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One Last Blog and Adieu

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It saddens me to see America in its current state. And it takes a great deal to bring about this particular emotion and this singular decision. I have lived a lot of years and seen, firsthand, how a country can be torn apart by a divisive war. But, this time, the division, I fear, is deeper, more contentious and more fractious. America, a great people, have been cut apart in a fault line approaching a critical depth and width. I am not sure we will ever be as strong as we once were. That overwhelming feeling of something truly great, possibly forever lost, is the reason for this very personal affection.

We are involved in yet another war where young men are dying and the American people don’t understand why. Some think they do and believe it a noble cause; some are equally confident in their belief but feel, with matching fervor, it is one man’s crusade and a useless Quixote-esque crusade. They are both right and they are both, sadly, very wrong. It is, as all wars ultimately are, an exercise in futility. Wars never solve anything. If history has taught us anything – and the lessons are always taught but poorly attended – today’s enemy is tomorrow’s ally. What seems right and reasonable instantly blurs when the bullet start flying and the blood starts to flow. The “fog of war” remains a term both descriptive and philosophical. War fogs both the minds of those in its midst and those at home, who vainly try to understand war’s horror and impact.

What troubles me is not that the country simply has differing opinions but that we are beginning that freefall into the unresolvable and unreconcilable chasm we have seen but a few times before. We are being slowly and irretrievably torn apart by our differences. And, this time, I can not imagine an end to it. It took us decades to recover our moral compass after the Viet Nam War and now we are on that heart-wrenching course, yet again. But I, for one, fear we may be lost in the political and cultural wilderness this time, perhaps, forever. The dogs of war are tearing at the gates and the gatekeepers are fighting among themselves.

I have been reading and, occasionally, participating on BlogCritics for almost a year now. During that time, I have found myself – as if anyone else would notice or care – posting fewer and fewer articles on that site. And it is for a very simple reason: everything – save the occasional innocent movie or CD review – immediately degrades into the most mind-numbing exchange of vitriolic commentary one can imagine. It has become painful, at least to me, to read. The cycle is completely predictable. A writer posts his or her view of some seemingly benign event and, regardless of the topic being proferred, those of the two polarized and distinct political views – for simplicity, we will fall back to the usual labels of liberal and conservative – begin their venomous exchanges.

Lest you think I am against the informed discourse that has made our country great, I am most certainly not. Debate and the intelligent exchange of ideas is always enlightening and has been the very lifeblood of our country’s great strength. But, what I am observing, is not debate. What I see is purely disjointed, acerbic, hate-filled writing that is exchanged with deafness and blindness to dissent. This is not debate. This is a collection of people shouting at each other, in a virtual world, without any actual exchange of information or any chance of middle ground. There is no give-and-take, there is only hate. All civility is dispensed with and the only thing that stops the name calling and caustic and, often, incoherent exchange is that a new posting occurs. The two armies break camp and move their raging hoards of hyperbole off to attack on the battleground of a new thread.

Our country, the home – once – of reasoned, measured debate has fallen into something far different. As in another plague, the “reality show,” it is as if American has been neatly and precisely divided into two groups and sealed into opaque, muted boxes. In each box, everyone is in agreement. They shout at the top of their lungs with every ounce of enmity available as if trying to scourge the evil from those in the other box. And that box, with its collective voices, shouts back with equal vigor and antipathy. The goal, in this game, is not to sway opinion; the goal, in the new reality, is to suffocate and silence. This is not debate. This is pure, unbridled, discordant chaos. I am reminded of a famous definition of a fanatic as “one who will not change his mind nor change the subject.” I no longer have the stamina to read fanaticism.

I tire of the tedium. I see no hope for any remedy. I am too old and lack the energy to watch the gulf of savagery into which the commentary inevitably recidivates any longer. It is my weakness and I will live with it as I can. With this tiny withdrawal, I seek no comments for they, inevitably, will produce more of what I have come to dread most. I will continue to read what and where I can on BlogCritics but, as the comments drift into mindless bedlam, I will turn away. If I want to read unrestrained malevolence, I will go to a place I hold with less respect. It is no loss to the content of BC and it is I who will be lessened by my aged timidity and cowardice. The challenge to contribute something enlightening or thought-provoking – that is to say, something that “measured up” – to a place I held in inestimable regard is what I will miss most.

BlogCritics will continue to thrive because it allows what Americans seem to need most in our current time, namely, a forum to be heard. It’s just that, for me, the right to be heard carries with it the obligation to listen. And I feel that reciprocation is no longer de rigueur. It is a my heartfelt loss.

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About Diet Doc

  • dietdoc, one side has wrapped their politics up in religion. That removes their politics from debate. How can rationality debate faith?

    The entire debate process was broken down when people began to want political decisions made on Faith™.

    And there is no compromise in a political debate when one side stems from religious interpretation. That side cannot compromise without compromising faith. I have said this here for over a year, there is no debate, there is no middle ground, when religion gets wrapped up in politics.

  • You will be missed, doc – sagacity and calm are a rare commodity.

    Sail on

  • Maurice

    ‘lighten up Francis’

    I agree with your sentiment but this is still a fun site with lots of entertaining posts and comments.

    One of the commenters here said “mighty white of you”. I am a black man that could have been offended by that old familiar epithet. I just consider the source and try not to take myself (or anyone else) too seriously.

    I had noticed we hadn’t heard from you in a while – don’t think you wouldn’t be missed.

  • You forgot the sheer stupidity angle of political debate SteveS.

    I didn’t know you felt so strongly about it dietdoc. Bummer – one less “sane” voice here.

  • DietDoc –
    I can relate somewhat, if you want, email me (mkayw@aol.com)

    Anyway, I have not previously read any of your posts, but now that I have, I see what a talent BC would lose if you left.


  • I agree wholeheartedly. America no longer engages in political discourse, only name-calling and spewing hatred and venom. Sadly, the blogosphere is Exhibit 1 in the indictment and there are, in fact, BC members who deserve their own exhibit stickers.

    Your rationale is, in fact, why my BC posts are limited to “the occasional innocent movie or CD [or book] review” and I moved my personal blog mostly away from politics.

    Best wishes for the future.

  • I’ll admit I have not read you for very long but enjoyed your discourse nonetheless. Sorry to see you go. Hope your journey is bright and you finf balance!


  • Eric Olsen

    Ron, you are a sensitive soul, always have been. No one even has to read the comments, especially if they find them upsetting. I would say the comments are generally about 100% more civil than they were a year ago before we really started enforcing the rules.

    Take a break, come back when you feel like it. That’s a pretty normal pattern for a lot of people.

  • Bennett

    Dietdoc, as has been said by others here, you will be missed as one of the few sane voices, among the fanatical hourds.

    I too find less and less energy to participate in the daily name calling and ugly slander of our country’s leaders, by both sides of the aisle.

    I wish you well, and may be joining you before too long. BC is a great place to learn about the world, so long as you limit yourself somehow to reading between the hate filled lines.

    Peace to you.

  • Sorry to see you go, DD. We need more voiced of reason around BC who can resist getting dragged down into circular partisan debate. The desire to hammer back at the brainless ideologues is seductive, and those who can resist it are vital as an anchor to draw us all back to a rational course.


  • I feel you on your rationale and that’s why I think that one of the best things to happen to BC was when politics was branched off into its own section. It allowed me to avoid it completely.

  • At the risk of appearing an ass for reacting in a less than totally sympathetic manner, this underlying premise is NONSENSE: “Wars never solve anything. If history has taught us anything, today’s enemy is tomorrow’s ally.” Wars in fact solve problems frequently, problems that can’t be solved any other way.

    WWII is the most obvious classic example. There was just absolutely nothing to do at that time but to destroy Germany and Japan. That definitely solved some BIG problems. Sure, they’re good friends now- but only after being humbled and reduced to rubble. Tragic, but entirely necessary.

    To be more agreeable, I agree with Steve back up in comment 1. A lot of the troubles with our current debate on terrorism and Iraq come from people who have a ridiculous religious faith that can’t be reasoned with.

    It takes various forms, starting with the ridiculous and patently untrue bromide that “War never solved anything.” It carries on to total frenzied hatred of BusHitler, and heads off into anti-American pathologies that have little or no relation to reality.

    In fact Dietdoc, my own no doubt totally wrong perception is that this post is basically a dishonest anti-war diatribe. Forgive me if I’m a bit paranoid, but you just slipped in that “War doesn’t solve anything” nonsense, then went on to decry the lack of civility.

    Poor tired, sad Grandpa. Better not tell him he’s full of shit, or you’ll be the big meanie. Better not argue with the irrational people- it’ll upset Grandpa. Better just let them have their way. Ain’t happening.

    There’s plenty to be said for and against our ongoing efforts to fight terrorism, and for and against the Iraq part of it. Get in the ring, or get out.

    Just don’t expect me to be culled by a cheap appeal to guilt.

  • Al, thank for closing this thread and in an appropriate tone and for underlining my point so indelibly. I appreciate your honesty and for helping me make a semi-graceful and unassuming retirement.



  • Thanks Al, I suspect you have just proved his point, well done!

  • Nancy

    Way to go, Barger. I can believe you’re some kind of elected official: you go for the cheap shot every time.

    Sorry, doc. You’ll be missed.

  • gonzo marx

    as one that has been known to light off at times..

    let me say, that your “Voice” will indeed be missed, doc

    more’s the pity


  • Ron — You’re of course welcome back anytime with open arms. You’ll be missed by many, as has been expressed.

  • And thank you Alienboy et al for underscoring my point. My reply was civil and reasonable, but the response is basically to accuse me of being a no-good shit crazed hater rather than address anything that I actually said.

    Other than just that ol’ Al’s a big meanie, do any of you lefties have an actual answer to my counterargument to the “war doesn’t solve anything” business?

  • Sure, Al, I’ll answer: wars solve things via destruction and chaotic change and upheaval, sometimes to the greater good, sometimes not.

    But “wars solve things” doesn’t justify any war out of hand.

  • Right Eric, wars don’t necessarily solve anything. Indeed, they tend to cause more problems rather than less. WWII righteous and necessary- Vietnam, horribly ill conceived and uselessly destructive. It behooves us to be skeptical of the use of military force- but not simply naysayers.

    SOMETIMES war is the only thing that will do the job- but not usually. I just vociferously object to categorically dismissing the option. That’ll just leave US sitting ducks.

  • Nancy

    The pity of war is, as mentioned by a character of Tolkien’s, that one can die by a sword even if one doesn’t wield one; sometimes the only way to stop aggression is to meet it with greater aggression, as in WWII. However, that’s not the subject here.

  • Poor tired, sad Grandpa. Better not tell him he’s full of shit, or you’ll be the big meanie. Better not argue with the irrational people- it’ll upset Grandpa. Better just let them have their way. Ain’t happening.

    You have an odd grasp of civility, Al.

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t think this is a veiled anti-war piece, I think it’s a piece geared toward self-persuasion built around an all-or-nothing dichotomy

  • Lisa, I don’t see what’s uncivil in my response whatsoever. Being civil doesn’t mean that I won’t call bullshit when I smell it.

    Again, I recognize that this might partially just be my own warped perspective, but the presentation strikes me in my own subjective perception as a kind of emotional intimidation. How could anyone be so mean as to call out poor Grandpa when he just wants peace? Just let it go, m’kay?

    No, I say. Defense of the country is too important to be run by this kind of emotional appeal, or by the utterly ridiculous Cindy Sheehan spectacle on the other end of that spectrum, etc.

    Also, Dear Leader, could you expand on the “self-persuasion” theme? Ron certainly did throw down an “all or nothing dichotomy” with “Wars never solve anything.” I beg to differ, and express rather more nuance.

  • Eric Olsen

    I meant a dichotomy about the site: it isnt’ all or nothing, you don’t have to buy the whole thing or go away. You can pick and choose to interact with it in any number of ways including ignoring comments completely. One does not have to toss the virtual baby out with the digital bathwater

  • Dietdoc-

    It’s sad to see such an articulate person leaving.
    I understand your frustration.
    I can’t blame you for these feelings.


  • one person’s ‘civility’ is another person’s spittle-inflected barking.

  • Sorry to see you go, DD. We need more voiced of reason around BC who can resist getting dragged down into circular partisan debate. The desire to hammer back at the brainless ideologues is seductive, and those who can resist it are vital as an anchor to draw us all back to a rational course.

    Dave and I can disagree on some matters, but I agree 100% with him here.

    Well-said, Dave.

  • Very good Mr Olsen. Ron could perfectly well ignore the political columns entirely, and just write and read movie and record and book reviews- which are the main stock of the site anyway.

  • Eric Olsen

    But we have also lost sensitive souls since Day 1, literally: either you relish the give and take to a certain extent or you don’t. This will never be a zen rock garden

  • Again, Mr Saleski underscores my basic objection. I’m not calling Ron names, or saying that he’s a bad fellow- only that the particular presentation in this column seems very wrongheaded. Nor am I angry at all. Yet that is, quite predictably, more than enough to qualify as “spittle-inflected barking.”

    That is, we start out with a patently emotional and unreasoned argument, but it’s set out in such a manner that even perfectly reasonable disagreement will predictably invite personal attacks of being a big meanie.

    Personally, I prefer a pure frontal assault, such as incarnated here most fully at this point by Balletshooz. It just seems more honest and straightforward- even when he’s all wrong.

    That’s also the main thing I appreciated about the infamous Mac Diva. She was a half dozen kinds of crazy, but she wasn’t hiding behind her tender feelings. At least you could get in an argument with her without being made out to be a big meanie.

    In short, I WAY prefer straight aggression to passive-aggressive.

  • but al, you are completely missing what i am objecting to. competely.

    here’s what i see as uncivil:

    this underlying premise is NONSENSE

    pure opinion.

    …and heads off into anti-American pathologies that have little or no relation to reality

    the assumption being that people who espouse certain ideas that are in opposition to current u.s. government actions are ‘anti-american’.

    and then there’s the ‘reality’ bit, which is again opinion, presented as fact.

    Just don’t expect me to be culled by a cheap appeal to guilt

    the assumtion being that the top was in fact an appeal to guilt….and then there’s the word ‘cheap’, which you just love to lob around like some sort of libertarian molotov cocktail.

    i suppose what amounts to discussion in the politics column can be ignored. but some of the bluster that appears in the actual posts cannot. it puts blogcritics at the same level as things like the drudge report.

  • I blame myself and my cocaine-induced rages.

  • Mr Saleski, how do you get this?

    “here’s what i see as uncivil:

    ‘this underlying premise is NONSENSE'”

    So, rejecting the premise of his argument has already qualified me as “uncivil.”

    My rejection of the “war never solved anything” NONSENSE is an arguable FACT, not merely opinion. I presented a classic major counter-example (WWII) to prove the point.

    And in fact, a good many people “head off into anti-American pathologies.” That’s just recognizing reality. It’s Moore utter nonsense to expect me to pretend that Michael Moore or Move On are reasonable folks with reasonable arguments. They are quite predictably anti Bush and anti American defense.

    “Cheap” seems exactly the right word for a lot of these emotional appeals. I don’t know that it’s particularly a “libertarian” thing specifically.

    There are perfectly reasonable and legitimate arguments with which I would disagree. For example, is the war in Iraq just encouraging the recruitment of MORE jihadists rather than thinning the ranks? That’s a good question, though.

    Then there’s “War never solved anything,” which is patently untrue and a mere appeal to cheap, easy emotions.

    Also, the little stab at Drudge is utterly unsubstantiated.

  • I agree DietDoc. I left for about a month and participate on a reduced basis because of the stuff I encounter here.

    I think that certain things here should be cracked down on. To indulge a person whose input may be crazy, hateful, or constitute sexual harassment repells ten quality people. We need to do some more pruning, especially regarding treatment of women. I think that the average book buyer is a woman age 35-50. I’d be willing to contribute money towards stipends (token payments) to moderators who would perform this function.

    Well, I’ll miss you Dietdoc. Sorry you are leaving.

  • American debate often degenerates into name-calling and emotional and verbal thuggery.

    Sometimes it is just better to ignore such prose, considering it the background noise of modern life and not the essence of living and intelligent life on earth.

    I’d also ask you to reconsider. Yet I do understand. My first foray into cyberspace was in a newsgroup where all the women of one race were slowly harassed into leaving.

  • I don’t see anything sexually-biased about Blogcritics at all. You keep making these paranoid claims about some anti-feminist agenda kicking around these parts, but I’m not sure where you get these ideas. For every wacko who might make such a comment, there are ten more sane people who will tell him to sit the fuck down.

  • Al, you just flat out like aggression, not uncommon in the USA (NB to the trigger happy, that’s just an observation of fact, not an attack on the USA)

  • and yes, DietDoc, please stick around, you are a good example to all.

  • False dichotomies abound here. Situation normal, maybe, but there is one little thing in need of saying.

    When people are in pain they will say things that don’t seem to make any sense to some listeners. That doesn’t mean they need to be forcibly challenged on those points as soon as humanly possible.

    The United States is strong enough to let its citizens say things like “war never solves anything” without risk of falling apart straight away. Barbarian hordes will not instantly rampage through the streets of all our major cities if we leave such a statement uncontested for a little while out of respect for someone’s pain.

  • Nancy

    Tiger – how can you tell on a blog who is what race, unless they say something? IMO I haven’t seen anything particularly anti-women on this blogsite except for the ranting of the anti-choice people, and you get that all over, unfortunately. BC is no worse than anyplace else.

  • whatever al, we’ll never agree.

    and i am apparently a cheap, emotional idiot.

    and sorry,there are many people here (and also who have left) who will agree with me about the sludgeosity of the politics column. that is a FACT..

  • Eric Olsen

    and credit card ad campaigns

  • Rich

    Hey maybe this can take us to a higher level of civil dialoge?

    Maybe we can meet eachother half way?

    Maybe we can realize we are just prolonging echo chamber noise?

    Maybe we have gone tone deaf to opposition chatter?

    Maybe we see the oppostion as fanatics and vice versa?

    Maybe this is a part of the American experiment we call democracy?

    However way we all look at it, I hope in the end we welcome the POSITIVE dialoge we have shared at BC.

    I’m relatively new on the scene. I’ve instantly noticed many people with broad brushes. It’s our job to keep the dialoge going. I think people have the capacity to except truth and fairness, if not, well, democracy won’t be as democratic as we would invision it to be for a long, long time.

    What’s “truth”? What’s “fair”? There in lies the dialoge.

    take care diedoc


  • Shark

    Notice that I ain’t sayin’ a word…

    […total silence of a Zen Garden…]

    I’m holdin’ my tongue…


    I’m refusing to speak…

    […om mani padme hum…]

    I’m thinkin’ nice thoughts…

    [sound of crowd clicking “start” button on their stopwatches]

  • Everyone who chooses to participate at Blogcritics must decide if the overall good outweighs the overall bad (as with everything in life, really).

    For most people, obviously, it does. This is a thriving and growing site, a thriving and growing community. With every community, there’s going to be things you like and things you don’t.

    If the community is worth sticking around, it’s worth it to inject your sense of good, and try to ignore/work with the bad.

  • It’s pretty easy to ignore the ‘bad’, since it’s mostly in the comments to certain specific types of posts which attract activists of one kind or another to rant about their chosen issue.


  • Alienboy, like James Brown, I can dig scrappin’ but I can’t dig that back stabbin’. And if it’s a choice, I’ll certainly take aggression over whining. I’d much rather take a beating than a guilt trip.

    Still, I try to play nice. Perhaps my diplomacy fails me sometimes, but I do not make arguments just to stir things up, nor do I say things out of spite or maliciousness. Indeed, I make an extra effort to make nice with people with whom I know I have strong disagreements about stuff. Still, I’m going to say what I think needs saying.

    Also, Mr Saleski, back it up a step. I never said nor thought anything like that you are a “cheap emotional idiot.” Don’t be putting that on me. I like you fine. I think you’re a swell fellow.

    However, Miss Cerulean I must admit is getting on my last nerve with her authoritarian desire to come in here and take over the joint with her PC bullshit. But hey, she’ll contribute ten bucks to the kitty if Eric would just make all the people that disagree with her go away. Baby, that just ain’t happenin’.

    It is particularly jaw dropping that she comes in to this totally unrelated thread dropping that “sexual harassment” nonsense yet again. I mean, she brought down the celebrity ire and threat of a lawsuit with her half-baked speculation about their chemical use, and then goes on like it was someone’s “sexual harassment” that was really the problem. Chutzpah. Besides being unfounded, these constant charges of “harassment” from her are FAR more uncivil than anything I would ever say.

    I will however agree with Mr Saleski that there’s some “sludgeosity” and incivility and foolishness in the political columns, mostly in the comments. I will object, however, to painting that with a broad brush. I object to having MY comments lumped in with the bad, as Ms McKay among others in this thread seem to be doing.

  • Doc, what a bittersweet post. Beautifully written, too. I hope that you find that all you needed was a bit of a break and some blinders. Your writing has a sort of grace to it and I think you should never close the door to BlogCritics all the way.

    In the meantime, may you find inspiration in the world around you, laughter and love in your home, and good health following you like a happy puppy.

    I don’t know how the puppy made it in here, but he’s yours now.

  • This isn’t my first foray into cyberspace and blogcritics isn’t a newsgroup.

    As for the newsgroup…how do you discern a person’s gender? Try their moniker.

    Race/ethnicity…some very desperate guys were trolling the messages just to find women of a targeted ethnicity to bombard with hate mail, sexual innuendo, link up to fetish sites, etc. In comparison, blogcritics is quite tame.

    The topic of the newsgroup was one of my majors in college. Although I found the intelligent exchange interesting, the newgroup was predominately male because the women were mostly driven away–particularly women of a certain ethnicity. I complained to the moderators (male) and they gave the equivalent of a cyber shrug.

    So I do understand how Doc feels. I got tired of the hassle and quit that newsgroup.

    Cyberspace was originally dominated by men and as such wasn’t very quick to respond to concerns of women.

  • Shark, I for one thank you for your kind restraint here.

  • I also blame Sussman and his cocaine-induced rages. 🙂

    dietdoc, you’re always more than welcome to troll the Obnoxious Couple, and your level-headed responses (and eventual conversational posts) will always be welcome in my pieces. I think I speak for a lot of people.

    I don’t worry about pissing Grandpa off. I just like watching the old coot. 🙂

    Take care.

  • I don’t have the energy to follow most of this, but is the Senator so blind to political reality that he doesn’t see that the primary support for the “defense of America” as currently conducted through war is justifed based on emotional appeal? If you were a steely-eyed rationalist, Iraq would have never been a realistic possibility.

    Somehow you always have your classiest moments in attacking people when they’re gone. You dare to invoke how you liked arguing with MacDiva when you supported her being banned and wrote a childish post gloating in it? I quote Eric Olsen from that incident: “yet another ridiculous post by a ridiculous man.”

    You have the audacity to project “passive-aggressive” onto somebody else in this discussion? It’s interesting how he didn’t name you specifically among the “uncivil” BlogCritics discussing politics, yet you responded defensively and, well, uncivilly immediately — quite telling. Are you really going to play innocent and say that calling someone “tired Grandpa” isn’t meant to be insulting? Isn’t taunting Dietdoc for thinking the political debate is too uncivil just proving his point? You love playing these passive-aggressive games where you pretend to be concerned for people (despite disavowing all “emotional responses, Mr. Spock”) by annoying them to no end.

    Cerulean: Which people on here do you think are negative toward women? I’m sort of sensitive to this issue because I do sort of sense what you and Purple Tigress do, that women are under-represented (especially women of color). I tend to kid around a lot about women, sex, and hotness, but I hope women aren’t offended by that. I assume you were talking more about the right-wing contingent of the site that consistently takes unempathic political positions on women’s rights and abortion?

    That is all.

  • Shark

    Booey: “Are you really going to play innocent and say that calling someone “tired Grandpa” isn’t meant to be insulting?”

    Spoken by someone who is not adverse to mocking me as “old man” etc.


    Good one.

    PS: ….sorry, kids… back to my lotus-position… ommmmm….

  • Sharky poo, with you and me it’s a term of endearment because I like you.

    Besides, I don’t have any pretense about being genteel or cautious with what I say. Al tries to have it both ways, but I do agree with his statement that people should be more open with their words rather than less for fear of offending people.

    That is all.

  • Shark

    Dear Booey,

    Oh I see.

    Cool. Nevermind, then.

    Now come sit on my lap.


  • Don’t weird me out, old man. I’ll break your hip 🙂

    See how it works?

    That is all.

  • Shark

    BTW: Could we possibly create a “futile goodbye” Greatest Hits section — for those who have a bad day and publicly (and hastily) announce their withdrawal from the site — hoping for gawd knows what as a result of their last gasp?

    I believe nominations would be in order for:


    BlogBloke (heeee’s baaaaaack!)


    Shark < -- stomping off to compose an essay about how glowing dots on a computer monitor poison his spirit and soul

  • Shark

    Booey: “I’ll break your hip”

    I hope you’re good with titanium — ’cause Grandma beat ya to it years ago!

  • I miss TekWhore’s booby pictures.

    I’m ruining all my credibility as a feminist, just like Al has ruined his credibility in being civil and mannered.

    That is all.

  • Poor little puppy, can’t handle blogocombat anymore.

    I have not read any of the “debates” here, but to abandon a forum due to harshing, flaming, lack of “reasoned discussion”, to complain of partisan posturing and bickering…this is what made our country great.

    So what if it degenerates into name-calling and irrational venom? There are clever responses to such things.

    You’re “tired” and “aged”? So what? You sound sobbing and hangwringingly: “I’m taking my toys to play somewhere else.”

    Magnanimous speeches whining about an allegedly “deeply divided America”, we don’t need such sissified whimpering.

    All things have divisions, from amoeba splitting to psychological ambivalence.

    If a blogocombat participant thinks an argument childish or insane, move on to another battle zone. Don’t moan and sulk, leaving the lather of overgroan repulse.

    Liberal vs. conservative.
    Faith vs. disbelief.
    Religious vs. secular.
    Political vs. psychological.
    Mediocre vs. innovative.

    These categories will conflict until the end of time or humanity, whichever comes first.

    No, you won’t be missed. Nobody is missed in the digital realm. We are humanufactured, interchangeable cogs in a meaningless machine rushing headlong into nothingness. Enjoy the ride.

  • Maybe there can be a disclaimer in Movable Type for sensitive bloggers to use, so that their feelings don’t get hurt. I myself have no need for it, since my posts are Seinfeldian and never get trolled, but I’m sure many would like that safety. 🙂

    Honestly though, watching conservatives and liberals fire their phallic-shaped venom pistols at each other is entertainment and nothing more. I never take sides, just read and laugh.

    Furthermore, the perfect solution to all political problems in the world could be revealed on here, and it still would never happen, because people will always find reasons to fight. Peace is a imaginary hope to keep optimism alive in the masses.

    Good luck, Dietdoc. Enjoy your excursion whatever it may be.

  • Bunny

    This is my first time seeing BC, as you call it, but I have been impressed by the overall content. I thought Dietdoc’s article of retirement was indeed well written; and Al Burger’s response was — if a bit crude — not uncivil. The majority of comments for this article and others I browsed tonight show at the very least an attempt at intellectual interaction between two polarized elements in our society, commonly known as left and right. I find myself amused, as I easily can be, by attempts from either faction to define the core beliefs of the other.

    To Dietdoc, I hope to read more from you soon. To the rest, I implore you to quit being such ass-monkey name-calling hypocrites whose blatant sarcasm, while enjoyable to some, drive others away.

  • Z

    Hey doc,

    I don’t normally read your blog, but I normally read this one.

    … and I wonder if you might go take a look at what Vaspers has to say about your goodbye.

  • bhw

    I looked at what Vaspers had to say, and I’m not impressed. Here’s the comment I left him:

    Re: cowardice — a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Why did you repost a Blogcritics entry on YOUR site, with your comments interspersed, rather put your comments on the Blogcritics post itself where those comments would fall under the same level of scrutiny you give Dietdoc?

  • Eric Olsen

    BAB in #53, Al did NOT support Mac Diva being booted. His position all along was that she should be allowed to say what she had to say. In the end it was my decision and all involved know exactly why.

    Nor did I say what you quoted me as saying

  • Nathaniel Winn

    What’s really funny is that the original post, besides the anti-war comments, did not pin more responsibility on one side more than the other in the sidedness of discourse. But starting with comment #1, we immediately begin to say, “I agree with you–those other guys are bad!”

    When that wasn’t what the post said to begin with.

  • Nay, Nathaniel, I beg to differ. Ron said among other things, “Wars never solve anything.” Then he acts like he’s not taking sides.

  • Eric Olsen

    wars can do a bang-up job on overpopulation

  • Now Al, you are playing with semantics. Kind of like when Bush said war was the last resort, but he really meant the next resort, which of course, would have made it the last then, huh?


  • gonzo marx

    on temporarily, Eric…it has been inevitable that right after any War, the populations spike back up again

    part of our mammalian birth cycle thingy, i bet

    but i digress

    as for War, i go with Sun Tzu on this one, the only good war is one you win before ever fighting, anything else is a waste of resources(that includes lives)…the only thing worse, is losing a war….cuz it’s a bigger waste

    big Al, a lot of folks have a problem with Iraq…some don’t…but let me pose one simple thing to those that are all for it

    the current Administration has ONE combat veteran, who had some knowledge of not only war, but Insurgency’s and Iraq as well…he had written, in his military days..something kind of famous..known as the (aww…you guessed it) Powell doctrine…

    basically it stated..
    know your Goal for Winning before you ever start…know it clearly
    plan for the worst things possible
    bring overwhelming Force
    stick to your Goal for Winning

    that’s a drastic oversimplification, but i t does represent the strategic gist of it

    was ANY of that followed by the Administration in Iraq?

    two letter Answer here…

    but i digress once again

    this is a Thread about dietdoc leaving

    you remember him, the guy that wrote the original Post?

    he raises some decent points, Bog knows, i can go over the top in dealing with people some times, but i do try and think i am somewhat fair about it, hell..i even warn folks when they are hitting “the line” with me

    that doesn’t mean i can’t be snarky in a new york second…just means that i don’t get hostile instantly

    but look around…how much of it do we see?…plenty…and i can understand where that can be discouraging to folks

    clue incoming: if an Individual appears to always have made up their mind on an Issue, BEFORE it is even clearly delineated…they could be an clse minded Idealogue…or simply a shill for their artificial “side”

    so sayeth the gonzo


  • It’s too bad Al’s post-Mac Diva gloating was taken down so we don’t have a record of what was said. I think the important thing is that the Senator remembers exactly what was said, whether we do or not. Al did say early on that he didn’t want Mac Diva banned, but he didn’t seem to have much opposition later and openly gloated after the fact. But it’s all ancient history. I got over it and I came back eventually and I’m sure everyone else has too.

    That is all.

  • Eric Olsen

    I reiterate: this — or any general interest, take all comers, more or less free speech (we do, alas, have rules) — site will never be a zen rock garden. There will be every manner of controversy and every manner of personality expressed in dealing with it.

    It can be directed, somewhat; it can be channeled, to a certain extent; but it cannot be controled.

    And that will offend people, especially those are easily offended or who take the words expressed too directly to heart.

    Remember this: ultimately it’s all entertainment.

  • To paraphrase the Suicide Machines…

    I beg your pardon /
    I never promised you a zen rock garden…

    Ah, geeky rock humor.

    Ahem… just trying to lighten the mood here for a minute.

  • gonzo marx

    Eric B..i think that one went over like a…a…a…led zeppelin




  • Gonzo man… I think you’re on to something!

  • Eric Olsen

    I thought it was Lynn “Bodhisattva” Anderson who did that tune

  • gonzo marx

    or “on something” at the very least…

    anyone else for some peyote and ‘shroom pizza?

    and that ain’t oregano sprinkled on top


  • It’s so that time of the week, ain’t it?

    I’ll stick with a glass of Pino after Wife gets home from the hospital, thanks!

    Dead Zone, Season Two on DVD’s on tap!

  • Steve S, the Bush “last resort” argument makes no real impression on me. Now, you might make a reasonable argument that perhaps we never should have gone into Iraq. But you really can’t legitimately say that it was a first resort, that we didn’t make any other efforts. W spent a year and more (after a decade of continuing low level conflict) making it real clear what was coming. Saddam could have took a clue, as the Libyan dictator did, in which case he’d still be there rapin’ and pillagin’ his countrymen with glee.

    By the way, as to references to my remarks on the departure of Mac Diva, they are in fact still on site RIGHT HERE. They landed as comment #83 on her post, rather than as a separate post.

  • But you really can’t legitimately say that it was a first resort

    agreed, and I clearly didn’t say that.

    W spent a year and more making it real clear what was coming.

    saying it is coming, is not exhausting all other options before it comes.

  • Jumpin Jebus Steve S, what more could he have done, other than NOTHING? He could have just done nothing, let Iraq and the whole region go to hell and we take our chances on where that leads, or we could look for the best place to go thin out some of the bad guys. You might argue that doing NOTHING would be superior, but other than NOTHING, W did about as much as could to give the guy outs.

  • Shark

    EricO: “Remember this: ultimately it’s all entertainment.”


  • Jumpin Jebus Steve S, what more could he have done, other than NOTHING?

    I’m sorry, Al, is the question ‘what could he have done, for Saddam to turn over those vast stockpiles of WMD, he was accused of threatening us with?’. Well, I suspect that ANY action taken, would have probably yielded the same result we got, so in that sense, the question is moot.

    Now, if the question was ‘what could he have done to avoid going to war’, then there are numerous different answers to that. One thing that I, a citizen with no ‘inside information’ would conclude, is that he could have put more pressure on OPEC nations, Saudi Arabia, etc, to pressure Saddam to open up for WMD inspections. We are a large customer to all of them. That carries weight in the marketplace. More weight than Bush has evern thrown around over there, at least. It’s odd that those who are in favor of bullying don’t see the tactic of infuriated business customer.

  • Bennett

    Whew, just back from reading the entire “last post by MacDiva”…

    BAB, your assertions that Al “gloated” are without merit. Quite to the contrary, he outlines some of the off-line efforts he made to communicate with her, to no avail.

    Anyhoo, that’s all past hitory, so let’s move on.

  • This post gave me the opportunity to review some of the Mac Diva drama myself, Bennett. It’s strange that I came on the BC scene about a week about a week after all of that went down.

  • Bennett

    No kidding Eric? And I actually remember exactly where I was last Thanksgiving! Heh!

    Just yankin’.

    I imagine it was a “huh?” kind of time for you. She seemed to be quite a challenge. I’m sorta glad I didn’t have the opportunity to get involved.

  • I heard the name thrown around a lot, that’s for sure!

  • Bennett, to revisit ancient history one last time, everyone responded to that “comment” as gloating when it was first put up as an Al Barger post after it happened. It’s demeaning dismissal trying to pass as patronizing concern — in what world is e-mailing people accusing them of mental illness aiding them rather than antagonizing them?

    Everyone found it pretty repulsive, and that’s why the original post was taken down, against the objections of Senator Al and myself. I thought it and the comments responding to it should stay up as an example of how much the discourse had degenerated. Al went against the wishes of the editors of the site by re-posting it as a comment on the topic he just linked to, because he insisted on being immature even after everyone agreed his “blog obit” for Mac Diva was in extremely poor taste.

    If you were around then, you would have had the whole context for it.

    That is all.

  • Mac Diva still loves me.

    She’s my biggest fan, really. Has been since my humble review of Friends.

    The Diva experience was something like my more rugged Boy Scout experiences, such as the Order of the Arrow “ordeal.” They’re both learning experiences, good training, good stories, and points of pride in different ways- but also MUCH more fun as memories than as real time experiences.

  • Wow Al, didn’t realize you were a Neo-Confederate. What is that, exactly?


  • I just saw a comment by Nathaniel Winn that I missed earlier. Comment 67 says:

    But starting with comment #1, we immediately begin to say, “I agree with you–those other guys are bad!”

    no, go back and reread comment 1. I did not say the ‘other side’ is bad. I said there is no middle ground with someone who bases decisions on faith.

  • Yes, but you’ll note that the only responses in this thread from straight-out irrational whackos come from Shark and Alienboy, and one made a typical contentless response and the other responded to a comment rather than to the substance of the post itself. Oh wait, Cerulean responded – but as usual, her response was to some imagined topic of her own rather than anything Dietdoc actually said. I do wonder if it’s significant that only the irrational left respnded to this post, while the irrational right avoided it alltogether.


  • “There is no middle ground” = “They are bad.” When was the last time you heard anybody say “There’s no middle ground with them” as a compliment?

    Nathaniel’s take in comment 67 was spot-on.

  • Well, there’s really no functional difference between one group of people motivated by faith and another. Whether your faith is in government or radical humanism, it’s still all irrational if it’s based on something other than reason. If you read the postings by Cindy Sheehan advocates and remove the content, the emotional rhetoric is at base indistinguishable from what you’d find in one of the threads featuring anti-abortionists.


  • Shark

    DaveN: “…note that the only responses in this thread from straight-out irrational whackos come from Shark and Alienboy…”

    Proud to be a part of that number!

    DaveN: (ironically — barely rational): “…it’s significant that only the irrational left respnded to this post, while the irrational right avoided it [sic] alltogether.”

    – – – – – – – – – – – (| <-cream pie headin' for Dave

  • “There is no middle ground” = “They are bad.”

    My comment was that one side has wrapped their politics up in religion and therefore cannot compromise.

    Your assumption that they can compromise their faith, is to me, more insulting to them than anything I have said.

  • More insulting than seeing them as an enemy who threatens to destroy everything you value about civilization? Hardly.

    And I never said anything about anybody compromising their faith, Steve. You assume I’ve accepted every premise and conclusion of your convoluted arguments.

    That’s all beside the point anyway. The point right here, right now, is that you didn’t have to use someone’s going away message as merely yet another battlefield on which to confront your enemies. Blogcritics has plenty of other threads where you can rail against the evil fundies ’til kingdom come.

  • Shark

    I would imagine DietDoc is wishin’ he’d have ridden off into the sunset on a silent, invisible horsey.

    Maybe we should ALL respect the spirit of this post and…






  • Bit late for that, Shark.


  • Victor, you are nuts. I was not ‘railing’ against the enemy. I was stating fact against ANY group that uses faith as a political motivator, whether in this country or on the other side of the world. It’s a proven fact, it’s not a personal attack.

  • Whatever you call it, whoever it’s against, you could have taken it somewhere else, Steve. There was absolutely no reason you had to do it here, unless you were trying to make sure Dietdoc stays gone. I don’t believe you intended that, but it is probably one result of the attacks and counter-attacks in this comment thread.

    That’s why Nathaniel’s comment was spot-on.

  • no, Victor, I am not so aggressive inside. You must misread most everything I type.

    I said what I said, the way that I said it, for this reason:

    Political discourse in this country is more polarized than ever before. Not just here at BlogCritics, but everywhere in this country. The attacks from the Left AND the Right are violatile and counter productive.

    I don’t want dietdoc to go. To not try and be too insulting to him, I really haven’t ever read his posts per se, to have formulated an opinion on him. I don’t want anybody to go, have never advocated banning anybody or running anybody off either.

    The point I wanted to convey to dietdoc, is that what he is witnessing is not exclusive to BlogCritics and (from my viewpoint) is NOT going away. That was precisely the premise I was putting forward. How can one compromise when one side is of faith?

    Put aside, Victor, any concept of that being an attack and look at it from an analytical point of view. Look at nations of faith. Look at groups of faith in this country and abroad and see what they are working for. Is it compromise that you see put forward?

    Argh. If I can’t convey this without it seeming to be an attack to some people then so be it, but it is NOT originating from within, as an attack, rather one point of the debate which I think needs to be brought forward and discussed or there never will be compromise!

  • I never said you were aggressive inside, Steve. In fact I plainly said that I did NOT believe you intended to help drive anyone away from here. Misreading goes both ways.

    On many of your points I might even agree with you. The points you raise certainly need to be brought forward and discussed, and I’m glad to see you bring them forward in many other places.

    It just wasn’t necessary to do that here, as a response to Dietdoc’s parting message.

  • It just wasn’t necessary to do that here, as a response to Dietdoc’s parting message.

    hmmm, well the premise of his post is about the polarization of the Left and the Right, and name-calling. While the post might limit the problem somewhat to BlogCritics, it’s actually a pretty big problem, and in my mind I was even offering him a causal reason for the polarization, so was sticking on topic.

  • On topic, perhaps, but not responsive to the personal nature of a farewell message.

    He didn’t ask anyone to give him causal reasons for the polarization. He certainly did not ask for any help with identifying which side is more guilty.

    He said he was leaving because so few people are willing to listen anymore. So far, we’ve mostly proven him right on that score.

  • Dietdoc wrote a column about the state of civil discourse at Blogcritics. In fact, it seems that pretty nearly all of these comments are actually related to the original topic. This thread has stayed pretty close to on topic.

    Now Victor, lotta love, but your exquisite sensitivities [comments 40 & 99] make me want to turn Gopher God loose on you. For starters, we routinely publish with open comments, and promote that feature. Anyone doesn’t want a discussion, or to have their views challenged doesn’t need to be publishing at Blogcritics.

    Further, I object to the low level emotional blackmail of all this cheap talk of sensitivity. Comment 40 about Ron’s “pain” for example, what pain? I might cut someone a bit of slack for talking crazy if they’ve just had a son killed or something, but what’s the deep pain here?

    This talk of sensitivity just strikes me as a cheap ie illegitimate emotional argument for cutting off debate. Then when someone calls bullshit on the argument, they’re just big old insensitive meanies. The topic then isn’t whether your statement had substance, but some passive-aggressive whining about not being nice.

    I for one ain’t having any of that. Nor is Blogcritics. You can publish your own little page, with no comments or email links, and just say what you will. Or you can come to Blogcritics and get in the ring.

    Ron has a reasonable point about lack of civility. I’ve been on the wrong end of people not just being rude and hateful, but absolutely malicious and dishonest here at Blogcritics and even on this thread.

    But this is a no-whining zone- which suits me. Explain your position, and point out absolute errors of fact thrown at you, and Move On.

    There are those here who are just hateful and snarky with little intention of contributing to useful public debate. Who those are, I’ll leave to your individual judgements. Just don’t be cheating by trying to lump in people who express opinions you disagree with alongside the trolls.

    Yeah, there are plenty of threads on which Steve S could rail against the evil fundies, but why not this one? He’s ALL WRONG of course, but this comment 1 was clearly relevant to the topic of civility in the discourse. Rave on, Steve S.

  • He said he was leaving because so few people are willing to listen anymore.

    duh, and I was giving him the reason why.

  • this comment 1 was clearly relevant to the topic of civility in the discourse. Rave on, Steve S.

    thank you, but it’s not raving.

  • Which he never asked for.

  • Now see, Victor, your comment #103 is just what I’m objecting to, with “There was absolutely no reason you had to do it here, unless you were trying to make sure Dietdoc stays gone. I don’t believe you intended that, but it is probably one result of the attacks and counter-attacks in this comment thread.”

    Hey, if mild and impersonal comments such as Steve S made in #1 are enough to run someone off, then good riddance. I hasten to note that I’m not putting that off on Ron, as it is YOUR comments that I’m objecting to.

    Again, it’s good to play nice, but if you don’t want your opinions challenged, then don’t publish them at Blogcritics. I for one refuse to be hostage to some passive-aggressive bullshit that you can’t disagree with someone because they’ll get their itty bitty feelings hurt.

    Easy there, Steve. I said “rave on” not rant. I had Buddy Holly in mind, who was a pretty sociable kind of guy.

  • As to your objections, Al, they have been noted and logged.

  • I know I’m an odd one, but when someone says goodbye, even someone I only know a little, I’m not the type to just wave back and say ‘bye’ and leave it at that Victor. I was offering discussion/reasoning (yes, that was unasked for), because that is my style. I also still say hello to the cashier at the checkstand too. That’s unasked for as well.

    I’m not ranting, or raving, or attacking any group or individual. Perhaps dietdoc, things in your discussions seem more flammatory than they really are? Because it seems to me that communication has completely broken down in this country.

  • SFC Ski

    Good luck to you Doc, I enjoyed reading your posts and comments.

  • Steve, I formally withdrawal the thoughtlessly applied word “rave” from my comment 108. I meant no criticism by it at all. I specifically did NOT mean to imply anything like that you were speaking from an inappropriate or agitated emotional state.

    That’s what I get for listening to that dirty rock and roll all day. Gets me all crazy like that.

  • BB

    Boy does this ever sound familiar. Been there and done that doc.

    I know only too well from painful experience that you open pandora’s box trying to make a public (and graceful) exit from BC. I did the same thing and got pounded for it. Funny thing is most of those dorks are no longer around here. I suppose there is poetic justice in this world after all.

    I totally agree with your assessment and understand completely. I recommend Eric’s advice and take a break. Later, think about coming back again but pick your spots more carefully.

    Unfortunately there are some people who view commenting here at BC as an opportunity to vent with impunity, especially under the cover of anonymity. Seems to bring out the worst in some. Rather like road rage.

    You can always tell who the bullies are when you’re down and out. It all comes down to maturity and perhaps a little anger management classes might help those who are in need.

    Regarding the more vocal hecklers I would say that some probably mean well, but at times can be a little rough around the edges in their delivery (although ya gotta admit they can be quite witty).

    Speaking of Shark and Al (just kidding fellas) it’s good to be baaaaaack! So who’s your daddy? Love you guys XXXXX00000!

    And regarding the infamous Mas Diva — may she rest in peace. (I’m sure she appreciated the link Al).

    I would also agree with the assessment that it is a lot lighter around here since the good old wild-west days when there were no sherriffs to do the editing (notice the tongue in my cheek).

    Doc, I’ve never read you before but I agree with the above assessment that you have writing talent. So carry on brother, heal your wounds, ignore the nay sayers and return stronger and better than ever.

    And everybody else – LIGHTEN UP OKAY!



  • uao

    BB (Comment 117) said:

    I know only too well from painful experience that you open pandora’s box trying to make a public (and graceful) exit from BC.

    I know nothing of the dynamics of BC personalities here; or who’s on what side, or who hates who, or who’s an idiot, who’s rude, etc. I’ve seen dietdoc’s name around, but know nothing about the issues involved.

    I will say this:

    I was only a regular poster at one online forum, back in ’98-’99 (and the same place in ’04). The same kind of thing happened there that happens here; threads degenerate, went off topic, turned into fights, created bad blood and intrigue. There was a lot of good stuff happening too, between the flames and things, but were often overshadowed by the explosions.

    People believed in the forum’s ideal, however, which was a good one, and it was a unique, and long lived place, and some people made some lasting friendships and contacts there.

    People would quit all the time. Some would post public “I Quit!!” notices in which they swore off the forum for the rest of their lives like it were a carton of cigarettes or a bottle of whiskey.

    I always thought they were being kinda silly. If a forum has you so worked up that it becomes an emotional crisis, then you really need to take a walk outdoors and watch the birds, or something.

    It also was silly because at least half of them would creep back in a few weeks later and participate until the next flame war prompted them to post anothier “I Quit” rant. (“This time, I really mean it!”)

    I too wondered what the desired effect was; were they looking for reassurance? Hugs? Were they seeking attention? Revenge?

    I think a “graceful” exit is just to stop posting, quietly and sensibly. That way, you can always come back again without looking silly, and not contribute to more hurt feelings, etc.

    I stopped being a “regular” online forum type because I decided that online communication didn’t get me off like analog world communication does. And, I thought the old forum had been overrun by dicks and mediocraties.

    So I just de-bookmarked it, to save me from temptation, and got into blogging as a productive use of online time.

    I still pop into the old place once in a while to say hi to the remnants of the old forums original cast, some of whom are still there.

    Again, I don’t know dietdoc, and wish him no ill will. And since I don’t know the issues, maybe they need a public airing, to relieve pent-up bad feelings among whomever.

    But this is the way any unmoderated forum is, and even open-mindedly moderated ones like BC, have this go on. Tightly moderated ones don’t have it, but they also chill any real discussion, too. You just get used to it, and try not to go overboard yourself, and try to get along, and accept people are what they are, times are what they are, and online forums are what they are.

    Just my thoughts on similar situations…

  • All right then, let’s all join hands and sing a chorus of “Kum-by-frickin-Ya.”