In the valley of vituperation

There’s a dark side to the internet, says David Burchell, an eerie parallel universe that spreads across the web "like green moss on a neglected lawn." And here you are, right in the middle of it. The parallel universe Burchell is writing about is "the world of the political blog."

I’m not sure what to think of Burchell’s complaints about political blogging. When I first discovered this eerie parallel universe I felt a little like an excited Pollyanna, following her aunt into the attic:

Behind her an open door allowed a glimpse of soft-tinted rugs and satin-covered chairs. Beneath her feet a marvelous carpet was like green moss to the tread. On every side the gilt of picture frames or the glint of sunlight through the filmy mesh of lace curtains flashed in her eyes.

"Oh, Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly," breathed the little girl, rapturously; "what a perfectly lovely, lovely house!

And just when I was starting to enjoy the images of attics and green moss gently and inoffensively spreading under shady deciduous trees, Burchell brought up politics:

The first rule of the internet — as Marx might have said, had he lived to see it — is that it always advances through its bad side.

I’m sure, as Etienne Balibar might have said — had he bothered to think about it– there’s some kind of terrible irony hidden here. But I can’t quite figure out what it is.

Here in the mossy realms of "pseudo-expertise and vituperation" we bloggers are like loud mouthed students "who always seemed to have read everything, even though you never actually saw them reading a book."

And in this case it’s true. I haven’t actually read any of the books I just linked to. I used Google.

HT: John Quiggin.

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skepticlawyer
13 years ago

Very clever, Don.

Helen
13 years ago

I think that the irony is that he is using “always…” which is a marker of sloppy thinking, unless you’re being funny, while asserting that bloggers are guilty of sloppy thinking.

And the reason he never sees bloggers reading a book is because he can’t see them. They’re on the intertubes. Duh!

GJ
GJ
13 years ago

Helen, I don’t believe using “always” is necessarily a marker of sloppy thinking. Its use may of course be the result of sloppy research – but that is a separate issue.
It was also the name of a sentimental song – I think!

Helen
13 years ago

Yes, you’re right, GJ, I guess there are always (heh) occasions to use “always”. Let me rephrase. It’s a marker for the Blanket Statement™ which RWDBs are so fond of, along with “never” (as in, The Left never condemn the excesses of the {insert disliked entity}.)It’s just a flag to look more closely at the sentence, not necessarily bad or wrong.

TimT
13 years ago

Well, I like blanket statements. Always.

GJ
GJ
13 years ago

Helen, at the risk of being accused of pedantry, zealotry is not confined to RWDBs. It exists at both ends of the antiquated L/R continuum.

As I post this I must confess to spending sleepless nights worried about my (always) balanced but boring focus on such issues.

Helen
13 years ago

I never do blanket statements, myself.