Saturday, August 12, 2006

Where everybody hates their names

While I was out, the folks at TooConservative seem to have had an interesting time, including some sort of internal family squabble about posts being too long (the supposed reason Riley, not O'Reilly was cut loose a few months ago, although now we know the truth about that).

But in the midst of it all, they turned to the one thing that unites them all -- their hatred for Jim Young and their love of infantile discussions. Thus they launched one remarkably inane thread, titled "Where Everybody Knows Your Name". The point of this thread was to attack James for his "obsession" with cowards who use anonymity and pseudonyms to shield themselves from the civilized world's normal response to vile personal attacks:

I’d like to send out this dedication to a special internet buddy of mine, James Young. I’d like to dedicate the Cheers theme to Mr. Young, who seems to be really hung up on the fact that he doesn’t know each and every blogger in the blogosphere. ”You’ve gotta go where everybody knows your name” is just so apropos for my friend.

The thread predictably turned into a bloodfest, starting with a parody of the Cheer's theme song with this chorus:

Where nobody knows Jim Young’s name,
’cause we all know that he’s lame.
Everyone here can all agree,the guy’s borderline insane
You wanna be where nobody knows Jim’s name.

And continuing to the less poignant and more pointed attacks:

Jimbo is often mad – nay - even dour
Jimbo even slandered Grapes, by calling him “Sour”
Jimbo’s bane, and it is a pain,
is that in the main, he’s got sex on the brain
BTW Nova, recently you commented about a “nice thread”…did you happen to notice that James Young never showed up and that’s why it stayed “nice.”

But all in all, things seemed somewhat tame, until James showed up to comment in his own unique style of direct assault:

I’m so flattered! Guess I know from whence those stalkers come.
You’re all just gutless wonders. ‘Cept for you, Anke.
Your'e just .

This predictable response was of course followed by posts feigning "shock" at how the thread had turned so nasty, as if up to that point it was the epitome of a good conservative policy discussion:

I thought you were an attorney. You talk like a foul-mouthed street punk. Why don’t you meet me at the clinic on Saturday at 9:00 A.M. so that I can teach you some manners.
James Young is on the waiting list for finishing school. His tendency to call people really vile names is all that’s standing between him and greatness. We don’t approve of that kind of talk, but we let him do it here to remind folks of what we’re dealing with.
James has now accused me of starting a “flame war” on his ever popular blog. He apparently has no sense of humor. I won’t be losing any sleep!

I could really drive up the hit count on my blog if I didn't mind senseless posts attacking my fellow republicans for not liking anonymous attacks like those which threatened the family of Greg L. last week. If I could also call people names and kiss the right people's behinds I'd be in everybody's blog roll.

But at least, when they are attacking James, it gives them a break from attacking a long-time solid republican like Corey Stewart running against a former democrat.


Greg L said...

Well said. Although I have had my spats with Jim, it makes a blog in no way more informative or useful to the public interest to dive into personal attacks with posts. Although I haven't been quite as good in this regard as I'd like, I can't imagine devoting a post to a personality rather than the issues that personality might promote. Issues are far more interesting, although some are drawn to our blogosphere's version of the tabloid for some reason.

In the end, if you can't argue the idea and have to go after the person, you've pretty much lost the fight anyways. I sorta expected more from the staff over at TC.

AWCheney said...

Well Greg and Charles, perhaps you both might have a bit different take on it if you had Jimmy Young calling you the masculine version of crone, whore, bitch, and, of course, the gender neutral liar, among other things, for more than a year almost every time you posted an opinion (even when it had nothing to do with him except, perhaps, he disagreed with it). Frankly, I thoroughly enjoyed that post at TC.

Charles said...

I sometimes find Jame's use of language offensive, but playing into it and then being surprised by the reaction was simply funny.

James is James, and I'm not excusing him (nor is James likely to care a wit about whether I did or did not).

But (and maybe in spite of) his language, he has a point about anonymous people calling other people names, and rightfully chides pseudonym bloggers who get upset that we don't take "their word" for things when we have no idea who they are and therefore have no reaon to take their word on anything.

I'm not one for colorful language myself, at least in published form (my wife and family would testify to my inappropriate oral word choices).

I was just making fun of the thread, because it amused me.

NoVA Scout said...

I've been very gentle with Mr. Young. My issues with James Young are his language and his tendency to deal with ideas by calling names. I don't particularly like people who do that, and Jim is no exception. Jim has called Anke some extremely crude names that would cause fistfights if they happened in person, has called the Jaded JD a "fag", and uses the term "coward" rather liberally. These are just examples. It seems to happen on the TC site more than most places, but other sites get this from him also. There's bound to be some pushback on this if you were raised to think this sort of talk doesn not come from the mouths of gentlemen. I don't think there is any defense for it and I think it clear that the jesting, pushback, and the occasional genuine disgust at Jim Young's coarseness is very much a rational and appropriate reaction. Nothing that has been said against Jim by TC or his guest hosts that even approaches the low level of discourse that Young throws around. "James is James" doesn't cut it in my book, Charles. I have never responded to him in kind (and, given my parents' instruction, could not do so).

We could try an experiment and not call him on these things if he cools his jets on the invective. I'll talk to the others about it. But it would be the very rare human who would not find this stuff extremely offensive.

BTW, my colleagues chided me with great good humor and I thought they had a good point about length of posts. I wouldn't interpret that as intranecine warfare. A second BTW: I have never asked anyone to take my word for anything. Just figure out whether what I'm saying makes sense. If not, disagree and inform others of the better argument. All of my opinions probably reflect some life experience I've had, but none of my opinions require knowledge of those experiences to enable a reader to agree or disagree. When James gets on his high horse about names, I very much have the opinion that his frustration is that he wants to expand his personal attacks from name-calling to minute biographical research. Just comment on the post or comment, people.

Charles said...

NovaScout, I'm pretty sure that you, and am certain that other contributers, to your site have gotten quite testy and assertive about how "truly republican" they are -- something we cannot know without knowing who you are so we can see if you are members of committees, or have a record of voting republican, or contributing to republicans.

I can tell whether one is conservative or liberal assuming one tells the truth when writing in a blog -- but I could easily write posts which defended the liberal positions on issues, and that wouldn't make me liberal.

The point is that people DO use words as a smokescreen so they can then have "credence" to attack their enemies. And I have NO DOUBT that there are democrats who pretend to be republicans in blogs, on call-up shows, and when talking to reporters, so they can then attack republicans and say they support the democrats "on this one".

I'm sure republicans do the same.

Only those who know who you really are can be certain that you, NovaScout, are not one of these people. I don't think you are, but I can't know. But I know Greg L. isn't, because I see him each month at the PWC meetings, and I talk to him face to face.

There are things James says that I wouldn't accept, and if a blog was deleting those posts I wouldn't be complaining about it. But there are often times he uses words to describe actions, and those are not inappropriate.

I see nothing wrong with calling a person a coward if they make personal attacks on someone in a blog without attaching their name to the attack. That is the very definition of cowardly.

The line between describing one's actions, and describing one's character, is a narrow one. Most of us try to stay well on the "right" side of that line, but some don't try to hard, and some don't care.

Like the difference between saying you are "lying", and you are a "liar". I would try not to use either, but the first would attack a specific instance, the second attacks one's character.

My post was meant as a humorous take on your "humorous" thread that you claimed James couldn't "get the humor of", and at some level I would be justified now to say that you "didn't get the humor" of mine either. That was just a subtle point about how what some people think is friendly fun doesn't look that way to those being "attacked", even though in this case my attack was I believe well-focused on an inanimate "blog" and the ACTIONS of people there rather than their character.

NoVA Scout said...

It's a tough call to know whether to ban someone for inappropriate behavior. I've bitten my tongue several times with James, and, as I have said on the site, decided to keep the comments up for two reasons: 1) I really do believe that one of the valuable things about the blog world is that it encourages expression and that one just has to expect that the range of comments will be as varied as the culture we live in. That will include a lot of rudeness; 2) In the case of James and people like Robert Molleur (there are distinctions between the two, but for purposes of this comment I can lumpt them together), it is instructive to see how vitriolic views over political issues can be. It stands as a opposite point to my sense that we should not be so charged in our political discourse, particularly within the ranks of conservatives and/or the Republican party.

Some of our commenters think that James and Robert Molleur act this way as a tactic, in order to "stink up" the site to drive decent people away and have urged us to ban them. I have only pulled down one comment, and that was when Molleur used a real nasty string of obscenities that one couldn't say on the radio.

But we do get complaints and I confess that I don't know the answer.

I don't think I've ever gotten "testy" about how "truly Republican" I am. My involvement with the Republican Pary has been a rather happy experience for me since the early 1960s, and not something that has ever made me "testy." I do worry that there are a few loud and unreasonable voices that do us great harm at the polls and in the public eye generally, but my thought is that I should be of good cheer, engage these people and not let their more poorly thought-through positions go unchallenged. I'm not a particularly active Republican any more at the local or grass roots level, so this is my contribution, which I'm sure is profoundly appreciated in some quarters, and less so in others.

BTW, Loudoun Insider's post clearly was a play of the Cheers theme lyrics against James's well-known aversion to pseudonymous posting. I don't think that's particularly hard-hitting.

Charles said...

I thought my "where everybody hates their names" was a pretty good funny way of describing people who won't use their real names -- because they must hate their real names.

AWCheney said...

"I sometimes find Jame's use of language offensive, but playing into it and then being surprised by the reaction was simply funny."

BTW Charles, I don't "play into it" the way you imply...I enjoy watching him make a complete fool of himself. I like to think that it's just encouraging James Young to show the world his true self, with all the warts. I look upon it as a public service, which he has brought upon himself over the course of the past year (or more).

James Young said...

AWCheney, I have never called you a "whore." Once again, you manage to make a fool of yourself by misrepresenting the facts. In the spirit of this thread, calling that a "lie" is appropriate. Since you do it so frequently, it is utterly appropriate for those familiar with your record to draw conclusions about your character. Please note, too, that I have never called you a "coward," which is NOT a conclusion to be drawn from the fact that you put your name to your sleaze.

As for you "NoVA Scout," if that streak of yellow fits....

Of course, "NoVA Scout" fails to mention that the offending phrase regarding JD was in a thread where they dismissed serious constitutional argument as "radical," among other things. I'm offended by people who couch their insults intellectualoid claptrap. I prefer honesty. If you can't take it....

Charles said...

I prefer the term "lie" referencing a specific falsehood, over the term "liar" indicating a pathological condition (since I'm not a therapist, I am in no position to diagnose someone as a liar).

I don't really like the term "lie" either for general misstatements, because it implies motive. In some cases motive is crystal clear, but in others (such as this one) the inadvertent inclusion of words not used with words used can be false without being deliberately so.

Some people don't require deliberate act in order for something to be a lie.

I've gotten a lot more blog traffic with these non-issue-oriented posts from the past two days, even picking up a record number of comments for me in the next thread.

Keeping track of so many comments is a pain, so maybe I'm happy I don't usually attract so much attention.

I've got writer's block on my column for the week, so I'm lurking around for excuses to put off writing.

James Young said...

Well, Charles, I would concede the point that, on one level, I am also "not a therapist" and "am in no position to diagnose someone as a liar," "indicating a pathological condition."

However, I do not use it in that sense, but in the same sense that someone might testify in court that someone frequently lies, and is therefore a "liar."

Of course, the entire TC post lends credence to Myron's assessment, and that notwithstanding my far lower readership, Skeptical Observor is more influential.

Charles said...

I'm pretty sure I'll never have to worry about being considered an "influential blogger".

Although I was encouraged by the appearance, however brief, of a "Not Charles" persona over at NLS, something Mason Conservative seemed to think was a positive development when it also happened to him.


AWCheney said...

"Of course, the entire TC post lends credence to Myron's assessment, and that notwithstanding my far lower readership, Skeptical Observor is more influential."

That's got to be one of the funniest things you've ever said!! What an ego.

James Young said...

Yes, Anke, I have an "ego." And while not a therapist, I know enough about the theory to know that everyone has one; I have one, Charles has one, and even you, in fact, have one.

Maybe you're right, though. Perhaps mine is overdeveloped. Occupational hazard. Of course, it makes me a juicy target for those who can't attack actual misdeeds, but rather, must belittle, disparage, and misrepresent perceived slights. I suppose that, in part, it all goes back to the jealousy over the influence I have, and had as a columnist.

You, on the other hand, are only attacked (by me) for actual misdeeds. Like serial lies and half-a**ed "research." I suppose it's very frustrating (after all, even liars don't like to be called "liars"; witness Bill Clinton) to have someone who will consistently be there to remind readers of your misdeeds, an appropriate exercise in full disclosure. I guess that's one reason why you work so hard to belittle, disparage, and misrepresent perceived slights.

And in deference to Charles' standards, I won't bother to respond accordingly.