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Monday, 10 August 2009

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SEK

For the record, this is a non-news-cycle related bit of media history, not a political post.

Ahistoricality

we face an opposition who hands us their rifles and implores us not to fire them ... we must remember that we are not dealing with savvy political operatives here, nor even with the toadies who absorbed tactical hypocrisy on their bouncing knees.

Actually, I'm reminded of the Qizilbash and Boxers, Warriors of Faith who believed that their righteousness made them invulnerable to bullets. And they did a lot of damage before their enemies rounded up enough bullets.

Karl Steel

For the record, this is a non-news-cycle related bit of media history, not a political post.

That should work just fine.

SEK

Warriors of Faith who believed that their righteousness made them invulnerable to bullets.

And they say we're the ones who don't from guns.

That should work just fine.

It does feel better. I started this Saturday morning, and revised it continuously until I posted it. I won't have to do silent-revisions-for-style in a week (not that I ever do them, except when I do, which is frequently), because I'm happy enough with the prose to let it stand un-re-re-re-read. But also, and good God damn, you can tell I'm reading Inherent Vice, no? (Which probably means I over-wrote this and will need to calm it down in the days to come.) But for now, I think the improved quality of the prose and the increased pleasure I had in crafting it is worth the risk of being three beats behind the curve. (And I'm not the only one.)

(Of course, I'll hate all of this come soon-enough-already, but I'll wait until that angst grabs me before worrying about its inevitable arrival. Because, really, what's the point in doing that?)

Ahistoricality

And they say we're the ones who don't from guns.

???

SEK

Er, "who don't know from guns." Have I mentioned that I sometimes words out, especially when I'm tired and?

JPool

I'll post this here because the shouting at EotAW has already commenced.

So... the difference is that now you allow yourself to be a couple of days behind the cable and internet brouhaha (which I hadn't previously heard of) to overwrite this? I know you've said before that you absorb the style of others to consume their souls learn from their strengths, but, man, editting!

It's pretty simple and actually pretty tactical in a ham-handed way. The SEIU (who, from a labor point of view, are not without faults as well as strengths) are the one union agressively pushing a pro-labor public policy agenda. Other unions sponsor candidates and make quiet endorsements in their internal newsletters, but the SEIU actually gets out there in the public square and mixes it up. From a coservative point of view, this cannot stand. Not only is it creeping socialism, it's creeping successful progressive politics, which is even worse, because possibly real. "So if ACORN are vote frauders (rather than just incredibly sloppy), SEIU must be ... Teamsters from the 1970s! Great, we've already been using that image to try and convince people that they should want to keep the additional six months of employer intimidation before they can get union representation."

Oh, and the historians over at that other place have been holding back but: 1) I'm guessing if you ask any Americanist about this, they will say, as if by reflex, "Well, things may look nasty now, but in the 19th century, American politicians were literally bashing eachother's skulls in with maces and sicking packs of vicious badgers on their opponents' supporters." 2) There were at least a dozen American soldier greeted as liberators -- in semi-autonomous Kurdistan -- for the first couple of years. 3) Quotations marks can indeed be used for humorous sock-puppetry, but blockquotes should, nay must, be reserved for actual quotey quotes.

Adam Roberts

re: Pynchoniana: you saw this promo, right? Voiced by the man himself, according to rumour.

Ahistoricality

"A fanatic is one who sticks to his guns whether they're loaded or not." -- Franklin P. Jones

SEK

So... the difference is that now you allow yourself to be a couple of days behind the cable and internet brouhaha (which I hadn't previously heard of) to overwrite this?

I relieve myself of the pressure of having to address issues by forcing myself to address them more scholarly-like. Over the past year, I'd gotten way too close to issues best addressed as elements in the bigger picture; so, in this case, instead of mocking conservatives openly, I stepped back, thought about how their movement reached this moment, and this is the result.

I'm guessing if you ask any Americanist about this, they will say, as if by reflex, "Well, things may look nasty now, but in the 19th century, American politicians were literally bashing eachother's skulls in with maces and sicking packs of vicious badgers on their opponents' supporters."

Hey! I'm an Americanist too, damn it! I understand your point, by the way, but the scale of the nastiness and the means by which it's communicated was more of my point here.

Quotations marks can indeed be used for humorous sock-puppetry, but blockquotes should, nay must, be reserved for actual quotey quotes.

It's funny you should mention that, because I've been having a lot of issues---personal-type issues---with formatting of late. I waffled for hours before deciding how to do up this thing, and looking at it now, think I punted it.

Adam, not only have I seen that, it's been confirmed. I'm glad I didn't respond before I read that, because I was going to say that there's no way that's Pynchon, because the guy I know who's met him says he has a think New York accent. Apparently, the man can also act.

JPool

Hey! I'm an Americanist too, damn it!
I meant an Americanist historian. This you will only be once you get invited on news shows and when they ask you "Has the quality of mainstream political discourse in America ever been this low?" (actually they'd ask if it had ever been this "contentious" or "filled with personal attacks" or some such), you don't say "Well it is at an especially low poit at the moment. Let me analyze for you the misuses of rhetoric which produces such a lowly condition", but instead respond with a laugh, "Well, actually, there were, in the past, entire armies of badger-wielding ruffians let loose upon the political discourse" and then blather on for a while about Grover Cleveland.

Ahistoricality

Actually, if you can reposition yourself as a "media analyst," a title for which there are no known qualifications, you could do very well for yourself in the cable news economy. Eventually, they're going to want someone who can both laugh at this crap and explain it.

AMac
My standard for quality is not based on civility so much as [] that of forensic debate.
That's an elegant and artfully composed sentence.

Are you saying that civility is a virtue in this setting, although not as important as the excellence demonstrated by skilled debaters?

Or are you saying that civility isn't important, whereas other standards of forensic debate are?

Is ambiguous speech to be preferred, at times? In the setting of a formal debate, or a blog post?

Many of the anti-Obama-healthcare-proposals antics that you bemoan are offenses against a code of decency to be applied in everyday life, as much as they are blunders in a forensic sense.

Naadir Jeewa

This is brilliant New Stupidese, from Investor's Business Daily:

"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

El Reg comments:
"The paper has since been notified that Hawking is both British and still among the living... "I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS," Hawking told The Guardian. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

The best you can say about Investor's Business Daily is that unlike US radio talk host Rush Limbaugh, it has not compared Obama's health care logo to a swastika."

SEK

Are you saying that civility is a virtue in this setting, although not as important as the excellence demonstrated by skilled debaters?

In this context, I simply meant that I wasn't going to discuss civility, which is how the debate's being framed basically everywhere else. That said, I'm not sure whether you can call "civility" a virtue in forensics; a certain mode of pro forma politeness is encouraged, but its absence wouldn't be held against a debater. Moreover, the measures of civility associated with these debates have to do with yelling and talking over people, whereas forensic debates always sound like this.

Is ambiguous speech to be preferred, at times? In the setting of a formal debate, or a blog post?

In context, I don't think my statement was ambiguous: I was just saying that I was concerning myself with issues of argument and evidence, not civility.

Naadir, I saw that and absolutely couldn't believe it. If ever you want an example of someone violating the first rule of forensic debate, there you have it: "This man, who is alive thanks to the British health care system, would be dead if he lived under the British health care system."

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