Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PA's Palin Poll - Another Critical View by Another Close Friend


[my friend and colleague, Steve Aufrecht, at his outstanding blog, What Do I Know?, has posted an article that is not only highly critical of the poll on Palin I posted Monday morning, but looks at what he considers to be some sort of malady on my part in a unique and fascinating way. Steve's article is posted below, and at What Do I Know? where it is also accompanied by its own set of comments from his regular readers, none of which support my publication of the poll in the way I have. Please also go there and read the comments. Earlier in the week PA published Mel Green's compelling essay on her reactions to my Palin poll and an earlier essay. Her essay, Progressive bloggers and Palin: Civility versus Namecalling, can be found at this link. I hope to respond to both essays this weekend. I'd like to thank Mel and Steve for allowing PA to cross-post their articles here.]

Blogger Tourettes

--- by Steve Aufrecht

"Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (Tourette Syndrome or TS) is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence before the age of 18 years. Tourette syndrome is defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year. The first symptoms usually are involuntary movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk. These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid. The most common first symptom is a facial tic (eye blink, nose twitch, grimace), and is replaced or added to by other tics of the neck, trunk, and limbs. . .

There are also verbal tics. These verbal tics (vocalizations) usually occur with the movements. These vocalizations include grunting, throat clearing, shouting and barking. The verbal tics may also be expressed as coprolalia (the involuntary use of obscene words or socially inappropriate words and phrases) or copropraxia (obscene gestures). Despite widespread publicity, coprolalia/copropraxia is uncommon with tic disorders." [From here. Emphasis Added]

So, if a blogger whose career has included being in corrections, a Harbor Master, in radio, and a respected classical musician among other things who writes about politics has outbursts of "[seemingly] involuntary use of obscene words or socially inappropriate words and phrases" are we seeing a case of blogger Tourettes?


Words fascinate me and I like to watch people who know how to use them well. It's an art form. Some words, like fuck, used to be reserved for very special situations and settings. When someone used them outside those settings, they got people's attention because they were so rarely used in what used to be called "mixed company." But now the words are used so often that they have little shock value, though people still notice their inappropriateness. I lament the loss of those words which can be used in times of crisis to communicate how extreme the situation is.

To throw them at someone like mud, doesn't fit my notion of 'appropriate' on a blog that purports to be a serious force for social and political change. When Phil Munger called Sarah Palin a slut, I winced. As I walk around the Capitol building these days and introduce myself as a blogger, people's eyebrows rise and I hear words like credibility. In part this is due to people like Phil when he's having a bout of blogger Tourettes.

And so when he gets threatening comments in response, my reaction is similar to when someone jumps into the lion's cage at the zoo. I'm sorry he's hurt, but that's why they give out Darwin awards. I'm sure someone will accuse me here of blaming the victim, and I agree that the threats are inexcusable. But given that other local bloggers have suffered the same fate, it seems prudent not to poke the crazies (on the other side) in the eye with gratuitous insults. Can you explain how this is different from Limbaugh and Fagan? You give the Tea Party folks solid evidence that the left has its share of frothing madmen.

Free speech gives us the right to say many things (though not to libel), but just because one may, doesn't mean someone should.

I've covered this ground in other posts (here's one on blogging guidelines for instance) and I'm tired of repeating it. And Mel Green has already done a better job than I'm doing. But I do want to say this on the record. I've emailed Phil with my specific problems and asked him to explain himself. I'm not objecting to obscenity per se, but I think it is counterproductive in a serious political blog. Unless it is necessary to the story (and sometimes even then) it distracts from the message, alienates some allies, and confirms the negative stereotypes of those of differing ideological persuasions.

So, Phil, I ask you again to explain the purpose of your expletives and gratuitous insults and why you think their use does more good than harm on your blog. Or perhaps get tested for blogger Tourettes.

101 comments:

vilca said...

I can't speak for Phil, but I know, as a painter, that when I'm painting some very minute and soft landscapes with little details of irony, I sometimes fight the urge to stick on it a big plump phalus with hairy testicules. Sometimes I can't resist, and some of these paintings were nevertheless bought by people who found that expression interesting, fun, or whatever.

I read Phil's post with the same perspective.

Bob said...

A former sailor here with the vocabulary historically
reputed to that ilk. Although a firm advocate of your
blog, perhaps moderating your #@&#&#@ use of
sailor-slang would cause you a bit less trouble. I
rarely find errors in your writing so can't ascribe the
s-word to a typographical mistake although I once
had a keyboard that badly scrambled the alphabet.
Should you find the need, I'd gladly bring armament
and stand a few watches in protecting your person
and property.
bob

Anonymous said...

"So, Phil, I ask you again to explain the purpose of your expletives and gratuitous insults and why you think their use does more good than harm on your blog."
-----

I don't think Phil is obligated to explain why he used particular words on his blog unless he really wants to. Nor do I think the purpose of a blog is to necessarily do "good". I personally respect Phil's right to (legally) express himself in any way he wishes. I see it as a part of his personality, rather than a statement about progressive blogs in general. I don't always agree with Phil, or like how he expresses himself, but always find him interesting. In the same way I find South Park to be interesting, hilarious and offensive at the same time.

I wonder if those who are complaining about Phil's poll also take the same critical look at blogs such as The Immoral Minority where the criticism of Palin runs along the same lines and I see plenty of expletives and worse. Or how about Keith Olbermann's relationships with young women he has power over? Were you offended by the Rev Jesse Jackson's adultery, or MLK's philandering, or the many Kennedy scandals?

Using "slut" in the context of Phil's poll was not offensive to me. In fact, I believe it was an accurate descriptor given the behavior of the subject. You can use more polite words to describe that same behavior, but it still means the same thing. Phil was just being more blunt about it.

My two cents...

Mel said...

Some here might be interested in an ADN Newsreader item earlier today that seems relevant. The item read:

Larry King can't get Michelle Obama to criticize Palin

Link: Washington Post (with CNN video) First lady Michelle Obama dodged several opportunities to offer an opinion on former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement on Tuesday when asked about them on "Larry King Live." "I think it's wonderful to have strong female voices out there, but I don't know her," Obama said. "I don't have a read [on Palin]. I try not to make, or set, opinions about people that I haven't had any, you know, substantive interaction with."


My comment posted earlier today:

And why shouldn't she have "dodged" it? Seems like "Larry King Live" was trolling for some kind of response from Michelle Obama that had the potential to create some falsely "newsworthy" controversy.

Someone observed within my hearing recently that Palin appears to be attempting to engage the Obamas by her by making insulting statements about them & about Pres. Obama's policies from the sidelines. I think that observation is spot-on. Perhaps the Obamas have privately made that same observation. Perhaps they would be willing to engage with Palin if she offered more to national discussions than the politics of personal attack.


Should be clear here that I think lots of other pundits & supposed "news" people frequently actively seek to spark controversy by trolling for "criticism" much as Larry King did here. And now, wow, it's "newsworthy" that Michelle Obama refused to be baited.

Well, actually, thanks to the negative climate Lary King & other "news" types have helped to create -- her refusal to be baited really is news. Good on ya, First Lady.

Almost all the comments at ADN agree on that, & a good many of them, as I did, contrast her dignity & restraint with Palin's anger tactics. There's a lot more people than just me & Steve & those who have commented on our blogs who are sick & tired of the politics of personal attack.

Mel Green
Henkimaa.com

Mel said...

Anonymous @ 3:40 PM asked,

I wonder if those who are complaining about Phil's poll also take the same critical look at blogs such as The Immoral Minority where the criticism of Palin runs along the same lines and I see plenty of expletives and worse.

I don't have a problem with expletives exactly (the f-word for example, which I occasionally use myself); I do have a problem with personal attack & demeaning insult -- which is the main basis upon which I criticized of Phil's poll. On that basis too I have lots of problems with Immoral Minority. I have often felt that Gryphen is so caught up in his dislike of Palin that he goes overboard in seeking out things to criticize her about, even on slow Palin news days. I often feel he goes over the top & over the line.

Your other examples (Keith Olbermann, Jesse Jackson, MLK, Kennedy) all involved personal private relationships that (1) I don't know enough about to judge & (2) had nothing to do with any of those people's presentations in public discourse. You're comparing apples & oranges. I do look unfavorably on people abusing their power in sexual relationships & also when they violate their agreements (such as vows of fidelity) with their partners or spouses. But it's up to the people they have those agreements with to hold them accountable, not me -- since I don't know exactly what their agreements were; nor do I know whether or not whatever Olbermann did actually violated the consent of any of his sexual partners.

Obviously Phil has no obligation to explain anything unless he really wants to. Seems like Phil wants to. Isn't that what he just said in crossposting this?

Jim said...

Mel:

I've restrained from criticizing here because I'm a chicken about the consequences. But before you criticized here a day or so ago, I already had. I had to speak out.

I've got other issues too. These folks work together.

Do you support "Gryphen" (Jesse Griffin) (http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/)? Have you read his stuff? What do you think? He may be hung up about Palin's child's birth certificate. What do you think about Palin's kid's birth certificate? Do you think the birth certificate is a fraud?

What about Devon cutting down Mike Doogan, over and over again, for identifying her? I've expressed my concerns about this in Phil's previous post at:

http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2010/02/saradise-found-chapter-26-twibalism-in.html

Jim Behlke

Anonymous said...

Mr. Aufrecht: "Can you explain how this is different from Limbaugh and Fagan?"

If only the specific vocabulary, rather than the ideas behind it, is what makes people "no different," then Mr. Aufrecht needs to start listening more critically to Limbaugh and Fagan.

No doubt Mr. Aufrecht considers his drawn out medical description of Tourette's Syndrome to be a clever, concise analogy but I regard it as a transparent vehicle to add professional gravitas to the tiresome and simple argument that blogs should somehow be standardized as to voice and content to some preset level of comfort (usually the comfort level of the person complaining).

Tourette's "tic" is an involuntary manifestation of neurological events beyond the patient's control. Mr. Munger's choice of vocabulary is voluntary and, in fact, conveys intellectually and emotionally what he's saying and feeling (not unlike what the artist was referring to in the first comment of this post).

I may wince sometimes with Phil's choice of words but I always have respect for the fact that ProgessiveAlaska is his private blog....and that I'm a guest.

The beauty of the blogosphere is that the vast variety of human voices....inspirational, profane, informative, ridiculous, grave, hilarious, light-filled, shadowed......is essentially a recapitulation of any given person in this universe. Like it or not.

So, blog on, Phil!....in your own voice! If I don't like it, I won't read it.

Mel said...

Jim Behlke --

You ask,

Do you support "Gryphen" (Jesse Griffin) (http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/)? Have you read his stuff? What do you think? He may be hung up about Palin's child's birth certificate. What do you think about Palin's kid's birth certificate? Do you think the birth certificate is a fraud?

I answered about Immoral Minority in my comment immediately prior to your comment. Yes, I read it. Sometimes I appreciate it. Sometimes I don't. As I said above, I think that Gryphen frequently goes over the top & over the line, especially with regard to Palin. (But not only with regard to her. For example, I was pretty sickened by his post a week or so ago about Lesil McGuire & Tom Anderson's divorce.)

As for Palin's kid's birth certificate -- how would I know if it's a fraud? I've never seen it, nor has anyone that I know, since Palin has never released it. It would be nice if she would, because then maybe it would put to rest all the Trig Truther stuff. That she hasn't released it might indicates that either

(1) she thinks it's nobody's business, even though she's brought Trig & the manner of his birth so much into the public spotlight that she's made it other people's business; and/or

(2) she for some reason thinks it serves her interests to keep the Trig Truther rumors alive by not putthing a quash to them once & for all with a disclosure of the birth certificate; and/or

(3) one or more of the claims she has circulated about Trig & the circumstances of his birth is a lie.

Maybe all three. I'm not a Trig Truther -- I have better things to do with my time than to scrutinize photos of her to see how big her "baby bump was" -- but her tale of the long plane rides from Texas to Anchorage after her water broke certainly seems suspect. And if true, certainly demonstrates her irresponsibility.

I don't care if Gryphen is more worried about this than I am; my concern is mainly where his (or anyone else's) interest might have a negative impact on the life of innocent people. (As with the more recent "Track Truther" rumor, which questions the facts of Track's parentage -- never mind the impact such reckless rumormongering might have on the lives of Track or the family of the supposed "real" father. I think it's Palingates where I've seen this stuff.)

What about Devon cutting down Mike Doogan, over and over again, for identifying her?

I think that Doogan was wrong for outing her. I think the language Jeanne has used to cut him down is frequently insulting, but not as deeply so as Phil's slut slur. I think that a lot of Alaska progressive bloggers are just participating in the general level of political incivility that is part of the general culture now. I think I've done so at times myself, & I'm trying to do better. But I also think the incivility & attack language is routinely far worse & more virulent on the right. I'm still appalled that Palin nominated to be attorney general someone like Wayne Anthony Ross, who has a long history of demeaning the personhood of people with whom he disagrees.

But that's just the humble opinion of a "lima bean."

-- Mel

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

I have to agree with anon @3:36
'I don't think Phil is obligated to explain why he used particular words on his blog unless he really wants to. Nor do I think the purpose of a blog is to necessarily do "good". I personally respect Phil's right to (legally) express himself in any way he wishes. I see it as a part of his personality, rather than a statement about progressive blogs in general."
and
'Using "slut" in the context of Phil's poll was not offensive to me. In fact, I believe it was an accurate descriptor given the behavior of the subject. You can use more polite words to describe that same behavior, but it still means the same thing. Phil was just being more blunt about it."
***
Phils blog is the first Alaskan Blog I found after The Horror!!! I value Phil as a Artist, teacher and blogger...who is not afraid or to "PC" to speak his mind.
Steve Aufrecht, I must go to your blog and check but you say you are at the capitol? What are you doing about Palin's shadow Gov.? How about the Alaska fund Trust? What about the lost PDF???
What about troopergate?
At least Phil has the cajones to express his frustration for the SOA complete lack of accountability when it comes to all things paylin! Now she is being foisted on us of the lower 48 b/c the Alaskans didn't reign her in, didn't stop the lies and the ones that tried were vilified!
Shame on you!
Shame on anyone judging this blog!
That's the problem with dems so busy being PC and the RW is throwing barbs and mean girl snark and we are not supposed to fight back??

Mel said...

Crystalwolf, how about going to Steve's blog & reading about what he's doing in Juneau before lobbing all your unwarranted "shame on you" stuff at him?

He's not a legislator or legislative staff. He went down to Juneau this session to be a volunteer legislative staff member but was unable to because he also wanted to blog about the session. His blogs about the session are some of the most informative pieces of writing about how the legislative process works that I've ever seen. Steve is also one of the most knowledgeable persons about ethics & accountability in government that I've ever known of, & blogs about that kinda stuff frequently. He's also a former professor of public administration at UAA.

He's also a good friend of Phil's, whose blog Phil has frequently praised. As he said comments in the original of this blog post today,

I'm not an anonymous stranger for Phil. He's praised my blog frequently and so his failings also rub off on What Do I Know? My comment was more like questioning a teammate about strategy for scoring.

I've spent a fair amount of space here examining the what blogging is all about. Anarchy has pluses and minuses and it's reasonable to reiewing both.

I consider Phil a friend and I was just telling him the equivalent of "I think you've had too much to drink and you shouldn't drive home."


I frankly don't see how it's any great defense of Phil to jump on someone who he regards as a friend & whose thoughtful criticism Phil actively welcomed.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Jim,
Paylin has never posted a birth cert of TriG.
She demanded a marriage cert from someone when running for mayor/gov, but she see's herself above that.
I don't know why you are so hung up on doogan? He is a unprofessional asshole who exposed all IDs of people who complained to him. And he responded on a SOA email @ 2:30 in the morning probably from a bar by the sound of his email... partying too much.
I have written to many Leg. and Senators and never received such unprofessional responses as those from Doogan and Dyson.
I will not be reading Mel's blog or Steve's I prefer people like Phil and Gryhen who will go after Palin and demand justice!Not afraid to mince words. I would hope that the fellow blogger would not fall for this "trick" b/c Jim is obviously trying to turn the bloggers against Phil and Gryphen.
Phil and Gryphen, Please do not sit down and shut up!!!

Martha Unalaska Yard Sign said...

Crystalwolf -

We are pleased to have Steve in Juneau blogging during the session - I know he's just settling in.

Palin's drama fest and inability to settle down to work caused most of last year's session to be a bust. Nothing much got done but a lot of arguing, pointing fingers, and playing games with the AG and Juneau Senator appointments.

There is much to be done this year, but my feeling after contacting legislators last session is that they are going to de-Palinize themselves as quickly as possible. The ethics complaint process proposed changes are just stupid of course, and I hope it all fails.

I don't think we are going to see our lawmakers doing anything positive about the Palin mess this session. It was an exhausting term last year and many people were caught up in the drama, threatened and harassed by Palin's goons.

Steve would know better than I since he has been attending events at the Capitol and talking w/ various folks. Keep an eye on his blog for specific info.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

It make me sick to see trolls coming in here and causing divisiveness. Jim is trolling with questions about AKM and Doogan, and "Do you support Gryphen" comments. Really do you think they should be answered?
If I was a blogger I would say" I write my blog this way, but Phil/Gryphen do things their way" it is their blog and their right.
As I said "how dare you judge this blog, or Gryphen's"

Philip Munger said...

Mel,

Thanks again for being a superb moderator, or at least as close as this blog has ever come to having one. I owe you a dinner for your efforts. With a concert afterward. OK?

crystalwolf, my dear friend,

Steve's an academic. He's sort of a prisoner of his lifelong commitment to a standard which has proven, by and large, to be effective, and in which he deeply believes.

I think the Tourette's metaphor is flawed, but it brings light on what he has termed a shortcoming, an inappropriateness and as something being counterproductive. Except for the stretched metaphor, I largely agree with Steve on the level he as approached the problem at hand.

And, I acknowledge that the Tourette's metaphor contains a healthy element of snark on Steve's part...

Others should recognize that too.

Philip Munger said...

crystalwolf,

I've come to realize that a lot of people don't realize that 1) The Palins have never publicly released Trig's birth certificate, and 2) That Sarah continually claims that they have.

Jim is probably just one of many who just didn't know that, or doesn't realize that this is a serious lie on her part.

Re Jim as "troll" - he has commented occasionally here, and I regard him both as a friend and fellow Alaska artist.

IMHO, He's right on some of his issues - I'll get to those in my summing up essay at the expiration of the poll - but on Doogan, particularly, I don't think he quite gets what happened. He seems to think that if I thought Doogan acted unethically by using his constituent newsletter to out AKM, I should have filed an ethics complaint against Doogan.

I didn't because the system is totally fucked up and it would have been a big waste of physical and emotional time and space.

RE observations at this post and at others on the subject of some bloggers blocking comments and others not, it is entirely up to the blog's proprietor as to how to deal with this.

alaskapi said...

crystalwolf-
The Alaskan progressive blogging community is not a cheerleading squad , a group who all practise together and repeat in unison... It is a group of people, some of whom know each other well, some who don't, who are individually, and to some extent collectively, working on and through a variety of issues . As with most groups who are allied on some levels, differences in opinion and temperament will divide people on others.
Phil tolerates a far wider set of voices than most AK bloggers do. The abuse I've seen heaped on HIM by some of those voices far exceeds the language of the ill-conceived ( or the I've -had-it-with-SP!!!!!!!!!!) poll .
It is NOT divisive to merely bring up questions about bloggers- in terms of the field this series of posts has framed the questions...
The AK blogging progressive is not a monolith... and certainly not a community which will melt if valued members like Mr Aufrecht write publically to his friend Mr Munger.
And actually, we all make judgements all the time...
We would be foolish not to.

Philip Munger said...

alaskapi,

The poll was one of my Howard Beale moments.

alaskapi said...

Phil-
Howard Beale?!
(LOL
ROFL til I break three ribs and almost wet my pants..)
Yup. Think you're right.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Phil,
As I said your blog is the first Alaska blog I found, after the Horror!
I realized many Alaskans don't know the extent of her LIES!
Todd Palin was their gov! He even answered emails for her. I wish you would of did a ethics complaint against Doogan, my name was on there too....but I understand why you didn't.
I know many Alaskans just want to "move on past Sarah Palin" but I will not rest until she is exposed for the Liar, Grifter, vile person that she is...and until she is completely out of politics and has no platform to spout her vitriol. I believe MSNBC said after her teabag speech called her a "merchant of hate".
I stand firm, you should be able to express yourself however you please on your own blog. I think Palin and her ilk are trying to impose PC on all of us except themselves, like Rush, retard, retard, retard...oh yeah Satire.
Keep on blogging Phil! Be careful.

AKPetMom said...

"Network" was on TCM last night; such a classic!
But really you're no Beale!!! If anyone, Glen Beck's a Beale. I don't see you as mentally unbalanced, Phil, but rather full of passion, in a good way. Mad as hell but certainly not insane!

jim said...

Phil:

I just got back from a fabulous evening cross country skiing. Hope the snow doesn't melt.

The point I'd make about Doogan is, despite him, whether he was right or wrong, Devon should have already disclosed her own identity long before Doogan did. I don't think she should blame Doogan for identifying her because I believe she should have already released this information to the public herself.

Devon discussed Alaskans for Truth in the third person in her blog. While she was doing that, her affiliation with that group may have been closer than she had indicated to her readers including myself. That was probably misleading. We can go back and read her posts. I did. People can criticize Doogan, but I didn't appreciate, as a reader, apparently being misled by Devon.

I discussed what I believe were Devon's options above, and I think she may have chosen the wrong one.

Doogan's another matter. Perhaps he was wrong -- But Devon has her own issues. I believe she should have disclosed. Close as I can tell, she didn't and to this day she apparently hasn't.

Phil, I think you should retract your article where you called Palin a slut. You should throw the whole thing out and start over again. There are several reasons why I think you should do that. The academic cheating basis you claimed isn't there. Palin wasn't "cheating" during her speech. There may have been an element of hypocrisy if she criticized Obama for using a prompter and then she used her own notes, (as usual with Palin, double standards like that can infuriate us), but hypocrisy doesn't get one expelled from UAA. UAA has graduated hypocrites with honors.

As far as Palin's baby goes, perhaps I'm naive, but I think that's her baby. Sorry if I'm wrong and if there's more there than meets the eye.

Neither I nor my spouse are "Palinistas." I'd also claim I'm not a troll, although sometimes I get grumpy and feel like one. I've also been told I can look like one. Tom Van Flein is one of my best friends as he's been since 1965.

Philip Munger said...

Thanks, Jim.

I've invited AKM to participate in this dialogue. Maybe she will.

I'm beginning to think that calling Palin a slut was pushing the envelope more than I realized it would, especially from the feminist perspective - as Mel pointed out, the old "Madonna-Whore" meme - but was a more honest reaction to her appearances over the past week than has been American media coverage of her.

You are bullshitting when you pass off the Trig birth certificate issue the way you do above. I observed that she has claimed repeatedly to have publicly shown it, when she never has. Why are you defending her dishonesty with this?:


As far as Palin's baby goes, perhaps I'm naive, but I think that's her baby. Sorry if I'm wrong and if there's more there than meets the eye.

To paraphrase Jim, Palin "gets another pass for lying to the whole country, because 'that's her baby.'"

Again, Jim, that's bullshit.

This is not a major issue with me, but I think you were the one who brought it up, then spun it into some space cadet zone when I attempted to get you to answer the issue as it stands in a specific way.

jim said...

Sorry, my options for Devon weren't posted above; they were posted at:

http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2010/02/saradise-found-chapter-26-twibalism-in.html

I've asked Devon several times to explain if she was involved with Alaskans for Truth. Never heard back. Apparently she didn't feel she owed me an explanation, but perhaps she owes the public one.

Looking back at APOC records, I believe her husband was treasurer of Alaskans for Truth while she was discussing this group in the third person at her blog, and I think she may have been the treasurer (but I'm not sure) when the group formed.

clark said...

strong language doesn't bother me, and in palin's case it is an appropriate response. the only downside, seems to me is it might make people sympathetic, and lend credibility to her assertions that bloggers are trying to ruin her life. i read PA a lot and can see that philip is intensely frustrated -- writing about palin's continuous disregard for truth and beauty, her missteps and misinformation is about as bad as it gets. but not writing about her is also no good -- because she has a legion of national followers. vigilance and pushback are sorely needed.
i'm more partial to celtic diva than gryphen, in the fine range of alaska political blogs out there. it's strange that C.D. gets so much threatening mail -- because her reasoning always seems solidly grounded, and she's obviously been around the block too many times to be taken in by anyone else's agenda or bad intel.
this discussion is useful, but a bit overly wrought. i'd go with the commenter above who said, it's somebody's personal blog and carries all of that person's foibles, passion and occasional small failings along with its excellent reputation for clarity and wisdom.

Martha Unalaska Yard Sign said...

Hi Jim!

This is off topic a bit, but I just wanted to quickly comment on my own impression of Alaskans for Truth and the Mudflats blog posts by Jeanne Devon. I didn't realize til I read your post that a reader didn't assume the author was part of the force and staff at AFT, as I did. Don't know why I did, I guess it just made sense. It didn't bother me in the least, nor did I feel there was any deception.

I believe AKM protected her identity as she did for very good reasons at the time. However I am now very pleased to know all my Alaska blue bloggers by name. I like the differences in their perspectives and personalities as well.

I'm glad they are all still standing as it were, after what the state media and blogosphere went through after Aug 2008. I skip posts at all sites if they don't interest me, or if they offend me. Until we have real media back in Alaska, these bloggers are on the front lines.

Anyway - since I'm in Southeast, things look a little different from here. I'm kind of a hick and look on all of you artist, bloggers, scholars and musicians in the Anchorage area and I'm in awe. Celebrities, all!

jim said...

Phil: I just don't know anything about it. Frankly I don't give a damn. Perhaps I should (give a damn) but I just couldn't give a hoot in hell. There are so many other things to care about.

I'd be totally amazed if this turned out to be a big deal. I could tell you what I think is bullshit, but I'll just step back and let these rumors run their natural bovine digestive course. As my wife's old boyfriend said, "I don't have a dog in that race." I shouldn't have said anything. Less is more.

Anonymous said...

"Almost all the comments at ADN agree on that, & a good many of them, as I did, contrast her dignity & restraint with Palin's anger tactics."

Was Michelle Obama showing dignity and restraint when she frequented the hate-filled church of the Rev "God Damn America" Wright for twenty years ?

Anonymous said...

"As for Palin's kid's birth certificate -- how would I know if it's a fraud? I've never seen it, nor has anyone that I know, since Palin has never released it. It would be nice if she would, because then maybe it would put to rest all the Trig Truther stuff. That she hasn't released it might indicates that either"

Agreed...so would it be good for Obama to finally release his long-form birth certificate and put to rest all the Birther stuff ? Or is there one standard for obama and another one for Palin ?

Philip Munger said...

Jim,

Glad to see you think Palin's continuing lies are something about which "I could give a damn."

That might be worth a free drink during your next lunch with van Flein, eh?

Please give him my regards, Jim.

jim said...

Phil:

You wrote:

"This is not a major issue with me, but I think you were the one who brought it up, then spun it into some space cadet zone when I attempted to get you to answer the issue as it stands in a specific way."

Huh?

Philip Munger said...

Jim,

Why are you continuing to give Palin a pass on her lies about the birth certificate?

I'm beginning to agree with commenters, e-mailers and phone callers that you've come here on behalf of one of Palin's attorneys, or are simply performing a "troll" role, whether you know it or not.

Please answer my question at the top of this comment.

Should you not, I'll put your further comments into moderation until you do answer it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess Mr. Munger is happy with all the attention he's gotten of late and the fact that his misogynist poll is still there shows that he is wallowing in the attention.

What is interesting is why Mr. Munger chose now to unleash his sexist attack against Sarah Palin and women in general by his use of repressive language. He didn't resort to "slut" and "whore" when Palin was running against his beloved Obama during the election. Surely that was the time when passions should have been running at their highest but no, PA's hysteria against Palin only seems to have ratcheted up in the last couple of months when Palin has no political office.

With Palin now retired from office, one would kinda assume that the hate would have actually eased off but the opposite has happened. This is not because Palin has become more "evil" but merely because she has survived and prospered and PA and many others amongst the "liberal" left are enraged that this woman has not collapsed in sobbing tears but has stayed strong and motivated. Some people cannot bear to see a woman rise above the kind of pressures that would crush most people. When she retired from office the sharks circled the water sensing blood. But Palin didn't roll over and die...she got stronger, she used new media , she tuned into what ordinary Americans were saying while the elitist Left lost touch. This wasn't supposed to happen...Mr. Munger and the other progressive Alaskans are enraged that this woman is still there and running rings around their President.

And Obama is the second cause of Mr Munger's uncontrolled sexist rage. It all looked so good back in November 2008...it seemed that the Left's dream of transforming America into a socialist state were about to, finally, come true. But, instead, Obama and the Democrats have squandered their opportunities in the White House and conservatives are more motivated now then they have been for decades. The trainwreck of Healthcare Reform which both left and right are disgusted with, is typical of the Democrat's flawed first year in office. Hence the growing frustration and anger amongst the left. Obviously this anger cannot be vented too much on President Obama because the left have invested so much of their faith in this god-amongst-men (as Newsweek called him).

So what to do with this pent-up rage ? Why, vent it on fellow Americans by calling them "teabaggers" (has the right ever used this kind of sexual abuse against those who vote Democrat?) and by trying to demonize the woman who symbolizes resistance to the Washington elites - Sarah Palin. The problem is that Mr. Munger quickly ran through his lexicon of abuse for Palin..and had to resort to "Crazy Woman" (what else do men call women who talk back ?) some months back. But this wasn't enough...it didn't help release his growing rage and so, finally, he fell back on the stand-by that all threatened men end up using against women they can't abide...crass sexual abuse. Once PA had dropped the "slut" bomb this gave the nod to fellow progressives to unload all their built-up frustration and sheer hatred in a torrent of unbelievable abuse. Some may have forgotten the references to Palin "opening her legs like a whore" and "effing retarded slut" but it was like being at a Klan rally in the 1950s. At no point did Mr. Munger try and intervene and advise his friends to tone down the vile abuse.

I've always thought that a person's belief system can only be measured by how well those beliefs and convictions hold up under pressure. Mr. Munger's progressive belief in sexual equality seems to have collapsed like a cheap deckchair. His supposed liberal values couldn't withstand his all-consuming rage with Sarah Palin and we have all witnessed the shameful results.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 11:31,

magnificent rant.

If you actually read this blog, you would know that I've posted more anti-Obama articles than all the rest of the progressive Alaskan blogs put together. And there will be more, I assure you.

As to misogynist, your assertion holds no water without showing proof.

My concerns about Palin have nothing to do with her birth sex. Should she go to Denmark, get an operation, become a male, I will be no less critical.

Anonymous said...

"As to misogynist, your assertion holds no water without showing proof."

Proof...calling a woman a "slut", "whore" ...running a childish "slut or saint" poll. Allowing your clique of friends to run misogynist crap like this...

"To all the trolls on this blog, Mrs. Palin is a slut and a whore so get over it, it's true.

SLUT
- an unintelligent girl with low self-esteem that will do anything for attention and the approval of others

- a bitch that keeps on giving

- a female that has no self-respect

- dresses very trashy and doesnt have any class

- a woman who thinks with her vagina instead of her head

- man's best friend

- "slutty", characteristics of a slut, often in reference to style of dress or behavior

- a girl who has no respect for herself. She basically has "open for business" or "available" stamped on her forehead

WHORE
- slut" is not to be confused with "whore", as a whore is a person who may exhibit slut-like behaviors, but does so for financial gain

- one whose brain is closed shut, but whose legs are wide open

- an individual who compromises his or her principles for personal gain

- a woman or girl who sells herself for something, might be money or jewels, etc.

- a term used to describe someone who commits to an activity so much that it begins to piss** people off

- a girl who gives hand job

If you don't like it, take a hike."

and not one word of condemnation from you. Just admit you royally screwed up and move on. Admitting you have a problem is the first step in overcoming it.

Mel said...

Phil wrote to Jim,

I'm beginning to agree with commenters, e-mailers and phone callers that you've come here on behalf of one of Palin's attorneys, or are simply performing a "troll" role, whether you know it or not.

Jim, sorry to say it's looking more & more that way to me too, particularly in light of how outraged you seemed about Gryphen being seemingly "He may be hung up about Palin's child's birth certificate" and asking my opinion over the course of three sentences -- but after I gave you my detailed answer, suddenly it was no longer important to you.

Is it possible you were fishing around hoping to enlist me in your cause?

On the other item -- Jeanne Devon of the Mudflats coming down on Doogan for removing her anonymity -- I've got to revise my earlier answer.

Earlier I wrote that "I think that Doogan was wrong for outing her. I think the language Jeanne has used to cut him down is frequently insulting, but not as deeply so as Phil's slut slur." Now, having gone through her blog for stuff she's said about Doogan, I must correct myself to say that I only once found her actually "insulting" him, but not directly. To the extent she did so, it was in reporting on the fact that Doogan was among those legislators whose name was apprearing on little flags put in dog poo in Juneau, such that he had attained the nickname "Doo Doo Doogan." I.e., she was reporting on an insult others had dreamed up, not originating it. Mudflats is actually one of my favorite blogs to read, because Jeanne is witty & creative in her writing; & seldom if ever lowers herself to engage in ad hominem attacks.

I've met her only a couple of times, once at the True Diversity Dinner where she took my picture with Brian the Moose. It hasn't appeared on her blog though. :(

Anonymous said...

"If you actually read this blog, you would know that I've posted more anti-Obama articles than all the rest of the progressive Alaskan blogs put together. And there will be more, I assure you"

If you actually read my post you would have seen this ....

"Obviously this anger cannot be vented TOO MUCH on President Obama"

It's pretty obvious that your comments against Obama are milktoast compared with your rants and simmering hatred of Sarah Palin.

Anonymous said...

"Is it possible you were fishing around hoping to enlist me in your cause?"

Is it possible that PA ran your comments about the "slut" slur
hoping to bring more web traffic to this site ? The vile "slut or saint" poll is still there. Seems mr munger is clinging to his fifteen minutes of fame as long as he can.

Do you agree with mr munger's use of the smear "teabaggers" to insult those of the left and right who are angry over the Dem & Repub mismanagement of our nation ?

Philip Munger said...

I don't hate Sarah Palin.

When she quit her job because her attorneys told her she had to, in order to keep the Alaska Fund Trust money, and to get the best possible Harper-Collins contract, I was ready to drop coverage of her. I wrote about it in detail then.

Unfortunately, for her and for the country, things have changed.

Philip Munger said...

hey, anon - the teabaggers called themselves teabaggers before people like you bothered to consult the urban dictionary.

They may not change the country as much as they changed the definition of that hilarious word.

As I've told you before, you seem to have a hangup on that term that others don't appear to possess....

Jim said...

Mel and Phil:

Based on both of your comments, I think we should meet if possible.

Phil, I'll send you my phone number.

Jim

Mel said...

hey, anon - the teabaggers called themselves teabaggers before people like you bothered to consult the urban dictionary.

Yeah, I remember backwhen the Tea Partiers proudly calling themselves teabaggers, & I was like, WTF? don't they know what that means?

And no, Anon, I'm not terribly pleased he decided to keep the poll up. As far as him publishing my comments to drive up his web traffic -- well, actually, no. His blog gets a lot more traffic than mine does anyway.

Mine sure got a boost though. I write the stuff I normally write, most people don't give a hoot. Put "Palin" in my subject header, & up my hit count goes. But I'd rather write the stuff I normally write, anyway, because I find it more interesting than Palin, who only repeats the same talking points over & over & over & over & over [yawn] again without one spark of originality or insight.

I wouldn't have written this post with Palin in it if I hadn't felt so strongly that Phil had gone off the deep end in using this slur -- & on top of it self-identified progressives justify it on the grounds that since the Palin supporters & Tea Partiers engage in so much insult, so can they. Which I count as a hypocritical justification -- two wrongs don't make a right. But Anon -- it's also hypocritical for you to come over here to climb all over Phil for his insult of Palin, without saying word one about the culture of insult & abuse towards Obama & other Democrats & progressives that Tea Partiers & Palin supporters cultivate as though it was going out of style.

Wish it would go out of style. On both sides.

jim said...

It kind of cracks me up that both Phil and Mel have accused me of being an agent of Palin and her entourage.

For example, here is a message I sent last Spring copied to the Alaska Legislature (I sent several others too. Let me know how many messages you folks require as a demonstration of my loyalty) (Phil: I'm still trying to dig up the one to Colberg. It was special. My favorite part was where I said he was the worst attorney general ever and he should just go home).

Here's the one I sent to Palin:

Dear Governor Palin:

I'd encourage you to apply for federal stimulus weatherization funds (that you vetoed a few weeks ago) as soon as possible. I refer to this as a "zombie veto," coming from someone who may have intended to resign even as the veto occurred.

I'm not sure if you were acting as governor or if you were acting as someone who was planning to resign and wanted to make a selfish personal political statement, at Alaska's expense, from some other vantage point, perhaps even inconsistent with your oath of office as Alaska's governor. This question becomes more interesting now that you have resigned.

Clearly your actions were not synchronous with Alaska's interests. The legislative branch has overwhelmingly disagreed with you.

For once you should serve your state. Better late than never. Please stop abusing Alaska's governor's office and apply for the federal funds immediately.

By the way, I still haven't heard back from you about my question concerning building codes.

Jim Behlke

c.c. Alaska Legislature

Anonymous said...

But given that other local bloggers have suffered the same fate, it seems prudent not to poke the crazies (on the other side) in the eye with gratuitous insults.


Aufrecht obviously just doesn't get it.

Anonymous said...

Jim - I get accused of the same thing every time I level criticism.

I can't count how many times I've been called a Palin-bot on this and hte other Alaskan blogs.

Name calling seems to be the "Progressives" passion du jour, listen to the Shannyn Moore interview with Geoffery Dunn to see what I mean.

For almost 20 minutes these two did nothing but mock and insult the former Governor without offering any kind of constructive criticism.

Juxtapose this with Chris Matthews' recent calling out of Palin and it becomes obvious how bitter some of her opponents really are.

I kind of feel sorry for them, all of that bile, all of that negativity has got to take its toll after a while, constantly griping about somebody is not a healthy pursuit.

Anonymous said...

Chris Matthews was dead on about Palin...an "empy vessel" ripe for manipulation. Yep!

Anonymous said...

Phil and Jim: Interesting discourse.

1) As a woman, I find Phil's using the term "slut" very appropriate although I might have termed it as PROSTITUTE (one who sells herself for money).

2) The teabaggers picked their own name (obviously none of them had the IQ to know what it meant and now they are trying to change it to Tea Party although TeaBagger suits them perfectly.

3) I too believe/feel that Jim is trolling, doing it nicely and supposedly as a "friend" but trolling is trolling - and attempting to take over the topic and change it, while nicely smacking Phil down.

4) As a Trig and Track Truther, she needs to be pursued for ALL of her lies (these just being two of them). Emphasizing the baby stuff only diverts attention to the fact that Sarah Palin lies about everything even when it isn't even necessary. The term is "pathologic" and my personal opinion (speaking for myself only) is that she is dangerously mentally unstable and would destroy MY country. Exposing her lies and deceptions is one way to keep her out of the National Stage.

I also believe she is attempting to "bait" the Obamas but her Mean Girl Anger doesn't work with people who have functional IQ's.

Agreed with the philosophy that it's Phil's blog and he can call them as he sees them.

Enjoy your lunch with Sarah's lawyer!

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Dunn, Chris Matthews and Shannyn Moore are not and never have been Sarah Palin's "opponents".

They see that it is vital to the health of this country that the truth about her comes out.

And face it, politics is nasty right now. So she gets poked. So do all the politicians (which she claims to be).

I'm sorry but she cannot have it both ways. She cannot attack everyone with her racist baiting nastiness and then cry crocodile tears that she had her little feelings hurt.

The poll that came out today shows that the American Public does not believe she is COMPETENT to be President.

It is our fondest wish that she runs for POTUS in 2012 and she is finished off once and for all. Miss Palin does not lose to African Americans happily, beginning with her loss to Miss Alaska and followed by her 2008 loss to Mr. Obama.

It is vital that she make a serious run for the office of POTUS because it needs to be settled. The American people must have the ability to kiss her to the curb, formally, and once and for all.

jim said...

Phil:

As I indicated to you directly, after thinking more about your diatribe towards me yesterday, I realized I'd rather not talk with you. If you wish to place restrictions on my remarks (I call that getting "Mudflatted"), (by the way Phil, did you hear back from Devon? I noticed a sudden change in tone), I'm not interested.

I really don't have a clue as to how I could successfully respond to your diatribe or your demands. I won't try. I truly wouldn't know where to begin. I think you should deal with your issues yourself. That's my answer.

Obviously I'm not an agent of Palin and her entourage. I could produce more evidence of that but I won't bother. It doesn't take a right wing paranoid to disagree with you. I figure most of the world probably disagrees with you.

Jim

Anonymous said...

How Phil can even comment or write about the atrocities and behaviors of 'those who can't be named' without totally babbling, cursing, and finding a brick wall to slam our collective brains against, or jumping up and down, ala Yosemite Sam, which is usually the end result of any discussion I have of them, is a credit to a few slips into obscene side comments...how can phil even?

Anonymous said...

Once again, I'm enjoying the learning experience with Alaskan Blogs.

I have been inspired! Once the snow goes away, my next woodshed graffiti fest will craft the words:
"Alaskan Blogs ROCK!"

annnoy-mouse

Mel said...

Jim wrote,

It kind of cracks me up that both Phil and Mel have accused me of being an agent of Palin and her entourage.

Jim, perhaps you should reread & re-parse exactly what was said.

Phil said this: I'm beginning to agree with commenters, e-mailers and phone callers that you've come here on behalf of one of Palin's attorneys, or are simply performing a "troll" role, whether you know it or not.

Notice the or

— which indicates that Phil didn't know with any certainly why you seemed to be trolling, & that your relationship to Van Flein being only one possible option among many.

or are simply performing a "troll" role, whether you know it or not.

That's what I was responding to when I wrote:

Jim, sorry to say it's looking more & more that way to me too, particularly in light of how outraged you seemed about Gryphen being seemingly "He may be hung up about Palin's child's birth certificate" and asking my opinion over the course of three sentences -- but after I gave you my detailed answer, suddenly it was no longer important to you.

Is it possible you were fishing around hoping to enlist me in your cause?


Now, notice the words your cause. Notice how the words I chose were not Palin's cause or Palin's entourage's cause. That's because I didn't assume that your hidden agenda, if indeed you had one, necessarily had anything to do with Palin. After all, wasn't it Gryphen at Immoral Minority you had used 6 sentences to ask me aobut (half of which involved the "Palin's child's birth certificate" stuff)? For all I knew, you had a vendetta out on Gryphen. You also asked me about "Devon cutting down Mike Doogan," & for all I knew you were best pals with Mike Doogan, and/or had a vendetta against Jeanne Devon.

Any of these things, or maybe something else that I haven't thought of, could be part of the your cause that I was theorizing about.

And yes, I do believe you have one, even if I don't know what it is exactly. My feeling was only underscored when you wrote to me & Phil,

Based on both of your comments, I think we should meet if possible.

Why do you want to meet me? Based on which comments of mine? It's all so very mysterious.

And I don't trust it.

I see you've canceled your request to meet Phil. I, for my part, decline your invitation.

BTW, I have also met Gryphen. Be it known that while I think he frequently goes over the top & over the line on his blog, I still like him & I still read his blog -- I just wince a lot. In the interests of full disclosure, I have also met Mike Doogan: we were in a short fiction class at UAA once years ago. I would've been in his legislative district if I hadn't moved just before he was elected.

Anonymous said...

"Miss Palin does not lose to African Americans happily,"

When in danger or in doubt watch the liberals desperately reach for the race card. At least she doesn't make comments about "light-skinned Negroes" like Democrat Harry Reid. Oh, and wasn't Dem Senator Byrd once in the Klu Klux Klan ? People who live in glass houses etc etc.

Anonymous said...

"1) As a woman, I find Phil's using the term "slut" very appropriate although I might have termed it as PROSTITUTE (one who sells herself for money)."

Yep, the liberal left have come a long way since the 1800s . What a joke. You people aren't progressives....you're haters...worse than anything on the right.

Anonymous said...

"I don't hate Sarah Palin."

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

Anonymous said...

"hey, anon - the teabaggers called themselves teabaggers before people like you bothered to consult the urban dictionary."

Hey mr. munger, please give me all those examples of Tea Party activists using the expression Teabagger....

Give me ONE example of them using that expression about themselves in the last six months. You really are sad, you can't admit you're deliberately smearing millions of people by using a foul term that even creeps like Anderson Cooper apologized about using.

"They may not change the country as much as they changed the definition of that hilarious word."

Yeah, 'cos Masachusetts hasn't helped change the country I guess. The Tea Party movement is the future and your vile brand of leftist hate is , thankfully, becoming part of our past. And if they weren't important , you wouldn't be wetting yourself over the fact that Palin is popular ith the movement.

Anonymous said...

"Be it known that while I think he frequently goes over the top & over the line on his blog, I still like him & I still read his blog -- I just wince a lot."

Translation for non-leftists." This guy says stuff I would find hateful and vile on right-wing sites but because he's one of ours I'll go along with it."

For the Left, convictions mean nothing and the end always justifies the means.

Mel said...

Anon @ 10:08 AM --

"Be it known that while I think he frequently goes over the top & over the line on his blog, I still like him & I still read his blog -- I just wince a lot."

Translation for non-leftists." This guy says stuff I would find hateful and vile on right-wing sites but because he's one of ours I'll go along with it."

For the Left, convictions mean nothing and the end always justifies the means.


I guess you haven't been reading, Anon. I've been calling loudly & persistently ever since Phil posted his "slut" remarks & poll for progressive bloggers to refrain from demeaning insults, & to stop excusing their use of them by the hypocritical justification that "the right does it so we can too."

Gryphen's blog, to my eyes, is one of the biggest offenders in the "gratuitous insult" & "criticize for the sake of criticism" category that the Alaska lefty blogosphere has to offer.

But that doesn't, nor has it ever, meant that I have tossed him on the garbage heap. He's like a brother whose uglier language I abhor. But however much I abhor his language, that doesn't' mean he ceases from being my brother. Same for Phil.

But back to the question of hypocrisy: I have said a number of times that lefties are behind hypocritical when they justify their incivility & ugly language against righties because "the right does it to us."

Unsurprisingly, almost all of the right wing commenters who have commented on this issue on Phil's blog over the past few days, including you, are using the same hypocritical strategy: you continually show up, usually in anonymous guise, to gripe at lefties for being uncivil & using "hateful and vile" language, while never once condemning the hateful & vile language from your own side.

So rail as much as you like, but your arguments will continue to have no merit until you stop behaving with such hypocrisy.

jim said...

Mel:

Wow. Hmmm. . . what's my "cause?" I've got several concerns. Let's see. What's the basic one? I'm alarmed with the intensity of the personal attacks against Palin by some liberal bloggers, which I think could backfire someday and help Palin become the next President of the United States. (Sure seems like she's planning on running).

This stuff will give her a great smoke screen and allow her to avoid the real issues during her campaign. Obviously I have other issues too (like I'm concerned about disclosure at Mudflats), but the basic one is I believe personal attacks against Palin actually strengthen her and give her additional resources that she'll be able to exploit as a candidate. She's shrewd and I'm sure she'll take full advantage. Perhaps she'll send some of these folks thank-you notes after she's been elected.

I'd figured it might be good to meet because writing sometimes is a crummy way to have a discussion or gauge a person's sincerity. However, after going over the comments again, seems like it would be a waste of time and you reinforced that.

I think the word "troll" is overused. People who make deliberately malicious comments may be "trolls," but that word often gets exploited by one person to accuse another person of being insincere.

I'm not outraged about Jesse Griffin or anyone else. Got to go, back to income tax . . . really, I'm not lying, I really am working on my income tax. Honestly.

Anonymous said...

"Unsurprisingly, almost all of the right wing commenters who have commented on this issue on Phil's blog over the past few days, including you, are using the same hypocritical strategy: you continually show up, usually in anonymous guise, to gripe at lefties for being uncivil & using "hateful and vile" language, while never once condemning the hateful & vile language from your own side."

Excuse me, how do you know what I post at right wing sites ? FYI , I have railed on one or two sites at inappropriate comments about Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton. Obviously I'm not going to go to other blogs and whine bout sexist abuse at sites not relevant to the issue at hand. And the issue at hand is...that a so-called "progressive" blog would indulge in vile and misogynist terms and , yet, none of the supporters of that blog (until you arrived) made any attempt to stop the abuse...in fact they all took mr munger's example as an excuse to spew their own sexist bile at Sarh Palin.

I'm sorry, but the Left cannot spend decades using the "racism" and "sexism" cards against the right and not expect an outcry when they become hypocrites.

The left are always saying that Republicans get more coverage from the MSM when they are caught in marital scandals because the Republicans wrap themselves in "family values" and deserve it when they abuse those same values. Well, the same holds true for the Left and it's disingenuous of you not to expect a critique of mr munger's outburst just because it comes from those outside the Leftist clique.

Laurie-Ann said...

@anon 4:58

Consider yourself lucky that your post shows up on this and other Alaskan blogs. Some right wing blogs do not allow a differing opinion, no matter how polite the poster is. As well as dumping the post, there is also someone who wishes to call the poster some very ugly names. Which is better in your opinion?

Anonymous said...

"Some right wing blogs do not allow a differing opinion, no matter how polite the poster is."

So do some left-wing blogs...so what ? You are trying to distract from the problem here ...which is this website's sexist abuse towards a woman. Do try and keep up.

Mel said...

Anon at 12:01 PM wrote,

Excuse me, how do you know what I post at right wing sites ?

I made no claim to know what you post at right wing sites. I made a claim to know what you posted here: your earlier post at 10:08 AM which made an inaccurate claim about me; & went on to decry "hateful and vile" language on leftie blogs, while hypocritically ignoring any mention of the "hateful and vile" language made on righty blogs.

As part of your attack on me at 10:08 AM, you also made the generalization that "For the Left, convictions mean nothing and the end always justifies the means." -- which was just as uncivil & untrue as any of the other uncivil & untrue language people have been spreading about. You were being uncivil toward lefties in the very moment that lambasting lefties for incivility.

I'm glad that you have "railed on one or two sites at inappropriate comments about Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton." We'd all be better off if we held our not only the other side to account for incivility, but our own side as well -- & remain civil ourselves as we do so.

Mel said...

Anonymous at 12:00 AM asked me,

Do you agree with mr munger's use of the smear "teabaggers" to insult those of the left and right who are angry over the Dem & Repub mismanagement of our nation ?

Later, Phil wrote, hey, anon - the teabaggers called themselves teabaggers before people like you bothered to consult the urban dictionary.

And I wrote,

Yeah, I remember backwhen the Tea Partiers proudly calling themselves teabaggers, & I was like, WTF? don't they know what that means?

Later, Anonymous at 10:05 AM said,

Hey mr. munger, please give me all those examples of Tea Party activists using the expression Teabagger....

Give me ONE example of them using that expression about themselves in the last six months. You really are sad, you can't admit you're deliberately smearing millions of people by using a foul term that even creeps like Anderson Cooper apologized about using.


I found your restriction to the "last six months" interesting, given that both Phil & I were in agreement that at least some Tea Partiers were calling themselves teabaggers early on -- like last April 15 -- before they cottoned on to the fact that it there was a sexual meaning to it. Considerably more than 6 months ago.

Here's Jay Nordlinger at National Review Online:

The first big day for this movement was Tax Day, April 15. And organizers had a gimmick. They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the exhortations was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” A protester was spotted with a sign saying, “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology.

But, he goes on to say,
others ran with it and ran with it.

So that's the real matter here: conservatives started it, but now that they are as aware as anyone of the sexual connotation involves, should we go on with it?

Speaking for myself, I'm willing to let it go, because I don't see any civil purpose in continuing to use it. I can disagree with & criticize Tea Partiers without using a name that they now (if not originally) decry as scurrilous.

Maybe some other lefties will let go of it as well. Based on how some progressive commenters here have reacted to the suggestion that they give up incivility, though, I doubt that they'll give up this appellation either.

I guess that's the other part of the whole civility vs. incivility thing: developing thicker skins. Especially when most of those who complain are using language equally scurrilous.

Mel said...

(Of course, one must point out that there were at least a couple of conservatives on Tax Day 2009 who completely comprehended the sexual connotations of teabagging. One of the exhortations was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” A protester was spotted with a sign saying, “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” First the liked it, until they didn't like it.)

Anonymous said...

This whole "lefty" vs. "righty" stereotyping is getting mighty tiresome. The world is not so black and white. That's where critical listening and thinking skills come into play, as well as some tolerance.

Philip Munger said...

When I photographed the April 15th Rally at the taxpayer-built Lake Wasilla park, over ten signs had tea bags all over them. A couple of those identified the movement in the terms "tea bag" or "teabag." Several people I interviewed, as I tried to determine the political makeup of this crowd at a brand-new event, referred to themselves as Teabaggers. Others didn't, and used the term "Tea Party."

Had I known then that the term "teabagger" had an alt definition, I certainly would have photographed the posters that then used the term, or were plastered with little Lipton tea bags.

My headline for the post used the term "teabagger," even though I didn't then know of the alt definition.

By the time I found out the alt definition, I had also found out that the people in the shadows behind the movement were actually old-time GOP hacks, being well funded by corporate interests, and that the Tea Party movement was looking quite racist in some parts of the country.

The combination of behind-the-scenes cwhoreporate backing (who owns FOX, for instance, their biggest backer) and the racism at their continuing events (Tom Tancredo's keynote at Nashville) lead me to feel the most appropriate term for the movement is "Teabaggers," rather than any other.

Thanks.

My April 15th, 2009 post:

http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2009/04/april-15th-wasilla-teabaggers-rally.html

Mel said...

Thanks for the explanation, Phil.

I learned the "alternate" (i.e., sexual) definition of teabagging because of Facebook, thanks to a Facebook app called Superpoke I used to use a lot. Superpoke was just an extension of the plain old Facebook poke - it gave you all these options to "smooch" or "defenestrate" or "throw [name a candidate] at" or etc. to the friend that you were "poking." And so one day a friend of mine "teabagged" me -- so I looked it up & found the Urban Dictionary definition. Hahaha -- my friend was female, so it didn't quite work.

So I was already aware of this useage when the Tax Day 2009 stuff began.

Yep, it's crystal clear to me that the cwhoreporate backers who invented the currently dominant form of the Tea Party phenomenon (as opposed to the Ron Paul original) knew exactly what they were doing with their original use of the term. Like I say, the Tea Partiers were for it before they were against it.

Nonetheless, I will abstain from using the term myself. I understand your reasons for continuing to use it, & since you're like my brother (see my earlier comment re: Gryphen) I'm not gonna kick you out of my family for it.

I have no issues whatsoever with cwhoreporate -- since cwhoreporations aren't persons anyway (no matter what some members of the Supreme Court want to pretend). That's a great coinage.

[Idly drumming my fingers on my desk as I wait for one of the Anonymous rightists to come along & "interpret" what I just said.]

Philip Munger said...

Mel,

LOL. I've got to get back to work.

Anonymous said...

Right, left... heck, the discussion is great.

Alaskan Blogs ROCK!

Anonymous said...

"Yep, it's crystal clear to me that the cwhoreporate backers who invented the currently dominant form of the Tea Party phenomenon (as opposed to the Ron Paul original) knew exactly what they were doing with their original use of the term."

It's strange isn't it that when a real grassroots movement develops in this country, the Left have to try and blame corporate interests. The left refuses to believe that anyone other than themselves could organize grassroots protests. Unlike the union funded, agitprop crowds of the usual ANSWER & CODEPINK suspects, the Tea Party activists actually organized themselves. If you're seriously suggesting that corporate interests paid hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans to take time off work to protest at the state on the nation, then you're more blinkered than I imagined. Just keep whistling past the graveyard as your dream for an American version of the Soviet Union dissolves into dust.

Mel said...

Ah, see, my prediction came true: Anonoymous came in again to "interpret" my comment!

I'm gratified.

[Examining the grass roots to find that they're really made of astroturf. (Pâté de Faux News grass, anyone?)]

Anonymous said...

Ah, see, Mel came in again to "interpret" my comment!

Oh and a "Faux News" sighting !! Ah, the sparkling wit and originality of the old Left !

Anonymous said...

"By the time I found out the alt definition, I had also found out that the people in the shadows behind the movement were actually old-time GOP hacks, being well funded by corporate interests, and that the Tea Party movement was looking quite racist in some parts of the country."

Yeah, sure you did ! You just can't admit you get a perverse kick from using a sexual term to smear people who aren't as enlightened as you think you are (all leftists are convinced that only they have all the answers - the rest of us are supposedly dumb hicks who deserve to be insulted and ridiculed). Instead , you come up with these lame explanations of how you miraculously discovered that the Tea Party Movement was cooked up overnight by shadowy evil corporations. Strange that at all the Tea Party rallies I've attended , most people are as down or the Republicans as they are with the Dems.

Must be hard being a leftist and realizing that the only genuine grassroots movement in this country is anti-statist.

Anonymous said...

Well Sarah Palin is anti-elitist, she pocketed $120K for her speech in Nashville. Michelle Bachmann...bowed out, and Ms. Blackburn too, but not "gimme the money Paylin" lol!

Anonymous said...

From the horse's mouth re: Palin
http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2010/02/palin-goes-from-tea-partier-to-not-so-much.html

Anonymous said...

The right hand doesn't know what...the right hand is doing...
http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2010/02/its-not-the-hand-or-the-notes.html

Anonymous said...

Its even dawning on the right WTF is Palin doing?
http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2010/02/sarah-palin-a-pillar-to-post-political-millionaire.html

Mel said...

Anonymous @ 4:13 wrote,

Must be hard being a leftist and realizing that the only genuine grassroots movement in this country is anti-statist

Well, I doubt that the Tea Party movement is the "only" grassroots movement -- but okay. I'm going to take up your implied challenge & do my best to do so with an open mind.

By this, I mean that I will do my best to put aside my received wisdom (from those media that I've been exposed to, including AK progressive blogs) about last year's Tea Party protests & the overall Tea Party movement that I've gotten from, & cast my net wider to get a better understanding of what the Tea Party movement really means to its adherents.

It'll take some time, esp. because I can't do a lot of it right away (I'm trying to finish up a short story for a contest submission.)

But I'll put up a blog post sometime tonight or this weekend on my blog about this intention, & make progress reports there from time to time. I welcome you to come over there after I've started posting & comment as you see fit, within the constraints of civility -- constraints I commit to adhering to as well.

My blog is a Wordpress blog, & to avoid comment spam I require commenters to enter a name & email address, but you are of course free to use a pseudonym & secondary email address to preserve your anonymity if you wish. I, obviously, am not anonymous.

(Anyone else here is welcome to check in there as well, but again, if you comment, civility is an absolute requirement. I'll include some ground rules about what I mean by civility, & will invite commenters to suggest modifications or additions to rules if they find mine to be incomplete/inadequate.)

Here's why: because I really do believe that much of the problem of political discourse & political decisonmaking in this country (or elsewhere) comes from the difficulty we (meaning all of us) have in listening to one another. I mean really listening, instead of substituting our interpretations for what the other person actually said & believes -- something which both of us have engaged in here.

What I know at this point is that no matter how organizations (news media, political parties, etc.) characterize Tea Partiers, the fact is that the individual people who show up at Tea Party events are there for their own reasons that have nothing to do with what the talking heads say. I think you do have a legitimate gripe that we (on the left) are not listening to those individuals very well.

Likewise, progressives (like me) also have a legitimate gripe that Tea Partiers & other conservatives aren't listening to us very well. Both sides are standing in their corners slinging insults at each other. Which has been my complaint from the start of this.

So call this an experiment at least some people on both sides listening to each other & trying to understand each other.

If you're skeptical, okay. A lot of people on "my" side are too. Seeing is believing, etc. But maybe if we go step by step, we might have the possiblity to slowly build up some trust that might amount to something real.

I'll post a link to my blog post when I get it written sometime tonight or this weekend.

Mel Green
Henkimaa.com

Anonymous said...

Mel:

I for one are skeptical. "Your" side? You want to go "step by step?" "But maybe if we go step by step, we might have the possiblity to slowly build up some trust that might amount to something real."

Earlier today you wrote to me:

"Any of these things, or maybe something else that I haven't thought of, could be part of the your cause that I was theorizing about.

And yes, I do believe you have one, even if I don't know what it is exactly. My feeling was only underscored when you wrote to me & Phil,

Based on both of your comments, I think we should meet if possible.

Why do you want to meet me? Based on which comments of mine? It's all so very mysterious.

And I don't trust it."

Your offer above almost seems like a trap.

Jim

jim said...

sorry for my bad writing. "I for one are skeptical." Hah. I'm sure there are other mistakes too

JB

jim said...

Mel, I forgot to ask:

When you wrote:

"And I don't trust it."

What is "it?" I'm wondering why you didn't just cut to the chase and use the word "you?"

Based on my personal experience with you, I'm not sure if I trust YOU (not to be confused with "it") as a trust builder.

Mel said...

Jim,

Sorry I was unclear about what I meant by "it." I meant "whatever motivations you had to ask for a meeting" -- or something like that. But you're right that I could probably have simply said "I don't trust you." If you don't trust me as a trust builder -- well, I get that completely. Because I know damn well that I've made mistakes & will continue to make mistakes, as will other people who choose to take part in this experiment. I'll do my best to learn from my mistakes, & hope that other people who choose to take part will too. And we'll see if we get somewhere or not.

I'd rather do this over at my blog than here, because I will enforce on standards of civility over there that aren't enforced here. Ideally, I would've liked to have someone else there to act as a neutral facilitator for those including me who wish to take part in the experiment. But since it's just my blog, & I don't know any skilled neutral facilitators who might be willing to commit to doing that, I'll just have to do the best I can. Make whatever judgments of me from how I conduct myself that seem right to you. Of course.

The subject of my blog post will be my attempt to better understand, as best I can, how rank & file Tea Partiers themselves understand themselves & their movement, & especially to discover where my differences with them truly lie, as well as what common ground I have with them. Mutual distrust is the common ground we have now. I don't ask anyone who decides to participate to trust me at the starting gate. I won't get anyone's trust without earning it. Maybe I'll succeed, maybe I won't. But I'm gonna at least try, & hope that other people will try to earn each other's trust too, across ideological lines.

jim said...

Mel:

Thank you. You have a noble idea. Good luck.

If I was working on a similar concept, I might invite folks in the middle-- they're the ones who often don't seem to have much of a voice. They don't shout loud enough. The far right and the far left seem well represented by the two opposing sides that make up the infrastructure of our divided government.

Mel said...

Thanks, Jim.

I hope that folks in the middle show up too. For one, I'm going to invite the folks who responded at my blog to my original post about civility, most of whom felt as shut out by the shouting on the extremes as I have.

I have a personal theory that one reason we have extremes to begin with is that we, as a society, make our collective decisionmaking by means of processes that disfranchise a good many of us. Tea Partiers feel disenfranchised by big government (as best I understand them presently), & I think they have a point there. I frequently feel disenfranchised by the decisionmaking made by government officials, by the "tyranny of the majority," & by those fake "persons" known as corporations, to name a few. We feel disenfranchised, we feel helpless, we feel unheard, we get angry, we yell scream & shout at anyone we think supports the forces we believe are disenfranchising us... etc.

How, then, can we all be enfranchised? Is there some better way for us to make our collective decisionmaking?

This is a question for me in the real world, also one I'm exploring in what I'm writing now (an SF novel). Currently I'm doing a lot of reading about consensus & related concepts like sociocracy (which is particularly interesting because it's compatible with capitalist societies), etc. Why should any of us have to live according to rules & regs we have no say in, that we have not consented to? In the end, I think that's part of what Tea Partiers are asking. And if I'm right about that, then that's another area of common ground I have with them.

Ron said...

Mel,

I was watching today the 1964 film Seven Days in May when I saw this great exchange in the Oval Office between George Macready as Secretary of the Treasury Christopher Todd, and Fredric March as US President Jordan Lyman. The exchange about 'the enemy,' the 'lunatic fringe,' and disenfranchisement is so germane (particularly to the idea of your upcoming blog post) 46 years later:

Christopher Todd:
I think it's time we faced the enemy, Mr. President.

President Jordan Lyman:
He's not the enemy. Scott, the Joint Chiefs, even the very emotional, very illogical lunatic fringe: they're not the enemy. The enemy's an age - a nuclear age. It happens to have killed man's faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness, and out of sickness a frustration, a feeling of impotence, helplessness, weakness. And from this, this desperation, we look for a champion in red, white, and blue. Every now and then a man [or a woman] on a white horse rides by, and we appoint him [or her] to be our personal god for the duration. For some men it was a Senator McCarthy, for others it was a General Walker, and now it's a General Scott [and 46 years in the future, it might be a Sarah Palin].

Philip Munger said...

Mel,

If I've learned one thing from this week's feedback on my poll, etc. is how much humanity and empathy you genuinely contain and want to share.

Hopefully, in that realm - and I relate this to my growing interest in your art as well as I do your role as moderator of discussions - I'll not forget what I've learned.

Again, thank you.

Ron said...

Phil,

I can't believe I've taken the time to read through 84+ comments here.

I'm in general agreement with Mel and Steve about not demeaning others, though I recognize it can be cathartic to vent among like-minded readers and writers.

As I commented on Mel's Civility versus Namecalling post, I believe repeatedly hammering home the truth about these things [such as Palin's lies and hypocrisy] is much more powerful than indulging in frustrated name-calling.

Perhaps it might seem sanctimonious, but I believe saying that Sarah Palin lies and engages in hypocrisy (while supporting those contentions with examples) is different from calling Palin a liar or hypocrite.

That said, I still enjoy reading your blog and I particularly admire your intellectual courage in providing front-page coverage for your critics.

I can't find fault with your intention; your means, perhaps, but not your intention.

It is clear that the former half-term governor has supporters reading these comments, and not only do the blogs that cater to her supporters not allow critical comments, I don't believe there is one that would place a critic's writing(even a friendly critic as yours are) front and center on their blog. You have, and I believe that is commendable and demonstrates what openness and transparency really looks like.

Anonymous said...

Well this discussion has had the whole family is huddled around the little comment box taking turns reading. My now adult age kids are exchanging serious debate techniques. The hubby is acting like a coach and inserting examples of expletives, gratuitous insults, while bring up points meant to clarify.

My family does this often. Rarely are expletives used. But this past week, the hubby has used them to see if thier points are more or less valued. I find such very intereting, considering they have been discussing the Endangered Species Act, beluga genetics and Rep. Youngs belief that all belugas are related and should be treated as such.

Yeah, that is what is going around the kitchen table. Beluga genetics, Rep. Young beliefs, civility or lack there of and ideological persuasions via Mungers blog comment box. I love it.

I feel so simple with my woodshed graffiti fest moments. Which, in itself is a lesson in civility...

Quyana
Quyana
Quyana

Anonymous said...

Ron, I was reading your comments on this thread and nodding my head in agreement to most everything you said. But then you had to spoil it by resorting to a vast over-generalization concerning Palin supporters and right-wing blogs. Many of these blogs allow contrary views and opinions in their comments boxes. Several of these sites have run posts that they are not in agreement with. I should also point out that not one of these sites has ever posted a thread calling a female politician a slut or a whore.

Mel said...

Anonymous @ 2:08 PM --

Would you mind posting the names &/or links to some of those blogs? I'm especially interested in conservative blogs/forums (including Tea Party blogs) that permit dissenting views. Standards of civility would be a plus -- but any at all is fine.

I'm not asking just as a "prove it!" challenge, but because I'd actually like to have a better idea of how conservatives including Tea Partiers are engaging with their public, including people who disagree with them. I freely confess that most political blogs I read are on the progressive/liberal side of things, & it's time to expand my horizons.

It may not change my views about how societal problems should be solved, but I'd like to have a more accurate view of how conservatives see those problems & their relationship to people who disagree with them.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

-- Mel

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about it more, and I'm disturbed:

Were either of you criticizing me for being a friend of Tom Van Flein?

jim said...

sorry, hit the wrong button.

Phil and Mel:

The previous message came from Jim.

Jim is a friend of Tom Van Flein.

jim said...

Folks accused or hinted that I might not be a legitimate progressive or liberal because I mentioned I have a friend named Tom. Am I a "mole" because of the friends I have?

I'd like to hear more about that. In humanity, this crap happens all the time-- Hitler's Germany, Bosnia, The United States of America . . .

Jim said...

Let me take this a step further.

Could I ask your permission to be a friend of Tom Van Flein?

Mel said...

Jim, I'm heading out to a cafe to write, but didn't want to leave w/out first addressing this. My answer is: who you maintain friendships with is your own lookout, not mine. I assume & in fact hope for people to be able to maintain friendships across political & ideological lines.

I had something of a harried day & haven't yet responded to your comment on my blog, but thank you for posting it, & I'll try to respond over the weekend. Right now: got a story submission deadline looming.

jim said...

Phil:

Before I asked you stop, you called Tom Van Flein Flein "Van Fleece" on your blog.

Thanks for stopping (after I asked).

Tom has a beautiful family. When you degraded his family name, were you just degrading Tom or also the rest of his family? (another of your pals degraded his family name recently).

You folks are not "progressives." You are just a repetition of humanity's self destructing, dehumanizing, degrading history. That's all you are. You are no different. You are the same. You are not the future. You are the past. Good luck, progressive Phil.

jim said...

Mel:

I can't find your contact info. I'd like to send you my story but I don't want to share it with the world.

Jim

Dancing Bird said...

"I wonder if those who are complaining about Phil's poll also take the same critical look at blogs such as The Immoral Minority where the criticism of Palin runs along the same lines and I see plenty of expletives and worse"

Phil is an academic and brilliant. If Phil said the sky was orange and I looked and thought it was blue, I would grab hold of his arm and whisper, "Something is wrong with me. I swear it is blue. Get me to the hospital."

I like Immoral Minority, but if the sky was blue and he told me it was orange, I'd think he was joking, blow him a raspberry nd tell him he was colour blind.

Phil is Phil. I have met him in person. He is classy. Calling the ex guv a slut reflects on other academics.

jim said...

Dancing Bird:

If Munger was brilliant, he'd have the common sense to move us forward, not backwards. Munger is as brilliant as a one week old burnt piece of toast.

Mel said...

Jim, if you're on Facebook you can send me a private message via my profile there -- http://www.facebook.com/yksin

jim said...

Mel: I'll try to figure out how to do that; may take a day or two.

Facebook has a discussion of association fallacies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

The frequent use of association fallacies in blogs like Phil's (not only by authors but also commenters) is one of the primary reasons his blog will never get a very high level of consensus. Using them doesn't build consensus. Association fallacies are disturbing because they have often been used in history to accomplish bad things-- for example racism and persecution of jews.