“With reactionaries, never argue on content or with logic. The only thing that works is to make them feel really, really bad and really, really stupid.”On first read, the perceptive John Fleck stuck Rabett Run into his meta science category which gets too close for comfort. After playing in the USENET sandbox for a number of years, Eli realized that the denialists were very heavy into nasty and straight ahead, determined to throw so much filth that everyone went away to avoid having to shower constantly. Of course this continued in the blog world, just read the comments at Jen's place.
However, the increased reach of blogs and the ability for the bloggers to control content and monitor comments produced another style. The Bunny saw folk manipulating the system to their own personal glory and influence in ways that could only lead to distructive policies. Besides concern trolling, a number of long established strategies from the policy and scientific communities were being deployed. Blogwhoring is not so far from self-citation. To figure out what was happening you had to have some familiarity with both sides and many readers were not quite aware of what was going on but Eli is an old bunny, a veteran of many faculty meetings and conferences and an observer and listener by nature if you can get a word in edgewise.
Rabett Run was started to meet this challenge and the first thing was to find a tone that met that challenge. Michael Berube talks about this in a posting today on Barack Obama's response to attacks:
The curious thing is that Obama has been firing back, pretty consistently, without cursing like a blogger—and without quite “coming out swinging,” either. He’s introduced an entirely new discursive mode to the world of Democratic presidential politics, and I should have recognized it much earlier, because it’s the mode this humble blog has adopted in all its exchanges with David Horowitz: the mode of derisive mockery. (This has, indeed, given some of my colleagues the vapors—such as the guy who told me he doesn’t think mockery is ever appropriate in public discourse. He doesn’t teach at Penn State, though. He teaches at the Institute for Earnest Leftism.)
This is a standard that Eli tries to reach, and sometimes gets close to (IEHO) but often fails. As Berube recognizes,
But unlike my responses to Horowitz, Obama’s mockery hasn’t been over the top; it’s been dismissive but calm, cool, collected, as when Obama replied to McCain’s charge that he is a radical socialist by surmising that McCain’s next move would be to attack him for being a “secret communist” on the grounds that he shared his toys in kindergarten.further (after a drive by on Darth Cheney)
So no, Obama doesn’t curse like a blogger. But he has brought some serious snark to the campaign trail, for maybe the first time ever in the history of everything ever........ Obama’s fighting back, all right, but in ways no Democratic candidate has even attempted before. He’s not post-partisan, and he’s not Olbermanian either. He merely treats McCain’s attacks with the contempt they deserve, but lightly; and while he performs stability, he also manages to perform seriousness and snarkiness all at once. It’s not easy. But he’s really, really good at it.ethereal lightness in this business is everything. Sometimes Rabett Run achieves it, it is our goal, but meat axes are sometimes the only tool available. Besides which the Rabett Rest Farm does not have $700,000,000 to support our editing staff, which is your fault for not donating.
There is nothing more to say, let loose in the comments