Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When You're Up To Your Ass In Alligators...

The other thread has become bulky, and the comments have inspired me, but I will be brief.

Anyone who ventures onto the internets, whether as a site administrator or participant, is bound to encounter points of view and opinions that are different from their own.

For this reason some sites that wish, whether for reasons personal, financial, or both, to present a particular tone or perspective of message content, do not allow public participation or review messages before publishing them, etc.

While we here discuss a small number of websites, little that we discuss, in its essence, is unique to those few.

BooMan, for instance, wishes his site to be open to the public, and he does not wish to enforce message content. However, he also may have other aspirations for his site that are in conflict with this.

Like any site owner, this is something that he will have to resolve for himself.

Some posters may wish to participate on the internets, yet are extremely displeased and alarmed to find that other posters have views which are very different to theirs.

Especially in the middle of World War III, it is to be expected that one will find champions of the aggressors, and champions of the Resistance, and elements of both who also oppose the war entirely.

The American sites are crawling with virals, mostly devotees of one politician or other, or a political organization. They will encounter people who are devotees of an opposing politician, and people who prefer a different political organization. Most do not bother with unbridgeable gaps, but some of the less experienced do.

Non-Americans are unlikely to be interested in US domestic politics, but have strong views on US policies, especially US activities in other countries.

While America speaks with one voice, there are a small (and to me, very precious) number of peace-loving, pro-Reform individuals whose views will be very displeasing to most of their countrymen.

And if a site owner chooses to open his or her site to the general public, he or she can expect to get some of those pro-Reform Americans, and some foreigners, and their views will be very different from those of his more traditional American participants.

He will also get some people for whom the wide variety of views might be too disturbing. The internets are not for everybody.

He may find himself up to his ass in alligators, and forget that he set out to drain the swamp.


NLinStPaul said...

I think one of the big distinctions on the progressive community blogs is between those who think that the change we need to see will come from electoral politics and those that think it will need to come from a change in people (or from the ground up). Of course there are also those that have all but given up on any real meaningful change in time to avert The Situation.

I know that when I began blogging mostly at dkos and then moved to BMT, I was in the former category, but had been almost completely disillusioned by the Dems "take-down" of Howard Dean. Over time I've moved into the second category. Now I see potential stress at a place like BMT on that difference, probably escalating as the election grows nearer.

In this vein, I find it interesting that the top recommended diaries at BMT today are scribe's "Ladies of the Night," soj's "The Kindness of Strangers," and a really important one by susanw, "What Whores Know About Sex." Not exactly a bastion of electoral politics or breaking news. But some of the more important work I can think of for today.

And more directly to the point, Steve D just wrote a great front page story titled "A Democratic Win in November Does Not Spell VICTORY."

Interesting stuff!!

catnip said...

I'm interested in US domestic policies, but when it's 'terra terra terra JonBenet' all the time on the teevee, I get nauseated. I am not at all interested in most district races, stats and polls however unless they're featured on the Colbert Report's "Better Know a District". I find that incredibly boring - although some races have their fun things to mock.

And I am absolutely sick to death of the Lieberman/Lamont race. But there's no getting around that being blasted on the US political blogs day after day - the end of which will probably be a victory for Republican-backed Lieberman anyway. But it makes for good theater, I suppose - pretending that Lamont is actually "antiwar" when he is actually just "anti-the Iraq war".

I'm reading a novel by the late Canadian author, Timothy Findley, "The Wars", about WW1. I just read a bit today about how, when a group of pacifists met informally with a friend of theirs in the British military, he would always wear his uniform - to show his authority, no doubt - and he would often interrupt their serious discussions by shouting across the room for his mother to bring more tea and treats (in order to distract and interrupt the pacifists). That was a timely read, I thought. ;) (And it's a good book, but certainly not as interesting or powerful as another of Findley's, Pilgrim.) But, I digress...

I wrote today on my blog about the fallout of the ME war in Canadian politics. Some major divisions have resulted on our internets as well over that issue. Oh well, that's how you learn to sort out where people stand and who closely matches your own philosophy. It's been an eye-opener and I've taken my licks as a Canadian "pro-Reformer" as well (although the Reform party was actually a right-of-right Canadian conservative party that has now faded away, thankfully - although many of its notorious wankers are still around), so I'd have to relabel that as "pro-small-l-liberal-reformer".

catnip said...

I just started watching a movie on the teevee called Strip Search with Glenn Close. She was interrogating an Arab male and asked him what he knew about disloyalty on the part of some guy in a picture she showed him whom he didn't know.

Close: What do you know about his disloyalty?

Suspect: What do you mean by disloyalty?

Close: Criticizing our leaders [and our country].

Suspect: That's dissent.

Close: I'm sure, in your mind, that's true.

Interesting tidbit, I thought, since the subject of "loyalty" has been brought up here by Booman.

Back to my movie...

Janet said...

Maybe the problem some have with me is that I'm a "liberal"... One Pissed Off Libera (a poster's name) did a hell of a job about the history and the misinformation about hippies. While reading their diary.. I realized... Oh my... I'm a "hippy" more so than a mainstream (even though the damn stream as veered to the extreme RIGHT) democrat.

I think many now attack Liberals as they did Hippies.

Soon we're off to the Wednesday Peace Vigil. Last time we had a cop van drive by and the dude flashed us a peace sign and was smiling. It was really great... there was negative shit, too.

A friend who emailed me today mentioned something that I've thought about today: Many of you go to these freeper sites. I've gone to it twice in the many years I've been online. See, I don't need to read those freeper type things... I freaking see and hear it out in the streets every damn week if not daily. It's just hard seeing the same exact name-calling and defense tactics from one time allies.

But today while at the grocery store, a lady pulled up along side me and my husband in the parking lot and she had this HUGE smile on and waved at me like a little kid would... I wondered why this was... as we pulled out I noticed her bumperstickers... "Enough is Enough: Vote for Peace" ...

I have "CodePink: Women For Peace" and "Veterans For Peace"

It sure beat the hell out of coming to our car with a man pointing and hollering, "is that your car? what the fuck is wrong with you? don't you fucking support the troops? Don't you love america, you fucking BITCH?"

I don't need to go to the freeper sites.

Janet said...

That doesn't happen so much since I put the VFP sticker on the car. I guess these big, brave bastards who don't mind having a meltdown in a parking lot are too chickenshit to state their bullshit in case I was a veteran who could kick their ass or that their might be a veteran nearby who would.


Why do Bush Supporters hate pink so much? :D

DuctapeFatwa said...

I do think there is an interesting notion shared by many Americans that the world should be loyal to the US, its policies, its business interests, as well as the speaker's opinion regarding US domestic politics.

While it does cause one to smile, it is a very serious matter, not only to BooMan, but to millions of his countrymen.

Bush himeself is upset because the Iraqis are not "grateful."

On the subject of US domestic politics, I certainly respect the opinions of those who believe that the Democrats and the Republicans are very different and their preferred politician will be able to do a more efficient job of running the crusades.

However, it is not realistic to suppose that pro-Reform Americans, much less "foreigners" are going to share this view.

And yes, as NLinSTPaul references, there are those among us, and I am one, who consider it all a moot argument anyway, in light of The Situation.

But there is no harm in engaging in moot arguments and coulda woulda shouldas, even beating the occasional dead horse, while we wait and dress Paris Hilton.

Janet said...

OH... and some may hate me because I support Lt. Watada and war resistors and those who have been raped by the military...

But... Cindy Sheehan said she loved me and thanked me. Some days that and the look in my daughters eyes gets me through so I can put on my damn pink shirt, get my signs into the trunk and go.

I may not be military... but one thing I can do that many who say they support the troops just can't do... I can sit next to them and not have to say a damn thing to justify myself or my ways. That's what I loved so much about the VFP natinal convention this past week in seattle. I thought I might have to explain or justify due to the recent flaming and attacks... that some might not be able to connect the dots between "bring them home" and "support the resisters"... there was no need. We all knew why we were there. And we all knew we were there for each other and for the veterans. We were there to stop the wars.

Janet said...


I'm rambling. Many things going through my mind.

Autism, school registration, upcoming codepink needs/events that I have to choose to be involved with grand scale or in support mode, seeking employment, ... my family is about to go out to a peace vigil. Those are always "deep thinking" events (before and after)

I just wish and hope that one day instead of warships we could load up food, water, clothes and send those out instead. It's just that there's no profit to peace... but it is so damn priceless. ....

Again, I'm sorry... consider this rambling part of my ranting. My anger is not at a site, or anyone... it's at the death, destruction and rape of all that is decent in this life.

Janet said...

Ductape, as to the concept of "foreigners"...

There is a strange phenom in America that happens elsewhere, too... if you are in Oregon but you have California plates.. you're a foreigner.

If you are living in New Hampshire with your family but you have a Californian accent... you're a foreigner.

If you take a vacation to Florida and do mass conumption of Disney shit... you're a foreigner.

Anywhere you go in America... "you're not from around here are ya?"

If we all left this planet and went to antoher galaxy... we'd all be foreigners. I recall reading or some instructions about "being on a big blue lifeboat"... we're all in this together. It's just that we need to embrace the addage, "diversity without division". Something hockey teams can do. :D

Nanette said...

I think one of the big distinctions on the progressive community blogs is between those who think that the change we need to see will come from electoral politics and those that think it will need to come from a change in people (or from the ground up).

Nancy, I think that is an important point. I mostly fall into the latter group, although I too at one time was in the former one. Well, briefly and with only one toe in the water. Although, actually, I do still think it is important, but not with so much emphasis at the national level. School board elections and city councils should, ideally, get just as much attention and so many things spread out from there.

I also am discouraged at so many Republicans masquerading as "progressives" and denouncing "the left" and all that as well, sigh.

I think the stresses and divisions will grow greater the closer we get to election time. At first I thought things would hold together until after the election, but it definitely seems not.

In this vein, I find it interesting that the top recommended diaries at BMT today are scribe's "Ladies of the Night," soj's "The Kindness of Strangers," and a really important one by susanw, "What Whores Know About Sex." Not exactly a bastion of electoral politics or breaking news. But some of the more important work I can think of for today.

Yeah, I mentioned somewhere that I found BooMan's policy of working around his readership as opposed to working with them to be an odd one, but no doubt he has some master plan.

From a community building aspect, it's interesting to see the very different methods used by BooMan and MSOC, with Boo bringing in mainly "outsiders" to fill up the front page, talented tho they are, thus further ensuring a disconnect between the front page stuff and the diaries (and sometimes you wind up with a thereisnospoon situation), and Maryscott filling the ranks with only "insiders", with the result of the entire site being more fully involved and having a sort of family type atmosphere (in theory, anyway), but then having issues with the "insiders, old timers vs newcomers and safe spaces" and all that. I don't hang around eurotrib enough to know how they do things, but there is always interesting stuff there and, the times I've visited, very little meta at all, so I think I'll start looking in more often to see how they are doing things.

I don't know which is the most effective, time will tell, and even then I guess it depends on the goals of the sites.

Anyway, I've forgotten what this thread is really about, it's a good thing we're not anti digression! ;)

Janet said...

Anti-digression... oh horrors!! :D

Nanette said...

Well, regarding being a "foreigner" even while travelling within the US, I have to admit that when I got to the South I could have used an interpreter ;)

Janet said...

My husband is from Bahhhstun (boston)... he calls back home for five minutes and I can't understand what the fahck he's saying for a good two weeks. :)

I'm, like, so dude... like, what the hell are ya sayin? and he's all, "what the fahhk just came ahhta yahh mahf?"

catnip said...

Heck, I'm a "foreigner" in my own family!

That movie was infuriating. Well worth seeing.

catnip said...

There's no limit on speech here, Janet. Yap all you like. ;)

DuctapeFatwa said...

Digression and rambling are encouraged.

If you find these things difficult, watch and learn. You are in the company of giants.

catnip said...

You are in the company of giants.

Is that what we are today? I thought we were "terrorists". You really should send us all a memo when the monikers change. ;)

scribe said...

To my view, expecting to change things through electoral politics, is a lot like expecting a treatment center run by active alcoholics to turn out clients who will be able to stay sober.

Even if principled candidates can manage to not have sell to thier integrity to corporations and special interests to get elected, sooner or later that have to sell out anyway in order to stay in office.

Meanwhile, the "people" , most of whom remain semi comotose, are fed whatever pre- packaged BS those who control the media want us to swallow in quick gulps while racing around trying to "get more stuff" than their neighbors have, or, in the case of the poor, trying just to keep body and soul togeter, somehow.

I think the recent surge of responses to the latest non political diaries at Boo, (including yours, Nancy, on What is Sucess) is important to note. It says what people are so hungry for now, some evidence of goodness, some reason to hope, and not feel so powerless or alone.

So I think change is going to come from there, quicker than through electora politics. From inaide every single person who begins to seriously question "how it is now", and how much of what they'v been sold is sheer billshit propaganda.

It is a long hard slog to come out from under the anesthesia delivered via IV drip over lifetimes. But more people are beginning to realize they've had a needle in their arm all along, too. It just never hits the cable news.

Duct, you often say Americans speak with one voice only. You may of course be totally correct. But I am not so sure. I know the one that speaks loud enough to gain hte airwaves speaks that that one single voice, at different pitches, but still in harmoney.

Yet I am hearing another, softer sound, coming feom millions of ordinary smerican throats. It sounds like a low, menacing moan, almost a soft growl, as more and slowly come back to consciousness, to discover all thier perceived "safeties" to be under threat now, because they were only imbedded illusions in the first damned place.

It's going to take awhile, maybe a long while, but I know what I am hearing is real.

My 24 year old grandaughter is a HELL of a lot more awake than I was at 24. A HELL of a lot more awake. So are many of our young, who know what they know, and see no reason to shout it out in a public space so full of useless bullshit static that is meaningless. She saves her energy to get that law degree she intends to put to good use in the environmenal law arena. The young of today have their own form of protest and activism,just as we did, I am coming to understand. Not enough, never enough of them, but I so believe the numbers are growing.

NLinStPaul said...

Scribe, you are in the company of some great women in what you say. It was Nanette who gave me the gift of this Arundhati Roy quote a couple of months ago"

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

supersoling said...

That reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw that said, God is watching, and she's pissed! :o)

I think the world would definetily be a safer place if women were in charge of making the rules. Sort of like the Iroquois Confederacy that's based on a matriarcal system of governance.

scribe said...

Yep, Nancy, it, he, she, s/he, IS breathing, and whispering and gathering strength. Invisibly, in shaded places, where it can't be noticed by those who would try silence it.

"They" are watching for visible/audible signs of the forming rebellion, with no end of missles poised to destoy such.

Once again, in their arrogant superiority, they underestimate the power of the ordinary people, and especially the power of elders and of women: they were so smugly sure they had kept us and all the other "others" contained.

While we quietly "feed" and empower the young within our reach with a rich mix of very powerful truth serum.

There are none of my descendents who will ever be as easily "programmible" as I once was. Not a single one. Nor will anyone who chooses to associate with me for any length of time be allowed keep any blindfold on for long, because I need to see their eyes and I need them to see mine.

DuctapeFatwa said...

Miss Scribe, I hope that you and Miss Arundhati are right, and that that breathing, that gentle moaning, will evolve into words whispered, then spoken, then shouted, find its way to the internets, to the airwaves, to the streets. If that process is rapid enough, it could save the world.

There is no question in my mind that miracles happen, and that hope helps them happen.

You might not guess it, but I myself hope for such a miracle, entrenched as I am in my reality-based universe. :)

Regarding the "non-political diaries" on the BooMan site, I think he should encourage that. Democratic Underground, whose owner has similar aspirations for his site, has done quite well with his non-political forums, and as events unfold (there's that phrase again!) I believe that we will see more people who seek refuge from the TLOT TLOT! of that galloping horseman. I am not immune from this. One of the reasons that I enjoy the style channel so much is simple escape.

Watching the hijinks of people preparing for their 60 thousand dollar weddings, seeking the Look, and being subjected to makeovers is, in its way, as calming as it is infuriating, and of course it is very educational.

If we do not get our miracle, to go down laughing is, in its way, to go down fighting.

NLinStPaul said...

DTF, you might be interested to know that I shared some of your more amusing links on this page with a young woman this morning who was needing a reason for a laugh. They brightened not only my world, but hers as well. Then she asked me - where did you find these? And you don't even want to know the story I told her about that. She was quite amused to hear about an ancient one on the internets who calls himself "DuctapeFatwa."

catnip said...

Craft Corner Deathmatch. 'Nuff said.

catnip said...

Dress Brad Pitt??

There is a God, after all.

Arcturus said...

DtF: I'm soo disappointed; here I was looking fwd to a fetsish fahsion disquisition on thigh-high alligator boots :(

Catnip: Yes, those remarks of Tassini's you cited in the last thread. Of course he can say them knowing he hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of unseating the Ice Queen, but stunning nonetheless to hear from a would-be-elected-Dem a negative assesment of The Wall.

Janet: Last time we were up there, upon returning drenched to our car after a day hike in the Columbia gorge, tehre was a printed card (business card sized) that read:

Thanks for visiting Oregon; now get the hell back to California!

Actually, I can understand the sentiment.

(I somehow missed Brad Pitt in a dress . . .

Janet said...

Arcturus, I still have Cali plates on my car... I get the crap, too. however... I'm from the Northwest originally, it was the military that brought us to California and we got the hell out :)

So many Oregons are NOT from Oregon originally. And it's so sweeeet to remind them of that when they get all uppity about Californians. :)

Rest assured, you would be more than welcome to stay with us during your next trip to the Gorge. It's only 20 mins away... we have wind surfing boards, too.

Arcturus said...

"Even within the framework of mutual tolerance, I believe that there are non-negotiable rules understood by all groups," she said.

"Those who seek to cause conflicts and tension in our communities must be marginalised by the responsible majority.

"That means everyone needs to be involved."

Nope, those words don't refer to BT (& you are hereby commanded to NOT think of how they possibly might) -- they're from British Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, questioning the values of multi-culturalism. Which, in a roundaboutway relates back to the gated-community discussions. It's a questioning I fear will become more prevalent in the States in the coming years. One of it's more insidious aspects is how remarks like hers get bandied about (esp. in a climate of fear) as 'common sense,' that manipulative 'value' Booman himself was calling for the other day in the threads here:

"In our attempt to avoid imposing a single British identity and culture, have we ended up with some communities living in isolation from each other with no common bonds between them?"

communities living in isolation from each other with no common bonds is NOT the result of multi-culturalism; in fact it's in opposition to those values. The answer to isolated mono-cultural communities will NOT be found in some nationalistic single identity. That she can ask whether multiculturalism (I guess we can call it an "-ism"?) "is encouraging separateness" should indicate the depth of her misunderstanding about what a truly pluralisitic society might become or look like, as well as the dangers these linguistic frames herald.

(possibly to be x-posted elsewhere)

DuctapeFatwa said...

Arcturus if you will send your email to I will send you an invitation so that you can make that a whole rant and post it here.

I think it touches on something that has long annoyed me, namely the apparent inability, or willful refusal of some westerners to understand that multiculturalism IS the new "national identity."

What is more essentially American, or essentially British, than a yebeg wot korma burrito with kim chi and Szechuan dumplings al pastor?

My idyllic little hood is the hood of the future, if we get that miracle and there is a future.

The gentle twin zephyrs of Mendel and Math...

The survivors will be those who (literally) embrace diversity. :)

catnip, I have been thinking of doing a rant on the evils of crafting. As you know, some of my descendants are themselves elders, and someone, whether out of misguided ignorance or willful malice aforethought I do not know, recently presented one of them with a Bedazzler. Since then, we have all been under unrelenting siege of Unsightly Item attacks, and our very rainment threatened even as it adorns our person!

And this from a lady who comes from an ancient and distinguished lineage that includes a host of talented textile and needle artists! I do not know what has come over her, I have asked that her children take her to a physician for a thorough checkup.

catnip said...

Bedazzlers are a tool of the devil! Find an exorcist.

canberra boy said...

Sister and Brother 'contributors', I have a delicate question for you.

Just now I checked in for my next secret blog-wrecking assignment from your headquarters. I found, however, that once the site had loaded in my browser, the status bar at the bottom of the screen froze with the message 'Downloading'.

Am I to assume that they have found your price, and that this has become a blog business. If so, this must be some sort of record for selling out, defecting, or whatever you wish to call it, for the site has existed a matter of days.

Perhaps, on the other hand, there is no selling out: I would understand if you had decided to allow crispads access to the site at no charge, provided that they were only to assist in the provision of blog-wrecker requisites. Snark pills, irony tablets, random off-topic phrase generators, subscriptions to the Journal of Inconsequential Studies, Aramaic-Syriac dictionaries: these and many other essential aids to the serial blog wrecker would surely not fall into the despised category of 'commerce' were they to be offered via this site to assist with the true cause.

There, I have reassured myself. All is well, I am sure.

Nanette said...

I don't even see any soggy ads, let alone crisp ones!

Hmmm... a mystery.

I would understand if you had decided to allow crispads access to the site at no charge, provided that they were only to assist in the provision of blog-wrecker requisites. Snark pills, irony tablets, random off-topic phrase generators, subscriptions to the Journal of Inconsequential Studies, Aramaic-Syriac dictionaries:

I vote this to become official ad policy... any company that could provide all that would be a worthy one to have an ad from ;)

DuctapeFatwa said...

It you see ads is because blogger is putting them without anybody's consent. I know of a workaround for this but we will have to have a different look I think. But I will tell them that we want it to be pink.

And if you will send your email to I will send you a code ring.

DuctapeFatwa said...

What I meant to say is that if Blogger is putting ads in then it would be very wrong to do anything about it.

I can't see them but that is because my computer has been made into a terrorist fortress.

James said...

I haven't seen any ads. Dunno what the deal is.

canberra boy said...

I didn't actually receive or see any ads: it was just the status bar telling me that I was "Downloading from" which made me wonder ;-)

And ductape, I would relish the decoder ring. I seem to remember they were advertised on the back of donald duck comics when I was a small boy: this was my earliest exposure to US imperialism (I had to sing 'God Save the Queen' at school somewhat earlier, but that was British imperialism).

You could send it to canberraboy1 AT gmail etc

catnip said...

Just don't order the x-ray glasses.

I see stuff being loaded from Blogger, YouTube and I see dead people - no, that's a line from a movie -skip that...

Frankly, my Firefox can't get past showing me 'Read' so I have no idea if crispy or extra-crispy ads are showing up. If someone here signed onto that program, I suggest we burn them at the stake or, better yet, with a steak so I can at least have something enjoyable to eat at the same time.