Pharyngula

Blanch, you delicate souls, blanch. Somebody else finally gets it.

I’d like to suggest a very simple strategy for American liberals: Get mean. Stop policing the language and start using it to hurt our enemies. American liberals are so busy purging their speech of any words that might offend anyone that they have no notion of using language to cause some salutary pain.

I wish I knew where Americans got this idea that being a liberal meant being Mr and Mrs Milquetoast.

Comments

  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    March 26, 2008

    American liberals have assimilated as dogma the belief that dialogue and conciliation are always the way to go. As time has progressed it has become obvious that such isn’t true unless you have adversaries that are prepared to argue in good faith. That certainly hasn’t been true of the Republican right for a good while.

  2. #2 Steve_C
    March 26, 2008

    Yeah, I don’t know when being a liberal was something I was supposed to run away from. But I’ve never done it. Never will.

    Conservatives are corrupt and inept.

  3. #3 Chris
    March 26, 2008

    Yeah, what’s with all this talk of “Intelligent Design proponents”? Everyone knows it’s “fucking morons.”

  4. #4 Tristan I Croll
    March 26, 2008

    Y’mean that, as a liberal, I’m not supposed to like swearing?

    … well, fuck me.

  5. #5 Chris Crawford
    March 26, 2008

    I disagree with the basic premise that liberals should get mean. The appeal of Mr. Obama’s campaign lies in its nobility. Mr. Obama seeks to rise above the meanness of the conservative attack machine. I believe that he will discredit that whole way of thinking.

    Besides, is your goal to change the world or feel better by letting off some steam?

  6. #6 vlad
    March 26, 2008

    “Conservatives are corrupt and inept.” Define conservative. I think part of the problem is that there is a fairly broad range of the definition conservative and liberal. IE

    I like gun and want to own as much fire power as possible but I have no problem what so ever with waiting periods and complete background checks.

    I hate getting ass raped taxes but have no problem if the money is used to boost the economy and help feed an cloth the poor.

    I’m pro choice but think the third trimester abortions without medical need are wrong.

    I eat meat but do so from quality farms the treat their animals well.

    I don’t mind national health-care as a concept but can’t see it ever actually being applied properly. The rich areas would simply implement for pay hospitals and the middle class would get boned for paying higher taxes and having to use “free hospitals” because they can’t afford private insurance.

    I was against the Iraq war but feel that if we just pull out without stabilizing the nation we are going to be hugely screwed in the end. Russians in Afghanistan anyone.

    So what does that make me?

  7. #7 vlad
    March 26, 2008

    “Besides, is your goal to change the world or feel better by letting off some steam?” Mean gets people attention if used properly. Polite is generally ignored unless you at least give off the aura of the ability to be mean.

  8. #8 mjfgates
    March 26, 2008

    I prefer “grumpy,” instead of “mean,” myself. I don’t rip anybody’s arm off until they say something like “I don’t mind if we spend another hundred years in Iraq.”

    Yes, I know, something like “Hi, I’m from the Discovery Institute” would be an even BETTER excuse to get out the de-arming device, but that’s not so much a LIBERAL cause as a pro-truth cause.

  9. #9 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    You’ve got to be cruel to be kind sometimes. Being mean when people are complacent gets their attention.

    The peace vigils against this war have been very “peaceful,” lighting candles, singing “Give Peace a Chance,” marching on sidewalks to avoid disrupting traffic. People think it’s cute that there are still hippies out there. Hasn’t done much, has it?

  10. #10 Brad Hudson
    March 26, 2008

    #6 — Human.

  11. #11 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 26, 2008

    John Dolan tells it straight. Attack until the enemy cry uncle and are prepared to listen to reason. The fundamentalist, the creationist, the illiberal are either scum, or suckers, or both, and we should be unafraid of letting them know so.

    What was that great American aphorism? Oh yes, “never give a sucker an even break”.

    Amen.

  12. #12 spurge
    March 26, 2008

    I marched for peace before the war started.

    It was mostly ignored and downplayed in the media.

    When it was mentioned it was usually along with the word traitor.

    It was a waste of my time.

  13. #13 eleanor
    March 26, 2008

    You read Hitchen’s screed today in Slate.com and National Post? Woo-hoo!! Your GREAT friend Omaba gets reamed. So make your choice. Hitchens or Obama? You can’t agree with both thom them, can you?

  14. #14 Alex
    March 26, 2008

    I didn’t know Hitchens was running for President. God damn it. I hate it when I miss these things.

  15. #15 spurge
    March 26, 2008

    “Your GREAT friend Omaba gets reamed.”

    Whos friend?

    “So make your choice. Hitchens or Obama?”

    Who the hall are you to tell anyone to do anything?

    “You can’t agree with both thom them, can you?”

    It depends on the issue at hand.

    Not to mention that one could dissagree with both.

  16. #16 Chris Crawford
    March 26, 2008

    Two commentators observe that “mean gets attention”. They’re absolutely right — but is it the kind of attention you want? This is the same basic reasoning that terrorists use. “Let’s do something spectacular and people will notice us.” Sure, being verbally injurious isn’t anywhere as bad as being physically injurious, but it’s still using the same stupid tactic. Being mean to people accomplishes two things:

    1. It antagonizes the people you’re mean to, encouraging them to respond in kind.
    2. It suggests to bystanders that you’re a barbarian, thereby discrediting your cause. 9/11 did NOT help the cause of Islam.

  17. #17 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 26, 2008

    You can’t agree with both thom them, can you?

    Of course we can! We can love Hitchen’s’ irreligiousity at the same time as deploring his pandering to neoconservatism.

    You see, this is how it works in a world of nuance, Eleanor. You are clearly unfamiliar with the concept.

  18. #18 zoltan
    March 26, 2008

    Yeah, I can’t wait until liberals amass enough power-via-meanness to assrape me through overtaxation, because the conservatives aren’t doing enough of that already.

  19. #19 Norman Doering
    March 26, 2008

    eleanor asked:

    Hitchens or Obama?

    Obama.

  20. #20 woody, tokin librul
    March 26, 2008

    Has nobody learned ANYTHING in these last 30 years?

    There is no “good faith” anymore. If the torture ‘debate’ proves nothing at all else, it conclusively demonstrates that, in public policy, the ends justify the means. It’s the Triumph of Instrumentalism. Once gone down that track, there has never been a turning back; not a voluntary one, at any rate.

    “WE” the People are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Fucked, that the extent, and the permanence, and the utter corruption of it all has yet to sink in…

    Johnny McStain’s gonna lead the way into the new “reality”–see the paragraph immediately preceding this one for details…

  21. #21 Moses
    March 26, 2008

    I’ve been saying that for years. When Gingrich was still in the House, I read a study on communication styles and audiences that came to the conclusion that “conservatives” tended to react much more to the emotional content of a message than the intellectual content of a message. Whereas, “liberals” tended to go the other way – toward the rational/intellectual side.

    The study suggested that “liberals” communicate more like the conservatives to get a broader appeal. Ironically, I see Obama doing some of that and it creeps me out. But I think it explains much of his appeal – his rhetoric is more feeling-based than Clinton’s.

    In other words, speak from the fire in your heart. Rule with your head.

  22. #22 Alex
    March 26, 2008

    I think the term “mean” if far off-base. There’s a difference between being rhetorically impassioned and hurtful. It shouldn’t be about being mean for mean’s sake, or to get even. When countering those who disregard reasonable intellectual engagement, it can be useful to escalate the rhetoric to give your opponent too many flies to swat at. To onlookers, this makes them look disorganized and unprepared to meet the challenge.

  23. #23 Norman Doering
    March 26, 2008

    Tristan I Croll wrote:

    Y’mean that, as a liberal, I’m not supposed to like swearing?
    … well, fuck me.

    No, you don’t have to. In fact there’s a difference between being mean and aggressive and being vulgar and stupid.

    For example, if you want to call someone a moron in a polite way you can ask: “Is there some reason I should consider the possibility that your statement is not as moronic as it seems to be? I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.”

  24. #24 jsn
    March 26, 2008

    Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?

  25. #25 BlueIndependent
    March 26, 2008

    10000% agreed.

    Sane people need to start going Henry Rollins on the repugs. If we don’t, I offer everyone the junta-style politics that intends to bring humanity back to the dark ages. No more verbal knives, only black trechcoats filled with verbal munitions. Start dropping some Matrix-style Gung Fu.

    “…speak from the fire in your heart. Rule with your head.”

    Has there really been any better way to go? It’s obvious yet we so easily lose sight of it. I also once again insert kudos for the Mad Biologist QOTW.

  26. #26 Nick Gotts
    March 26, 2008

    #6 – Part of the problem (to put it far more politely than such witlessness deserves).

  27. #27 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 26, 2008

    1. It antagonizes the people you’re mean to, encouraging them to respond in kind.

    True, but at the same time it forces them to fight, and it exhausts them. Which is exactly what you want to happen. You make them pay a price for their fuckwititude. People only have so much energy to engage in a donnybrook, verbal or otherwise. If you engage them and wear them down there is a greater likelihood that they will learn from this and be more civil, or sensible, next time around. Only the most obtuse feckers can keep ploughing on indefinitely. And frankly they are not the minority we are targeting.

    2. It suggests to bystanders that you’re a barbarian, thereby discrediting your cause. 9/11 did NOT help the cause of Islam.

    What a crock! We are hardly advocating flying airplanes into skyscrapers. “The rude boys are like unto Jihadist terrorists!” Is a claim like this not a modern variant of Godwin?

    No, this is a war with words. Pugnaciousness suggests to bystanders that your cause is worth fighting for and that there are lines they should be wary of crossing. It suggests they can’t walk all over you.

    Of course, they may conclude you are an arsehole, but frankly if you are in this to win popularity contests you are going to be sorely disappointed. Because the only way you will succeed at that is to act like a doormat. And they still won’t respect you.

  28. #28 Alex
    March 26, 2008

    Norman@23, that’s just fucking stupid. /sarcasm

  29. #29 Mena
    March 26, 2008

    I always equate “conservative” with “bully”. The people on Fox are bullies, Ann Coulter is a bully, etc. The dumbest of the dumb like bullies because it makes them feel powerful too. They then think that they have the right to be bullies too, and that the rest of us will allow them to push us around. That’s the main reason to fight back, although the guy that the so-called True Conservatives TM claim to be in ultimate obedience to once allegedly said ” Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” We tried that method but they managed to destroy the country. Something has to be done now so that it doesn’t get any worse.

  30. #30 woody, tokin librul
    March 26, 2008

    “Is there some reason I should consider the possibility that your statement is not as moronic as it seems to be? I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.”

    just doesn’t have the punch of “Eat shit and die, cully.” Too many polysyllables (“consider,” “possibility,” “statement,” etc)…i used to try to suggest fools “imbibe your own excrement and expire…” but i think the effect is lost ehn thhey have to think about it, in that drooling, eye-rolling, nose-picking way they have…

  31. #31 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 26, 2008

    Personally I prefer “I shall drive my enemies before me and hear the lamentations of their women!”

  32. #32 woody, tokin librul
    March 26, 2008

    Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?

    Posted by: jsn | March 26, 2008 7:55 PM

    i have always found that suggesting, very politely, that we all get naked and lie in a heap and fuck is effective.

  33. #33 Chris Crawford
    March 26, 2008

    Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?

    “Hi! You’re just in time! Our Satan-worshipping service is just about to start!”

  34. #34 spurge
    March 26, 2008

    That is what is best in life Lee.

  35. #35 Bill
    March 26, 2008

    I think I understand.
    Do not speak to your audience as if they were rational, for they are not. To manipulate the populace you must treat them as the hairless apes that they are. You must invoke an emotional response in order to sway opinion.
    However, this is a delicate balancing act. You must provoke emotion without alienating or offending to the point of stubborn defiance.
    Religion is itself an emotional response to the unknown and maintains the afflicted in an irrational, emotional state.
    How do you present rational, logical, informed thinking in an emotional way?
    In other words, how to you get people excited about not being dumb-asses?

  36. #36 Timcol
    March 26, 2008

    I’m sure you’ve seen it already PZ, but your favorite creationist, Ms Dense O’Leary, is already whining about you over at UD, that you’re not a nice person!

  37. #37 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 26, 2008

    No, you don’t have to. In fact there’s a difference between being mean and aggressive and being vulgar and stupid.

    There is also a difference between being vulgar and stupid, and vulgar and smart. If you don’t know the difference I’d suggest you don’t go in for vulgarity. If you do, then give them both barrels, motherfucker!

  38. #38 Sue Laris
    March 26, 2008

    Not “mean” since “mean” is what shits like Dick Cheney and the Faux News trolls are.

    A more appropriate phrase is “uncompromisingly honest.”

    This allows for reasonable compromise (meaning a compromise that uses reason), and admits the probability that I am, to some degree, not in possession of important information or unaware of other, reasonable interpretations of the shared problems. It also is a shot across the bow of those people, generally calling themselves “conservative,” who rely on bullying and lies to cover their own dishonesty.

    Politics should be like martial arts: real martial artists aren’t interested in “winning” but in settling the situation with understanding, so both parties can get back to useful, creative activities. This, given the fucked-up nature of those with poor, or even evil, teachers, is of course not always possible but is never to be discarded as a goal.

  39. #39 MelM
    March 26, 2008

    I suggest that the term “crackpot” be used against the creationists. It summarizes their ideas and mentality. I think it will sting because of the evasions and self-deception involved and “crackpot” succinctly catches it all. “Crackpot” may make them visible to themselves and to anyone looking on; people do not like to be associated with crackpots nor believe they are duped by them. Using “crackpot” makes the battle line and the issue fully clear using just one word.

  40. #40 Moses
    March 26, 2008

    Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?

    “Hi, I’m brother John, and have you heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?”

  41. #41 Chris Crawford
    March 26, 2008

    Lee suggests that the value of antagonizing conservatives is that it wears them down. This sounds like the strategy used at Verdun in World War I.

    ” Pugnaciousness suggests to bystanders that your cause is worth fighting for and that there are lines they should be wary of crossing. It suggests they can’t walk all over you.”

    I disagree. I don’t know what motivates you, but I will warn you that, if you allow your anger to affect your judgement, you will surely fail. I do see a lot of anger being expressed in these comments, and that anger, while justified, is our enemy. Success does not go to those who lose their heads.

  42. #42 inkadu
    March 26, 2008

    It all depends on context.

    Unfortunately, the context since the 90′s has been trending toward people screaming at each other on TV. In that context, yes, it’s best to be brief, to the point, and not too polite.

    Obama’s race speech was breathtaking simply because it wasn’t stupid. American discourse is a stupid, emotional, fact-free shit-flinging zone. It always has been, to a certain extent, but there seems to be absolutely no room for anything else these days.

    Woody Thanks for bringing up torture. There have been so many indignities suffered on this nation in the past 8 years, it is hard to remember them all. I remember reading one of AL Franken’s books once; there was no new information in them for me, but to have all those crimes listed in one book, chapter after chapter, with no time to forget one… it was seriously aggravating.

  43. #43 Not Dukakis
    March 26, 2008

    Michael Dukakis
    nuff said

  44. #44 Patrick
    March 26, 2008

    I certainly didn’t think that. Of course I think that’s mostly because I don’t think with words like Milquetoast

  45. #45 Faithful Reader
    March 26, 2008

    #24– you tell them “Goodbye” and shut the door. Firmly. Keeping the dog from biting them.

  46. #46 Longtime Lurker
    March 26, 2008

    “Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?”

    Simple, say, “Huh? The agency usually sends the same strippers, but you’ll do!”

    Now, all you tough-but-smart liberals out there, go out and obtain “No Rest for the Wicked” by the New Model Army, select the track “My Country”, turn it up to the proverbial eleven, go out, and rip anyone to the right of Nancy Pelosi a new one. The bridge is a neat little set of words to roll up and smack a right-winger’s snout with:

    “No rights were ever given to us by the grace of god, no rights were ever given by a United Nations clause, no rights were ever given by some nice guy at the top, our rights, they were bought by all the blood and all the tears of all our grandmothers and grandfathers before.”

    It is the anthem of the kick-ass liberal. Also, the next time some dumbass sends you an e-mail about the only two “defining forces” that died for you, ask them, “What about all the labor and civil rights activists who gave their lives for our ability to make a decent living without undue harassment and exploitation?”

  47. #47 Tristan I Croll
    March 26, 2008

    RE: #13

    You read Hitchen’s screed today in Slate.com and National Post? Woo-hoo!! Your GREAT friend Omaba gets reamed. So make your choice. Hitchens or Obama? You can’t agree with both thom them, can you?

    This, I think, illustrates perfectly the way the conservative mind works. At the root, it’s not about ideas, or facts – it’s about people. They will pick figureheads – the person or people they consider the strongest, the most likely to win, and then get back that person 100%, no matter what. They expect us to do the same thing, which is why you get attacks like this – to that mindset, this would be a telling blow. To the intended recipients, however, it’s just bemusing, and a little sad.

  48. #48 Moses
    March 26, 2008

    I disagree. I don’t know what motivates you, but I will warn you that, if you allow your anger to affect your judgement, you will surely fail. I do see a lot of anger being expressed in these comments, and that anger, while justified, is our enemy. Success does not go to those who lose their heads.

    Posted by: Chris Crawford | March 26, 2008 8:12 PM

    Who says anyone is angry? Calculated displays, that’s all.

  49. #49 CalGeorge
    March 26, 2008

    “Get mean.”

    Yes!

    This generation of Republicans in Congress and in the administration has to be the biggest bunch of assholes to hit government since our nation was founded.

    They should be treated like the complete fucktards they are.

  50. #50 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 26, 2008

    Lee suggests that the value of antagonizing conservatives is that it wears them down. This sounds like the strategy used at Verdun in World War I.

    Then it sounds like a strategy that works. Draw them onto your guns and grind them down.

    The problem with these battles of rhetoric, whether it is face to face or in a flame war, is that too many try for the killer blow, and it rarely works. ‘Ha! See my rhetorical ju-jitsu!’ Nope, it just bounced off them.

    No, my own experience is to keep worrying at people and wear them down. Make them work at the argument. Make them expend energy. Keep them engaged. Keep them irritated. In the end either you give up or they do. And if you’re smart about it and know how to argue by making them do most of the work, they will withdraw first. Or they will lose it, which is even more entertaining, because at that point you have humiliated them.

    ” Pugnaciousness suggests to bystanders that your cause is worth fighting for and that there are lines they should be wary of crossing. It suggests they can’t walk all over you.”

    I disagree. I don’t know what motivates you, but I will warn you that, if you allow your anger to affect your judgement, you will surely fail. I do see a lot of anger being expressed in these comments, and that anger, while justified, is our enemy. Success does not go to those who lose their heads.

    Then don’t get angry. Aggression is not the same as anger. Aggression is disciplined and focussed. Anger can feed that pugnaciousness and keep you in the fight, but you must master it, my Padawan learner.

  51. #51 dave
    March 26, 2008

    “Those who fight monsters should take care that they never become one. For when you stand and look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

  52. #52 ndt
    March 26, 2008

    Fucking right on.

  53. #53 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 26, 2008

    It’s gone midnight in Eng-er-land and papa Brimmicombe-Wood needs his sleep.

    Goodnight, Smurfs and Smurfettes!

  54. #54 Chris Crawford
    March 26, 2008

    Lee, when you write that the tactics used a Verdun sound like something that works, well… you’re very, very wrong. Verdun is archetypical of the worst kind of military operation, a huge bloodbath that accomplished absolutely nothing.

    The tactics you propose are debating tactics, nothing more. They might permit you to feel that you have emerged victorious from some childish blog battle, but if you think that they convince anybody else, you’re horribly wrong. You are not smarter than the bystanders and they can see a debater’s trick a mile away.

    And whether you call it aggression or anger, it’s still ugly and bystanders are still put off by it.

    If you want to convince people, you just stick with the facts, avoid chest-beating, and speak gently.

  55. #55 scote
    March 26, 2008

    “Those who fight monsters should take care that they never become one. For when you stand and look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
    Posted by: dave | March 26, 2008 8:25 PM

    Indeed, we should not become a human rights violating dictatorship in the name of security. But, neither should we let those would take us down that road have their way with us. It is possible to be strong, assertive and aggressive without being monsters, indeed it is required, for to do nothing as we are now is to let our nation become monstrous.

  56. #56 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
    March 26, 2008

    In the (fictionalized) words of President John Adams:

    “This is a revolution, damn it! We’re going to have to offend somebody!”

    Clip here

  57. #57 gmcfly
    March 26, 2008

    @#21
    The study suggested that “liberals” communicate more like the conservatives to get a broader appeal.

    This is also known as “framing.”

  58. #58 AlanWCan
    March 26, 2008

    Besides, is your goal to change the world or feel better by letting off some steam?
    How about not getting steamrollered? The right own the dialogue. They set the terms — intelligent design, surge, war on XYZ, middle east, climate change, pro-fucking-life (they’re ANTI-fucking-CHOICE), family-friendly, intellectual property, harsh interrogation, etc. — and everyone else plays catch-up and actually use those terms. Its all spin and marketing, and the bad guys are winning, because spin and marketing types are soulless facesuckers.
    Yet, pop culture just keeps sucking it up as new phrases are fed into the discourse, and old ones are twisted beyond all recognition.
    Stop using their words.

  59. #59 Aquaria
    March 26, 2008

    Don’t have time to read all the posts right now, but I’ve been saying something like what this guy has, for years.

    I disagree that it has to be “mean,” per se, but I do think we need to stand up and speak up and fight when we believe we’re right, in no uncertain terms. It’s for a simple reason: Psychologically, if you won’t stand up for yourself and what you believe, then Joe and Jane Sixpack will wonder if you will stand up for them.

  60. #60 Nick K
    March 26, 2008

    #23

    “Is there some reason I should consider the possibility that your statement is not as moronic as it seems to be? I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.”

    You lost me after “Is there some reason…”. You will never reach the people who vote Republican and ought to vote Democrat by talking to them like that. These are people who are not rational/smart/aware enough to know that they are voting against their own material interests. They vote GOP because Rush Limbaugh makes them feel stupid in the most exquisitely vivid ways if they vote Democrat. That’s what we need to do.

  61. #61 Ian
    March 26, 2008

    Maybe the rest of you have stronger stomachs, but violent rhetoric always loses my attention fast. If it becomes much more popular than it already is, I’m afraid that I’ll just have to start ignoring politics altogether.

  62. #62 October Mermaid
    March 26, 2008

    I agree with Chris Crawford. No point getting angry or needlessly mean. We have the facts and reality on our side, so we stand firm with that and never back down. That’s the problem, though. A lot of times, people WILL back down to avoid hurting another’s feelings or to be politically correct. That’s what we need to do away with.

  63. #63 Bob Carroll
    March 26, 2008

    On greeting J’s witnesses: Fling open the door and “Oh, my goodness, strangers, maybe I should put some clothes on.

  64. #64 ice9
    March 26, 2008

    Y’all are working way too hard.

    Victory in politics is patience plus consistency. Clausewitz, or maybe that japanese feller, they had it right. Holding your ground is the easiest, most efficient means of combat, and of political victory.
    The conservatives are energetic, and they have a fund of momentum from history–it’s a Christian nation, and a scientifically foolish one, and a nation with a history of violent overreaction, and so on. But we have progressed, by fits and starts but we have. Conservatism by definition hopes to turn the clock back, or at least stop it, and all occasions do inform against them. They’re not mean; they’re furious, because fury is contagious, and effective, but short-lived, and nothing seems sillier and less impressive in retrospect except perhaps first-date sex.
    The creotards and Intelligent Design smoothies, the in-the-closet homophobes, the Wolfowitz crusaders, the home-schoolers, the no-new-tax and starve-the-beast fiscalists, the Minutemen, all of the phenomenal movement politicians are susceptible to patient, smiling, polite, dogged, determined, repetetive, unflappable argument. It’s not overpoliteness, or intellectual constipation; it’s confident patience, the four-corners offense, the Napoleonic creed of short internal lines of supply and communication and lots of spades working overtime.
    Take our own Michelle Bachman, a brittle glass dish of a Bushie, the perfect Christer for America, a blueprint for the modern conservative our brain-dead trailerians elect to plan for a future they think will end in rapture any minute. Bachman is elected, and will likely stay elected, but she can’t sit still. If she just takes that empty grin to Washington and votes the way Uncle Dick says she should, all will be well and whatever reptilian hypocrisy she’s hiding (I’m betting she’s been to a certain Greek island, and liked it, and wants to go back) would stay hidden forever and she’d become one of the fossilized minority.
    but no, she can’t. She’s too stupid, too dedicated to the antithesis of public service and government that is the bold thesis of modern conservatism. She’s just too sure that Jesus loves her special. So she sponsors a Lightbulb Freedom of Choice bill, which is all about scoring silly little points off of science and government, and instead volunteers herself as a glassy-eyed grinner of a half-wit clown. She and her ilk are so sure, so absolutely true-believer, that they will destroy themselves sure as you’re born. They were educated to one standard: underestimating other people in the process of overestimating themselves. Hence the hubris of the hypocritical moralists–too many to mention; the grotesque fiction of the “fiscal conservatives,” Laffering all the way to the bank; the pathetic sagging depletion of the Religious Wing, crowned by raving Robertson or flap-jowled Falwell and his comical university.
    Left alone, the Bush administration would collapse into a zoological park of comical absurdity: Jeff Gannon, Alberto Gonzalez, Harriet Miers (though I for one would have kind of enjoyed that one–imagine the girl-talk with Bader Ginsberg–Harriet would flee the Court knock kneed and pale some night, howling like Kitty Genovese.) We have science, we have rhetoric; we studied and read books while they were nodding at each other’s vapidity and then taking it for their own.
    So don’t get mean. Just keep cruising their blogs and leaving little steaming turds of wisdom. Every time they ban you for being politely annoying, we win. Every time you patiently entertain their zombie-logic, we win. Every fallacy we nail, every quote-mine we ridicule, every assertion we lacerate: victory. Doesn’t seem like much, I know, but it works. Drip, drip, drip.

    Ooh, I’m out of Pinot.

    ice

  65. #65 Stogoe
    March 26, 2008

    Great hair, Chris Crawford.

  66. #66 Robin
    March 26, 2008

    #56: Love the musical theatre reference!

  67. #67 ice9
    March 26, 2008

    Y’all are working way too hard.

    Victory in politics is patience plus consistency. Clausewitz, or maybe that japanese feller, they had it right. Holding your ground is the easiest, most efficient means of combat, and of political victory.
    The conservatives are energetic, and they have a fund of momentum from history–it’s a Christian nation, and a scientifically foolish one, and a nation with a history of violent overreaction, and so on. But we have progressed, by fits and starts but we have. Conservatism by definition hopes to turn the clock back, or at least stop it, and all occasions do inform against them. They’re not mean; they’re furious, because fury is contagious, and effective, but short-lived.
    The creotards and Intelligent Design smoothies, the in-the-closet homophobes, the Wolfowitz crusaders, the home-schoolers, the no-new-tax and starve-the-beast fiscalists, the Minutemen, all of the phenomenal movement politicians are susceptible to patient, smiling, polite, dogged, determined argument. It’s not overpoliteness, or intellectual constipation; it’s confident patience, the four-corners offense, the Napoleonic creed of short internal lines of supply and communication.
    Take our own Michelle Bachman, a brittle glass dish of a Bushie, the perfect Christer for America, a blueprint for the modern conservative our brain-dead trailerians elect to plan for a future they think will end in rapture any minute. Bachman is elected, and will likely stay elected, but she can’t sit still. If she just takes that empty grin to Washington and votes the way Uncle Dick says she should, all will be well and whatever reptilian hypocrisy she’s hiding (I’m betting she’s been to a certain Greek island myself) would stay hidden forever and she’d become one of the fossilized minority.
    but no, she can’t. She’s too stupid, too dedicated to the antithesis of public service and government that is the bold thesis of modern conservatism. So she sponsors a Lightbulb Freedom of Choice bill, which is all about scoring silly little points off of science and government. She and her ilk are so sure, so absolutely true-believer, that they will destroy themselves sure as you’re born. They were educated to one standard: underestimating other people in the process of overestimating themselves. Hence the hubris of the hypocritical moralists–too many to mention; the grotesque fiction of the “fiscal conservatives,” Laffering all the way to the bank; the pathetic sagging depletion of the Religious Wing, crowned by raving Robertson or flap-jowled Falwell and his comical university.
    Left alone, the Bush administration would collapse into a zoological park of comical absurdity: Jeff Gannon, Alberto Gonzalez, Harriet Miers (though I for one would have kind of enjoyed that one–imagine the girl-talk with Bader Ginsberg–Harriet would flee the Court knock kneed and pale some night, howling like Kitty Genovese.)Etc ad nauseum.
    Hang tight. Stand your ground. Refute those posts. Cite those logical fallacies. Keep reading and studying. Stay patient.

    ice

  68. #68 ice9
    March 26, 2008

    Y’all are working way too hard.

    Victory in politics is patience plus consistency. Clausewitz, or maybe that japanese feller, they had it right. Holding your ground is the easiest, most efficient means of combat, and of political victory.
    The conservatives are energetic, and they have a fund of momentum from history–it’s a Christian nation, and a scientifically foolish one, and a nation with a history of violent overreaction, and so on. But we have progressed, by fits and starts but we have. Conservatism by definition hopes to turn the clock back, or at least stop it, and all occasions do inform against them. They’re not mean; they’re furious, because fury is contagious, and effective, but short-lived.
    The creotards and Intelligent Design smoothies, the in-the-closet homophobes, the Wolfowitz crusaders, the home-schoolers, the no-new-tax and starve-the-beast fiscalists, the Minutemen, all of the phenomenal movement politicians are susceptible to patient, smiling, polite, dogged, determined argument. It’s not overpoliteness, or intellectual constipation; it’s confident patience, the four-corners offense, the Napoleonic creed of short internal lines of supply and communication.
    Take our own Michelle Bachman, a brittle glass dish of a Bushie, the perfect Christer for America, a blueprint for the modern conservative our brain-dead trailerians elect to plan for a future they think will end in rapture any minute. Bachman is elected, and will likely stay elected, but she can’t sit still. If she just takes that empty grin to Washington and votes the way Uncle Dick says she should, all will be well and whatever reptilian hypocrisy she’s hiding (I’m betting she’s been to a certain Greek island myself) would stay hidden forever and she’d become one of the fossilized minority.
    but no, she can’t. She’s too stupid, too dedicated to the antithesis of public service and government that is the bold thesis of modern conservatism. So she sponsors a Lightbulb Freedom of Choice bill, which is all about scoring silly little points off of science and government. She and her ilk are so sure, so absolutely true-believer, that they will destroy themselves sure as you’re born. They were educated to one standard: underestimating other people in the process of overestimating themselves. Hence the hubris of the hypocritical moralists–too many to mention; the grotesque fiction of the “fiscal conservatives,” Laffering all the way to the bank; the pathetic sagging depletion of the Religious Wing, crowned by raving Robertson or flap-jowled Falwell and his comical university.
    Left alone, the Bush administration would collapse into a zoological park of comical absurdity: Jeff Gannon, Alberto Gonzalez, Harriet Miers (though I for one would have kind of enjoyed that one–imagine the girl-talk with Bader Ginsberg–Harriet would flee the Court knock kneed and pale some night, howling like Kitty Genovese.)Etc ad nauseum.
    Hang tight. Stand your ground. Refute those posts. Cite those logical fallacies. Keep reading and studying. Stay patient.

    ice

  69. #69 ice9
    March 26, 2008

    o crap I triple posted. Sorry. Somebody delete me.

    ice

  70. #70 PZ Myers
    March 26, 2008

    Good grief, some of you people…did you actually follow the link? It is NOT advocating pulling out guns and pistol-whipping your opponents. The first thing it advocates is bumper sticker slogans: “”There are two kinds of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.” It’s saying that we need to stop using weasel words and get right out there and say what we think of right-wing nut jobs.

    You wilting flowers are the problem. Grow a spine.

  71. #71 ice9
    March 26, 2008

    Who’s the wilting flower? Is it me? Is it me? I’m sorry if it is. If it isn’t, I told you so.

    ice

  72. #72 Jim
    March 26, 2008

    Like they said on B5, you can get more with a kind word and a two-by-four that you can with just a kind word.

  73. #73 Jim
    March 26, 2008

    (NB: in this case I mean a rhetorical two-by-four.)

  74. #74 mgarelick
    March 26, 2008

    #5:

    I disagree with the basic premise that liberals should get mean. The appeal of Mr. Obama’s campaign lies in its nobility. Mr. Obama seeks to rise above the meanness of the conservative attack machine. I believe that he will discredit that whole way of thinking.

    I think we should wait to see how that story turns out before we decide what the lesson of it is.

  75. #75 Epikt
    March 26, 2008

    jsn:

    Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?

    “Do you know a prayer that works on Ebola?”

  76. #76 Hipple, Rev. Paul T.
    March 26, 2008

    Bring it on! Now is as good a time for the End Times as any other!

  77. #77 woody
    March 26, 2008

    Ooh, I’m out of Pinot.

    ice

    Posted by: ice9 | March 26, 2008 8:59 PM

    then you won’t have nay trouble describing for me the ground “we” hold?
    I cant see it much anywhere.
    what have we held secure? liberty? feh. prosperity? gah! health? look the fuck around you!!!
    what the fuck are “we” defending?

  78. #78 Sue Laris
    March 26, 2008

    PZed, if you are addressing me, I can genially respond by shoving those figurative wilting-but-still-thorny flowers up your figurative ass, with a smile and hopes that we can lower the rhetoric again.

    If not, excuse me, but you are over-reacting in a way I do NOT believe you would in person.

  79. #79 Sue Laris
    March 26, 2008

    Also, remember that “lib’rls” generally have, as they say, a fuckin’ LIFE, while the high point of a Bushite’s week is going to church to be told that heaven won’t be as shitty as his/her earth existance is.
    Bush-”republican” polotics is the organizing of the viciously unhappy in the interest of the leaders seeking to perfect the banality of Evil.

  80. #80 Bill
    March 26, 2008

    Woody – We are defending freedom of thought. The right for our minds to be free of religous dogma. The right to not be bullied into bowing before a lie. The right to not have our souls held hostage so that others may gain more power. The right to search for the truth of the universe in our own way and someday find a way off this God forsaken rock and get away from all these damned crackpots!

  81. #81 scote
    March 26, 2008

    Ahh…so this is that hegemonious PZed Mafia the enemy is always intimating.

    Pretty funny that the creationists think we all are in lock step. They must be projecting something fierce.

  82. #82 markbt73
    March 26, 2008

    Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?

    1. Answer the door without either pants or shirt, your choice.

    2. Have someone else in the house shout, “Honey, can you hurry up? The chicken is trying to get away.”

    3. Say, “I’d love to listen to what you have to say, but can you give me a hand with something first?”, and hand them each a roll of Saran Wrap.

    Works every time.

    Oh, and this article is dead-on. Fucking-A.

  83. #83 Dzho
    March 26, 2008

    I second #58
    There is no Intelligent Design; there’s creationism
    There is no Creationism; there’s Bible-thumping
    Nothing is “faith-based”; it’s ‘religious’
    There’s no such thing as a “death tax” There’s an estate tax. (the Paris Hilton tax)
    There’s no such thing as “islamofascism”; there are violent cults.
    There is no Iraq war: there’s an occupation.
    This isn’t the “Homeland”: it’s the Former United States.

    This could go on an on. Is there a website or something?

  84. #84 Stephanie Z
    March 26, 2008

    Well, I’ve seen PZ’s traffic stats. It seems to work for him. And to everyone who finds it so unappealing: Why do you read him?

  85. #85 Pete
    March 26, 2008

    #58 right on.
    The one that really gets me is the term “values voters” – everyone uses it.
    Code for anti-gay, -immigration, and -choice. Even liberal democrats use the phrase, sometimes adding air quotes, as if they help. No, all it says is “if you oppose these views, you have no values.”

    George Lakoff, most of whose ideas on framing I agree with*, got it exactly right. Stop using their words.

    (*He’s actually came up with some new words to use, instead of just telling people to stop saying certain things. Not all his coinages are great, but he’s trying.)

  86. #86 Pierce R. Butler
    March 26, 2008

    Chris Crawford: Mr. Obama seeks to rise above the meanness of the conservative attack machine. I believe that he will discredit that whole way of thinking.

    Assume Obama wins the election and is inaugurated. At that point he has a choice: he can enforce the laws he has sworn to uphold, and order investigations and prosecutions of those found to have broken said laws during the incumbent administration – or he can make bipartisan nice with the Republicans. He cannot do both.

    Let’s give Obama credit for greater candor than the current Speaker of the House, who only after taking that office announced that she would refuse, indefinitely, to exercise her Constitutional duty.

    Sadly, America’s best hope is that the leading presidential candidate does intend to uphold the Constitution and is now lying like a rug.

  87. #87 Bubba Sixpack
    March 26, 2008

    You have to be able to give as good as you take. Nobody likes stand-offishness and aloofness. Or compliant whiny phlegm. Except Ben Stein, of course.

    Biting humor is my favorite way to give.

  88. #88 Pierce R. Butler
    March 26, 2008

    PZ Myers: You wilting flowers are the problem. Grow a spine.

    (sob) Thus ends the Great Invertebrate Love Affair!

    Oh, wait! PZ is speaking botanically – he’s calling for liberal Cactaceae. All is forgiven!

  89. #89 Crudely Wrott
    March 26, 2008

    re: John Dolan’s AlterNet article.

    I was, ah, heartened to see someone else articulate a notion that I have long held.

    It’s long been a given, from my POV, that most people who make a big deal out of being offended do not really feel offended. They rather feel an opportunity for personal gain at someone else’s expense and from none of their own. Some have been taught to do so and some just grew up that way, mores the pity.

    Speaking for myself and Mr. Dolan and at least a few people I have known, I am more offended by people who wail about the indignities done to them by what someone has said than I am offended when someone offends me! Look. It’s simple.

    If someone offends me, that offense is mostly one of two classes of offense:
    1) The offender is just a normal jerk/normal person and has made a blunder similar to some I have been known to make, or
    2) The offender is under the illusion that his version of reality bears some inscrutable stamp of approval that trumps all others, so there.

    In both cases I know something of the character of the offender by virtue of the offense, and, if I need to know more about them I can simply use my spider sense or scan public records. In each case, I have some purchase, some starting point, to deal with the offense as I see fit.

    But, when someone declares to me that they are “terribly” offended or “shocked” by some speech or other free expression, I have no toe hold. There is only the dreary, dawning knowing that only by smiling, nodding and continuing to edge toward an exit will I be able to avoid entanglement – actually having to argue the degree of suffering experienced by a true believer when it is suggested that his belief is silly, unworthy, or barely human. Please! Spare me!

    It’s not that I belittle someone else’s sense of outrage. It is a feeling I know all too well. What buggers my mind it that so much of my familiarity comes from listening to people weep of deep hurt when the only wound is to their fond notion that they are at the very center of creation. And are due an unearned measure of respect. Unearned in that they have not yet mastered the art of being respectful.

    These people, liberals or democrats or hermits, whatever, lack the understanding of the nature of the country we live in. A republic. Power is held by the people and rendered in lesser amount to the federal gummint to take care of federal business. The rest is left up to the several states. What is left after they get done with it is OUR business, to take care of as we each see fit. The single most important rule in this end game is to be able to take care of yourself and your business without causing others (fellow citizen, neighbor, grocer, shop steward, employee, barber, best buddy, local sheriff, mayor, congressional representative or mother) to incur costs that you would not willingly bear should the tables be turned.

    I could cry about my offense, because it goes at least as deep as what I know of being both a citizen of America and a citizen of this rapidly evolving planet. But I won’t. But it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my attitude.

  90. #90 Kagehi
    March 26, 2008

    The peace vigils against this war have been very “peaceful,” lighting candles, singing “Give Peace a Chance,” marching on sidewalks to avoid disrupting traffic.

    Yeah Mike, it hasn’t done much and they get called hippies. There is a good reason too. There is **no** valid reason to think that just because we stop shooting people, peace is going to break out, so rational people look at that slogan and suffer a long moment of WTF every time they hear it? Its what I stated on another post at a different blog. You want to solve a problem, you need to suggest a solution. Leaving the areas, after you helped screw things up, and pretending you don’t see the consequences of doing so, is ***not*** a solution. The people that use that phrase are either a) not considering the consequences and how to *really* solve the problem, or b) they actually really believe that it would work, somehow, and should go back to their hemp farms and eat more funny leaf salad. Its denial of either reality, or that someone, someplace, might, if anyone bothered to listen to them, instead of the war mongers, have some solution that could, maybe, salvage something from the situation.

    Both sides deny this possibility, one by ignoring the fact that they don’t have a damn clue what to do, and never did, and the other by insisting that the only other option is to do the equivalent of sitting back and watching the house burn down, because, well, buckets didn’t work, and no one wants to listen to the joker who keeps babbling something about “fire trucks”. I mean, how silly can you be. Such a thing, if it existed, couldn’t *unburn* the other buildings that already collapsed, right, or repair the damage to the one that’s burning? Glad I at least have Vlad here too, who also finds this logic completely ridiculous.

  91. #91 Rey Fox
    March 26, 2008

    CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVES.

  92. #92 Norman Doering
    March 26, 2008

    Stephanie Z wrote:

    Well, I’ve seen PZ’s traffic stats. It seems to work for him.

    It works for Jon Stewart and Bill Maher too, but could they get elected?

  93. #93 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    Unrelenting ridicule of stupid ideas is one way to push things the way they should be.

    When the Taxpayers League calls Liberals “Tax-Hungry” call them “Freeloaders.” When people say that Habeus Corpus only applies to Americans in the United States call them “Nationalists” or “Skinheads.” When Values Voters bash gays call them “Latents.” Push them to defend their ideas and set them back on their heels. Force them to say “No, no, we aren’t like that. We’re reasonable. We didn’t really mean it.”

    It’s not that hard.

  94. #94 A non-ideological independent
    March 26, 2008

    Absolutely LOL!

    “We need to get mean!”

    “How do we do that?”

    “Say ‘fuck’ more!”

    “Fuck, yeah! That’ll work!”

    You guys are so utterly fucked. With the Obama/Clinton schism, you’re going to give us a McCain presidency, and the USA going to war in about a dozen more places. Thanks, losers!

  95. #95 Alex
    March 26, 2008

    So young males want to be offensive just because they’re young and male? Not to provide more evidence for the author of that article’s argument, but fuck him. Living for a shorter period of time and being born with an XY chromosome does not make one want to offend others instead of making rational, civil arguments. That said, I have many “liberal” ideas because they’re good ideas. I don’t hold them based on whether or not those who call themselves liberals attempt to humiliate those who oppose them. In fact, I might even be less likely to hold my views if that was the case. Trying to be nice is a positive thing, and if this guy disagrees, then he can become a conservative for all I care and insult everyone he wants without making any actual arguments. I agree that sometimes insulting others might make be helpful to a cause sometimes, but it’s not something that people should go out of their way to encourage like this asshole.

  96. #96 A non-ideological independent
    March 26, 2008

    Mike Haubrich, FCD said, “When the Taxpayers League calls Liberals “Tax-Hungry” call them “Freeloaders.”

    So reduce the level of debate from Kindergarten to Pre-School. What an absolutely *fabulous* idea! What could *possibly* go wrong? Hey, why not go further and lower it to the LOLCats level? HAI! I’M IN UR TAX CODE, TAXIN U FREELOADERS! KTHX!

    Mike Haubrich, FCD said, “It’s not that hard.”

    It’s certainly easier than thinking!

    Seriously, you dumb bunnies are going to hand the White House right back to the GOP. Do you even care?

  97. #97 Art
    March 26, 2008

    “American liberals have assimilated as dogma the belief that dialogue and conciliation are always the way to go. As time has progressed it has become obvious that such isn’t true unless you have adversaries that are prepared to argue in good faith. That certainly hasn’t been true of the Republican right for a good while. – Tyler DiPietro ”

    An astute observation. One of the things that worries me about Obama and the call to ‘change’, understood as a more cooperative bipartisan atmosphere on the national scene, is that it takes two to cooperate, or tango.

    I wish Bill Clinton would stand up and clearly state that his campaign was largely about ‘change’ and bipartisan cooperation. He entered office and made strong efforts to find common ground. This despite the vicious attacks he endured on while running. It was not to be. The attacks and slurs were pressed harder and only lightened up years after he had left office.

    Obama wants to take the high road a nice goal but one that that can be gained unilaterally. His followers get bent out of shape at anything even slightly negative. Do they think the Republicans are going to hold their tongues and passively let a new day of cooperation dawn? If the Obama campaign can’t stand up to criticism, even justified criticism, what are they going to do when the GOP rolls out the ‘Southern Strategy’ from the 70s and the Muslim card. Complete with threats of riots and fear of black men with odd names. All backed by Limbaugh, thrice weekly attack editorials and well financed swiftboaters.

    The high road is a fine path. Until someone mugs you on it.

  98. #98 K. Signal Eingang
    March 26, 2008

    For more John Dolan, see The eXile at www dot exile dot ru (putting URLs in here always gets these held for moderation, hopefully y’all can figure it out). His eulogy (dislogy?) for Reagan was something else.

    I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure he also writes the “War Nerd” columns on that site, under the pseudonym Gary Brecher. Almost all of which are excellent.

  99. #99 Grammar RWA
    March 26, 2008

    I eat meat but do so from quality farms that treat their animals well.

    No, they don’t.

  100. #100 Grammar RWA
    March 26, 2008

    The hell is wrong with the comments…

    http://www.peacefulprairie.org/freerange1.html

  101. #101 Azkyroth
    March 27, 2008

    Lee suggests that the value of antagonizing conservatives is that it wears them down. This sounds like the strategy used at Verdun in World War I.

    ” Pugnaciousness suggests to bystanders that your cause is worth fighting for and that there are lines they should be wary of crossing. It suggests they can’t walk all over you.”

    I disagree. I don’t know what motivates you, but I will warn you that, if you allow your anger to affect your judgement, you will surely fail. I do see a lot of anger being expressed in these comments, and that anger, while justified, is our enemy. Success does not go to those who lose their heads.

    Oh Mr. Concern Troll…

    Perhaps you’d care to explain the electoral success of the Republican party, then?

    (Moron).

  102. #102 Tom
    March 27, 2008

    Bumper Sticker:

    Godless Liberal
    Proud & Patriotic

    Got me a few fingers from old farts in Caddys. I would laugh at them. I should get that reprinted.

  103. #103 Abyss
    March 27, 2008

    Being ‘mean’ is worthless. It’s just being petty and petulant to your opponents for the sake of it.

    Don’t be mean, be SAVAGE, be RUTHLESS.

    Rip everything they say apart, every flaw in their argument, every skeleton in their closet, every instance of cowardice, failure, and hypocrisy. Shed them so completely that they have nothing left to stand on. Leave them a huddling mass of crap on the floor. When they finally try to stand up, hit them with a heavy stick and call them hippies.

    Then, after the dust has settled and everyone forgets what they stood for, offer them a hand so that the country will call you compassionate.

    That’s how they beat us. It’s time to return the favor.

  104. #104 Etha Williams
    March 27, 2008

    Probably the best part of the article:

    “And most of the hardcore academic progressives I’ve known have tin ears. Their sheer awfulness is adaptive within the academic ghetto, in the way that a lack of any olfactory ability is adaptive for carrion eaters; but it’s disastrous when they try to talk to people outside their guild.”

    So true…so true.

  105. #105 Neil
    March 27, 2008

    Flowers in our hair, flowers up our asses, and draw your pistols, me hearties!
    I am having quite a chuckle over the emotional displays that result from a discussion on the appropriate level of emotional content in political discussion. Hopefully the argument will cool down before the next election, while there is still time to be productive.

    I appreciate the dedication to honesty and high-mindedness shown by many in this thread; No joke, I really do. In the ongoing battle for rational thought, education, and the long-term winning of people to any cause, a dedication to calm rational discussion is indispensable. But in the context of getting the messages out for public consumption and creating real, immediate gains in liberal politics and public interest levels in liberal policy, high-minded politeness is worse than a joke. The sad fact is that
    in the last three decades, millions of honest, fairly progressive people have voted Republican because they feel powerless and scared, and they simply don’t trust liberals on an emotional level. We may say exactly what we mean, but
    the message is not heard above the fray and we come out looking weak, ineffectual, and just as scared as the
    worried citizens whose votes we seek.
    It took six years of unnecessary war, daily protests, and an uncountable list of crimes committed by Republicans just to get a slight majority of limp-noodle Republican-lite style Democrats elected to Congress. It wasn’t a reaction to the Dem’s awesome politickin’ skillz, it was a desperate shift to the lesser of two evils, and it wasn’t even that big a shift. While many younger voters are again swinging left out of honest concern, there are just as many who are bored stiff by our meek demeanor. Intellectualism without frank honesty and zeal has no more impact than a rotting, unread book.
    I’m not talking about setting up Obama vs. McCain cage matches, or Hillary Clinton monster truck rallies. Nor am I talking about adopting the politics and language of ignorance and hate. All I ask for is simple honesty. Just a taste.
    If Republicans can call peaceful protesters “traitors,”
    label ambushed citizens as “insurgents” and refer to
    fascism as “security” then I am surely justified in calling
    a mass murderer a “mass murderer”, referring to lying and stealing as “lying and stealing”, and occasionally reminding people that ignorant, hateful bigots are in fact “ignorant, hateful bigots.”
    `

  106. #106 BGT
    March 27, 2008

    As an original MS’ian, I am neither left nor right. I am an agnostic, but leaning heavily towards RD’s view that there is no proof of a deity. I don’t count myself as a liberal or a conservative. I appreciate PZ’s and other Sciblings’ posts as a way to form my opinions. (As an aside, I have barely skimmed any posts on this thread, so forgive me if others have addressed this point) I will say this though, that PZ in many ways is stating an important point. Being liberal does not mean you have to “elevate” yourself above the fray, particularly in rhetoric. If someone is full of shit, call them on it. Call out the hypocrisy, and any unfounded opinions, and call them out hard. Even the stupidest of us “umuricans” understand that. We do understand, or at least seem to understand, bravery. The qoute “liberals” sometimes seem to lose that in the discourse.

    (Now it is time for others with more of an experience/education in this take over for me, and point out holes in this post. Damnit, science is the king for knowledge!)

  107. #107 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    March 27, 2008

    When an anonymous someone calls himself “Non-ideologoical independent thinker” call him a “cowardly idiot.”

    See, it’s easy for a dumb bunny.

  108. #108 BGT
    March 27, 2008

    And, as a short post, Neil, (without elaborating further), I think you hit a few issues on the head.

  109. #109 Thomas Howard
    March 27, 2008

    jsn:

    “Any suggestions on what to say to the Jehova’s Witnesses who showed up at my door 5 minutes ago?”

    Well, it’s a bit late now, but you could do what my paternal grandfather did. He let the guy maunder on until he got to the whole 144,000 co-rulers bit, then asked “Well, how do you know one of them will be you?” Apparently, that possibility hadn’t yet occurred to the poor guy. He stopped dead, said “I never thought about that..” and just walked off the porch and down the street to who knows where.

  110. #110 Tep
    March 27, 2008

    The average person doesn’t bother evaluating the truth of statements or the viability of policy, instead they decide things based on the gut feeling they get from the person expressing an idea. Long, convoluted explanations sound like someone is covering up lies to these people. Unassertiveness means they won’t believe someone really means what they say. It isn’t that being rude works, is it? Its really that people who really believe what they are saying will follow through and push their beliefs on others.

  111. #111 Keith
    March 27, 2008

    Being liberal does not mean you have to “elevate” yourself above the fray, particularly in rhetoric. If someone is full of shit, call them on it. Call out the hypocrisy, and any unfounded opinions, and call them out hard.

    Precisely. That’s not to say you should do it often, but can you imagine the response at, say, a debate, if one candidate suggested something like staying in Iraq for 100 years and the other looked at them incredulously and asked:

    “Excuse me, but are you insane? The majority of the American people don’t want us there, the majority of Iraqis don’t want us there…come to think of it, about the only people who think we should stay there are people using our presence as a recruiting tool for terrorism, and you.”

    Whatever hits a candidate would take would be overshadowed by the number of people going “Hell, yeah.”

  112. #112 Autumn
    March 27, 2008

    Aggressiveness and anger are able (holy assonance, batman) to be conveyed in a very cool, calm, and rational way. Before I got married and had actual responsibilities, I took great pride in my ability to very calmly find out what I would have to say in order to turn an interlocutor into a seething bag of unintelligible hatred.
    Not only is it possible, but I have done it in front of audiences who later were certain that a person I had -with malice aforethought- verbally goaded into physical violence, or the threat thereof, was the aggressor.
    It needs to be learned by anyone arguing from a position considered out of the mainstream, and in today’s America, that means anyone who values reality and rationalism.
    Yes, by the way, I am an asshole, and I have never apologized for that (which I guess makes me that much more of an asshole).

  113. #113 Gil
    March 27, 2008

    “Get a spine”.

    But I might break a nail! Can you do it for me?

  114. #114 Denis
    March 27, 2008

    Damn, Keith, reading post 111 makes me think you need to be a speech writer. That kicked ass.

    That’s smart and mean.

  115. #115 Scott
    March 27, 2008

    The liberal impulse to meet your opposite number halfway is all well and good, but just breaks down when that “opposite number” thinks of you as the enemy and is so far off in Crazy Fuck Land that meeting them halfway is still Crazy and Fucked.

    There’s a point when you just have to say “You, conservatives, are wrong. You are asserting things that are simply not true. The facts are on our side, so we can win as long as we don’t let the other side have their own “facts”. Unfortunately, they have a steady diet of Fox/Rush/WND feedng them crap. Remember, if you see something on your favorite real news and you believe it, that’s the same reaction they have to “FOX bulletin: Obama loves terrorists!”

  116. #116 Scott
    March 27, 2008

    feh, close the quote after ‘simply not true.’

  117. #117 Jim Battle
    March 27, 2008

    The thing that makes PZ’s loud, unrelenting, righteous indignation work is that he backs it up with reasoning and evidence. Sure, he let’s some steam go (huge vapor clouds sometimes), but in the context of the full article, he usually backs that sentiment with specific, (ir)refutable evidence.

    But reading through this thread, I have to think that some of the posters only have the insult part mastered, without anything of weight behind it.

    “Hey, PZ said it is OK to be obnoxious! Great, I’m good at that … I can’t wait to post!” Comment #4 is just stupid; comment #3, while a sentiment shared widely here, isn’t the type of insults that are likely to convert anyone. #2 is patently false — there are plenty of conservatives who aren’t corrupt and inept; if conservatives are so inept, why do they wield so much power?

    The point is to be obnoxious and correct, not just obnoxious. Going back to the original article, where it suggests the bumper sticker: it isn’t just an insult (eg, “Repuglicans can lick my crack!”), it is pointedly accusing the republican reading it of being dupes. With luck some of them will really question what benefit they get from being republican, and others will, after enough exposure, be more hesitant to identify as republicans simply out of tarnished name brand.

  118. #118 bastion
    March 27, 2008

    Seems to me that there’s some self-selection going on here, and I’d like to believe that the Liberals have most of the good guys and gals in their camp. It’s hard for many Liberals to overcome their basic inclination to be generous and noble.

    Yeah, I guess there must be some nasty and cold-hearted Liberals, and there might be some good-hearted and gentle conservatives, but on the whole, most of the really mean, cruel, selfish and petty people I know are conservatives, and darn proud of it.

    While I’m willing to fight for my Liberal principles, I don’t think I could ever feel comfortable stooping low enough to return the ugliness of conservatives in kind.

    So, does that mean we Liberals are doomed?!

  119. #119 Ian
    March 27, 2008

    You wilting flowers are the problem. Grow a spine.

    Odd…I thought the Republicans were the problem.

  120. #120 oriole
    March 27, 2008

    Dear framers/politicians/gentle sould: One problem we have, I think, is that liberalism got mixed up with pacifism. I’m a liberal, but I am not a pacifist, because pacifism is immoral. Jesus deserves credit for a few good ideas, especially when you consider that he was an iron-age charismatic itinerant preacher, but “turn the other cheek” is not just stupid; it’s immoral. It gets you beaten up and it gets other people beaten up too.

    Let’s reason with – the reasonable. There are conservatives and theists who are not wackjobs; we can talk to them. But there are also conservatives and theists who are dirty liars who hate science, want to shred the constitution to save it, have no problem with generating piles of corpses for no particular reason, and just in general are vicious thugs. I’m not saying we should also lie and kill, but we sure as fuck don’t have to bend over backwards to avoid offending these assholes.

    PZ is right; some of the gentle souls posting here really should read the article he linked to before going off on some “we-should-be-better-than-that” riff. The author isn’t saying that the way to deal with bullies is to be a bully yourself; he’s saying if you want a bully’s respect, you have to punch him in the nose (calm down, people, we’re only talking about harsh language, for FSM’s sake!)

    Really, the main point of the article is that non-assholes don’t like assholes themselves, but when they’re looking for leaders, they’ll choose an asshole with guts over a well-mannered PC framer without the courage of his convictions any day. Let’s give them a third alternative: fighters for the good. If that’s what you really want, and you really believe your own people-are-basically-good talk, isn’t it possible that other people want that too?

  121. #121 J Myers (no relation)
    March 27, 2008

    #94: A study in irony, or idiocy?

  122. #122 Ade
    March 27, 2008

    This clip from the West Wing came immediately to mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZU4twOTXX0

  123. #123 Michael X
    March 27, 2008

    As others have said, being mean, ruthless, fierce and unrelenting towards your opponents arguments, does not presuppose, vulgar, stupid, angry, and witless speech as the only ways to do so. It is a sad lack of imagination that sees only one outcome to some many abstract words.

    I find it funny that a razor sharp rhetorician like Hitchens has been mentioned (by a troll albeit) and yet every other concern troll still can’t imagine how rapier wit, savage putdowns and unabashed reason, can in fact be classy. I don’t agree with Hitch on a number of issues, but do I love to hear him talk and debate. (As a response to an accusation that he was attempting to assassinate a debater’s character, he responded by saying that he didn’t have to try, it had already committed suicide.) But everyone need not be a brilliant speaker to participate. All that is needed is the lack of fear of offending to, as Sam Harris put it, call bullshit, “Bullshit”.

    In the end, everyone who’s worried about such an approach must provide more than anecdotal evidence for why they think it will go badly. I’ve asked this also to both Nisbet and Mooney: provide me solid evidence that shows people are reacting badly to outspokenness. They haven’t been able to give any so far, and the bestsellers list, increased screen time, and positive discussion in the public square, where there was none before, doesn’t seem to be agreeing with their case. The same challenge can be made to every concerned body here. Show me how the tactic of being more forthright and even mean as liberals is going to hurt us overall. Don’t just imagine how it could. Show me that it does.

  124. #124 Ebo Tebo
    March 27, 2008

    As the master of tact and diplomacy, I find that the word “cocksucker” used infrequently, helps immeasurably in a heated debate!

  125. #125 Bob
    March 27, 2008

    Be blunt. Speak clearly. Use the active voice. Speak truth to power. Translate your opponent’s dog-whistle code-words-to-the-base to plain English and chain that metaphorical rotting albatross around their neck.

    Here’s one for you: ‘illegal immigrants’ = ‘brown people’. There are plenty of examples if you look. In response to one of his racist anti-immigrant screeds, asking Lou Dobbs on national TV why he hates brown people would be priceless and effective.

    Another reframing is “redneck religious extremist” – it works equally well when applied to Osama bin Laden, John Hagee, Pat Robertson, and Bill Donohue. Threats to civil society all.

    Take Jon Stewart’s appearance on the late, unlamented Crossfire, imploring Tucker Carlson to stop destroying America. When a panicky Carlson tried to turn the conversation back to comedy, telling Stewart to “be funny”, Stewart poleaxed him (and his show) with the line “I’m not your monkey.” Priceless and effective.

    The error that many people make is in assuming that the object of the conversation is to convince a rational opponent. It is not. The primary object is to rattle your opponent and cause discomfort. This is done for two reasons: to put the suffering your opponent causes back on their own shoulders. Being a moronic blowhard should come at a price, even if that price is as minor as stinging invective, public mockery, or forceful rebuttal.

    The second and much more important reason is to convince others that share your convictions but remain silent that it is not only acceptable but mandatory to speak out. Evil triumphs when the good remain silent or unheard.

    You don’t have to be mean or vulgar but you absolutely cannot sanitize your speech for fear of offending someone and still remain effective in the current media environment. Err on the side of overkill, not caution.

    Politeness, logic, and evidence have never convinced a True Believer. Conversely, treating a True Believer to a rhetorical prison beating in a very public way encourages others to stand up for their rights and convictions (just look at Tucker Carlson’s career after Stewart’s legendary curb-stomping!) It’s unfortunate that media consolidation and the loss of the Fairness Doctrine has lead to abysmal state of American political discourse but that’s the state of the union; no amount of quiet, polite wishing (praying?) will change it. I’ll take a hundred Jon Stewarts over ten-thousand hand-wringing, bed-wetting Chris Mooneys and Matt Nisbets, easy.

  126. #126 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 27, 2008

    Verdun is archetypical of the worst kind of military operation, a huge bloodbath that accomplished absolutely nothing.

    For the Germans, most certainly. The object is to make our enemies emulate the Kaiser’s Army and bleed them white in our killing ground, not vice versa.

    The tactics you propose are debating tactics, nothing more.

    Hardly. It’s an insurgents’ strategy that has the salutary effect of creating heat and noise, it shows resistance and puts the opposition on the defensive.

    We need to poke the forces of the Godly into defending their suckerdom. Why are they footsoldiers in the service of a grand lie? Why have they fallen for this ploy of priests, politicians and those who would protect their own power? Since when has lying for Jesus been morally defensible?

    The fact is that our side has been gutless when it comes to debate, for fear of offence and the thought of seeming uncouth. We have defeated ourselves by believing that rough words would turn away legions of undecideds. The sad thing is that for all our gentle speech these masses have not come over to our side, and in America seem to have shuffled into the embrace of the ignorant and Godly. Which suggests to me that our fears of turning the grass roots against us are nothing more than phantoms.

    And whether you call it aggression or anger, it’s still ugly and bystanders are still put off by it.

    Please point out these bystanders. For last time I looked they were mostly standing in the enemy camp, seduced by weasel words and the fulminations of permatanned moralizers with one hand on the Bible and the other holding the collection plate. And all because we haven’t had the gumption to point and shout ‘liars’.

    If you want to convince people, you just stick with the facts, avoid chest-beating, and speak gently.

    There you go with that popularity contest stuff again. Who said the object–in the short term at least–was to convince people of anything? Our near-term objective is to show some spine. It is to put the notion in the mind of the enemy that people are prepared to stand up and fight for their principles. They will struggle for a truth that is real and essential to them, and is not some egg-headed abstract idea crafted in an ivory tower.

    The opposition are not listening to our gentle words. They attack and attack in the knowledge that there will be no reprisal. I say we counterattack. We biff them on the nose and keep biffing until they are bruised and weary enough to start listening.

    That’s the way a certain kind of war often works, an insurgent’s war. People don’t start talking until they have fought themselves into exhaustion. The trick is to make sure they they are the ones exhausted before we are.

  127. #127 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 27, 2008

    Well said, Bob.

  128. #128 MAJeff, OM
    March 27, 2008

    As the master of tact and diplomacy, I find that the word “cocksucker” used infrequently, helps immeasurably in a heated debate!

    This is one of those words I hate. I know it’s about liberals not getting all fussy over things, but when my dad or a friend screams cocksucker as an insult at someone with me, his gay–cocksucking (at times)–son nearby, well, I’d prefer it not be used. Cocksuckers should be treated with respect and reverence. It should be a title of honor.

    Then again, I’ve just spent the past 9 hours commenting on student research projects (and my comments were almost as long as their projects thus far) so I may be a bit touchy.

    I enjoy a good insult, particularly if there’s thought put into it.

    OK enough babbling, bed time…the cat’s already snoring; so should I be.

  129. #129 AllanW
    March 27, 2008

    Re; comment #118 bastion

    ‘So, does that mean we Liberals are doomed?!’ You have been for twenty-odd years; what are you going to change now to turn it around?

    No-one (worth listening to) is saying be obnoxious; I agree with the sentiment that anger is good, frustration is fuel, let them feel the fire in your belly but do it smart. Some good suggestions in here about what to do and how to use the anger in a cutting way but for jeebus’ sake stay away from the hand-wringing obsession over language, please? That’s what the original article PZ referred to was saying; stop obsessing over details and get the direction right.

    You guys have been losing for many years politically and socially and unless you turn the country around the straws in the wind I see blowing at the moment really will presage the death of the empire. Not for twenty or thirty years but inevitably and irrevocably.

  130. #130 Nick Gotts
    March 27, 2008

    As a Ukanian rather than a Usanian, I hesitate to intrude on private grief, but how about you stop calling yourselves “liberals”? I guess that even among this audience, the very word “socialist” is likely to cause a fit of the vapours, and the proportion who could honestly apply it to themselves (as I do) is small, but how about “radicals”? A lot of you clearly do believe the USA has taken a drastically wrong turning (you’re wrong in thinking it’s any more than the logical culmination of the past couple of centuries, but that’s by the way), and that root-and-branch change is needed to the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of how the USA works. Of course, not all “liberals” would accept this change, but as long as enough do, the possibility is there of establishing a ternary rather than binary political spectrum, with some sort of left alongside the right and the centre.

  131. #131 bernarda
    March 27, 2008

    “Bi-partisanship” also is bullshit. At least since the reactionary Raygun years. Liberals, supposedly Democrats, need to do the the Rethuglicans what they have done to us over the last decades.

    The only thing they understand is bashing. The majority in Congress owes it to the American people to do continual Rethuglican bashing. Today’s majority should not give Rethuglicans the time of day.

    In other words, turnabout is fair play.

  132. #132 St
    March 27, 2008

    Yeats complained that “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

    If we want to achieve anything in a progressive cause, we need the _best_ to be full of passionate intensity.

    PZ and Dawkins are doing a pretty good job so far.

    Profanity is a side issue. The key point is: if you have evidence and reason to back a claim, and then you allow the debate to slide away into “differences of opinion,” if your respect for others’ point of view morphs into a lack of respect for facts, if you let false claims stand unchallenged because that might hurt someone’s ickle pwetty feelings, then you are betraying not only the claim at issue, you are betraying evidence and reason itself. Take a stand, or if you dare not take a stand, don’t try to pull down those who do.

  133. #133 Stephen Wells
    March 27, 2008

    Oops, name got truncated on #132, sorry!

  134. #134 zzz
    March 27, 2008

    I like gun (sic) and want to own as much fire power as possible

    …I hate getting ass raped taxes

    …I’m pro choice but think the third trimester abortions without medical need are wrong.

    …the middle class would get boned

    …we are going to be hugely screwed in the end.

    So what does that make me?

    A misogynistic homophobe with some sort of tiny dick complex ?

  135. #135 zzz
    March 27, 2008

    f*cking tags. All above should be italics quote except the last sentence

  136. #136 ArgusEyes
    March 27, 2008

    “I’d like to suggest a very simple strategy for American liberals: Get mean.”

    And here was I thinking that the American left had pretty much maxed out on vileness and distemper. Now you’re saying they need more of it? In civil society we a name for the tactic of “geting mean” on issues, it’s called ad-hominem.

    The best way to argue a valid argument is to do it rationally. Oh right… Never mind.

  137. #137 AllanW
    March 27, 2008

    ‘In civil society we a name for the tactic of “geting mean” on issues, it’s called ad-hominem.’ Are you being deliberately obtuse? Or just twisting the words and meanings to fit your mental prejudice?

    I also think the problem may be right there; civil society. It’s not much use if civil society has a gentlemans agreement to pooh pooh certain ideas or occurences if the vast majority of the voting public see you as elitist, removed and part of thuh intelliganz, er intrelli whut? smart set. American liberals let alone socialists have been out of effective power for more than a generation and part of the reason for that is in-house fighting, deflection of effort over mundanities and lack of cohesion. Is it likely to change any time soon?

  138. #138 Muffin
    March 27, 2008

    “but that’s not so much a LIBERAL cause as a pro-truth cause.”

    What’s the difference?

  139. #139 Mark P.
    March 27, 2008

    Fuck yeah! I hate ALL PC bullshit. Free speech is a liberal ideal. Bring back the real liberalism.
    I expect censorship from the right but who would have thought to see it from the left too.

  140. #140 Azkyroth
    March 27, 2008

    This is one of those words I hate. I know it’s about liberals not getting all fussy over things, but when my dad or a friend screams cocksucker as an insult at someone with me, his gay–cocksucking (at times)–son nearby, well, I’d prefer it not be used. Cocksuckers should be treated with respect and reverence. It should be a title of honor.

    Well, then, let’s find a word for an inept performer of fellatio. “Chokedrooler” maybe?

  141. #141 John
    March 27, 2008

    “Is there some reason I should consider the possibility that your statement is not as moronic as it seems to be? I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.”

    This might have the correct condescending touch at some point. However, I prefer to state it shorter and more succinct — something like this: “Is your statement less moronic than it sounds?” Actually, I can’t seem to think of an effective rewording. Sorry…

    A related issue: how do we deal with pathologically illiterate numskulls at the Daily Kos who savagely shout down someone who attempt to present evidence of a crime?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/7/12/2592/56716/456/129730

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/7/13/235121/756/754/130433

  142. #142 CalGeorge
    March 27, 2008

    “You read Hitchen’s screed today in Slate.com and National Post? Woo-hoo!! Your GREAT friend Omaba gets reamed. So make your choice. Hitchens or Obama? You can’t agree with both thom them, can you?”

    Obama. And I like what Jeremiah Wright has to say, in spite of his religion. He speaks truth to power.

    Hitchens is a cantankerous fart who insults people – it was only a matter of time before he went after Obama – to bring attention to himself. And he’s a damned fine atheist.

  143. #143 LisaJ
    March 27, 2008

    Damn right, we need to say what we mean more. This is something that I do alot of now – although I’m still trying to find the right formula to be effective – it’s tough when society has always told you that you are not a nice person unless you are quietly repsectful of everyone else’s beliefs and viewpoints. I strongly agree with the semtiment that the immense religious idiocy that is so prevalent today has alot to do with the fact that the sane and intelligent people are just too nice to say anything. Come on people – be ‘mean’! And all that is really meant by ‘mean’ here is speak your mind… surely there is nothing wrong with that.

  144. #144 car
    March 27, 2008

    It’s not like this is a new thing. If you go back to the early days of the country and read speeches and news reports, politicians were not above smearing each other with every name in the book (of the time) during debates, along with calling them out for every infraction. I’m not sure when it changed into being “nice” and not calling a spade a spade, but it’s not like there’s a beautiful original golden age that we’ve drifted away from.
    I also don’t see where “civility” means not addressing bad behavior. If we simply politely ignore every time someone in power abuses it, then we end up, well, here where we are now.

  145. #145 John
    March 27, 2008

    Here’s a question: what is more effective? Opposing the invasion of Iraq, and denouncing it as aggressive war? Or thinking up appropriate punishments for the leaders who invaded? There was a time when I was gleefully thinking up grizzly punishments for the likes of Colonel North, or wrongful executioners. I’ve gotten a bit out of practice, I’m sorry to say.

  146. #146 Carlie
    March 27, 2008

    “Chokedrooler” maybe?
    Azkyroth, I so did not need that mental image first thing in the morning. Needless to say, I also agree with MAJeff that cocksucker should be reserved as a good word rather than a bad one. [Now we just need PZ admirably calling someone a cocksucker for another quote mine...]

  147. #147 vlad
    March 27, 2008

    “A misogynistic homophobe with some sort of tiny dick complex ?” No you nutless jackass. I use blunt euphemisms that require no interpretations as to my meaning. Ass raping is as I’m told an unpleasant experience which regardless of your orientation is something one doesn’t like. As far as tiny dick sure absolutely but I prefer a small dick and a big wallet to a huge dick and an empty bank account. Big dicks don’t change anything but a big wallet can do a shit load. The misogynistic aspect I have no fucking idea where that comes from. You have had 6 fucking months to decide to abort or not so unless there is medical need I see no reason to terminate. Also you sheep fucker there are a shit load of moderate conservatives who while are pro choice but get very cagey when these come up. So they tend to swing in the opposite direction. Homophobe? Oh I fucking wish, that would normally mean I’m gay. I get a shit load more attention from guys then women, if I was gay life would be a lot easier for me.

    P.S. Mean enough?

  148. #148 Lilly de Lure
    March 27, 2008

    AllanW said:

    I also think the problem may be right there; civil society.

    I think the problem lies more in the definition of “civil society”. As far as I was aware it’s supposed to mean that we don’t start throwing (real and non-rhetorical) punches when we disagree about a topic, not that we have to tie ourselves in rhetorical knots to avoid being so rude as to admit plainly that we disagree in the first place!

    The former position is essential if a democracy is to function. The latter is merely a recipe for being ignored.

  149. #149 June
    March 27, 2008

    A misogynistic homophobe with some sort of tiny dick complex
    Fuck yeah! I hate ALL PC bullshit. Free speech is a liberal ideal.
    Well, then, let’s find a word for an inept performer of fellatio. “Chokedrooler” maybe?

    We need a bathroom wall and some crayons for the children.

  150. #150 vlad
    March 27, 2008

    “A related issue: how do we deal with pathologically illiterate numskulls at the Daily Kos who savagely shout down someone who attempt to present evidence of a crime?” The same way we deal with conspiracy nut bags. Hope they go away or poke them with a stick when the don’t. First the government is basically, dumb as a bag of warm dog shit, now they master minded this massive plan to hijack 2 planes (there were people on board) via remote control and fly them from Boston to NY via remote control, and crash them into the towers. Ok, then why the hell would they need to eject the “pod” and not just blow the damn thing up. It’s easier to vaporize the damn thing (using thermite packets) than try to hide an advanced electronics pod which they would have to sneak out of the area with no one seeing them.

    I don’t really trust the government but you acussing a fifth grade intelligence of using quantum theory.

  151. #151 AllanW
    March 27, 2008

    Re; comment #148 Lilly de Lure

    Entirely agree; I was, of course, referring to the tendency to avoid any conflict (the reflex to be seen as polite) rather than the urge to fisticuffs.

  152. #152 Moses
    March 27, 2008

    So reduce the level of debate from Kindergarten to Pre-School. What an absolutely *fabulous* idea! What could *possibly* go wrong? Hey, why not go further and lower it to the LOLCats level? HAI! I’M IN UR TAX CODE, TAXIN U FREELOADERS! KTHX!

    Mike Haubrich, FCD said, “It’s not that hard.”

    It’s certainly easier than thinking!

    Seriously, you dumb bunnies are going to hand the White House right back to the GOP. Do you even care?

    Posted by: A non-ideological independent | March 26, 2008 11:26 PM

    SPROING!!! < --- The sound of my titanium irony meter exploding.

    BTW, love your LOL cats. Gonna use it.

    Fair

  153. #153 spurge
    March 27, 2008

    Just what we need. A 9/11 twoofer.

  154. #154 Moses
    March 27, 2008

    An astute observation. One of the things that worries me about Obama and the call to ‘change’, understood as a more cooperative bipartisan atmosphere on the national scene, is that it takes two to cooperate, or tango.

    Posted by: Art | March 26, 2008 11:38 PM

    I tell people that it takes two to make a marriage work. And only one to wreck it.

    I think, if Obama wins, he’s going to be in for a surpries. Unless it was something the Republicans wanted, the “teamwork” thing didn’t work for Carter. It didn’t work for Clinton. It’s not going to work for anyone else.

    The Republicans have demostrated, over-time, that they’re NOT INTERESTED in good governence. Just power.

  155. #155 spurge
    March 27, 2008

    “The Republicans have demostrated, over-time, that they’re NOT INTERESTED in good governence. Just power.”

    This is because they constantly claim government can’t work.

    A self fulfilling prophecy.

  156. #156 Bob L
    March 27, 2008

    John @ “A related issue: how do we deal with pathologically illiterate numskulls at the Daily Kos who savagely shout down someone who attempt to present evidence of a crime?”

    Damn, I though I could take it after wading threw all the creationist crap but you just pegged my irony meter John.

  157. #157 Lilly de Lure
    March 27, 2008

    Vlad said:

    First the government is basically, dumb as a bag of warm dog shit, now they master minded this massive plan to hijack 2 planes (there were people on board) via remote control and fly them from Boston to NY via remote control, and crash them into the towers.

    Ah, but you forget that they then revert back to dumb when it comes to framing the right type of terrorists. After all, they can mastermind such a fiendishly ingenious (not to mention needlessly complicated) plot but are apparently incapable of finding some actual Iraqis to pin the crime on. It’s like some James Bond villian came up with the “perfect” plan and then let Dubya loose to scribble all over it before handing it over to his operatives.

  158. #158 vlad
    March 27, 2008

    John (9/11 twoofer): Explain this one to me oh wise and noble nut case. If this is all a conspiracy for the invasion of Iraq then why were the hijackers from Afghanistan and not Iraq. You want to tell me that Bush took advantage of 9/11 to invade, no argument. The idea that it was an inside job is haldol level lunacy.

  159. #159 John
    March 27, 2008

    John (9/11 twoofer): Explain this one to me oh wise and noble nut case. If this is all a conspiracy for the invasion of Iraq then why were the hijackers from Afghanistan and not Iraq.

    Eh? Where did you get the idea that the hijackers were from Afghanistan? According to the official story, they were mostly from Saudi Arabia.

    Second, where the heck did I say that 9/11 was a conspiracy for the invasion of Iraq?

    Vlad: Read. Read what I say, not what I didn’t say.

  160. #160 John
    March 27, 2008

    Everyone: read what I wrote. Don’t read what I didn’t write. None of the responses that I saw (three so far) have anything to do with what I actually wrote. Pathological illiteracy seems to follow whenever someone presents actual evidence regarding 9/11.

  161. #161 vlad
    March 27, 2008

    Ok, fine then why did they do it? The Patriot Act? If the feds are so evil they could just as easily tap your phones. If you are a serious moral threat to them you’d just disappear. Much simpler to train an Counter dissident unit with no value for human life than what you are proposing.

    BTW invading Iraq was the standard twoofer explanation I just assumed it.

  162. #162 vlad
    March 27, 2008

    “None of the responses that I saw (three so far) have anything to do with what I actually wrote.” Actually my comment at #150 addresses precisely the carp you have on your site. The only suggestion you have for why they did it is the Patriot Act. You don’t actually state why otherwise.

  163. #163 Sonja
    March 27, 2008

    Would John Kerry defend himself when attacked by bullies?

    This drives me crazy. No, John Kerry was not supposed to defend himself — his job, as the candidate was to look and act presidential at all times. It is the job of the machine to defend him. The fact that the Democratic machine is not as well-oiled as the Republican machine is the problem. President (or candidate) Bush never got down into the dirt — he didn’t have to and therefore he saved himself from drawing the fire of petty attacks.

    Will you ever hear John McCain talk about sniper fire in Bosnia or Rev. Wright? No, he lets other people do that.

    Hillary is doing the dirty work herself and making petty snipes at Obama — this will be her undoing. She looks petty and like a politician.

    Obama continues to look and act like our next president. And that is his job right now. For example, he sends out Bill Richardson to call for Hillary to get out of the race — this is the way to do it.

    Yes, WE need to be aggressive and mean — throw the dirt on the other candidate and protect our own by leaving him/her out of it.

  164. #164 JT
    March 27, 2008

    You read Hitchen’s screed today in Slate.com and National Post? Woo-hoo!! Your GREAT friend Omaba gets reamed. So make your choice. Hitchens or Obama? You can’t agree with both thom them, can you?

    Posted by: eleanor | March 26, 2008 7:34 PM

    I see where you’re confused here. You see, unlike you, most of us here actually use our brains when it comes to deciding our position on political issues. As such, it is not necessary for us to blindly follow someone else. Since we’re not blindly following someone else’s lead it is quite possible to agree with someone on one issue and to disagree with them on another without any need to call them “infidel” or blow them up with high yield explosives. You should try it some time.

  165. #165 sjburnt
    March 27, 2008

    I have always considered myself a conservative. With that in mind, I give you my perspective: I am much more impressed with a civil, reasoned, thought-provoking voice
    (Richard Dawkins) than a shrill voice of frustration or anger.

    It seems that some on this string are advocating a liberal Ann Coulter. Do you really think the aggressive voice would be more effective?

    Choose your weapons well!

  166. #166 Epikt
    March 27, 2008

    People, it doesn’t matter whether you want to make nice with the right. By the simple act of disagreeing with them, you’re setting yourself up to be smeared, and you’d better be equipped to deal with it. A high-minded hand-wringing proclamation that your position is supported by the facts is going to get you precisely nothing. You need to be willing to go toe-to-toe with these clowns. You need to be willing to show that you’re passionate about what you believe. You need to demonstrate to them that their parroting of right-wing talking points will not go unchallenged.

    Remember the “angry liberal” meme the right was trying out last year? You don’t hear much about it any more. Given the way the right operates, you can be reasonably certain that if the meme were effective, we’d still be hearing about it. So at the very least, “angry liberal” is not turning off people, and it may even be a positive.

  167. #167 Steve_C
    March 27, 2008

    Ann Coulter is a liar. Liberals no matter how “angry”,(I prefer outspoken) don’t resort to lying. The republican’s are so damn irresponsible, lazy and corrupt that there’s no need lie about them.

  168. #168 student_b
    March 27, 2008

    by John Dolan, AlterNet.

    And this, of course, brings up a big issue: At some point liberal writers are going to have to decide if it’s OK to be young and male at all. For better or for worse, millions of American men hold on to playground ethics long after they leave elementary school.

    If you want male voters’ respect, stop patronizing them.

    John Dolan, fuck you.

  169. #169 Nick Gotts
    March 27, 2008

    Steve_C “Liberals no matter how “angry”,(I prefer outspoken) don’t resort to lying.”

    Hmm, you’ll have to help an ignorant foreigner with US political terminology: do the Clintons count as liberals? Honest, I really don’t know.

  170. #170 MAJeff, OM
    March 27, 2008

    People, it doesn’t matter whether you want to make nice with the right. By the simple act of disagreeing with them, you’re setting yourself up to be smeared, and you’d better be equipped to deal with it.

    EXACTLY! C’mon, we’re not dealing with good people. We’re not dealing with people who care about anyone who has been born. We’re not dealing with people who oppose discrimination against people of color, women, queers… We’re dealing with rotten human beings.

  171. #171 Aquaria
    March 27, 2008

    Would John Kerry defend himself when attacked by bullies?

    Actually, Kerry has defended himself against bullies. When Tom Delay impugned Kerry’s patriotism, the Senator publicly responded with, “I don’t need any lessons in patriotism from the likes of Tom Delay.”

    And good for Kerry for calling Delay on his lies and hypocrisy that way. If only he’d been more willing to stand up for something, even himself, when he was running for President…

  172. #172 Aquaria
    March 27, 2008

    Hmm, you’ll have to help an ignorant foreigner with US political terminology: do the Clintons count as liberals? Honest, I really don’t know.

    The Clintons aren’t liberal or conservative or even moderate. They’re politically amoral, opportunists to the core. Oh, they’ll make some token liberal policy/vote here and there to maintain their creds with the liberal wing of the Dem party, but it’s only to distract the populace from the ordinary American’s right they’re yanking away, or the corporate bigwig bajillionaire they’re making richer and more powerful on the QT.

    They’ll even cozy up to the likes of Rupert “Fox News” Murdoch to get ahead, to win. They don’t care what favors they may have to return, much less what it will cost ordinary Americans when they do it.

    And I really hate to say that, because I think they’re both incredibly smart and talented. They could have done so much in the offices each have held, but neither Bill nor Hill seem to care much about doing things that could really help normal people. Not really.

  173. #173 Bob L
    March 27, 2008

    I think Adlia Stevenson said it best about this issue

    “I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.”

  174. #174 J-Dog
    March 27, 2008

    I like Hitchens AND Obama. And the Jehovah’s Witlesses’ to fuck off.

  175. #175 bernarda
    March 27, 2008

    Since the Raygun years, Rethuglicans have thought that Demicrates(intentional spelling) were Wimps. And they are right.

    If the Dems had any cojones, their theme song would be based on the Beach Boys, “Bash, Bash, Bash – Bash, Bash, Bash Republicans”.

  176. #176 Quentin Long
    March 27, 2008

    In the context of American politics, liberals are regarded as ineffectual for one simple reason: Liberals are ineffectual. Liberals couldn’t stop Chimpy McFlightsuit from being elected; liberals couldn’t stop Chimpy from getting re-elected; liberals couldn’t stop the current senseless war; liberals couldn’t stop that ridiculous, Constitution-shredding “faith-based initiatives” nonsense; liberals couldn’t stop the Orwellian PATRIOT Act; and so on, on down a long, long list of failures. Hell, even PZ himself has acknowledged the Democratic Party’s penchant for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!
    At this point, I’m sure that some of the people reading this are thinking, “Yeah, but what about all the things liberals have achieved in the past?” My reply: What about all those things? Does anybody seriously think that past liberal successes mean a damn thing for today’s problems? “Yeah, you guys let BushCo get away with raping the Treasury, scribbling over inconvenient bits of the Constitution, and turning America into a global pariah… but gosh, that’s okay because you sure used to be something!”
    The BushCo crowd may be a bunch of moral vacuums… but good Lord, do they ever know how to get mass quantities of people to buy into things that should, by rights, repulse anyone with two functioning brain cells to rub together.
    Bottom line: Liberals don’t know how to do politics — not any more, they don’t. And until they re-learn how to do politics, liberals are, and will continue to be, ineffectual.

  177. #177 Interrobang
    March 27, 2008

    Pete upthread at #85 wins the Internet today. George Lakoff FTW. (For those of you out there who haven’t been playing along at home, people like me were studying Lakoff about ten years ago, before he became all cool and political and stuff, and he was saying pretty much the same things then.)

    Stop using their words that reinforce their worldview. It’s not a “tax burden,” it’s “paying for the privilege of being an American” (for those of you in the US; I get healthcare for my membership fees!). They’re not “pro-life,” they’re “pro-forced-birth” or “anti-woman.” They’re not “values voters,” they’re “special interest voters.” (I like that one especially because it turns the right-wing phrase back on itself.) Conversely, if someone hits you with the “special interest” meme, you say, “I didn’t realise civil rights were a ‘special interest’. Don’t you support civil rights?” And so on.

    I’ve been saying pretty much the same thing as John Dolan (the author of the AlterNet piece) for years, except I don’t say it so it reeks of nasty sexism. The issue is not about a goddam cult of masculinity; in fact, I’d wager the goddam cult of masculinity is about 7/8 of your cultural problem. It’s about refusing to back down when bullies are after your hide, and that’s a universal problem not confined to the males of the species, as this recent thread on the feminist blog Pandagon amply demonstrates.

    Interestingly, in that Pandagon thread, the nearly-universal consensus was that the way to get a bully to stop wasn’t to be nice to them, ignore them and hope they’ll stop, or blame yourself, it’s to use force, usually physical. As someone who discovered that tromping on a groper’s foot or slugging a bully in the gut works wonders, I noticed the same rule applies in verbal sparring.

  178. #178 Azkyroth
    March 27, 2008

    Damn right, we need to say what we mean more. This is something that I do alot of now – although I’m still trying to find the right formula to be effective – it’s tough when society has always told you that you are not a nice person unless you are quietly repsectful of everyone else’s beliefs and viewpoints.

    It’s worse than that. The intolerant, religious and otherwise, have, through their stranglehold on much of society, redefined “respectful” so that anything less conciliatory than “well, I don’t agree with you on that *apologetic smile, shurg*” – including calmly giving reasons WHY one disagrees – is considered “disrespectful.” And unfortunately they’ve done it so efficiently that many of us unconsciously use words the way they’ve redefined them.

  179. #179 Azkyroth
    March 27, 2008

    We need a bathroom wall and some crayons for the children.

    And a few rounds of pity-applause for people with an immature need to show off their “maturity.”

  180. #180 Azkyroth
    March 27, 2008

    Addendum: I thought June’s nick, coupled to that sort of comment, sounded familiar.

  181. #181 Mathew Wilder
    March 27, 2008

    Well, then, let’s find a word for an inept performer of fellatio. “Chokedrooler” maybe?

    I’m going to have to start using that.

    I use blunt euphemisms that require no interpretations as to my meaning.

    Isn’t “blunt euphemism” sort of contradictory?

  182. #182 amphiox
    March 27, 2008

    Having watched your last two elections from the perspective on an uninvolved (but not disinterested!) bystander, words can’t describe how disgusted I was by the mean, dishonest, filthy, and downright evil tactics used by the republicans and their various allies, or how disappointed it was to watch the utter inability of the democrats to show some spine and defend themselves.

    It’s all well and good to take the high road, but if your opponent tries to make it a street fight, you at least have to try to fight back.

  183. #183 Tim
    March 27, 2008

    “I wish I knew where Americans got this idea that being a liberal meant being Mr and Mrs Milquetoast.”

    If we replace “Milquetoast” with “politely rational” I suggest that the answer may be Canada. Perhaps that is why we have had a Liberal (admittedly somewhat to the left of most American liberals) government for the majority of the last century (for better or for worse).

  184. #184 Kevin
    March 27, 2008

    to be rude..

    Partisanship is when I fuck YOU up the ass.

    Bipartisanship is when YOU give ME a blowjob.

    Yep that covers it.

    Steny….

  185. #185 peter
    March 28, 2008

    you ….s will always lose: why? The others know there’s no such thing as Father Christmas.
    I just hope you don’t take us and the rest of civilisation with you.
    The values which you think make you virtuous are better looked after by others who have a more realistic idea about what’s going on in the world.
    Peter

  186. #186 VJ
    March 28, 2008

    I don’t see how liberalism can be advanced if everyone becomes a supercilious asshole like PZ Myers.

  187. #187 Azkyroth
    March 28, 2008

    I don’t see how liberalism can be advanced if everyone becomes a supercilious asshole like PZ Myers.

    Better than it’s been advanced by people internalizing the concern trolling that tries to label being outspoken and assertive as being “a supercilious asshole.”

  188. #188 Matt Penfold
    March 28, 2008

    “I don’t see how liberalism can be advanced if everyone becomes a supercilious asshole like PZ Myers.”

    I imagine that what you cannot see would fill volumes. It is what you can see that would be a slender volume indeed.

  189. #189 riddlerhet
    March 28, 2008

    The Republicans have demonstrated, over-time, that they’re NOT INTERESTED in good governance. Just power.

    To return to the Obama discussion for a moment, the power of his rhetoric is that he is speaking over-the-heads of existing government officials, directly to the people, who desperately need to get more involved — but in order to get more involved, they need some f-ing inspiration.

    “We are the people we’ve been waiting for” is a call to individual citizens to organize, in order to push our own government in the direction we want.

    Of course, government is swayed by the loudest voices, and the lobbyist with the money in the office is much louder than the individual constituents…until the constituents get organized.

  190. #190 tim Rowledge
    March 28, 2008

    #183 – Seriously? Canadian Liberal party left wing? I don’t think so; when I moved here I was stunned to find a party labelling itself ‘liberal’ that was so right-wing. Let’s not mention (aside from this mention) the BC Liberal party – talk about violation of trades descriptions legislation!)

  191. #191 John
    March 29, 2008

    Comment 150:

    “A related issue: how do we deal with
    pathologically illiterate numskulls at the Daily Kos who
    savagely shout down someone who attempt to present
    evidence of a crime?” The same way we deal with
    conspiracy nut bags. Hope they go away or poke them with a
    stick when the don’t.

    So you are going to stand with the bullies, the mindless know-nothings, and the creationists who can’t read and think logically? You’re goint to help them punch out the victim?

    According to the video clip showing the alleged UA175 hitting the wall, the two jet engines and the pod (and nothing else) produced bright bursts of light immediately upon penetrating the wall. Therefore, the pod was real and the aircraft was not an ordinary commercial airliner.

    Any response to this that doesn’t address what I actually wrote is irrelevant.

    First the government is basically, dumb as a bag of warm dog shit,

    Yet they can mobilize a huge invasion force to invade a couple countries. How is that more difficult than flying a few remote-controlled aircraft into buildings? Oh, of course — outside of children’s toys and robot spacecraft exploring the solar system, remote control is the stuff of science fiction. Right?
    \end{sarcasm}

    now they master minded this massive plan to hijack 2 planes (there were people on board) via remote control and fly them from Boston to NY via remote control, and crash them into the towers.

    My facts stand: The pod produced a burst of light; therefore it was real and the aircraft was not a commercial airliner. Therefore, the government didn’t “hijack 2 planes…via remote control and fly them from Boston to NY via remote control, and crash them into the towers.”

    Ok, then why the hell would they need to eject the “pod”
    and not just blow the damn thing up. It’s easier to
    vaporize the damn thing (using thermite packets) than try
    to hide an advanced electronics pod which they would have
    to sneak out of the area with no one seeing them.

    Eh? Where did this come from? Where is an “advanced electronics pod” in what I wrote? Where is anything about ejecting a pod in what I wrote?

    I don’t really trust the government but you acussing a fifth grade intelligence of using quantum theory.

    No, I’m just accusing a fifth-grade intelligence of punching someone in the nose and blaming someone else.

    Comment 153:

    Just what we need. A 9/11 twoofer.

    Right. Someone who tells the truth, and presents evidence to back it up. In this case, a video clip showing the alleged UA175 hitting the South Tower, and the two jet engines and the pod leaving three immediate bursts of light.

    http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~johnm/South-Tower-Photos.html

    Comment 156:

    Damn, I though I could take it after wading threw all the creationist crap but you just pegged my irony meter John.

    Eh? Who are the creationists? Those who present evidence and make an argument? Or those who ignore the evidence, ignore the argument, and fling insults?

    According to the video clip showing the alleged UA175 hitting the wall, the two jet engines and the pod (and nothing else) each produced a bright burst of light immediately upon penetrating the wall. Therefore, the pod was real and the aircraft was not an ordinary commercial airliner.

    http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~johnm/South-Tower-Photos.html

    Check the facts. Address them.

    Comment 161:

    Ok, fine then why did they do it? The Patriot Act? If the feds are so evil they could just as easily tap your phones. If you are a serious moral threat to them you’d just disappear. Much simpler to train an Counter dissident unit with no value for human life than what you are proposing.

    Why? Obviously, a New Pearl Harbor. They did it to enrage and terrorize the populace, and persuade them to accept the feds’ evil behavior that you describe.

    BTW invading Iraq was the standard twoofer
    explanation I just assumed it.

    What I said earlier: “Read. Read what I say, not what I didn’t say.”

    Second, read what the “twoofers” say, not what they didn’t say. Many of them pose the exact motive that I posed — a “New Pearl Harbor.” That is the title of one of the books about 9/11.

    The facts still stand: the pod produced a burst of light; therefore it was real and the aircraft was not a commercial airliner.

    Comment 162:

    Actually my comment at #150 addresses
    precisely the carp you have on your site.

    Of course. You examined the freeze-frames. You found the aircraft, the jet engines, the alleged pod, the three lightbursts, and you observed whether the three lightbursts match the pod and the jet engines along the wing.
    \end{sarcasm}

    The only suggestion you have for why they did
    it is the Patriot Act. You don’t actually state why
    otherwise.

    No, I didn’t state why the government did it — you noticed finally. (It does help to read what I actually write.) Then you just might notice further, that I never said anything about the Patriot Act as a motive. Did you actually read the section where I mentioned the Patriot Act? (The heading was Suspicious Issues.)

    I’m reminded of scenes from the Disney version of “Alice in Wonderland,” or old Abbott and Costello routines, in which the conversation just mindlessly jumps around:

    Alice: … Cheshire Cat.

    (Mouse squeals)

    March Hare: Don’t say that word around him!

    Alice: Sorry, I meant C–A–T.

    Mad Hatter: Tea? Yes yes! Another cup of tea!

    Second, I don’t need to give a motive. If a video shows someone stabbing a victim, all questions such as “Why did he do it?” “Where did he get the knife?” “How was he able to smuggle the knife in?” are irrelevant to the question, “Did the suspect stab the victim?”

    In this case, the question is whether my analysis of the video clip of the alleged UA175 is correct: the pod produced a burst of light; therefore it was real and the aircraft was not a commercial airliner. Any reply that persistently disregards what I actually say is manifestly wrong.

    I think that this comment (166) is right on point, even though not in response to the 9/11 issue here:

    By the simple act of disagreeing with them,
    you’re setting yourself up to be smeared, and you’d better
    be equipped to deal with it. A high-minded hand-wringing
    proclamation that your position is supported by the facts
    is going to get you precisely nothing. You need to be
    willing to go toe-to-toe with these clowns. You need to be
    willing to show that you’re passionate about what you
    believe.

    This describes accurately the “twoofers” dilemma. Presenting facts and intelligent analysis doesn’t work. The defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory don’t think straight, they don’t read competently, and they don’t see what’s right in front of their nose. They respond with insults.

  192. #192 Nick Gotts
    March 29, 2008

    Re #191 [John].
    John, you’re wasting your time. Everyone here is either extremely stupid, or is part of the great 9-11 cover-up conspiracy. Take your great insights to somewhere they stand a chance of being appreciated. Please.

  193. #193 John
    March 29, 2008

    John, you’re wasting your time. Everyone here is either extremely stupid, or is part of the great 9-11 cover-up conspiracy. Take your great insights to somewhere they stand a chance of being appreciated. Please.

    Mass Mesmerism is most likely. But tell me. Did you go and check whether I was correct about the pod and the jet engines producing bright light bursts when they penetrated the wall?

    If I do go away, it will be in the recognition that the people here are as mindlessly incompetent at critical moments, as the creationists they denounce so eloquently.

  194. #194 ambulocetus
    March 29, 2008

    Norman, For a long time I used the “Is there some reason I should consider the possibility etc.” tactic, and all it does make them think you are a sissy. Just look at some of the ill-mannered comments I got on this video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PJEK8Y3-ok
    I’ve decided to give as good as I get and they seem to hate that more. In addition, I’ve decided to offer free kungfu lessons to any atheist in the 219 or 708 area codes. I feel it’s just a matter of time before the nuts in this country start getting violent.

  195. #195 Kagehi
    March 29, 2008

    Gosh! Like, there just isn’t any possible other explanations. Its not like the damn things struck… I don’t know, glass windows or something, which in shattering could have reflected light, in broad daylight. And that is just one of them. The fracking problem with people like you John is that you take minor stuff like this, which *you* think is profound, ignore all possible reasons why you could be wrong, then invent 50 billion other things that just *had* to be part of the actual events of the conspiracy, because, according to you, only a near infinite list of unproven, untested, improbable *facts* could explain the one stupid thing *you* think isn’t explained.

    Its mind numbing to witness.

  196. #196 John
    March 30, 2008

    Gosh! Like, there just isn’t any possible other explanations. Its not like the damn things struck… I don’t know, glass windows or something, which in shattering could have reflected light, in broad daylight. And that is just one of them.

    Finally, someone actually addresses the video clip. The problem is that light from shattering glass windows doesn’t fit the distribution. The bursts of bright light match the pod, the two jet engines, and nothing else. (Okay, there’s a fourth much smaller one that appears when the right wingtip penetrates the wall.) Shattering glass (like friction, other impact, fuel in the fuel tanks) produces literally zero light everywhere else. With all these causes, we would see light distributed continuously around the aircraft.

    Instead we see three individual bursts of light — two that match the jet engines, and a third that matches nothing on an ordinary commercial 767, but matches the apparent pod in the video. And as I’ve repeatedly said, stepping through the frames, it appears that the pod produces the middle bright dot.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if shattered glass and reflected light were involved, but the cause has to be connected with the jet engines and the pod. Elsewhere around the airplane, shattered glass does literally nothing during the first tenth of a second.

    Any plausible cause of the bright dots has to fit the distribution, at least approximately. Causes that are distributed uniformly around the airplane don’t match apparent single discrete lightbursts. The jet engines have an immediate obvious cause for the lightbursts — fuel (a gallon or so) being transported to the engines.

  197. #197 Kagehi
    March 30, 2008

    I was using it as an example of “one” possible explanation John, not as a certain refutation of your claim. Besides, all you have is a statement that you “don’t think” such a distribution makes sense. That means jack. Ghost hunters and others play that stupid game all the time too. Take 500 videos with odd lights, floating globes, etc., all of which could be camera glitches, floating specks of dust, etc., then insist that 498 of them are nothing, but that *2* of them “look like they are acting with purpose”, therefor = ghost.

    The problem is, you don’t know what the damn distribution is yourself. You are presuming to, based on how you *think* something should act, which may be absolutely dead wrong. The biggest one being the completely absurd idea that **real world** explosions look like the ones you see in fracking movies, where there is *uniform* distributions of effects over the entire object. The real world doesn’t produce spectacular effects, huge fireballs, etc., **unless** you put more explosives into it than you have on a normal aircraft. What you are seeing is what I would *expect* to see. What you are looking for is what prop makers for “Diehard: 9/11 The Movie” might come up with.

    Oh, and just to be clear. One program on TV a while back showed a damn good example, if less explosive, of why stepping through frames in useless on a standard camera. The put a small balloon inside a larger one, then plunged a ice pick through them both, filming it with two cameras, a *standard* 30 frame/second camera, and a high speed 300+ frame/second camera. The entire popping happened in the moments **between** two frames of the 30/sec one, and only 6-7 frames out of the other one showed the popping, of which you could see the other balloon in only **two**.

    What you have is 30f/s, with ***all*** of the critical details needed to determine what happened some place between two frames, and worse, due to the way motion is blurred at extreme high speeds, you can’t even say how many frames of additional light might have been captured by accident *during* the few moments the shutter opened to take the supposedly “incriminating” shot. You might as well be filming the sky at stop motion speeds and then claiming that clouds just “poofed” into being between one frame and the next.

    The fact is, all you have is a blurry frame, which contains “more” than one frames worth of data, given the speed of the object and explosion, and a wacky theory for why you think it “looks” like something happened between those fractions of a second. The experts could barely capture a second balloon popping between frames on a standard camera, while *using* a high speed one that too 10 times the number of shots in the same time, yet you actually think you have irrefutable evidence of conspiracy, taken in the *same* span of time that the hight speed would have taken 10 shots….

    Simple truth is, you don’t have shit. The frames are worthless, possibly even if you have the other missing 10 a faster camera would have given, and your entire claim is based on imagining what you *think* the reason for it had to be, not one *any* facts, or, apparently, even a basic understanding of how camera film, frame rates, or motion blur work.

  198. #198 John
    April 1, 2008

    > I was using it as an example of “one” possible
    > explanation John, not as a certain refutation of your
    > claim.

    And my reply is the kind that must be considered for every possible cause of the bursts of light. Would it produce a light burst at the middle? And would it produce no light whatsoever elsewhere?

    > Besides, all you have is a statement that you “don’t
    > think” such a distribution makes sense. That means
    > jack.

    Of course, that applies to anyone who makes any assertion whatsoever — he thinks that what he asserts is true. So a random Sunday-School teacher says about physicist Richard Feynman’s telling us that tachyons don’t exist: “That’s just his opinion.”

    In any case, it’s patently obvious that glass shattered by an entering aircraft shatters in all directions on all sides of the aircraft — not in three discrete spots (or one, given that the other two were obviously caused by the two jet engines).

    > Ghost hunters and others play that stupid game all the
    > time too.

    So do nuclear physicists, high-energy physicists, analysts of data from spacecraft, forensic analysts, etc. It’s called data analysis. In this case, the analysis is particularly simple because except for the three bursts of light (and the fourth wingtip burst, and reflection from the aircraft — these are easily identified) there is literally no other light from the collision in the first few frames to mess up the signal.

    Richard Feynman, in “What Do YOU Care What Other People Think?”, tells us (regarding the Space Shuttle Challenger investigation) that investigators in an earlier rocket accident were able deduce considerable information from a particular dot of light that appeared in a video.

    > Take 500 videos with odd lights, floating globes, etc.,
    > all of which could be camera glitches, floating specks
    > of dust, etc., then insist that 498 of them are nothing,
    > but that *2* of them “look like they are acting with
    > purpose”, therefor = ghost.

    I hope you can tell the difference between two out of 500, and bursts of light that obviously came from the collision and are far from any kind of digital artifact.

    But then you probably dismiss the identification of Cepheid variable stars in a Hubble Space Telescope photograph of a galaxy over 100 million light-years away.

    > The problem is, you don’t know what the damn
    > distribution is yourself. You are presuming to, based on
    > how you *think* something should act, which may be
    > absolutely dead wrong.

    Oh, poppycock. Shattered glass doesn’t coalesce into a single burst. You don’t need a physics degree to figure that one out. At it has to be clear that any plausible cause of the bursts of light has to fit where they occur, or at least has to plausibly predict a very few bright discrete bursts of light.

    > The biggest one being the completely absurd idea that
    > **real world** explosions look like the ones you see in
    > fracking movies, where there is *uniform* distributions
    > of effects over the entire object. The real world
    > doesn’t produce spectacular effects, huge fireballs,
    > etc., **unless** you put more explosives into it than
    > you have on a normal aircraft. What you are seeing is
    > what I would *expect* to see. What you are looking for
    > is what prop makers for “Diehard: 9/11 The Movie” might
    > come up with.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that I was expecting something like movie special effects. Read what I write; don’t read what I don’t write. I have no problem with the fact that the fireball doesn’t begin to appear for about a fifth of second after the wings enter the wall — it takes time for sufficient oxygen to mix in with the fuel in the fuel tank.

    I have no problem with shattered glass producing light scattered about the aircraft. I have no problem with shattered glass not producing light scattered about the aircraft. The problem is with shattered glass producing a bright burst of light underneath the right wing-fuselage junction and nowhere else.

    The same is true for all other ostensible causes of the middle light burst. The jet engines produced the two outer light bursts. The middle light burst appears to be caused by the “pod,” but has no plausible cause unique to that spot on an ordinary commercial 767. A basic knowledge of physics limits the cause of lightbursts to impact, friction, reflected light, and fuel. Shattered glass independent of the others is a remote possibility. None of those exists in any unique form to the right underside of the fuselage where the wing attaches.

    > Oh, and just to be clear. One program on TV a while back
    > showed a damn good example, if less explosive, of why
    > stepping through frames in useless on a standard
    > camera. The put a small balloon inside a larger one,
    > then plunged a ice pick through them both, filming it
    > with two cameras, a *standard* 30 frame/second camera,
    > and a high speed 300+ frame/second camera. The entire
    > popping happened in the moments **between** two frames
    > of the 30/sec one, and only 6-7 frames out of the other
    > one showed the popping, of which you could see the other
    > balloon in only **two**.

    Okay, so 30 frame/sec doesn’t catch the details of the balloon popping. It does catch the fact that the balloon popped, and it probably catches a couple frames of the instrument that popped the balloon. It records the position of the balloon, as well as the timing of the pop to within a tenth of a second (and that accounts for blurring and coding issues).

    In the video, we see one frame with the jet engines visible. The next frame, the engines have just entered the wall. The third frame, a burst of light appears where each jet engine was. The obvious conclusion: the jet engines caused those two light bursts.

    > What you have is 30f/s, with ***all*** of the critical
    > details needed to determine what happened some place
    > between two frames, and worse, due to the way motion is

    Those “critical details” aren’t needed to establish that the jet engines caused the light bursts. Those critical details aren’t needed to establish that a third light burst appeared, and approximately where it appeared.

    Perhaps I’m just assuming basic physics, basic knowledge about how a commercial 767 is designed, and basic probability — knowledge you appear to lack.

    > Simple truth is, you don’t have shit. The frames are
    > worthless, possibly even if you have the other missing
    > 10 a faster camera would have given, and your entire

    On the contrary. My analysis stands. The three light bursts match the two jet engines and the pod. The clip clearly shows the jet engines producing the outer lights, and (not clearly) shows the pod producing the middle light. A commercial 767 has nothing comparable to a jet engine there, and nothing unique about that position that would produce a comparable light burst while producing absolutely no light elsewhere.

    > claim is based on imagining what you *think* the reason
    > for it had to be, not one *any* facts, or, apparently,
    > even a basic understanding of how camera film, frame
    > rates, or motion blur work.

    Hah! From that statement, you couldn’t figure out what kind of film a digital camera uses.

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