Bring It On!

Mr. Pot, Meet Mr. Kettle

June 30th, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

“The obscene vitriol on the left wing blogs really is mind-blowing. You see virtually none of this on conservative blogs.”

Marlowe on Skewz

“To me, it’s straightforward: Conservatives are adults, liberals are adolescences (sic). Conservatives value rational and logical discussion, liberals crave juvenile name calling.”

oleneo65 on Skewz

Politics is a rough neighborhood. Stakes are often high and feelings passionate. Many pundits use strong language in their opinions - including me - and sometimes that strong language turns people with opposing views off. One could easily make a valid point that all punditry should be politely respectable, but by that measure Jay Leno would no longer do monologues and many news shows and political magazines would disappear. At the very least, many political discussions would be about as interesting to the general public as watching grass grow.

ListenThe odd thing is, the post Marlowe and oleneo65 commented on was miles rougher on democrats - in tone and content - than on republicans. I’m glad they didn’t see a post where I really let loose, they’d probably have gotten the vapors and retreated to bed to soothe their jangled nerves. The other thing - not so odd as it turns out - was their view that conservatives are nearly always magnanimous people who only use unobscene, anti-vitriolic language in political discourse. I think a visit to any number of conservative blogs, publications, demonstrations, and radio and TV news shows would show otherwise. The floor of the US Congress and the White House aren’t much like a polite ladies’ tea party either. In fact, both of these commenters make their point by engaging in a little “juvenile name calling” themselves.

For example, Marlowe calls liberal blogs “obscene” and “left wing” while conservative blogs are, merely “conservative”. Oleneo65 thinks liberals are “adolescences (sic)” engaged in “juvenile name calling” whereas conservatives “value rational and logical discussion”.

The C*nt Whisperer
Apparently, netiher of them saw a “troll’s” comment on my own “moonbat” website in which one “rational and logical” conservative commenter said, “What a stupid cunt you are, lol.”

In my three plus years of blogging I’ve gotten more than 5,000 comments. With the exception of one, every conservative comment I’ve ever received has been more along the lines of the c-word tosser - don’t forget John McCain thinks that’s a perfectly proper word - than the commenters above. Hell, I’ve even had liberals chew on me for not being liberal enough, but my hide is thick and my patience long.

For anyone to claim that either right or left holds the exclusive rights to rational and logical discussion and name-calling-free speech is only to show their political blindness. Both sides engage in this behavior in equal measure, but more often than not, the complaints about how an argument is phrased usually has more to do with how strongly the reader takes the opinion. Contrary beliefs are often called irrational, even when based on solid, verified facts. Logic frequently goes out the window as commenters from both sides quickly veer off into outrageously off-topic commenting. No wonder the old saw is, “never to discuss politics over dinner”.

Most of the time, one side feels perfectly at ease with how they say things based on the premise that the other side said it first, or more vehemently, or twisted the “facts”, or a myriad other reasons to wiggle out of taking responsibility for their own callous words. At this point most of you are saying to yourself, “This guy is so hypocritical. He’s chastising others for what he does himself.”

Am I a hypocrite?

Take Ownership of What You Say
We’ll I’d say that as bloggers go, I’m more apt to at least acknowledge when I think both sides are guilty of the same behavior. I also try to engage commenters in the way in which they’ve commented. Most of the time I’m quite respectful, though I may agree with them. But start off by calling me a “stupid cunt” or an “adolescent”, and I figure you’re ready to rock and roll, no holds barred.

So in a sense, I may be a hypocrite. I sometimes use very strong language to criticize ideas I believe are bad. I believe our president is the worst thing to happen to this country since the Civil War and I have zero respect for him because he’s done absolutely nothing to gain my respect. I use strong language to express that opinion, but I also try to stick to verifiable facts. And, when someone points out that my facts (not my opinion) is wrong, I do my best to correct it. But I take pride in one fact that many bloggers - left or right - are too cowardly to do. I always take ownership of my comments by leaving a way for people who disagree to make their opinions known - something the commenters above have properly done. So, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email.

I like it when people do that. No matter what their opinion may be.
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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