I link to a lot of people on my blogroll.
A link doesn’t necessarily imply complete agreement on every – or any – issue. I link to David Strom, Fraters Libertas, Kool Aid Report and Ed Morrissey even though I’m not against the North Star line, am not Catholic, ignore the Packers (to say nothing of Notre Dame, Hockey and parrots) and never cared much for Iron Maiden, and oppose smoking bans.
So let’s take a brief – and final – run through last
month’s week’s dismal little flap.
- I’m pretty loathe to call someone “racist” frivolously. When you apply it to a person, it implies a pretty broad character judgement – that, deep down in the pit of their gut, they believe other races are inferior to their own, down to the DNA level, and deserve to be subjugated, oppressed or eliminated. It’s a serious accusation; its collateral implications involve Slavery and Auschwitz.
- Tracy Eberly’s piece
last weeklast month, which the local Sorosphere has been tossing about like a bunch of poo-flinging monkeys, had some background – an obnoxious commenter – and an underlying point (not all cultures are equally good, and other cultures can and should be criticized as freely as our own). Observing this helps explain the piece, I think…
- …but doesn’t excuse the fact that Eberly didn’t just push some rhetorical hot buttons about which Native Americans are legitimately sore – he jumped on them wearing big clunky boots. He said some things that, depending on your point of view, one could call “dumb”, “insensitive” (yeah, like a real conservative is going to use that term) or “racist”.
- I distinguish between “saying racist things” and “being a racist”. (Your mileage may vary, but then I didn’t really ask anyone else’s opinion).
- I don’t disagree with Michael Brodkorb for whacking Anti-Strib from his blogroll. He makes his reasons pretty clear in this post – and given his position, I can’t say as I fault his reasoning.
- I don’t even blame the local Sorosphere for piling on. That’s the way the “game” is played. Que sera sera (or as John Kerry would say, Que seared…seared).
- But Karl Bremer was deeply disingenuous (and playing to the Daily Mole’s audience’s ignorance) to turn Eberly’s article into a smear of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers (MOB). Nobody expects anything but skulking yellow hackery from Bremer, as worthless and yellow a “writer” as exists, an embarassment even to “Dump Bachmann”. But neither does one expect “Drinking Liberally” (the left-of-center social group) to enforce any standards of behavior on the local Sorosphere, because, duuuuuude, they’re just a bunch of lefties who get together to drink! So why is the MOB – whose charter is, if anything, less politically motivated than DrinkLib – suddenly accountable for its members’ opinions? The MOB strives to be apolitical, and I have dozens of email invitations to local leftybloggers (and apolitical bloggers) to prove it. The MOB is mostly center-right and/or non-political bloggers, of course; my theory is that too many regional leftybloggers are afraid to be seen in a room with people they disagree with, but I don’t know. At any rate, there is no enforcement arm to the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers; there is no MOB editorial board; the sole function of the MOB’s capi di tutti capi, Brian and Chad and King and I, is to call Terry Keegan and ask if it’s OK to invite 100 of our closest friends over to drink on a Saturday night. The MOB is a blogroll and two annual parties that are explicitly open to everyone who wants to show up. And that means you, whether you’re Michael Brodkorb or Steve Perry for that matter. The entire “when will the MOB police itself?” “argument” is akin to asking “when did you stop beating your wife”. It’s a cowardly stawman set up (and supported) by yellow hacks with intent to obfuscate.
- When the likes of Karl Bremer and Steve Perry start demanding accountability from “Drinking Liberally”, or Flash’s “Drinking Moderately”, for the gaffes and offenses and beliefs of their attendees , maybe they’ll
have earned the right to squawkbe worth a listen. But nobody’s demanding that accountability, because it’d be dumb; that’s not DL or DM’s purpose! Declaring the MOB different is purely agenda-driven wishful thinking.
- That being said, responding to this incident by claiming it’s “bowing to political correctness” to disapprove of the way Tracy expressed himself in his post – as claimed by several Anti-Strib supporters in Michael’s comment thread – is an evasion of responsibility. Says me. It’s something we expect, rightly, of the giggly fratboys and callow wannabees of the Sorosphere. Man up and take your lumps.
I would never put a racist blog on my blogroll. And I don’t think Tracy Eberly or Anti-Strib are “racist” in any sense that a victim of genuine racism (as opposed to agenda-flogging selective indignation) would recognize. So they’ll remain on my blogroll; I’ll continue to support them – and hope and trust that they’ll express their views about race and culture a lot more artfully, if no less forthrightly.
As a friend, I’ll both agree with Tracy that our culture does have plenty to be proud of and is objectively better in balance for the vast majority of its people than most of the world’s other societies. America, and the West that it leads and (with Britain) defined, eschews ritual genital mutilation, the stoning of gays, the lynching of adulterers, and…the list goes on. Our language, unlike so many of the world’s tongues, doesn’t have different words for “human” that grow more derogatory the farther from “American” or “English” one gets. Our society is far from perfect, but it strives to uphold not only the rights of women and social and cultural and ethnic minorities and has done more than any other society in history to atone for the wrongs of its own past than any other culture in history. Tracy is right about this; I’d like him to express that point without pissing in Native Americans’ wheaties along the way, just for the sheer South-Park-olicious fun of it.
As a blogger who reads Anti-Strib (at the very least for Hot Telanovela Chick Friday) and supports the local center-right blog scene, I’ll criticize the offense – partly because actions DO have consequences to a principled conservative, and partly because I’d hate to see one of the Cities’ more prominent center-right group blogs get trashed for no good reason. Anti-Strib has some good friends, some good writers (Badda, Kermit, and yes, Tracy) along with some notso-hotso ones (it’s Tracy’s party, he can invite who he wants), and above all some solid points to make. Anti-Strib did yeoman work in exposing the casual, racist screedmongering of Minneapolis School Board member Chris Stewart and American Hot Sausage (which passed without a word from Karl Bremer, and earned a flakky puff-piece from Steve Perry – even Eva Young covered that one); Anti-Strib makes a valuable contribution to the local blog scene, and will do so in the future. They deserve (and have earned) both criticism and recognition; they also deserve, I think, the benefit of a doubt.
I’d hate to see Anti-Strib’s rep get shredded (or shredded further) over Tracy’s gaffe, or maybe worse, defending something that’s just not worth it.