Rumblin’ in the Neighborhood

Melinda at Sour Duck has pointers to two interesting and oddly related stories. The first is The Dark Side of Community:

The core problem is how to handle conflict in a medium that enables rapid escalation of conflict. I’m not clear on what constitutes a full-blown “blog war”, but I think the phrase isn’t necessarily helpful when characterizing disagreements between bloggers. It’s inflammatory, for one thing; for another thing, it gets me into a mind-set where any disagreement is viewed as negative, wrong, and problematic.

The problem isn’t disagreeing. The problem is when disagreement isn’t tolerated.

The other story is the big one in weblogging right now, and rightfully so. The Edwards campaign hired two strongly opinionated feminists for campaign jobs. The conservative elements fell on the two like dogs over juicy bones; joining in a festival of righteous indignation, which I don’t think they realize will eventually come down on their own heads. Rumor has it that Edwards is going to fire them (or not).

As Glenn Greenwald wrote:

As James Joyner points out: “Bloggers have a ‘paper’ trail. The longer someone has been blogging, the more of their sometimes-developed thoughts are out there for public consumption. Not only have they likely written things uncomplimentary to their now-boss, but they have almost certainly written things that could embarrass him.”

One does not need to agree with the Marcotte or McEwan’s comments in order to realize the absurdity here, but if this is going to be the standard that is applied, I don’t think there are many bloggers, if there are any, who will be able to be affiliated with political campaigns in the future. Whatever is the case, the standards should be applied equally, not driven by the hysterical lynch-mob behavior that is the fuel of the right-wing blogosphere.

One of the leaders of this little movement is Michelle Malkin, doing what she does so well: climbing the stairs to success by stepping on the backs of those around her. You might remember her from when she wrote a book justifying the wholesale internment of Japanese during World War II. She’s also been one of the leaders of the effort to fence the borders between us and Mexico: got to keep them sneaky Mexicans out. Oh, darn, that was a mistake: got to keep them sneaky Muslims out, because they’ll come across the border with those sneaky Mexicans.

None of us can survive scrutiny in this environment–not unless we play it safe, and what’s the fun of that?

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