Sunday, April 06, 2008

Was the Cheddarsphere Ever Civil? Truly Civil?

I am somewhat late to this soap party but better late than never.

Owen at Boots and Sabers states:
I don’t see this [civility] happening in the Wisconsin blogosphere anymore. It has evolved, or devolved, into the crass identity politics which everyone laments. It’s rarely about debating the issues. It’s about tearing each other down. It’s sad and pathetic. And, with all due respect, it ticks me off.

I read with great interest the debate in the Wisconsin blogosphere regarding the latest Wisconsin Supreme Court election. There were lengthy posts on the race. Some of them were of depth and substance. But even of those, far too many were also laced with insults and filth. It seemed to matter less about what was said than who said it. This has become commonplace.

I, for one, lament the decline of the Wisconsin blogosphere. I suppose it was inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t change it.
Source: Boots & Sabers – I Suppose It Was Inevitable (Owen)
I have been writing here since 2004 and have seen a lot of bloggers join the online fray, but I do not support Owen's observation.

From time immemorial people have said things were better in the olden days and I suspect Owen is getting nostalgic for the olden days of blogging. Many people believe in the olden days our nation was more united and the politics less divisive. To be sure there is a nugget of truth there, but such periods never last for long and are often marked by the political domination of one party (or ideology) over the other. That is, as long as the Donkeys consistently kicked Elephant tail there was no use in being uncivil to the other. Either way you were confident of the outcome despite whatever effort you put in so why put out effort? However, these periods are exceptional and not the rule.

That is not true anymore. The right arose from the ashes and is once again competitive politically and the left can not assume they win (nor does the right assume it is our fate to lose anymore) so we fight.

Many people harken back to the intellectual days of an erudite Buckley debating civilly. Recall though, the Buckley vs. Vidal debates that include a scene with a fed up Buckley threatening to punch the queer so hard he would stay plastered..

Let's face it, unpleasant language and manners is – unpleasant, but it is a lot better than the violence the truly repressed resort to. Do not think that is a license to wanton vulgarity and abusive commentary, it isn't. Vulgarity and extreme manners are like exclamation points, if you use them all the time people come to ignore them. If you are normally mild mannered and temperate and you become furious people are much more likely to pay attention. Cursing, vulgarity, bad manners used sparingly and appropriately can be a great tool, used all the time they become common.

The Bible counsels us:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Source: Bible Gateway – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time and place for rudeness and crudeness in blogging but most of the time you will do better with good writing and thinking.

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