Just Shelley

A winter evening

Gary awakened in me a nostalgia with his compelling description of a cold afternoon and a wait for a ride home:

She’s here. One minute early, you smile and grab each other closely by the arm for warmth and then briskly walk off into the crowd telling tales of the day. Before long you’ll be home, eating, living, loving, safe. Warm.

Perhaps I’m worn down a bit by the heat and humidity of my new home, but the thought of cold, brisk air appeals to me. Tonight I feel oddly homesick for the home I had in Vermont. For the home I had in San Francisco. For the home I had in Boston. For the home I had in St. Louis before things changed. For Gary’s home.


You free blogging shits



“During that weekend, I came to the realization that I’ve been mulling over ever since: a lack of money is hindering the growth and potential of blogging. Free — or personal — blogging can only take us so far.”

“By paying great bloggers to produce weblogs, we remove economic constraints and enable them to devote their energies full-time to producing compelling content and creating outstanding weblogs.”

“If we can demonstrate that these blogs are worth the cost it takes to maintain them, we will enable the creation of many more compelling, useful blogs. The key to success lies in the creation of great blogs for these sites — blogs that will contain practical and engaging content and drive traffic to their respective hosts. One sure-fire way to do this is to hire bloggers.”

“There’s a vast group of people out there now who are experts in finding the news and links, capturing its essence in short snippets, and churning it out hour after hour, day after day.”

Meg’s latest and greatest at O’Reilly. (There’s a delicious bit of irony associated with the page–can you spot it?)

Want my opinion of the article? You know me, here’s a blank ___________ fill it in.

Better yet:

Hello O’Reilly!


I’ve written several books and articles for you, which unfortunately, don’t pay me enough so that I can focus on writing full-time. Too bad, really, because I love to write and spend a considerable amount of time on said books and articles.


However, after reading this latest article by Meg, I came up with an idea: why don’t you hire me as a professional weblogger, thereby freeing me from having to look for a new contract. Instead of writing articles and books full-time for you, I can weblog.


After all, I can research and link-comment-post with the best of them.


Sincerely, your author,


Shelley Powers


The Intelligentsia

There is little I dislike and despise more than the intelligentsia–people who consider themselves the intellectual elite of whatever society they’re currently occupying.

Rather than disagree with a statement, they disparage the speaker. Rather than countering an opinion, they trivialize it. And to ensure that all recognize their elevated position they wield the putdown with masterful skill.

Want an example? One of the best, or should I say worst I’ve seen recently was the following:

The problem, essentially, is that Dave came into this debate late, and he’s not up to speed. He’s a smart guy, God knows, and as entitled to an opinion as anyone, but a lot of people have been wrestling with these things in somewhat more depth. Vague, general statements about playgrounds and bullies are merely inapt analogies, not arguments.

While I may agree with Glenn Reynolds–the owner of this statement–that Dave should not have resorted to name calling, such a coldly deliberate and condescending putdown could only have been designed to permanently undermine any opinion that Dave might have on this issue. In ivy-covered school terms since Glenn is a Yalie, Bad Form.

Dave’s use of name-calling may have been inappropriate, but surely Dave at least deserves respect as a participant in a debate about an issue that impacts him.

Of course, this begs the question: do we have to respect one another? The intelligentsia would answer with a resounding “No!” However, I have found that the respect we give to those who disagree with us is largely proportional to the confidence we feel in our own arguments, and our ability to argue. And this translates into the language we use. For instance, saying “I can’t reason with you on this issue”, is an honest expression of frustration and implies no underlying disdain of the opponent; saying, “you’re incapable of reason” is a putdown, pure and simple.

Contrary to first impression, the intelligentsia has nothing to do with being intelligent or educated or well-read. For instance, Loren from In a Dark Time is all three, and freely shares his love of poetry and books and other forms of writing in his weblog. Loren has the potential to be intimidating, yet when I leave his weblog I don’t leave feeling less than what I am because I’m not as well read or as educated as Loren.

The reason why I am not intimidated by Loren’s writing is that he has an ability to share greater knowledge without condescending to the reader. This ability not only takes writing skill, but also an empathy with the reader, something Loren has, but the intelligentsia can never have.

Empathy. Empathy is the true delimiter between the intelligent and the intelligentsia. If we’re empathetic with others, it becomes extremely difficult to disdain, to trivialize, to putdown.


Well, someone’s a little cranky, aren’t they?

Let’s see now…

I trashed Meg’s newest article, my publisher, the intelligentsia, and Glenn Reynolds. Not bad for a day’s blogging. However, I think it’s past time that I temper the temper. What can I say, I woke up, I opened my email, I read my email, and I’ve been in a very bad mood ever since.

(Not helped by having a huge bug bite on my leg from last week that isn’t healing, and which is now compounded by this bizarre red spotted rash over both legs. Anyone from St. Louis in the audience have an idea of what this could be?)

On to positive things:

We’ve seeded the RageBoy cloud with our spam Body Parts email campaign and all we can do now is sit back and hope for rain. Or better yet–lightning and thunder. Regardless, thanks to everyone for getting involved in this, and I hope it was a little fun for one and all.

And Chris, humor aside, we miss your voice. Dive back in, the water’s fine, and we’ll help you stay afloat when the water gets rough. You have friends here


Wow, thanks, Glenn

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

All of that material and effort that went into the cross-blog discussion with Eric Olsen, and Glenn Reynolds doesn’t link to any of it.

However, Professor Reynold’s comes through today by pulling a quote out from another one of my postings –out of context — to somehow prove a point about warbloggers and technobloggers not being able to reach agreement because of some form of a “cultural divide”.

Cultural divide? Ares and Athena?


Looks like Professor Reynolds and I are going to be going back and forth.

True, professor, you don’t have to link to me at all. Whether you do or do not has nothing to do with fairness. I apologize for pointing out to you that you do tend to link only to those you feel justify your viewpoint. However, this is human nature, so who am I to label something ‘fair’ or not (though, I don’t remember using this expression in any way.)

However, when you say that those of us who are against the invasion of Iraq have no ‘stomach’ for fighting, then you are dead wrong. The truth is that I have no stomach for a fight that has no justification.

There is no documented evidence supporting a claim of eminent danger from Iraq and all the reasons provided as justification for an attack could also be applied to several other countries. If we’re justified in attacking Iraq, does this also mean that the US should go to war with Saudi Arabia? Syria? Jordan? China?

What criteria sets Iraq apart from any of these other countries? Or do you think we should invade Saudi Arabia next? Perhaps Iran, too? How about Syria? When do we stop?

You’ve identified yourself as a member of the Libertarian Party if I remember correctly. Well, even your party has come out with a press release stating that the party is dead set against invasion of Iraq.

What’s especially frustrating is that, as with the debate with Eric, rather than attack my position, you drop me into a group and then dismiss us with the most spurious of reasons. We are talking cross-purpose, we’re not talking the same thing, we who are against an invasion of Iraq don’t have the ‘stomach’ for fighting.

However, you are right about one thing: I apologize for any sense I may have given that I don’t think you’re fair and unbiased in your linking–your weblog, your links. It was wrong of me to get irritated (and I was irritated) because you linked to Eric’s weblog in this cross-blog debate rather than myself or the other participants. I agree–It was petty of me to get irritated about this.

About as petty as reducing my very real, very serious, and carefully documented concerns about a war in Iraq to not having the stomach for fighting.