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Claims of racism as phony as front group

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A recent post by Eric Olsen at Blogcritics led me to revisit Project 21, a front group run by far Right foundations and the GOP. It claims to speak for African-Americans, despite the paucity of support for Right Wing politics among that demographic. About one percent of elected African-American officials are Republicans. Eighty-eight percent of people who voted for George W. Bush in the last election are white. Though Olsen took credit for the perspective in his entry, the meme originated at Conservative News Service, a far Right opinion site that bills itself as a source for news. Managing editor Scott Hogenson (pictured) wrote the entry.

John Sylvester is brilliant.

Sylvester, who hosts a talk show on a small radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, has managed to punch his own ticket and is now basking in his 15 minutes of fame. And all he had to do was use racial epithets to attack black Republicans.

Specifically, Sylvester finds it appropriate to describe for his listeners National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as Aunt Jemima and Secretary of State Colin Powell as Uncle Tom. How progressive of him.

“I’m not a racist,” protested Sylvester, a white fellow who claims the reason he referred to Rice as Aunt Jemima was because, “her price of admission to the White House is being subservient.”

. . .Tom Walker, a general manager for the company that owns the station on which Sylvester is heard, is sticking by his guy. “He has the right to do it and say it,” Walker was quoted as saying in a Nov. 20 report in The Capital Times of Madison. “As long as he isn’t hateful and as long as he isn’t racist, I’m fine with it.”

Walker is “fine” with this employee using racial slurs to degrade Rice and Powell — nothing hateful or racist here, folks — and appears to think Sylvester really is the stand-up guy he claims to be. But it’s interesting how Sylvester is given the benefit of that doubt while any number of his less progressive colleagues were not.

Hogenson goes on to compare Sylvester to Doug ‘Greaseman’ Tracht and Rush Limbaugh. Tracht has been in trouble for making racist remarks several times in his career as a broadcaster. In 1998, he caused an uproar by mocking the murder of a black man dragged to death behind a pickup by Texas racists. Josh Benton at Clipfile has the details.

The most recent high profile shock jock to be fired was Doug “Greaseman” Tracht. Washington’s WARW fired him in February after he played a record by hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill and remarked, “No wonder people drag them behind trucks,” a reference to the murder of a black man in Texas. Three white men were convicted, two receiving the death penalty and one receiving life in prison

Mr. Tracht had drawn fire in 1986 while working at another Washington station. He was talking about the national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., and said: “Kill four more and we can take a whole week off.” That remark sparked protests and bomb threats to the station.

Limbaugh, possibly a believer in ‘scientific’ racism, implied that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is black, does not belong in a thinking position. You know the reasoning: Black people are stupid and stupid people should not be quarterbacks.

It is doubtful that anyone familiar with real civil rights issues would be swayed by Hogenson’s hissy fit. In both of the episodes he attempts to associate with Sylvester, a white commentator was attributing a form of inferiority to people of African descent in general. Tracht was treating murdering blacks as amusing. Sylvester criticized two public officials who happen to be African-American for their participation in what he considers wrongheaded foreign policy. One could argue that focusing on how he believes they failed the American people in their roles in the administration would be a better idea than noting their status as tokens.

But, I am not going declare references to the race of people in the public eye off limits. Both Powell and Rice have benefitted from conservative affirmative action throughout their careers. Neither of them would be in the position he or she is but for some degree of tokenism. To pretend that race is not an issue in how the White House uses Powell and Rice is to be disingenuous. Sylvester’s point, though crudely made, is true: The Bush administration’s prominent black appointees are welcome there for only as long as they play a subservient role. The same seems to be true of black Republicans, period. An African-American Republican in California gave up on the party after the head of the GOP there circulated an email claiming there was no problem with slavery, the problem was with Reconstruction.

Matt Welch blogged the controversy. Shannon Reeves described how his fellow Republicans treat black members of the party.

The notion that this country would be better off if my ancestors had remained enslaved, and considered less than whole people, is personally offensive, abhorrent, and vile. It is particularly offensive because my own party’s vice chairman distributed this bigoted propaganda in an official CRP newsletter.

. . .I am sick and tired of being embarrassed by elected Republican officials who have no sensitivity for issues that alienate whole segments of our population. Republican leaders who consort with the Council of Conservative Citizens, highlight stump speeches at Bob Jones University, reminisce about segregationist campaigns, and sympathize with the bigoted views — and the very real possibility that others in our party affiliate with the Free Congress Foundation and groups with similar offensive ideology — perpetuate broad public opinion that Republicans harbor racist and bigoted ideals.

. . .Black Republicans are expected to provide window dressing and cover to prove that this is not a racist party, yet our own leadership continues to act otherwise. People judge people by their experience of them, and by their actions, and when those actions do not match their words, actions become the more honest means by which to measure a person.

He was fed up with being told to fetch and carry by white Republicans at party functions, anyway.

Unfortunately, that is the reality of the contemporary GOP. Republicans are in no position to cast aspersions of racism at anyone.

That brings us back to Project 21, the primary water carrier for this disinformation. As I’ve previously blogged in regard to the similar (perhaps same) African American Republican Leadership Council, the front group is funded and controlled by some of the most conservative forces in American politics. The Olin and Bradley Foundations have both supported the eugenics movement. Bradley is the financier of Charles Murray, the infamous author of The Bell Curve.

Olsen, a Bush supporter, apparently does not care that he is promoting the views of conservative whites claiming to represent black public opinion. Indeed, he may prefer it that way. But, it does matter. If politically aware African-Americans were appalled with John Sylvester for voicing his opinion, they would say so. The fact that conservative whites are the ones complaining — through their black mouthpieces — speaks volumes. It says that white conservatives perceive blacks as tools to be used by whites. It also says they believe legitimate African-American public opinion should be ignored while their pretense of representing blacks should be taken seriously.

Reasonably related

More from Scott Hogenson.

•He promotes a study by eugenicists claiming crime can be reduced if black women are encouraged to have abortions.

•He promotes Jesse Lee Peterson, a semiliterate black man conservative whites like to put forth as a leader for blacks. Peterson is best known for harassing Jesse Jackson. The far Right funds his activities.

CNS was never able to bring itself to directly address the Trent Lott controversy. Instead, a writer for the site penned a piece, five days after the remarks had become newsworthy, in which he claimed Lott’s comments didn’t count because the senator was seven years old when Strom Thurmond ran for president.

It appears doubtful that Hogenson is genuinely concerned about racism.

Note 1: This entry also appeared at Silver Rights.

Note 2: Enjoy a mixed grille of fine blogging at Mac-a-ro-nies.

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About The Diva

  • Eric Olsen

    interesting “expose”: 1. I didn’t take credit for anything, I linked to and quoted a press release from Project 21. I don’t know who “Scott Hogense(o)n”(spelled both ways in post) is.

    2. One might think a lawyer would be careful to stick to the facts rather than rather blatantly elide from one organization (Project 21), to which I referred in my article, to another, separate organization, African American Republican Leadership Council, defined above as “similar,” and apparently as “similar” it is not a breech of logic to then tar Project 21 with the alleged sins and guilt by association of the African American Republican Leadership Council.

    In what way are these organizations similar? Who gets to define this? May I define the JDL and CAIR as “similar” because they are both “Middle Eastern advocacy groups”?

    Unfortunately, all the rest is smokescreen and misdirection, naming organizations and individuals who have nothing to do with Project 21 or the National Center for Public Policy Research.

    And I would very much enjoy seeing you tell either Colin Powell or Dr. Rice to their faces that they arrived at their positions through “tokenism” – are you saying they have not earned their positions through individual merit, that they have only achieved what they have achieved due to racial preferences? Does this mean only minority liberals can achieve anything through individual merit?

    I will ask again since the question has been utterly ignored: is it okay to use blatant racist terms and symbols to attack individuals who happen to be Republican or conservative? If so, why?

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Eric Olsen, I specifically asked that you not participate in this thread. It does not need a disc jockey.

    To persons genuinely interested in the matter of Right Wing front groups:

    As my links suggest, there is little or no difference between the titles attached to the small set of African-Americans used by Right Wing front groups. The same people are involved over and over again. In fact, the front groups are totally controlled by Right Wing whites and most of their members are white conservatives. Black faces are usually put forth for public events to give the impression of black participation. Equally important, the funds invariably come from the same sources — Right Wing foundations.

    Josh Benton has written about the topic of interconnectedness at Alternet. He also does a good job of getting to the root of why the players are involved — money. I did not quote from that piece for reasons of length, but I encourage anyone who cares about these front groups to read it.

    There are also other entries about Project 21 at Silver Rights. I’ve been observing the group since it became visible about two years ago. I might expand on what I’ve written here in regard to its links to the tobacco industry.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Limbaugh, possibly a believer in ‘scientific’ racism”

    Well, you’re “possibly” the anti-Christ. What’s your point?

    “implied that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is black, does not belong in a thinking position. You know the reasoning: Black people are stupid and stupid people should not be quarterbacks.”

    He said no such thing. He suggested that McNabb was over-rated. That’s all.

  • Eric Olsen

    not a single discrepancy addressed:

    “These groups are all the same because I say they are”

    “Anything and/or anyone associated with one group is thereby associated with them all … because I say so”

    “Do not dare have the temerity to question, disagree, or otherwise call into question anything I have to say … because I say so”

    “It’s only racism if I say it is and I only say it is if the target is not Republican or conservative”

    “All minority Republicans and/or conservatives are either stupid, paid off, disingenuous, illegitimate, evil, duped, or all of the above”

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Eric Olsen, I specifically asked that you not participate in this thread.”

    Ohhh…Ms. Diva thinks she can tell white boy Mr. Olsen what to do with his own site.

    How cute…

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I believe I have made this material understandable to any person of normal intelligence. The links further substantiate it. Persons wanting to delve deeper can follow up the links. For example, one can go to Media Transparency and check the funding for these front groups, though both I and Josh Benton have already done so. Or one can look at up personnel and see the same names repeated. And, so on. The bottom line will be the same: Project 21 and other front groups are phony creations put forth to advance the views of the white far Right.

  • Eric Olsen

    Both Powell and Rice have benefitted from conservative affirmative action throughout their careers

    And as a result they deserve whatever racial slurs come their way, deserve to be isolated from – and ostracized by – all right-thinking black folk.

  • alethinos59

    Mac Diva thanks for the post… You bring up some interesting connections. I believe that Powell/Rice both earned their positions in life. There is little doubt of that. I have a good deal of respect, overall, for Powell.

    However I think the rare appearence of non-whites in the republican party might be just as attributable to those particular people having thoughts and ambitions (stress ambitions here) that radically differ from other minorities…

    That these folk are used by the republican machine is not in doubt. But then the democrats use people too…

    God save us from partisan politics!

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I’ve read just about everything written about Condoleezza Rice and I believe I understand her pretty well. Rice’s objective has been to achieve what the South Africans used to refer to as ‘honorary white’ status. By that they meant the person was allowed to participate in some activities reserved for whites under apartheid. (Just about everything was reserved to whites under apartheid.) of course, the role was contingent on serving the interests of the apartheid government. It also allowed the recipient to convince him or herself she was no longer black, coloured or Asian. A delusion, obviously. But, believing that is important to the kind of person who wants to be ‘honorary white.’

    Rice, from childhood, was very self-centered. Other people aren’t really there for her. So, I believe it has been relatively easy for her to ‘shed’ African-Americans. I don’t believe she cares what people think of her — unless the people are white, wealthy and conservative. All this lamenting about ‘poor Condi’ is pretty pointless. She is the rare person who has achieved exactly what she wanted.

  • Eric Olsen

    Assuming every word of the above to be true – and I have no reason to think it is – this then apparently renders her a legitimate target of racist attacks. That pretty much answers my original question: racism is okay if it is practiced against those with whom we disagree politically.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    (Scratching head.) You have approved racist attacks on me, Eric. When did you become opposed to them? In fact just minutes ago, on the other thread, your cats’ paw, RJ Elliott, called me a ‘bitch’ and an ‘ass’ again, and you ignored it. But, you have time to throw fits over someone you will likely never have any direct contact with being called ‘Aunt Jemima.’

    . . .Oh, I think I get it. Racist attacks on me = good. Racist attacks on Condoleezza Rice = bad.* That probably makes sense. . .to you.

    Not that there have been any racist attacks on her that I am aware of.

  • Eric Olsen

    1) he defined the terms, he did not attach them to anyone in particular or I would have deleted them, as I have every other time
    2) how are those terms racist? If and when they have been used they have been addressed at an individual AS an individual, not at a person who is a member of any particular race
    3) this is your typical modus operandi: any criticism of you is de facto “racist” because you are a person of color, rather than simply being a criticism of you.

    Likewise, should I interpret every criticism of me as an attack on white people, or just as criticism of me? Being neither paranoid nor a martyr, I choose to assume the latter.

  • http:macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    It was quite clear who RJ Elliott meant the words ‘ass’ and ‘bitch’ to apply to. It was also clear that he was using a racial slur when he referred to Bill Maher having “jungle fever” last week. His assailing of black basketball players in an entry the other day also left no doubt why he is/was a participant in Gene Expression. Apparently, you are the last person on the site not to see RJ Elliott for what he is.

  • Eric Olsen

    I and many others responded to the “jungle fever” statement by saying it carried an unfortunate connotation, he apologized and said he meant nothing by it. It was clearly not used as a “racial slur.”

    His attack on insane thug players attacking insane thug fans in the stands was just that, there was no racial implication to be found. If I am to understand this line of reasoning, no white person can ever criticize the behavior of any black (brown, yellow, purple?) person without being a racist. Can black people criticize the behavior of any white people without being racist, or is that different?

    How about people just treat people as people and judge them accordingly without bringing race into it unless race is a direct part of the equation?

    And what the hell is this Gene Expression that you wave around like a magic wand? How do you know who is or who is not a participant? Is this something you have to actually do something to be a “part of” or is it just a way of thinking that you can see with special x-ray goggles?

    I have seen and heard this accusation so many times and it just occurred to me I have no idea what it even is.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    It is a blog for people who are adherents to ‘scientific’ racism. They believe ‘races’ are hierarchical, with blacks at the bottom and whites at the top. RJ Elliott has quoted material from the belief system on many occassions. (His obsession with race and genitalia comes from Phillippe Rushton, a discredited psychologist and the godfather of ‘scientific’ racists everywhere, including Gene Expression.) At least a half-dozen of your friends here are or have been participants in Gene Expression. One of the people who is invested in the belief system invited a vocal ‘scientific’ racist, David Yeagley, to express himself here at Blogcritics. Yeagley had done something not atypical of the mindset — depict a black person, Janet Jackson, as a gorilla. But, let me guess. You don’t recall that, either.

  • Eric Olsen

    1) How do you know these people have participated in this site? Do you have proof, and if so, what is it?

    2) I recall very vividly the Yeagley affair and what I recall most vividly is the UNIVERSAL condemnation he and the person who “invited” him to Blogcritics received.

    A trip to the thread is rather starkly revealing of the response the writers and readers of this site gave to someone comparing a black woman to a gorilla: he was reviled in the very strongest terms and chased away with the very strongest condemnation ringing down the alley.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    As I said, you have friends who express ‘scientific’ racist views and/or are members of that movement. I am not a member. Neither am I your friend. Therefore, they would make better sources for you. I suggest you address further inquiry to them.

  • Eric Olsen

    so there is no proof, got it, I will go back to ignoring the claim

  • cur3t

    “…limbaugh suggested that mcnabb was overrated. that’s all.”

    bobby (rj)…since you’re obviously an expert on the intentions of your role model, rush limbaugh, two questions:

    1) when limbaugh became irate with a black caller a few years ago, what exactly did he mean when he told the caller to “…take the bone out of your nose…” ??

    and 2) has limbaugh ever received more than a slap on the wrists for illegally purchasing black market narcotics??

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Eric:

    Gene Expression is a blog by, IIRC, a bunch of college kids who are science majors. (I believe there are a few “minority” bloggers in their group blog, FWIW.)

    They express politically-incorrect opinions based upon scientific data. Think “The Bell Curve” as a blog.

    Anyway, I used to read their blog, like two years ago. And I have NEVER been a “participant.” That’s a flat-out lie by a well-known liar.

    I read a lot of blogs. I read Atrios. I read Instapundit. I read Andrew Sullivan. I read Mickey Kaus. I read ScrappleFace (haha). I read Lileks. I read Kos. And many more.

    Point being, I read a lot of shit, from a lot of different sources. And any attempt to attach my name to Gene Expression is about as honest as attaching my name to Atrios or Drudge.

    In other words, it’s bullshit.

    But, bullshit is what we have come to expect from a certain BlogCritic, no?

  • Eric Olsen

    at times, especially lately, yes

  • Eric Olsen

    and thanks for the explanation

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I asked the Eric Olsen not to participate on this thread because I wanted to have an intelligent discussion about free speech and civil rights. I foresaw that his presence, and that of his companions, would reduce the level of the discourse to the only standard they are capable of, well below knowledgeable discussion. My intuition has proven correct.

    I am going to pull together a package about Right Wing front organizations that use people of color, along with some other bloggers. We will place it at some central location so that it will be readily available when discussions of groups such as Project 21 come up. Though these people are deservedly obscure, I believe it will be useful to make comprehensive information available for the occassional interest of readers, especially people who care about civil rights.

    I know that intelligent people are not supporters of bigots understand that the ‘scientific’ racism movement is despicable. I am not surprised that Eric Olsen is not among those who share that opinion.

  • Eric Olsen

    Hear this loud and clear: I have tolerated your emotionally unstable, psychologically disturbed disruptions of this site for well over a year.

    I have defended your contributions to the site and character in the face of almost daily calls for your removal based upon constant rule violations, personal insults, unfounded accusations, hysterical ranting, and inability to get along with anyone who does not kiss your ass.

    Do not EVER again use my name in a post or in a comment on this site. If you do, you will be no longer be welcome. Period.

    I would not put up with the manner in which you have addressed me recently from ANYONE, least of all an anti-social, reality-challenged, wildly deluded, unpleasant, rude, anonymous fool.

  • cur3t

    hey mac diva –

    how ’bout those steelers, huh? they’re goin’ all the way this year! i mean super bowl, baby!

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Look on the bright side, Curt, The Disc Jockey did a good job of describing himself:

    an anti-social, reality-challenged, wildly deluded, unpleasant, rude, anonymous fool.

    Except for anonymous. A review of court records in Ohio reveals otherwise.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. And, though I doubt I will shower him with charity much longer, The DJ will always have his younger self — RJ Elliott.

  • Eric Olsen

    I guess you didn’t believe me – you’re gone.

  • Eric Olsen

    I’m sure you have more than one IP – any subsequent comments will be deleted. I guess 79 chances wasn’t enough.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Not that anyone cares what I think, but I don’t think MacDiva should be banned. I also didn’t think RJ should be banned, so let’s not make this personal. RJ was given a reprieve from his stupidity in the heat of the moment — I also think MacDiva should as well. RJ, I would be vastly disappointed in your integrity if you didn’t apply the same knowledge and experience of your own exclusion from the site to her situation — I remember being shocked to read some comment of yours favoring censorship shortly after you were reinstated. Remember when you had to comment as “Semi-Banned Anonymous Guy”? I generally take you for a reasonable person who has a sense of humor (unlike many others on the site), although some of your recent comments around the election made me scratch my head. I don’t take you as being so insecure that you’d hold whatever personal dislike you have of MacDiva against a general policy of supporting open speech and vigorous debate, even if it means that sometimes we hear things we don’t like or get a bit over-heated and have to be reminded to keep it about the issues.

    Yes, the conversation degenerated and got personal — MacDiva feels that Olsen doesn’t do anything about everyone’s favorite caveman RJ Elliott and others making allegedly (racially?) hostile comments toward her. See it from her perspective a little bit: she’s usually the lone voice defending her positions and gets a barrage of negative, knee-jerk comments from all directions (but mostly conservative white males) to virtually EVERYTHING she says, and yes, this goes beyond her “arrogant” writing style or Afro-centric perspective. You can call her paranoid if you want, but it’s easy to see how she might feel ganged up on and how that might result in paranoia about how your views will be received. Olsen makes a political point about how (theoretically, I would assume) that MacDiva’s criticism of Rice’s allegiance to white conservatives would justify racist comments against her as well (which in her mind sanctioned comments from her “enemies” like RJ). I think that’s what set off MacDiva’s subsequent digs about “the DJ” and the cryptic comment about Ohio court records which clearly set Olsen off. I can understand Olsen’s concern for the privacy of his legal records and why he might interpret that as a veiled threat, but I think anyone who was following this discussion would see that she interpreted the last few comments as sanctioning what she views as hateful speech toward her by others.

    That’s how a conversation escalates. I’ve had the experience myself — my first ever comment on this site was some silly trifle about American Idol, where MacDiva said that my claim that America would probably choose the white girl was “racist” or might hold it against Fantasia for being a single mom holding her kid up on stage, where I said it was a reflection of racism. I probably had some choice words for what I perceived as her over-reaction. Since then, I seem to have gained her approval since we do agree on some things politically, as two of the few outspoken liberals (especially on race matters) who’ve commented on this site.

    Now I realize her perspective on our previous disagreements, and despite all my personal attacks on her in my initial comments on this site, I think she’s in her own way very reasonable: she evaluates your positions and judges you accordingly. Most of us probably don’t like to be judged, but she’s certainly not the only one doing that. Of course, it’s inevitable that the various people on the site who choose inflammatory rhetoric over moderation (while I appreciate RJ as well, he’s certainly in this category) would have conflict with her over politics and personal style. I also think she serves a necessary role on the site: no offense to the rest of you, but she’s generally the ONLY blogger who ever writes from a black female perspective OR about racial issues that aren’t front-page news. Especially with Natalie Davis contributing very infrequently in recent days, it would be a real shame to lose diversity in perspectives. And while people may collectively roll her eyes at her name-dropping and boasting about her careers, she also brings some knowledge of the law to her writing since she’s the only attorney that I know of that regularly comments on a good portion of the political/social/legal topics. Yes, we also roll our eyes when she links people to other people who might not be so enlightened, but the best way to deal with that is to articulate your own viewpoints and how they differ from the hateful and backwards elements of the Internet. I doubt that even MacDiva would discount your views if you stated them clearly enough, with evidence and careful thought. I also think many of you respond almost instinctively and choose to disagree with almost everything she says without considering your position on the topic first: just as with anyone on the site, people become human and not caricatures or “enemies” when you find things you can (occasionally) agree on. For example: Al Barger is perhaps the commenter/blogger whose politics and writing style I respect the least, yet I can agree with a couple of his statements on music and I can appreciate his party official Mike Kole’s more realistic take on Libertarian politics. RJ’s been a troll when it comes to politics recently, but I can laugh at his “I’d rather do the alien” joke when we discuss female celebrities or even appreciate his attention to detail in finding electoral polls and boasting about his Pistons. There are others that don’t come to mind right now, but there’s no reason that the occasional personal disagreement needs to override basic common sense and fair-mindedness.

    I don’t get the impression that MacDiva dislikes any of you personally any more than you do her: she mainly seems to disparage you on the basis of your perceived associations and ideologies. While that may be annoying to you, it’s not personally hateful as much as it is theoretical disagreement. I think all of you who disagree with her could also be honest in saying that your comments toward her have veered over the line and been more than merely theoretical disagreement at times as well.

    I get the sense that MacDiva has accepted being censored since that policy was instituted and that seems to have worked, to a large extent. So I’d suggest reinstating her after a short period (say a week or couple of weeks) and having her adhere to that policy which she seems to accept. I think she SHOULD retract her last comment about Olsen’s court records if that’s something he doesn’t want on the site and maybe also considering apologizing for her jokes about his past vocation, which were probably meant to be insulting. That being done, I don’t think that she should be permanently banned at all.

    We’re adults here, even if we rarely write like them. Taking your ball and going home isn’t the best way to deal with people you perceive as the schoolyard bully or the black sheep (no pun intended). I don’t, for what it’s worth, think MacDiva is a bully. Yes, she’s a bit unusual and it’s hard to understand where she’s coming from at first. Yes, some of her comments are BS. But I can say the same about all of you and I do when you’re wrong. We should extend that same open-mindedness and willingness to confront our disagreements to her — feel free to challenge her when she’s wrong, I’m sure she’d welcome it. But shutting out her speech entirely will not only set a bad precedent for all other “political outsiders,” it will also hurt the site and its level of debate more than you realize. Love her or hate her, MacDiva does more to keep topics that would otherwise die or go unnoticed and undebated than anyone else. Without her presence on the site, you’ll have LESS discussion of hot-button issues like race (maybe that’s a good thing for some of you, but I think it’s necessary) and see a lot fewer topics that result in vigorous, honest, sometimes unsettling but always provocative debate. And given that this is a site that NEEDS discussion to function, all of you suffer for it, both in terms of ideas exchanged but also in being able to refine your own perspectives through thoughtful disagreement. MacDiva contributes more than just her post and comment volume or her diverse opinion. There’s no question she’s a gadfly and that she stirs things up, but I don’t view that as threatening or insulting. I view it as necessary.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving?

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    I agree, BAB. Whether he merited it or not, BC staff gave Mr. Elliott a reprieve. Many of us find his postings as distasteful as many find Mac Diva’s. What’s good for the gander…

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    And yes, happy prelude-to-genocide day.

  • SFC Ski

    Umm ,umm, umm, nobody makes genocide like Mom does!

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    Because a person used your name seems like a strange reason to ban someone, especially since in her next post she didn’t use your name yet apparently got banned anyhow.

    I think Booey got it right.

    From what I’ve seen, MD has lashed out at times, but a group here has piled on to her even more frequently for no reason, when she has made perfectly reasonable statements. With this as a constant environment for her, I can see why she responded with what less than temperate language and tone.

    I got a lot more from her posts and comments than I do from those by many of the pilers-on.

    I, for one, will miss her.

  • Eric Olsen

    I basically agree with what BAB said quite eloquently: that is why nothing has happened until now. I am not happy about this, I do not take it lightly, I barely slept last night.

    Here are the violations in question: one member does not have a link to Blogcritics on any of her sites despite repeated requests to rectify this mandatory condition of membership. This is mandatory because every permanent link that goes out and is not reciprocated damages our search engine standing. Search engine rank is an absolutely vital part of this and any site’s success.

    After much internal debate and handwringing we finally instituted a comments policy against personal attacks and unsubstantiated accusations. Fully 80% of the editing to the comments since the policy was instituted has been to the comments of one person. At least weekly I hear from a current or former member who either does not post anymore, or who won’t comment out of fear of being dragged through the mud of slurs, insults and unsubstantiated accusations by one person. Others do this as well – they are edited for doing so.

    This is my job – I do this 70 hours a week. I have been willing to tolerate the very large negatives because there have always been the positives BAB stated above. But when the positives/negative deficit grows so high that I no longer want to come to work because of it, something must be done. One person, including myself, is not bigger than the whole, or there will cease to be a whole.

    Over the last few weeks, I have been the object of daily personal insults, virtually all still available for view, that have only grown in their viciousness and lack of substantiation. These are direct, blatant, contemptuous violations of the letter and spirit of the rules we have been forced to institute by the behavior of a very few people.

    One person has held all along that the rules do not apply to her. How does one deal with such a situation in a group setting? That is my very serious and genuine question – I am very much open to suggestion. What should be done?

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    I actually appreciate your position, Eric, but have no words of wisdom.

    So far I’ve only had to deal with childish drivel so it’s easy to just tell the individuals to go screw and ignore their comments.

    You and MD have a whole different problem.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Eric, I had an email conversation with her awhile back about her presentation. She speaks like a lawyer, blunt and to the point, pulling no punches. It often doesn’t play well outside of a court of law.

    Over at BlueLemur, I was in a discussion with a libertarian about outing closeted gay politicans. You know how I present my viewpoint. Within the space of about 15 comments, I had gotten someone adamant about personal privacy to concede the ‘right’ to out a person who was promoting ideology harmful to others. I gave her that link to read (would have to hunt it down right now) and it got her to promise to work on her presentation here. That lasted all of two comments. Mac Diva is Mac Diva. I don’t know what the answer is.

    Certainly she dishes it out, but I agree with others, she definitely got more piled on her than the reverse. Her attacks were primarily ‘X is a racist. X is an inferior writer. X is not a true blogger’. etc. which pale in comparison to the degrading name-calling slurs slung her way, although I saw her remarks as being overly personal rather than going after the ideology behind the person too.

    It would be a two way street. Both sides would have to work together to find a solution, I don’t see how just one side can alone. One thing I admire her strongly for, she has her beliefs about making this world a better place and she sticks with it and won’t let go, when she sees a wrong. I didn’t always see the wrongs she did, but I realized I wasn’t in her shoes either, I don’t have her perception or her life experiences and I always kept that in mind. I think that is important for all of us to do when debating with someone else.

    Last night I was in a conversation with a gay right winger who was defending the likes of Falwell and Robertson over that of those ‘horrid’ gay activists. When I know the site is not moderated, I can go after the person in a way that would make her proud, and I do and I did. When I know the site is moderated because it strives to be a better place, then I do modify my response, as we all should, an edited comment is the same as no comment at all to me.

    I don’t know how to get her back, I don’t know how to get her to change her presentation because I saw time and time again her spot-on factual information getting lost in flames. I couldn’t begin to imagine how frustrating that would be.

    One of her concerns she wrote in a good-bye email to a few of us yesterday voiced concern over the likes of Dana Huff and Jennifer Mitts being run off by the snide remarks of some of the regulars. You know of what I am referring to. I don’t believe it is your job, Eric, to handle the quality of writing of others, but there are quite a few of those who are opposed to Mac Diva, who offer flippant, snide and condescending remarks to those they disagree with and I’ve seen it run off more than those two individuals. And we all lose because of it.

    Natalie suggested awhile back of an option of being able to ignore certain people, like maybe you can add their name to an ignore list. Is this programmably possible at all? That seems to me to be the only solution other than getting us all to work together, which sometimes and on some topics just seems to be impossible.

    I will very much miss her here.

  • Dawn

    I don’t know what this veiled “court records” shit is about, but I will say this, MD needs to shut her ignorant mouth and disappear from whence she came.

    She is not COMING BACK ever – I will intervene on that effort. If anyone has a problem with that, they can talk to me.

    Also, when did being a DJ become a negative about someone?

    Whatever his other jobs have been, he is and will always be an excellent and talented writer.

    Okay, that said, let us rejoin in the spirit of the holidays and be thankful for all the good things we have and try not to focus on the negative.

    Have a safe and happy thanksgiving.

  • Eric Olsen

    I appreciate very much the input and understanding. I agree that the vitriol has flown in both directions, and that it would not be unreasonable for this person to feel ganged-up on from time to time.

    I have done my absolute best to be even-handed and to protect the rights of everyone equally. I do not claim to have always achieved this. I have always viewed this among the mitigating factors.

    I am upset when anyone feels chased away – that is at the core of this. One person has chased away far more people than any other. There is more than one culprit in this and I don’t like it when anyone does it – it’s an ongoing problem. People are going to come and go for various reasons, but they should not feel chased away. I will refocus my efforts on improving this situation.

    The other, and perhaps ultimately the most fundamental issue here, is the utter comtempt that this person has increasingly expressed for the site and for me personally. This is simply incompatible with continued participation. This isn’t “criticism from within” in an effort to improve, this is just pure bilious contempt.

    None of the other individuals mentioned in association with some of the problems and violations discussed here express this attitude toward the site or toward me. And I am not talking about disagreement: I welcome and encourage free expression including disagreement with any opinion I express.

    I ask again, how do I deal with someone who violates all of the rules, who expresses nothing but contempt for me and for the site? If there is an answer other than the one I have resisted with all my might until now, I would gladly act upon it.

  • SFC Ski

    I doubt there is such an ignore feature available, it merely requires great restraint on the reader’s part. A thick tongue helps to bite on at times.

    I have to agree with Eric in this sense, if you invite someone to your house and all they do is insult you, you can ask them to be polite or to leave.

    I do not agree with several people who post here, I try to be civil in my postings on their threads, and if I can’t be, I either don’t read their post or refrain from commenting.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Very thoughtful and honest comments from all of you.

    Here’s the thing: in her own way, I think MacDiva was frustrated because she has respect for you and the site, Olsen. Her reaction is very much like what I’ve seen in classrooms: when a teacher or someone in a position of authority is perceived as failing to protect someone who’s the “outsider” and perhaps is more inclined to agree politically with those who express their opinions in a brusque manner and gang up on said “outsider,” you can see why she interprets your politics as personal. Hence all her comments about “Olsen and his cadre of conservatives,” etc. Clearly, that’s a misreading on her part, thinking that you support and have some particularly unique friendship with RJ, Al Barger and the other right-wingers who comment on the site. I do sense that she feels that Olsen never agrees with her statements and never disagrees vehemently enough with the extreme right-wing positions espoused sometimes.

    One factor to consider: I do think that MacDiva’s comments reveal a great personal investment in and disappointment as a result of the election. I think she was personally hurt by the Bush victory and she, unfortunately, like some of her strident opponents on the right (RJ and Mark Edward Manning, in particular) got caught up in the “Us vs. Them” fervor. I also notice that her first line of “insult” and attack toward Olsen was “Bush supporter,” which proves my point that MacDiva’s judgments about people always basically boil down to ideology and personal disagreement. Honestly, I too was disappointed in Olsen’s rationale for supporting the war and a Bush second term, because I felt it was based on more emotion than logic, which surprised me. In her own way, and I don’t feel she expressed it well enough (or at least doesn’t share my reticence) her recent turn against Olsen probably reflects a similar disappointment. But that’s to be expected in heated political elections. Another big issue for her, quite apparently, was the open promotion of Al Barger’s Senate candidacy and Olsen’s generally positive praise of Barger as a blogger and contributor. Keep in mind, for someone coming from MacDiva’s perspective, Al Barger’s positions are anathema: I too question the value of some of his past comments, like the race-baiting “Rosa Parks was no hero” post or some of his comments on the big Cosby race discussion. In most “polite,” reasonable circles, these would be viewed as borderline hateful and most definitely eccentric.

    You guys like to call her arrogant, and perhaps one positive aspect of that “arrogance” is that she doesn’t really care to involve details of your personal lives in her discussion. Most of her “insults” about intelligence, etc., are related to your political positions and/or writing, which is more than I can say for the bevy of crude insults that have been thrown at her by many (including myself, regrettably) that go far beyond this.

    There’s no shame in being a DJ. For all the more “prestigious things” I do, one of the things that I enjoy the most is DJing for fun. Spinning records is hot. Look at James Holden, an up-and-coming progressive house DJ from England for example, who’s an Oxford grad in mathematics. I wouldn’t take it as an insult, I’d take it as a mark of pride, Olsen and Dawn, to be called “the DJ.” I think that’s a good metaphor for Olsen’s role on this site too — to get the beat started, throw something out there, and let people do their thing. I think her thinking that’s an insult just shows she’s a little out of touch with the culture, but as insults go, it’s fairly harmless. RJ’s valuable in his own way, but calling MacDiva a “bitch,” “ass,” and the c-word isn’t even in the same category. You can understand her perspective on double standards here. She has a point. If RJ was re-instated after that, MacDiva should be as well, if the decision was purely objective. I understand that the beef between MacDiva and Olsen has become unnecessarily personal and hence subjective, however, so it’s trickier.

    If you want to prove an ironic point, re-instate MacDiva since she’s mainly hurt by your refusal to censor or ban people like RJ. There’s no greater victory for free speech and open expression than to force people to deal with open dialogue. I’ve generally almost always disagreed with MacDiva’s ideas on censorship vs. free speech, as I have with Al Barger and others supporting censorship. Tolerating those who bother us is the ultimate form of respect since we can’t assume everyone reacts to them in the same way we do.

    Yes, MacDiva is immature and annoying. Guess what? So are a bunch of the rest of you reading this. The election and its aftermath brought out the worst in her, but it brought out the worst in at least a dozen of the rest of you as well.

    Keep in mind too that I honestly do think MacDiva was unnecessarily edited. Clearly, she often deserved it. But Justene and others have probably fallen into a little bit of the self-fulfilling prophecy (which also happens in education) where someone gets labeled a “troublemaker” and gets treated as such on an increasing basis. Her conversations with people tend to be harsh, but that’s a two-way street: people try and provoke her. Be honest and admit it. I’m not sure that she’s the only bully, if you take that perspective. In some situations, I think she’s the one being picked on. And another part of the reason she gets edited so much is probably due to comment volume — she contributes a lot more than most of you do. I only get on here once every few weeks and drop a big steaming turd of analysis here or there. She’s a dedicated regular reader and observer of what you all say, which is valuable feedback you’d miss if she were gone. Very few other people take the time to engage posts — even if you hate her take on your ideas, take it as a mark of respect that she continues to read and consider them with her time.

    The people who claim to be “driven off” or threaten to leave were probably going to do so anyway and I think most of those claims are probably posturing. The funny thing is that we honestly don’t know how many visitors would come to a website and not feel compelled to comment or join because they don’t see the issues they care about represented, i.e., race, law, civil rights, for example, MacDiva’s forte.

    So here’s my modest proposal: if MacDiva is willing to put a link to Blogcritics on her webpage (which IS a rule) and retracts her statements about Olsen’s court records (which went beyond the pale), she should be fully re-instated.

    If that’s not enough to appease Olsen, I think she might want to consider apologizing for the comments about court records and maybe the DJ thing as well (although I think that’s so innocuous as to be silly — I can think of a million better lawyer jokes to trump that one). I also think that she AND her dedicated “enemies” should all take a deep breath and think of working on ways to improve their communications. I think, if she were reinstated, one of the first things all that should be mandatory of all of you who are involved in these disputes is that a thread is started where each of you has to comment positively about one aspect of each other’s writing and ideas you’ve agreed with or appreciated. Fighting and complaining to Olsen in a flurry of e-mails is childish. Don’t sit silent reading this discussion and fuming while writing another ten e-mails to Olsen about how incensed you are. Engage in this discussion openly and act like adults. Act like humans. I’m calling you out, RJ and the others with this particular comment. Grow up. You guys drive off plenty of people with your behavior too, and they’re not people who are so dedicated to the “blog world” that they’re going to take the time to write Olsen about it. I’m talking women, people of color, newer readers of blogs, people who are generally less represented on this site to begin with (particularly the female perspective, despite several strong representatives like Dawn, Claire, etc.). Calling people sexist names (yes, I plead guilty on this too) doesn’t help.

    Speech isn’t threatening unless you’re so incredibly insecure that you can’t defend your beliefs and values without becoming angry and vindictive.

    Mac: if you’re reading this, I agree with Boom that I hope you’ll also take my advice to heart and consider occasionally agreeing with or appreciating the comments of your political opponents. Yes, it’s a chore, but go out of your way to do it now and then so people don’t feel like they’re at war with you. This goes for the rest of you as well: I NEVER see one positive comment for MacDiva about anything she writes from the “angry white male” contingent. She’s written some good stuff about music, brought our attention to stories we might have missed, and tried to branch out. You didn’t meet her half-way, so you can understand why she feels excluded and might lash out accordingly in response to your open hostility. All of you need to learn some empathy, whether it’s MacDiva making jokes about someone’s job because they’re not a professional or some of you calling someone who already feels excluded 2nd-grade schoolyard names and asking that they not be allowed on the playground anymore. Is that the kind of community you want to be a part of, really?

    So I hope this gets considered.

    Happy Thanksgiving. Go Bears.

  • http://swingbatterbatter.blogspot.com Greg Smyth

    God help me but for once I’m with Eric on this (kidding, Eric). The whole article just reeks of axe-to-grind make-the-facts-fit-the-story pseudo-intellectual journalism. As for “keep out of this Eric” WTF, just how rude is that?!

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    “I also notice that her first line of ‘insult and attack toward Olsen was ‘Bush supporter,’ which proves my point that MacDiva’s judgments about people always basically boil down to ideology and personal disagreement”

    That should read THEORETICAL disagreement, not personal disagreement. Sorry. I cut-and-pasted incorrectly from a different paragraph.

  • SFC Ski

    I think you’re missing a point:”Mac: … consider occasionally agreeing with or appreciating the comments of your political opponents.”

    MD needn’t agree or appreciate anything she didn’t agree with; the problem I had with her was that she could not merely reply with,”I don’t agree, here is why…”,she consistently stated or inferred that anyone who did not agree with her was stupid, deluded, ignorant, or racist. THat she would do so in such a manner was annoying, more annoying was that she would then follow that tangent and not address the issue. If anyone shows a lack of respect in their comments, they automatically invite the same in turn. It takes a bigger person to shrug that off and not respond in kind. When I found I could not be that person, I ceased responding to her or even reading her responses. I will agree whe has posted some interesting or informative articles, it was in her interaction in the comments that she was rude. Maybe it was not personal, and maybe MD thinks that by striking a nerve she has also hit on the truth, in any case, her impoliteness was very off-putting to me.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Hey! The editor of the W.E.B. DuBois book MD linked to was one of my grad school professors. Pretty cool.

    As for the banning, I think it should be a temporary, 2-week cooling off period, as it was for RJ, who, by the way, didn’t even wait the two weeks and used an IP anonymizer to continue posting during his “penalty phase,” making the entire episode one big joke. Also, curt was recently banned and then allowed to rejoin.

    So if MacDiva is banned permanently, I think that’s unfair. The standard has been set for a temporary banning, and I think it should be applied equally. But that doesn’t mean everything should go back to the way it was when the person, in this case, MacDiva, returns. Anyone who has been banned should probably be on probation of some sort for a while, and further continued, blatant violations should then result in more serious banning.

    I do think MacDiva needs to put the Blogcritics link on her site, though. If that’s a requirement for membership as a Blogcritic and not just a commenter, then we all have to do it.

    And I do think she owes Eric an apology. She’s been attacking him relentlessly over the past few weeks, and it’s gotten completely out of hand. He should not have to sit there and just take it because he’s the site editor/owner.

    But I have question: why haven’t those comments been edited out? They clearly violate the comment policy, so they should go. Is it just lack of time thing?

    MacDiva is one tough cookie. She is firm in her beliefs and tenacious in presenting them. I almost always learn something from her comments, even when I don’t agree with her presentation of them. And I think the site has clearly benefited from her many posts. She has a knack for picking up an off-hand comment on someone else’s thread and turning it into a full post of its own. She’s just about alone in her ability to do that consistently.

    And she continues to take flack from other Blogcritics. RJ follows her around from thread to thread and writes things like “retch” after she makes a comment referring to herself. Why has that type of behavior been allowed to continue?

    So I think that if we’re going to go heavy handed again with the comment policy, it needs to be applied equally. MacDiva deserves to be treated as other policy violators have been treated. Whether or not she wants to return or will refrain from making personal attacks in the comments is another story, however.

  • Dawn

    I have no doubt that some people might think my interjection is neither warranted or any of my business, and in most cases that would be true, but a very incidious and personal in nature attack on Eric I take quite personally. We have children and live in a very tight nit community and I don’t take kindly to ANYONE digging around or even implying that they dug around into our personal lives – online is one thing, but when people take it to the next level well then, that is an entirely different matter.

    So, should Mac Diva be truly interested in coming back (which I sincerely doubt she does) then I will shut my piehole assuming she and Eric come to whatever those terms might be agreed upon.

    Sure she’s an excellent writer and an intelligent person, but common dececency and basic manners are always a good rule of thumb.

    As for RJ (or anyone for that matter) using really disgusting and misogynistic terms, he (they) should seek therapy and perhaps get some fresh air that can only be found outside away from the computer. Let’s have some perspective – we are all of the same species, no reason to act like animals.

    Okay, I will butt out now.

  • MCH

    I agree that Mac Diva’s implication to Eric’s court records was probably over the line, although her response WAS preceded by Olsen’s descriptions of her as “…emotionally unstable, psychologically disturbed, anti-social, reality challenged, wildly deluded, unpleasant, rude, anonymous…”

  • Dan

    “I don’t take kindly to ANYONE digging around or even implying that they dug around into our personal lives – online is one thing, but when people take it to the next level well then, that is an entirely different matter.”

    It’s amusing to see how it becomes an entirely different matter only when one’s own ox is being gored. Some of us have had to suffer this abuse without sympathy.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    As for the banning, I think it should be a temporary, 2-week cooling off period, as it was for RJ, who, by the way, didn’t even wait the two weeks and used an IP anonymizer to continue posting during his “penalty phase,” making the entire episode one big joke. Also, curt was recently banned and then allowed to rejoin.

    Indeed. As was mentioned, this was Eric’s threat, verbatim: “Do not EVER again use my name in a post or in a comment on this site. If you do, you will be no longer be welcome. Period.”

    She didn’t use Eric’s name. She said, “The Disc Jockey.” Of course she was referring to Eric, but she did not violate the demand stated in his threat. On that basis alone, IMO, her banishment is unjust.

    Look at what transpired when BC merely suspended Mr. Elliott — who used the c-word and profanity against fellow posters, for God’s sake: The temporarily banned blogger blatantly thumbed his nose at the ridiculously mild punishment Eric gave him. And what happened? Was his suspension extended? No. Was his banning made permanent? Certainly not. The punishment melted away as Mr. Elliott continued to share his less than two cents — most of it still vile, nasty, inhumane — in topic after topic. In other words, his unconscionable behavior and obvious disrespect of Eric’s authority were rewarded.

    Can anyone see how WRONG this is???

    The underlying conclusions that can be drawn are ugly, and the double standard — so obvious a blind human could see it — doesn’t do BC proud.

    If Mac Diva were to resort to using an IP anonymizer, I would have to say it’s only fair. After all, it apparently was OK when Mr. Elliott used it. I would imagine, however, that she has better things to do with her time.

  • boomcrashbaby

    The last sentence of comment 39 by Eric, and the second paragraph of Dawn’s comment 46 suggest that the ban might be lifted if Eric and Mac Diva can come to some sort of resolution.

    When RJ was banned, did he post threads or comment only? When Curt was banned, was he an official member or only a commenter? Is there a clear distinction between being a member and a commenter? I was under the impression there was.

    Like I said before, I wish Mac Diva was back, and there are a few regulars here I wish were gone, but I know there are more than a few that wish I was gone too. We seem to do pretty well tolerating each other though and that is what it is all about.

    Mac Diva has a tendency to call a person a racist if she perceives them to be one. This disrupts the conversation and her factual information then gets lost. I only ever called one person on here a homophobe, and that was last summer and that was only after plenty of other people already had and after he had been banned already.

    I do believe though, that there are more than a few homophobes around, but I never call them that, instead I break down the comments they make and dispute those comments with fact and common sense.

    Mac Diva, if you are reading this (BTW, my emails are getting returned to me with an ‘over quota’ message, I will keep trying), when you perceive a thread says something racist, or when a commenter says something crude towards women (Ripley rocks, folks!), you can do one of two things:

    1) call that person a racist or a mysogynist and erupt a flame war in which nothing gets accomplished except to make people mad,
    or
    2) you can illustrate how the comment is ignorant and false, with fact and links to statistics and data, with the end result making the opposing side look foolish, all accomplished without any name calling on your part, thereby gaining you even more respect, and your opinion even more credibility.

    I am of the firm belief that if you use facts, statistics and proven data, the ideology of the left will win out at least 90% of the time. You need not take the person down, only the ideology to win the overall cultural war.

    I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. I also hope that because this country is more polarized than it’s ever been since desegregation or the civil war, that we can all set a good example to the rest of the country and show how differing opinions can reach out to each other and find some common ground somewhere or even better, some resolution. If we can’t do it here as individuals, how can we do it as a country full of individuals?

    BTW, I wish there was a way to permanently ban these damn spammers for casinos. How about getting a bot to replace them all with a link to gamblers anonymous?

  • HW Saxton

    Natalie, If you were the one who was on
    the receiving end of her many completely
    unfounded,unsubstantiated and unprovoked
    attacks,insults and character defamation
    you would be singing a different tune.
    I have been in those shoes so I know and
    it really does suck.

    This is a place of business. It is not a
    public forum for temper tantrums and/or
    psychotic episodes. She has been given
    way too many chances at redemption.All
    of which were seemingly ignored and
    unheeded.

    She has been let off the hook for more
    outrageous behavior than any number of
    contributors combined including that RJ
    Elliott & Al Barger.Why? I wish I could
    honestly say.I wish I could but I can’t.

    How many chances should one person get?
    A year of warning isn’t nearly enough ?
    The fact that it even has to be done in
    the first fucking place speaks volumes
    in and of itself I’d say. It also does not reflect well on the maturity levels
    involved either.

    Let’s see: Eric provides the forum and
    the opportunity for her to make public,
    on a large scale, her worldview and her
    opinions. So she duly repays that by:

    1)Personally attacking him with insults
    against his intelligence,judgement,his
    business acumen and his ability as a
    writer.

    2)Baiting and insulting newcomers to the
    site.

    3)Threatening him with legal action(s)
    on more than one occasion.

    4)Driving away potential new writers as
    well as older established writers.

    5)Constantly & consistently putting down
    down BC here and elsewhere, yet MD still
    expects to be treated with courtesy and respect by the staff and the readership
    alike!?

    I may be old fashioned but I still think
    that respect should be earned by showing
    respect. I realize she has been “dissed”
    here on occasion, sometimes very rudely.
    I also realize that she has brought just
    about 99.9 % of it upon herself.

    Do you think it’s fair to the owners of
    this site & all the people that she has
    called names,insulted, baited, disrupted
    their threads without any provocation
    and everyone else whom she has adversely
    affected with her immature behavior that
    that she should be welcomed back here???

    I truly do feel it is only by the grace
    of god on high and the good nature of
    Eric Olsen himself that she was able to ride roughshod around here as long as
    she did. This is a personal problem of
    hers/his/it’s that has been ongoing for
    some time now. A quick Google search of
    MD turns up waaaaaay too many instances
    of this for it to be attributable to any
    personality clash with other Blogcritic
    contributors.

    I for one will miss her like a migraine.
    I’m sure, beyond sure even, that I’m not
    alone in this sentiment; although I just
    may be the only one bold enough to speak
    out about it. Cheers.

    Put yourself fully into Eric’s shoes and
    I’m sure you’ll see this in a different
    light.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    BAB said:

    “I NEVER see one positive comment for MacDiva about anything she writes from the “angry white male” contingent.”

    Not true. I had praised her for several of her recent posts, particularly the Washington State Governors race posts.

    I give credit where it is due. Ask anyone, even those who think me a right-wing kook.

    That being said, MD is a liar. And I do not use the term “liar” too liberally.

    She lies about other posters in particularly vile ways. And she never bothers to even attempt to back up her lies with a citation. (Of course, this is because such citations do not exist anywhere except in her addled mind…)

    Offering left-wing spin is fine and dandy. Hell, MOST of the political bloggers on here do so. Including you, BAB.

    But blatantly lying, REPEATEDLY, about numerous other posters, goes beyond the pale.

    I was banned for two weeks for four little letters I typed in the heat of passion. And I still promote this site as one of the best on the Web. Because it is.

    MD, OTOH, has attacked this site, its owner (Eric), and a large portion of its writers (myself included), using the most insulting language, as well as outright lies, including countless charges of “racism,” for many, many months.

    Her ban was earned.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “RJ, who, by the way, didn’t even wait the two weeks and used an IP anonymizer to continue posting during his “penalty phase,” making the entire episode one big joke.”

    I did not post for roughly 3 weeks.

    I did, however, comment “anonymously” more than a few times, but only with permission from the site owner…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “If Mac Diva were to resort to using an IP anonymizer, I would have to say it’s only fair. After all, it apparently was OK when Mr. Elliott used it.”

    I wouldn’t know an “IP anonymizer” if I fell over one.

    Try again.

  • boomcrashbaby

    …about anything she writes from the “angry white male” contingent.”
    Not true. I had praised her

    So, RJ, you are an angry white male? What are you angry about and how does that affect your reaction to people here?

    I was banned for two weeks for four little letters I typed in the heat of passion

    heat of passion? It was a romantic moment for you? I didn’t read the thread that got you banned so I don’t know the context. Come on, fess up. Don’t be ashamed. It’s only kinky the first time.

    I wouldn’t know an “IP anonymizer” if I fell over one.

    It’s a setting on Marvin the Martian’s discombobulator.

    You still owe an apology to hard working teachers everywhere.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “So, RJ, you are an angry white male?”

    I’m a white male, and as a quasi-conservative, I suspect the Leftist posters here think of me as an “angry white male” ala 1994…

  • SFC Ski

    “…you can do one of two things:

    1) call that person a racist or a mysogynist and erupt a flame war in which nothing gets accomplished except to make people mad,
    or
    2) you can illustrate how the comment is ignorant and false, with fact and links to statistics and data, with the end result making the opposing side look foolish, all accomplished without any name calling on your part, thereby gaining you even more respect, and your opinion even more credibility.”

    Well said, you could add: Ignore their comment as being too absurd or oinsulting to address. Easy to write, hard to live by.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Well said, you could add: Ignore their comment as being too absurd or oinsulting to address. Easy to write, hard to live by.

    Some of us though, of which I would be one and Mac Diva another, consider it too harmful to allow misinformation to remain unchallenged. An example is, Al Barger himself said that a comment of his, if left unchallenged, proves that it is right.

    Steve S
    (Boom)

  • SFC Ski

    True. I was referrring more to the baiting and insults, not presentation of facts. Facts presented out of context, however, are often used to draw discussion away from the point of argument, not to furhter define it.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    RJ:

    I did, however, comment “anonymously” more than a few times, but only with permission from the site owner…

    But on a thread back in July, Phillip said:

    For that matter, [RJ] has continued to comment under various assumed names until I blocked each one. It only slowed him down, that’s all.

    So while I may have been wrong about the IP anonymizer, it still seems that you were posting without permission in violation of your suspension.

  • Eric Olsen

    there are several related but not identical issues here, most of them stemming from my imperfections:

    as was originally noted by Hal and later Natalie, I was not consistent in telling MD to not use my name and then taking action after the following comment in which she did not use my name.

    A much fuller explanation of the situation, which I should have included immediately, I addressed in #35:

    Here are the violations in question: one member does not have a link to Blogcritics on any of her sites despite repeated requests to rectify this mandatory condition of membership. This is mandatory because every permanent link that goes out and is not reciprocated damages our search engine standing. Search engine rank is an absolutely vital part of this and any site’s success.

    After much internal debate and handwringing we finally instituted a comments policy against personal attacks and unsubstantiated accusations. Fully 80% of the editing to the comments since the policy was instituted has been to the comments of one person. At least weekly I hear from a current or former member who either does not post anymore, or who won’t comment out of fear of being dragged through the mud of slurs, insults and unsubstantiated accusations by one person. Others do this as well – they are edited for doing so.

    This is my job – I do this 70 hours a week. I have been willing to tolerate the very large negatives because there have always been the positives BAB stated above. But when the positives/negative deficit grows so high that I no longer want to come to work because of it, something must be done. One person, including myself, is not bigger than the whole, or there will cease to be a whole.

    Over the last few weeks, I have been the object of daily personal insults, virtually all still available for view, that have only grown in their viciousness and lack of substantiation. These are direct, blatant, contemptuous violations of the letter and spirit of the rules we have been forced to institute by the behavior of a very few people.

    One person has held all along that the rules do not apply to her. How does one deal with such a situation in a group setting? That is my very serious and genuine question – I am very much open to suggestion. What should be done?

    These are the real issues, the complete contempt for the site (as further expressed by absolute refusal to link to Blogcritics) and for me personally being the central issues here, not the straw that broke the camel’s back. It is the cumulative weight of over a year of this, with the frequency and ferocity picking up alarmingly over the last few weeks, and most particularly of all since I wrote the Rice/Powell post.

    In this light, I hope the difference with the RJ situation can be better appreciated: he called someone a very bad name, so bad that we banned him, the first time we had done such a thing to a member – and yes, members are very different from non-members: members are granted privileges including the ability to post stories to the site without prior mediation.

    But here is the central difference: RJ apologized to the person in question and to the site in general. He said he would not repeat his mistake, he asked to be reinstated, AND he has consistently supported the site in word and deed. His crime was to violate the comment policy by insulting a given individual – the other person in question’s real issue is her contempt for the site, many of its members, and me as the titular head. This is a matter of an underlying attitude resulting in dozens of individual manifestations harmful to the site.

    Again, I am not talking about criticism that seeks to improve, I am not talking about dissent, I am not talking about loyal opposition: I am talking about malicious contempt. That is the crux of the matter and something I have no control over whatsoever.

    I am certain I have contributed somewhat to this attitude, especially of late, but I swear I have done all I can to keep our membership as open and inclusive as possible. I now realize there realy does have to be a line beyond which I as the final arbiter cannot let things go or the site itself suffers, and the health and viability of the site itself is my highest responsibility and concern.

    Thanks again for all of your input and thoughts.

  • MCH

    “That being said, MD is a liar. I do not use the term ‘liar’ too liberally. To blatantly lie…goes beyond the pale.”
    – R.J. Elliott

    “I did not post for roughly three weeks. I did, however, comment anonymously more than a few times, but only with permission from the site owner.”
    – R.J. Elliott

    “For that matter, RJ has continued to comment under various assumed names until I blocked each one. It only slowed him down, that’s all.”
    – Phillip Winn

    Robert J. Elliott, next time you call someone “a liar” … make sure you’re looking in the mirror!
    – MCH

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    Hey – I was out of town for the last 4 days and missed all the fun! Can we start over??? Please?!??!

    I hate to tell you folks this…but she’s been begging for Eric to do this for a long time. She finally got her wish!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “But on a thread back in July, Phillip said:

    “For that matter, [RJ] has continued to comment under various assumed names until I blocked each one. It only slowed him down, that’s all.”

    I guess Eric and Phillip weren’t communicating much during this period. I received Eric’s permission, in an E-mail, about a week after my temporary ban, to post comments.

    And my “assumed names” were hardly attempts to hide who I was. I made it pretty clear through the monikers I adopted just what my identity was (“Banned Fella,” for example). If was was trying to be insidious, I surely would have used a less-obvious name to comment under…

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Is the crime to express contempt? Is it OK to feel it silently?

    I am outraged to hear that Mr. Elliott was given permission to violate his punishment. I will not say that I find that news worthy of contempt.

  • Eric Olsen

    RJ was kicked out – he asked to be reinstated after apologizing to all involved – he was reinstated after two weeks. This was all unprecedented.

    If anyone was removed from membership and responded similarly, in good faith, I would be inclined to respond similarly.

    What I don’t really understand is why someone who has expressed this level of contempt, disregard, lack of respect, and just plain dislike for the site and those who run it, would want to be involved anyway.

    If this hostility was overstated or if there were to be a change of heart then that would be different, wouldn’t it? But I have received no information whatsoever that would point me in this direction.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    Hey, she doesn’t except apologies, she’s surely not going to give one!

  • HW Saxton

    Andy Marsh, That would be “accept” not
    “except”. That’s all. No big deal.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    You’re absolutely right HW.

  • Chris Kent

    lol…….

    Man oh man, I see very little has changed in here.

    Eric does a great job at holding things together. It’s easy to think he is the villain when we are made fools of or insulted in some way and he does not come to our rescue. It’s misguided to think he’s the villain and it should be inexcusable to have done any kind of a background check on him. That’s just plain fucked up……

  • Peter Duncan

    He who pays the bills, gets to make the rules.

    Go Eric! you da man!

  • Shark

    Oh jees, I go on a news/info diet — and I miss the real-time banning of The Evil One!?

    Damn. Now where will I go when I need a dose of psychotic abuse from a deluded lawyer-journalist-sociopath?

    Anyway, gotta run; I’m heading out to get a bottle of Champagne and *join Mother Teresa’s helpers in India.

    *It’s a promise I made to God after my umteenth confrontation with the apparently un-banable MacDiva.

    PS: Booey. Shut up.

    xxoo
    Shark

  • Eric Olsen

    Chris, thanks for the kind words and as someone who has seen my sometimes unacceptably bad temper doubly humbling – I apologize for that.

    Peter, again, the support is appreciated but I would like to point out that we did our very best to put off making any rules for as long as we could: it was the group as a whole that demanded we try to create a more civil environment, and the cold realities of the Internet that caused making reciprocal links from members mandatory.

    And yes, this conflict became very personal, and that aspect of it troubles me probably more than any other, but any situation like this requires at least a modicum of good will on both sides and I had long since stopped seeing any of that, and I do mean “any.” In retrospect there really does seem to be a concerted effort to force my hand.

  • MCH

    What I perceive as more troubling than Mac Diva’s actual mention of Olsen’s “Ohio court records” was his REACTION to the legal reference…he banned her, which did not jive his previous warning of “Do not EVER use my name in a post or comment…”

    I find this a peculiar response to an unsubsantiated accusation.

  • Eric Olsen

    I find it peculiar anyone would comment without reading the entire thread, where the specific violations were listed at least twice.

    I have no idea, nor do I care, what the “unsubstantiated accusation” is or isn’t – the point is that digging around in anyone’s court records, apparently for potential dirt to be used as some kind of threat, is completely unacceptable behavior and was the final straw.

    I am astonished to hear anyone thinks otherwise.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    It’s not just unacceptable, it’s uncivil, un-gentlemanly(if one can use that term with a lady), and just not cricket.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    And it doesn’t matter who the “target” was. If that type of personal targeting is allowed, I think a lot of BCs would be gone, myself included.

    One thing that I just will never understand is why MacDiva — who values her privacy enough to remain anonymous — would take advantage of the fact that someone else has used his/her real name.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Shark: zip it before I break your hip, old man.

    In all honesty, though, yet another person I generally agree with who disappoints me in their inability to stick up for people they personally disagree with. Shark, I know you like to view yourself as some sort of anti-rational artsy guy, but your antipathy to logic makes you useless in this discussion (as with the election as well), as your comments illustrate. I appreciate your strong emotions, but you don’t have a clear view of this issue and you lack perspective.

    I didn’t read any responses anyone wrote before Al’s hate-fest was taken down (another mistake), so if you said anything there, repeat it here.

    Again, all the women and the voices of moderation disagree with what’s happened and why. Consider that next time you want to tout the diversity of participation on a site like this.

    Al: where ya at, big guy? Let’s hear what ya have to say. Phillip and Olsen went out of their way to be nice and protect you from your own nonsense — see how censorship works upon the “malignant” aspects of free speech? Analyze that for us, Senator.

    Olsen: everyone thinks the court records comment was out of line. I was the first to say so and I still think that was below the belt. But I’m also beginning to think it was beneath you to pathologize MacDiva and further exclude her through your insinuation that she’s insane simply because her manner of speech and politics went against the grain for the site. You’ve been good in pointing out that it was beneath me to engage in those sort of disputes with her when I first started comenting. I’ll return the favor for you and suggest that she felt (perhaps incorrectly) that she had no choice but to insult you after the way people’s conversations with her degenerated so rapidly and so horribly all at once.

    In terms of “rules,” we’ve established that the only clear rule broken where MacDiva was the lone offender in this situation was no link to Blogcritics on her page. The reason that rule was enforced, ultimately, was a subjective determination of her attitude and personal dispute with Olsen. I can’t say for sure that I think any other member would have been banned for not having a link, but I don’t have time to read any of your blogs, so I wouldn’t know. And I think we’ve also established that this isn’t about objective rules and equal principles anymore.

    Honestly now, that’s probably all I have to say unless someone says something brilliant or provocative.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Shark: make an analogy to the War on Iraq and ex post facto justifications (democracy : no Blogcritics link) after initial justifications (WMD : used Olsen’s name) fall through for us. Do you really want to be in a position where you’re agreeing with the likes of RJ and Al Barger? Perhaps that alone should make you re-examine your position.

  • Eric Olsen

    BAB, I absolutely and freely admit that ultimately this situation is about practicality: as the negatives pile up higher and higher into the sky, there IS a point, there HAS to be a point where a line is drawn and I as administrator/steward of this entire unwieldy operation have to cut my losses.

    Having one person be so disruptive, no negative, and so contemptuous of the very few rules we DO have simply was no longer worth the time, effort or pain.

    I freely admit I lost my temper, which is something I do periodically and am not proud of, and I freely admit I no longer protected her as assiduously as I once did as the negativity toward the site and me personally mounted.

    What is the chicken and what is the egg? I don’t know, but members of ANY organization have to make some minimal efforts to fit within the broad parameters that make that organization tenable, and she simply, flat-out refused to do so.

    Would I kick anyone else out for not linking to Blogcritics? If I specifically, unambiguously and personally asked them to do so no less than five separate times – absolutely I would. And if that same person was BY FAR, by light years, by quanta, the most active and prevalent violator of another key rule, the comment policy, AND that same person threatened to somehow use my court records against me, AND that same person daily and with increasing venom, expressed utter contempt for me and for the site? I believe the question answers itself.

    It became absolutely essential for the practical continued operation of the site that I take very forceful action.

    If there is another course of action I could take, I am all ears to hear it.

    I will state here without ambiguity that if she apologized, linked to the site, and promised to follow the rules, I would be happy to reinstate her. BUT these HAVE ALWAYS been the issues of contention – had she done these things she would still be a member.

    I will now also identify the elephant in the room: the entire tone of the site, and especially the comments, has been different, and by different I mean vastly improved, for the last week. Is this coincidental? Um, no, I don’t think it is. Not only are the specific bilious, spiteful, dismissive statements of the individual in question not being released into the atmosphere, but magically everyone else has suddenly decided to improve their tone as well.

    I feel bad that a basic bond of accomodation has been broken, that a certain idealistic innocence has been lost, that our great experiment CANNOT accomodate absolutely everyone. But I also know that the site is greater and more important – from an idealistic as well as practical standpoint – than any single individual, including me, and I will do what I have to for the benefit of the site, and have done so.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Jawohl! Mein Fuhrer (I joke, I joke – my joke is working – Hit the choppers!)

    Seriously though, Eric, coming as I do, from a majority community in one country to be a minority in another, I can sense a glimmer of what it means for people who have experienced whatever MD did to make her the way she is – that being said, there are modes of expression, and no form permits uncivil behavior.

    Is it just me, or is the volume of new reviews decreased in the last week or so?

  • Eric Olsen

    Aaman, I can understand it too and empathize, and that is part why I feel bad about the whole thing, and feel that my inability, or unwillingness, as a manager to get through to her is a failure on my part. I would rather have her voice than not all things being equal, but they unfortunately became very unequal and I didn’t handle that very well.

    I don’t think the reviews are down, there have been fewer posts overall due to the Thanksgiving holiday week, but I think we have come out of that by now.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Most all of us are the walking wounded, trying in thousands of ways to nurse, compensate for or overcome psychic injuries of abuse, humiliation and abandonment. These are just parts of the human condition, along with physical suffering and death.

    I freely admit to being one of the walking wounded, psychically but also at this point in a bluntly literal physical way. I just spent most of two weeks in a couple of hospitals with a nasty bacterial infection that required surgery on my leg. I’m very thankful to be hobbling around painfully, leaning heavily on my walking staff. For a day or so, I really thought this was it for me.

    Thus I’ve been away from Blogcritics for a couple of weeks, missing the curtain call of our infamous Mac Diva. Eric Olsen did some unfortunate but necessary surgery to remove the poisonous presence of Mac Diva. Indeed, it turns out that this was the same day as my surgery.

    Granted, it may appear less than charitable to liken her to the poisons that put me out on my back, but she was clearly an intentionally malicious presence hurting the site. She dedicated a fair amount of her energies to trying to destroy the reputations of individual members, and of the site in general, an “outhouse” as she recently described it. Still, “poison” is but an analogy, and no one has suffered practical bodily harm, so perhaps we can take these slights somewhat in stride.

    Indeed, look behind the rage just a half inch, and you can see her struggling with her own demons. When she’s tilting at windmills of racism and oppression, they’re obviously very real to her. When she made up vile racist quotes and attached my name to them, I did not appreciate this in the least. Yet in retrospect, these sentiments seem to be what she managed to hear in the dark echo chambers of her own mind. At some point, I can’t take them personally.

    She wrote a lot of hurtful, mean and untrue things here about many people at Blogcritics. Yet, it would behoove us not to take these things personally. Looking behind her frequent nonsensensical claims that I’m supposedly the Grand Yahoo Wizard of the KKK, I can sense the underlying shame that she’s lashing out against.

    Think of this in term of Valentine Michael Smith’s epiphany at the zoo in Stranger in a Strange Land. A big monkey horribly beats a random smaller monkey, leaving him chattering in helpless rage and humiliation. Moments later, he responds by finding an even smaller monkey to beat and humiliate.

    Still, I much prefer her combative nature to other people’s whining victimhood. As JB said, I can dig scrappin’. And with Diva, there was certainly no back stabbing. She’ll come at you head on.

    Consider this shame also as the basis for her obviously delusional and grandiose claims of multiple careers as a journalist, professor, lawyer and civil rights leader. Heck, she was about half an inch from claiming to be an Indian chief at one point.

    These claims remind me very strongly of Ignatius J Reilly’s secret life as a novelist, screenwriter and philosopher. Particularly, she puts me in mind of his efforts as the organizer of a Crusade for Moorish Dignity, which he planned on leading with a banner printed on one of his stained bedsheets.

    One could ridicule these self-delusions. Recognizing our common human conditions however, I can see how one could say that I was only a step or two removed from this with my own recent quixotic campaign for US Senate. Perhaps I live in a somewhat glassy house on this count.

    I can also empathize with her feelings of being left out, of being rejected as part of the gang. I note the hurt feelings inherent in her recent revelations of the apparently scandalous fact that I sometimes chat on the phone with Eric.

    Still, this isolation is self-imposed. Long ago, I tempted fate by sending her my home phone number. I among others made numerous efforts to reach out to her personally. She just wasn’t having it. Doubtless, she saw these gestures as some kind of tricks.

    In the end, she left us. Despite Eric Olsen’s support and seemingly infinite patience, she eventually decided to do whatever it took to get him to kick her out of the family. It was the blog equivalent of suicide by cop.

    Alright then, go in peace sister.

    Let’s conclude with the words of Tom Petty that I once invoked to her in email

    Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have
    Kicked you around some
    Who knows, maybe you were kidnapped,
    Tied-up, taken away, and held for ransom

    Honey, it don’t really matter to me
    Baby, everybody’s had to fight to be free
    You see, you don’t have to live like a refugee

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “One thing that I just will never understand is why MacDiva — who values her privacy enough to remain anonymous — would take advantage of the fact that someone else has used his/her real name.”

    Uh…because she never believed in playing fair?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “I among others made numerous efforts to reach out to her personally.”

    I did, via e-mail. Numerous times. No response.

    She didn’t want friends. She didn’t want peace. She didn’t want mutual understanding.

    She wanted to be banned, much like a serial killer wants to be caught after he begins sending letters with clues to his crimes to the local newspaper.

  • Shark

    BOOEY: “Shark, I know you like to view yourself as some sort of anti-rational artsy guy, but your antipathy to logic makes you useless in this discussion (as with the election as well), as your comments illustrate. I appreciate your strong emotions, but you don’t have a clear view of this issue and you lack perspective.”

    Two points, Booey baby:

    1) I believe Logic is highly overrated.

    2) My main “perspective” on MacDiva is drawn from the fact that within days of my first Blogcritics ‘confrontation’ with her, she was trying to identify me, ‘investigating’ my background, and began a correspondence with a BC participant she believed to be a ‘private detective’ — in order to find out personal information about me.

    In a MacDiva email (which was forwarded to me from the alleged private dick (sic)), she also implied that I had threatened her and would possibly make good on those threats.

    The “court records” threat made against Eric is yet another explicit example of her vindictive psychosis.

    re: her banning – it’s about friggnin’ time, and only occurred because Eric finally got a taste of what I had experienced since FEB 04.

    =======

    re: “Do you really want to be in a position where you’re agreeing with the likes of RJ and Al Barger? Perhaps that alone should make you re-examine your position.”

    For someone who worships the eternally elusive “logic”, that’s pretty fuckin’ stupid and illogical.

    I’ve been known to agree on occassion with Big Al and RJ, which is evidence that I don’t let dogma get in the way of my artsy analysis.

    PS: Booey, everything is relative and subjective; when you grow up, you might learn that.

    xxoo
    Shark

    PS: This ‘old man’ can still kick yer grad-student wannabee ass, whether physically or conceptually. It’s just that I’m *more discriminating than you when it comes to ‘picking my battles’.

    *yet another sign of maturity, babe.

    Heh.

  • Claire

    Wow, what an interesting thread, and what a blog, which I would rip to threads except I feel that it has already been done by my betters. I must say that I agree with Eric. I guess I am a closet fascist :D. (and I am NOT an ass-kisser to head that off because I agree or disagree based on what I think)

    I’m not going to address the intra-site arguments because 1) I am too new and 2) I don’t know enough about them, and you have to be nice to me in my semi post surgical state.

    While some things are, indeed subjective, some things are prima facia, bullshit. Those who are able to look at issues from different persectives can make their own judgments when tripe is served. Those who cannot, and whose actions are clearly belligerence without an AK47, need to recognize it.

    Claire

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Just read through this entire thread which I, like Al, also missed. Wow, and to think this all breaks out around Thanksgiving time? We’re supposed to be enjoying turkey and family, not word dueling fellow BC members.

    It’s always unfortunate losing a major participant to a site and whatever anybody thinks of MD, she was exactly that: a major contributor and participant. Even if said person was a thorn in the side of several people (including myself at times).

    Eric tried to be tolerant because of MD’s often excellent writing output. From what I’ve seen/experienced firsthand it was MD’s commenting style (labelling people racists, in particular, with little supporting evidence) that mostly got her into trouble with others and I predicted (accurately now it seems) that sooner or later this would be her undoing at this site. I’ve seen other folks in other communities with similar character makeups and their fate was sealed in similar fashion. Eventually people like this push the wrong buttons at the wrong time with the wrong people and the value of their participation does not outweigh the annoyance factor of keeping them around.

    And a linkback in exchange for free access to review material and plenty of exposure is the right, fair thing to do for any Blogcritic. MD could have put an asterisk next to the link with a link to an detailed blog entry saying whatever she wanted about this site and the people who contribute here, but I think she still had to link it if that was the rule if she wanted to be able to contribute like the rest of us.

    One thing I’ll miss about MD was she was rarely boring. Yeah, she beat the racism drum way too much, but she always seemed to find creative and often maddening ways to blend that into a conversation. She was a spark for this website, perhaps an attractive nuisance to many, but I’m sure at some point even Eric will miss that aspect of her presence at BC.

    Despite the venom which MD more often than not displayed for me, as a fellow human being I do wish her well in her next online community experience and hope that she’ll learn to treat other human beings a bit more like she’d like to be treated. Just because somebody is online doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings and 90% of the nasty things she wrote to others here I seriously doubt she would have ever said to them in person.

    Keyboard warriors [sigh].

  • Dolby

    “I asked the Eric Olsen not to participate on this thread because I wanted to have an intelligent discussion about free speech and civil rights.”

    Lol

    I want to have a discussion on free speech, so don’t you dare make any comments!

    Priceless