Monday, March 27, 2006

Tut tut

I notice that a couple of the blogosphere's most adolescent and daft contributors have decided to blacken my name on their websites, merely for disagreeing with their points of view. Of course, the fact that comments I've posted have been deleted means it is impossible for independent persons to make up their own minds. It is quite disgusting in the circumstances that wulfbeorn's attack implies vague and sinister reasons behind his decision. Richard goes straight for the vicious lie and accuses me of leaving regular invective on his site, which isn't true although I have pointed out a couple of his more hypocritical flights of nuttiness in disapproving terms. His site of course is littered with personal attacks, and most bizarrely includes a lengthy post about the need for the gloves to come off more in Irish politics. It is actually breathtaking to see how it doesn't even occur to him, a person with pretentions to influence public policy, to square this with his own hysterical reactions to robust criticism. Richard's attack on my anonymity is particular hilarious as he condemns mine in one breath while cheering on the, er, anonymous wulfbeorn in the next. Regular readers of his mental drivel will, of course, be familiar with this level of "analysis". I'm particular disappointed in wulfbeorn, who let us remember has recently added yet another scary nutjob to his ever growing sidebar of dementia - Daniel "Prince Charles has secretly converted to Islam and by the way chaos in Iraq is what America wants" Pipes. While nearly everything wulfbeorn knows is wrong, I always enjoyed going back and forth on the arguments on his blog. When he went into hibernation I expressed the pious hope in an email that he hadn't been offended by my robust engagement with his views and he responded in a civilised manner, even saying he looked forward to arguing with me when he came back. I even said something nice about him on gavin's blog. The love didn't last long, unfortunately. Well, I hope they enjoy the sound in the echo chamber when they've finally policed all alternative points of view out of their tragic, torture apologist, politically and economically illiterate bubbles. Meanwhile, back in the real world, we can get on with addressing the politics and economy we've actually got here in the Republic of Ireland, a member state of the EU, a political geography factoid which appears to have been entirely lost waaaay over there on the loony fringe. Happily, my banning coincides with a personal pledge to cease reading the horribly compelling (in that Leprechaun in the Hood way) nonsense these whinging mummy's boys have been spouting. It behooves us, as responsible citizens who face the various challenges of global warming, globalisation, terrorism, European integration, infrastructural deficits, educational deficits, house price inflation, social disintegration etc. etc. to begin to make positive contributions to mainstream discourse, rather than to point out the hypocrisy and irrationality of arguments on the distant right. Whenever I despair at reading some fresh rabid horror on Sillyman's Notes, I need only think of the generality of Irish people to get my blood pressure back down again. If they knew what was being written with a straight face on the Interwebs, they'd never stop throwing their eyes up to heaven. Anyone who has attempted to engage these punters will of course have realised that rather than pause, contemplate the ways in which their arguments are undermined by the facts and adapt their positions to the contingency and nuance of life, they simply ignore and misrepresent what has been said, add in a little spurious ad hominem rubbish about commie malcontents and carry on regardless. This approach, of course, deserves contempt rather than earnest engagement. For the record, I am not some crazed, anarcho-red malcontent but a liberal, educated, middle-class professional. And unlike some, I don't live at home with my parents while poo pooing the poverty of opportunity of the gruesome oiks at the bottom of the social ladder. I don't recognise the ultra right assessment of what constitutes left on the political spectrum as having anything to do with the reality of socio-political history in Ireland, or Europe for that matter. And I'm pretty sure, as one in a unusually strong professional position to observe, that 99% of the electorate wouldn't recognise it either. On a final note, I'm sure I'll see these gentlemen around Dublin some time, at which point I hope they have the moral courage to justify their villainous character assassination to my face.

27 Comments:

Blogger Dick O'Brien said...

That's pretty hilarious. For what it's worth, here's the intro to Mr Waghorne's very first comment on our blog:

"The tone of the post would not be out of place in an al-Zaqwari press release, were he in the habit of writing them. He seems to prefer videos. I'm not quite sure what the point of your rather vacuous post is exactly."

Imagine how long that would last if someone left it on his site!

3/27/2006 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

I'm doubled over. It's the utter lack of self-awareness I can't come to terms with. Is it wilful or is he dense?

Doesn't he know we are his elders and betters?

3/27/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dick O'Brien said...

Indeed.

Anyway, wholesale deletion of comments is pretty short sighted. In my experience, sites who do this usually end up either as an echo chamber or comment just dries up altogether.

The other thing is of course if you think someone's comment is so unworthy of response, why delete it? Surely your readers ought to be intelligent enough to decide as to whether it has any merit?

3/27/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Copernicus said...

Hmnn, you don't think they suspect that intelligent readers might reach different conclusions?

Nah, that couldn't be it.

With me gone, wulfbeorn will be down to one commenter and comments on Sillyman's Notes are practically non-existent already. His regular appeals for information/recommendations etc. end up in tumbleweed moments.

3/27/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous EWI said...

I've a feeling that The Collected Waghornisms may be a future worthy tome in the same vein as the various Dubya quote-books now popular.

Observe the latest contributions:

"In his view, Greek is a particularly good language to learn as it makes for very transparent prose, words that leave little room for confusion or abstraction, which is not to say that it is unsuited to metaphysics, but that it is as a clear sky to philosophy and thought where German, say, is cloudy and opaque (and French, perhaps, self-regarding and more caught up in the sound of the language than the plausibility of the message).

[...]

An old maxim argues that to acquire another language is to acquire another soul, but whatever about that, it's certainly true that another language does no harm for clarity of thought. It wasn't elitism or nostalgia that led the British to run India with a handful of classics graduates, but confidence in something that was picked up along with the languages. It's just a pity that so few people still study the classics in the original. I wish I hadn't forgotten so much of it."

And:

"It wouldn't be Irish politics without double standards. Though I think Phoenix gave up being serious a long time ago."

Give that man a banana for insightful analysis!

3/28/2006 03:30:00 AM  
Blogger Fergal Crehan said...

I have to say I was intrigued to learn that the deeply unpleasant Phoenix had, at any time in its history, been "serious".

Also, how silly of me not to notice that RW's requests for recommendations were just fishing for comments (presumably so he can do a post on how many comments he's getting).

Still, I think we have but little to fear from Dick. Of course there'll be no shutting him up, but he'll probably (if he graces Ireland with his continued presence that is) end up a controversialist for hire, hauled onto the Late Late show in his bow-tie now and then to be a performing right-wing seal. (Richard Boyd Barret on the other side perhaps, in the Pat The Plank spirit of "Let's have a heated debate") And frankly, good look to him. It's not like anyone will take him seriously. As you yourself alluded Copernicus, this is Ireland for God's sake.

3/28/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Anonymous EWI said...

It's not like anyone will take him seriously. As you yourself alluded Copernicus, this is Ireland for God's sake.

I'm more offended by the thought that he's probably going to "do a Myers" - clearly offended by not being born English, but more than willing to play the Oirish role abroad with plenty of tugging his cap and begorrah's to find a niche among the WASP Right.

3/28/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous londoner said...

I'm not familiar with these characters but if the India comment is anything to go by you're dealing with morons, and incidently morons i, as a liberal right winger myself, would not recognize as knidered spirits - it really annoys me when conservatives try to present themesleves as progressive-liberals simply because econmic liberals believe in the freedom of capital. A) For Liberals economic freedom is meant to be a means to an end - namely the maximisation of economic prosperity and individual personal fullfilment {not high on the agenda during the Raj which created an entire 'closed' economic system to counter just such a possibility and tacked Britain's barking mad nineteenth century 'scientific-racism' onto the equally ludicrous Caste system - again general prosperity and the dignity of the individually not exactly at the top of the agenda.
Anyway in a nutshell, why would you concern yourself with these morons.
rather than 'On a final note, I'm sure I'll see these gentlemen around Dublin some time, at which point I hope they have the moral courage to justify their villainous character assassination to my face.', why not simply say - on a final note i chose to consider the whole business closed'
Clearly you have no respect, nor these guys, nor they for you. Why have anything at all to do with them.

3/29/2006 01:04:00 AM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

Ladies and gents, the brother.

These people have pretentions to influence policy in Ireland and, as your own politics show, people in a neo-Keynsian (he was pro-free trade despite the loony fringe's attempts to paint him as a crypto communist), centrist position have to go miles out of their way to assert that their not "lefties".

Right wing should mean what it always meant - riding around on a moral high horse and sneering at the less well off. Let's not confuse our economic philosophies with our political ones, please.

3/29/2006 02:18:00 AM  
Blogger Hugh Green said...

I quite like Sicilian Notes, precisely because of the type of snippets EWI posts above. Despite evidence to the contrary, I'd like to believe that the blog is an elaborate exercise in style, rather than tending towards anything of substance.

I think I might secretly envy guys like Richard Waghorne and wulfbeorn, because they are so at one with their ideas that they can asseverate something like 'fascinating and tough-minded analysis of Muslims by Daniel Pipes, one of the leading experts on the Middle East' - and actually believe it. But not only do they believe it, they actually seem to enjoy saying it! Man, I wish I could acquire such a state of grace. They're my heroes.

3/29/2006 05:10:00 AM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

Hot on the heels of his veneration of Pipes, I see wulfbeorn is now advocating that people who don't have jobs have their votes taken away. I think he advocated that votes should accompany property possession previously, but he probably had to move away from that position slightly when daddy refused to buy him a house.

He should tell that to the Catholics in the North who had their right to work curtailed by sectarian employment practices down the years.

As you say Hugh, it must be great to be able to give yourself over so wholly to your "feelings" and thus escape the nuance and absurdity of the human condition as understood by those of us who haven't let those very factors unhinge us.

3/29/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger fústar said...

Pipes is heavily involved with the censorious outrage that is “Campus Watch” – an attempt to get zealous students to dob in their lecturers for perceived anti-Israeli bias.

He is also the director of the “Middle East Forum” - a think tank whose unapologetic goal is “to define and promote American interests in the Middle East”….which tells you something about his hilarious claims to be a serious, open-minded, ‘expert’ on Middle Eastern affairs (Note: Daniel, just because you’ve got a black and white pic of yourself on your site doesn’t mean we have to take you seriously).

In addition he is the author of “Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes, and Where It Comes From” - a book that has the distinction of being (by far) the worst volume I’ve ever read in the field of “Conspiracy Culture” (and I read practically everything on the subject while preparing my MA thesis). It’s full of spurious argument, transparent bias, academic narrow-mindedness, macho establishment rhetoric etc etc.

Essentially he falls into the baleful camp of those who perceive anyone with conflicting views as either a) deluded, or, b) potentially dangerous/subversive.

What a smug, self-righteous cunt…

3/29/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger fústar said...

By the way, for anyone who wants to read an informed, stimulating, compelling etc., overview of conspiracist thinking then look no further than...

a) Peter Knight's "Conspiracy Culture: From Kennedy to The X Files"

or

b) Mark Fenster's "Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture"

Both are serious academics...and blow Pipes out of the water with ease.

3/29/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

Well, well, if it isn't our old friend Campus Watch...

Now who do we know around the boggy sphere who's itching to bring it over here?

Have you seen Pipes' "Prince Charles is a secret Muslim watch"? Very sane.

3/29/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger fústar said...

I don't bother with him anymore. He's a sloppy thinker whose every utterance is characterised by a totally unwarranted confidence in his (perceived) intellectual acuteness. There are many like him out there, and sadly some of them (like Pipes) have a certain amount of influence. Their only weapon is their unrelenting self-confidence in the shit they spout...something that, alas, convinces some people that they're profound intellectual giants etc...

It's easy to be sure of yourself. All it takes is never taking your head out of your arse...

3/29/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger fústar said...

By the way, did you like your pressie?

3/29/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

Yes, it's superb. I've been thrust right back two decades.

Tell me this, did you get a new computer or something?

3/29/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger fústar said...

I did. It's super-fast, super-smooth, and super-nice. I don't know myself...no, really. Who am I?

Em...maybe I'll switch over to email now to discuss your pressie. It's a bit indulgent doing it here...

3/29/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Stellanova said...

In his view, Greek is a particularly good language to learn as it makes for very transparent prose, words that leave little room for confusion or abstraction, which is not to say that it is unsuited to metaphysics, but that it is as a clear sky to philosophy and thought where German, say, is cloudy and opaque (and French, perhaps, self-regarding and more caught up in the sound of the language than the plausibility of the message)

Well, Waghorne'd know all about cloudy and opaque language. No wonder the only publication that'll employ him is Magill. I just pity his poor thesis supervisor, who'll probably have to read tens of thousands of words of that shite.

Also German, cloudy and opaque? You can't get much more clear and precise than German! Our Deutsche chums even like putting lots of words together to make even more specific words! But then, this is the man who unforgettably used Brecht (subject of my own German BA dissertation, as it happens) as an example of an artist who thrived without state funding, so I think his knowledge of all things Germanic is minimal, to say the least.

Anyway, to the original point - I agree with Dick that deleting comments is pretty pointless, making the deleter himself look a bit mad and ensuring that eventually no one will bother commenting.

3/30/2006 02:27:00 AM  
Blogger F said...

Guys, little as we may want to hear it the only visionaries in the international sphere right now are the neo-cons. Someone above said that he kind of envied their comfort and belief in thier views and I echo that. Being a liberal means we have to grapple with real dilemnas that a neoconservative agenda answers comfortably (though wrongly in my view). Richard will go far - and I say fair play to him. I don't agree with 99% of what he says but I'd quite love to sit down and have a pint and an argument with him sometime. My memory of him is that he's intensely charming and intelligent. He deserves a bit of respect.

I know nothing about Wulfbeorn except that I disgaree uniformly with everything that he writes!!

3/30/2006 05:09:00 AM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

I think you're giving neo-cons a great deal of benefit of doubt there Fiona in calling them visionaries. It is not visionary to simply be against things - due process and human rights - in the service of what, despite their rationalisations, is a totalitarian agenda and the comforts of paternalistic conservatism. Those arguments were over a long time ago, just long the ones about evolution. And hey presto, the very same people are asserting their "vision" that science is wrong not only about that, but climate change too.

And I don't buy that the threat posed by Islamic terrorism is as existential as wulfbeorn, RW and Mark Humphreys like to assert. It's a bit much to see these people trying to have it both ways - on the one hand arguing that they are pro the individual, choice etc, etc, while on the other hand seeking to embarrass everyone else into supporting profoundly reactionary policies which assert the right to the State to act without any check on its activities.

I'm sure Richard is a well brought up little boy and capable of conducting himself in polite company, but his behaviour online is unpleasantly bullying in its instinct and outrageously deceitful.

Only today he is crying fould at Gerry O'Sullivan who takes him to task for querying the assertion that Robert Fisk implied the Twin Towers were collapsed by means of professional demolition. Even in the biased article RW quotes, Fisk is recorded as stating, "At worst, they knew something was coming" and let it happen.

So,

a) Fisk believes the towers were destroyed by the airplanes and

b) he thinks the notion the US Admin had its suspicions that an attack might happen is - while credible (and I am in no way endorsing this view) is the worst case scenario.

Reasonable people can certainly reasonably disagree and remain friends, but I can't get with the idea that RW gets a free pass for being a reprobate while shrilly condeming the rest of us in the nastiest possible fashion.

3/30/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

er, the above should read "just like the ones on evolution"

3/30/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Anonymous copernicus said...

And another thing (he vented)

It really gets my goat that these bloody neo-conservative types like PJ Rourke - and we all go through our PJ is gas stage - John Waters, Eoghan Harris, and the PNAC guys have come in from wider shores of socialism to sneer at the rest of us for not being right wing enough.

I'll listen to people who, like me, haven't bounced from one ridiculous set of received notions to another just because they're suddenly pooing themselves at the thought of an Arab with a nail clippers, thank you very much.

It's not as if the institutions of law, rights, and the social and economic insight which has been the careful construct of centuries is the work of rabid lunatics. This is the work of sober, educated and stable people.

3/30/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger fústar said...

Fiona,

I certainly don't envy the likes of Pipes and the neo-con horde their "comfort and belief in their views"...I actually alternate between laughing at them and feeling sad/furious.

It's a doddle to be steadfast, sure of yourself, unyielding (and all those other trumpeted Dubya-like values) etc., as all it takes is a closed-mind and a bullish insistence on the rightness of your vision of the world.

As you suggest, it's much harder to be liberal/progressive (or whatever you want to call it) because a) you have to deal in the messy/complex realities of the 'real world', and, b) you are required (as it were) to be compassionate...something that leads to a path beyond pure, brutal logic and realpolitik (although that's something of an old-con thing).

So three cheers for doubt, flexibility, open-mindedness etc., at least such traits show an awareness that things are never as simple as they appear...

3/30/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Godwhacker said...

Hey,
I'm glad to see that you set up shop for yourself. I'm sorry to hear that you have been "banned". While the interactions between us have often been heated, I do see your points and welcome the debate.

I think it's important to point out that all fiscally conservative people are not the same. I unequivocally support minority rights and that is why I unequivocally support individual rights. The individual is the smallest minority. I believe in helping the poor, but I believe that government is the wrong tool to use in that endeavor.

If I have any intellectual ability, it is in the macro ~ not the micro. Instead of helping the advance of civilization, I see government meddling making the human situation worse ~ then offering itself up as the solution. It is this pattern that has driven me to the conclusion that, where government is concerned, less is better.

Please feel free to comment on my blog, where I will undoubtedly disagree with you, but from where you will never be banned.

Signed,
Godwhacker (an openly gay Irish/Italian with a Jewish last name, "married" to a mixed race hispanic)

4/07/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Copernicus said...

Thanks, man. Very kind.

4/09/2006 03:05:00 PM  
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