Irony-Rich Bloodletting

134 comments November 30th, 2006at 08:57pm Posted by Eli

Okay, I have spent waaaaay too much time tonight and last night catching up with the 836 846 comments on the Tom Watson and FDL posts about language and liberal anti-feminism. Or at least that’s what they nominally started out as, but to me both threads ultimately turned into discussions of power: Mainstream media and political establishment vs. blogs; large blogs vs. small blogs; front-pagers/moderators vs. ordinary commenters.

There are two threads of discussion that I want to focus on, because I’m intrigued by their symmetry:

On the one hand, the FDL front-pagers and loyalists argue that Tom and the FDL dissenters’ pleas for them to use less sexually offensive language are part of, or of a piece with, the establishment’s desire to use the club of “civility” to neuter them of their rebellious, subversive, sometimes even transgressive passion and anger.

On the other hand (and this is not a counterargument to the first hand, merely a different hand pointing in roughly the opposite direction), the FDL dissenters argue that the FDL community, led by the front-pagers, brutally suppresses dissenting opinions with derision, abuse, and outright censorship. (Full disclosure: I made some comments on FDL which put me closer to this camp, although they’re not as strongly-worded as my composite summary here.
UPDATE: I may have not been entirely clear. I meant that I was closer to the dissenter camp in this debate, not one of the dissent-suppressing loyalists. Which is not to say that I never piled on or accused someone of trolling. I did, but hopefully not very savagely or often.)

So, in other words, each side of the debate believes that their right to express themselves is under attack by a more powerful adversary who finds them threatening. I’m wondering if this is simply human nature, or if it’s an insecurity inherent to the progressive internets. The Republicans and the corporate media have tried to marginalize and demonize liberal bloggers for at least two or three years now, so we’re all a little hypersensitive.

The thing is – and this is why I’m more sympathetic to the dissenters – the power that the FDL front-pagers, moderators, and loyalists have over other commenters is far more immediate. Most non-trolls want to fit in. They want to be accepted by the community, so an attack by a front-pager speaking in The Voice Of God (whether they mean to or not, as Pach has realized, and Jane is coming around to), or by a bunch of regulars, can be a very chilling prospect. The end result is that many of the less thick-skinned commenters, myself included, will either self-censor to avoid another(‘s) beatdown, and/or become increasingly uncomfortable and embarrassed by the disagreements that escalate into screaming matches, until they finally just leave the room. Granted, the latter is not exactly a direct result of intimidation, but it is an indirect and undesirable outcome.

The corporate media and political establishment’s power over the blogosphere is similar, in the sense that it can only pressure and not compel, but it is also more tenuous. I really don’t think there are very many liberal bloggers who give a rat’s ass about whether the media or politicians like them – quite the contrary. But while they may not crave approval, I believe that many do crave credibility, which the establishment is loathe to bestow upon Dirty Unwashed Hippie Bloggers. This allows them to be manipulated with the Carrot Of Civility: the media myth that the only reason no-one takes liberal bloggers seriously is that they use bad words and say mean things, and if they just behave themselves they will attain respectability. I could probably count the number of liberal bloggers this has worked out for on my nose… if I had tertiary syphilis.

Jane, to her credit, sees right through this bullshit, and has pledged never to jump through civility hoops for The Man. I absolutely have no problem with that philosophy, and I say Rock on, sister. Where it gets a little dicey is when Jane and her loyalists project this onto their commenters who take offense to some of the stronger language (or imagery), and treat them as agents of that hostile establishment. They are not. Sure, some of the criticism comes from opportunistic trolls, but most of it comes from regular commenters who, for example, find the “c-word” offensive. But they are friends, speaking on their own behalf, expressing their own personal feelings, and they deserve more respectful treatment than, say, Deborah Howell or Mark Halperin. And with that in mind, viewing honest criticism from a lowly commenter as a form of oppression to be vehemently opposed simply does not make sense. [Warning: Unsolicited advice follows. You may wish to avert your eyes.] Far better to direct the justifiable rage where it belongs, while listening to and nurturing the community of commenters. If a large number of commenters (and some front-pagers, for that matter) are uncomfortable with the c-word, it’s okay to retire it. Really. It doesn’t mean the bad guys won and you lost. It just means FDL is more welcoming to the people who love it, and that’s a net positive.

Yes, you can take this too far and end up declawing yourself, but I think it is possible to weigh a word’s utility against its unpopularity or offensiveness. The c-word is very offensive to many people, and it doesn’t really convey much beyond hostility. “Whore”, on the other hand, does not provoke the same level of visceral reaction in most people, and it conveys an image of someone who has chosen money and power over principle. I would hate to see “whore” go away; it encapsulates the essence of the Republican party and all its enablers, including the Democratic ones. But I would venture to say that there are very few thoughts which are effectively illuminated by the c-word.

But this is veering into an entirely different debate, the one about what language is acceptable and what language should be tossed overboard. There was a lot of juicy, interesting discussion about this, but I don’t think I’m qualified to add much to it, so I’m just going to leave that side of it alone and mumble about imbalance of power. I’ve probably made a big enough fool of myself as it is.

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Favorites


  • 1. timewarp  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    I would also like to say that I liked DB as a commenter too, and I would also like to say in DB’s defense that s/he handled the criticism with quite a lot of grace, for instance DB never once responded to any criticism by launching gratuitous insults. And took pains to explain the rational behind it. But still couldn’t seem to “get” why it was such an inflamatory image.

    Oh, now that I think of it, DB did on a number of occaisions write that “I take full responsibility for the creation of the image” though of course that does not let Jane off the hook for using it. It was obviously constructed to attack Lieberman for the flyers in the African-American Church parking lots, that is, it wasn’t sitting in an archive somewhere.

    Also, Eli, I agree that the Temple 3 post could’ve been constructed so that it was clearer…it is obvious that he was writing to an audience in which he assumed a certain vocabulary. But I don’t think he cares much about traffic!

    Nice to see you too Op99! And get well Jenny!

  • 2. Eli  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Welcome, Donna! Your name seems familiar to me, but I could have you confused with someone else.

    Thanks for the clarification; it’s a strain of racism all the same, although perhaps more of an unconscious and therefore insidious one.

    Perhaps I’m overindulging in oversimplification (one of my favorite vices), but I think that what has gone awry at FDL could really be summed up with a single word: Anger. Frustration and rage at the Republicans and media and collaborator Democrats is only natural (believe me, I know), but when you start to spew it in *every* direction, and perceive everyone who disagrees with you as an enemy, then you’ve lost control.

    Without the anger, I think most of the other problems go away, or can at least be discussed rationally.

  • 3. charley  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    a world with only Eli.

    of course you know i didn’t mean quite that. that would be boring, no offense.

    and i agree completely with your comments about eschaton.

    i like the the freewheel’n style, but there has been some de-evolution over time. and cliques, that’s so fuck’n hi school/group dynamics.

    getting along takes effort. bi-partisanship has nothing to do with date rape, which is a crime.

    oh, 101st!

  • 4. op99  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    Kai and Donna, between your two comments, I finally understand the power of blackface as a negative stereotype in a visceral way.

    Blackface is to POC as cunt is to woman.

  • 5. op99  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks Eli, sorry about your comment count, lol.

  • 6. Eli  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    No problem. I got nothin’ to complain about…

  • 7. Kai  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    op99: Blackface is to POC as c*** is to woman.

    You got it. I also like to say that blackface is the n-word in pictorial form.

    Eli, thanks for hosting this little reunion. I’ll be back to Multi Medium to keep up with your writing.


  • 8. Eli  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks, Kai! It was my (unexpected) pleasure. I look forward to seeing you here again – hopefully my future posts won’t suck too horribly…

    And not only have I added you to my blogroll, but I passed up “ubbvoo” as a verification word to do so.

  • 9. lotus  |  December 2nd, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    Ach, wish I hadn’t been so busy today and coulda met up with Kai and timewarp here in real time — anyhow, hi, ol’ pals — wonderful to see you again!

    Jenny, I hope you’ll feel like yourself again ASAP. Got a handy deli to deliver the chicken soup, I hope? Bon.

    Donna, I don’t recall whether we’ve “met,” but like op99, I deeply appreciate your and Kai’s illuminating comments here (and Kai’s always at Zuki).

    My eye-petals are about to close for the night, but I’ll be back tomorrow to check out your links, timewarp and Kai, and your subsequent posts, Eli.

    Now he’p me out here, friends — I may be hallucinating this, but I’m all but certain that Blackface Joe showed up on FDL (more likely in a DB comment than with a post) a day or two before it hit HufPo. Anybody else remember that? I recall immediately thinking, “OMG! Bad enough back at FDL, but now HERE?!”

    Also trying to place who joined me in the initial hollering to get it the fuck down — imm and meta, for sure … and littledog, angie, and you, Jenny, I think? Who’m I leaving out?

    At any rate, Eli, my thanks again for this world enough and time to have such a welcome reunion and discussion. Dahlin’, you should just heah “mensch” in mah accent — ya git three whole syllables’ wuth, heh!

  • 10. Eli  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 12:39 am

    lotus, I have the same recollection of the sequence of events – that the blackface picture was already floating around the comments before it hit HuffPo.

    And you’re very welcome for the reunion, but I don’t know if I can really take any credit for it – it just sorta… happened. All I had to do was not shoo people away.

  • 11. Donna  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 12:42 am

    I recognize you and many others here from FDL Eli. So you may have seen a few of my comments. The last exchange I clearly remember was with zennurse, my sister is also a nurse and worked in the hospice section of her hospital but only lasted 3 months before she had severe anxiety attacks and wound up in the hospital herself, she thought she was having a heart attack. That work is so difficult and the hospice is lucky to have someone like zennurse willing to do it year after year.

    I tended to comment on threads that had to do with the economy or labor issues, my husband is a teamster. So if that kind of thing interests you, you probably saw a comment or two from me.

    I think that in this society it is difficult for a person not to internalize some racism. That’s why I have no animosity towards darkblack for the image. I believe it was unconcious, he clearly understood the type of person that someone in blackface would portray, which is exactly the kind of person Lieberman is, but didn’t take into account the historical perspective of black people while making the image. He simply did not completely think it through. As Kai said, it is the pictoral form of the n-word. If darkblack had called a white person that n-word, it would be offensive to black people, even though it was not aimed at them. It really is the same as how many of us women feel about the c-word being used against even detestable women like Ingraham. It catches all women in the crossfire. She isn’t detestable because of her body parts, so they do not belong in the conversation.

  • 12. spork_incident  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 4:56 am

    The “Thread That Will Not Die”.

    Bad movie title.

    lotus –

    That you were cast-out disturbers me.

    But you have friends here.


  • 13. timewarp  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 6:49 am

    Hiya Lotus!

    If you don’t mind, my curiosity is getting the best of me, just what happened with Jane kabooming you? And what was the Kai (waving at Kai!) incident?

    I knew that there had been some sort of a dust up involving you becuase there were references to *something* off and on, but whatever it was happened on a thread that I missed and I never figured out, but I am really shocked to hear that you had actually been banned. For what on earth??????

    I was on the morning thread when the DB graphic showed up on huffpo and repeatedly Christy & *ilson to try do something, anything to get it down–it was hosted on the FDL server (not on huffpo) so I figured that if they could get into the fdl files and delete it… And got piled on a bit for giving it more attention, as if it made any difference after Drudge got his hands on it.

    The other interesting thing that happened that day was that at some point it was taken down from huffpo and then it was put up again, until it was finally taken down for good.

    Also, I don’t know if anyone has seen this rather amusing perspective.

    Anyway, what a fun reunion and big thanks to Eli for hosting it!

  • 14. Eli  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 9:43 am

    She isn’t detestable because of her body parts, so they do not belong in the conversation.

    Nothing below the eyebrows, anyway…

  • 15. lotus  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks, sporkie and timewarp.

    I’ve worked on my recall of the Blackface Joe timing, so lemme get that outta the way first and then, timewarp, I’ll tell you about the banning.

    As your McEnroe link clarifies, the context was Jane’s going after Lieberman for blanketing windshields in church parking lots with flyers suggesting that Ned’s country-club membership was bad news for black voters. In that (very late July?) thread, a DarkBlack snark linked to what would shortly become a famous image. I remember clicking on it and briefly thinking “Aw jeez, I wish he hadn’t done that,” and going on. Some people yucked it up, but probably most never clicked on it to begin with. I’m assuming that Jane saw it and decided it was just the thing to jazz-up her Aug 2 HufPo piece (which wasn’t about the Ned=badracistmeanie flyers, but something else that I still don’t recall, probably because I couldn’t focus on it very well after the show got so soundly stolen). Anyhow, that’s what I remember of the sequence — this was anything from one to three days pre-HufPo, but probably nearer rather than farther in time.

    Now then, the Ballad of the Banning of Lotus:

    Between the week immediately following YKos and the 26th of August, Jane responded to me three times (the only three times she ever did). Each time, something I’d said had mightily pissed her off and she wanted everyone to understand that. Each time, what I’d said (and only the first was directed to her) was in one way or another a request that we avoid “friendly fire” between commenters.

    KaBOOM #1, The Margaret Incident, was Jane’s tearing into a new commenter named Margaret, who’d ID’d herself as a little-old-lady type dismayed by some of the pretty-rough anger being exchanged among the commenters that night. Remember how edgy the whole place was that week? Anyhow, I said something unwise — something like “I’m sorry to see this happen, Jane, and I hope when you’re better rested you’ll come to see Margaret as an ally instead of an adversary.” And here came Jane, blazing away at me for “hijacking the thread.” I did what I could to get offstage ASAP.

    KaBOOM #2, The Kai Incident, occurred during a Sunday Morning Talking Heads thread shortly after Blackface Joe (Aug 20, I theeenk), when Kai turned up to introduce and link to his excellent “Blackface Joe: Five Grievances” (which good ol’ you linked upthread here). Kai’s introductory comment was so graceful and intriguing that I immediately clicked through and read the whole piece, returning to FDL full of wowed respect for this new-to-me voice and mind. But I arrived to an all-out in-full-cry pursuit by Jane’s pack of house-hounds. I couldn’t stand that and piped up, asking them to please go read the thing — it was beautifully and powerfully thought out and crafted, and obviously meant to help rather than harm our cause. Oh man, did THAT bring Jane down. Goddam, she’d warned me before about hijacking her goddam threads, etc., etc., and who the fuck did I think I was, blahdy-blah-blah. I thought for sure I was was a goner on the spot. Really, I don’t have clear recall of all this (being pretty shocked at the time) but if I’d had any previous doubt, now I knew to a certainty that this woman DID NOT LIKE ME.

    KaBOOM #3, The Freakdaddy Incident, came on Aug 26, when I took too-cryptic exception to somebody named freakdaddy’s phrase “selling pussy on a troop train.” I just said I didn’t like that kind of talk, freakdaddy came back on and apologized very sincerely, I accepted sincerely, and we both went on about our gracious bidness. Quite some time passed, but then here came Jane to land on me with everything she had. Freakdaddy wasn’t the one outta line, I was. I felt no shock at all this time but was actually surprised when my next comment — “So am I banned, Jane? If so, I want to thank everybody for having been such good company here” (something very close to that) — went through. Crickets for a long while. Then punaise came on to try to rephrase what had happened, saying things I couldn’t agree to no matter how much I liked him, so I said, “I disagree, and I know that means I must go now.” I hushed then, but others — notably scarecrow and Anne, but several others too — came on to defend me or otherwise say how bad they felt about this development. Someone signing in as “jd” (new to me), said “Jane, you’re cutting the warmth and heart out of the blog without even knowing it.” I captured the whole exchange to email to a couple of non-bloggy friends (subject: “Jeez, I just attended my own funeral — and hit wadn’t that bad”). So I’ve got that “jd” comment to this day, but FDL soon disappeared it.

    [This Ballad has become a Saga, and I apologize, but I’m so near the end now, that I’ll keep going.] I meant to maintain radio-silence for good then — didn’t want to stir up anything to distract from the campaigns — but so many people kept bringing up “lotus” for so many days that finally I decided the less distracting thing to do was to show up again.

    So I did, but shortly thereafter, everything I said started going directly into moderation and had to be manually freed. Depending on which mod was on duty, that could be instantly or never — for most of the next three weeks, it was never. Near the end of that time came my birthday, and I was floored by how many people I didn’t think knew I existed woohooed it. DarkBlack even put up a lotus “card” for me, etc. As delighted as I was, I knew this wouldn’t please Jane a-tall, so I sorta hoped it would peter out soonish.

    A day or two later, it finally did, and wonder-of-wonders, suddenly I was free from what ET called my “modgitmo” too. For three whole days, I didn’t need moderators to free or friends to post my comments, because the blessed fuchsia bar reappeared. Then, midday Tuesday after my b’day had been Thursday, it was over for good. I submitted a comment and it just disappeared instantly — no stopping by jail er nuthin, just GONE. Two days later, John Casper emailed that he’d had it from Jane that I’d been banned, I wrote to her for confirmation, and she supplied same. Said I’d been banned for “repeatedly breaking the rules of the site despite having been warned.”

    And that, dear timewarp, was that. Sorry it took me so perishin’ long to tell it.

  • 16. Eli  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    (which wasn’t about the Ned=badracistmeanie flyers, but something else that I still don’t recall, probably because I couldn’t focus on it very well after the show got so soundly stolen)

    Walmart, IIRC.

  • 17. SwimDeep AKA HopeSpringsATurtle  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Sorry..I have to pipe in…Lotus being banned had a big effect on me. I saw lotus as the “heart” of fdl. She was the first person to welcome me and make me feel a part of that community. She was obviously liked by people at the site and alway had a kind word and spot-on perspective. Jane’s booting of Lotus, was totally out-of-bounds to me. JH was punitive and nasty and publically shamed herself and Lotus for what really appears to be a ‘personality’ issue. I lost respect for Jane that day watching her pubicly humiliate Lotus. I continued to read at fdl but commented less until finally the tone toward any kind of disent became mean-spirited and to me counter-productive. I won’t comment on the personal dynamics that to me seem obvious but eventually I did go elsewhere to read. This latest incident was the “straw” for me and I have removed fdl from my blogroll because I no longer find it’s resource a ‘good value’ for the price one must pay emotionally. I don’t mind mistakes, we all make them, but sticky up for bullies and acting as if it’s “nothing to see here folks”, is too much for my sensibilities.

  • 18. lotus  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    Aw, Hopey, big ol’ floway hug to you, my pal. My very valiant pal!

    I hope you know I read your site allatime, just rarely comment because I can’t ever think of much to add after you’ve nailed it so well.

  • 19. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    Lotus, that’s a pathetic story, and I do remember some of it happening real-time. Just ridiculous.

    You gave me a big warm welcome as you did for Hope (hi Hope!) and that means everything when you’re a new commenter on a blog.

    At first I thought FDL was a fantastic place because of the low troll factor but then it became clear it was run by leftytotalitarianfascists (seriously) and that’s all she wrote. I can’t imagine a new world order with Jane Hamsher in a position of power. Yikes, it would be like Lord of the Flies cubed.

    I’m so sorry you were treated in such a cruel and caprcious manner and I’m glad you’re OK. I have thought about you.

    Meanwhile, I can’t believe we’re still on this subject. I guess we were slightly traumatized, ha. It’s always interesting when something turns out to be the polar opposite of what you expect so it’s good to do a post-mortem, to have some closure.

    Even though I wasn’t there too long I was affected, and I did feel like a fool for succuming to a false premise even for that short time.

  • 20. lotus  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Jenny, I can’t tell you how happy I am to get to talk with you and everybody else again (and to read such good stuff as Eli provides). A pure-d delight, it is!

    Yepper, Jane/TRex/the house-hounds messed up badly by running off the likes of us. I saw some names there that I still miss (the thread the other night was the first I’d looked in on in what feels like forever), but most of the folks I was there to hear from apparently aren’t available anymore. (You can only guess what that means in terms of equally interesting, possibly influential or powerful, silent readership.) I bet a lot of the internationals who’d started to show up probably aren’t around there much anymore, either.

    I don’t think I was the “heart” of it by any means (though I thank Hopey for that kind mis-description), but WE — the gathering on this thread — collectively, we and others like us, were. What’s left there now is just venom mistaken for juice.

  • 21. Donna  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    I just posted a round up on this if anyone is interested. My blog is here, and it’s the top post. Took me all day!

    I hope you don’t mind me jumping in on your conversation, lotus and jenny. In my post I highlighted that margaret confrontation over at Dark Sun. That was so over the top that sunrunner wrote about it in the comments on her Jane Hamsher/Ann Coulter thread.

    And what you said, “It’s always interesting when something turns out to be the polar opposite of what you expect”, jenny. I said that I think alot of my anger over this is because I feel duped. I even nominated and voted for FDL for the Koufax awards last year. It was one of my favorite blogs and I do feel like I have been duped.

  • 22. Donna  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    I’d like to add this post to my round up Eli, if it’s ok with you. I don’t have much of a readership, so it’s not like it’s going to gain alot of attention there, but I’ll leave it to you to decide. I know you weren’t expecting even the attention you have gotten now. LOL

  • 23. Eli  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    The Freakdaddy incident was the one I remember most vividly, because the smackdown just seemed to utterly unnecessary from any perspective. The situation was very clearly resolved and settled, and there was no need for anyone to say anything more.

    Donna, feel free. Jane already knows about it (and was surprisingly gracious), so I guess the barn door is already open.

  • 24. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Donna –

    It’s a pleasure to read you and I look forward to having more conversations about things that really matter in the future. You’re clearly a fantastic and high quality individual.

    Ya know, I think FDL management would like to frame this as the *pearl-clutching squares* vs the *hip retrobates* but that ain’t flying.

    I’m just an interested person who felt lucky to find a great blog where I could have some good conversations about issues that mattered to me; and also have some fun. Life does have its disappointments. LOL.

    Hope to see you soon, Donna!

  • 25. Eli  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    I think of myself as more of an “unhip reprobate”.

  • 26. lotus  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    Me, I’m jes’ vedge.

    Good show, Donna.

  • 27. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    Eli, get offa my lawn!

  • 28. timewarp  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    Holy Moly Lotus!!!

    The first inkling I had that anything was going on was during your abscence when people kept asking where Lotus was. I was not reading FDL so much at that time, because it was a busy time in my own life, and I was already becoming disillusioned.

    But I am shocked, I mean really shocked to hear that it was Jane who was giving you such a hard time. I do remember that when it was mentioned in the comments, I thought it strange that no one said who the culprit was (I mean, who on earth would pile onto the lovely lotus????), well now it makes sense.

    And I agree with Hope, you were the heart of FDL.

    Well, it is obvious that Jane Hamsher has some serious anger issues, which is sad, because it looks like it is liable to be her undoing. As do many of us, I suppose–it is mainly a problem when one can’t admit it is a problem, and thinks that because one thinks that one is right about everything, then it is ok do whatever, however.

    She really is reminding me more and more of some of the more unattractive “pundits” on the right.

    And thanks for filling in the missing bit about the graphic showing up in the comments…and explains why DB (to his credit) went to so many pains to take full responsibility for it as a piece of “art.” He was being genuine in that respect, but it still doesn’t excuse Jane for making the decision to use it.

    The Colin McEnroe does add interesting perspective doesn’t it? It is clear that she was in CT as much to promote herself as to promote Ned, which she could’ve done just as effectively through the blog from anywhere. And it must’ve been really awful for here when she had to suddenly drop out of sight (I wonder if the NY Times interview took place before the blackface incident, because it was in the paper the very next day; there usually isn’t such a fast turn around on those sorts of articles). And I wonder if on some level she didn’t in the end blame “traitorous” FDL commenters for making such a big deal about it, failing to realize that the wingnuts were all over it anyway and that ultimately it was her responsibility–she made a lousy judgement call and paid for it. Adn then there is the paranoia, all the talk about disgruntled types trying to take her down etc.

    And on that note, that this is the first time I have had any *personal* contact with other FDL commenters, not one single email with anyone, ever. But even though I was never more than mildly bullied (and John Casper, bless him, did come to my defense) I was not at ease with how much more overt it seemed to be becoming as the summer wore on. I came to my conclusions all by myself and I suspect that is the case with an awful lot of others, who just faded away into the tubes. Also, I did notice there was a group of really brilliant commenters who seemed to dissapear after the Plame controversy died out, which was exactly why I got hooked on FDL in the 1st place…and like Donna felt quite burned when it turned out not to be what it seemed.

    Anyway, it is really great to see familiar names that I really did miss. Which is why I didn’t just go cold turkey with FDL after the blackface incident.

    Eli–Donna is wondering over on Zuky’s blog whether you really want all this traffic?

  • 29. Eli  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    timewarp – I left a note to Donna on her blog in case she doesn’t check back here or at Zuky.

  • 30. timewarp  |  December 3rd, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    Lotus, Here’s some good material for your archives! ;-)

  • 31. lotus  |  December 4th, 2006 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for that, timewarp.

    I hope y’all understand where I’m coming from on this one, and I bet you will. It’s taken some real effort to heal from being silenced like that, without a chance to tell my friends goodbye or let them know that I hadn’t deserted them by choice. That was by far the worst of it.

    But I have gone on down the road and largely healed now, and that matters a lot. I’ve gone back to paying most of my attention to getting and trying to understand each day’s news, not slogging around in the fen that’s left of a Lake.

    So as deep a pleasure as it’s been to visit with you all again — and as grateful as I am finally to have a place to tell my story to people willing to listen — now I need to pick up where I left off a few days ago and keep moving on away from it. I don’t expect to be back to this thread, but instead wander on “upstairs” here (and elsewhere, for instance’s, to Hopey’s).

    Somewhere upthread I left my email addy, so if any late-arriving old buddies want to contact me, they can and I’ll be delighted anew.

    I thank you now, every single one.

  • 32. darkblack  |  December 29th, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    Frankly, my commentary comes rather late to this spirited discussion but there appears to be some confusion over the appearance of a certain image.

    ‘Blackface Joe’, as others call it, appeared for the first time at HuffPo, with the image resident on FDL’s server space.

    I never used the image, linked or otherwise, in any ‘snark’ post or hosted it on server space available to me prior to that time or subsequently.
    Please feel free to review FDL posts and commentary in that time frame to verify this.
    Racism is not a laughing matter, and the picture was not designed to cause a chuckle.
    Also, the image was not commissioned by another, but was an independent creation.
    I would also note, en passant, that right wing elements continue to seize on the connotations of that image, yet refuse to address its context. How telling.

    While I respect Kai (who made some valid points regarding historical background), I have very little use for the armchair psychoanalysis proffered by others who appear to want for data needed to verify their accusations, and amuse themselves creating hypothetical personaes of others that have no basis in reality.

    As for my presence at FDL…Not being an ’employee’, I come and go as I choose, as do we all.

    Blessings upon you

  • 33. op99  |  January 7th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Hi DB, talk about the thread that wouldn’t die, eh?

    Thanks for the definitive answer to the speculation about the creation of “the image.”

    I was in FDL comments when everybody’s hair caught on fire. At the time, I thought that “the image” was a political stupidity on Jane Hamsher’s part, and a matter of personal taste artistically. This thread of Eli’s has lead me to many blogs about race by POC (people of color), a whole are of discussion I had never been exposed to before. In addition to “the blackface incident,” I read commentary about Burqagate, Clinton-blogger-lunch-gate, many race and gender targeted atrocities by TRex, among other things.

    I think the most important point by the POC (and feminists) that has finally sunk into my little noggin, is that whenever one of these kerfluffles erupts, the POC bloggers are generally decrying the thing itself (e.g., there were no blacks at Clinton’s blogger lunch, TRex referred to white bloggers as “betters” of a black blogger), while white bloggers are generally defending their intentions. The POC bloggers have brought me around to their position that intentions don’t matter, only the results.

    Donna at 12/02/2006 5:16 PM said:

    Blackface was always about caricature; the black man as a sniveling, shifty, stupid, thieving, foolish, etc stereotype. So even those of us who objected to it understood the joke, and agreed that Lieberman has many of these characteristics, but where we disagreed is that black men do NOT, and never have and found the equivalency offensive.

  • 34. darkblack  |  January 8th, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    “Hi DB, talk about the thread that wouldn’t die, eh?

    Thanks for the definitive answer to the speculation about the creation of “the image.”…”

    You’re quite welcome, Op99.

    For further definitive answers, I would direct interested parties to one of Aztlán’s finest, The Unapologetic Mexican.

    Respect and salutations to all,


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