by Brian on July 19, 2003

Matt from _A Bright Cold Day in April_ has a long post up about how bad things can get when a post becomes the subject of a political blogfight. It’s a pretty messy tale, and also a warning or two for folks at political blogs.

To misquote Robert Solow, everything reminds some bloggers of their political disagreements; everything reminds me of sex but I try and keep it out of the blog posts. Mostly.

I should note that this is hardly a partisan issue. As everyone who follows poliblogs knows, The Volokh Conspirators do as good a job as anyone at forcefully presenting a political view while keeping the tone at a level with which everyone involved can feel pleased. When _Crooked Timber_ started a few people described it as a lefty version of that conspiracy. If we can keep the standards of debate high enough to deserve that comparison, we’ll be doing pretty well.

This is old news, but while I was on Matt’s site I noticed he linked to a story about Sydney starting a new festival called “Festivus”. Somehow I don’t think this is the way to get the tourist dollars flowing like tap water.

The link to _A Bright Cold Day in April_ was via Virulent Memes.



freddie 07.20.03 at 12:04 am

The sort of silliness that is often done by academics or those inclined in that directiono big money or positions at stake so nibble at each other, snip away–cat-like and reduces what they say if they ever say anthing to potentially more sniping…read and move on is my motto. Or, better, ignore and screw them till they deal with ideas (Ideas)


matt 07.20.03 at 3:01 am

Thanks for the link, Brian. I’m glad this is getting a bit of coverage around the place.

And don’t feel obliged to keep sex out of the blog posts. :)


PG 07.20.03 at 9:38 pm

Matt, thanks for putting up a summary of the action; I had no interest in visiting the Tims’ websites.

I agree that the problem does indeed stem from a rabid desire to politicize everything; not just to politicize, but to label it with a tidy “Left” or “Right” so people have a pre-digested belief about it.
God forbid that anyone have to determine for herself what to think about something; next you’ll be saying that Fox News should stop being the al Jazeera of the U.S.

I am not opposed to ideology; I think it’s fine and even good to have our system of beliefs inform what we think about seemingly apolitical matters.

If I write a post joking about Indian parents’ attempts to marry off their offspring, the post will be full of my beliefs about gender relations, patriarchy, religion, culture, family and elitism. It probably would offend someone who sincerely believes that a good marriage is made by one’s parents, between two materially succesful people of the exact same backgrounds, and in which the wife is subservient to the husband.

But I wouldn’t want my attempt at humor about my probable fate to become a political football, used to deride me as someone who doesn’t respect her parents or who hates men or some similar tosh.

One of the nice features of the blogosphere is that I read a post at a blog and become inspired to “jump off” it and develop my own ideas. But I don’t attribute these ideas to the original post, nor do I attempt to claim that I understand exactly what the poster meant by his work.

Perhaps we can develop a “Blogging Etiquette” guide, such that violators will receive at least as much good-natured derision as the unwary Nazi-comparison user gets for breaking Godwin’s.


Julia Grey 07.20.03 at 9:41 pm

And don’t feel obliged to keep sex out of the blog posts. :)

Hear, hear!


Gary Farber 07.21.03 at 5:23 am

Excellent. I’ve duly blogged this. It’s a point I’ve made innumerable times.


Richard B 07.21.03 at 3:38 pm

A point of trivia; devoted fans of Seinfeld will recognise Festivus as the “alternative” yuletide celebration designed by George’s father (The celebration involves an aluminium pole instead of a tree, and a long meal with physical combat!).

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