Saturday, August 16, 2008

Brummett Decries Harsh Words From Bloggers

"With great power comes great responsibility"

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"Not all anonymous posters on blogs are creepy, cowardly, bitter, mean, vile, crude and consumed by ignorance, intolerance and hate. It's just that the very nature of this free-speech forum seems to lend itself to persons tending toward some or all of that." writes Brummett in his latest.

I tell you I want to write about other things, such as the recent spate of school-takeovers and near-take-overs by the State Board of Education. The Decatur case is one. The educrats have gotten laws passed where every newly elected school board member is required to attend their "training" before they can assume office. My reports are that the "training" largely consists of telling them to shut up and let the superintendents run the schools in a PC manner, and pounding in their head what terrible consequences can flow from giving their administration professionals a hard time. Then, when administrators blow it and loose control of the finances, who does the state hold accountable but the very same local school board they bludgeoned into kow-towing to their administrators!

That is the kind of stuff I want to write about, but Brummett keeps pulling me back like some anti-logic magnet of darkness. I'd like to talk about how we can get the trains to run on time, but the spectacle of the train wreck that is Brummett's writing draws my gaze instead.

I stare open mouthed at reading him complain of the "creepy, cowardly, bitter, mean, vile, crude and consumed by ignorance, intolerance and hate" of other's writing. It's like the pot calling the snow-bank black! Brummett seems to have a problem with people other than him acting this way, and his problem seems to center on the fact that many bloggers use anonymity to avoid blowback for their attacks.

"A blog is an online site available by a mere click of the mouse to people with nothing better to do than sit around all day and read it and post anonymously, and publicly, in response to items on it.

These posters make up pen names. They write the most despicable and bogus things about named people. Then they hit the send button and, cloaked from liability for their words, commence re-picking their noses." he writes.

While I am not defending bogus attacks, I do want to point out that there is more than one way to be cowardly when writing "fighting words" about others. One way is to use anonymity, as in vandalizing someones car when they are not there to confront you for it. Another way though, is a bully picking a fight with someone where the bully knows their firepower is so greatly disproportionate to the targets that the victims simply can't protect themselves from the bully's attacks, and have no way of launching an attack that could seriously harm the bully.

Such is the case for an editorialist who has a paper read by 100,000 readers. They can savage people with near-immunity from harm. Their victims have a pea-shooter, they have an RPG. Because of their firepower and the credibility of the platform they launch these attacks from, the amount of harm they can do from even one misleading disparaging column is greater than an anonymous blog poster can do in a decade. With great power comes great responsibility. It is one thing to abuse that power, but then to use it to heap scorn on others for doing the same thing on a tiny scale, who have not sown a tithe of the bitter seed he has sown, is unconscionable.

(continued on the jump)

3 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

"Never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel" is the old canard. Of course, that advice does not help much when they are the ones who picked the fight with you. And that advice was pre-internet. The average man does not buy his ink by the barrel, but electrons are free. The internet is just a hint of an equalizer, and those who have been above equal in the past don't seem to care much for this type of egalitarianism.

For one who questions the courage of these bloggers, Brummett displays surprisingly little of his own. He freely admitted that he did not allow comments on his now-defunct "blog". That would level the playing field a bit to much for comfort. Ideas and claims that before could simply be asserted, shouting down all opposition simply with the loudness of one's bullhorn, would then have to be intellectually defended. It was too much for the "award winning journalist". He choose to not allow comments on his "blog".

I put "blog" in parenthesis because I don't consider it a real full-blown blog unless it allowed for reader feedback, nor apparently does Brummett to go by the definition of a blog he gives in the 5th paragraph of this piece.

Please don't take any of this to mean that I support the anonymous slurs, slanders, and gross mis-characterization of bloggers online. I don't like people using the cover of anonymity to perform those acts, nor do I like them using the cover of a grossly disproportionate advantage in firepower to do those same things. That is why I love (real) blogs. The readers can, and do, set the blogger straight from time to time. Sometimes the blogger sets the reader straight. But in the long run, everybody gets better and more truth is found.

After observing the Brummett-like behavior of some bloggers, Brummett ponders, "I'm wondering if humanity is in precipitous decline or if we've always hung by such a precarious thread."

We are in decline, and things are going down hill fast, but the admission that we were once higher up begs the question of what put us higher and more civilized? The answer is Christianity, or more broadly the Judeo-Christian values of Western culture. As those decline, so does our civilization and the animating force that produces civilized behavior toward one another, even when we think no one else is looking.

For a more complete answer, read the first chapter of C.S Lewis's work "The Abolition of Man". For now, just know that from the depths of savage barbarity we were once raised to the highest state of civilization mankind has ever known; that we have declined from that place in recent times and are currently being pushed downhill at an accelerating pace; and people like Brummett have been foremost of those doing the pushing. Such people may begin to discover that they do not like the end result of their works. As Lewis writes at the end of the chapter I cite: "We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst".

Though it may be so that they have pushed us into decline, they could not have pushed a culture with an immovable and steadfast church. It could not have been done it without the Christian Church first casting off their stake-lines. The church failed first, and the mockers' effectiveness followed. If the church becomes the church again, the mockers will be shown to be what they are, and we can once again progress towards the higher state of civilization whose loss is so decried.

8:00 AM, August 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though it may be so that they have pushed us into decline, they could not have pushed a culture with an immovable and steadfast church. It could not have been done it without the Christian Church first casting off their stake-lines. The church failed first, and the mockers' effectiveness followed. If the church becomes the church again, the mockers will be shown to be what they are, and we can once again progress towards the higher state of civilization whose loss is so decried.

Amen. The good-time-rock-and-roll plastic-banana churches and the charismania infecting our churches is the worst kind of American foul brood.

12:25 PM, August 17, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

BRummet was pretty good today though, pointing out the double-standard some have for Bill C while disliking John Edwards' treatment of his wife.

It goes beyond Democrats in Arkansas, but it is heavy there. There is a heavy strain in this state, and perhaps everywhere, that wants to hold two contradictory ideas and belligerently and stubbornly resists efforts to make any effort to address the contradiction.

3:23 PM, August 21, 2008  

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