An announcement, long overdue
In the comments to a (somewhat) unrelated post, our old pal Karl shows up and writes:
As Jeff has chosen to drag our off-blog discussion on-blog again, folks might as well get the entire conversation. After Jeff e-mailed, asking me to phone him, I responded as follows:
At this point, I would prefer e-mail. It not only would cause me to be more thoughtful, but also would ensure that we are communicating at times of mutual convenience. Having stopped by pw today, I noticed that you seem to be busy with a number of things.
I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t carry on extended conversations via email. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the patience, and my hands are torn up at the moment, so typing is a chore.
If you have the time or inclination, give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m available pretty much any time to answer the phone.
If you prefer not to, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s okay, too.
Jeff then immediately typed comment #362, which reduced this exchange to: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I contacted Karl today, but he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wish to speak to me by phone at this point. So I have little hope.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He also typed his proposal that I delete thorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s abusive comments on my threads, which was already tried, and resulted in thor taking digs at me in the threads of others, as noted in comment #382. Jeff seems to be of the opinion that a method that relies on thor not behaving like a vile jackass on other threads is a workable solution. I respectfully disagree, and I think thorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s behavior over the past week Ã¢â‚¬â€ after Jeff publicly announced he was refusing to ban thor Ã¢â‚¬â€ supports my position.
Moreover, the proposed solution does not address the underlying issue, which is that allowing thor to smear me as a racist on a near-daily basis is precisely the sort of thing I always thought Protein Wisdom existed to oppose. As Rick Moran put it last week:
But the intent of branding me with the scarlet Ã¢â‚¬Å“RÃ¢â‚¬Â of racist is not simply to inflict pain but rather to stifle and cut off debate. There is no answer I can give to the charge, no proof I can offer, no words that would prove otherwise. The charge simply hangs there, tarring me and discrediting what I write in the minds of some who, although fair minded about most things, might buy into the liberal narrative and wonder if subconsciously I am some kind of closet klansman.
Denials only give credence to the charge. Having to disavow you are a racist gives the battle to your opponent because anything you might say to defend yourself can be twisted and deliberately misconstrued as more evidence of racism. On the other hand, silence denotes assent in many peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s minds so not saying anything is as good as being forced to walk around wearing that scarlet Ã¢â‚¬Å“RÃ¢â‚¬Â on your bodice.
This is not a question of whining about the unfairness of it all. I am pointing out a fact relevant to the debating of issues in this campaign and the relative merits of the two candidatesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
It is the major reason we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have an intelligent discussion about race in this campaign or at any time.
Compare that with what Jeff wrote above in comment #163:
I did not Ã¢â‚¬Å“alienateÃ¢â‚¬Â Karl. I had to cho[o]se between banning a longtime commenter who happens to be tight with another contributor, and appeasing KarlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s desire to ban said commenter for making charges that everyone here knows (and pointed out each time) were ridiculous.
I would disagree that it was Ã¢â‚¬Å“pointed out each time,Ã¢â‚¬Â but that is of little relevance to the larger issue that Jeff overlooks in his narrative of his refusing to Ã¢â‚¬Å“appeaseÃ¢â‚¬Â me.
Anyway, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s where the gap remains, which is why I preferred that the discussion take place via e-mail. I would apologize for subjecting everyone here to another round of this, but it seems that what I write Ã¢â‚¬â€ or my silence Ã¢â‚¬â€ will be held against me. So I thank you for your forebearance.
My reply, which — though it was initially rather spontaneous — I have decided is actually quite well thought through (seems I must have been carrying the weight of all this silly geeky blog drama with me for quite sometime):
I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t trying to hold anything against you, nor was I trying to bring our offline business online. People asked [about your status], and I responded in a short, condensed version of [what just happened to be very recent] events.
As to the larger narrative here, my site has always fought to take back the meaning of words. In my estimation, thorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s charges of racism, when they are appended to posts that clearly show no such thing, are useful for illustrating ijust how the very mechanisms you use Rick Moran’s analysis to illustrate actually take shape. [They are, therefore, both performative and instructive.]
I have been called a racist repeatedly. Ditto a homophobe. But rather than seek to make that problem disappear artificially, I strive to point out what exactly the person who makes the charge is doing. And I have done this when the subject was [someone other than me, as well]: Tony Snow, or Captain Ed, or Larry Summers, or Bill Bennett, and on and on and on. THAT is the way I oppose such behavior, not by engaging in its bowdlerization or censorship. Sunlight being the best disinfectant and all that…
As for the literalism Karl now wishes to deploy Ã¢â‚¬â€ well, okay, Karl, maybe the fact that thor calling you a racist is ludicrous wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pointed out “each time,” but it was certainly pointed out enough to form a definite pattern; and maybe my use of Ã¢â‚¬Å“appeaseÃ¢â‚¬Â, while not intended to be so, came across as fraught, to your reading. But c’mon. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even know how to respond to such nonsense, except to point out that I can seize on such things as well (“drag,” Ã¢â‚¬ÂreducedÃ¢â‚¬Â). But what the hell for?
I am getting used to being the villain on my own site these days Ã¢â‚¬â€ all because I now have to balance the sensibilities of various people, which, frankly, just ainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t my job. [I had hoped to step back to get work done; instead, I find myself here constantly on terms other than my own, participating in childish blog dramas and learning, with each passing day, to hate the site I created.]
I tried to come up with a solution that would force each poster to decide what is over the line and what is not Ã¢â‚¬â€ and so in turn force each poster to consider the feelings of fellow posters when reacting to [or allowing] certain behaviors Ã¢â‚¬â€ but evidently that, like so much else I do here, isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite good enough.
No, I have to Ã¢â‚¬Å“choose.Ã¢â‚¬Â Which is ridiculous. I am not Solomon, I am not God, and I am not comfortable making those kinds of choices. But does anybody concern themselves with how difficult this is for me?
Of course not. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all, Ã¢â‚¬Å“you chose thor, idiot. Bring back Karl!Ã¢â‚¬Â Well you know what? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bullshit. [Very few of you here, if any of you] knows what it takes to run a highly visible site like this, especially once you have competing egos making demands on you that you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sign up to mediate, [and that, frankly, you find surreal.]
I emailed Karl yesterday and offered to call him because it is far easier to have a back and forth on the phone than it is by way of email. I likewise noted he could call me. I reached out in good faith, and I had hoped to discuss a proposed solution [-- mostly to appease the readers here who spend every thread clamoring for Karl's return.]
So yes, I tried to contact Karl. For his part, he said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d prefer to discuss things by email; I told him that wasn’t best for me, and to call me if he has the time and inclination.
Then, in response to [direct] questions about him here, I noted that I held out little hope for our coming to a reconciliation [(though I didn't put it in those terms)] Ã¢â‚¬â€ particularly given his desire to avoid any kind of Ã¢â‚¬Å“in personÃ¢â‚¬Â communication.
That was a pretty short and accurate description of things.
Now, I know the big flavor of the month here is Karl pity. But I should think that the opportunity I gave Karl here to reach such a large audience would have at least merited a courtesy phone call [after I reached out to him].
I was wrong. You all can continue to heap the blame on me, but from now on IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m ALL youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be heaping blame on.
Effective immediately, no more guest bloggers.
– Which means this site will likely die in my absence, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather that happen than to [relive] the last couple days, where IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been forced to hold my tongue (for the most part) against DanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s brother (lest, as he emailed me this morning, he Ã¢â‚¬Å“nukesÃ¢â‚¬Â TonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s entire site); dance around DanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feelings; defend thorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s antics (which are reprehensible, but useful, I think, as a way into what this blog is REALLY about Ã¢â‚¬â€ not the simplistic misunderstanding of what goes on here that Karl has, to my consternation and disbelief, chosen to embrace).
My son starts pre-school on August 18th or thereabouts. I want to write a novella, and I have to begin serious training for an upcoming project. After that, I hope to be back here regularly [and (mostly) full time], relieved, finally, of all the stresses of having to balance so many egos.
I thank all the guest bloggers for their contributions. And they are certainly welcome to take up residence at the Pub Ã¢â‚¬â€ meaning there would be very little change, in terms of content, should they take me up on that offer.
But playing the diplomat is, quite clearly, not my strong suit Ã¢â‚¬â€ and taking abuse from all sides for not being able to handle the task is, in a word, onerous — and not what I signed up for.
I take plenty of abuse from my supposed enemies [in blogland and the larger media.] Getting it from my purported allies only serves to remind me that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty much alone Ã¢â‚¬â€ and that, when all is said and done, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how I work best.
To those readers I lose over this, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry. But as IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve noted before, your favorite posters here will likely land on their feet elsewhere.
For my part, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll probably just keep sitemeter turned off, and ignore trackbacks.
Comments will be left open for now.
There. I feel better already.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!