Monday, August 24, 2009

The Preachin' Will Continue

How do you reach the brink?

You get into arguments with loons. You try to wrap your head around the fact that one of the best writers in town thinks it is valuable to link to one of the biggest hacks in town. You forget certain venues have only a veneer of honesty, not honesty itself.

How do you step back?

You remember the reasoned conservatism of a Jason Pye. You remember the reasoned liberalism of a Johnathan McGinty. You find a laugh at the weird journeys of Doug Richards. You remember there are places such as Like The Dew where the long form is still valued. You remember this town has a nest of quality writers (if they survive the gasping rattles of Rosebud clutching meglamaniacs). You remember there are places that care only about their community and the rest of the nonsense be damned.

Now, I'm going to preach a bit. And it will be pompous. If that ain't your cup of tea, feel free to exit the chapel now.

When I started this thing three years ago, it was a place to regenerate my long dormant need to write. Still is. But somewhere along the way (probably during Genarlow Wilson thing) it growed up into something else. It became consumed with the idea that this new medium could be something more - that we could elevate the conversation.

Last Friday, I was ready to call that grand experiment a failure. I became convinced the snot noses who insisted it was nothing more than a child's toy, painted with lead, covered with sharp edges and parts harmful if swallowed, were right.

But agreeing with people I know are wrong is just not in my nature. Moments on the internet sometimes seem an eternity and the aged internet warrior understands, when faced with these singularities of certainty, the best strategy is to retreat to the sheltering woods of reality before seeking the light once again.

Friday, I believed I was wrong and was prepared to shutter my windows. Today, I emerge from the woods still believing I was wrong, but only because I was answering the wrong question.

The correct answer to the correct question is "we must do better".

We will never rid this world of the hyperpartisans, the shrill screechers, the mythmakers, the peddlers of perfidy, but we should strive to contain them. Those of us who believe this world can be something more must continue to dredge channels around their lands. We must dream of a place where they are isolated, left to their lonely howls on islands of madness.

Until that day comes, the experiment will continue because the conclusion has yet to be rendered.


Icarus said...


If you saw my (lack of) dental work, you would know I can't afford those.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Thank you for pointing out that post at SWGA politics.

Jerry said...

I used to inhabit democraticunderground a lot. When the war talk was cranking up, and we were just learning about the PNAC, and electronic voting machines were being widely deployed under questionable circumstances, there was a lot of good investigative work being done, and a lot of good dialogue that really did advance the rhetoric about those things. That's not the case there (much) anymore. It's sad and it was hard for me to leave it behind. It felt like something I had helped build was being taken over and dismantled by others who just didn't really care about it. They didn't feel any ownership.

You could probably say pretty much the same about the internet as a whole. So much promise, but the good stuff seems to easily be overwhelmed by flood of the not so good.

I wonder if it's different elsewhere. Are French blogs generally more civilized? Are German blogs less humorous? Are Italian blogs more fun? Because our blogs seem to be susceptible to the same stresses that affect the general community- lowest cost and loudest voice wins.

Lucid Idiocy said...

One of the hardest lessons to learn in journalism is that you can't expect logic from illogical people.

You can't expect objectivity from partisans.

Basically, it's like samuel jackson said: You can't trust melanie, but you can always trust melanie to be melanie.

Document what you see, then let it go.

Until you take that to heart, it will keep you up nights.

SavRed said...

Being partisan means never having to say you're sorry.

Icarus said...

Being partisan means never having to admit you were wrong.

Pun said...

I hope it's just because it's August. Congress is away and all the psychiatrists are on vacation. The right's unemployed, have too much time on their hands and they need to overthrow the government before their unemployment runs out. Embarrassing their kids and beating their spouses no longer gives them pleasure. Then along comes some web-savvy anarchist who creates the healthcare edition of "Hate blogs comments for dummies" with liberal label multiple choice and cut 'n paste party line. It becomes a war of attrition against people who really need to fight with themselves.
It is hot. Injustice is rampant. Ignorance is pandemic. Free speech costs more than we thought. Truth's pulled the covers over her head. Power's already corrupted. And hope takes the last helicopter to the Vineyard.
Keep the faith, Grift. Football season starts soon and they'll go back to throwing bottles at the referees. The weather will cool and so will our heads.
I've spent more time the last month arguing with right wing commenters than writing. I put up the inane labels and dogmatism seeking common ground or ways to move the debate. I tried non- and bi-partisan, but what happens in Congress happens here, too. Only liberals compromise. The lemmings, stay in line.