The Violence Of Writing

Goldblog backtracks further. TNC takes a step back:

Fallows offered some really wise words on how to criticize people in print, the gist of it being, "Speak to those you would criticize as though they were standing right there."... It's fun to be mean, and it makes your side howl - and sometimes it's even necessary. But  my game is as follows - stating my opinions directly, clearly and without equivocation and without undue malice. I am not a violent writer. Fuck Pat Robertson was cool. But that's a small part of me, that I am endeavoring to make even smaller. When it starts becoming larger, I need to go do something else.

I veer toward the Fuck Pat Robertson model myself. This isn't because I think being rude is somehow acceptable. I'm generally polite if blunt in real life (my life's too short for bullshit). Online, I adopt a bit of a debating persona, the way politicians do in, say, the House of Commons. What Cameron said there to Brown's grimacing face for five years was beyond rude and very colorful, deeply personal and often cheap. But when you saw the campaign debates, it was a much more Fallowsian discourse. This is because there is a convention that parliament is all fun and games (no blood, no foul), and venting in the House is part of the rough-and-tumble of democratic accountability. More to the point, the rudeness is a plus: it helps air stuff that polite people are unwilling to air. It can get to the real point more quickly. And airing stuff is more important in politics than permanent decorum.

The blogosphere is too new to have truly established conventions. But I really want to resist any creeping tide of civility and politeness. Raspberries matter in Anglo-Saxon political life; and if the gap between how we debate in public and how we talk in private gets too large, something else will give. I think the informality of the blogosphere is a perfect place for such venting - and has a different set of expectations than print media. 

That said, I am deeply grateful for the thoughtful engagement of my esteemed colleagues.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Just In