Sunday, August 14, 2005

John Cole and the Perfect Weapon

As the summer heat broils, steams and cooks the nation from coast to coast, steam is rising from the blog world. The lines between right and left, never really blurry to begin with, have resharpened strongly, reaching the pre-election levels of last year. The reason ?


The news are not good for sure, but a combination of bad news have kept Iraq on the front news: increasingly lethal and effective attacks by insurgents and Zarqawi's group, the apparent lack of focus and coherence of this Administration about our goals and strategy in Iraq, the hobbling along of the three wheeled Constitutional progress which looks more and more like Iran lite, and the decision by Bush to walk away from the helm in Washington for over a month.

But nothing could have upset the opponents of exiting from Iraq more than Cindy Sheehan's highly publicized protest in Crawford demanding the right to speak face to face to Bush about the reasons for the war that killed her son.

This sparked a number of particularly tasteless , stupid and vicious attacks on this grieving mother from rightwing bloggers, followed by an equally forceful response from some of the left (including Steve Gilliard). The lines were being redrawn and the few bloggers who had recently become uncomfortable with the increasingly anti-libertarian tone of the GOP, quickly returned into the fold.

We mourn the loss of blogger John Cole to the dark side. As with all such tales, his descent started when he gave in to his blind anger of Kos, Atrios, and some ill-defined users of Ms. Sheehan. This anger never really gets explained or rationalized beyond shabbily built strawmen. You should all read this takedown of Mr. Cole's mighty exercise of semantics where we are told that calling a grieving and angry Mom "media whore" is quite acceptable discourse. No, really. Let's all give a minute of silence to Balloon Juice's short-lived monicker of "reasonable conservative".

FOR THE RECORD: Mr. Cole did not say that media whore is acceptable discourse. But I disagree with his implied suggestion that "media whore" is far less incendiary than "whore".


Anonymous John Cole said...

Melodrama as high art from.

Dig it!

BTW- I never said it was acceptable to call her a media whore. I said it was unacceptable for people to say he called her a whore, when he called her a media whore. I also said it was unacceptable to phone his wife at home, and email thousands of letters calling his wife a lame f**k.

Sorry you can't figure that out.

1:22 PM  
Blogger ch2 said...

Welcome, Mr. Cole,
Dig it !

Thank you, for both the compliment and the sarcasm underlying it. I'm a fine appreciator of both.

I never said it was acceptable to call her a media whore.

Listen, I read what you wrote, and obviously I know you didn't say it. But please, I'm neither the first nor the last to have told you clearly that it was still completely inacceptable to call her a media whore. Nor would it be acceptable to call her a media cunt, or a media hoochie. Your defense was no defense at all. You completely missed the issue:

It doesn't matter whether readers of Kos or Eschaton or Steve Gilliard, find out Erickson called her a whore or a media whore, they would have had a right to be incensed by either foul-mouthed and disrespectful smear.

And it goes without saying that the attacks on Erickson were unacceptable trespasses of the bounds of civilized behavior. (Since we now are spelling out the obvious to each other).

But I completely fail to understand how you read the posts of Atrios or Armando to be some kind of incitement to call the guy's wife. Because that is the ONLY reason that I can see as to why you would show such bile against them.

I also completely fail to understand how Erickson and you could so misuse the term media whore.

I'll refer to this comment :

In common usage, a “media whore” is someone in the media who prostitutes him- or herself by publicizing information uncritically in exchange for access, preference, or sometimes just for plain old money.
So calling Cindy Sheehan a “media whore” is a misuse of the term, either through ignorance, incompetence, or simply the desire to get “whore” and “Cindy Sheehan” in the same sentence.

If Cindy can bee accused of anything it is of hogging the media's attention. And the propriety or impropriety of this, or her motives, could have been discussed without inflammatory posts. But as an occasional lurker of your blog, I never saw you flip like this during far more inane and insane media lovefests.
And yes, many of your posts in the past months were often praised by many bloggers on the left for the critical thinking displayed.
And if you check the delighted woops of your current commenters (or are they trolls ?), they are welcoming you back into the fold, to their level of "discourse" (gag), all melodrama aside.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous John Cole said...

You haven't been reading the same comments I have been getting.

And you are right- media whore was a regrettable phrase. what I was reacting to was the intellectual dishonesty of all the sites who truncated it and said he called her a whore. Both can be offensive, but at much different levels.

Try it out on a female significant other sometime- call her a bitch, measure the reaction, and then call her a c**t. Measure reaction.

The poorman and others may have had every right to object to the use of the term media whore, even if there are some people as course as me who think the phrase really isn't offensive for anyone- I am a pottymouth and think media whore has devolved to mean someone who just hogs the spotlight. they were deliberately trying to stir things up by repeadtedly stating just 'whore.' The two are different, and both you and I know it.

And then to post his address, and have his pregnant wife deal with all those insults? Jesus.

5:19 PM  
Blogger ch2 said...

Try it out on a female significant other sometime- call her a bitch, measure the reaction, and then call her a c**t. Measure reaction.

Are you crazy ? My wife would turn violent with either. You DO the experiment and let me know the results, I'm looking forward to seeing grandkids one day.

As for the term media whore, "I do not think it means what you think it means", sir.

The definition I subscribe to (from reading the now-defunct Media Whores Online) may not be widely known. You yourself, hold one different from mine, and I think you should consider that others may hold a third version which is more like "whore we see in the media". Of course, only my definition is the right one. But I'll let you skate on that.

And I completely agree with you. The harassment and threat on Erickson or his family are totally wrong (and illegal). But him complaining about getting nasty emails, or his server not handling the response ? This guy is a lawyer and he expects that people should not email him after writing a disgusting little hitpiece on the mother of a dead soldier that among other things, evoked images of necrophilia, dead body pimping, not mentioning outright lies about tons of relatives condemning Cindy ?

This is not 2000, nor 2004. If Mr. Erickson thought that the Swift Boat liars could get away with their shit now, Oh boy, was he wrong.

He knew he was desecrating a strong taboo, what kind of an idiot goes and pisses on the mothers of dead soldiers. Had he written the same shit about another blogger, I doubt he would have gotten a tenth of the response.

In the end, Erick walks away (hopefully wiser). Casey cannot. And neither can Cindy, she will ALWAYS mourn her son.


6:10 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

"If Mr. Erickson thought that the Swift Boat liars could get away with their shit now, Oh boy, was he wrong. He knew he was desecrating a strong taboo, what kind of an idiot goes and pisses on the mothers of dead soldiers"

How about slandering 250 live veteran soldiers, as you just did?

How about all the other mothers of dead soldiers, who Bush met with just as he met with Cindy Sheehan, who are not making spectacles of themselves? Why does she deserve more than they got?

How about her son, who volunteered for a 2nd tour of duty after his first, and earned a Bronze Star? It's reasonable to assume he didn't agree with his mother about the war, but he can't speak for himself now.

7:44 AM  

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