Listening to the Silence

by Kieran Healy on February 1, 2005

I suppose I should have expected the likes of Michelle Malkin to treat the Iraqi elections as an opportunity to take a pot shot at “the Left.” As you know, we on The LeftTM are all for for more death and suffering in Iraq because it improves our case for universal health care and better prescription drug coverage. Like an excited kid on Christmas morning, Malkin wasn’t able to wait all day. She restrained herself till lunchtime (U.S. east coast time) on Sunday before indicting us along with a few other blogs: “Left goes into Hibernation”, “Crooked Timber is Silent on the Iraqi Elections“. Silent, silent, silent. You can practically hear the wind whistling through the trees around here. An excerpt from our non-existent commentary on the election appears on the Op-Ed page of Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News1, presumably as a big ole chunk of white space. I suppose we were hibernating, really, as long as you think “Hibernation” means “Doing some other things on Sunday (in our own time zones) before catching up on the news.”

fn1. Irritatingly detailed registration required. Try bugmenot.

{ 23 comments }

1

paul 02.01.05 at 3:48 am

For a second there, I didn’t know who you were talking about, then I remembered: she’s known as Michelle Maglalang on most of the leftie blogs these days. It seems fair to hold her to the same standard she used for Teresa Heinz Kerry.

But, then given the right’s fact-checking rigor (“self-correcting” is the phrase, I believe), her ignoring your recent posts is no great surprise. Feed aggregrators are a useful way to make you don’t miss anything.

2

paul 02.01.05 at 3:49 am

For a second there, I didn’t know who you were talking about, then I remembered: she’s known as Michelle Maglalang on most of the leftie blogs these days. It seems fair to hold her to the same standard she used for Teresa Heinz Kerry.

But, then given the right’s fact-checking rigor (“self-correcting” is the phrase, I believe), her ignoring your recent posts is no great surprise. Feed aggregrators are a useful way to make you don’t miss anything.

3

Jon 02.01.05 at 4:02 am

This thrust from the Right will only get worse:

Among the many sub-plots to watch for in Wednesday’s State of the Union address will be President Bush’s appropriation of the words “freedom” and “liberty” for his agenda and the GOP.

As we’ve written before, the Republicans have dominated American policy debates through their manipulation and control of language. Whether through message discipline or superior framing (to use Lakoff’s term), the GOP has won a succession of victories spanning tax reform, Medicare, environmental policy, and more.

Bush’s 2005 State of the Union will be no exception to this strategy. Across both domestic and foreign policy, President Bush will position the Republicans as the party of “choice“, “liberty” and “freedom.” The dangerous and unneccessary privatization of Social Security through “personal accounts” will provide Americans greater freedom and control over their retirement security. Irresponsible and inequitable tax cuts will give Americans freedom to spend their money. School vouchers empower parental choice. New proposals for the Bush “Ownership Society” will free individuals to control their financial destiny. And that is just the beginning…

For more, see:

“Hijacking Freedom”

4

Ted Barlow 02.01.05 at 4:12 am

What an odd coincidence. Malkin’s post bothered me, too; it was the rare post that bothered me enough to inspire me write to her about it. Not that she’s responded.

The self-correcting power of the blogosphere(tm) should kick in any minute now.

5

John Quiggin 02.01.05 at 4:19 am

It’s stunning how little these guys have learned from “Mission Accomplished” and all the subsequent false dawns. There are a few notes of caution, but mostly it’s as if the election had occurred six months after the invasion, and none of the disasters of 2004 had ever happened.

6

Sven 02.01.05 at 4:39 am

Charles Pierce hits another home run today:

They did not stand in line to provide American dilettantes with easy rhetorical weapons, so you don’t own their courage, Glenn Reynolds, with your cornpone McCarran act out of the bowels of a great university that deserves a helluva lot better than your sorry hide. They did not stand in line to be the instruments of tawdry vilification and triumphal hooting from bloghound commandos. They did not stand in line to become useful cudgels for cheap American political thuggery, so you don’t own their courage, Freeper Nation.

You do not own their courage.

7

Jackmormon 02.01.05 at 4:43 am

I’m astonshed that she considers Crooked Timber to be part of the same level of discourse that she is; oh, I am not saying higher or lower, but it does seem clear that Crooked Timber’s posters respond more readily to pressures within their disciplines than to Reuters dispatches.

Note to Michelle: it’s an academic blog, and academics move slowly in order not to judge date prematurely.

8

jdw 02.01.05 at 4:59 am

These are quotes from Michelle Malkin’s blog. I don’t think they lose much for being out of context:

“The vehicle fled the scene? This anti-SUV bias is getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it?”

“Adam Keiper has set images of the Iraqi election to Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

“It’s dazzling.”

“With the exception of Sullivan, the top bloggers on the left side of the blogosphere…”

“While Iraqis rejoice, Ramsey Clark weeps.

John Kerry pouts.

Feminists are AWOL.”

She’s joking, for Chrissakes! “It’s dazzling.”? “Feminists are AWOL.”?
Anti-SUV bias?! She’s obviously joking!

No one that hot can be that crazy. Also I’m almost positive she was on “Real World: New Orleans”, which would be a weird thing for a pundit to do.

9

KCinDC 02.01.05 at 5:27 am

Where did you get the idea that there was a negative correlation between hotness and craziness?

10

Anita Hendersen 02.01.05 at 5:44 am

I thought crookedtimber was above responding to an outright idiot like Michelle Malkin. I mean, really, she isn’t worth your time.

11

Andrew Reeves 02.01.05 at 6:08 am

Hmm… Maybe the sentiments expressed by Malkin et al have at least an element of projection to them. After all, where was the entire right-wing blogging community last summer when Al Anbar province slipped into the hands of the Ba’athist/Salafi coalition? All the crowing after the flattening of Fallujah rather bothered me since it was their own Dear Leader’s decisions that led to Fallujah needing to be re-taken in the first place.

So I suspect that when right-ish bloggers charge their opponents of willfully ignoring news, it’s based on the notion that everyone operates in such a manner since they do.

12

Andrew Reeves 02.01.05 at 6:11 am

Hmm… Maybe the sentiments expressed by Malkin et al have at least an element of projection to them. After all, where was the entire right-wing blogging community last summer when Al Anbar province slipped into the hands of the Ba’athist/Salafi coalition? All the crowing after the flattening of Fallujah rather bothered me since it was their own Dear Leader’s decisions that led to Fallujah needing to be re-taken in the first place.

So I suspect that when right-ish bloggers charge their opponents of willfully ignoring news, it’s based on the notion that everyone operates in such a manner since they do.

13

Linkmeister 02.01.05 at 6:13 am

Jeff Jarvis was harping about the same thing, chastising Kos and Atrios. Pierce’s remarks seem about right.

14

ArC 02.01.05 at 7:27 am

Tangentially: the Dallas Morning News and other Belo sites aren’t big fans of Bugmenot – they seem to disable bugmenot sites and were (until recently) even disabling right clicking on the reg window.

15

Mill 02.01.05 at 8:00 am

Malkin’s obviously, completely and entertainingly wrong about the lefty “silence”, and is in general crazy, but I have to defend that “anti-SUV bias” thing. It’s just a gag-shaped dig at whoever was incompetent enough to write “the vehicle fled the scene”, as though it had volition of its own. I am decidedly biased against SUVs, but I still thought it was a pretty funny line.

16

Jack lake 02.01.05 at 9:01 am

As great as free elections are the real question is whether it is worth the lives of 2000 American kids, the wounding of 8000 kids and, not least, an estimated 100,000 Iraqi dead?

Saving the free world, WWII, is survival; democracy in Iraq is a luxury only Iraqis should pay for.

American post-elections festivals are a mockery of young lives.

17

Ginger Yellow 02.01.05 at 9:58 am

As Anita hinted at above, do you really need to defend yourself against someone who supports internment?

18

Kieran Healy 02.01.05 at 12:06 pm

As Anita hinted at above, do you really need to defend yourself against someone who supports internment?

This is a fair point, though on the other hand her accusation was smugly echoed by a bunch of other places and annoyed me when I discovered it.

It may also be that you _ought_ to defend yourself against people who have a taste for imprisonment without trial… :-)

19

PZ Myers 02.01.05 at 12:24 pm

While I didn’t warrant a mention by the Big Time Blog Idiots, I did have one new commenter show up at my site, all indignant that I hadn’t said anything about the elections. Oh, excuse me, the ‘momentous’ elections.

I told him they were nice, but that I hadn’t said anything because I didn’t think they were that important. He squeaked in fury for a little bit and flounced off. I think I hurt his self-esteem.

And that’s what this is all about: the wingnuts want their egos stroked over this, and we bad, bad lefties aren’t obliging.

20

Rich Puchalsky 02.01.05 at 3:12 pm

PZ Myers, I saw the incident that you’re referring to, and it was hilarious. I went to your blog through a Brad Delong link to read your interesting article about teaching basic genetics, and up popped this guy in the comments. I don’t think it was even about his ego. I think that he suffered from a serious case of wishing that he could break heads. The kind of guy who’d read Spinrad’s _The Iron Dream_ and wonder if there were more neat-o books like that available.

21

Pottery Barnie 02.01.05 at 5:55 pm

so you don’t own their courage, Glenn Reynolds, with your cornpone blah blah blah

Whatever happened to ‘You break it, You own it?’ What happened to all those ‘chickenhawk’ slurs, & saddling the 101st fighting keyboarders with responsibility for all Iraq’s woe? I guess Glenn and co. get to own all the nasty bits and none of the good bits?

22

Reinder 02.01.05 at 6:50 pm

I’m trying to stop that “Leftie silence” meme in its tracks in this post on my own blog. Currently both comments and trackbacks are broken there, so anyone wishing to submit more links to left-wing sites that spoke about the elections, please email reinder@despammed.com and I’ll post them, with hat tips.

23

John Isbell 02.02.05 at 12:49 am

Malkin’s body needs an election to appoint a new brain.

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