Sunday, November 05, 2006


I must say that when I was a regular reader and participant at Daily Kos during the 2004 election, I was somewhat amazed by the SYFPH (Shut Your Fucking Pie Hole) phenomenon. Once John Kerry was the presidential candidate, discussion of any of his faults was severely criticized by those who believed that any complaints about him should be withheld until after the election.

That atmosphere, of course, brought with it some SYFPH wars between those who wanted to practice their right to free speech - no matter how close to election time it was - and those who preferred the happy cheerleader routine. So, I just watched from the sidelines and SMFPH about the whole scenario even though I believed anyone should be able to write about whatever they wanted to - positive or negative. I'm not one of those who reacts well to authoritarian-type discipline. Quel surprise.

Anyway, the past fews days have seen quite the revolt on Daily Kos - against kos - whose has been the victim of more SYFPH demands than I've seen there in a while. (I'm not a regular reader there anymore, so I may have missed one or more SYFPH wars in the recent past). I won't post links to all of the relevant diaries but this one and the attached comments sums up what happened. Kos gave up on Ford. Kossacks got mad and told him to SHFPH. Some believed that maybe kos was using reverse psychology when he said that the Ford race was all but lost (that justification is known as 'denial') and many others accused kos of abandoning what he'd written about in his book Crashing The Gates.

On and on it went. And on and on it still goes. Oh, the anxiety.

Maybe it's just me - and it's true that Daily Kos isn't my site - but it would seem that this whole SYFPH belief is causing a wee bit of a problem. While I'm of the opinion that kos still doesn't seem to understand the political clout he has and thus perhaps shouldn't have voiced his opinion against Ford so close to election time, I also believe in being honest. It's a fine line but, in this case, I'm not exactly with the SYFPH crowd who throughout the year write kos off as 'just the guy who owns the site, so he doesn't really matter because it's the rest of us who count' and then have a complete blowout when he writes something that pisses them off because they believe he may have caused the death knell in Ford's run. I'm probably more on the side who are fighting hard to get Ford elected (regardless of what I think about Ford) who feel like they've been slapped in the face by kos's remarks. That's personal and I don't blame them for feeling let down.

Since Daily Kos came into existence, the site members and kos still haven't been able to measure its political impact. Sometimes, members give the site far more credit than it deserves as far as its influence goes. Other times, they minimize it. Sometimes, kos is just that guy who owns the site. Other times, when he appears in the MSM, he is their dear hero of a leader. It's an odd dynamic.

And then there are the fights over topics - thou shalt not write about election fraud lest thou be labeled a 'fraudster'. Yet, the most crucial concern of people who live in a democracy ought to be to ensure that every vote is counted. And anything that comes near to the definition of conspiracy is definitely out, even though many such conspiracies actually do have some truth to them. Wasn't the Jeff Gannon affair a conspiracy type of topic to begin with? A gay hooker in the WH press corps? Who would have believed that?

In the end though, Daily Kos is what it is and if people want to participate there, they know they do so under limited parameters. It's unfortunate, however, that so much time is wasted with things like SYFPH wars and other meta issues but that is the direct result of the attempts to strictly control the environment. There will always be rebels but we don't last very long in places where our minority opinions are attacked by a loud majority who prefer strict discipline to freedom of expression.

P.S.: Anyone who disagrees with what I've written in this post can just SYFPH. :)

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