Monday, September 12, 2005

Roundabout Pleas For Comity

My favorite blog, Obsidian Wings, is tearing itself apart.

The site grew out of, which used to be a place where political junkies could debate each other according to the most refined of rules. Tacitus moderates who felt marginalized by the honor-code of Tacitus's site founded ObWi, where interparty discussion was much freer. Of the people who have access to posting on the mainpage, Moe Lane (moderate conservative) has left, Katherine (issue leftist) has totally gone into comments, Slartibartfast (moderate conservative) rarely posts and sometimes briefly comments, Sebastian Holsclaw (principled conservative) sometimes posts and comments, Edward Underscore (realist leftist) has announced his intention to lay off posting but continues to open threads with seat-of-the-pants remarks, Hilzoy (principled leftist) is almost maintaining the site, and Charles Bird (more partisan rightist) has been taking flak for every post he makes, whether or not he follows up in comments.

It's been a good site, and I would hate to see it descend into eternal flamewars. These seven posters command a great deal of affect: Hilzoy has received I don't know how many offers of marriage, and Moe Lane seems to have become a kind of saint in his absence. Sebastian Holsclaw, on the other hand, has had singlehandedly to refute the anti-gay agenda of the Bush administration (he's an out gay man) while trying to present his foreign policy case. The mainpage posters have turned into local celebrities, and God knows it's not necessary to be fair or nice to celebrities.

I wish the meanness would stop and polite discussion would resume. To those who would retort that the evils of this administration foreclose polite discussion, I would beg them to join anti-war groups, to volunteer, to give money to liberal causes, to demonstrate, to write to their representatives--but, really, attacking someone on an avowedly discussion-based board is not a real substitute for political action.

All this is preamble to why I have created Hating On Charles Bird: a place for people who want to rant about conservatives to go when they know their rants will do more harm than good.

Since my committment to the site is very, very low, and since I may delete the entire place at any moment, I have posted a strange photo of myself there, if that interests any.


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