4.27.2008

wingnut fixation

There's a certain blog.

A reactionary wingnut blog, written by a Canadian woman.

Like her wingnut comrades, she's not big on facts. A lot of heat, not much light. Lots of vitriol and bile. Lots of mindless saluting and flag-waving. So what's new. Perhaps she fancies herself the Canadian Ann Coulter. That should be all the description you need.

This blog supposedly gets a lot of traffic. But if what I see at Progressive Bloggers is any indication, many of those clicks are from progressives, who read her blog, then denounce her on their own blogs. They pound their fists on their keyboards. All the while, of course, publicizing her blog.

I don't get it.

All activists want to keep apprised of what their opponents are doing, but in my opinion, right-wing blogs don't figure into that equation. This woman is not an MP. She's not an influential writer or thinker. She's in no position to make public policy, or to sway public opinion. People who agree with her are already a lost cause.

And if she does influence someone? What can be done about that? We can't run around the internet trying to correct every mistake and counter every argument.

Why hand her so much publicity? Why the constant highlighting of her posts? Why is any progressive person at her blog in the first place to even know what she is posting? (And before you tell me how I must have read her blog in order to write this post, I went once, months ago, to see what all the fuss is about. I scrolled through a few dozen posts, and never returned.)

If I were this blogger, I'd be laughing all the way to the Statcounter Bank. "I make provocative statements, and look how the moonbats dance!"

Why let this woman push your buttons?

33 comments:

Robert McClelland said...

Why is any progressive person at her blog in the first place to even know what she is posting?

To avoid the echo chamber effect.

Why hand her so much publicity?

So everyone can see how deranged mainstream conservatism is.

L-girl said...

To avoid the echo chamber effect.

What makes you think you can do that? Have you ever seen that work?

Aren't you creating more of an echo chamber by publicizing her posts?

So everyone can see how deranged mainstream conservatism is.

She's not mainstream conservative. You must realize that.

sharonapple88 said...

If you're talking about the person I'm thinking of, the problem is that she is influential. She's voted one of the most popular blogs in Canada (not just conservative), and her endorsement was used by the current Saksatchewan premier in the previous election that got the NDP turfed from the province (of course he as later nailed on his connection with her because she's that crazy).

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2008/04/02/blog-wall.html

Yes, there's the problem of giving her attention, but the fact is that she has it with or without progressive bloggers. Ignoring her won't make her go away. Most people think you speak the truth simply because you took the time to say it, facts be damned. It's one of the drawbacks of free speech, eternal vigilance against the stupid and the insane.

As for echo chambers, the problem with any political wing is its tendancy to engage in an odd echo-chamber, where things become more intense because there are no counterarguments. People need to speak to each other and listen, the problem is that we just stay within our little enclaves and move ourselves further from sanity. This goes for progressives and conservatives.

L-girl said...

. She's voted one of the most popular blogs in Canada (not just conservative)

Part of my point is that progressives are contributing to that popularity.

Ignoring her won't make her go away.

Neither will giving her publicity. And I'm not advocating she go away. She's as entitled to blog as I am or you are. She doesn't need to go away.

People need to speak to each other and listen

Absolutely, I agree. But I don't see any constructive exchange coming from that blog. I see this:

* She says outrageous, provocative statement.

* Progressives say "omg, look what she said!".

* She says outrageous...

etc.

The exchange of ideas is extremely important. But she doesn't do that any more than Fox News does.

And I guess I don't believe she is actually "influential".

Robert McClelland said...

She's not mainstream conservative. You must realize that.

On the contrary. Kate is very representative of what mainstream conservatives think and believe.

L-girl said...

On the contrary. Kate is very representative of what mainstream conservatives think and believe.

I disagree. Mainstream conservatives are not necessarily bigots, Holocaust deniers, homophobic, and such.

Eric said...

There's no better way to understand conservatism than to read up on it.

I had no idea that mere reading is considered "not done" in progressive circles. And if that's the case, then progressive bigotry is right around the corner.

Stay informed, and keep reading a variety of blogs as wide as you can muster.

L-girl said...

I had no idea that mere reading is considered "not done" in progressive circles.

Come on, I didn't say anything like that.

My post is about giving a nasty blogger publicity, by writing about her posts.

Stay informed

I saw nothing on that blog that could possibly inform me. If you find it informative, by all means you should read it.

PS, this is not a "progressive circle". It's one person's opinion. I speak only for myself.

Robert McClelland said...

Mainstream conservatives are not necessarily bigots, Holocaust deniers, homophobic, and such.

Most of that doesn't apply to Kate either. She certainly is bigoted, but then so is mainstream conservatism. In fact, nativism is resurging amongst mainstream Canadians.

L-girl said...

A recent post that people were going nuts over at Progressive Bloggers was tantamount to Holocaust denial.

You're certainly right about anti-immigrant sentiment.

I guess I don't see mainsteam conservatism as virulent as she is. But how any of us defines mainstream is going to vary.

redsock said...

This seems like a classic example of "feeding the trolls".

A troll appears on a message board. She tries to stir up shit. The only she wants is attention (she is certainly not interested in discussion).

When people react to her, she is thrilled. She is getting what she wants. And the shit is stirred even more. So it goes.

Ignore the troll -- do not give her the attention she is craving -- and she will likely give up and go away.

Like L, I do not want her blog shut down or anything. But without all the progressives giving her this publicity, her influence will most certainly wane.

And isn't that what most of the progressives in question would like to see happen? So why are they doing the exact opposite?

Eric said...

Come on, I didn't say anything like that.

Yes, you did, here:
Why is any progressive person at her blog in the first place to even know what she is posting?

And then this:
I saw nothing on that blog that could possibly inform me. If you find it informative, by all means you should read it.

How about information on what conservative bloggers blog about? Stay informed!

L-girl said...

Eric,

You said:
I had no idea that mere reading is considered "not done" in progressive circles.

1. I am not progressive circles. I am just me.

2. I didn't say anything about "mere reading". I was referring to reading an inflammatory, purposely provocative blog written by a person who is clearly insane and decidedly close-minded.

3. There is nothing informative on that blog.

I read a lot - things that can educate and enlighten me, and sometimes entertain me. None of that exists for me at that particular blog.

If it does for you, then you've answered the question for you. Not for "progressive circles", or for any circle. Just for you.

issachar said...

Assuming that L-girl was posting about Kate, I read a few of her posts and they're just sort of angry all the time. She's not a troll though. Trolls don't really believe what they're writing.

I still wouldn't bother reading her stuff though. I'd have to be very bored... Same deal with Canadian Cynic. The popularity of such writing is disappointing.

L-girl said...

Trolls don't really believe what they're writing.

I wonder why you say that? I see no evidence of it.

The trolls that have come through here seem to believe their own blather. And there were a lot of them! Mostly before we moved, but some memorable ones after, too.

Eric said...

L-Girl, you seem to purposely (and conveniently) want to ignore some of your own writings.

You wrote: Why is any progressive person at her blog in the first place to even know what she is posting? So when I refer to progressive circles, I was referring to the same group of people, namely progressives.

You ask why this circle of people actually reads KKKate, and I gave you the answer: because regardless of the validity of conservative arguments it's still good to be informed on what's going there.

3. There is nothing informative on that blog.
The very fact that you were able to decide this particular blog is not for you results (at least partly, I hope) from reading it (at one point or another), which formed your opinion. I welcome and appreciate an informed opinion.

In short, you either didn't GET the points I made, or you don't WANT TO GET the points I'm making. You choose.

L-girl said...

Sorry, Eric, I wasn't trying to avoid or dissemble.

I thought you were misconstruing what I wrote, and still do. But it's no big deal. You want to read that crap, hey, it's your nauseated stomach, not mine.

I only took exception to this one sentence of yours:

"I had no idea that mere reading is considered "not done" in progressive circles."

which I feel is a misrepresentation of what I wrote.

Either way, I have no wish to continue this pointless argument. Have a nice day.

Eric said...

Well, I want to apologize too then. I actually agree with the spirit of your posting that progressives should question how to best combat conservative bigotry.

I only took exception to this one sentence of yours:
Why is any progressive person at her blog in the first place to even know what she is posting?

I believe I gave you a valid argument, but not one that you seem to be willing to accept. And that's unfortunate for a healthy debate.

kim_in_to said...

I have on occasion (very rarely) visited Canadian neo-nazi websites. It's distasteful and upsetting, but I feel it is necessary to know what the enemy is up to. But I certainly don't bother to post about anything I see there. What would be the point?

I also want to point out that I regularly visit an internet forum which is moderated by a bunch of good people, mostly left-leaning. It is considered in poor taste to bother posting anything by people like Margaret Wente (or Christie Blatchford, or Rosie DiManno). To do so would be to lend them credibility they don't deserve.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Kim. That's a good perspective. Read if you will, but why disseminate?

issachar said...

Trolls don't really believe what they're writing.
I wonder why you say that?

I picked up the word "troll" from reading slashdot.org years ago. "Trolls", as in "trolling for suckers", usually meant someone saying something just to start a flame war. The troll believing what he wrote would be merely coincidental.

Perhaps my definition is out of date, but there should be a word to differentiate the aforementioned type from those who simply don't write with courtesy.

issachar said...

With respect kim_in_to, I think you do yourself a disservice if you're lumping writers like Margeret Wente and Christie Blatchford into the "read if you must, but don't link to them" pile along with Stormfront types.

Ms. Wente & Ms. Blatchford are quite influential writers and your linking or not linking to them hardly affects their influence or their credibility. And because they have influence, discussing their writing is informative.

L-girl said...

My idea of a troll pretty much squares with the Wiki definition:
"An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.[2]"

In my experience, they seem to believe what they're posting, but who knows.

The blogger in question can't really be said to be a troll, since it's her own blog, but Redsock's point about feeding the trolls is still apt, I think.

L-girl said...

With respect kim_in_to, I think you do yourself a disservice if you're lumping writers like Margeret Wente and Christie Blatchford into the "read if you must, but don't link to them" pile along with Stormfront types.

Issachar, you do realize most people here would describe themselves as progressive or left-wing? To a progressive, those two are vile.

I can barely look at Wente's columns without retching. The only way I can process her is by reading the letters to the editor decrying her columns.

Blatchford, forget altogether. If I needed that much flag-waving and saluting, I'd have stayed in the US.

Ms. Wente & Ms. Blatchford are quite influential writers and your linking or not linking to them hardly affects their influence or their credibility.

I don't think anyone here is so egotistical as to think their not liking Wente & Blatchford make those writers any less influential!

* * * *

You know, Issachar, every once in a while a conservative blogger shows up here and finds themselves embattled in every single thing they say.

Before we moved here, and for a while afterwards, wmtc had a resident conservative. (He stopped blogging when the Conservatives were elected.) Some commenters loved to get into it with him. I learned a lot from him, but on the whole, I'm not into debate for debate's sake.

I'm flattered that you want to read this blog, and you're obviously a smart and polite commenter, so I have no wish for you to leave. But it's going to be a constant battle, you against almost everyone else.

kim_in_to said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kim_in_to said...

Wente and Blatchford may have some influence, but I think credibility is in the eye of the beholder.

"And because they have influence, discussing their writing is informative."

They may have influence with people whose views stray more to the right, or, IMO, who simply lack analytical skills. But on a forum that is left-leaning, there is no point in discussing their writing with people, most of whom already regard their writing as drivel.

The discussion of the definition of "troll" is interesting. On some forums, I have definitely seen posts by trolls who are clearly posting whatever view will get a rise out of people; this is akin to pulling a fire alarm in an elementary school. But on the forum I have previously referred to, the trolls definitely believe in what they post. The nuisance comes from starting the same arguments repeatedly, or provoking specific members.

Incidentally, I have heard of Margaret Wente being referred to as a "troll", as her writing simply seems calculated to provoke. Some believe the Globe employs her for controversy, in the same manner that people are drawn to reality tv for its lowest-common-denominator appeal. That's not the same as "influence".

magnolia_2000 said...

ok well i'm disappointed now. i had never heard of "kate" but after your post i googled her under "kate conservative canadian blogger" and found her. alot of links to articles around the world and some attempts at rightwing humour but i dont really get it. i didnt spend alot of time there but i didnt find her any more offensive than the "mainstream" conservatives i know and i didnt find her particulary witty. much ado about nothing. ~yawn~

L-girl said...

Magnolia, are you sure you were looking at the right blog? Small Dead Animals. She's pretty out there.

Still a yawn, but seriously wingnuttified.

L-girl said...

Incidentally, I have heard of Margaret Wente being referred to as a "troll", as her writing simply seems calculated to provoke. Some believe the Globe employs her for controversy, in the same manner that people are drawn to reality tv for its lowest-common-denominator appeal. That's not the same as "influence".

Good point. Call it the Coulter Factor.

magnolia_2000 said...

small dead animals, yes thats the one.maybe i'm just jaded. i've heard it all before. i didnt go into her past postings but the past couple of days are basically just links to newspaper articles denying climate change and such.

issachar said...

L-girl, I do realize that most people here are likely to be left-wing or progressive and might consider Ms. Wente & Ms. Blatchford to be vile, but there is a large difference between them and the Stormfront types starting with the fact that Wente & Blatchford are not racists. I just find value in reading opposing points of view, (occaisionally they cease to be opposing points of view) and I think dismissing them too quickly is a bad idea if only because of their mainstream influence.


As for being your resident conservative blogger, I'd rather not be "embattled" all the time. It would be far too exhausting, and I've got a lot of yard work to do this spring. :) I like a little debate myself, but mostly I like to read different blogs for the perspectives. I guess I'll see how it goes.

L-girl said...

maybe i'm just jaded. i've heard it all before.

I'm sure we've all heard it before. It's not like her thoughts are original. She's just extremely virulent.

Also, please note that this post is not about that woman or her blog. I could care less about that blog (which is part of my point).

L-girl said...

L-girl, I do realize that most people here are likely to be left-wing or progressive and might consider Ms. Wente & Ms. Blatchford to be vile, but there is a large difference between them and the Stormfront types

There is. Wente & Blatchford are more polite. Their grammar and spelling is better.

Let's see... anything else...?

OK, I guess that's an exaggeration. But not by as much as you might think.

starting with the fact that Wente & Blatchford are not racists.

I'm not so sure about Wente. Blatchford, I wouldn't know because I can't stand her subject matter enough to read it.

As for being your resident conservative blogger, I'd rather not be "embattled" all the time. It would be far too exhausting, and I've got a lot of yard work to do this spring. :)

:) That's precisely the reason I don't read conservative blogs. I don't want to be embattled all the time. It's too tiring, and I find it very unpleasant.

When people say (as some earlier commenters did) that you should read blogs from all points of view, I simply don't get that. It's not like I don't know those POVs are out there. But I only have so much time and energy. Why should I spend it reading things that will only infuriate me?

Unless they only read blogs - don't have any other source of information, and don't speak with people IRL. In which case, yes, you'd better read blogs from all POVs. (And they should get out more!)

I like a little debate myself, but mostly I like to read different blogs for the perspectives. I guess I'll see how it goes.

You're very welcome here. I will try to be as civil and open-minded as you are.