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Sadly, No!’s responses to Mark Kleiman’s response to Atrios’ response and Digby’s response to Ana Marie Cox’s response to Stephen Colbert’s routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner went way over the line of civility.

Furthermore, Kevin Drum’s response to Jon Chait’s response and Marshall Wittman’s response to Atrios’ response and Kos’ response to Jon Chait’s response to Ned Lamont’s primary challenge to Joe Lieberman is emblematic of the malaria swamp to which radical left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army sympathizers have reduced the blogosphere.  (Drum’s claim that he and Kos are not radical left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army sympathizers is especially ripe, given their enthusiasm for “humanitarian intervention” in Symbionia.) And Sadly, No!’s response to Drum’s response affords a disgusting display of Bush-hatred, albeit Bush-hatred as expressed by some guy named Jon Chait.  The blogosphere used to be a nice place.  But now, if you dare to let your kids go there, you have to cover their ears!  Or cover something.  Perhaps it’s time for an Internets Civility Filter.

For nothing demonstrates liberals’ destruction of the blogosphere so well as Atrios’ response and Digby’s response to Richard Cohen’s response to liberal bloggers’ responses to Richard Cohen’s response to Stephen Colbert’s routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  Verily, those liberal bloggers are like unto a “digital lynch mob,” as the effervescent, witty Cohen puts it, and they will surely do irreparable damage to the Democrat Party.  Also—almost forgot!—Sadly, No!’s response to Digby’s response sucks eggs.

Listen, people.  People?  PEOPLE!!!!

Jeez, you gotta shout in here just to get anyone’s attention.

Look, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this.  As I myself have recently pointed out in an exceptionally civil response to a commenter’s response to my response to Belle Waring’s response to Eugene Volokh’s entirely sensible suggestion that unwanted sexual touching “might in fact be disturbing partly because of the arousal, or of the possibility of arousal,” it is wrong to respond to clueless wankers and smug, supercilious Washington Post columnists by getting angry with them.  Rather, the civil and decent thing to do is to ridicule them mercilessly in a polite, respectful, and devastating manner, as this fine, upstanding young man has done.

So the next time you’re confronted with a clueless wanker or a smug, supercilious columnist (which, by my calculations, should be at some point within the hour), don’t come on like “a big bowl of Angry Flakes that never runs out”; take your cue instead from the most fearsome criminal in the annals of fearsome criminality, Doug Piranha.  Use sarcasm.  Use all the tricks—dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and—satire.  Be vicious.  But be civil!  Richard Cohen will never figure out what hit him.  (Of this you can be sure!)

Let’s go over this again, shall we?  It’s an important point.

Digital lynch mobs of radical left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army sympathizers armed with a big bowl of Maryscott O’Connor® Brand Angry Flakes are bad for the Democrat Party.  If not for digital lynch mobs of radical left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army sympathizers armed with a big bowl of Maryscott O’Connor® Brand Angry Flakes, political discourse in the United States would be characterized by good sound Habermasian communicative reason, and Max Cleland would still be a Senator today.

Polite, respectful, decorous, civil bloggers armed with sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes (especially the litotes) and satire are good for the Democrat Party.  With the help of polite, respectful, decorous, civil bloggers armed with sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes (especially the litotes) and satire, the Democrat Party will take back the House and Senate this fall.  And then, finally, we can make the bastards pay!  We will launch an investigation into smug, supercilious, clueless wanking, and we will issue our first subpoena to Richard Cohen.

Tomorrow: join the Campaign to Prevent Massive Linkdumping!

UPDATE:  The Campaign Against Incestuous Blogosphere Metacommentary could use your help, too.  Thanks, Steve!

EXTRA UPDATE, MAY 10:  The previous update inexplicably left Skippy out of the mix.  How could I have overlooked the man who coined the term “blogtopia” while covering one of the biggest pileups on Blogtopia Parkway?  Lazy clicking finger, that’s how!

And don’t forget to check out Barbara’s thoughtful response to the responses, either.

Posted by on 05/09 at 11:14 AM
  1. Yeah, right.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  12:39 PM
  2. Cross that line again, Venerable Ed, and I’ll ban you from this civil blog.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  12:41 PM
  3. May I take this oportunity to respond to Michelle Malkin’s response?

    Posted by Sir Oolius  on  05/09  at  12:52 PM
  4. I hereby Nominate this Berube fellow to be a Person of Integritousicity.  If he should not sign the un-Pledge, he will not be anti-Integrity nor anti-Civility.  Yea, verily, and it was good.  Amen.

    Posted by NTodd  on  05/09  at  12:55 PM
  5. Please do, Sir Oolius!  Your response is most respectful and polite.  And also satirical in an appropriately civil way.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  12:56 PM
  6. Done, NTodd!  I have officially refused to sign.  Thank you for founding this anti-anti-Integrity Integrity Movement Movement.  And for doing so in a decorous manner.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:02 PM
  7. I love a man who knows how to wield a litotes. You, Stephen Colbert, and the anonymous Old English poets(1) are my heroes.

    (1) The best litotes in Old English has to be the line about the warriors running away from the fight in The Battle of Maldon:  “they cared not for battle that day.” Hmmm...perhaps that one could come in handy in ridiculing the Chickenhawks and other assorted Rethuglicans.

    Posted by Dr. Virago  on  05/09  at  01:03 PM
  8. Oh My God you are being so mean and rude to a Washington Post columnist of such a great stature. You are going to destroy the civility of political discourse that emerged after the rise of Bush due to the Presidnt’s determinedly concilliatory tone in face of so much incessant ridicule and hatred from the political opponents.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:05 PM
  9. Great punch line, Michael (& Red Lantern). The really funny thing about Richard Cohen? He used to have dark hair. Not a single gray one! Over 20 years ago when I was reading the Post, he was a thoughtful-looking young man who wrote great little lobs from the left. A Richard Cohen column could make my day, much like a Berube post today. But I don’t remember any of them now. Maybe he was so funny, I’ve had to wipe it all out of memory.

    Posted by Sally  on  05/09  at  01:08 PM
  10. Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland’s Thompson gun and bought it

    Sara Jane and Yoshimura have learned to be so very respectful i am sure.

    btw: some new fact checking has been done on that name we no longer even symbolize....
    FactCheck!

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:10 PM
  11. Forgive me, I’m new to this blog, but is it always like this? Is anything discussed in a serious matter without a snark to sentence ratio of of 15:1?

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:18 PM
  12. Drum’s claim that he and Kos are not radical left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army sympathizers is especially ripe, given their enthusiasm for “humanitarian intervention” in Symbionia.

    Wow. Who knew there were fresh Symbionese Liberation Army jokes still to be made?

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:21 PM
  13. Not unlike a metacomment.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:22 PM
  14. From one English teacher to another, great fucking post on that mock turtle Cohen. Not an unimpressive use of “litote” either.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:24 PM
  15. Dustin: It’s rated for tolerances of between 3:1 and 24:1, I believe. You can push the envelope, but the manufacturer won’t vouch for performance —the blog might overheat or seize up completely. On the other hand, with Michael B. it handles pretty smoothly even with some serious overclocking. As they always say, it’s an art, not a science.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:28 PM
  16. Doug Dinsdale?  You mean Doug Piranha, right?

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:28 PM
  17. not a bad post.

    i would not say that the senators have a chance to take the series to seven games against my fleet hometown team.

    speaking of the democratic party, and since my captcha word was income, don’t not check out <a href="http://www.nyuexposed.org/works_admin.htm">how much former clintonites jacob ‘jack’ lew and cheryl mills are making(/a> eradicating the graduate student union.  i’m not unobsessed with that issue.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:30 PM
  18. Forgive me, I’m new to this blog, but is it always like this? Is anything discussed in a serious matter without a snark to sentence ratio of of 15:1?

    Yes.  No go away or I will snark at you a second time-uh.

    Posted by NTodd  on  05/09  at  01:33 PM
  19. Is anything discussed in a serious matter without a snark to sentence ratio of of 15:1?

    Why, yes!  My archives are at your disposal.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:34 PM
  20. You mean Doug Piranha, right?

    Of course!  Who said anything about Doug Dinsdale?

    (Oops.  Fixed.  All those hyperlinks made my head hurt.)

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:35 PM
  21. Hail Symbionia! Symbionia’s going to war!

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:36 PM
  22. From one English teacher to another, great fucking post on that mock turtle Cohen.

    Why thank you, Tom!  Despite the fever swamp profanity of your comment.  I have to say I liked the idea of Miniver Cheevy being a Vietnam hero, but I dunno, maybe that’s just me.

    Now back to doodling Yes logos.

    Now go away or I will snark at you a second time-uh.

    What are you doing in England?

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  01:38 PM
  23. In related news, The Circle Jerks, legendary punk band from SoCal, decided to change their name in order to avoid been associated with the highlit phenomenon.

    Posted by norbizness  on  05/09  at  01:48 PM
  24. Who’s Ana Marie Cox?

    Posted by Roxanne  on  05/09  at  01:49 PM
  25. "being.” Stupid cold medication.

    Posted by norbizness  on  05/09  at  01:51 PM
  26. Why is it that I think that we readers are the Steven Weed of this particular brouhaha?

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:05 PM
  27. Oh krist, now I gotta look up ‘litotes’.  I was just trying to goof off on my break here, Mrs. Pringle.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:05 PM
  28. Hee.  You’re making me giggle again Michael.  You KNOW what happens when you make me giggle.

    MKK

    Posted by Mary Kay  on  05/09  at  02:09 PM
  29. This civility brouhaha* has reminded me of Mark Kaplan’s invaluable “Notes on Rhetoric.” Some choice relevant examples:

    Difference of Opinion It is axiomatic that your opponent does not, nor ever will, be objecting to the content of your opinion. He is necessarily stung by and unable to tolerate the sheer difference of opinion, and his arguments simply express this fact. (copyright J.Hari.) ‘You are obviously unable to tolerate any point of view different from your own’ etc

    Emotion Your opponent is necessarily and invariably “excitable” “agitated” “animated”; you, by contrast, are immobile, impassive, devoid of emotion - a computer imbued with consciousness.

    http://notesonrhetoric.blogspot.com/

    *A word that seems somehow very appropriate to anything involving Richard Cohen.  I’m not sure why.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:11 PM
  30. Haha! It seems I’m not the only one pulled inexorably by “brouhaha”!

    (Last two captchas: “young” and “boy”.  Ageism?)

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:13 PM
  31. The Circle Jerks, legendary punk band from SoCal, decided to change their name in order to avoid being associated with the highlit phenomenon.

    About time, too.  If I were a legendary punk band from SoCal, I’d be downright embarrassed by the cesspool that circle jerking has become.  There’s just no dignity in it any more.  Word on the street is that the underappreciated New Wave outfit The Smug, Supercilious Wankers are thinking about a name change as well.

    Who’s Ana Marie Cox?

    Rox, the seventh-grade humor thread was two posts down.  Next you’ll be asking me who Richard Hertz is.

    You KNOW what happens when you make me giggle.

    All too well, Mary Kay, all too well.  The waitstaff at the Café Symbionia tell me that it took them the entire weekend to clean up after last time.  And the last thing we need right now is for the liberal blogosphere to turn into some kind of Giggle Swamp.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:19 PM
  32. An understanding of “litotes” is not unhelpful to comprehending the full measure of this post’s snark.

    And Michael, so long as we’re Steven Weed, have you considered changing your name to Tanya?  It’s not without a certain élan ("really," emphasizes captcha).

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:19 PM
  33. Stop doodling my logos, you geeks.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:20 PM
  34. And Michael, so long as we’re Steven Weed, have you considered changing your name to Tanya?

    Do you all have to be Steven Weed?  Doesn’t anyone want to be Donald DeFreeze?  You could take turns—that would be the civil thing to do.

    As for me, I will shortly change my name to Mizmoon, the better to enable polite right-wing bloggers to refer to me as a Mizmoonbat.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:24 PM
  35. Is it parodic in here, or is it me? Nice lede, Michael. 

    Don’t misunderstand me—I’m not siding with Cohen.  It just seemed to me yesterday that blogger-slag-blogger was getting a bit out of hand. Cohen’s a different story—he has a major-media megaphone, and he’s covering the old standard “Call Them Unhinged (But Only If They’re Liberal).” Beyond that, though, I wish we could drop this whole thing.  Yes, Colbert was funny.  Yes, the idiots didn’t get it.  But no, it doesn’t really matter—if they’d laughed till they wet themselves, we’d still have the same fucking government we have now.

    Posted by Steve M.  on  05/09  at  02:48 PM
  36. Well, Cinque got killed, which kind of takes the gloss off that particularly fantasy, while Steven Weed is merely reduced to shuffling a shopping cart filled with his belongings around Boulder holding out a coffee tin with “I used to be Steven Weed, the Fiancé Tanya Jilted for a Pseudo-Marxist Terror Organization” painted on it. (It’s one of those big, big coffee cans, like you get at Wal-Mart on the same aisle at which you can purchase a 55-gallon drum of Cajun-style mayonnaise. So, you can write a lot of stuff there.)

    As far as being Tanya goes, Ben has this wig he wants you to wear. Turn down the lights, unlock the door, hang a Ché banner on the bedroom wall, and tell none of us about what happens.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  02:49 PM
  37. And yes, I did just post this, then finish reading what you wrote.  I promise never to do that again.

    Posted by Steve M.  on  05/09  at  02:52 PM
  38. And Steve, I completely missed your metacommentary on the pileup of metacommentary.  I’ve gone over to No More Mister to apologize, but I want to meta-apologize here, too.

    Can’t believe I forgot about Peter Daou.  Maybe he can wear that wig, Brian. . . .

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  03:03 PM
  39. have you considered changing your name to Tanya?

    Whether he does so or not, Michael will remain Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  03:04 PM
  40. Dinsdale wouldn’t like that…

    I mean, he didn’t *want* to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. He’d do anything for you, Dinsdale would.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  03:30 PM
  41. Is anything discussed in a serious matter without a snark to sentence ratio of of 15:1?

    In this particular case, there’s no possibility of this to-do being interesting without it.

    Seriously, I thought Ana Marie Cox was, ya know, dead. Turns she went to Time instead, which seems like a worse fate. Since she was all about the inside-the-Beltway schtick, listening to her/caring about what she says now that she’s dead (that is, now that she’s inside-the-beltway) seems an awful like paying serious attention to Andrew Sullivan’s strategic judgements.

    Mark Kleinman is apparently dead as well, or at least has embraced Sullivan’s strategic vision, since he wasted hundreds of words kvetching about it.

    So, anyways, how about them Ducks?

    ash
    [’I thought they played with great civility.’]

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  03:41 PM
  42. Is anything discussed in a serious matter without a snark to sentence ratio of of 15:1?

    In my best Frank Nelson voice: “eeeYYYYEEssss!”

    Posted by David J Swift  on  05/09  at  05:55 PM
  43. Fortunately, we have a variant of the Cauchy convergence test to assess if any particular Internet thread or dialogue will converge.
    (… and if it doesn’t; I would not hesitate to be the first to say “Imminent Death of the Net Predicted!")

    A discussion is convergent, if and only if, for any amount of attention a>0 there is a reply N such that any subsequent subsequence of replies generates less total attention than a.

    I would judge this blog post overall (and more specifically this comment) to be not too far from N.

    “Is not precisely a litotes when appended to its quotation”, is not precisely a litotes when appended to its quotation.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  06:06 PM
  44. We will launch an investigation into smug, supercilious, clueless wanking, and we will issue our first subpoena to Richard Cohen.

    LOL!

    Posted by Shakespeare's Sister  on  05/09  at  06:17 PM
  45. "Whether he does so or not, Michael will remain Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart.”

    I only just now realized, 18 years too late, what that song was actually about. (D’oh.) Thanks.

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  07:01 PM
  46. Amen and Hallelujah!

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  07:33 PM
  47. Dear Sirs,

    Fuck you. ©

    Posted by Maryscott O'Connor  on  05/09  at  09:15 PM
  48. Maryscott O’Connor (#47)

    Dear Sirs,

    Fuck you. ©

    sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes (especially the litotes) and satire

    Hey, wait! ultradétournement isn’t on that list!

    Posted by  on  05/09  at  10:20 PM
  49. …sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes (especially the litotes) and satire…

    Hey, wait! ultradétournement isn’t on that list!

    Neither is ‘snark’, but you don’t see me complaining.

    Posted by NTodd  on  05/09  at  10:29 PM
  50. There are worse fates than being relegated to the pages of Time. And, in time, maybe we won’t be forced to view Ana Marie’s au courant Pigalle plutard tats.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  05/09  at  10:36 PM
  51. Dear Sirs, Fuck you. ©

    Now that’s just totally uncalled for, MSOC.  You can’t copyright “fuck you”!  “Fuck you” must remain in the public domain for future generations!

    The campaign to Preserve Net Invective begins here.

    (1) The best litotes in Old English has to be the line about the warriors running away from the fight in The Battle of Maldon:  “they cared not for battle that day.” Hmmm...perhaps that one could come in handy in ridiculing the Chickenhawks and other assorted Rethuglicans.

    I want to apologize to the fearsome Dr. V. for not acknowledging (until now) that this is teh funny.  Next time Jonah and Jeff and Captain Ed start in with the war cries, I’m quotin’ The Battle of Maldon at them.  Or perhaps we could simply make it the Official Motto of the 82nd Chairborne?

    Posted by Michael  on  05/09  at  11:38 PM
  52. It may be immodest to say it but Richard Cohen is almost like the Walt Whitman of now. He (along with his publisher) is united with, veritably throbs in sympathy with the pulse of the ordinary American man (and woman) like you crudball pecksniffs could never understand. “Stupid mass of filth”? That’s what they said about Whitman, and if they said it about Cohen it would be just as dumb. He’s real & you’re not. I could go on, but what’s the point.

    Posted by  on  05/10  at  12:55 PM
  53. Fair enough, Bi-curious, and I should probably admit that Cohen’s “When Lilacs Last in the Beltway Bloom’d” is a beautiful piece of work.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/10  at  01:47 PM
  54. The litotes is not un-delicious.  Some might even call it groin-grabbingly not un-delicious.  Not I, though, as I don’t appreciate that kind of language, especially on the internet.

    Is anything discussed in a serious matter without a snark to sentence ratio of of 15:1?

    Does this blog stand accused of producing bosonic snark, or of injustice for failing to maintain proportionality with the wrongness it responds to?

    Posted by Blar  on  05/10  at  02:47 PM
  55. hey, michael, what have i ever done to you??

    you totally left out my response to blogtopia’s response to the media’s response to colbert’s response to awol!

    and, you failed to mention that yes!  i coined the phrase ‘blogtopia!’

    i’m hurt!

    Posted by skippy  on  05/10  at  02:49 PM
  56. hey, michael, what have i ever done to you??

    Well, now that you ask, you did steal my Pop Rocks during recess at J.H.S. 57 on October 5, 1973.  I was willing to put that behind me, but since you really wanted to know. . . .

    And I’ve updated the post to atone for this latest sin of omission.  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

    Posted by  on  05/10  at  03:07 PM
  57. What’s Pigalle plutard?

    Posted by  on  05/10  at  05:31 PM
  58. I need to withdraw my other comment, which didn’t make any sense.  I got Richard Cohen confused with somebody else, maybe Gene Shalit, or Chris Matthews.  Now, that Matthews really does throb with the pulse of Everyman. (See “Would YOU wanna live around a buncha Mexicans??") As for Cohen, I don’t know, you can have at him.

    Posted by  on  05/10  at  06:20 PM
  59. well, now that you ask, you did steal my pop rocks during recess at j.h.s. 57 on october 5, 1973.  i was willing to put that behind me, but since you really wanted to know. . . .

    oh that’s right, i was that college student hanging out at the junior high stealing candy, i remember now!

    thanks for including me in your brilliant rant!  and for correctly attributing the coining of the phrase “blogtopia” to yes!  me!

    Posted by skippy  on  05/10  at  07:59 PM
  60. i was that college student hanging out at the junior high stealing candy, i remember now!

    You were really big.  And you were really mean.

    But I forgive you because yes!  you coined the phrase “blogtopia.”

    Posted by Michael  on  05/10  at  09:02 PM
  61. A Contrarian whose snarky “web” “log”
    Began to resemble a bog,
    Used all the right quotes
    (And a ban on litotes)
    To quickly blow out all the fog.

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  02:49 AM
  62. First they came for the litotes, and I did not complain, because I did not use litotes.  Then they came for the limericks. . . .

    Posted by Michael  on  05/11  at  07:24 AM
  63. All of these liberals should stop attacking Stephen Colbert for his conservative views.
    http://jonswift.blogspot.com/2006/05/liberal-media-attacks-stephen-colbert.html

    Posted by Jon Swift  on  05/11  at  07:45 AM
  64. Big joke, Michael (& the Red Lantern). What’s really funny about Richard Cohen? He used to have dark hair. There is no single gray one! More than 20 years ago when I was reading the Post, he was a thoughtful young people who write big small lobs from the left. A Richard Cohen column could make my day, more like Berube post today. But I do not remember anything from them now. Maybe he was so funny, I’ve deleted it from memory.

    Posted by Herman  on  12/16  at  03:56 AM
  65. it is a very good article.I read it two times.It is very reliable article i really impressed with it. nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!

    Posted by VIMS Pune  on  02/13  at  06:34 AM

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