Sunday, June 25, 2006

 
--Lee Siegel, Self-Portrait

A Civilized Rebuttal

Lee Siegel, the Culture writer for The New Republic, has posted a rather sharp critique of blogs and bloggers. He makes several insightful statements, each of which invites a serious response. In this post, I will address his comments and treat of them with all the seriousness they deserve. Siegel's comments are in blockquotes and italics. Mine are in normal text. Let us proceed.
At the end of my post yesterday, I wrote, "The blogosphere's fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus." It just so happens that on his blog today, none other than Andrew Sullivan, hardly an ideological soulmate of mine, quotes Santayana: "Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim." Sure enough, fanaticism ruled in the responses to what I wrote yesterday.

"Moron"; "Wanker" (a favorite blogofascist insult, maybe because of the similarity between the most strident blogging and masturbating); and "Asshole" have been the three most common polemical gambits. A reactor even had the gall to refer to me as a "conservative." Another resourceful adversarialist invited me to lick his scrotum. Please send a picture and a short essay describing your favorite hobbies. One madly ambitious blogger, who has been alternately trying to provoke and fawning over TNR writers in an attempt to break down the door--I'm too polite to mention any names--even asked who it was at TNR who gave me "the keys to a blog."
Fuck you.
All these abusive attempts to autocratically or dictatorially control criticism came about because I said that the blogosphere had the quality of fascism, which my dictionary defines as "any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control." The proof, you might say, is in the puddingheads.
Asshole.
I am overwhelmed by the intolerance and rage in the blogosphere. Conscientiously criticize, in the form of a real argument, blogospheric favorites like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and the response isn't similar criticism, done conscientiously and in the form of an argument, but insults, personal attacks, and even threats. This truly is the stuff of thuggery and fascism.

Two other traits of fascism are its hatred of the processes of politics, and the knockabout origins of its adherents. Communism was hatched by elites. Fascism was born along the drifting paths of rootless men, often ex-soldiers who had fought in the First World War and been demobilized. They turned European politics into a madhouse of deracinated ambition.
Ahhh, blow me.
But, then, Zuniga--let's cut the puerile nicknames of "DailyKos, "Atrios," "Instapundit" et al., which are one part fantasy of nom de guerres, one part babytalk, and a third thuggish anonymity--believes so deafeningly and inflexibly that it's hard to tell what he believes at all, expecially if you try to make out his conviction over the noisy bleating of his followers.
Dick.
He told Deborah Solomon in The New York Times that he joined the army out of high school to build up his self-confidence. Elsewhere, he has spoken of his love of 25-mile marches with a heavy knapsack. After the Army, college and then law school. But he never practiced law, it seems. He drifted to San Francisco and into the high-tech industry, where he designed Websites. Finally, he ended up in politics, again drifting into the Democratic party, supporting first John Edwards, and then Wesley Clark, and then, as a paid consultant, Howard Dean.

It wasn't long after that when Zuniga began channeling other people's rage.
Jesus tits. What a wanker.


This concludes my debate with Lee Siegel, Culture Writer for The New Republic. Thank you.

(Note: This post is improved materially if you imagine Vivaldi's The Four Seasons playing the whole time you're reading it. And, please, enjoy a sip of endive. Don't forget to extend your pinky! 'Cause your other digits will undoubtedly be otherwise employed, you ill-bred blogshites, you.)

UPDATE: Would it be rude to start to refer to this person as "Le Siegel"? Heaven knows I would never want to seem rude.

Comments:
Yea!

(I guess this Siegel guy liked the movie Eyes Wide Shut. Enough said.)
 
Thers,

That was brilliant.
 
Smacks her lips.
 
Heh.
 
Thers, you're monitoring your comments??!? Or has cheney taken over here too?
 
Desi -- I'm monitoring for now. For reasons of paste-eating morons.
 
"DailyKos" ees Kos's neekname?

The theengs joo learn on the blogs.

so.
 
EGN, I wondered about that too...
 
Bravo, bravo.

Still, my favortie verbal flourish o' the month is "like sewage, rawly".

Aheh.
 
That would be Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
 
WE're fanatics??????????


Nazis, please!
 
aaron, it was a joke (you similarly can't sip endives). But if that one isn't coming across, I'll change it...
 
endive is like a very small pointed lettuce. you can't sip it.
 
Dr. S.: "any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control." ... insults, personal attacks, and even threats. This truly is the stuff of thuggery and fascism...

Holy cow. Real fascists send secret police to kick in your door at 3 AM and drag you off into the night and fog. In what way does our "fascist" blogodrome ever force anybody to do anything, except to sometimes look at banner ads? It's nothing but words on a monitor.

Ooh, somebody emailed something mean and vulgar to the Princess of the Pea, and that means the net's just like Auschwitz. Yeah, and OMG I gotta hang-nail; I suffer the infinite tortures of the Damned. "Fascism"! for shame, Siegel, you moron.
 
(you similarly can't sip endives)

well, that explains why my straw is clogged.
 
aaron, it was a joke (you similarly can't sip endives). But if that one isn't coming across, I'll change it...

Both come across just fine! If only you could've worked some Conrad into the post...
 
Oooh, the contagion of the rabble! Mustn't let the rabble too close to me! I might become infected and lose my supercilious tone!
 
Thers wins a solid debate against TnR's wanker, dickhead, moron, shitwhistle.

Now we just need a reasonably blogofascist nickname for this asswipe.

Or am I being peurile?

Le Seagull? Der Seigel?
 
I thought fascism was defined by the marriage of corporate and government power.


Who knew the blogosphere was so powerful?
 
love the post, but Vivaldi wrote "The Four Seasons"
 
I like how Der Siegel uses 'drifted' in describing Kos, as if he just kind of hitchhiked his way from Central America to San Francisco, where they were so desperate for high-tech workers they were even handing them out to poor disheveled immigrants standing on the street corner.
 
Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim

Siegel, Zengerle, Peretz...

insults, personal attacks

Ooh, like calling folks thugs, hard fascists, fanatics, puerile puddingheads, and vitriolic hypocrites?
 
This post is improved materially if you imagine Vivaldi's The Four Seasons playing the whole time you're reading it.

At what point do I put the needle down?
 
Couthly done.

Next time misquote the Swan of Avon and sip radiccio. That'll silence the harshest critics.
 
Wow! Lee Siegel is as stupidly vituperative as people who e-mailed him to call him an "asshole," a "wanker," and at least one who invited him to lick the correspondent's scrotum.

Wake me up when something actually happens, will ya? Like when we get to the point of recognizing its only words, whether they are used by James Joyce (Ulyssses was condemned for being obscene, but finally we (after a court opinion) realied it was only words), or Lee Siegel, or even the erstwhile Thersites.

As johnny p said: "for shame"
 
Feck!

Drink!
/Father Jack



Thus ends my contribution to the Lee Siegel school of blogging debate debate.
 
The sipping endive joke, like "Fisting and the Will of God"... it's like, um, uh, some just won't understand.
 
If only you could've worked some Conrad into the post...

Shorter Siegel:

"Exterminate the brutes!"

(Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week!)
 
Der Siegel
 
We blogoislamofascinazis demand the return of whatever the Four Seasons joke was (Beethoven, maybe? Mantovanni?) Else we'll use our virtual verbal truncheons upside your virtual blogheads!

(Dons virtual brownshirt)
 
Lee Siegel? Whadda douchenozzle. He has his head in his ass and thinks the view is from his ivory tower.
 
I can see why the debate ended as it did. Your final argument was devastating.
I am reminded of Lord Jeff of Pastedustan- thinking he's all noble and good, but only causing death and destruction all around. Der Siegel is destroyed.
 
Oh woe! I fear that with a humor writer of such excellence, NRO may get so many hits that they might risk losing the "loss leader" status they cherish so much.

Please, resist the temptation to click thru, dear readers, and allow them to maintain the obscurity they wear as a sigil of their love (heterosexual, of course) for humanity!

Uhm, waiter? Another bottle of snark, please. That's right, the good stuff.
 
All these abusive attempts to autocratically or dictatorially control criticism came about because I said that the blogosphere had the quality of fascism, which my dictionary defines as "any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control." The proof, you might say, is in the puddingheads.

My dictionary defines “assholery” as “any tendency to inflate one’s own importance, dismiss critics with insults and to imply that all criticism results from irrational hatred; to believe that one has a greater status or importance than others and thus deserves better treatment than they.” As he writes, “The proof, you might say, is in the puddingheads.”

Two other traits of fascism are its hatred of the processes of politics, and the knockabout origins of its adherents. Communism was hatched by elites. Fascism was born along the drifting paths of rootless men, often ex-soldiers who had fought in the First World War and been demobilized. They turned European politics into a madhouse of deracinated ambition.

By this logic, Siegel, as a member of the opinion elite, is a Communist. I thought TNR was founded as an anti-communistic magazine, but consistency may not be their strong point.
Seriously, this argument commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. If someone is a fascist, then he/she follows “the drifting paths of rootless men.” His blogosheric critics follow such a path. Hence, they are fascists.
George W. Bush followed what might be described as a drifting path—moving to Texas, moving to Alabama to work on a political campaign during his stint in the Texas Air National Guard, starting a series of unsuccessful oil companies, etc. Perhaps Bush is a fascist? Oh, and Jack Kerouac as well. Lots of people follow drifting paths, but that’s no reason to think they are fascists.
 
I think we should all get big Thug Life tattoos across our bellies. Please ask Markos if this permitted.
 
By this logic, Siegel, as a member of the opinion elite, is a Communist. I thought TNR was founded as an anti-communistic magazine, but consistency may not be their strong point.
Seriously, this argument commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. If someone is a fascist, then he/she follows “the drifting paths of rootless men.” His blogosheric critics follow such a path. Hence, they are fascists.
George W. Bush followed what might be described as a drifting path—moving to Texas, moving to Alabama to work on a political campaign during his stint in the Texas Air National Guard, starting a series of unsuccessful oil companies, etc. Perhaps Bush is a fascist? Oh, and Jack Kerouac as well. Lots of people follow drifting paths, but that’s no reason to think they are fascists.
# posted by Anonymous : 8:35 AM

And in what manner were Trotsky, Stalin, Kaminsky, etc. 'elites?' Is Der Siegel misinterpreting Lenin's notion of a 'revolutionary vanguard' led by *Party intellectuals* (i.e., elite within the movement) to mean something else? Lenin, etc., weren't actually members of the 'elite' in Russian society in the 19th century. They were the self-styled revolutionary vanguard of a particular movement. Guess what? So were Hitler's adherents, and Mussolini's.

If anything, French fascism (and English too) were founded by elites, not so much rootless men. Mosley was an odd duck, but he sure wasn't 'rootless.' Siegel is an ass.
 
"Zuniga"? What a moron! His name is Moulitsas... Moulitsas Zuniga, if you want the full surname. That ignorant fuck ought to learn how Hispanic names work.
 
Boobies To You Thersites!
 
the slights at markos (and Im not a Markos defender per se) are a bit mean spirited. he "drifted" to san francisco? wha the hell does that mean? he joined the army, went to school/law school (which is a better degree than a business degree for general purpose,and teaches one things you cant otherwise learn) then moved to san fran where he worked in IT, and, seeing what was happening in America today and the radicallurching to the right in our elected leaders, became active in politics. (his "drifting" into the democratic party sleight is thus, even worse).

what the fuc is siegel doing making inance references like this for?

that said, he has the mere kernel of a couple decent points, (there is a lot of counterproductively unchalleneled anger. when I suggest this, the anger continues. though the hilarious post above is a satire, it is similar).

but he exagerates his points to such absurd extremes, however, that it's hard to believe anybody left of sean mussolini hannity could have written such crap. while there may be a lot of misplaced energy, on the issues that matter the focus is pretty real, the views diverse, and the distortions far outweighed by cogent, and often illuminating analysis.

contrast with the right, let alone the far right, where scott at powerline has in effect threatened journalists with something other than harsh words for not only doing their jobs, but reporting on potentially illegal and unconstitutional activity by the US government, when we the people are responsible for the actions of our gov't, grant it its sole source of power only through our informed consent, under our constitution and founding documents, and can not do so if we dont know what it is doing or if it is even in accord with what power we do agree to grant it (the most fundamental difference between a democracy and a dictatorial, or fascist, regime). and this _ _ _ _ _ _ _ at TNR is writing this about Kos and some related bloggers, and some perhaps some too expressive commenters) instead?

it's mind blowing.
 
at least one who invited him to lick the correspondent's scrotum.

Now that sounds like the Rude Pundit. But he wouldn't email it. He'd just post it on his blogofascist blog. In fact, I think he did ;)
 
My parents will be distressed to learn that I am an ill-bred blogshite. They held such great hopes for me.
 
you forgot "fellatiate my penis until i ejaculate down your throat"
 
Sometimes I wish I was a woman so I could say "suck my dick" to folks like Siegel, because, well, its a funnier thing to say if you're a woman.
 
Who is this Siegel person, and why does he keep on writing about me?

Siegel's like the guy in the joke who goes to see a doctor, and the doctor tells him he only has a few weeks to live.

"What should I do, Doctor?" Seigal implores.

The doctor suggests that he go to the spa every day to take a long mud-bath.

"Why?" as Siegel,"Will it help me be cured?"

The doctor replies "No, but you'll get used to the dirt."

From the Prairie Home Companion April Joke Show.
 
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