Things I Hate About The Progressive Blogosphere

In life, it is always necessary to take the good with the bad. Of course, when the good far exceeds the bad, it is a lot easier to take the bad. That is basically how I feel about the progressive political blogosphere. I could go on and on and on about the wonders of the blogosphere, describing in great detail how I think it has had an extremely beneficial impact on the country, on progressivism, on the party, and on my life. I am utterly addicted to, obsessed with, dedicated to, and in love with the progressive / liberal blogosphere.

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.

I hate comments to the effect of "we're all doomed / none of this matters unless we fix the voting machines." I suppose the voting machine conspiracy explains why we have made significant gains among Governors since 2000. It probably also explains why we have gone from a minority in state legislatures seats nationwide to our current majority. It probably also explains why we gained in the House in 2004 outside of Texas redistricting. As someone who supports comprehensive election reform and a verifiable paper trial, what really bothers me about comments like these is how they postulate conspiracies that require such a small number of people to carry out yet are still be viewed as all-encompassing in control of our nation. It is really an amazingly simplistic explanation for our problems: nothing is holding progressive back except for being prostrate before an all-powerful clique that control the voting machines. It is also a perfect explanation for lack of action: way bother doing anything else until we fix the voting machines? Seeing these comments really sets me off.

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?

* * *

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.

Your turn.

Tags: Blogosphere (all tags)



Bloggers not replying to email is kinda chafing me at the moment.  ;-)
by Savage 2005-06-22 01:38PM | 0 recs
I HATE We're All Doomed!
I don't like it when blogs focus on "Aint it Awful" (the impossibility of getting out of the awful political mess we're in right now), rather than "What We Can Do to Fix It!."

That includes blogs that say we can never win back the house or the senate -- or at least not soon.

by MS 2005-06-22 01:47PM | 0 recs
I really don't like
The echo chamber.

Before the election I spent a lot of time in bipartisan discussion boards.  It exposed me to the talking points and arguments of both sides and I felt like I could debate anybody about anything.  Now I hang out mostly on blogs, and I am no longer exposed to the arguments from the right.  Because of this, my knowledge of current politics is at the intellectual level of "Crossfire".  I'd rather be able to discuss the relative merits and faults of both sides.  Believe it or not, the right has some good ideas occasionally too, and in a heated argument I have little doubt that such an idea could stop me in my tracks.  However, when I spent time on the bipartisan sites, I knew all the counter-arguments to the right's good ideas, and could easily prove the Dem strategy was better.

by BBigJ 2005-06-22 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: I really don't like
I like these forums a lot because there is a lot of good political news I can catch. The thing I don't like is the "love it or leave it" mentality of some of the diehard Dems who run boards like dKos and others. It reminds me of the goosesteppers and I hate that. I was banned for dKos right before the election because I thought an SNL skit where the guy playing Kerry kept calling himself a flip-flopper. It was funny, I said so, and got troll-bombed. My mistake was repeating it a couple of times which got me so fiercely troll-bombed that I became banned. It was pretty pathetic. What was worse was that my wife asked me to vote for Kerry instead of Nader and I did even though he was a flip-flopper. So, we all move on.
by politizine 2005-06-22 07:13PM | 0 recs
Content is King
I tend not to like the "content is king" argument from really big bloggers who have received nasty emails.  I think there are other factors alive in widespread readership besides brilliant writing (most blog writing, after all is not beautiful--it is just informative and generally informal).  

I am not big enough to have received angry mail about how I am supposed to link to someone.  Maybe I will and then I will understand.  But, for now, I think that big bloggers could find a more interesting way to think about "blog success," what it means now and what it may mean in the future.  

Jerome said a great thing about the size of blogs at the blogger breakfast at DemFest.  He said that you should never be upset at the traffic numbers of your blog because you never know who you are reaching.  In addition, your blog may be specifically targeted and has no intention of drawing a wide audience.  It seems like the other side of that is also true---luck happens.  Great writing is not always the reason why blogs take off.  

Creativity in some form almost always is.

by Garemko 2005-06-22 02:11PM | 0 recs
The quality of the conversation...
First, thanks for posting this.  The very things you mentioned have made me less inclined to visit some blogs.  And, frankly, their limited frequency here is what keeps me checking back to this one.

I could echo what you have said (particularly the machismo, the name calling, the sexism...).  Much of the conversation in the blogosphere is  more juvenile than what I participate in or observe in the other parts of my life (having said that, I confess that some of that stuff makes me laugh).  But, something that you didn't mention:

There is so much energy in the blogosphere, but sometimes I get the feeling that it never makes it OUT of the blogosphere.  I imagine thousands of people (like me), each secluded in their homes at their keyboard feeding this incredible community.  But I don't get the sense that too many of us are walking outside our doors and doing something about it in the places that we live.  I don't KNOW that to be true, but I am sometimes discouraged that we are losing the battles in our own backyards because no one is fighting them.

Which brings me to another great thing about mydd -- the daily action threads are great.

Chris and Jerome--I'm with you on the gripes.  But you have built a great resource here.  Thanks.

by Steve Hill 2005-06-22 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: The quality of the conversation...
I will second that.  MyDD is really big but the posts and comments are among the most intelligent I have seen in the blogosphere.  You have built a great community and we really appreciate it.
by Garemko 2005-06-22 02:45PM | 0 recs
Most Of What Chris Described....
Has turned me off to sites.

What I really like about the Progressive blogosphere is getting information and viewpoints that I ordinarily wouldn't come across.

I don't hang out in "me too" forums, but I prefer forums where I can argue with the right wing. I think they have the advantage of depth, if you can separate the signal from noise, and longevity.  One thing I've noticed as late is how many participants are clearly using the blogs as resources to both compelling original opinion, but also as drill downs to the supporint raw data.

The progressive blogosphere has made us more knowlegeable, made our media more accountable (or less relevant), and is providing a resource to persuade people from convential knowledge.

All in all, Chris, I wouldn't let it bring me too far down.

by Dick Tuck 2005-06-22 03:00PM | 0 recs
Sexism and the blogosphere
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.

I admit I haven't been able to figure out how to satisfy the PC Police on this one. I linked to a story at Raw Story Q, which is now Page One Q that used the word "pussy" in a humorous way. I thought it was humorous and bellarose did not.

Years ago I was criticized for saying "I'd be glad to open the door for a lady." and holding a door open for a woman who had some packages in her hand.

I was informed that I was "objectifying" women. Up until then I thought that Penthouse objectified women with naked pictures. I was informed in no uncertain terms that holding doors for women and calling them ladies was putting them on a pedestal, thereby "objectifying" them.

While I agree with the brunt of your complaint, Chris, I still don't know where to draw the line. Were Whoopi Goldberg's double entendre jokes about "bush" objectionable? Female comedians joke about both the male and female anatomy all the time. Was Janet Jackson's invisible wardrobe malfunction objectionable?

Having said that, the locker room humor and childish high school taunts get old very quickly. Perhaps a variation of Godwin's law is in order, but I don't know how to define excess or where to draw the line.

Anonymity is part of the problem. It's easier to be vulgar and crude on a website than it is in mixed company. Perhaps occasional reminders, like this diary, are an appropriate way to handle the problem. I think a lot of problems can be solved with common everyday courtesy. How you get an entire community on the same page is above my pay grade.

And I will still open a door for a lady and I don't care who objects.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-22 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism and the blogosphere
There aren't many women posting so I thought I would give one woman's perspective.  First, to me holding doors open, etc. does not objectify women.  It just seems gentille.  If you're in a work situation, or if the woman so treated is especially lovely and other women, or men who are infirm or with packages, are ignored, it begins to be a little awkward.
Vulgarity is vulgarity, whether it is used by Whoopy Goldberg or Howard Stern.  It can be funny, tittilating, offensive, mindless, or, if overused baldly and boringly angry.  My mother said use of four letter words indicated a lack of vocabulary.
I do post much less than I would because it is threatening.  I am both Southern (I even like Southerners) and female.  But I am also quite liberal.  I was raised a Quaker and my father was a pacifist and worked in Civil Rights in the fifties.
You never know what resources might be wasted by name calling.  And think for a moment how persuasive someone might learn to be if they grew up beloved by Southern Baptists, Good Old Boys, Racists as well as actual rather than theoretical African Americans.  (I think that may be why Bill Clinton could appear to be all things to all people on so many issues.)
Please let me thank Chris for doing his best to make this site such a pleasure.  I think I even have mouse-elbow because I have to read it every day.
by prince myshkin 2005-06-23 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism and the blogosphere
I was informed that I was "objectifying" women. Up until then I thought that Penthouse objectified women with naked pictures. I was informed in no uncertain terms that holding doors for women and calling them ladies was putting them on a pedestal, thereby "objectifying" them.

Chris is exactly right about some in the blogosphere; it seems like many bloggers on both the right and left really don't care if they have female readers, with all the T&A pictures (and ads!) and talk.

But MY GOD, I don't get anyone who thinks holding the door open for a woman is "objectifying."  Maybe it's because I'm Southern, but it seems like just plain old good manners and being well-bred, if you ask me.  Showing respect doesn't equal condescension.  Sheesh.  

But hey, I'm a conservative so I'm sure I'd be flamed for saying so.  By women, of course--especially those who think they're feminists by virtue of the simple fact that they're pro-choice.  :sigh:

by Beth 2005-06-27 08:19PM | 0 recs
Good list Chris
I must confess to failing to be very mature some times. But blogging, especially of late, seems to often degenerate into a sort of 20-something debate where people try to prove their points rather than expand their understanding.

The other issue is when people think they know you as a blogger based on a couple comments you've written. I imagine Chris this is worse for you, and even worse for people like Markos. But just because I disagree with a person's point it doesn't mean we don't have issues in common. It doesn't mean I'm intellectually/morally/socially superior or visa versa. Just because I make typos (and lots of them) that I'm an idiot for typing "there" when I know it's "their." I don't spell check my comments and rarely proof them adequately. It's just a time issue.

Finally, I'll second (or third) Chris that the the "BREAKING" single issue only focus or diaries without any real comment or thought on recommended lists bug the crap out of me. At least have an opinion. Everyone's got one. None of us are experts. Give an opinion on what you are copying. And for goodness sakes copy just the important stuff and post a damn link rather than copying the whole flipping article. Again, give me a reason or some direction on why it's so important that you took the time to post it. If not, I can read the NY Times website just as well.

by michael in chicago 2005-06-22 03:25PM | 0 recs
Thanks, Chris! I thought I was alone! kidding.
Very good points. I agree and could go further with some of my own. I was actually considering a post at my other diary at Dkos on much of the same things. I've been more wary lately of being a blindly partisan ideologue that becomes what I hate.

BTW, BBigJ (and others). You mentionned biaprtisan sites. What are some good bipartisan blogs and forums to check out? I like Balloon Juice sometimes. Seems very reasonable.

by CenterLeftBlooz 2005-06-22 04:13PM | 0 recs
MyDD rocks!
Certainly I'm guilty on many counts.  Luckily for me, I'm vulgar and juvenile in person, so at least I don;t have to feel like a hypocrite, just a jerk!

I would have to say that the biggest gripe I have about the blog is that I do sometimes feel like it's self-contained, and I cannot leave myself out of that critique.

Overall though, I love getting news from people who are closer to my point of view, a nice little forum to rant in (even if no one pays attention sometimes!).  I love engaging in conversations with people who share views similar enough with me that we can argue about the details, or who say something that I feel like responding to, albeit in a simplistic and juvenile way.

In a lot of ways, MyDD is a lot like my nerdy clique in high school, and the same complaints I had then apply now.

Overall though, MyDD is just awesome.  I just love that liebermanlives is considered right-wing here.  That just rocks.

I should probably say that a lot of the things that Chris lists are things that don't annoy me.  I love hearing discussions about the South, and "the issue" of the day.  I think vulgarity is hilareous, and obviously the only women who WOULD hang around me have thick skin and a forgiving nature, so I love that kind of woman.

As stupid as this probably sounds, my biggest complaint is that there aren't enough voices on here.  I alsways run out of threads to read, and I always am impatient for the next comment.  I love having a vibrant, slightly rougue-ish atmosphere to crawl through when I get a chance to look up from the books.

That being said, another post like this in a month will surely draw an ire-inspired rant from hell.  I just discovered this blessed 'sphere, so I haven;t gotten a chance to get annoyed yet!

by teknofyl 2005-06-22 04:42PM | 0 recs
yes I know...
i have two biggest complaints and several repetetive phrases... I was watching a novela w/ my wife (tried to be macho and act like it was just Monika Sanchez, but dammit... I got caught following the storyline!  BUSTED).
by teknofyl 2005-06-22 04:45PM | 0 recs
re: Things I Hate
"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. ... Still, sometimes I worry that we have reached a size where it is not possible to functionally maintain the cohesion of our community."

A major reason why I participate on MyDD but not on Kos, DU, or Atrios.  The quality of the information here is much higher, especially in the comments and diaries.  It seems like once a community gets too large, the quality drops below the point where posting or reading comments is worthwhile anymore.  DU all too often disintegrates into cliques, tag teaming, and juvenile Beavis and Butthead type behavior such as frequent use of "you suck"; Kos has long had a problem with in-groupy jargon and behavior that flies right over the heads of newcomers and leaves them feeling left out, not to mention chronic abuse of the troll-rating feature; Atrios is still infested with trolls.  The diaries on Kos and the posts on DU fly right off the screen before most people even have a chance to read them.

No, I don't have any solutions...

Except maybe this.  MyDD is just about the right size.  I'm not convinced that a few really large communities are as effective as a large number of small communities that quickly pass along action alerts, news, and activism opportunities from other like-minded blogs.  Nor do I see all that much value in blogs that only have one or two regular readers.  The biggest political effect to effort ratio seems to come from the medium size blogs (MyDD, Nathan Newman, others of the same size) which are large enough to have an active, participating community but not so large that the community has become disfunctional.

by ACSR 2005-06-22 05:45PM | 0 recs
Don't know much about other sites,
However, I do have to say that idea that there is something wrong about all this DLC and NDN dislike. The way I see it our goals and views are the longer term accomplishments we are going to have and their ideas are just the stepping stones on that path.  They are simply a bridge to a bright future.  
by strrbr 2005-06-22 06:38PM | 0 recs
sometimes i wish our profiles were a bit more forthcoming--like gender, age, race.

altho that would change the name of the game it would help clarify some things.

i find some of the bloggers very juvenile/immature.  but that comes with the territory--thats the price of anonimity.

by aiko 2005-06-22 07:32PM | 0 recs
love the speech, hate the noise....
chatter is good.  Exchange of all ideas, both good and bad is what will drive us.  Somebody can have a different opinion but because we don't buy into it we shouldn't dismiss it.  One thing i've learned is that there are so many bright people out here.  Until i found these types of places i felt alone.  Our goal should be to educate, learn and grow.   The complete antithesis of the top down crap from the republican party as of late.  The difference between progressives and everybody else is we entertain all, accept all and all are equal.  No high and mighty BS....

Chris, you rock but this rant is borderline snobby.

by Chavez100 2005-06-22 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: love the speech, hate the noise....
Yes, borderline snobby, cliqueish. It casts aspersions on many of us in such a similar fashion to Rove that it makes my skin crawl. If I hadn't read so many other things by Bowers, I'd think that was written by a right-wing operative posing as a lefty. This one post has started a discussion of exactly who or what Bowers is, or what his agenda is, background, etc. It certainly sticks out like a sore thumb.
by peterbernard 2005-06-25 08:13AM | 0 recs
politics are real.  People voting in Bush results in kids starving, people dying etc., this isn't the matrix.  The reality adds to the intensity.  Intensity comes out in language.  If we can't express ourselves freely amongst our own then where??????  Who are we trying to look good for.  We are the people who are REAL.  We have flaws but we strive for something greater....that is the difference between us and them.  

If somebody is out of line, put them in their place.  

by Chavez100 2005-06-22 08:05PM | 0 recs
Howard Dean Diaries
I like Howard Dean, but man, sometimes it seems like 5000 of them at a time (exaggeration, of course!) that mostly don't add anything useful.  In particular, at Kos, at one point, I was seemingly wading through all the Dean diaries to see if there was anything there.

I'm waiting for the day when there is a diary discussing what Howard Dean had for breakfast that morning.  Hopefully, THAT one will be a long wait!

by v2aggie2 2005-06-22 09:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Diaries
So... I SHOULDN'T do that expose I was planning on the DEAN DIET, or how the right foods can increase your level of demostrogen?

Ok... back to another ode to Michelle Malkin

by teknofyl 2005-06-23 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Diaries
Go for it.  I will probably be numb at that point or crazy.

How about the exclusive interview with the guy who drives Howard Dean's public transit bus around in DC?  What's it like to drive the chairman around?

An exclusive!

by v2aggie2 2005-06-23 09:25PM | 0 recs
Umm... I actually am nerdy enough that I kinda WOULD like to know what that's like, but that's just me.

I like superhero cartoons, sci-fi books, and kung-fu movies too, so... you know... that's prolly just me!!


by teknofyl 2005-06-25 12:56PM | 0 recs
The South...
probably isn't discussed as well as it should be.

That said, the South probably gets discussion because (a) it is by far our worst region and (b) our last 3 Democratic presidents are from the south

by v2aggie2 2005-06-22 09:47PM | 0 recs
Re: The South...
They are still bitter about the Civil War... hey, they started it.
by Paul Goodman 2005-06-23 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: The South...

Of course, we didn't complain when we had Democrats in the South.  It was convenient, I guess.

Being here in the South, the issue doesn't matter that much anymore.  They all became Republicans, so apparently they have "forgiven"

Now we can move forward as Democrats on our own terms.

by v2aggie2 2005-06-23 09:33PM | 0 recs
The Thing
The Thing I hate about the progressive blogosphere is that way too many people believe that blogging is actually doing something active and concrete to further the Democratic cause. I mean, info is useful and necessary but eternally responding to info with often masturbatory commentary really doesn't accomplish anything. Really.

If we started requiring that everyone who posts or creates a diary would have to perform one action in the real world in real time that day before being allowed to log in, I fear that the threads would be quite empty. This also goes for people who endlessly send out articles we've already seen via their listserves and believe, somehow, some way, that this will achieve anything positive on the planet. I swear there are whole herds of people around the nation who are only taking time from forwarding articles for performing the most perfunctory of life support activities.

Opinion is not activism. Forwarding SHOCKING articles without doing anything in response is not activism. Nothing beats shoeleather unless it's shoeleather COMBINED with blogging. Blogging alone is like shouting into the wind. The unfortunate truth is that most political work is extremely boring and tedious. Blogging is often fun, by comparison. Voila. The blog world as we know it. And if you don't agree with me, start another petition and start sending it around for signatures!

by barbwire 2005-06-22 10:36PM | 0 recs
Re: The Thing
I was with you up until the last sentence. I think petitions are a good form of activism. I have a friend who is a lobbist in Washington, and he has being counseling me on these issues. Your representative will notice when you bring in signatures w/ addresses that include his district saying that you are either pleased or not pleased with a bill or action that he or she has acted upon. It's also a great way to cause an action as my friend will tell you such as with gaining momentum for legislation. I should point out now- I wasn't 100 percent sure that you were being negative on petitions, but if you were, I can tell you that if they are done right, they are crucial.
by bruh21 2005-06-22 10:52PM | 0 recs
What I hate
I hate meta-diaries such as these that seem self important. I find that this site is most interesting when it is not focusing inward on itself. There is a certain immaturity in assuming you are more important than you are.  And, when I see meta-diaries, that's an implicit statement that you think you are important. I have these feelings about myself as well (that I take myself too seriously). Here, people take themselves a bit too seriously. Of course, you are better than D Kos, where even satire such as the OJ Simpson diary must be analyzed to death.

What's important? I love the activist/action alerts sections, and, in fact, I am trying get a version of it into existence over at Daily Kos. I love the Op Ed stuff from various red states. What I would love is if you also include news articles to let me  know if the front pages are reporting the same things as the New York Times. I mean I do this with some papers such as the Richmond Times Dispatch and find that they don't. But more is always better with differing perspectives. I love the sections on the polling data that's more than just the horserace. However, as a side note, I am not lacking as much as I used to the diaries concerning speculations about who will win what race. Not because of any conspiracy theory, but because I want Democrats to pursue each race as if we are 10 points down.

Oh, and I dislike, the black and white approach to every conversation. Either one is a mysogonist or one is not. Yet, how do we deal with sexuality and sex- and how exactly do I as a gay man fit into all this discussion or the fact that I know women of such varied opinions on these subjects, that it's hard for me to even know what's appropriate. I guess I should point out that in my mind we are all sex objects. Women are attracted to men because of their physicality as well as other things. So, none of this seems as simple as we try to make it out to be. Likewise, it's not clear to me of what value it is to have endless debate about wording, and not endless debate about how we are going to actually say increase the pay of women. And, no, I don't think it's wording. To paraphrase a statement, someone may call me a "fag" and not treat me like one, whereas others may not call me "fag" and treat me like one. I don't like being called the "f" word, but I also know I prefer the company of the person who is going to treat me right. To me, at least, this is all more complicated than you are allowing the world to be.

Those are just some of the things I have problems reconciling with wanting to read blogs.

by bruh21 2005-06-22 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: What I hate
YES on less inward-focusing pieces. I don't need entries on daily kos asking us if we like the colors, either. Just talk about what we need to talk about. Stop telling us how to talk or asking us for interior decorating advice.
by peterbernard 2005-06-25 08:09AM | 0 recs
two things
I must admit the amount of sexist attitude in the blogosphere surprised me.  I thought surely we would be better about this by now.  I am in the half of the population that is used to being dismissed, patronized, and objectified by the other half.  Thank you for noticing that it sometimes makes us uncomfortable.
As far as your wondering if anything gets out into the daily discourse, indeed it does.  What "my bloggers" have to say is part of every discussion on politics and media these days among friends and family.  blog on
by roseinthebushes 2005-06-22 11:00PM | 0 recs
Holy Canoli
I hate ignorance.

I hate cliqueishness.

I hate people who say that it doesn't matter that alot of voting machines are made by right-wing companies that use private software whose results can be altered in private by Republican party members and IDIOTICALLY will say that doesn't affect the outcome of elections. If we don't fix the election machines, we will continue to lose seats where we had enough votes to win them. How this is an excuse for inaction I can't see. This is an insistance that we NEED action so that the possibility of fair elections can be brought back. Your attitude would allow all the states to use these new machines. In fact, New York is talking about going to "high-tech" voting machines, and I hear very little questioning as to exactly what KIND of high tech machine.

Most of what you list as hating is what I like. I dislike you and would not regard you as a liberal if I met you. I suppose that's another thing you refer to directly above. You hate being thought of as not a liberal merely because you have bizarre conservative cliqueish viewpoints. Too bad.

And the reason many of us will regularly refer to Bush as a Nazi is because Nazis were fascists too, just like Bush. According to Mussolini's definition of fascism, it was the marriage of church and corporations with the state to rule the people. When we call fascists Nazis, we are being colorful, but we are being very accurate.

You, however, talk out of your asshole an awful lot.

by peterbernard 2005-06-23 03:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Holy Canoli
FWIW, you're talking about cannoli.  

As a partisan of good desserts, I have to point that out.

by tliazos 2005-06-23 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Holy Canoli
HA! You are so right.
by peterbernard 2005-06-25 08:06AM | 0 recs
Amen to that one.  
by Tiparillo 2005-06-23 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: cliqueishness
Careful or you'll become unpopular!
by peterbernard 2005-06-25 08:06AM | 0 recs
I completely agree with you about the sexism issue, and that just stems from ignorance. Remember John Lennon complaining that the lefty radicals would talk over Yoko till John told them not to; that Jerry Rubin's girlfriend worked for free as his stenographer, writing down everything the "great man" said. John said he realized the left was about freedom FOR MEN. This is nothing new.
by peterbernard 2005-06-23 03:43AM | 0 recs
I Hate How We Are Consumed with the President
If only we could turn some of that all consuming energy on Congress. But the mainstream blogosphere feeds the all consuming fire by constantly bouncing around the same scandal de jour over and over again. Wasted energy. What does it accomplish.  

It's a distraction.

You want to defeat Bush? Hammer your Congressman. It's as simple as that. They provide him with the power to act. They are vulnerable NOW. You want to change policy in Washington, you go through them.

Conservatives get that. When they wanted to attack Clinton they took over the House. Gotta respect that.

by ignatzmouse 2005-06-23 06:37AM | 0 recs
"the" progressive issue

In his book "Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives", George Lakoff of the Rockridge Institute addresses the problem of

 "regular pronouncements about "The" progressive issue. Whether it is reproductive rights, environmentalism, election reform, labor rights, or foreign policy..."

He uses cognitive science and linguisticstics to tie progressive values together metaphorically, ideologically and strategically.  Basically, he answers Carville's complaint that the Democrats have a "litany instead of a narrative."  Howard Dean and Kos are big fans.

Check out

by Mudshark 2005-06-23 06:55AM | 0 recs
My main concern with the blogosphere
Is that it rarely tries to self-evaluate
the objectivity of its own sources and

They need to self identify. If, for example,
you happen to be a gay man, paid by the
entertainment industry - you should do so.
People should know your bias.

The blogosphere often turns a blind eye
to particularly breaking news and topics
that don't contribute to a world view.

For example, one blog reported a genetic finding
in fruit flies on the sequence FRU being
modified to induce homosexuality.
The blog reported it as "homosexuality
is a choice - of a scientist"

We come here to escape the crushing
weight of editorialism. And yet, there
are those who would try to hide
the truth. Why? Its a blog for christ's sake.
Just post it all and let god sort it out.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-06-23 08:33AM | 0 recs
About sexist language
If we can call people "dicks", why can't we call people "pussys" (or is that "pussies")?  If you are objecting to cursing and low language, that's one thing, but I don't think that's sexist.
by Geotpf 2005-06-23 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: About sexist language
Calling someone a "dick" implies he's a jerk.  Calling someone a "pussy" implies weakness, femininity, or coward.  Why use the female genital as a synonym with weakness?
by Dick Tuck 2005-06-23 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: About sexist language
Why use the male genital to imply "jerkiness"?  "A-hole" is gender neutral and works just as well.
by Tiparillo 2005-06-23 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: About sexist language
I'm pretty sure it could be considered insulting to be called any part of the body, especially something normally covered up.

I don't even know what it would mean if someone called me a nipple or , but I can bet that it wouldn't be nice!  I called my brother an asscrack once... I wasn't being very specific, it just sounded gross. But it got the job done and started a fight.

by teknofyl 2005-06-25 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: About sexist language
Apparently you can't express yourself without vulgarity.  While vulgar isn't necessarily sexist, the vulgarization of genitalia, male or female is insulting......and sexist to both men and women.
by morris1030 2005-07-10 04:59PM | 0 recs
living in the woods
i just want to say that thanks to the blogosphere, you can live in the woods without having to quit politics!
by scottmaui 2005-06-23 11:25PM | 0 recs
You make some really good points here
The democratic party sorely needs some unity and needs to leard to stay on message. Fighting over who's right, who's better, etc is defeatist.

The republicans now how to stay on message and the democrats know how to bash each other. At least on the blogs and forums.

A lively debate about the issues is one thing, but the name calling and bashing of various prominent democratic leaders is wrongminded.

Here we are in the midst of the great transformation of politics and people act like children instead of having intelligent discussions and working towards change.

What's the point of bashing our democratic leaders when all it does is help the republicans.

That's my gripe about the liberal blogosphere. On LightUpTheDarkness we try very hard to stay out of the fray and discuss the issues and the news offering commonsense opinions.

Thanks for hosting this discussion.

by Pamela 2005-06-23 11:51PM | 0 recs
(my first use of the term)
by NCDem 2005-06-27 01:18PM | 0 recs
Common Ground
Well, Chris, we probably don't agree on most political issues, but I think the EXACT same thing about some of "my side" of the blogosphere.  I wrote a similar post a week or so ago about why I think the blogosphere sucks.  
Disclosure:  I've been really pissy lately, so anyone who strolls over to my site might hate my guts from my last few posts, but it's because of the very things Chris is talking about.

That said, the point of my post was that the 'sphere is over-represented by extremists, including on the right.  I'm willing to expose myself here as a true conservative, because I think Chris is a rare example of someone who might listen to an ideological opposite when treated with respect as a fellow human being--which is more than I can say for most people with "keyboard courage."

All this is to say is that I hear ya.  The level of discourse has gotten so outrageous--not just on the "internets" but in public life as well--that real progress is seriously stalled.  I will never, ever troll a blog or write hate mail, but I sure am angry about what I see all around.  I got disgusted during the Terri Schiavo "debate" (BRAWL) because of the hostility on both sides of the issue, and I was vilified because I found more in common with liberals on the Schindler family's side than I did with the regular pro-life activists.  I got more hate mail and nasty comments when I said the judicial filibuster compromise was not the end of the world, and it was ALL from people on the right--people I thought were my ideological allies.

I've tried to work from a common ground perspective with liberals on things, and you know what, life is FAR more pleasant and PRODUCTIVE when doing so.  Seriously--why would anyone think (for example) that I would listen for two seconds to anyone who throws out the Bushitler/fascist BS  meme?  Why would you care what I have to say if I went around saying all liberals hate America?  You shouldn't, because it would make me look like an ignorant asshole.

Here's a tip to you all on the left, for what it's worth:  Tone down the rhetoric, find common ground, and you might find your opinions are valued.  I know you think the Freepers are a joke (and yes, some are), but it does work both ways.  I don't expect people to change their core beliefs, and I shouldn't be expected to change mine, but there are some things in which there is room for honest, productive debate.

Sorry for the long-winded comment--I probably should have just blogged it instead.  ;-)

by Beth 2005-06-27 08:56PM | 0 recs
A really great post
I've been thinking all of the things you write about.   No one has said it better. More civility in listening to all sides would raise the level of the blogosphere, and certainly improve our interactions with each other.    
by morris1030 2005-07-10 04:55PM | 0 recs


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