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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flame Out

As discussed here, on occasion, and in the comments section, I have a little hobby of talking to people at Websites. I find it much more interesting, much more entertaining—and I learn more—by talking to people who disagree with me. In addition to various factoids, I learn what people who might be generously characterized as "political opponents" are thinking about things. Thus I had heard of Sarah Palin a long time ago.

To date, I've been kicked off the Society of Women in Philosophy List, Stormfront, the Ann Coulter Chat Room, and Covert Conservatives. Most recently, I crashed and burned at Outcast Conservatives. The latter two are spin-offs from Ann Coulter's idiotic decision to remove moderators from the chatroom linked from her column. The moderators did an excellent job, ran a responsible joint, and had a lively and generally edifying place. I didn't agree with very many people on anything there, but it was fun. For those who think Ann Coulter's 15 minutes of fame are up, this offers more evidence: she dissed, badly, some of her fans who worked hard, and as volunteers, to get her "ideas" across and discussed. Hey, it's not my fault that her ideas tend to be wholly vacuous, and are entertaining solely because she is clever, mean, and can turn a phrase.

The SWIP moderator kicked me off because I sort of agreed with a poster, who thought academics should replace "blind refereeing" with "anonymous refereeing." Seemed ok to me. She then went on, in a response, to suggest that we should eliminate all sight-based terms from English. I think my response was something like this:

Thanks for your enlightening post. You've helped clarify an important issue, and shed light on it in a way that helped me discover some important points. I now see why bright people can disagree, and obscuring these kinds of issues, and leaving them in the dark, doesn't provide the kind of clear solution bringing them out of the shadows and into the light of day can.

Or something along those lines. The SWIP moderator didn't say why she axed me; she just did.

Stormfront is a scary place, run by serious neo-Nazi white supremacists who think Timothy McVeigh is kinda cool, enjoy reading The Turner Diaries, and have lots and lots of guns. These are the folks who blow up buildings, shoot abortion providers, and, sometimes on a long weekend, frolic under their designer sheets and pointy hoods. I lasted pretty long there, but they didn't like someone talking about their beloved biological theories who knew anything about biology. Can't really blame 'em; fixed delusions are much more enjoyable when they remain unchallenged. Plus, those guys scared me. Scare me.

I got kicked off Covert Conservatives because a poster said some stuff that was clearly code for good ol' fashioned "soft" racism. This was, as I've said before, a remarkably tolerant bunch for putting up with my bullshit. But the emotions about Obama were pretty serious at that point: the standard view was that he was an elitist, a black nationalist, a Socialist, Marxist, Communist, Muslim, a bad Christian, terrorist sympathizer, hated America, and sought to ruin America. Put these altogether with William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, and add phrases that indicate Obama "acts white," "doesn't know his place," and is, more or less, "uppity." I responded—to a specific poster—more or less "why don't you just call him a 'nigger' and get it over with?" Down comes the ban button, and after some desultory private conversations with the moderator, and some feeble suggestions that I apologize, well: I'm done. Too bad; I had made some nice friends there, both conservative as well as a very amusing liberal rugby fan from New Zealand.

At Outcast Conservatives, tempers ran high just after the election—and some of these folks were convinced over the weekend before it that McCain was still going to win. If I said anything, it was construed as "gloating," which was a little odd given how innocuous my remarks were and how assiduously I tried to avoid gloating. The term "smug" got thrown around a lot, as if I had suddenly become smug. I was always smug.

So the moderator kept asking me why I was supporting Obama. I told him, more than once, that no one on that site would agree with my reasons, but that I had some. They only were supporting McCain because he wasn't Obama. So if I supported Obama because of his view on "choice," they obviously would disagree, and Lord knows they have enough abortion threads over there already. So why go through it?

In any case, he pestered me, so I offered some reasons. Of course, they were all rejected. What a shocker: conservatives (serious conservatives) rejecting reasons for supporting their current most-hated domestic enemy. So the guy asks me for reasons, I tell him he won't like them, he continues to ask, suggesting that if I don't have any then I'm some kind of moron (which is ironic, given how much these people didn't like McCain, admitted it, and refused to say why they were voting for McPalin, beyond, again, he wasn't Obama). So I finally gave up. This board was never very friendly (with a couple of exceptions), had some seriously hostile people with profound superiority complexes, and I never felt all that comfortable. So I decided not to get banned, but flame out. This is what I said, one last time, about why I supported Obama:

He is smart. He recognized what a fool's errand Iraq was a long time ago. He thinks a pregnant woman should be in charge of her body. He thinks the polarity of wealth, manifest particularly by how GAAP has been used, tax policy, derivatives, credit default swaps, etc. needs to be addressed. He recognizes that parents have a responsibility to raise their children, but sometimes need some help in education and with health care.

He wasn't John McCain.

I haven't heard a lot of voters for the latter give many reasons other than "He wasn't Barack Obama."

@$%# you. [They wouldn't let me say "Fuck you" on this board, no matter how I tried.]

'night. Have fun. I thought incestuous slaps on the back, especially after getting your asses kicked because Sarah Palin was--is--such an embarrassment--was odd. Watching Republicans and conservatives go after each other does have its benefits, and forced me to learn how to spell "Schadenfreude."

I won't be back. This is no fun; feel free to say I don't get it, etc.. Whatever works; reasons are almost certainly irrelevant. After all, your guy won the "over 65 white" demographic.

So I'm not on any boards now. I've moved on from that hobby, at least for awhile or until I find a new one that is both educational and entertaining. The cool thing is that I got a good paper out of my hobby, in Teaching Philosophy, have developed an in-class exercise out of it, and have published several other short versions of the classroom exercise.

It was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



Go do it.



And, for my friends in Chicago: Early. And Often.

I'm off to Nashville tomorrow, to do a sho' nuf academic presentation on Carole King, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and Aretha Franklin. Back next week with a consideration of why John McCain lost. If he wins, maybe I ain't comin' back.