Speaking of things that make no sense, I am completely baffled by the ramping up of hostility against Jeff Goldstein in leftwing blogs. The insult comic niche carved out by “Sifu Tweety,” Brad at Sadly, No! and Tbogg I can sort of understand, but lately my RSS reader has spit out bile from mainstream blogs like Duncan Black’s. Here is the first example that I noticed, followed by several more, and then today:
One of the benefits of making fun of people who never learn anything is that you can go away for a long while and when you come back, they’re still idiots.
In Jeff Goldstein’s case, HE went away from a long time and when he came back he was an even bigger idiot.
What’s the point? Why Goldstein? I don’t share rightwingers’ outrage over Glenn Greenwald, who references his comments so that people know what the heck he’s talking about. Read another harsh, effective post by Kevin Drum here. God knows I have beefs with Goldstein, just like I have regular beefs with Hewitt and Malkin and the rest of the rightwingophere, but this piling-on seems to serve no purpose. It funnels traffic to Jeff’s blog, it doesn’t refute anything he said and it makes the writer look like he’s acting out on some obscure grudge.
Maybe there’s some strategery that involves aggravating the partisan divide, followed by X, followed by a landslide Democratic victory in 2006. We blogospherians like to think that we have an influence over political currents that we usually don’t, so don’t take this to mean that I’m saying OMFG Dems will lose because Atrios was mean! I’m not. Dems will do fine in 2006 regardless of what we electronic op-eds choose to yammer about. But on a personal level I’d say that if you asked me to pick ten B-J commenters with whom to have a beer the partisan split would come out close to fifty-fifty. This Randian attitude that righties have become irretrievably, morally wrong insults my intelligence. I can understand how a regular diet of trolls, monkey mail and Powerline can skew your perspective but those guys represent a tiny fraction of the people out there, and that includes the people who populate the righty blogosphere. On a political level it seems to me that if we bloggers have some sort of influence then we shouldn’t spent it reinforcing the Rovian strategy of divide and divide and divide.
Lest I be hoist on my own petard (again), I understand that I’m falling into a composition trap by labeling a prominent blogger like Duncan as representing “the left” (although taking into account the basically democratic nature of blog traffic, in a sense he does). If Duncan doesn’t represent “the left” it’s only because other people in “the left” disagree with him. Count me in.
To quell any misunderstanding, I don’t have some prudish problem with personal criticism on the ‘net. Jab away, just cite your source so that people can judge your comment against the original. Free-floating bile that comes without any reference to what the person said or did just makes you look like a dick.
I have been informed that Norbizness is The Left.