Monday, February 25, 2008 

Blogging can be tedious - when you resort to the ad-hominem.

On Saturday, Unity posted a critique on Liberal Conspiracy of a post by Donal Blaney (the lawyer who Guido shacked up with in threatening Tim Ireland with legal action) attacking the BBC Asian Network. The title, "It’s not the BNP but it is the next best [worst] thing…" and the opening paragraph "[T]here is a fine line between making a legitimate critique of multiculturalism and using the semblance of such a critique as a means of pandering to racist attitudes and promoting a manifestly fascist vision of society..." are clear: Unity isn't calling Blaney a fascist, but suggesting he's pandering to those sort of views.

Blaney's response was thus. Firstly, to accuse Unity directly of calling him a "racist", "homophobic" (not sure where that came from) and a "fascist"; and secondly to throw a whole variety of insults at him. Here's my attempt at summarising them all. Unity and others who disagreed with Blaney were variously:

“stupid”, “venal”, “intellectually insecure”, “onanists”, “(accused of having) intellectual weakness”, “(of secretly being) deeply unhappy”, “insecure”, “lonely”, and “bitter”.

If I missed any, happily correct me in the comments. Blaney's overall point was that responding to others' criticisms of your views was tedious when they completely misrepresented them. That Unity didn't in any way whatsoever was besides the point. In any case, misrepresenting someone's views is one thing; resorting to ad-hominem attacks in such a pathetic, say, intellectually bankrupt way, is quite another.

Blogging is all about the discourse - you can scream, shout and swear at politicians and those you disagree with, and you'll get a decent audience, as long as the invective is inventive and humourous enough, hence the success of Mr Eugenides and Devil's Kitchen, although I personally much prefer the former over the latter. You can also, like Blaney and say Iain Dale are meant to, and which I aspire towards, argue with nuance, give the opposition's side of voice either a fair go or at least attempt to prove it wrong or the worst option, while also being witty, readable and engaging. Some say blogging needs rules and clear lines of what's acceptable and what's not, and I'm a glass half-empty person on that, but one thing ought to be if not verboten then at least unacceptable, and that's personally attacking the other person purely because you either feel like it or can't respond to their argument. Blaney, on those grounds, ought to at the least be disregarded for his petulant attempt at response. It diminishes all of us who blog, and only makes it less likely that we'll be listened to in the future.

Labels: , , , ,

Share |

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 

From organ donation to the right to die.

The "blogosphere" is again ablaze with indignation, partly with Gordon Brown for daring to specify a preference for your organs to be used after you die unless you opt-out, partly with Justin for writing, in the words of the ever reliable Dizzy, an "intellectually vapid piece".

My position on this is simple. I couldn't care less what you do with my body when I'm dead - burn it, piss on it, extract my eyeballs and use them as marbles - it's up to you. If my organs might be of use to someone who needs a bit of me in them - first time for everything - then go ahead and take it; I won't be needing it. I don't need them, they're of no use to me. To go with a sentiment from a song - you can't turn off that you're dead; you just deal with it. I'm sure I'll be more concerned at the time when it happens that I'm dying than I will be about getting eviscerated afterwards.

One of the few objections which seems to be on the money is that many won't think about it until it comes to the moment when it happens - upon which it will be too late or relatives will be grieving and too upset to make a decision or one in accordance with the deceased's wishes. To turn the argument on its head, this is why an opt-out scheme would be a good idea, meaning that everyone would be aware of what's going to happen and have plenty of time to make their own personal decision clear.

As Justin points out, there are far more pressing issues concerning those close to death. This might be an attempt to change the subject, but a more important topic to debate would be the right to die: the numbers who are currently either condemned to a painful end, or one where all dignity has long been taken away from the dying, even when they're begging either doctors or relatives to put them out of their misery is ever increasing. Perhaps the two things are connected: one gets the feeling that much the same forces are opposed to both, and again, there appears to be massive public support for reform. Whether we are being held back or not is open to your own interpretation.

Related post:
Griffindor - Taking your organs

Labels: , , , ,

Share |

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 

So there is a liberal conspiracy after all...

Nice to see that Liberal Conspiracy, the latest project from Sunny of Pickled Politics fame has launched, and has a roster of bloggers on its books to rival the very best group sites.

I'm not too sure on the name, as it seems a little too provocative for my liking (and calling this island upon which we live septic isn't, dipshit?) and will quickly grow stale, but the thinking behind it certainly can't be faulted, even if I worry that it could become something of a circle jerk. As Dave Hill writes:

I hate to tempt fate but, fingers crossed, touching wood and stroking a rabbit’s foot, this blog could turn out to be a rarity: a place where liberals and lefties gather to debate that I don’t feel an immediate urge to leave.

There might still be some further surprises to emerge from Sunny's sleeve, so it's worth watching for sometime yet in any case.

Labels: , ,

Share |


  • This is septicisle


Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates