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November 21, 2003


John Bruce

I'm glad someone has finally pointed out what's been occurring to me ever since I started visiting Drezner's site now and then: the guy is a "conservative" or a "Republican" like I'm a space alien. He strung out this weird psychodrama about the Valerie Plame case and how it was causing him to have a crisis of faith of some sort over being a "Republican", and he got weeks and weeks of posts out of it.

What this brings back to me from my long-past days in grad school is how some people seem to succeed in academics with the most amazingly transparent kiss-up ploys. A mildly aware second-grader can tell when somebody's buttering up the teacher by saying "I'm not LIKE those others who get their clothes dirty on the playground", but whatever facility this involves, it sure impresses the teachers or the profs or the hiring committee. Drezner -- no different from many other PH.D. academic bloggers who claim to be "conservative" -- is simply one of the kissups we learned to recognize in the second grade.

Eric Deamer

Exactly right John. I made a point of not going to the site anymore after the Plame thing, because I just found it to infuriating. I only went back because a commenter in another thread pointed out his response, and I thought I'd give it a fair shake, but I couldn't believe his post. It was even worse than I remember.

Does anyone even believe the schtick that he's anything other than a typical liberal academic at this point? I mean, first the constant kowtowing to Josh Marshall/Kevin Drum/Atrois et al and the oh so respectful readings of Krugman and Friedman, then the obsession with the Plame "scandal", and now this! Maybe he's "conservative" by the standards of academia, by which I mean he's slightly to the right of Chomsky, but has he even talked to people in the real world and seen what they think about things? I'm suspecting not.

I sure hope he was unpaid as an "informal advisor" to Bush/Cheney 2000. That's the only way they could have gotten what they paid for.


I think most Iraqis, no the world, realizes we never went there for Iraqi freedom and liberation. That reason is just as true as WMDs, Al-Quada, nuclear programs, and all of the other creative "truths" we used to get there. In the end the only reason we went there was to control oil. Saddam had not been on the American payroll for a decade and we need a new stooge running that country that obeys us. The only people who do not realize this are Americans.

Did you know that the Constitution does not give people rights?

People’s rights preexist both the Constitution and the federal government. The Constitution sets barriers to the power of the government in order to prevent it from taking away people’s preexisting rights.

It seems to be the case that some would rather nag and bitch about other citizens in other countries not being grateful about being handed something they themselves did not give nor do they even seem to understand.

We seem to lecture Salam about something that is inherently his. Or are inalienable rights contingent on lonely bLoggers getting their nationalistic egos stroked?

I don't think the Iraqis are impressed with American blowhards, whether they are soldiers or bLoggers. The Iraqi's are going to turn on us like Vietnamese farmers.


A pox on Pax? Cute Eric.
Out of all 60 letters to the President I zeroed in on this one too. Sensationalism sells, Salam has a book to push and he works for the Guardian. I personally would have like to have seen him on the news in a pink boa singing the spice girls "who do you think you are." I think it would have fit the scene. Drezner got almost 400 comments off his post. Sensationalism sells even in the blogshpere.

John Bruce

Drezner's blog is a fascinating thing. One of the games he plays, it seems to me, is "gee, I'm on the verge of converting from 'Republican' to Angry Left", so he gets a lot of traffic from people who want to facilitate this process or watch it. It also sells with other Ph.D. bloggers like Brad de Long -- there is a sort of high-tea-at-the-rectory in-groupery here, I think.

If all you want is traffic, that's fine. I am thinking about starting a blog and already have a hobby-related web site that isn't a blog, but I do have fun looking at Site Meter, seeing where the visits come from, and so forth. So I've got no problem with someone who comes up with an idea on how to get traffic and gets nearly 400 comments on a post.

A bigger issue is the side perks that can come with a successful blog, like book sales (if you're selling a book), Tech Central Station, conferences, etc. While I've got no problem with someone whose goal is a million hits a month, I do have somewhat more concern about someone selling things, getting other perks, etc., under what are arguably false pretenses -- in other words, constructing an interesting/appealing/intriguing public facade that makes you out as something other than what you are (in Drezner's case I think, a garden-variety overachieving academic careerist, a Stanley Fish wannabe). Actually, I think there's a lot of this in other Ph.D. bloggers, like Erin O'Connor, whose interest in academic freedom and putatively conservative views is secondary to her own advancement and promotion of an idealized version of herself, it seems to me.

But this in turn is just a version of what you have to watch out for on the web, which is simply people who misrepresent themselves, from FBI agents who pretend they're 13 year old girls on up the ladder.

Eric Deamer

Wow, in Bill & Ted I've attracted my first troll. He/they/whatever even says "It's all about oillllll!!!!", and uses childish, insulting fake e-mails and names, just like the trolls on LGF. I'm truly honored. Maybe this means I've arrived.

Rex Stetson

Rex:'Lilex: Pox on Pax'Rox!

Nice to see a good punchy, Variety-style headline now and again. Was a time when you saw that kind of thing everywhere, now it's just in The NY Post occasionally, and of course the British newspapers which are far more interesting than our C-SPANish American papers...



Hey Eric,

I truly don't know that much about what's posted above - references to other blogs, etc... The one thing I do note is that many people are calling each other childish names, cursing (like in the post you quoted from in your post)at each other, etc.. However, it only seems to be ok when the poster does it.

Why is that?

And what is a troll? (Not joking, just not up on blog terms)

Eric Deamer

Hi Sally:

Thank you so much for reading this site and for leaving a comment. This is a very insidery post, that's really only understandable for people who are into blogs and stuff so I can understand your confusion.

In terms of the cursing etc. The blogger and columnist James Lileks got the ball rolling by using the dread f-word to begin with. This is extremely, extremely rare for him. I mean, maybe once a year he uses any kind of profanity whatsoever. This gave it real power when he did use that word. Unfortunatley it also lead to other bloggers who were responding to use more profanity, and then on to more profanity in the comments etc. Generally, if the blogger is of the intemperate sort who uses profanity etc. it is seen as more acceptable to use profanity in the comments.

A "troll" generally means someone who leaves comments on a site with which they disagree, not in the spirit of honest debate, but merely for the purpose of provoking, calling names, using profanity etc. Trolls are almost always anonymous or pseudonymous.

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