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Monday, January 17, 2011

...A Good Idea at the Time

Posted by on Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Dennis Dale's daughter purchased the right for him to post on Slog for a week through our annual holiday auction Strangercrombie, which this year benefited neglected children and the homeless. More info about our charity auction here. The views expressed in Dale's editorials on Slog are his alone and have not been edited based on ideology.

My name is Dennis Dale and I'll be blogging here through Friday, inspiration willing. I maintain a desultory blog of my own, which I will refrain from mentioning again, modesty willing. I’ve also published a few magazine articles over the years, though, for which I claim semi-pro status—not a neophyte but a dilettante! If you’re not sure that’s a good thing, neither am I. Let this be our little experiment seeking an answer to that question. I’ll do my best, and as for you, reader, let me just remind you now that while humoring overreaching amateurs may encourage bad art and foul notions, it's always good manners. And manners are what really count.

Here’s our problem. I am to the right of Ronald Reagan. Literally; I bought a plot, due northwest from and to the Gipper's own eternal right-hand side and so, like Bill Murray's burn-out groundskeeper in Caddyshack (blessed with deathbed enlightenment by a guru, in lieu of monetary gratuity) I have that consolation awaiting me. The Pacific sunsets will endlessly strafe us with their glorious rays until kingdom come, or Obama, having declared his presidency-for-life and finally revealing his secret alliance with Ahmadinejad and Chavez, turns the Reagan presidential library into a mosque and hands the grounds over to Venezuelan flood-victims and their clucking, defecating chickens. shudder

Not really; it’s both not as bad as and far worse than that. But ideology is like real estate; it’s all about location, location, location. Here then I will be the temporary reactionary in residence. So do be gentle and, please, not in the face. The week's blogging was a gift, by the way—for you as well, as you no doubt have already decided. Thank you, I'll be here all week.

To avoid a too-jarring shock, for each one of us, I'll just ease into this progressive morass with a wholly inoffensive post on a wholly innoffensive topic and with due reverence for the date. Below the fold.

Rhetoric and Political Violence

kinesis, n a movement that is a response to a stimulus but is not oriented with respect to the source of stimulation[1913 Webster]

Ten days ago a madman, having legally acquired a handgun, killed six unsuspecting innocents. The Democratic Party, assisted by the braver elements of the national media, sprung into action, quickly wrestling the First Amendment to the ground and disarming it before it could do more damage. Alas, the culprit has escaped, spirited away by his longtime associates Hate and Intolerance, no doubt. Fear not; speech posses are combing the hinterlands even now in search of malicious metaphors and savage similes. Needless to say, these suspects should be considered armed and dangerous. In the event that you come into contact with one, make no attempt to engage it, avoid ear contact and back away slowly before fleeing to your nearest progressive cable news outlet or blog, where you can report the encounter. Don't be a hero. That's what we put Keith Olbermann in pancake make-up for.

But above all, just as Fox News and the DHS dutifully advise regarding the terrorist threat of such criminal masterminds as the Liberty Seven and donkey-borne Taliban in the Pashtun hinterlands: be afraid, be very afraid. Always. And trust in the government. Always. Just as in those heady days following 9-11, we are advised to "watch what we say." The parallels between this and that panic make a handy and instructive analog for the confused citizen. Meanwhile, working with heroic speed, experts have already fashioned a new standard for acceptable public rhetoric—if it's capable of provoking a raving lunatic it is illicit. Make a note of it.

This has been necessarily expanded from the original focus on white male Republicans, who nonetheless retain their place atop the hierarchy of hysteria. This all will take some getting used to, I know, but one can always observe Mom's advice—if you don't have anything nice to say, drown your hatemongering words and yourself in your acidic spittle, you fascist bigot. And if you’re incapable of recognizing what might set off a lunatic, you are the lunatic.

And don't despair; our enlightened betters are valiantly fighting to will into being this "new reality" that will have "changed everything." They know what they're talking about. Recall the media's uncanny prophesy that AIDS "changed everything," delivering us from our libertine sexual ways; that 9/11 "changed everything," bringing the nation together finally; and of course the post-partisan transformation of Barack Obama's presidency ushering in a new era of domestic tranquility and world peace. These are the people who saved you from Saddam Hussein's killer drones and WMD labs, remember. Despar not of their wisdom and sobriety.

So, aroused from my own torpor by this national emergency, I have decided to do my part, by recycling here an old essay of mine about another unstable naif stirred up by the bigoted rhetoric of political demagogues, and his reception in the media. Originally posted last August 15.

Cowardice and Credulity

psy•cho•sis, n
loss of contact with reality: a psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia or mania that is marked by delusions, hallucinations, incoherence, and distorted perceptions of reality.
Microsoft Encarta

Is it too soon, for decency, or too late, because things move fast nowadays, to speculate on the potential for an Omar Thornton fan page? Due to the solemn credulity with which the media addressed the accusations—of a killer against his still dying victims—no mass murderer has so quickly gained so high a platform for so petty a charge. When the crimination is “white racism” no decent interval is allowed. Neither, skepticism. Omar’s hearing was immediately and dutifully granted in response to his crimes, with the usual suspect “experts” weighing in—only this time on workplace discrimination, not, as we've come to expect, workplace violence.

This estimation of "racism", broadly defined, as the equivalent of violence (with the noose as a talisman and the "n-word" as incantation, both imbued with supernatural powers) is how the cultural commissariat sanctions black-on-white violence as an unfortunate but understandable means of redress.

The press response occurred at the nexus of willed ignorance and forced imagination. The sort of horrors before which this cloistered class feigns to shudder on behalf of Thornton and his ilk they can only imagine. And imagine they do, with energy and diligence. I had previously reckoned a sane man’s homicidal “breaking point” was well beyond an overheard slur, an item of graffiti, and a company’s objection to being systematically robbed by its own. Merely mentioning these charges here, even if true in their slender entirety, is to give them indecent attention. Forgive me, but this is a very dirty business.

And we still don’t know the depths to which our media will go to prove its ideological gullibility—no echoes of restraint have yet answered the pings of credulity that were the first news reports. Exhaustion, rather than shame, quelled the herd’s hysteria. We can say the farcical delusion goes at least as deep as this Christian Science Monitor headline:

Is racism at heart of Connecticut shooting? Answer still unclear.

How quaint of you, if you thought the answer all-too-clear in the case of a shooter singling out the middle-aged white men who built and sustained the company that employed and endured him (as they tend to do wherever we find productive endeavor—an unacknowledged fact explaining most of the deliberately cultivated resentment, eagerly taken up by Omar, for this, the last remaining class against which discrimination is codified into law and derision is compelled by culture). No, this bigotry doesn't alarm the media. Even in the act of murder a black man isn't granted the capacity for hate that a white innocent bears like a human stain, shed not even in death. America's "original sin" is, after all, confined to white Americans in perpetuity, whoever they are and whatever they do. Sickening still, but no longer surprising.

The grotesque irony of pursuing a homicidal bigot’s complaints of racial harassment is only noticed by the irrelevant (my hand’s raised). Still, the CSM story above actually lagged the pack to the skeptical rear by featuring an authority discounting, rather than humoring or giving undue credence to, Omar’s charges. For the media the event worked like a brain-teaser, where habitual thinking leads one to miss plain meaning. You know: one of the coins is a nickel; the doctor is the boy’s mother; the hateful murderer is the bigot.

No “but of course” moment is forthcoming. Here the press is like the ideal subject for a hypnotist’s lounge act: easily brought under, highly suggestible, shameless in its stupor, oblivious in retrospect.

This defamation of the dead isn‘t without its black comedy: the murderer was wearied, we’re told (by a callow girlfriend as oblivious to shame as the reporters encouraging her, reveling in the attention and enthusiastically adopting, as it were, the role usually reserved for a tearful mother), by the racism that just so happened to find him at every job. The chronically incompetent and stupid typically blame luck or a spiteful world for their misfortunes, and in Omar’s mind racism followed him like a personal storm cloud, manifested, I presume, in charges of tardiness, ineptitude, theft. Perhaps it is me who’s being naïve. After all, what a boundless reservoir of racism white America is!

The media’s appetite would not be sated before we were assured of the gentle nature of this man and his love for family, lovers, and handguns. One newspaper featured a photo spread of the widow (of the killer, not one of the killed), complete with an image of the tattoo consecrating her upper thigh to their love.

In this AP story some demanded (further) justice be delivered upon the dead:

Some experts said Friday that, although nothing justifies Thornton's killing spree, the allegations of workplace racism should be investigated so they can either be dealt with or laid to rest.
"You have to investigate it," said employment lawyer Kelly Scott, adding that racial harassment in the workplace is often a crime.

"Any chance you have to make your workplace a better place, a safer place, you have to take it," Scott said. "If there are people who have these attitude problems or problem dealing with other races, they should lose their jobs." [seems the company attempted just this, in firing Omar]

Sharon Toomer, founder of the website, called it "an accountability issue."
"If he didn't (report harassment), that's great. He's just a nut case," [but if he did...] she said. "If he did go and nobody did anything, then the company's hands are not clean." [killin' is too good for 'em]

Messages seeking comment about a potential investigation into Thornton's racism claims were left Friday for the Hartford State's Attorney's Office, the FBI's New Haven office, the chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and for the president of the Connecticut NAACP.

Once the guilt of the dead is confirmed by the standard of federal “civil rights law”—wherein the burden of proof is on the accused (here they can be said to be doubly disadvantaged, compelled by law to prove the negative in a voice rendered silent by their accuser; damn this teacher is strict!)—remedies will be considered. Perhaps a class action suit and subsequent settlement, an injunction mandating some sort of diversity program, a donation to an activist organization (and administration ally) of the Justice Department’s selection, the hiring of some member of the elect. Ms. Sherrod is available.

It has been a teachable moment.


Comments (100) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
oh, THAT 1
And *poof* the average IQ of Slog writing drops 10 points.
Posted by oh, THAT on January 17, 2011 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 2
Oh, dear. Such a long post. Are you an Objectivist? That post was absolutely Randian.

I think I'll skip this one for something lighter. Has Charles posted anything this morning?
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 17, 2011 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 3
Radian in length, that is..... Like one of Howard Roark's speeches that go on for thirty pages and add nothing to the plot....
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 17, 2011 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Someone wishes he were the Lewis Lapham of the right.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 17, 2011 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 5
God, you're a wordy sonofabitch.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on January 17, 2011 at 12:25 PM · Report this
You can be long-winded, you can be boring, you can post your writings in a forum where you have zero to negative credentials, but not all three and expect anyone who doesn't share your last name to read the entire screed.
Posted by tiktok on January 17, 2011 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Danger 7
Microsoft Encarta and a 1913 edition of Webster are your go to dictionaries? That annoys me far more than the incoherence of this post.
Posted by Danger on January 17, 2011 at 12:26 PM · Report this
I kept looking for the TL;DR summation. (I quit around the definition of "psychosis.")
Posted by infrequentposter on January 17, 2011 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Logorrhoea much?
Posted by the shape on January 17, 2011 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Poe's law.
Posted by dirge on January 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM · Report this
What @8 said.
Posted by daftgiraffe on January 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM · Report this
The reason that free speech is enshrined in the very first amendment of the Constitution is because speech is powerful.

Powerful things can be dangerous.

Dangerous things should be used with care.
Posted by Ben on January 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Posted by dontknowwhyiputupwithyall on January 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Enigma 16
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. ~Thomas Jefferson

I was gonna use the Shakespeare quote, but I thought you would appreciate Jefferson's more.

I, and I'm sure other well meaning Sloggers, would love to engage you in a week of liberal v. conservative. But first we have to be able to read your posts. And this is a blog most of us check while avoiding our real jobs. Concise is the name of the game.
Posted by Enigma on January 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 17
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 17, 2011 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Canuck 18
Now we know what Seattleblues got for Xmas.
Posted by Canuck on January 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM · Report this
coolio 19
I got bored after the first paragraph. Quit reading completely by the middle of the second.
Posted by coolio on January 17, 2011 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Horsehit. 2000 words takes about five minutes to read. What, did you think I was going to use this forum to post YouTube videos of mating squids? Short screeds featuring gratuitous all caps obscenities? Jesus, people.
And every one of you took the time to comment within minutes. To paraphrase the SNL cowbell bit, I put my pants on one leg at a time, but when I put my pants on, I drive page hits. I got skills.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Enigma 21
@20 Cute name.
2000 words may not take long to read, were they well put together. Meandering thoughts take a while to string back together.
Posted by Enigma on January 17, 2011 at 12:51 PM · Report this
TL;DR and what @16 said. One gets the distinct impression that you love to hear yourself type... so please, put down the thesaurus before someone gets hurt.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on January 17, 2011 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Can we give his daughter her money back.I got five on it.

Way too longwinded and sounds vaugely like Laughners rambling on YouTube.
Posted by Ronald_McFondle on January 17, 2011 at 12:53 PM · Report this
TL;DR - here's the take-away, about halfway through: "And if you’re incapable of recognizing what might set off a lunatic, you are the lunatic." In context, the author means it as a sarcastic example of liberal idiocy, but as @10 suggests, it works both ways.
Posted by EricaP on January 17, 2011 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Not sure, but we may have covered the "brevity" thing.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Perhaps it is time for the "you write" portions of Strangercrombie to be dropped. I know I always avoid that particular issue of The Stranger because it is notoriously bad.
Posted by Senor Guy on January 17, 2011 at 12:58 PM · Report this
......point being? No, seriously.
Posted by Lo on January 17, 2011 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Posted by Another Andrew on January 17, 2011 at 1:01 PM · Report this
JoeG 29
I have no problem engaging cogent ideologies with which I disagree; in fact I encourage it.

But this just makes no sense.
Posted by JoeG on January 17, 2011 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Thanks Lo. Point being that Omar Thornton was driven in part by delusions instilled by a national narrative on race that is farcical. This is currently relevant in light of the latest push for "civil" discourse.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Fish Wrench Asteroid 31
"The Democratic Party, assisted by the braver elements of the national media, sprung into action, quickly wrestling the First Amendment to the ground and disarming it before it could do more damage. "

I would tell you that I disagree with you, but if I did, I would be violating your First Amendment rights.
Posted by Fish Wrench Asteroid on January 17, 2011 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Njoy 32
So you are saying that white people in America should be allowed to be racist because of the first Amendment and because black people are racist as well- on MLK day? Stay Classy eladsinned.
Posted by Njoy on January 17, 2011 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Posted by Leoba on January 17, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
NaFun 34
So asking everyone to tone it down a little is an attack on the First Amendment? You have the right to say 'Fuck Your Mother, Bitches!!" all you want. It doesn't mean you should, nor that people are barred from criticizing you for doing it.

And I thought one of the family values was civillity? How about conservatives start promoting that?
Posted by NaFun on January 17, 2011 at 1:16 PM · Report this
@ 31
I've heard this argument--that this media-driven campaign against heated rhetoric is hardly an assault on free speech because, after all, no body is talking about passing a law or anything.

Nonsense; our political history is full of campaigns like this the explicit purpose of which is to chill speech and ostracize political enemies. I repeat myself: the relevant analogy is the run-up to the Iraq war, when the media was cowed into believing all sorts of nonsense by a political movement (neocons) taking advantage of a tragedy and its ensuing fear and loathing. No one passed any specific laws against public speech then (not even in the monstrous Patriot Act), and they didn't have to.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
So you are saying that white people in America should be allowed to be racist because of the first Amendment

Good God, of course I'm saying that. Anyone gets to "be a racist". What country are you from?
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Canuck 37
C'mon, admit guys are starting to miss Matt Luby, right?
Posted by Canuck on January 17, 2011 at 1:23 PM · Report this
eclexia 38
If anybody got all the way through this, please tell us if anything happened in the second act.
Posted by eclexia on January 17, 2011 at 1:25 PM · Report this
tl;dr. I guess you need to get your money's worth.

@8 +1

@37 Oh, totally. I actually liked his writing, posting, and trolling. This new one isn't fun at all.
Posted by Cow on January 17, 2011 at 1:27 PM · Report this
@37: So because a "[campaign] to chill speech and ostracize [people]" was bad when used to lead a nation into a questionably justifiable war, it's also bad when used to try to keep people from inciting assassination attempts?
Posted by Ben on January 17, 2011 at 1:27 PM · Report this
@40: that should be @35, not @37.
Posted by Ben on January 17, 2011 at 1:28 PM · Report this
chimsquared 42
@37: No. Especially when he keeps posting this shit under assumed names.
Posted by chimsquared on January 17, 2011 at 1:29 PM · Report this
that's the real problem you have, isn't it? Nobody incited Loughner. If people aren't trying to silence dissent, why the hell do they keep shouting about rhetoric?
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Dennis Dale is my real name; I'm commenting here as eladsinned because that's what I'm registered under. The substance in this thread is overwhelming.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 45
I'll read a 2000 word screed if it is interesting and well written, even if I disagree with the writer. This was just a rambling boring mess.


Your daughter bought you the right to post here for a week. She did not, and can not, buy the politeness or interest of SLOG commenters. If you bore us, or pointlessly insult us, this will get ugly long before the end of the week.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on January 17, 2011 at 1:35 PM · Report this
again @ 40

"questionably justifiable war"?

No; illegal and profoundly immoral. Not to mention wholly unnecessary and, now, disastrous, even from the point of view of its proponents. Just for the record.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Lissa 47
@30: See Dennis! You managed to make your whole "after the jump" point in 34 words. And didn't you start out with a plea for good manners? Do you hold the denizens of Slog to a higher standard than those who have (or wish to have) the power to influence public policy?

@Canuck: You are a bad lady. Xoxo
Posted by Lissa on January 17, 2011 at 1:43 PM · Report this
It's okay. But I'm not pleading for politeness, and I'm sure not insulting anyone, pointlessly or otherwise. You guys really have taken this "civility" nonsense to heart. I appreciate your concern, but I think I'll survive the week just fine. I'm already having a blast, and despite everyone's disingenuous complaints, I think they are too.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Canuck 49
Oh Lissa, but you, Mr. Canuck, and the RCMP know that already... ;)
Posted by Canuck on January 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM · Report this
@43: What? Um, yes, my real problem is that people died. People keep shouting about rhetoric because that's what we're talking about. People are shouting about the way things are being said not the things that are being said.

You can go ahead and disagree with me, and argue with me, and hold and espouse whatever opinions in the world you want, and I will argue with you about them as they come. But when you start phrasing your arguments in terms of attacking and reloading and crosshairs and 'taking <someone> out,' then I am going to take issue with your rhetoric (i.e., the way you are saying what you are saying).

I don't care if we're arguing about health care or immigration or what color the sky is, there are some rhetorical techniques that are BAD, which you SHOULD NOT USE, and when someone uses them, I reserve the right to tell them so.
Posted by Ben on January 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Fish Wrench Asteroid 51
@35 What you're talking about has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

After 9/11 corporate media made a choice to support the Bush administration entirely even when they knew in advance that they were lying to the public. The 1st Amendment supports their right to lie to the public for financial gain. It also protected the right of the neo-cons to call everyone that disagreed with them terrorists.

I watch a lot of lamestream media, and I gotta tell you, no one has said Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck don't have the right to incite violence against the left, which they do every day, but have suggested that they tone it down, as is their right under the First Amendment.

As it was in 9/11 it's not a First Amendment problem, it's a cowardice problem. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh have been actively inciting violence. Now they are pretending their rights are being violated when someone has the gall to point it out.

Posted by Fish Wrench Asteroid on January 17, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
@46: I phrased it that way simply to avoid branching the argument.
Posted by Ben on January 17, 2011 at 1:52 PM · Report this
Okay, so where was your outrage before? And (why must we keep repeating this?) there is no connection between Loughner and any political party, so the hysterics attached to his crimes are essentially a campaign of disinformation.

Again, the Iraq War analogy is apposite because, note, even now about half of Americans think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. Years from now people will talk about a "right-wing gunman" who killed all those people in Arizona.
Has anyone wondered why the two issues that directly pertain to the incident--gun control and mental health policy--are getting crowded out by this disingenuous nonsense? I'll tell you why--because there's no political advantage to be drawn from them. You are being manipulated.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Cynic Romantic 57
I think someone wasted their money.
Posted by Cynic Romantic on January 17, 2011 at 2:11 PM · Report this
@54: Where was my outrage at what? At violent rhetoric? People had already been pointing it out for some time. Should I not feel more strongly about something after someone dies? I don't understand your point.

As for Loughner's politics, I imagine we'll have to keep repeating it as long as you keep bringing it up. In fact, that's the entire point. It wasn't someone saying that the sky is green that was the problem, it was people in power, people on television and in the media saying that if anyone tries to tell them the sky is purple, they'd resolve the problem with guns.

I will agree that the mental health policy issue is a better avenue of discussion, as far as national dialogue is concerned. But your screed starts with the headline "Rhetoric and Political Violence." What the fuck did you think we were going to talk about?
Posted by Ben on January 17, 2011 at 2:20 PM · Report this
Easy to read, hard to comprehend.
How does this even make sense? Yes, "disjointed" is apt.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Should I not feel more strongly about something after someone dies?

You should feel more strongly about the causes thereof. Feigning outrage at something unrelated (but conveniently in line with your own political goals) is not only dishonest, it is cynical and obscene.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 2:26 PM · Report this
@60: I don't even know what your point is anymore, but you seem to be the expert on what I feel and think, so I'll just go ahead and concede.
Posted by Ben on January 17, 2011 at 2:42 PM · Report this
My reaction to this post:
Posted by Gaydolf Titler on January 17, 2011 at 2:42 PM · Report this
Womyn2me 63
someone bought their crazy father a week on SLOG?

Don't get me wrong, its like punking the whole city, I like it. As with any practical joke, I cant wait to watch it unfold. Its like reading "Real Change", without the ink that gets on my fingers.

Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\ on January 17, 2011 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Sandiai 65
Pretentious writing is annoying. Incoherent writing is frustrating. Aggh!

I tried. I really did try to get through it. Sorry, man.
Posted by Sandiai on January 17, 2011 at 3:01 PM · Report this
opera cat 66
I thought the teabaggers were cumming all over themselves a little while ago, telling Muslims in New York not that they couldn't exercise their First Amendment rights to build an Interfaith Community Center (a/k/a mosque) , but merely that they shouldn't, because it Offended Us.
Posted by opera cat on January 17, 2011 at 3:02 PM · Report this
There was a time when I was upset with my father to the extent that I wished for him to be publicly ridiculed by strangers for a week.

I don't Strangercrombie existed back then. And I'm over it now.
Posted by tiktok on January 17, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 68
This makes me half-wish they let a random Slog commenter post an article a week, with a different person each week. Guest editorial!

God knows what weird crap would end up on here.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on January 17, 2011 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Roma 69
Here’s our problem. I am to the right of Ronald Reagan.

You're breaking one of the internet commandments: thou shalt only be on forums with like-minded people.
Posted by Roma on January 17, 2011 at 3:26 PM · Report this
dirac 70
Meh, I liked Matt Luby. We may have thought him wrong but he could still string together a post and engage with the commentariat in meaningful ways. I also don't like the TL;DR comments posted on other articles--especially since it seems more a symptom of shitty attention spans. But I have to say it's almost appropriate here...I really tried Dale, but I did have a hard time getting through this. Maybe you need to write these and then take a break or get somebody else to proofread them?
Posted by dirac on January 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 71
I skimmed it. The only thing I could add that hasn't already been covered in the comments* is your endless invocation of "the media." What are we talking about here? The internet? Cable news? The Wall Street Journal? The New York Times?

See, when you bundle a bunch of disparate and contradictory organizations together and then say "x does this," your readers are going to be confused as to your meaning.

*Being a devoted Slog comments-reader, there's plenty of disagreement, all the time. When everyone sees the same thing-- a long-winded, poorly-written, using-twenty-words-when-one-would-do screed, then you might want to take those reactions to heart. That is, if you're trying to effectively communicate your thoughts & ideas to your fellow humans. If all you want is to convince yourself that your genius is unappreciated and revel in your Righteous Indignation, well then, keep up the good work!
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on January 17, 2011 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Actually Roma, I'm not that kind of conservative--more old-school--anti-war, small government, civil liberties, etc. "paleo", they call it. You know, what the Republicans and Tea Partiers would be if they actually meant what they said. But thanks for what I will assume is fellow-feeling. Yours is the only comment that doesn't suggest it was typed across a screen flecked with spittle.

The internet rule I broke is always assume your audience is incapable of recognizing nuance and irony, and will give a fair shake to an argument honestly offered. I always forget that one.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Am I going to get showered with more abuse if I ask what "TL;DR" is? I honestly don't know. I'm new to the blog.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 4:14 PM · Report this
TVDinner 74
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 17, 2011 at 4:14 PM · Report this
TVDinner 75
@73: Here.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 17, 2011 at 4:17 PM · Report this
One last thing before I go.
I have more magazine articles to my credit than the lot of you combined.
So I'll keep my own counsel on style, thank you.
Posted by eladsinned on January 17, 2011 at 4:25 PM · Report this
@75: Ha!!!!
I just googled it myself and it was about to write something similar. I would not have achieved your elegance tho', sir. Ignorance is no longer an excuse when one has the internet at one's fingertips.

To the author; You started well, with a quick joke to set the scene. But yeah, at the risk of adding to the chorus, I couldn't focus past a page or so. I will try and keep an open mind with whatever you slog next, tho :)
Posted by Stowe on January 17, 2011 at 4:30 PM · Report this
Wow, you just slammed that door shut. Okay, now I think you're an asshole.
Posted by Stowe on January 17, 2011 at 4:32 PM · Report this
TVDinner 79
@77: Ma'am. :)
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 17, 2011 at 4:36 PM · Report this
NaFun 80
There was a high-profile shooting at a supermarket that killed 6 people (including a federal judge) and wounded 16, including a congresswoman. That coincided with a map that had crosshairs on it and political rhetoric around that congresswoman that encouraged supporters of her opponent to go shooting with him.

The shooter was a total crazy. The rhetoric didn't fuel his actions as far as we know.

Rather than discuss the super thorny issues of availability and quality of mental health services in this country, and the ethics of locking up/forcibly treating those with mental health issues, let's talk about all these inferences to shooting people that we throw around so much.

Isn't it kind of off-putting how blithely we use war and violence in our discourse? Wouldn't it be swell if we did that less?

And isn't it weird that one faction of one particular political party seems to use those metaphors a whole lot more than the others? What's up with that? Do you think we could get them to stop? Oh wait, everyone does it to some extent? Wouldn't it be swell if we did that less?

Oh, and also, what would a robust mental health system look like that could have responded to Jared and have treated his underlying mental illness while also respecting his freedom as a citizen of this country?

Posted by NaFun on January 17, 2011 at 5:10 PM · Report this
OuterCow 81
Regarding our taking this whole "civility" nonsense too much to heart, I'd like to add that you're a fucking moron Dale. Really. And look mom, no spittle!
Posted by OuterCow on January 17, 2011 at 5:25 PM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 82
Posted by icouldliveinhope on January 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM · Report this
@63 ftw. The left half of Seattle just got punked.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on January 17, 2011 at 6:11 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 84
Can anyone find the thesis statement in this mess? Dennis, can you point it out?
Posted by Free Lunch on January 17, 2011 at 6:43 PM · Report this
Violet_DaGrinder 85
And now I know what it would be like if Mudede didn't know how to keep his unbearable posts to a paragraph or two.

Thanks for making me appreciate Mudede! You have a rare gift.
Posted by Violet_DaGrinder on January 17, 2011 at 7:09 PM · Report this
34x42 86
make. every. word. count.

way to blow your wad on day one.
Posted by 34x42 on January 17, 2011 at 7:13 PM · Report this
Retain a shred of your dignity and don't comment on your own post.
Posted by dirge on January 17, 2011 at 7:44 PM · Report this
Canuck 88
@75 SOOO talented! That is so cool! Hah!
Posted by Canuck on January 17, 2011 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 89
@ 76

So.... What you're saying is that you are a proud participant in "the media." Your anger, your finger-pointing, your condemnation is directed at.... you.

Good to know.

(See? This is where "defining your terms" becomes quite helpful! :)
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on January 17, 2011 at 9:15 PM · Report this
Sandiai 90
Wow 76. Way to prove our point. I googled myself on google/scholar and got 51 articles; hey, hey (and two book chapters). I googled you and got nuthin', meaning you haven't written for many well-known, reviewed, or peer-reviewed periodicals. Googling you on regular google revealed several articles in "American Conservative." Is that what you're referring to? Do you use a nome de plume?

I'm trying to give you a chance here, man.
Posted by Sandiai on January 17, 2011 at 9:54 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 91
@ Dennis: You'd find yourself a more civil reception if you tamped down on the pretension. People dislike being talked down to.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on January 17, 2011 at 10:30 PM · Report this
bella 92
Jebus H, I thought I was the longest winded person ever, but I have to agree with the others - TLDR - but only because if there was a point, I couldn't find it within the meandering.
Clarity and concision are two of the most beautiful words in the English language.
I will continue to try to read the rest of your posts this week.
Good luck to you, you've got your work cut out.
Posted by bella on January 17, 2011 at 10:41 PM · Report this
venomlash 93
In after shitstorm...
Posted by venomlash on January 17, 2011 at 11:06 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 94
baby.. you're gonna be here ... all ... WEEK ?.. child.. give me strength.. and may god have mercy on all our souls.. but especially yours..
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on January 17, 2011 at 11:20 PM · Report this
Some stats! This post is 2,003 words long. The combined word count of the last ten posts on slog today followed it on slog (again, that's ten posts) for the rest of the day was 2,150. Just saying.
Posted by Lo on January 17, 2011 at 11:42 PM · Report this
Whoops. Post Ambien haze made that a little murky -- but the numbers are accurate.
Posted by Lo on January 17, 2011 at 11:43 PM · Report this
zombie eyes 97
"This estimation of "racism", broadly defined, as the equivalent of violence (with the noose as a talisman and the "n-word" as incantation, both imbued with supernatural powers) is how the cultural commissariat sanctions black-on-white violence as an unfortunate but understandable means of redress."

Holy fuck............
Posted by zombie eyes on January 18, 2011 at 12:08 AM · Report this
onion 98
jeesus. the attention span of slog readers is short. so very short.
Posted by onion on January 18, 2011 at 1:32 AM · Report this
Well I know what "paleoconservative" has always meant to me - someone who will segue from literally any issue into a screed about how white people are being repressed, and "reverse racism" is being soooo ignored. Thanks for confirming THAT, at least!

Posted by planned barrenhood on January 18, 2011 at 1:33 AM · Report this
Josh Bomb 100
Posted by Josh Bomb on January 18, 2011 at 11:17 AM · Report this
amyl 101
@18- FTW
Posted by amyl on January 18, 2011 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 102
It's neither the length nor the subject matter, it's the words themselves that hinder my ability to continue reading.

Will try again after more coffee, less coffee, more booze and less booze.
Posted by Unregistered User on January 18, 2011 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Lex Luthor 103
I thought this piece had a certain genius, and shines a light on the contortions our media goes through to make every story conform to the narrow bounds of acceptable thought. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Posted by Lex Luthor on January 18, 2011 at 9:57 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 104
Amazing that this is still atop the most commented.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on January 19, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
dirac 105
Yes, beware the omnipotent, monolithic media forwarding evil progressive narratives!
Posted by dirac on January 19, 2011 at 10:59 PM · Report this
Fistique 106
I was instantly and profoundly offended by you saying you kept "a desultory blog". Awful.
Posted by Fistique on January 21, 2011 at 8:57 AM · Report this

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