kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Coup sans grace

As a number of my readers (both) know, I have, for several years, been a very active participant in the chatroom that is linked to Ann Coulter's site (anncoulter.com). On its first version, I had approximately 11,000 posts; the second version, a few over 5,000. (I quit for a couple of months at exactly 5,000, but rejoined when the events to be described occurred. I had planned on returning Nov. 8 for what should be obvious reasons.)

The board is pretty fun. While there are one or two "liberals" (also known as "libtards," "communists, "socialists," "leftists," and "comlibs," usually without much differentiation), for the most part I'm on my own, against sometimes a hundred people who disagree with me on virtually every point. I go there to annoy, argue, and learn, usually in that order. I also got a couple of academic papers out it and a classroom exercise, generated by this basic idea: we think and argue better if we have smart, informed people to disagree with. So, rather than using the Web only to find people who agree with us, it is intellectually stimulating and salubrious to find people with whom we disagree.

Anyway, I logged in a few days ago, to discover that the main moderator of the board, as well as a number of other moderators and frequent posters, were gone, replaced by others whose name I didn't recognize. A prank by some hacker at the Democratic Underground? A trick by someone at Halloween?

Nope. It turns out (to the extent that I've got this right; the details are a bit controversial) that someone hipped La Coultera that something wasn't right at her board. She, or more likely some minion, dumped the staff that ran it (which takes a lot of work, and was done on a whollly voluntary basis) and replaced it. The moderators and their supporters were banned, some immediately, others (such as myself) a bit later. So I got to see some of what the old board was up to.

The old board had a thread explaining things, called "There's a new Sheriff in town." So I posted on the site a couple of questions, including "How's that Sheriff thing working out?," and included a lovely picture of Deputy Barney Fife (for you youngsters, from The Andy Griffith Show; if you still don't know, never mind [although you should know]). I also sent a "private message" to one of the new moderators, who had always treated me fairly and who is pretty sharp, saying "Let me know when or if this board gets its sense of humor back." The next time I logged in, I had been banned.

The great part is that those who had been dismissed started a new board, and got 150+ to register in just a few days. Many of them are old friends from the old board, and, naturally, there has been a good bit of discussion about the behavior of La Coultera and her representatives.

La Coultera has mostly gotten a pass, although a standard line is "She's a bitch but probably has nothing to do with it," "She owes the old moderators an apology," "I don't like her but still like her writing."

What is interesting is that there was no discussion about this move. The owner of the site dismissed a bunch of people without investigation, ignores any questions about such behavior, and is now represented on her board by those who ban anyone who praises the former moderators or dares even to ask questions about possible unfairness (these folks then come over to the new site, and tell us their particular version of what is almost always the same story.) In short, La Coultera behaved precisely like a Nazi.

She likes to say those who disagree with her (aka "traitors" and/or Democrats and/or "liberals") always resort to name-calling (although, of course, she does it herself all the time--on the basis of an accusation, she loves to refer to Bill Clinton as a "rapist." For more specifics, see Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter by Joe Maguire). But when you act like a Nazi, and provide evidence of that behavior, it isn't "name calling"; it is a description or characterization. Maybe the shoe fits? Given her standards of evidence, if Bill Clinton is a rapist, Joe McCarthy a hero, and anyone who votes for a Democrat a traitor, what are we to think of La Coultera, on the basis of evidence considerably stronger than that which she marshalls?


Blogger Bazarov said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

Something on which I feel I have at least an inkling of understanding. This sort of thing is fairly common I think. A similar thing happened at the Raving Atheist forums. There's a lot of speculation as to what happened (most center around the idea that the main moderator or whatever fell for a fundie or something). So now there's a new site, Raving AtheistS, if I remember correctly. Friends keep telling me to go but I haven't really found the site that easy to navigate and they're all the same old arguments that you can pretty much predict step by step, with the same pathetic resolution (name calling or ending back where they started).
One of the first to jump ship from that site though started his own blog. I find it immensely entertaining and visit frequently to catch the next post, although he doesn't seem to post all that often (I can't say much though seeing as I post rather infrequently). It's one of the few blogs I actually visit regularily and enjoy (this being one of them). If you're not offended by images of prophets on toilet paper or badly made drawings of religious figures engaging in acts that border on bestiality, check it out! I always get a laugh out of it, and let's face it, some things just aren't arguable any longer, so have some fun with the "controversy". http://choobus.blogspot.com/

I wish I had more to say about Coulter, but I don't like her much and often employ the Opportunity Cost mentality when I come across her: "Sure, I could read what she says. She is influential and popular to some extent, but then I couldn't do other things, like sleep, pick my nose, read something else, watch a bad movie..." I think my time is better spent, doing anything or nothing, than by investigating the thoughts of idiots. Plus it just tends to raise my bloodpressure and piss me off. I can see why people would spend hours reading Mein Kampf in trying to understand such an influential figure as Hitler, but I can't yet see why people would spend the time reading Ann, unless for entertainment purposes I suppose. I sorta feel guilty when doing that though, like when you spend an hour watching a televangelist; it's a bit like going to a freak show and you end up feeling more sorry for the person than anything else. I guess if she gets nearly as influential as Hitler, Haggard, the Pope, Behe, etc., I'll spend some of my time getting to know more about her, but the crazy look on her face (very similar to Ted Haggard's) and the limited things I've read and seen from her let me know my time is better spent doing just about anything else.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Bazarov said...


Speak of the devil! Ha! I'm convinced a great deal of the clergy really don't believe any of the nonsense they're spouting out.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Capt.Herp said...

Still one of the best blog posts on this event I've ever read.

Hope things are well with you...


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