Dispatches From The Abyss: Metabyss

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h/t to Boise Lib, and yes, I know it is not a pic of the Abyss. If you have one, please fwd it!

Here we are!

Scrabbling to find our way in a blogosphere that is angry at everything and everybody and willing to take that anger out on anybody who looks at us crosseyed. A motley conglomerate of societal critics, is the blogsphere. Who as scribe points out, are more than willing to turn our sights on each other when we feel powerless in our societal criticisms.

Which, given the incredibly rapid passage of blogtime in relation to the incredibly stolid passage of Congressional time or societal-change time is….most of the time.

I am angry too. (If you want we can fight bout who is angriest!)

We all have to express ourselves in our own way, and we can all find something ELSE to be angry about in the way we are regulated in that expression. Regulated either by rules at blogs or by the rough and tumble and sometimes vicious criticism of blogs with no rules….where the meeker members of the blogosphere dare not tread. The atmosphere itself keeps people away as effectively as banning…perhaps more so.

We can never achieve Blogtopia….because none of us societal critics will ever agree on what a Blogtopia looks like. Having no rules eliminates one class of poster, the class that does not wish to be roughed up every time they post. Too many (any) rules eliminates another class of poster, those who cannot abide restriction.

Which approach is best?

All of them.

By having multiple choices of where to blog we can all find the place we each fit in the best. One personal preference is not superior to another.

MOST of the people we are talking about…. bloggers…. read all the different blogs anyway. If something is said on Dkos, people at pff know it because they read there. If something is said on pff most of the people on Docudharma know about it because they read there. If something is said on Docudharma, the hardcore bloggers who care about this stuff at Daily Kos will know about because they read here. By having the freedom to express ourselves at a blog that suits our comfort level….and by nearly everyone reading all the same blogs in our little corner of the blogoverse….EVERYONE gets heard.

There are of course two types of blog READERS, the casual and the hardcore. Casual readers don’t care much, don’t have solid allegiance to one blog or another and will blog where ever they are comfy.

Hardcore readers care deeply about the blogosphere and have definite opinions of why, how and what the blogsphere should be. These deeply felt convictions translate into anger and acting on that anger when something goes against their convictions.

All of us feeling angry and powerless at the slow moving change in the real world….and knowing they can have an effect in the blogworld, even if that effect is just to piss someone off, fuels a lot of the fires.

Just as we pressure the Dems rather than the Repubs because we feel we can have more effect, we also criticize each other because we feel we can have more effect there. Then one angry poster is effecting another angry poster and everyone gets angrier about people being angry. Or not being angry enough.

An eye for an eye makes a circular firing squad.

I know this is hypocrisy, I am as guilty as anyone, I just flamed GOTV and Miss Laura for instance. I am just as guilty as anyone. I don’t have any answers. I try to change and often fall short.

But as long as we continue to attack each other, we weaken all of us. It is the age old story of The Left. We all know it, yet we all seem powerless to change it. The Right knows it too, and fosters it, and takes advantage of it. Just look at the silly ass Move-on resolution.

During all this discussion it has been pointed out that all we can do is change ourselves. And just like changing politics and society, that takes time and hard work.

I wish I had a slam bang finish and a cure-all solution to end on…..but all I have is this.

I’m tryin’, Ringo.

And our only real hope is that we are all ….trying.

All I can say,is, when we look at the promise and potential that is contained in the internet and the many ways it can help with activism, organizing, educating and changing public opinion….it is obviously worth the effort.

I have always said we in the blogosphere are on the leading edge of change…and as pfiore8 said…. Maybe this is the first peace we need to achieve. If we can all find a way to work together, we can be a powerful force for change.



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  1. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

  2. about who is angriest.

    And I say, I AM THE ANGRIEST! 

    {And, thus, the most virtuous.}

  3. I am very guilty of having a suspicious nature, gotta work on that.

    I think the idea of reaching out but having no expectations might be a start. I like reaching out but getting a broken arm can be tedious, I will end up having to drink wine with my feet.

  4. i have stopped thinking in terms of issues, whether it’s climate change or iraq or health care…

    it seems to me the most pressing issue is how to deal with issues… that’s where the pile up has happened

    somehow, in this country, the ability to deal with them, talk about them, and reach accommodation or compromise has evaporated

    so it doesn’t really matter how urgent any one issue is… when the tools and agreements we once relied on to help us negotiate us to solutions are, it seems to me, basically gone

    how do we regain the ability to solve mutual problems that may impact people in different ways… that’s the question

    the whole point with pff is starting somewhere… they aren’t so different in their problems or political philosophy or their integrity…

    for example, solving climate change means different sets of problems for different people… how to talk about the consequences of reversing climate change… deal with the economic blow back (short term, long term who knows)… we have to do better than sweeping bromides about the benefits of this… for some, their lives may be ruined in order to save the planet…

    this is what strikes me anyway

    but just those ideas are zero, nothing if we can’t talk to each other

  5. I think our friends at pff are going to serve an interesting purpose – they will be the watchdogs of the watchdogs as it were.

    Before continuing, this point stood out for me in your essay:

    Having no rules eliminates one class of poster, the class that does not wish to be roughed up every time they post. Too many (any) rules eliminates another class of poster, those who cannot abide restriction.

    OK – I’ll be back with the rest in a few…

    • oculus on October 8, 2007 at 20:21

    here on Sunday, and all the comments to same, it doesn’t appear to me there will be peace on earth here, much less in conjunction with other blogs. 

    I am of the firm opinion any blogger is most effective by strongly stating the point, supported by facts, and refraining from incessant loud arguing with commenters who either disagree or merely want to make trouble. [No, I don’t read pff.] 

    • snud on October 8, 2007 at 20:26

    of this country’s Founding Fathers, who fought bitterly at times, distrusted each other greatly and hell – even got in a duel or two! But, in the end, they did alright coming up with a Constitution and a new country.

    Perhaps we need a “New, Founding Fathers Project”.

    Now, will that be pistols or swords? 😉

  6. It’s a real shame all of these meta maniacs aren’t channeling their efforts into more constructive pursuits.  Instead they seem far more concerned with petty, schoolyard dramas than actually living up to the blogging reputations they apparently believe they deserve.

    Frankly, the only blogger worth his salt around here right now is Magnifico, who ought to get a Koufax for his tireless documenting of the Blackwater scandal.

    Get a grip you guys.  Blogging isn’t about drawing attention to yourselves.  It’s about drawing attention to the myriad of problems we face as a country and as a planet.

    Anything else is just a digital circle jerk.

    • banger on October 8, 2007 at 20:30

    is a dangerous place but the only place you can find creativity. Right now walking that path is difficult. Those of us who participate in the left-blogosphere (an I barely do since I find it to be largely a waste of time) are at a loss to know how to leverage the power of the medium to be a truly political force, i.e., one that makes the politicians tremble like AIPAC does (a much smaller group than the left-blogosphere). They know what they want and go after it single-mindedly and with complete ruthlessness. But we are not constructed in a way that can use those methods.

    So what next? I’ve stated elsewhere what I think is a good direction to go it but that has been almost universally been rejected so what next? If you can’t ally yourselves into a powerful collective then you have to cultivate your own strength perhaps by taking up a strong discipline yoga, martial arts, spiritual disciplines etc. so that your concentration and will are improved. I follow that particular path, not with great success but some–good thing I’m patient. One thing is true when in the creative zone at the edge of chaos you have to be both very disciplined inside and, at the same time, ready to change and be very flexible so you can adjust quickly so you can’t afford to be too attached to your opinions and habits and can throw caution to the winds in an instant. Sounds like Zen to me.

    • nocatz on October 8, 2007 at 20:49

    Saw this quoted in A.S. Byatt’s BABEL TOWER

    The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    buhdy, was Blake an inspriration?

    I don’t remember reading much of his stuff in teh college, I might have been hallucinating too much though.

    • scribe on October 8, 2007 at 20:57

    Some of the worthiest goals, are, unfortunately, further away that we think.

    Achieving “peace” on these blogs, or in this word at this time, is, I believe, a goal that is very far far away.

    Is there a more attainable goal that might not be that very far away from us? 

    Could it possibly be something as plain and simple as striving for an better ability to “live and let live?” 


  7. by either a lockstep Democrat that I’m bad or a pf’er that I’m not at a truly free place hurts my head. I can grow and learn arguing with people over issues or even strategy, but I cannot take anyone telling me that what I should or should not be able to read, think, discuss or even fight about. It seems to me to be for some at each blog to be a form of thought policing that seeks to impose their own ideas of intercourse on others. It also becomes a power trip, rife with vendettas, and traps to make you loose it, thereby they win. Verbal peace in such a polarized world, on both the left right and in between does not even seem desirable to me.

    Perhaps rules of engagement are needed but when these rules become the issues what’s the point? I agree the net is vast and there is room and a place for all, but why do we have to make peace with those we haven’t chosen to engage with, and I find these are usually the ones who demand you use their terms, and reduce it all to the personal, disguised as PC or civility, and cry foul when they don’t get their way. btw: Anybody who’s not angry at this time is either a pol or has no soul. 

  8. I have no doubt they deserved it.

    • banger on October 8, 2007 at 21:10

    the triviality is a result of not having a truly common purpose of not actually working together in a common enterprise. Doing whatever I want may be ok for me but what we are missing is what do you need from me, what can I do for you to support you, to aid in your research or whatever–or maybe you need an apartment or room somewhere or maybe a meal—you get my drift. The last thing I want to do is snipe for the sake of being “right”. Often times we misunderstand each other and take what we say in the wrong way. I’ve found that giving people a strong benefit of the doubt and treating them as if they were people you’d meet in any public place is the way to go. I’ve met with severe abuse for example on some blogs by people who completely misunderstood what I was saying (I’m not the best writer).

  9. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of all the meta, here, there, everywhere. I’m sick of all the ego waxing and stroking here, there, everywhere. No better than congress are bloggers on the left. It is a giant fucking circle jerk waste of time. It is a waste of my time to be emotionally sucked into it.

    So, I’m going on hiatus, maybe permanently, not sure yet… here, there, everywhere.

    Later guys…

    • banger on October 8, 2007 at 21:36
    • nocatz on October 8, 2007 at 21:37

    cosmic debris.

    • nocatz on October 8, 2007 at 22:00

    I’m tired of talking about c d

    circle jerks- nervous breakdown

    • banger on October 8, 2007 at 22:06

    how to agree to things we probably don’t like in order to get what we truly need to have. What we lack is a good set of rules that all agree on within which we can come to agreement. Our historical period is so unique we have really no choice but come up with a new more multi-dimensional matrix (with the aid of the internet and computer science) that will allow useful ideas and structures to rise to the surface. We just need to put a little more thought into the form and simple rules–we can do that by using the amazing technology and access to ideas we already possess but don’t yet know how to use. The alternative is a return to feudalism.

  10. and don’t have time right now to read all the comments, so please forgive me if I am repeating someone. But here’s a bit of a story from my real life that might/or might not be instructive.

    I got a position as the leader of a non-profit organization 15 years ago. I think there is a sense in which a non-profit is much like a group of progressives. But I won’t go into all that now (bunch of bleeding heart liberals sort of thing…)

    For the first 8-10 years in this position, I thought my job was to try to make the staff happy so they could do their work more effectively. WRONG!!! I had the same kind of endlessly looping crap to deal with that we often see on the blogs.

    Then I began to partner with a co-worker who helped me get things straightened out. And we did it by putting the MISSION ahead of everything else – even the employees. So the clients we are here to serve take precedence over everything and everybody. And WHALA… all of the sudden all (or most at least) of our infighting is gone. We don’t have the time or patience for it anymore. We have bigger and more important things to deal with.

    Now I don’t know if that’s instructive or not. But it does feel sometimes like we on the blogs haven’t quite figured out what it is we’re here for. That idea of helping elect more Democrats just doesn’t cut it for most of us anymore. I’m not sure I think the answer is a manifesto – just not my cup o’ tea. But I do think until we have a clearer sense of mission, it will be hard to herd us anywhere with any sense of sanity.

    • TheRef on October 8, 2007 at 22:24

    On my first read since awakening, I am starring into your abyss …the cosmos …the world of ground-ups-man-ship.

    Some suggest that the Left should not be defined nor driven by a tops-down dictator. I find the thought appealing, but I doubt that in real life a movement can ever happen by a purely ground-up, democratic approach. Even a bowel movement requires a dominant singular person to initiate. Consequently, I fail to see a common theme, a common direction that can be driven by everyone. Would that it were true and that it could be done.

    Bottoms-up initiatives have the classic reality of the ocean liner with 5000 crew and passengers embarked with each person on board having their very own steering wheel and speed control lever. In which direction does the ship go? — At what speed? — What is the destination? — When will it get there?

    A ship has a captain for a reason. Who captains the ground-up exercise?  …the loudest mouth? …the weightiest writer? …the better thinker? the better skilled? …the obvious leader?

    How do you determine if you have all the relevant players involved?

    How do you boil the ocean down to the core belief’s, the values, the goals, the objectives, the limits of the movement?  Is it done by manifesto? …by committee …a process? How?

    It’s great to dream.  How are dreams turned into actions?

    It may seem an abyss. However, if you think of the mission as an ocean liner with a port of departure and a destination port, one (or  more than one if you prefer) can begin to lay the keel, build outfit and sail the ship.

    Sorry for the sailing ship metaphor …but what the heck …gotta start somewhere. 

    • Robyn on October 8, 2007 at 22:47


  11. for losing my temper. Thanks y’all for the kind words. I won’t stay away forever, but do need to take a good break. I’m starting a new job pretty soon, which will change my on line time significantly anyway.

    Like anything, sometimes meta is constructive, sometimes its destructive, sometimes its neutral and just belly button gazing. No matter the tone though, it always seems to suck the oxygen away from everything else, to the detriment of everything else.

    Use meta wisely in other words. There is too much here right now for my taste. I’ll be back later to help out with the building and teamwork stuff, because I believe in that, have skills in that, which I’d like to contribute. I can’t think of a better bunch of people with whom I’d like to work to make something creative, constructive and functional actually exist.

    As I always used to say upon parting (not farting)

    be good, be bad and HAVE FUN!


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