Things I Hate About The Progressive Blogosphere
by Chris Bowers, Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 01:18:59 PM EDT
That, however, does not mean that it is without flaws. There are a decent number of things about the blogosphere that irritate that crap out of me. In fact, I have no doubt that for many people out there, I am one of the things about blogs that irritates the crap out of them. So, for no other purpose than to once and a while take a step back and realize our own flaws, in the extended entry I provide a list of the things about the blogosphere that I really do not like. In the comments, I invite you to do the same.
On a similar note, I hate it when people conflate your belief or non-belief in such conspiracies as the primary way to determine how "left" you are. Even though I agree with around 90% of the Green Party platform, I have been surprised to learn on a number of occasions that I am actually a moderate because I don't think voter fraud swung the 2004 election. I have been equally surprised to learn that I am ashamed to be a Democrat because I don't believe things like this.
I can't stand the nearly ubiquitous, juvenile machismo in the blogosphere, especially when coupled with mind-numbing refusals to admit that there is sexism in the blogosphere. Among other things, we call people pussies, talk about people getting bitch-slapped, tell people not to get their panties in a wad, demand that people grow balls, order our comrades to sack up, challenge people's manhood and sexuality, regularly discuss whether certain women are "doable" or not, and we wonder why men outnumber women in the progressive blogosphere two to one? Sexist and homophobic language of the sort that I haven't heard since I was in the locker room in high school flies around left and right, and we are surprised that more women don't feel comfortable here? And the excuse that it doesn't bother all, or even most, women doesn't fly. The fact is that it does bother quite a few, and helps to build an atmosphere that lets many potential members of our coalition know that they are neither equals nor welcome. And if being polite to our sisters doesn't jibe without your libertarian ethos, my initial response is to tell you to either deal with it or ram it.
On a similar note, I lament that comments like "woot!""yeah!" and "fuck yeah!" have become not just acceptable, but actually the standard form of comment found on many major blogs. It's like Democratic Underground has taken everything over. This was always an issue on blogs, and it might not in fact be any worse now than it was three years ago. Perhaps now that I am a blogger it irritates me more than it did in the past. Still, sometimes I worry that we have reached a size where it is not possible to functionally maintain the cohesion of our community.
I seethe with rage whenever I see one of the regular pronouncements about the "The" progressive issue. Whether it is reproductive rights, environmentalism, election reform, labor rights, or foreign policy, where do people get off proclaiming one single issue to be the unquestioned centerpiece of the progressive ideology? Thanks for telling tens of millions what they believe in without asking them. If I stubbed my toe every time I read someone making this claim on behalf of one issue or another, I'd be dead.
Sometimes, the casual references to Republicans, the Pope, or whoever as Nazis and Democrats, bloggers, of whoever as "Vichy" make me want to quit politics and live in the woods. Who are the ignorant assholes that use such terms casually anyway? The Nazis killed twelve million people, half of whom were Jewish, in concentration camps or other mass executions. Their armies killed another forty million. The Vichy government in France helped them. It is nice to see, however, that so many people on the blogosphere have no problem conflating something like a vote on the bankruptcy bill as the equivalent of these ghastly deeds. Calling everything the same thing is to call everything nothing. Calling everything the worst thing is to exonerate all those who are guilty, no matter what they are guilty of, as it flattens out the important differences between them.
Most discussions about "the south" are not a favorite of mine, to say the least. Whether we are being told how we can win "it," or why "it" is so stupid, I for one would like to know what the fuck "the south" actually is. Even as an electoral concept, I don't think it stands out as a distinct region anymore. Even apart from all that, I really want to know why we are so ridiculously obsessed with it. In case people out there hadn't noticed, the New Deal coalition is dead, and as a result of wide ideological differences, Democratic Presidential nominees are not going to win very many (a couple, but not very many) states that were once in the confederacy anytime soon (maybe in a couple of decades, but not very soon), no matter what we do. End of story. Even the most rudimentary political analysis should make this obvious by now, which in no way means we should stop campaigning there. Can we move on please, or should we instead engage in detailed discussions about how to move Rhode Island out of the "Swing State" column and into "Solid Democratic?"
I hate two more things: one line diaries that aren't even links to breaking news, and diaries with "Breaking" or all caps in their titles. Why do people post these things? Do they really think they broke the story? What's wrong with a normal, less panicky, headline? What's wrong with an open thread?
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Basically, that's it. In general, I think the blogosphere has been instrumental in helping to rebuild grassroots progressive activism, has helped start important and long over-due reforms in the Democratic Party, serves as a valuable and growing bulwark against the conservative alternative media empire, is an important educational tool and is just a great place to hang out. I love it. I just had to get a few things off my chest.