A matter of tone

I got pinged back to a blog called the Culture Warrior. It’s a liberal blog, and my posts wouldn’t normally show up there. The Culture Warrior, however, is the blogger who expressed disappointment that Judge Roberts had merely had a seizure, rather than died. A lot of conservative bloggers found that sentiment in bad taste and blogged about it, as did I. The Culture Warrior seemed surprised that his remarks might upset people, and thoughtfully gathered in one place all of the conservative posts that linked to him, which is how I ended up pinged back. What I found interesting was the tone Culture Warrior took in this post. Here, read it yourself:

The other day, I made a little joke over at Wonkette about being dead that raised some ire among some self-righteous conservative folks. They took a break from pretending not to get erect from hate speech long enough to produce pages and pages of Technorati listings. All the big names are there (Malkin, LGF, Althouse) and lots of little ones, in no particular order, after the jump.

You’ll notice that I assumed, without checking, that Culture Warrior is a guy. I did so in part because it’s truly a guy thing to launch a massive insult and then retreat without apology by saying “I was just joking.” You know: “I couldn’t believe how stupid you looked in that red dress. [pause] Aw, honey, why are you getting all mad at me for saying that? I was just joking.”

The other thing I noticed was the crudity. At periodic intervals I’ve mentioned the fact that I’m more likely to find sexual references, scatalogical references, racial insults, and sexual insults in political commentary at liberal blogs than I am at conservative blogs. I’m not accusing Culture Warrior of racial or sexual insults here, or even scatalogical references, but I do find intriguing the fact that he assumes a sexual component to political beliefs.

UPDATESome recent evidence of the crude tone that seems to characterize the Lefter side of the blogosphere.

Nobody hits my brother but me….

Long time readers may recognize the following, which is a recycled post from February 2005 (when I was still on Blogger).  At the bottom, I’ll explain why I’m resurrecting it:

Remember from playground days how, when someone was picking on your little brother, you’d rush over to defend him, and announce to the perpetrators, “Only I get to call my brother names”? I thought of that when I read this Hindrocket PowerLine post (which I reproduce here in its entirety, although I’ve omitted the original internal links):

The ‘Jeff Gannon’ affair has been a mini-cause celebre on the liberal side of the blogosphere over the past several days, to the point where we have gotten several belligerent emails from lefties demanding to know why we aren’t covering the story. My response has been that I can’t figure out what the story is. ‘Gannon’ wrote for the Talon news service and was occasionally cleared to participate in White House press briefings. He apparently is a conservative, and on some occasions he asked questions with a twist that was friendly to the administration. The ‘scandal’ that has erupted over the past few days involves the following elements: 1) ‘Jeff Gannon’ isn’t his real name; it’s James Guckert; 2) Guckert is alleged to be a homosexual (Markos Moulitsos of the Daily Kos has made a big deal out of this); and 3) several gay porn sites are registered in Guckert’s name. Gannon/Guckert has now resigned from Talon due to the attention. The first actual news story I’ve seen on the Gannon affair is this AP report, which quotes Scott McClellan:

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Guckert did not have a regular White House press pass but was cleared on a day-by-day basis to attend briefings and used his real name. ‘He, like anyone else, showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly and so he was cleared two years ago to receive daily passes just like many others are,’ McClellan said. ‘In this day and age, when you have a changing media, it’s not an easy issue to decide, to try to pick and choose who is a journalist. It gets into the issue of advocacy journalism. Where do you draw the line? There are a number of people who cross that line in the briefing room.’

I still don’t get it. Gannon has been attacked for not being a ‘real’ journalist–as compared to whom, Helen Thomas? He called himself a “voice of the new media” on his web site, and it seems passing strange to me for bloggers to suggest that only journalism school graduates are qualified to ask questions at press briefings. As far as I can tell, the only thing that distinguished Gannon from the other reporters is that he is a partisan conservative, whereas they are nearly all partisan liberals. I’d be happy if the administration threw the whole lot of them out and took questions from people on the street. Inasmuch as I still don’t see that there is much of a story here–apart, of course, from the somewhat entertaining strangeness of it all–I’ll stop writing now.

I can’t add anything better to what Hindrocket already said about the core issue (i.e., Gannon’s right to appear at press conferences). What surprised me was that the left is apparently terribly upset about Gannon’s purported homosexuality. Indeed, as far as I can tell from this comment at DailyKos, Claude Raines-like, the Lefties are “shocked, shocked” that Gannon might have a homosexual past — one, indeed, that might include prostitution. That’s sordid, I agree, but two things: that accusation might be false, and, if true, Gannon may well have reformed his wild ways.

My real point, though, is how the Left appears to feel that, while the right cannot comment on race, mental abilities, or sexuality, the Lefties can, with impunity. How else to explain their despicably racist comments regarding Condi Rice, the “cartoons” depicting George Bush as mentally retarded, and now this “homosexual agenda” attack on Gannon? Does being the self-proclaimed champion of people of color, the mentally handicapped, and gays mean that you get to insult them with impunity? I certainly wouldn’t want such offensive people to speak on my behalf. Indeed, I might prefer someone else’s tender mercies to those of my ostensible benefactors.

This old post keeps circling around to the forefront of my brain and reminding me of its currency.  A month ago, there was the uproar that Matt Sanchez had a past in gay porn, although I think that outrage was more about perceived hypocrisy than about his actual gayness.  (Dennis Prager handled that point here.)

Showing that the Left never learns when it comes to exposing its deep, deep disdain for those who deviate from identity politics servitude, Confederate Yankee points out that a liberal blogger has made racially demeaning comments about Condi Rice, calling her “Brown Sugar,” a manifestly sexual term reserved for African-American females.  Apparently tbogg, a fairly well-ranked liberal blogger, figures that the monthly uproar quota for inflammatory racial remarks has been used up, and that he’s free to say what he wants.  Or, more likely, he knows that, because his comment is directed at a conservative black, he’ll get a free pass.

Be that as it may, it shows once again that the liberals’ ostensible concern with racial or sexual identity has little to do with compassion, and everything to do with driving home ideological points and political demands.

The Left wing blogs and Israel

I started a series of posts aimed at examining what the Left side of the blogosphere had to say about what I think is one of the biggest stories of our day: Israel’s major military initiative against Hezbollah. What I discovered, and why I’ve sort of dried up on checking out those blogs, is that they have absolutely nothing to say on the subject — and Dean Barnett explains why. Barnett starts with a discussion about the Jews’ reliable support for the Democratic party, which has Democratic political leaders careful, in public at least, to support Israel. That’s the “one hand.” The other hand is the Daily Kos community. Barnett explains what this community is, what drives its thinking, and how it has responded to the Israel/Hezbollah War, both on the front page and behind the scenes. I’m going to include a fairly long quotation here, but the article has lots more, and I think it’s well worth reading:

On the other hand, there is the Daily Kos community. As proprietor Markos Moulitsas frequently notes, the Kos community is representative of the “people-powered movement.” They are not led by one person; indeed, they are not led at all.

The miracle of the Kossacks is that they are tens of thousands of like-minded people who have used the site to find one another. Although they differ on many details, they tend to monolithically detest George W. Bush and American conservatives. They also tend to distrust or loathe anything or anyone that winds up in Bush’s literal or metaphorical embrace. Like Joe Lieberman. Or Israel.

THE CONFLAGRATION in Lebanon has provided an example of the people-powered movement’s potential to be a liability for the politicians who have tried to curry favor with it.

Perhaps sensing that this issue could highlight just how far removed the Kos community is from the American mainstream, Moulitsas and his other front-page bloggers have opted to ignore Israel’s war. Combined, the half dozen front-pagers have written exactly one post on the subject. And that post, authored by Moulitsas, simply declared that he wouldn’t write anything further on the subject. So while the most important story of the year develops, the nation’s leading progressive blog has chosen to focus on the Indiana second district House race between Chris Chocola and Joe Donnelly. Nothing wrong with that; it’s their prerogative to blog about whatever they like.

But inside the Kos diaries, it’s been a different story. The conversation in the diaries has been overwhelmingly anti-Israel–and potentially disastrous for the Democratic party.

Barnett then follows up by simply quoting from the diaries, a stomach churning journey into old-fashioned Jew-hatred.

Right now, those Democratic politicians who wish to maintain their reliable Jewish base have only two forms of protection. The first is the fact that a large portion of Jewish voters are probably completely unaware of this sewer swirling at the Democrats’ feet. The second is the double think leaders on the Jewish left are currently using to insulate themselves from the hatred against them welling up on their side of the political spectrum. The most perfect, latest, and loudest example of this comes from Sheldon Drobny, who founded Air America, the Left’s “answer” to Rush [hat tip: American Thinker]:

I came to the conclusion that the hostile comments about Israel on these liberal blogs are not coming from true liberals. Most of the anti-Semitism comes from racism and most of the racism I have experienced has come from the far right, not the left. And history shows that the Christo-fascist policies of the right have been responsible for historical anti-Judaism. It is only lately that the extreme evangelical groups have conveniently aligned with Israel now to validate their biblical beliefs. These extreme evangelicals were the most anti-Jewish because of the Passion Narratives of the New Testament. And for my friends in AIPAC, they should be aware that short-term alliances with people who have endemic hatred of you could be disastrous. The early Zionists found this out when they signed a trade agreement with Germany hoping that Germany would deport the Jews to Palestine.

To those who believe that Palestine historically belonged to either the Jews or the Arabs I say read my previous post. Palestine and Iraq were all part of the Ottoman Empire and were made up countries by decree. After the First World War, the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire gave us artificial countries such as Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia and neither country exists today. Iraq is still a horrible remnant of artificial combinations of disparate ethnic regions. The fact is that the U.N. as did the League of Nations before set up countries by decree without much foresight and washed their hands of the consequences. Had the U.N. been responsible in 1948, they had the power to make a difference in that region. Unfortunately, they did not.

I have no easy solutions for the Israel/Palestine issue but I will say that one must evaluate which of the combatants benefit from the conflict. And I can easily exclude Israel from that group. After Israel signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 it experienced its greatest economic and technological advancement. Whether or not Israel was wise in rejecting the 2000 proposal that was advanced by Arafat at Camp David is subject to historical evaluation. But, Israel has suffered economically since the last intifada and has no benefit to its people by having perpetual war. On the other hand, the militant Arab leaders have a lot to gain by perpetual war with Israel to divert their people’s attention from the harsh treatment of their own citizens. And the armaments industries in the nations comprising the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have lots of reasons to fuel the fires. I suggest seeing the motion picture Lord of War with Nicholas Cage if anyone has any doubts.

So my conclusion is that the bloggers who violently hate Israel and see it in black and white terms are not really liberals. They may even be anti-Semites, but they are not representative of the liberal community that was so active in achieving racial and ethnic equality. It is a contradiction for a true liberal to be an anti-Semite. Furthermore, I would not put it past the right wing to flood the liberal blogs with hateful criticisms of Israel to advance a perception that liberals are anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. And I see Karl Rove’s fingerprints all over this.

If you wade through this convoluted argument, you discover that Drobny simply can’t believe that the Left, which has always been anti-Semitic and anti-Israel (witness, for example, the National Socialist Movement, aka the Nazis; the Russian Communists; and Hugh Chavez, who is probably not Rove’s puppet), is actually — gasp! — anti-Israel. And since this historical truism can’t be true, it must be Rove’s fault (or it’s fluoride in the water — one or the other). As Charles Thompson, of Little Green Footballs, said to Dennis Prager when discussing Drobny’s bizarre conclusion, this is serious “cognitive dissonance.” Thinking about it, Thompson is being kind. It’s delusional thinking, pure and simple, and in another age would have landed Drobny in an asylum, walking around with the other crazy Napoleon and Elvis wannabees.

UPDATE:  Dennis Prager is speaking to Sheldon Drobny even as we speak.  Drobny, aside from suffering from severe verbal diarrhea, is woefully ill-informed.  His statements about Evangelical Christians rely solely on canards and have nothing to do with reality.  It’s amazing that someone so narrow-minded and unaware of the reality of the world — as opposed to his imaginary world construct — can have carved himself such a prominent niche.

Talking to Technorati: , , , , ,

Ostrich syndrome continues on the Left

I’m really enjoying the periodic forays I’ve been making into Leftie land regarding the current Israeli/Hezbollah war (you can see my previous posts here and here), so I thought I’d keep going.

No survey would be complete without checking in with Howard Dean. I know it’s already old news (two days old already), but you’ve just got to love it when Howard Dean, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee comes out with these words of wisdom regarding the Middle East:

“If you think what’s going on in the Middle East today would be going on if the Democrats were in control, it wouldn’t, because we would have worked day after day after day to make sure we didn’t get where we are today. We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

I assume that when Dean talks of “bringing together the Israelis and Palestinians” in a Clinton-designed Utopia, he’s factoring in the unending Qassam rockets the Palestinians fire on Israel. Or maybe he’s talking about the more than 70 suicide bombings in just the five years from 2000 to 2005 (a definite Clinton legacy). Or maybe he’s talking about Israeli’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, which had nothing whatsoever to do with Clinton, and which sparked a new cycle of violence culminating in Cpl. Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping from Israeli soil. In any event, all his talk is not only stupid on its face, it’s irrelevant, since I haven’t heard anything about Clinton’s peace making with Hezbollah, which is the real face of this war. Many have said it, but I’ll say it again — Howard Dean is God’s gift to Republicans. And now to the blogs….

The Daily Kos front page yesterday finally got around to tackling what’s going on in Southern Lebanon. The man who fancies himself a king-maker had this to say:

Kevin Drum explains his reasons for steering clear of this morass of a mess of a disaster of a quagmire of a sinkhole of a clusterfuck that is completely FUBAR.

Me? I grew up in a war zone. And there was one clear lesson I learned — there will never be peace unless both sides get tired of the fighting and start seeking an alternative.

It’s clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in “getting over them”, we’re stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable future. It doesn’t matter what we bloggers say. It doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations. Or the usual bloviating gasbag pundits.

When two sides are this dead-set on killing each other, very little can get in the way.

And I, for one, sure as heck have no desire to get sucked into that no-win situation. I just hope that war-fatigue sets in at some point.

Wow, that’s deep. If I understand correctly (and I may be missing something in his positively Zen-like simplicity), Kos is saying they — that is, both sides of the battle lines — like to fight over there. That’s just staggeringly ill informed. As Dennis Prager pointed out today, the Israelis want to do anything but fight:

As a lifelong liberal critic of Israeli policies, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote just two weeks ago: “The Palestinians could have a state on the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem tomorrow, if they and the Arab League clearly recognized Israel, normalized relations and renounced violence. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know Israel today.”

Give Israel peace, and Israel will give you land.

It is the Arabs surrounding Israel, and their Iranian (Persian) masters who like to fight, and who embrace Israel’s destruction as their guiding principle. For Kos to equate the two sides as equally culpable in spoiling for a fight betrays an ignorance so vast and deep its tremendously scary when one thinks of the Democratic politicians courting him.

The Huffington Post, showing that it understands the significance of what’s going on, has expanded its coverage. It doesn’t take sides, offering blogging perspectives from all over, another bit of moral equivalence that irks me. Nonetheless, it gets points for taking the whole thing seriously and at least grappling with the deeper issues.

At Crooks & Liars, Amato takes Tony Snow to task for taking Helen Thomas to task (you go, Tony!); points to a story about James Woolsey calling for an attack on Syria; and cites Juan Cole approvingly when the latter criticizes Bush. In other words, at Crooks & Liars, it’s politics as usual. Amato gives no indication that he understands, or even cares about, what’s going on in the Middle East. In this, he’s taking precisely the same passive view as Kos, although not stating so explicitly. Again, from someone who has leveraged himself to a point of power where he is one of the primary liberal volices in a new political medium, this ignorance is downright scary.

It doesn’t get any better at Wonkette, whose mystique continues to elude me. Her blog plays out as a mere political gossip rag. I give her big points, though, for pausing to trash both Hillary and John Kerry along with her bad-mouthing of everyone else. If you’re going to be perpetually and shallowly mean, at least do it in an equal opportunity way. Because Wonkette has been assiduous in avoiding any mention of the Israeli/Hezbollah war, I’m going to remove her from future surveys and congratulate her for knowing her limitations (which seem to be many).

Eschaton, whose cryptic posts are too much work for me to link through and decipher, is also utterly silent about events in the Middle East. He, too, gets crossed from my list.

AMERICAblog against shows itself to be the blog with the most depth — although, I think, it reaches incorrect conclusions — when it comes to the current war against Hezbollah. It links to news stories about big events in the region, and even attempts some analysis of the situation. This analysis, however, misfires from the get go, by asserting that what we’re seeing is just more of the “cycle of violence” (or, as the analysis says, “tit for tat”). There is no cycle of violence. There is an organization that aims to obliterate Israel (that would be Hezbollah) and a country that wants desperately to be left alone, and will react to defend herself (that would be Israel). Only someone detached from reality could see those situations as equivalent.

Still, AJ, writing for AMERICAblog, figures out, as Howard Dean did not, that there fight with Hezbollah is different from the “same old, same old” fight with the peace-loving Palestinians. Thus, says AJ:

The current conflict is between Hezbollah and Israel, and in this fight Israel has more legitimacy than some give it credit for. This position is further supported by the remarkable and unprecedented recent reactions from other Arab states, which have criticized Hezbollah rather than the usual approach of blaming everything on Israel. A decent analogy is (the old) Afghanistan, a sovereign nation wherein a terrorist group operated with impunity. Virtually everyone agreed that the U.S. had the right to invade Afghanistan to get at al-Qa’ida because the Afghan government wouldn’t (and really couldn’t) control them itself.

So far, so good — and then the analysis collapses into the usual “disproportionate force” garbage. Apparently American liberal rules of fair play dictate that you should only fight a way if you’re pretty sure you’ll lose (that is, it’s unfair for a good army to fight a bad army). And if you actually have an advantage, you shouldn’t use it, so that you won’t run the risk of winning against the bad Army. Certainly, AJ’s underlying point in this regard is consistent with what I’ve heard on the radio lately from people sahing America and Israel are bullies because they’re fighting wars that they can actually win and, worse, they have the temerity when fighting these wars actually to try to win. The chutzpah! I really don’t think this ludicrous definition of “sportsmanship” is the type of thing Wellington was thinking when he talked about the playing fields of Eton, and their role in Britain’s ultimate victory over Napoleon at Waterloo.

Anyway, I’m probably beating a dead horse by now. It just disturbs me deeply that the blogs that have garnered the most support on the liberal side of the blogosphere, and that have positioned themselves most closely to Democratic politicans, are so abysmally ignorant about and disinterested in what I think is one of the most pressing and far-reaching issues of our day.

I’d be interested in your comments. Am I overreacting? Is there a real problem here? If I’ve correctly identified a problem, will it at least have the beneficial consequence of harming Democrats in November, when the American public starts thinking about whether liberals or conservatives will best be able to protect American interests in a changing world?

Talking to Technorati: , , , , ,