This is Not Fox News, Folks

It is very unfortunate that some people seem intent on dragging the level of debate in these discussions of gender, pornography, etc, down to new lows. Many people on one side of this discussion seem to be making a mission out of trying to bait the other side into a more vicious, vitriolic, mostly unilateral “exchange.” In short, people who are used to abandoning civil discourse and delving into the depths of low-brow debate want to shove the rest of us into that realm, where they know they can reign supreme — inherently successful just for having drawn the other side off the moral high ground.

The funny thing here is that I am actually sympathetic to or in agreement with some of the things being argued by Lucinda’s critics (the self-proclaimed, heroic “dissenters” pretending thier opinion is not perfectly mainstream), and yet because of the form much of it is taking, I find myself simply disgusted with many of the people bringing those criticisms.

Make no mistake about it. This style of “argument” represents the Fox News-ification of these blog comments, just as I was trying to warn before. Below is the text of a post I just deleted when I banned its poster (Hesed). I don’t mind people seeing these words spoken about me, so I’ll even put them here, far more prominently than comment # 29 on another post. But I’m not about to let someone who believes this is acceptable discourse drag the intellectual level of these blogs down.

Here’s Hesed’s attempt at spoilage:

Brian Dominic writes:

“He was probably far more intimidated by what I wrote, truth be told.”

….whatever helps you sleep at night, pencilneck. If that’s all you took away from what I said then all this self-ingratiating electronic impunity has definately gone to your god-complexed mind.

I guess not everyone over there at Z-Net are “thinkers”.

…oh and just for old-times-sake,


That is the logical extension of the mud-slinging that has picked up in response to having invited a woman to put her voice up with all the white males that have so far populated these blogs. In the end, people like this will simply walk away after they’ve ruined this forum, moving on to the next place where people prefer reasoned debate to mudslinging, and they’ll start their game up there.

Then there was this little treat posted as comment #1 on Lucinda’s most recent blog entry (about being on the road for reasons that of course have nothing to do with this blog, despite the egotistical remarks of one commenter). Here is what llm1017 (also now banned) had to say:

When the going gets tough – the tough leave town.

Typical regardless of gender.

A perfect example of baiting (and I guess a twist of gloating just for good measure). One cannot help but wonder if llm1017 is Bill O’Reilly, the linguistic resemblance is so uncanny.

Lucinda has sensibly avoided the fray that has ensued as a reactionARY effect of feminist ideals mucking up what some see as the otherwise straight-and-narrow (proper) leftist discussion typical of these blogs (not to knock Noam, Paul, David or myself, we just have more accepted areas of expertise/interest). So the fangs come out and the venom flows to make sure that if a feminist is going to be blogging on ZNet about violence against women, she’s going to do so from the gutters, or else…

Well, I’ve been using and working at ZNet for 11 years now. And these blogs were my idea. And as much as I hope for a very broad range of opinions in the comments area, this is NOT going to become a place where goons can roam free, driving off people who have the decency to present their opinions in a respectful manner. This is NOT Crossfire, my friends.

If you want to criticize views presented here, you will do so from the high ground. Demonstrate respect for the AUTHOR of whatever you’re criticizing, and then feel free to criticize away. But there’s a big difference, and just because you feel your status quo way of life is threatened does not give you license to react in a bitter or vitriolic fashion.

Here is what is no longer accepted in the comment areas, from anyone on any side:

  • name-calling (label ideas, but not people)
  • ridiculing
  • baiting and taunting (egging people on to respond to comments)
  • harassing (pursuing people to respond to comments)
  • email attacks (don’t bother trying to circumvent these rules through another medium)

You can have horrendous ideas, you just have to present them in a respectful manner. I’m sure both sides can agree that nothing strengthens and promotes good ideas better than to have them tested through the open presentation of alternative ideas — but some people will always be able to gain the upper hand so long as they can ridicule and bait their opponents. And as much as it is fun to let those who would treat this forum as Neanderthall night on a cable news network refute their own arguments through their blatant depravity, the environment of hostility such actions create is unacceptable here.

In the meantime — despite the content of this lengthy post — I encourage anyone on any side of these debates who is interested in civil discussion to ignore attempts by others to bring the whole exchange down. Eventually, they will probably move on to someplace more receptive to their antics.

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