I shouldn't get too wrapped up in online discussions, particularly in comment threads on blogs. But I often do, especially when the discussion is about actual ideas and not just a tired rehash of pop culture or ossified political positions.
Which is why I was especially disappointed this afternoon to see that an earlier comment I posted on an oft-visited blog had been unceremoniously removed after remaining online for several hours today.
Let me say first that I firmly believe in the "my house, my rules" philosophy of blog hosting. The blog owner has every right to edit or censor any of the content posted there.
However, on a personal level I have always admired this particular blogger for his relatively even handed and open minded approach to discussions. His comment threads are often interesting and informative, with a number of different points of view represented, quite often in opposition to his own original posts.
Which is why this particular act is so puzzling, and troubling. It was the third comment I had posted in the thread (the first two comments still remain as of this writing). It was on topic, polite, not obscene in any way -- it simply expressed a different opinion to that of the author of the post. The topic of the article apparently had the author fairly agitated, based on his responses to my first couple of comments. I can only assume that perhaps he was on a rather shorter fuse than usual today, and was in no mood to have his ideas challenged.
Again, his house, his rules, so I'm not arguing that he's under any obligation whatsoever to give access to anyone in particular. Nor is he obligated to use his own site's bandwidth to publish views that are contrary to his own.
But as a "consumer" of his site, this makes me wonder what other content he's censored in the past on other topics. It makes me wonder what future content he may censor on a whim. I had assumed from my perception that his forum is generally open, that there was a certain integrity to the conversation -- that polite and relevant comments would be welcomed without regard to the ideas one expressed. That appears not to be the case, which means that I must question the integrity of every conversation on the site.
And, perhaps naively, I am very disappointed to lose so much respect for someone whom I had never met, but had certainly admired.
I came across a new Righty blog for Oregon, "Oregon Fevah". From their mission statement:
Oregon's got a blue fevah. And the only prescription is a big red cowbell.
OK, at least these guys have a sense of humor. And they enjoy a little classic Walken. What I've read so far has been interesting, and while certainly biased, not too far out on the fringe. As they say in the "About the Fevah" page:
We bleed Republican red, but we're not ideologues. If you're looking for crazy, there's plenty of love out there for you elsewhere.
There oughtta be more blogs like this, across the whole political spectrum. They aren't kidding about the "plenty of love", far too many political blogs are all about the crazy. And so far, at least, the authors seem to have a firm grasp of the English language, including spelling and grammar -- a grasp that is all too tenuous on many other such blogs.
Anyhow, what makes it especially worth mentioning is that they have a great video in one of the posts, which is good enough by itself but in the context of the post topic is absolutely brilliant. So rather than reposting the video here, I'll just send you over there to read and then watch.
At this point he's already had enough visitors to meet his cap on the buck-a-hit thing, but he's also passing an "e-hat" around to allow visitors to contribute a bit to the fund as well. Apropos of our web site, I put a few pennies (so to speak) into the hat myself this evening. I'd suggest that you check it out and give whatever you can to some very deserving charities in the Portland, Oregon area.
Thanks so much to Jack for opening up his pocketbook on behalf of his visitors, and thanks to all those visitors who also kicked in a little extra.
A friend of mine from here in Oregon is studying calligraphy in the last offering of a one-year program at Roehampton College in London. The story of a young American in London learning an underappreciated art with students young and old from around the world is a pretty interesting story and she tells it well. She is touring Scotland this weekend so I expect some nice pictures within a couple days. You can also find a link to her in the sidebar too.
Once again, astute observer zefrank has distilled the core of a complex issue into a basic, rational explanation. His commentary on our basic inability to understand risk actually aiding terrorists is dead on. And his assertion that "general statements that instill nebulous fear without specific information" (such as our President makes regularly) are "exactly in line with the goals of terrorism" is something that everybody should take to heart.
Yeah, the guy's kinda goofy sometimes, and he has an offbeat sense of humor. Occasionally, like the first part of today's show, he can be obscene. But when he's serious, he's also an important voice of reason in an otherwise chaotic world. He exceeds the Stewart/Colbert standard on a regular basis. Start watching him, for your own good.
UPDATE: Apparently the video was pretty choppy on this page for some users, so you'll now need to go to zefrank's web site directly (click on his picture in the top-right) and it should run smoothly.
Yesterday, Jack Bog's web site was inaccessible to some folks due apparently to a domain registration issue. I'm glad he's back, he's one of my main reads every day.
One of his posts that I had missed referred to an article he had posted two years ago. As things do on the web, one thing led to another and I found myself reading this old post about a bluegrass performer in Portland.
The discussion in the comments section mostly revolved around artists who speak out about political issues during their acts (not as part of their songs, mind you, but between songs). And therein was contained one of the funniest exchanges I've ever seen on a blog. In comedy, timing is everything. And this worked out perfectly:
I still think that politicians are performers . . . they just lack an instrumental accompaniment. Just dub in Mozart to any speech and a politician becomes an artist. Visa versa, remove the beat from hip hop and what do you get?
Posted by: ron at June 30, 2004 08:25 AM
"...remove the beat from hip hop and what do you get?"
Posted by: Scott-in-Japan at June 30, 2004 10:28 AM
This is not the first time the subject has come up on that site, and I always find it interesting to note the outrage when government fails to compel private industry to bend to a specific consumer's will. The sense of entitlement is downright staggering.
Right off the bat, I want to be perfectly clear on a couple of points. First is that I am distinctly pro-choice. Second is that I personally have no moral or philosophical qualms whatsoever about the so-called "Plan B".
So the issues I take with the discussion (so far at the time of this writing, anyhow) are related not in the slightest to freedom of choice. They are related to fundamental disagreements over the proper role of the government in regulating the private sector, and certain "rights" claimed by the author of the piece.
The author, Russell Sadler, starts his reasoning on a very shaky premise:
"For the sake of argument, let’s agree with two principles: (1) No person should be required by law to violate their conscience; (2) every consumer who goes to a pharmacy has a right to have their prescription for any lawful drug filled promptly and without moralizing."
I'm fine with #1, but #2 is where the whole argument falls off the rails. Setting aside the issue of moralizing (I happen to agree but it's only marginally related to the argument) we're left with every consumer having the "right" to promptly purchase any lawful drug from any pharmacy they walk into.
No such right exists now. Nor, in my opinion, should such a right exist.
So while "for the sake of argument" I will concede that the author's premises would lead more-or-less logically to his conclusions -- it would be for the sake of a pretty useless argument. I could as easily say that for the sake of argument, let's agree that women are the legal property of their father or husband -- but no matter how perfectly "logical" the resulting conclusion, it too would be worthless since the premise is faulty.