let a thousand flowers bloom. But if the Edwards campaign is looking for someone who can fundraise and get people linking, I'd think you'd want someone who doesn't inspire that reaction, that "Not my cup of tea" among bloggers who are potentially simpatico with Edwards himself.

This is not a big fucking deal, or shouldn't be--just a "I'm not sure I'd do that if I were you" thing, and leave it at that. This being the blogosphere, naturally it turns into a massive kerfuffle.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 5:49 AM
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Huh. Burke sums up my feelings better than I do. Could you pick out a Valentine's Day card for my wife, too?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 8:55 AM
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Nah, Burke's wrong, in general and every particular. I am sure it doesn't surprise anyone to hear me say that. Just kidding.

Ok, here is a relevant fact that might inspire someone to consider the subtleties of Edward's move.

Ezra Klein & Lawyers Gun & Money & Unfogged rarely if ever linked to or quoted from Marcotte in the last few years. But all three vigorously jumped to her defense. Now all three blogs have dealt with Malkin before, so that might be the motivation. But in any case, something has changed.

I still say this has less to do with Marcotte than with what Marcotte represents, which is the independent blogger in open opposition to the mainstream. The primary season will probably be over by March 2008. and Edwards is going to require energy, money, media, volunteers from people who like underdogs and, frankly, near-futile fights.

How does he get feminists who will damage their possibilities by oposing HRC?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:28 PM
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368: But in any case, something has changed.

You think so? How does the Althouse "I find Amanda Marcotte guilty of having breasts" episode factor into that?


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:36 PM
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We need football analogies! Down threee touchdowns at home in the second quarter I suppose you can go for draw plays, tight defense and slowly crawl your way back into the game.

But the fans are despondent and the players have lost confidence. I would emphasize the passing game to get a quick score and change the atmospherics before halftime.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:39 PM
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369: I don't know what that means, but yes Marcotte can draw attacks that might have gone elsewhere, and create blogospheric solidarity not by being a leader but by being a focal point.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:42 PM
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Althouse found Jessica Valenti guilty of having breasts.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:44 PM
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Of the bloggers who are centrally focused on gender, also, I just don't find her one of the people with the most interesting take or angle on things, one of the people who makes me think about something or persuades me. There are a lot of other bloggers I'd turn to first (Bitch among them) when a gender question is at the forefront.

Only as Apo's already pointed out, I'd be political poison. Twisty's a dyke--can't have that. Dunno the backstories on the others, but maybe the real reason for the choice is that Amanda's the least offensive of the lot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:45 PM
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Whoops. Guess I'd better lay off the Yoo-hoo.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:46 PM
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I mean we saw it in this thread, where many males, however gently, criticized Marcotte and Bitchphd leapt to her defense. I see that as the plan. Edwards didn't pick an infamous attack dog, he picked the most famous and celebrated punching bag in the blogosphere.

It'll be great.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:48 PM
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We all look alike.

(Actually I get Jessica and Amanda confused for some reason too.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:48 PM
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No, no, Bob. I wasn't defending Amanda. I was just grabbing for the nearest weapon to hand in my ongoing war against everyone.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:49 PM
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373: The least offensive of the most offensive? This doesn't make any sense.

The right blogosphere has an incentive for turning Marcotte into a massive kerfuffle—if they manage to force Edwards to regret the decision, that's one avenue for tapping the netroots (recruitment) that's closed off to liberal candidates (since no blogger's archives can stand up to the scrutiny). Conservative candidates don't use netroots, so this is no cost to them. And the right blogosphere lacks the capacity for self criticism—so even if a conservative candidate did hire Michelle Malkin, you wouldn't hear anything from uniform praise form conservative media.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:54 PM
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Conservative candidates don't use netroots

Whaaaaaat?

I think that they've been very successful in the main goal. We're all arguing about whether or not Amanda's the Perfect Choice, rather than talking about Edwards himself, or about what the fascists are up to today.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 12:57 PM
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It seems to me that, by and large, the people criticizing Amanda-as-Pandagon-blogger aren't the same ones suggesting she's not the best choice for Edward's campaign. I'm agnostic on the latter question.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 1:11 PM
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"318: Gary, dear, learn to read."

As I've earned a few tens of thousands of dollars over the years from major mass-marketing publishing companies for my skills in doing so, I'm confident those skills are up to par, thanks.

However, suggestions such as these tend to leave me uninterested in further discussion. Carry on, and enjoy.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 2:55 PM
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"How does the Althouse 'I find Amanda Marcotte guilty of having breasts' episode factor into that?"

Unless there was a separate incident (perfectly possible: I pay only glancing attention to blog kerfuffles), it wasn't Amanda Marcotte that Althouse went on about, but this blogger.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 3:01 PM
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Here is the push-back, and this is Althouse's breasts post. Was there another one about Amanda Marcotte, as well?


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 3:03 PM
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"he picked the most famous and celebrated punching bag in the blogosphere."

I think that would be Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, any time after his "screw 'em" post, myself, and that only a small fraction of people have heard of Amanda by comparison, but perhaps I'm wrong.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 3:06 PM
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No, Amanda had a whole different booby scandal.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 3:10 PM
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Simpler way to put it: if you're John Edwards, whether or not Michelle Malkin approves of your choices: NOT AN ISSUE. If you're John Edwards, whether or not Tim Burke approves of your choices: EH, PROBABLY OK IF I GET MORE PEOPLE BECAUSE OF IT THAN I LOSE THAT WAY. PLUS WHO KNOWS WHETHER THAT FUCKER WILL SEND ME MONEY BECAUSE HE DOESN'T VERY OFTEN.

Whether or not you get Bob McManus approving of your choices? Much easier! Just shoot a couple of counter-revolutionaries behind the shed.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 6:00 PM
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386: All that, plus, no one is going to care if they like Amanda's prior blogging; what's going to matter is what she writes on Edward's site.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 6:06 PM
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Here is the new attack on Amanda and Shakes.

The Catholic League, a conservative religious group, is demanding that Mr. Edwards dismiss the two, Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog site and Melissa McEwan, who writes on her blog, Shakespeare's Sister, for expressing anti-Catholic opinions.

[...]

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said in a statement on Tuesday, "John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots."

Mr. Edwards's spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 10:17 PM
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Oh, and Howie Kurtz's changing of "fuck" to "[sexual assault]" has now lost the brackets and any indication of an edit; she's now always said:

"She has also written sarcastically about the news media coverage of the three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexual assault, saying: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 10:19 PM
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Oh, for Christ's sake!

The Catholic League fascists can go to Hell with Franco. If the Edwards campaign dumps them for this reason, he is less likely to get this Catholic's support in the primary.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 10:29 PM
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388: As usual, it is the idealists and liberators taken behind the shed to be shot by the moderates and conservatives. Make that the conservatives and reactionaries.



Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 11:01 PM
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The lacrosse quote, even unchanged, was stupid. Maybe not stupid for April 2006, but stupid for when it was written. Of course it's ridiculous for the Catholic League to be up in arms. But equally, of course, this was foreseeable and avoidable.

It doesn't particularly matter because Obama was going to win this nomination either way.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 11:05 PM
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You all know that I didn't write 93 and 99, right? They're not in my style, and I never use the handle BG.

To the writer of comments 93 and 99: I have previously asserted the right to be the only BG on this blog. Please change your handle if you want to comment here.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 11:25 PM
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Oh shit. That's disgusting. Wingnut blogs is one thing, but the NYT is a whole nother story. Stand your ground, Edwards. You don't turn around and fire somebody for exactly the same reasons you hired them, and you sure as hell don't do so to appease the unappeasable wingnut noise machine.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 11:35 PM
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The NRO made the same kind of accusations. Congrats, right wing noise machine.

The fact is that anyone who is pro-choice is going to be tarred as anti-Catholic. If Edwards buys this shit, he's a dumbass. Luckily, I don't think he's a dumbass.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 6-07 11:46 PM
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I'll be amazed if they aren't fired before the weekend.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:01 AM
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If they are, chalk another one up to the assholes of the world.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:03 AM
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Is it really possible for a blogger with a long record to be hired and survive the scrutiny nowadays? I doubt it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:08 AM
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Is it really possible for a blogger with a long record to be hired and survive the scrutiny nowadays? I doubt it.

I think so, it'd just have to be someone a bit less of an attack dog. Don't get me wrong, I dig the attack dog style, but if I was running for president, I'd probably be looking for more of a Kevin Drum than a Steve Gilliard.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:11 AM
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But if Edwards fires them for stuff they've posted on the public internets in the recent past, he just looks craven or stupid or both. Presumably he or someone he trusts read their stuff before hiring them, and it's not like the rightie reaction is a huge shocker.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:15 AM
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Tone and language is what they latched on to first, but they'll get thrown over for the anti-Catholic or anti-somethingorother stuff. Drum is just as susceptible to that kind of attack as Marcotte.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:15 AM
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398: Sure, why not? I don't read much of either, but I think the style of writing is what's behind the problem. As bob noted (toward other ends), many people here have copped to not loving Marcotte's style. I think the absence of (non-ideological) support allows the attacks on Marcotte to be more successful.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:16 AM
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402 was me. I think Drum would be fine, except that what would be the point of hiring him?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:17 AM
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I think 399's right, but honestly? "Survive the scrutiny"? I think it really depends on what a candidate's willing to put up with and willing to fight back about. John Kerry's war record didn't survive the goddamn scrutiny; at some point, you just have to say, I stand behind my people, I'm the one running for office, here is my position, that's what you're voting on.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:17 AM
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Drum is just as susceptible to that kind of attack as Marcotte.

To an extant they're going to try and pull that on anyone, but, as SCMT said, I think Marcotte or Gilliard would be more susceptible to it than Drum or Ezra Klein.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:20 AM
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401: I dunno, that NYT article is primarily focused on the fact that they swear. The old media isn't going to give us (bloggers generally, I mean) a pass for using naughty language, I fear.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:21 AM
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I don't think this is a partisan issue, actually. I'm pretty sure we'd do the same thing to any name conservative blogger who was hired: go through the archives, find stuff they said that will offend some constituency, and go from there. I'm really not sure why y'all think anyone with a written record wouldn't be attacked this way.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:21 AM
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On the up side, does this mean we can start doing character assassination on the Fox News team?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:23 AM
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Obviously blogging is different in terms of how prolific and unmediated a record it produces, but surely we have a history of low-level campaign officials having a controversial public record, what standards have they been held to?

Also, now that the Times is covering this, is it clear the coverage is hurtful? Was it predictable?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:25 AM
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I'm really not sure why y'all think anyone with a written record wouldn't be attacked this way.

Put yourself in the oppositions shoes. If you're looking for stuff to gin up outrage, certain bloggers are going to give you juicier material.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:27 AM
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407: I'm sure they would. But that's what's going to happen if you're dealing with bloggers (as people have said): we all say something that's going to offend someone at some point. That's what makes us interesting, rather than bland, reading.

It's partisan, I think, in that the specific things they're being attacked for are so substanceless: bad language, "vulgarity," non-existent anti-Catholicism. The fact that it's now happening to both of them pretty much demonstrates that Amanada's style or the Duke case really are not the issue. And honestly, I just don't see the liberal blogs successfully dogging on an issue like this without half of us dismissing or ignoring it as petty.

I mean, they got Dan Rather fired. Falafel O'Reilly's still blathering on, though, isn't he?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:27 AM
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surely we have a history of low-level campaign officials having a controversial public record

Do we? This stuff is online and anyone can find it. It's not like they have to find the nexis transcript of the call-in show so-and-so did seven years ago.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:28 AM
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I think Amanda hurt herself a bit with the Duke story, although I haven't been reading Pandagon enough recently to be sure about that. But the rest of it is mostly just an aggressive style in service of a political agenda that's pretty mainsteam. And everything she wrote was there to see before she was hired. I might not have hired her if I were in Edwards' place, but I think it would be incredibly chickenshit to fire her now.

And I don't buy 407. We'd make fun of a candidate who hired Glenn Reynolds, but we wouldn't be baying for his head. The same goes even for the Jonah Goldbergs of the world. There are bloggers on the right who would reflect very badly on any candidate who hired them, but they're genuinely odious. Amanda isn't.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:32 AM
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410: I'm just feeling like this is kind of a blame the object argument. Anyone who isn't a big snore is going to provide "juicy" material. For Drum, it would be one or two of the jokes about "where are the women," and you'd have people frothing about how sexist he is: shit, I know how to do that, b/c I've done it. For Amanda and Shakes, it's swearing and being pro-choice. For me, it would be swearing and whorishness. For Ogged, it would be being Iranian and gay jokes. For LB, our model of moderation, it would be one or two unmotherly remarks and swearing at the odd troll, not to mention admitting that she blogs on her employer's time. You can drum up controversy anywhere if you're determined to do it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:32 AM
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I'm really not sure why y'all think anyone with a written record wouldn't be attacked this way.

Yeah, but the issue is whether it would be successful. You could find something crazy that Drum had said, but it would be hard, and there would be lots and lots of other stuff that he'd said and that was easily available to anyone that was extremely anodyne. The curse of blogging--the long, long, and easily available record--is also the benefit and protection.

The difference between Drum and Marcotte is that Marcotte is more of a bomb-thrower. As bob would no doubt point out, bomb-throwers are useful and more often right than we might want to credit. But they're still bomb-throwers, and unless your campaign is structured that way, it's going to be harder to defend them.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:34 AM
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415: C'mon. Kerry was successfully Swift-boated. The success of the attack has almost no relation to whether or not it's merited.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:35 AM
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DaveL's 413 makes me pretty sure 407 is right; if a candidate hired Glenn I'd favor an attempt to make that candidate own or disavow some of his greatest hits. Maybe that says bad things about me, but it's true.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:37 AM
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I don't know what "successfully Swift-boated" means; I don't know of anyone on our side who switched sides because of it. Kerry lost because he is a relatively poor campaigner who ran a relatively poor campaign. I never thought he lost because of the Swift-boat controversy, except insofar as by not combating it successfully, he allowed media time to be consumed by something other than his attacks on Bush.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:38 AM
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Ben Domenech didn't go down all that easy from the Washington Fricking Post, and he was (is) not just an obnoxious little shit but an outright plagiarist.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:41 AM
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419: But he went down.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:42 AM
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Off to bed; try not to write yourselves out of any jobs...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:43 AM
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Amanda isn't a plagiarist. Plagiarism, for a writer, is a professional sin; saying the F-word or being publicly opinionated about media circus trials isn't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:44 AM
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Like MY and LB's dad I also can't spell (as I'm sure you've all noticed by now). So any questions about how exactly the inability to spell works I'd be happy to answer.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:45 AM
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I'm just feeling like this is kind of a blame the object argument.

It's just an acknowledgment that in there's a game to be played here. It's not Amanda's this is how it works, but it works in this fashion none the less.

For Drum, it would be one or two of the jokes about "where are the women," and you'd have people frothing about how sexist he is: shit, I know how to do that, b/c I've done it. For Amanda and Shakes, it's swearing and being pro-choice. For me, it would be swearing and whorishness.

Oh lordy. No contest.

"Edwards campaign blogger asks why there aren't more top women bloggers."

and

"Edwards campaign blogger is a swinger who cross dresses her son."

And make no mistake, that's how it would play out.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:45 AM
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Amanda isn't a plagiarist. Plagiarism, for a writer, is a professional sin; saying the F-word or being publicly opinionated about media circus trials isn't.

I don't know how that connects. Any trouble Marcotte has won't be in her role as a writer, but in her role as a campaign worker. In that situation, the professional sin is being more trouble than you're worth. I have no idea what the Edwards campaign thinks by that measure.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:48 AM
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I wouldn't have hired Marcotte in the first place, but the Edwards campaign would have to be idiots to fire her now if they decided she was the right person for the job. Are *Democrats* going to vote against him in the primary because of his blogger's previous swearing and position on the Duke lacrosse scandal? Or because another blogger "repeatedly used profanity"? Ridiculous. Whereas they would piss off a lot of netroots-y people, including people who don't even like Marcotte, by firing her now.

This isn't a voting issue and it's far too much of a non-story to warrant sustained coverage. Bill "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Jesus and love anal sex" Donohue and Michelle "internment camps" Malkin are not exactly mainstream voices. If the candidates ignore it, it will go away.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:48 AM
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I'm never quite sure what to make of discussions of Marcotte. On the one hand, i think she's criticized for things that she wouldn't be criticized for if she were a man. And although I'm not sure it was wise, I for one think more highly of John Edwards for hiring her. It was a gutsy moves, and speaks well of his comittment to feminism.

On the other hand, I don't actually like to read Marcotte at all. Basically for the same reason I don't read Atrios.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:48 AM
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He went down because he'd demonstrably sinned against a basic rule of journalism. His supporters claimed that he was just being persecuted for being aggressively partisan, and they'd have gotten away with it if the plagiarism case hadn't been so solid. No one's accused Amanda of anything worse than being profane and strident. Not that that's not bad enough, her being a girl and all.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:49 AM
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428 to 420.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:51 AM
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His supporters claimed that he was just being persecuted for being aggressively partisan, and they'd have gotten away with it if the plagiarism case hadn't been so solid. No one's accused Amanda of anything worse than being profane and strident.

There are two issues here:

1. The Republicans are notably more whack-job crazy than the Dems at the moment. (Or less "centrist," if you're willing to use an understanding of "centrist" that would have been used in 1990.) I means seriously crazy. At this point, I think we're the natural party of people like GHWB. So, if you end up measuring how reasonable someone is by measuring how large a portion of the side he represents believes he is reasonable, the Republicans are going to have more leeway. They just are. (To some extent, I take Atrios's explicit attempt to mimic talk radio to be an effort to address that fact.)

2. Stridency works for some campaigns because the campaigner--say Gingrich--is strident. Edwards doesn't seem that way to me, but maybe his choice of Marcotte reflects otherwise.

I think Katherine might be right: no one really cares, and if the Edwards campaign just sits tight, people will remember that they don't really care.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:00 AM
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On further thought, I'm wrong. Peter Daou (a man, but also a journalist) isn't getting this treatment.

That said, it's partly a problem of the gap between blogging and traditional journalism: blogging is less censored, and the line between personal belief and public position is a lot more blurry. I think this is good, but it's a problem if people want to make ad hominem attacks, which they do.

On that note, the entire argument has been barking up the wrong tree. The issue isn't whether Amanda's said things on her own blog that don't represent what Edwards wants to put forward; the issue is whether she'll do so once she's working for his campaign.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:04 AM
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The issue isn't whether Amanda's said things on her own blog that don't represent what Edwards wants to put forward; the issue is whether she'll do so once she's working for his campaign.

The second is the question of whether or not she'll be objectively good at her job, the first of whether she can be sucessfully turned into a political liability. I don't really think she can be turned into a liability (because not in the primary and not in the general), but that's no reason to deny that it's an issue.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:08 AM
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In Wingnut World, the issue is that Amanda is a Bad Person and therefore Edwards will reveal himself to be a Bad Person if he keeps her around after they've helpfully informed him of her blog posts, which he must not have been aware of when he hired her.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:10 AM
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Seriously, fuck Bill Donohue. If I had any reservations about Marcotte, knowing that that asshole has a problem with her has erased them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 6:37 AM
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Salon:

The right-wing blogosphere has gotten its scalps -- John Edwards has fired the two controversial bloggers he recently hired to do liberal blogger outreach, Salon has learned.

The bloggers, Amanda Marcotte, formerly of Pandagon, and Melissa McEwan, of Shakespeare's Sister, had come under fire from right-wing bloggers for statements they had previously made on their respective blogs. A statement by the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, which called Marcotte and McEwan "anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots," and an accompanying article on the controversy in the New York Times this morning, put extra pressure on the campaign.

Speculation from sources that the two bloggers might be rehired was bolstered by Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, who said in an e-mail that she would "caution [Salon] against reporting that they have been fired. We will have something to say later."

Not sure what to make of that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:20 PM
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Fucking shit-ass motherfucker.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:22 PM
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That is, if they have been fired. I can see the Apostropher/Tim Burke argument that the decision to hire Marcotte was questionable, lots of people don't like her, and so forth. But hiring her and then backing down as if they'd had no idea she was going to be controversial is just incompetent and weak looking. Let's just hang a sign on the campaign saying "Yes, I can be bullied."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:24 PM
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Yup. That's a really chickenshit thing to do, if it's true.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:35 PM
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It would be a dumb move, you bet. But if Palmieri (trivia: my cob-logger Froz's mother was Palmieri's Girl Scout den mother) refuses to confirm it, and the very sources claiming they've been fired are speculating they will be rehired, then I think we may not have the whole story here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:36 PM
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I agree with LizardBreath. I also find it hard to understand, if true. While who Edwards' head blogger is may be the source of big dust-ups in certain corners of the blogging world, it is hard to see that it is a huge liability in the world at large. They have to have considered this when they hired her. To back down makes them look weak, has a faint whiff of Clinton throwing Lani Guiner over the transom, and makes a little thing into a bigger thing.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:38 PM
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True. My initial comment on the subject may have been intemperate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 12:38 PM
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Typical blogger, shooting your mouth off before you know what's what.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:09 PM
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And with such unladylike language, to boot. I'm afriad we're going to have to fire and rehire you, LB. I hope you've learned something from this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:12 PM
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I'd say something contrite, but my keyboard melted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:13 PM
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has a faint whiff of Clinton throwing Lani Guiner over the transom

That's exactly the comparison I thought of. Ideal, are you my daddy?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:14 PM
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For the young'uns.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:24 PM
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Tim.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 1:25 PM
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440

I don't agree with this. Sometimes it is good to cut your losses. This whole can't admit you made a mistake, can't appear weak thing is why we are still in Iraq.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 7-07 9:35 PM
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I think the Johnson analogy--gotcha--doesn't work so well;

Rather late to the party here, but the Johnson analogy is repugnant. Charles Johnson--the LGF guy, right?--advocates genocide. Strikes me as akin to the frequent RW versions of 'you guys have Michael Moore and we have Ann Coulter, so it's fair,' as if Moore has ever advocated terrorism (her comment on wishing McVeigh had blown up the NY Times) or murder. It's just not equivalent.


Posted by: Karl Steel | Link to this comment | 02-14-07 7:25 AM
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