dimanche, novembre 14, 2004

Banned from a Blog?

Wow. Not even two months into my political blogging career, and my role as gadfly has been truncated. Emasculation stinks. But, like all clouds there is a silver lining: I have a comment policy now. First the truncation.

I have spent some time checking out the blogosphere, and within that, I have enjoyed reading what my friends across the aisle have to say about issues of the day.

One of my favorite sites along these lines is my friend Michael's site. I almost never agree with Michael, but I read his work everyday, and I admire his site. We even have some great dialogues outside of the blogosphere, and we've had some conversations about doing some joint blogging in '05.

Through Michael's site, I found a site for LaShawn Barber. I have read her site everyday for a month primarily because I am fascinated by it. I have been fascinated by black republicans (like this one) since college.

LaShawn's site is amazing in a number of respects. First, it is owned and operated by her. I think she gets amazing traffic, and in her career, she has built quite a following. She is a budding columnist, and I have every confidence that soon she will have her own radio show and a series of books.

A few of her posts inspired me to comment. I read her comment policy and submitted my reaction.

My first comments were posted (to no reply, that's cool). My third comment (which made fun of another commenter was posted - he was talking about the poor state of education and even used the classic "Johnny can't read" line, but his comment was chock full of spelling errors!), even though it was a violation of LaShawn's rules.

My fourth comment was not posted. LaShawn posted a piece about John Kerry having his first marriage annulled. She called it despicable, she called Kerry a man of low character, and then she called him still a second name (I'm not able to cite the post, because she yanked it - something we will never do here at ILIM). She challenged the sincerity of Kerry's Christianity. Wow. That's hard-hitting name calling.

The comment I posted that did not get added said something to effect of "I think Kerry annulled his marriage in order to remarry - I understood that to be a requirement of the Catholic faith." Then I admonished LaShawn for the ad hominem attacks on Kerry and told her that I thought she was more effective when she was not base.

I can never get back the two minutes I spent typing that comment!

LaShawn is fond of crisp adjectives and name calling (just like Rush, just like Anne, just like Michelle, just like Bill ). She's fond of calling Kerry an elitist. In a recent post, she calls Scott Peterson a "murdering idiot" - which of course it seems he is. Still, you would think that someone who is so found of hurling out the insults would weather a kind and (I hope) graceful suggestion from a youngster like me that she use logic and reason (and not name calling) to make her point. In my comment, I was careful to address my concern to LaShawn's comments and not to her person. A rule I have followed in this post. For example, I did not call Rush Limbaugh a drug-addicted hypocrite and I easily could have. Also notice that I did not call Bill O'Reilly a cad or a skirt-chaser or a hypocrite. Or a flip then flopper.

What LaShawn wants is dittoheads. Methinks this may be a weakness in her blog. She does not want a conversation, she wants a platform for LaShawn. Hey, that's cool. ILIM is really a platform for me. Blogging has an ego component to it. Dig? Nuttin' wrong with that.

Now the comment policy here:

What we want at iliveinminnesota is dialogue. We welcome those who do not agree with us on all the issues.

In fact, my dream is that I will raise a point that someone did not consider, or that this site will be a coffee shop in the marketplace of ideas. Comment as you wish (but keep it under 1000 characters while we see if our loan for a ramp up to haloscan deluxe or halosan premium or haloscan ultra or uber-haloscan comes through). You are free here. You can even call me names. I don't mind. I won't delete your comment - I don't even know how.

But mainly this is my thing: I spend a lot of time thinking about what I say here. If it cannot stand up to dissenting views, then my post merits more thought on my part. I guess we have confidence that our perspective can withstand a few comments. If only it were true of all bloggers.

If I called Bush a name (like, say moron or halfwit or liar), I would expect someone to call me on it. I also would hope that I would have the good sense to admit that I was wrong to call names, the courage to admit that I was wrong, and the strength to allow criticism of my decision in the comments. Or, if I was feeling honery, I hope I would defend my decision to call names (instead of making well-reasoned points in a tactful/diplomatic way - it's okay to question whether Bush has the intellectual capacity to do the job, but it's weak sauce to call him names).

Afterall, what would it say about my views and about my site if I deleted any comment even if it was well-intentioned and thoughtful, just because it disagreed with me or called me to task?

What would it say?

Can we giggle a little at the irony of a huge Bush fan lacking the strength of conviction to stand up to a little criticism?

Might we learn something from other views?

Who else hates dissent and alternative information?