Crawl Across the Ocean

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blogging Dilemmas

Over at Voice in the Wilderness, Timmy eloquently follows up on Rob (from One Damn Thing After Another)'s earlier post in which he wonders what the best response is to idiotic and offensive stuff like David Frum's recent NY Times column in which he suggested that, unlike the U.S., Canada was immature because of the corruption in *our* politics.

As Rob says,
"right now, the conversation is entirely about Frum’s comments. What’s more, it pushes progressives into the uncomfortable and ill-fitting role of defenders of the status quo… which we actually feel needs some serious changes."


but as Timmy replies,
"There are many things one can bring oneself to ignore. If I responded viscerally to every outrage perpetrated by the far right, I'd be fresh out of viscera, but to never respond is to completely surrender the media landscape to the extremists."


It seems hard to imagine a blogger running out of viscera(!), but Timmy has a point here, as he does later on when he notes that it's not always about framing or controlling the debate,
"To ignore the Frums and the Coulters and the O'Reillys completely is to invite madness from their constant repetition, their undying contempt, their naked hate and the disturbing ease with which they peddle their lies. Sometimes, a response is really a form of therapeutic scream, and occasionally - occasionally, mind you - that's reason enough [to] vent."


In the end I can't really completely answer Rob's question (when to respond, when to ignore, and what the most constructive course of action is) either. I think that for the most part I lean towards ignoring the nonsense and the stuff which just irritates me rather than wasting any energy or time on it (no post on Frum's column here).

But I make a distinction between people like Frum who, while smug and irritating and seemingly willing to betray his own intelligence to score points with those he seeks approval from, is simply making a poorly argued case for his agenda, and people like Coulter for whom reason and logic and facts are clearly just a thin veneer covering up an agenda which looks to exploit the depths of human anger, irrationality and hatred for personal or ideological gain.

It's when this latter group, which should be confined to the lunatic fringe, starts to work its way into the mainstream (and Time is one of the most widely circulated magazines on the planet) that I feel like something has to be said, if for no other reason than so that, looking back, I can say that I wasn't completely silent in the face of the legitimization of hatred.

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1 Comments:

  • Excellent point, Declan. I was just going to comment here, but felt your views needed to be represented in my post on the topic, so I did an update.

    For the record, I think you did a better job of identifying the line between response/non-response than I did, and tapped into the central disturbing fact: the media mainstreaming of the lunatic fringe. Nicely done.

    By Blogger Timmy the G, at 10:36 AM  

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