How Not To Discuss Blogs You Don’t Like

Exhibit A: Via LGF – the Village Voice rips into conservative bloggers

Comment: I’m not opposed to poking fun at conservative bloggers, or even declaring “this blog is dangerous and should be opposed.” The Village Voice absolutely has the right to rip into Rightists however it wants.

But there’s a good way to make a case, and a bad way. The way they make the case for each blog is awful; if a conservative did this to liberal blogs, I’d be ashamed for conservatism.

Given that liberal readers might not be familiar at all with the blogs mentioned, one thing to do is provide links to posts one thinks indict the blogs. It doesn’t even have to be to their good posts, because the point is to ridicule. What is frightening about the Village Voice article is that it fails at ridiculing, even: by starting with a “stupid/evil” ratio and a “history” that paints any given blog – including ones run by law professors – as cruel and unusual populism, the only thing it does is reflect badly on the author.

What’s hilarious is that it is possible to have a field day with any given blog. If someone wanted to rip me for all the cruel/idiotic/ungrammatical things I’ve said, they’d have 500 posts and tons of comments here and on other sites to work with. If the Village Voice just introduced the blog they were ripping into in some way more than attacks via bullet-points, this article might be a lot more effective. Heck, don’t they realize that if they made a decent guide, I’d read it just to find out what blogs I might not know about?

You’re probably wondering why I’m ranting about this. I think the issue is vital – that we insult each other in partisanship is inevitable, but it should’t have to go along with a solidarity that assumes anything anyone else says is “stupid or evil” if they disagree. The Village Voice represents the dark side of Progressivism I’ve been complaining about recently: some more thoughtful liberals wonder why nationalistic, hawkish conservatives could ever feel the Left was fascistic in its drive for unity. The answer is pretty obvious when articles like this Village Voice one rear their head: the presumption of unity and replacement of engagement with name-calling makes one wonder how exactly this “out of many, one” project is supposed to work.

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