May
8

Mark A. Kleiman Sucks Giant Green Slimy Goat Balls; or, How To Talk To Motherfuckers Who Tolerate Indecency While Mewling About Incivility




Posted at 9:08 by HTML Mencken

And I mean it. Fuck a bunch of Mark A. Kleiman. Fuck him and feed him fishheads.

Kleiman, pearls firmly clenched, does his “civility please” schtick yet again, this time in ostensible defence of Ana Marie Cox, whom both Atrios and Digby had attacked with some substantial snark:


Atrios is mad at Ana Marie Cox for her column about the Colbert performance at the White House Correspondents Association dinner. Well, Atrios is always mad at someone, isn’t he? He seems to share with George W. Bush the sincere and passionate belief that anyone who disagrees with him must be A Bad Person. (And would someone please send him a dictionary so he can look up the term “wanker”?)

Atrios links to Digby at Hullabaloo, who provides a detailed fisking of Cox’s column. Digby’s point seems to be that Cox is acting like an insider journalist, thus betraying her Web roots. Or something. (“Our little Wonkette is all grown up.” Do I hear the voice of condescending envy, with just a touch of misogyny?)

[snip]

Several commenters think the above is unfair to Atrios. I’m not cricizing him for being angry; Lord knows, I hate BushCo about as much as one can on an outpatient basis. I’m criticizing him, and Digby, for attacking Cox personally for her failure to join the chorus on this one occasion, despite Cox’s well-established Blue credentials. As to “wanker,” of course Atrios knows its original meaning, but he doesn’t seem to have noticed its obvious inappropriateness as applied to a female.

Second update Atrios, responding to my suggestion that he tends to personally denigrate people who disagree with him rather than responding to their ideas, helpfully suggests that my criticism of his post results from my illiteracy. I’d like to thank him for providing evidence for my point.

In response to comments, I’ve changed “male chauvinism” to “misogyny.”

I’ve edited the comments, not to remove criticisms of me or the post but in accord with our published “play nice” rules of engagement. If you feel the urge to read reams of obscene abuse directed my way, let me refer you to the comments on the second Atrios post. Most of the obscene abuse directed at Ana Marie Cox is in the comments to the original post.

There it all is in one nut’s shell. Take note, aspiring pundits. In Kleiman’s complaint, you witness all the qualifications on display to gain one entree to the sacred halls of Sensible Liberalism, like Joe Lieberman Weekly or The American Prospect or Washington Monthly. There’s the general moral tepidness under the flimsy affected heroism, the demand for “standards” of tone and style, a faint whiff of delusions of persecution; then, finally, the whining.

Anyway, the part after the snip, by which I mean the part heavy on whining, was an update posted in response to this post by Atrios:


Y Kant Kleiman Read?

Better reading comprehension next time, Mark.

Which was pithy in the Atrios style. So let me elaborate on just why Kleiman sucks, not merely in this instance but in general — why, as a pundit, Mark A. Kleiman is worse than useless and isn’t fit to pick corn out of the turds of pundits whose tone and style he finds so offensive.

I’ve long ignored Kleiman on the grounds that he’s the sort of ponderous, pseudo-liberal gasbag that is often spectacularly wrong, and just as spectacularly boring. He’s the kind of pundit that people who enjoy Kevin Drum find entertaining. He’s like the timid, quasi-liberal version of Tacitus, though without Tacky’s indefatiguable trolling talents. As it happens, Bitch, PhD. had Kleiman pegged from the get-go, and her appraisal is very much worth revisiting. The context here is Eugene Volokh’s “yay for torture” post. Remember that? Yeah. But then Volokh took it back, or at least appeared to, and immediately the Sensible Liberals tripped over themselves to congratulate him for doing so:

Anyway, so now he’s changed his mind. Sort of. On the grounds that the opposition would make it very difficult to run a legal system. Not, mind you, on the grounds that it’s fucking disgusting (I know, just like a girl to get all emotional. That’s not a substantive political argument! Next you’ll be saying that it “makes you feel sick,” and we’ll be able to accuse you of being Victorian. Which of course is a substantive political argument, because we say so).

And apparently a number of people seem to think that this is real big of him. This is how low the bar is set? It’s reasonable to debate whether or not torture is ok while tut-tutting the inexcusable level of personal abuse that someone advocating torture gets, praising him for his usual even temper?

Yes. Let’s all toss bouquets about when people advocate torture in measured tones, and distance ourselves from those who are horrified. Let’s nod our heads sagely and have a discussion: is torture a good idea? Let’s denigrate those who express incredulity and anger at said discussion by calling them “abusive” without even tasting the bitter irony. And, having whetted our appetites over a rousing gentleman’s debate, let’s buy torture advocates dinner when they allow that, well, torture may be desirable but, alas, it’s not practical.

You can advocate something horrible, as did Volokh, or you can write a dunderheaded piece of analysis, as did the former Wonkette, and be in fine standing with Kleiman. But heaven help you if you personally attack anyone! To Kleiman, that is the crying sin which won’t be tolerated! Especially if you use naughty words! Mark A. Kleiman is restrained — he even says he’s just as angry (i.e. morally outraged at BushCo.) as Atrios, he just doesn’t let it get the “better” of him. Plainly, Kleiman sees himself as a cool customer who doesn’t let partisan anger, or any kind of moral revulsion for that matter, influence his tough political analyses, which are obviously so logically-tight that Brainiac or HAL-9000 would fry their circuits from sheer envy.

Actually, I take leave to doubt that Kleiman has a capacity for moral outrage at all, and don’t buy for one minute that “for the sake of argument” crap he peddles. Bitch, PhD.’s analysis was spot-on, but it reminds me of something Sidney Blumenthal wrote years ago that makes the point in a larger way (the gasbag to whom he refers is George F. Will):

Like the politicians Will set out to study, his words must be taken seriously. Two words are key to his thought — “decent” and “civility” — his shorthand for different political mentalities. “Decent” arises in his language as something bad about Democrats: “There hangs about the Democratic party an aura of moral overreaching. A symptom is the use of words like ‘decent’….as in ‘a decent society requires this or that.’” “Civility,” according to Will, is what will be restored when the Iran-contra scandal is swept away. But the meaning of these words, as Will uses them, is broader.

He uses “civility” to mean manners masquerading as morals, a category of form referring less to the rule of law than to the rule of etiquette; it is more an unspoken social, rather than ethical, code. Correct behavior may make the good possible, it is not goodness itself.

By contrast, “decency,” which Will belittles, actually is about morals. And there is some history behind the word and its content. The introduction of the word “decent” into the political vocabulary can be attributed to George Orwell. In his essay on Charles Dickens, he defined the essence of the great novelist’s sensibility as “decent.” In an age of totalitarians, Dickens’s message was still contemporary. Orwell wrote: “The central problem — how to prevent power from being abused — remains unsolved…’If men would behave decently the world would be decent’ is not such a platitude as it sounds.” Since Orwell’s use of the word, a number of liberals, intellectuals, and reformers have taken it up. “Decent” connotes a tempered moral position, one that carefully avoids righteous absolutism; it also suggests compassion and patience. The word is precisely the opposite of elite condescension, the opposite of hauteur.

This neatly annihilates Will but almost as nicely cleaves Sensible Liberals like Kleiman, whose active hostility to the decent isn’t so apparent as Will’s but whose fealty to stupid “standards” of civility more than equals the bowtied fucktard’s. Basically, like Bitch, PhD., Blumenthal finds something abhorrent and hollow in those who strictly call for civility and at the same time give plenty of legitimacy to the most dreadful, indecent arguments and personages in the entire polity.

Still skeptical? Let me show you. Let’s say you — well, you have a Randroid nutjob who says that people should whack anti-war protestors with 2x4s. The normal response is to condemn said Randroid as a morally-degenerate asshat. But no, that would be incivil, and we can’t have that. Rather, one must calmly engage the “really bad suggestion” — thus making it legitimate, as if it’s just another policy proposal to yay or nay. And for good measure, when the decent people reply in kind (the moral equivalent of turning the other fist to Galt’s argument) the Sensible Liberal decides then that “[d]ebate’s over. Time to go home. Your opponents can make you angry, but it takes people who are (at least in a given argument) on your side to make you ashamed.” How’s that for even-handedness? Galt advocated violence, the nasty Atriots cussed her in e-mails for it. And the Atriots are the bad guys. But then Galt’s suggestion was indecent, which Kleiman can find time for, while the Atriots were incivil, which he finds, of course, to be beyond the pale.

But then bullshit even-handedness is Kleiman’s stock-in-trade.

And if his pole-up-his-ass style wasn’t enough to turn you off, and you somehow otherwise find tolerable his skillz at cheerfully engaging depravity and stupidity, there’s always his pro-war idiocy to give you a reason to ignore him (and is of a piece with his uncanny ability to countenance the obscenely indecent for the sake of civility): Here and here.

So fuck that fucking pukeface Mark Fucking A. Fucking Kleiman.

80 Comments »

  1. Brad R. said,

    May 8, 2006 at 13:34

    I respectfully fucking disagree. Particularly this:

    Plainly, Kleiman sees himself as a cool customer who doesn’t let partisan anger, or any kind of moral revulsion for that matter, influence his tough political analyses, which are obviously so logically-tight that the average Brainiac or HAL-9000 would fry their circuits out of sheer envy.

    That certainly used to be true. But he has gotten a. Lot. More shrill over the past couple of years.

    Also, I love Atrios, but I think he’s been way too eager to burn bridges with basically good people for lame reasons. (Calling Jon Chait a “wanker?” C’mon, that’s silly.)

  2. Yosef said,

    May 8, 2006 at 14:41

    Besides, I’m trying to corner the market in mocking Atrios!

  3. tigrismus said,

    May 8, 2006 at 15:38

    Do I hear the voice of condescending envy, with just a touch of misogyny?

    I’m really impressed with how he addressed the ideas presented rather than descending to ad hominem.

  4. female_wanker said,

    May 8, 2006 at 16:12

    As to “wanker,” of course Atrios knows its original meaning, but he doesn’t seem to have noticed its obvious inappropriateness as applied to a female.

    . . . because of course, no females ever masturbate.

    If you’re going to accuse someone of misusing Brit slang, you should at least know the meaning of it yourself first, you cunt.

  5. shargash said,

    May 8, 2006 at 16:25

    Of course women can’t masturbate — they don’t have little soldiers! The Kleitard obviously knows more about women than Atrios, and not just women.

  6. Salieri said,

    May 8, 2006 at 16:26

    If you want to respond to ideas you think are wrong and crazy with personal attacks, that’s fine, but it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t really accomplish anything. Saying Volokh’s opinion of torture is “fucking disgusting” is not much better than arguing for sodomy laws because gay sex is “fucking disgusting.” There is some value to persuasion, after all. I don’t see why it’s a big deal if Kleiman is just asking people who comment on his site to use rational argument instead of invective.

  7. Salieri said,

    May 8, 2006 at 16:27

    If you want to respond to ideas you think are wrong and crazy with personal attacks, that’s fine, but it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t really accomplish anything. Saying Volokh’s opinion of torture is “fucking disgusting” is not much better than arguing for sodomy laws because gay sex is “fucking disgusting.” There is some value to persuasion, after all. I don’t see why it’s a big deal if Kleiman is just asking people who comment on his site to use rational argument instead of invective.

  8. Salieri said,

    May 8, 2006 at 16:28

    Double posting is fun!

  9. Anonymous said,

    May 8, 2006 at 16:34

    BLOGFIGHT!!!!!

  10. JRoth said,

    May 8, 2006 at 17:19

    You know what? If I have to fucking convince someone with “rational argument” that torture is “fucking disgusting,” then I want that someone very, very far away from me. AFAIC, torture is a synonym for disgusting.

    As for people who say the same thing about teh ghey, if they don’t understand that torture is all about victimizing others, while gay sex is welcomed by others, well, I wish for the same thing they do: that they be tortured, but not ass-fucked. How civil is that?

  11. Davis said,

    May 8, 2006 at 17:28

    Thanks for explaining why The Rude Pundit is usually uncivil, but never indecent.

  12. mndean said,

    May 8, 2006 at 17:50

    So, one should use reasonable, rational argument to respond to violent, even eliminationist rhetoric. Fuck that. Retardo is right – when an idea is far beyond the pale, invective is a far more potent way of expressing disgust with the idea, and the person promulgating it. We’re not talking about his site anyway, but his trying to devalue other people’s words because they’re not polite enough for him. Biiig difference. Kleiman can piss up a rope with the other useful idiots who don’t engage the argument, but merely carp about the tone. This isn’t a debating society, this is public discourse, and it gets rude and downright personal. Anyone who can think up and publish the idea that hitting anti-war protestors with 2x4s is a person who should be castigated for being a vicious creep. As for Ana Marie, nothing I saw written about her struck me as being inaccurate, which is the standard I evaluate posts by.

  13. nolo said,

    May 8, 2006 at 18:10

    Fishheads are too good for him. Thanks for a great post.

  14. annieangel said,

    May 8, 2006 at 18:11

    I agree with you all. Atrios is a wanker.

  15. hisstoryman,Hunter Of Da Snark said,

    May 8, 2006 at 18:30

    Saying Volokh’s opinion of torture is “fucking disgusting” is not much better than arguing for sodomy laws because gay sex is “fucking disgusting.”

    I want to see the moral scale used to equate torture and gay sex. I think it needs re-calibrating.

  16. Dr. Wu said,

    May 8, 2006 at 18:34

    If I ever see Mark Kleiman, I’ll hit him with a 2×4 for you.

  17. aka Gratis said,

    May 8, 2006 at 18:37

    What’s with all this talk of “civility”, “decency”, and goddamned “integrity” lately? Pretty soon I’m going to have to start acting like a lady and playing nice. Gah! I don’t wanna.

  18. Mary Jones said,

    May 8, 2006 at 18:43

    when an idea is far beyond the pale, invective is a far more potent way of expressing disgust with the idea, and the person promulgating it

    Moreover, this mealymouthed pseudoliberal “oh, we can’t fight back, you know, it isn’t polite” attitude is exactly why we keep losing, not only as liberals, but as a society. It’s only by fighting back, by pointing out “Hey! WTF is wrong with you?”, by pointing out that guys like Volokh have no moral compass (for lack of a better term), that we can get anywhere.

    If we live in a society where liberals think they have to argue why torture, rape, genocide is actually wrong, then liberals have failed. They need to fight back, especially against fifth columnists like Kleiman, who are nothing but deep-down apologists for the right.

    I mean, what, are we supposed to give Lyndon LaRouche, David Irving, and whatever nut things we didn’t land on the moon equal time too?

    (Oh, and do I detect the whiff of misogyny in Kleiman’s post that women can’t masturbate?)

  19. Dorothy said,

    May 8, 2006 at 18:54

    Saying Volokh’s opinion of torture is “fucking disgusting” is not much better than arguing for sodomy laws because gay sex is “fucking disgusting.”

    I think Salieri has a reasonable point, at least in today’s America. We have so embraced violence and so shunned sexuality that “disgusting” to most people really centers around vasious bodily fluids and the disposition of same.

    Of course, if you get hit with that response, the best answer is “Let me explain to you why torture is fucking disgusting. Then, please explain to me why homosexuality is fucking disgusting, and let’s see how they line up on the scale.”

    On the flip, maybe you can meet Klein’s “civility” requirement by using words like “vomituous,” “nauseating,” “repugnant,” “loathsome,” “unthinkable,” and oh, what’s that other one? Oh yeah, “WRONG.”

    Or my mother’s infamous “UN-litany”:
    “That was UNkind, UNChristian, UNcharitable, UNcalled-for, and UNacceptable!” (Wow, I never thought I’d hear that without rolling my eyes. Of course, my mother usually used it when we were uncivil.)

  20. Mal de mer said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:00

    As to “wanker,” of course Atrios knows its original meaning, but he doesn’t seem to have noticed its obvious inappropriateness as applied to a female.

    I didn’t read Kleiman’s thing because I knew exactly there’d probably be this type of mistake that reveals the author to be largely misinformed, from a little detail like this to assuredly really important things. And that’s at the base of all of this time-wasting from liberals like Kleinman. They waste our time because they have nothing to say, displaying this most absurdly when they comment on other people, in this case, Wonkette, who generally nothing to say.

    Great post, Retardo.

  21. Kathleen said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:15

    Do I hear the voice of condescending envy, with just a touch of misogyny?)

    crap. looks like Ann Bartow got to him.

  22. Salieri said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:16

    when an idea is far beyond the pale, invective is a far more potent way of expressing disgust with the idea, and the person promulgating it

    The real problem is that these ideas are not “far beyond the pale” as much as we might wish them to be. We have a hard time convinving people that water boarding Afghani farmers is torture, so there’s a significant portion of the population who probably don’t care if you torture child murderers. You can call them names if you want, and I’m sure that will get the message across that you don’t agree with them, but if you want people to stop supporting torture, and thereby actually prevent torture instead of just venting your disgust, you’ll have to engage them in debate.

  23. Kathleen said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:16

    oh and Salieri, I don’t think that Digby and Atrios had posted on Kleinman’s website, so to try and say he was only talking about commenters at his site is a little ridiculous.

  24. Mal de mer said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:27

    We have a hard time convinving people that water boarding Afghani farmers is torture, so there’s a significant portion of the population who probably don’t care if you torture child murderers.

    Sorry, Salieri. The time to have been discussing that was some time before the water-boarding started.

    Now, it’s simply superfluous. But if it makes you feel insightful by harping on about it, be my guest.

  25. Dave said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:32

    Is this the same “Retardo Montalban” from Baseball Primer? Sure sounds like it. Congrats on making the “big time”, I guess. I actually agree with what you’ve posted above. Guess there’s a first time for everything :)

  26. Salieri said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:34

    Sorry, Salieri. The time to have been discussing that was some time before the water-boarding started.

    So now the only thing to do is call people names until the torture stops somehow? It’s not like they tried it once and won’t do it again. How is this debate superfluous?

  27. dms said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:41

    Well, after reading Kleiman’s second update regarding Atrios, I waded through half of the 650 or so comments on Atrios’ site. None, and I mean none, included obscene abuse directed Kleiman’s way.

  28. Mary Jones said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:48

    How is this debate superfluous?

    What is there to debate? Torture is wrong. Genocide is wrong. Rape is wrong. What do you really think needs to be debated? I mean, do you sit and debate with Klansmen? Do you debate whether slavery is wrong?

    Ideas are only debated when there are two valid viewpoints. Pro-tortue isn’t a valid viewpoint.

  29. annieangel said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:50

    I’d like to torture my supposed friend who stole my bank card.

    I’d strip them naked, tie them to a tree and whip them with a garden hose until they cried and then I’d take them down and put them in my basement, hogtied, with a digital alarm clock, the alarm set randomly. Every time the alarm goes off…tha’t a beating. Then of course the alarm is set randomly again, in a place the tied up theif can see it, and go insane wondering if the next time the clock changes minutes the alarm will go off.

  30. Phoenix Woman said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:51

    Well, after reading Kleiman’s second update regarding Atrios, I waded through half of the 650 or so comments on Atrios’ site. None, and I mean none, included obscene abuse directed Kleiman’s way.

    Of course not, DMS. He’s about as personally upset by cussing as is Deborah “Fucking Disaster” Howell. He just wants to play the victim, is all, so he can show how SUPERIOR he is!

    My comment to MK, which he will either not post or edit into mush:

    -

    I’m calling “Upton Sinclair” (http://phoenixwoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/upton- sinclair.html) on you and Cox, Mark. You know perfectly well that Atrios and Digby (who is female, by the way) aren’t misogynists, and I sincerely doubt that you recieved any missives that would have caused you to clutch your Deborah-Howell-style pearls in shock and dismay. But just as Cox and the rest of the mainstream media are well paid to ignore or not understand certain things, you think that by piggybacking on her charge of “Stalinism” (gee, who did she rip off that one from, Camille Pagila?), you can, like her, make a name for yourself as “daring” and “unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom” (as if it takes real bravery to pooh-pooh the people who aren’t paying your salary). Wooo Effing Hoo. (Uh-oh, I cussed — I can hear your pearls rattling!)

    Ana Marie Cox has a paying gig for three (3) reasons: she’s young, she photographs well, and she talks about sex a lot. These three things make her irresistible to middle-aged male mainstream media executives. (Notice that Susie Bright, who talks about sex but not in a cutesy, flirtatious way, and who commits the horrible crime of being a middle-aged Marxist, does not get offers of paying gigs from middle-aged male mainstream media executives. But I digress.)

    For more on Ms. Cox and her career, I suggest you check out the writings of Steve and Jen over at the News Blog. This post is a good place to start: http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2005/04/dear-ms- cox.html You might also want to Google “cox” and “nick denton” for further info.

  31. Mary Jones said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:52

    Digby (who is female, by the way)

    Damn, I liked it better when Digby was a mystery.

  32. JK47 said,

    May 8, 2006 at 19:56

    People like Kleinman perfectly reinforce the stereotype of the milquetoast, namby-pamby liberal wuss. You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. I for one am sick of being pushed around by the bullies on the right. It’s time to call them out as the traitorous and yes, unpatriotic slime that they are. Defending torture? That’s not what Jefferson had in mind.

    Colbert’s moment at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was seminal. The people running this country right now deserve to be treated with contempt. They deserve our anger, our condescension, our swear words and our insults. I don’t respect them, and neither do the majority of Americans. Atrios and Digby were right on the money with their criticisms of Wankette, who, let’s face it, is far more concerned with her own fame than actually making things right in this country.

  33. Salieri said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:00

    So you’re going to have a bunch of people say, “torture is okay in this situation” and you can say, “no it isn’t, and you’re a disgusting person.” Then you all get to go vote and because you didn’t think their viewpoint was valid enough to merit a reasoned response nobody changes their mind and you lose. Again. Maybe these people can’t be persuaded and it would be a waste of time, but nobody ever won a cause just by hurling invective. You have the great advantage of being on the side that can win based on logical argument, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t try to use that.

  34. shinypenny said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:02

    When and where did we learn that Digby was female? Link please!

  35. Mary Jones said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:08

    You have the great advantage of being on the side that can win based on logical argument, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t try to use that.

    Haven’t you noticed that the pro-torture argument is illogical? That they would rather listen to their worst instincts than listen to even the CIA, who seem to know a thing or two about interrogations? They can’t be won with logical arguments.

    Secondly, you’re acting as if all anyone does is say “Volokh sucks” or “Cox sucks.” The fact is that their works have been taken down in logical fashion many times before. Does it get anywhere? Not really, unfortunately–I think we’re too far gone as a society. But it’s not as if no one has made the argument against torture–or even Cox’s bad writing. They have. You’re making a strawman here, as if no one has actually bothered to dissect what the right says. They do. Blogs do it every damn day, several times a day.

  36. annieangel said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:09

    Because there’s NO WAY a woman could be Digby!! It MUST be a man!! Women are STOOPID!! She must be a tranny?? Hmmmm??

    Misogynist assholes.

  37. Mary Jones said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:12

    I think we’re too far gone as a society

    Of course, I could also make the argument that any society which was built on slaves, lynching, corrupt police forces, anti-union practices (down to outright murder) and the Guilded Age is hardly going to be one which embraces peace or an anti-torture sentiment.

  38. Mary Jones said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:14

    Because there’s NO WAY a woman could be Digby!! It MUST be a man!! Women are STOOPID!! She must be a tranny?? Hmmmm??

    Misogynist assholes.

    Uh, who exactly said that? I never said that. Frankly, I never even thought about the sex or gender of Digby until someone brought it up over on Pandagon. I also don’t think it matters what Digby is.

  39. annieangel said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:15

    I was talking to shinypenny.

  40. JR said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:21

    Sometimes something is so incredibly, obviously, mind-numbingly wrong that the *only* coherent response is “What the fuck are you smoking?”.

  41. cranky said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:21

    Ana Marie Cox has a paying gig for three (3) reasons: she’s young, she photographs well, and she talks about sex a lot. These three things make her irresistible to middle-aged male mainstream media executives.

    Thank you, Phoenix Woman. And, yes, Gilliard has been great on this topic.

  42. Salieri said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:32

    I didn’t mean to imply that I thought nobody was attempting to persuade people with crazy ideas that they’re wrong. My main problem with this post was Retardo’s insinuation that there’s something wrong with people who want to engage in civil debate rather than just calling people asshats and moving on. I don’t think (as it seems Kleinman might) that the only acceptable form of discourse is civil debate, but it’s useful and necessary. People who are willing to engage anybody with any viewpoint are important and they shouldn’t be mocked for it.

  43. Mal de mer said,

    May 8, 2006 at 20:42

    Yeah, but sometimes, not saying anything at all, especially spending a lot of time explaining the value of civil debate (which we’ve known since the time of Socrates) is good too.

  44. MikeR said,

    May 8, 2006 at 21:15

    I hate to say it, but to me Digby and Atrios come across as whiny fans that are pissed that Colbert didn’t get covered in the media. While I don’t really agree with everything Cox said, Atrios and Digby getting so pissed at her seems sort of silly. Don’t they have better things to do? Cox wasn’t talking about torture, and neither was Kleiman. They were talking about a comedy routine.

  45. Anonymous said,

    May 8, 2006 at 21:55

    My argument with Colbert’s presentation is that it was pitched above the heads of most of the righties. A jazz argument to a polka crowd.

  46. shinypenny said,

    May 8, 2006 at 22:09

    Jesus Christ, annieangel, I was asking in good faith. As a woman, I would -love- it if Digby turns out to be female. I was asking because I hadn’t seen a confirmation either way. Thanks for slandering me though.

  47. Col Bat Guano said,

    May 8, 2006 at 22:12

    Rather, one must calmly engage the “really bad suggestion” — thus making it legitimate, as if it’s just another policy proposal to yay or nay.

    Imagine the following dialog:

    Crazed wingnut: We have to nuke Iran today and put all Iranians in concentration camps to protect ourselves!!!!

    Atriot: That is fucking crazy! You must be retarded to even think something like that.

    Reasonable liberal (MK): The Iranian regime is dangerous, but advocating a nuclear first strike and concentration camps is a bit too much.

    Crazed wingnut: Okay, we’ll use conventional weapons in our first strike and only round up the “terrorists” for shipment to the torture centers.

    Reasonable liberal: Hmmm, that sounds like a compromise I can live with.

    Atriot: What the fuck!?!?!

    And the bombing commences….

  48. Anonymous said,

    May 8, 2006 at 22:22

    You have the great advantage of being on the side that can win based on logical argument, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t try to use that.

    Posted by: Salieri | May 8, 2006 08:00 PM

    There is no logical argument with those who see the Clash of Civilizations as a prelude to genocide. There are many who do, and who wish to justify it in these terms. This includes many torture advocates. They are not to be engaged with argument. Nor are the ‘ticking bomb’ ridiculous sub-theories of their hideous enablers (see Dershowitz, Allan).

    “My main problem with this post was Retardo’s insinuation that there’s something wrong with people who want to engage in civil debate rather than just calling people asshats and moving on.”

    Salieri

    Some people need to be ignored. Their moral compass does not rise to the level of a serious response. They should be outed as the vidictive freaks who wish to harm others that they are. This includes those who make parallel arguements between gay sex and torture. Anyone who would do that I am not debating: I will never change his or her mind. I will, however, mock them openly as the sick sadistic fucks that they are.

    “People who are willing to engage anybody with any viewpoint are important and they shouldn’t be mocked for it.”

    Salieri

    Uh, no. I don’t think engaging with bloodlusting nationalist loons who think torturing brown people is fun will do me any good. Having a jolly chin-wag with the poweline boys isn’t going to change their minds. I simply say, ‘torture is wrong.’ It’s a minimum standard, and Volkoh is sick, and that’s all she wrote.

  49. MCH said,

    May 8, 2006 at 22:27

    My main problem with this post was Retardo’s insinuation that there’s something wrong with people who want to engage in civil debate rather than just calling people asshats and moving on.

    IMHO, Salieri, I don’t think that was his point at all. Retardo was insinuating that Klieman was an asshat for elevating cilivity/manners over actual morals.

    Back-slapping a torture advocate while slamming someone for name-calling is disturbing, no?

    Civility is great, don’t get me wrong, but personally, I’d rather take a Gandhi figure with a mouth like a sailor than an impeccably polite Attila the Hun. Being nice is a good thing, but it’s not the only thing, and far from being the most important thing.

  50. This Is Our Country: said,

    May 8, 2006 at 22:38

    Attila: I’m terribly sorry, old chap, but I’m going to just have to waterboard you.

    Victim: That’s fucking disgusting, you asshat!

    Sensible Liberals and Other Bystanders: Tut, tut! That Mr Victim, he’s so angry and uncivil–so beyond the pale, he deserves waterboarding. If only these angry liberals didn’t force our civil society to resort to such firmness of purpose to keep our country safe.

  51. RETARDEAU said,

    May 8, 2006 at 22:48

    Some people need to be ignored. Their moral compass does not rise to the level of a serious response. They should be outed as the vidictive freaks who wish to harm others that they are. This includes those who make parallel arguements between gay sex and torture. Anyone who would do that I am not debating: I will never change his or her mind. I will, however, mock them openly as the sick sadistic fucks that they are.

    Yes.

    Retardo was insinuating that Klieman was an asshat for elevating cilivity/manners over actual morals.

    Bingo.

    I should also have put somewhere in the post pre-Sith Hitchens’s dictum (which he stole, IIRC, from pre-Sith Kingsley Amis) that occasionally the air gets so permeated by mannered falsity and indecency that the only thing that can properly clean it is a righteous cursing along the lines of “fuck this shit”.

    That said, I never agreed with Gilliard about Wonkette. He was particularly harsh on her before that big conference where he was sure she’d fuck-up but didnt — the one where Gannon printed a red/blue map that turned out green. She shined then. She is capable of decency even if her liberalism is of the spoiled DLC variety. But atrios and digby were right to attack her this time. And Kleiman is just a n asshat no matter what.

  52. cranky said,

    May 8, 2006 at 23:10

    Wonkette was sometimes funny. And on occasion, she displayed a brilliantly incisive, acerbic wit.

    But some pretty clear battle lines were drawn between the “MSM” and the lefty/liberal blogs over Colbert’s routine. Her article was basically a big “fuck you” to the liberal blogosphere, where she let all of us know, “I’m with them, not with you.”

    And in that sense, I think Gilliard had her number all along.

  53. dave said,

    May 9, 2006 at 0:59

    A little late to the party, but let me just say: you nailed that fucking idiot Kleiman to the wall. As Alex Trebek would say, “Well done!”

    As for Assfucking Girl: who gives a shit? Aside from her incredibly bad failed book, what the fuck has she done lately? She’s desperate for a paying gig, and knows from experience the best way to do it is start sucking the dicks of all those bored, middle-aged white editors.

    She’s done it before and she’ll do it again. Count on it.

  54. dave said,

    May 9, 2006 at 1:00

    I never agreed with Gilliard about Wonkette. He was particularly harsh on her before that big conference where he was sure she’d fuck-up but didnt…

    The fuck she didn’t.

    Her “career” ended that day.

  55. asdfasdf said,

    May 9, 2006 at 1:03

    If the “style” adopted by the LGF and freeper wingnuts is helpful to the right, then it makes sense that doing the same is helpful to the left.

    If not, then not.

  56. Frederick said,

    May 9, 2006 at 1:14

    Well said, Retardo.

  57. RETARDEAU said,

    May 9, 2006 at 1:20

    Funny that you should reference Jeopardy! Hehe. Inside joke, but let’s just say my anonymity might be blown sometime in the future — nevermind. I’ve said too much!

    Anyway, we’ll have to agree to disagree on the Wonkette conference thing, though I admit my memory of it may be hazy.

    And as for this:

    If the “style” adopted by the LGF and freeper wingnuts is helpful to the right, then it makes sense that doing the same is helpful to the left.

    If not, then not.

    Please. It’s one thing — a necessary thing — to fight fire with fire. But please don’t say that my incivility is equal to the indecency of the genocide-avocating Nazi scumbag creepy asshole fuckfaces over at LGF. I curse like a sailor hopefully in the purposes of calling spades, spades. Those miserable fucks advocate mass murder and happen to curse and be verbally uncouth while doing so. Big difference.

  58. asdfasdf said,

    May 9, 2006 at 1:29

    Please. It’s one thing — a necessary thing — to fight fire with fire. But please don’t say that my incivility is equal to the indecency of the genocide-avocating Nazi scumbag creepy asshole fuckfaces over at LGF. I curse like a sailor hopefully in the purposes of calling spades, spades. Those miserable fucks advocate mass murder and happen to curse and be verbally uncouth while doing so. Big difference.

  59. asdfasdf said,

    May 9, 2006 at 1:34

    Please. It’s one thing — a necessary thing — to fight fire with fire. But please don’t say that my incivility is equal to the indecency of the genocide-avocating Nazi scumbag creepy asshole fuckfaces over at LGF. I curse like a sailor hopefully in the purposes of calling spades, spades. Those miserable fucks advocate mass murder and happen to curse and be verbally uncouth while doing so. Big difference.

    So your incivility is better because from your POV, they are taking positions that are immoral.

    But of course, they would make exactly the same excuse, pointing out that from their POV lefties “advocate mass murder” (the “party of death” and all that, you know), etc.

    The difference is that your POV and their POV are in sharp and utterly unreconcilable disagreement. Who knew?

    But we can talk about what is of practical help for a political agenda, just on an empirical basis, without having to decide which POV is closer to ultimate moral truth or anything like that.

    If the “style” adopted by the LGF and freeper crowd is helpful in furthering the POV that they believe is morally superior, then it makes sense that doing the same on the left will be helpful to the left.

    If not, then not.

  60. WhatThe... said,

    May 9, 2006 at 2:25

    The ‘civility’ argument is really just an argument ad hominem. Instead of addressing the substance of what your opponent has to say, you belittle his manners and choice of words. Belittle your opponent, belittle his argument – that’s the essence of ad hominem strategy and of Kleiman’s style. Kleiman should be condemned to the obscurity he so richly deserves.

  61. almostinfamous said,

    May 9, 2006 at 15:54

    also, if ana marie cox cared or wanted to respond, i’m sure she can do it for herself. from waht i can see on the wonkette site, she still has some sort of keys to the place, if not she does have her own damn website.

    what the fuck is this holy calamity that has befallen her from [gasp] atrios and [OHEMEFGEE] digby’s blogposts?

    and what the fuck does it mean to hate bushco on an outpatient basis? what single goddamn thing have they done in 6 damn years that you shouldn’t hate them for on an inpatient basis… i’m talkin matrix-style hookup powered by a heart/lung machine of hate. jesus fucking christ man, they have destroyed everything that your country could have (and did, albeit wrongly, after the blowjobber-in-chief’s reign) stood for.

    i’m not even from your damn country and hate them. not dislike, but actively hate, to the point of utter mania!

    basically what that means is that i agree with retardo.

  62. Joey said,

    May 9, 2006 at 16:42

    I love watching the left eat its own!

  63. almostinfamous said,

    May 9, 2006 at 19:24

    yeah, it ought to be more fun and overall less depressing than watching the right-wing eat your future.

  64. liquified viscera said,

    May 9, 2006 at 21:22

    “if not, then not.”

    holy fuck that’s clever. (NOT.) (then NOT.)

    can’t speak to its author’s intellectual caliber? au contraire. that’s what I’ve just done.

    raising scarecrows instead of issues? is that good debate?

    NOT.

    then NOT.

    eh okay? A-OK.

    let’s hear it for the spineless “liberals” and their fellow Demmicans! including Mr/Ms “if not, then not.”

    hoo.

    ray.

    (charles, probably)

  65. bitchphd said,

    May 10, 2006 at 19:22

    nobody ever won a cause just by hurling invective.

    Have you no sense of decency, sir?

  66. Marq said,

    May 13, 2006 at 10:28

    I got yer civility right here!!1!11!

  67. Harry R. Sohl said,

    September 9, 2006 at 16:39

    Don’t be a hauteur!

  68. owlbear1 said,

    September 9, 2006 at 17:17

    Well if you use bad language then everyone will KNOW you have an emotional investment it what is being discussed. Now that would truly be a fucking shame.

  69. Karatist Preacher said,

    September 9, 2006 at 17:39

    Who knew that Wankette had an an army of ass-fucking trolls? She has her 15 minutes – why do you care what Atrios says about you?

  70. Candymarl said,

    September 9, 2006 at 18:22

    Don’t be shy. Say what you really feel.

  71. Carl Nyberg said,

    September 9, 2006 at 19:36

    It’s bad to engage in personal attacks against Kleiman’s peers, but it’s OK for his peers to discuss and make policies that torture the hoi polloi.

    It’s people like Kleiman who make the excesses of the French Revolution seem reasonable.

  72. itsbenj said,

    September 9, 2006 at 19:38

    Salleri – there is NO debate about torture. No, most people DO NOT find waterboarding Afghani farmers acceptable. What world are you living in? People who advocate torture are scum. Criminals who threaten innocent people are scum. These are simple concepts that are long, long past being up for debate. Jeeezus…

  73. Kyle said,

    September 9, 2006 at 19:53

    “and what the fuck does it mean to hate bushco on an outpatient basis? … i’m talkin matrix-style hookup powered by a heart/lung machine of hate … i’m not even from your damn country and hate them … utter mania!”

    Paging Dr. Krauthammer.

  74. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    September 11, 2009 at 19:13

    Congrats to HTML!

    As HTML Mencken insightfully noted in what is one of the best blog posts ever written, our political mores demand vehement repudiation of petty acts of incivility (not all, but most) while tolerating and even approving of extremely consequential acts of indecency as long as they’re advocated with superficial civility.

    ~

  75. commie atheist said,

    September 11, 2009 at 23:28

    Maybe this will convince him to start posting again on a regular basis. We miss you, Mencken.

  76. Naso said,

    September 12, 2009 at 22:04

    Although women wank, women are virtually never called wankers. There seems to be a general rule whereby insults connected with male anatomy are rarely used to describe women. For instance, at least in Britain and Ireland, women are rarely called dicks, cocks, knobs or tossers. On the rare occasions they are, it’s pretty much always by other women.

    Carry on…

  77. Sheesh said,

    September 13, 2009 at 3:07

    Damnit, ITTDGY is already in here with the link… oh well. Still, that’s high praise from Glenn:

    BEST POAST EVAR.

  78. Substance McGravitas said,

    April 2, 2010 at 1:01

    (Calling Jon Chait a “wanker?” C’mon, that’s silly.)

    Memory
    All alone in the moonlight
    I can smile at the old days
    I was beautiful then
    I remember the time I knew what happiness was
    Let the memory live again

  79. ClubPenguinCheats said,

    April 4, 2010 at 3:28

    As for people who say the same thing about teh ghey, if they don’t understand that torture is all about victimizing others, while gay sex is welcomed by others, well, I wish for the same thing they do: that they be tortured, but not ass-fucked. How civil is that?

  80. Cheez It said,

    April 4, 2010 at 7:47

    Crooked Timber referenced this one, and Substance sees what I see. Poor Brad R. nailed by history.

    Hi, Yosef in the past!

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