Monday, January 15, 2007

Were the blog wars inevitable?

While doing some research I came across this passage in a cable sent by Edward Corry, America's Ambassador to Chile in September of 1970, during our failed attempt to keep Salvador Allende from winning that country's presidency:

I have confessed repeatedly in these communications my equal distrust of a right that blindly and greedily pursued its interests, wandering in a myopia of arrogant stupidity.

They disdained organization and deliberately scorned the one element of their forces that has some semblance of structure, The National Party, they preached vengeance against the Christian Democrats whom they regarded as a more justifiable enemy because of its betrayal of class than their class enemy, the Communists.

They fought the First Rule of nature, of change, and insolently believed that time stands still.

They only tolerated the few modernists in their midsts, men who were certainly no less rich, no less self-interested, but who at least understood the flux in which we are all caught.

Ignoring the obvious comparisons to modern politics in this well-written missive, the bolded passage made me wonder if the current habit of many well-known bloggers on the left and right spending most of their time just trading insults with each other was bound to happen.

Do people naturally seek out and attack those who they feel are their equals?

By attacking someone, are you declaring them your equal?

Most competitions held divide contestants into classes of relatively equal talent, why not blogs, too?


Blogger subadei said...

By attacking someone, are you declaring them your equal?

Great question. I think in some cases the answer is a straight up yes. More often than not, however, I'd say those that go on the offensive (in terms of "intellectual discourse" do so for a sense of self gratification.
At the risk of self promotion, you may find this interesting as it's somewhat related.

4:17 PM  
Blogger alphie said...

Interesting post, Soob, but I have to disagree with you on one point:

I think war is unique and athletic contests and debates aren't closely related to it.

Everyone enjoys entering contests of one kind or another, but very few humans can kill another human without brainwashing...

Maybe it's the other way round...war sprung from a less violent form of competition?

Some kind of athletic contest that got out of hand, maybe?

11:32 PM  
Blogger subadei said...

I think war is unique and athletic contests and debates aren't closely related to it.

Hmm. Debates. Yeah debates are a collective discourse among people with conflicting views. Not in the least bit sadistic, even when they become heated. The heart of debate is intellectual or philosophocal conviction and the want to prove or convince.
The heart of "intellectual sadism" is the want to lash out in hopes that your opposition reciprocates thereby enabling you to mount an even more vicious attack. Contrary to debate the genesis isn't intellectual conviction but the simple want to inflict harm.
An off the cuff example: Rosie/Donald.

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