Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Observation

It is interesting to note how rarely those who bemoan my negativity seem to have anything to say about my more positive posts, or how rarely those who bewail my "name-calling" "superficial" "polemical" writing seem to have anything to say about my more substantial analytical writing, and so on.

It is interesting to notice how often the Moot will begin with relatively respectful and engaged discussions of differences of opinion, and then degenerate into the trading of barbs only after commentators seize on the least substantive moments in otherwise substantive pieces or offer up outrageous misreadings of substantive claims and so provoke the polemical exchanges they will go on to decry and whine about.

I'll cheerfully admit I've an acerbic style and polemical bent at times (and there is nothing wrong in the least with that bent unless you're a dim-witted prig, ask Nietzsche, Bierce, Twain, Wilde, Mencken, Parker, Vonnegut, among many others, none of whom I am equal to but all of whom I variously venerate), but it is also true that there is an enormous amount of writing I do that plainly testifies to my training in analytic and pragmatic philosophy and to a very real Mousketeer streak of earnest progressive-left democratic politics which is the furthest thing from mudslinging.

The Jungle Red claws come out when I'm tackling fools and their foolishness, and rarely otherwise it seems to me.

Don't like it? Don't ask for it, then.

Like something else better? Support it, then.

Very simple.

9 comments:

seth said...

personally, i'm a big fan of the red-claws.

critical observation is too often only depressing. the people who consistently earn the red-claws here seem to err more as a result of ignorance than ill-will. while i'd never say the latter is categorically less dangerous than the former (especially to the extent that the ignorance in question is willful), but it does (in the context of being critiqued) afford moments of sidesplitting laughter.

Anonymous said...

Aunt Pittypatt, my smelling salts!

I'd say the reason no one comments on your analytical writings is because they are usually quite good. Your polemical stuff on the other hand is often thoughtless crap for which you rightly get stung. Frequently entertaining though.

jfehlinger said...

> > . . .Jungle Red. . .
>
> Aunt Pittypatt, my smelling salts! . . .

Get me a bromide! And put some gin in it.

Dale Carrico said...

The brave "Anonymous" demonstrates by quoting one the recurring motifs of my polemical writings just who it is who is feeling stung by what goes on in those exchanges. My point in making this observation is certainly not to express a feeling of being surprised or disappointed by the skewed attention I get from the techno-utopian dumb-dumb brigade, but to expose to general view what looks to me the fraud exhibited in that attention, consisting largely of charges of anti-intellectualism from those incapable apparently of responding to any but the least intellectually challenging and nuanced moments in the work at hand.

peco said...

Feeling stung is very different from getting stung.

Dale Carrico said...

And your point is?

peco said...

They could be feeling stung, but you are still getting stung. Getting stung is a bit worse than feeling stung because some other people notice it.

seize on the least substantive moments in otherwise substantive pieces

I comment badly on the most substantive pieces, but I comment on the least substantive pieces when I agree with you.

smartypants said...

While we're shuffling observations, here's one of my own:

You're creating two false categories here. Your analytical writing rarely excludes polemics any more frequently than your polemical writing excludes analysis.

Two categories better aligned with the reality of your writing would be: sustained critiques of transhumanism versus sustained critiques of transhumanists.

Much of your analysis on this subject, and even the analysis that looks like a critique of the philosophical underpinnings, actually falls in the latter category -- sustained critique of transhumanists. Even your work on superlative technocentricity is a canard as it relates to what transhumanists see as the 'philosophy' of transhumanism. It's based largely on your ongoing observation of numerous examples of superlative discourse issuing from transhumanists. Not, for example, on some set of historical 'canonical' texts central to the philosophy -- as in the case of, say, objectivism.

You may see no difference between these categories, but your transhumanist interlocutors surely do, and will continue to accuse you of attacking strawmen until you seriously engage with the structures of transhumanism (starting with the foundational documents of the WTA) rather than the discourse of transhumanists.

This latter task is harder, less fun, but probably bears more fruit for you professionally in the end.

jfehlinger said...

"Smartypants" wrote:

> [Y]our transhumanist interlocutors. . . will continue to accuse
> you of attacking strawmen until you seriously engage with the
> structures of transhumanism (starting with the foundational documents
> of the WTA) rather than the discourse of transhumanists.

On source
Staying familiar with the words of the Master (LRH).
Source

L. Ron Hubbard is the Source (capitalized) of Scientology;
his written orders in the form of Policy and Tech, and his
spoken words on tape are Source.

"I feel so much better after getting back on Source."


m/u's
Misunderstood words or symbols.
M/U, Mis-U, or MU

A misunderstood word, understood as actually being
the root cause of Suppressive Persons. Because of their
destructive potential it is a crime to go by
them when studying. The cult is fanatical about insisting
that everyone look things up endlessly in
dictionaries and go through every definition. This becomes quite
tedious with words like "to", "set", and "be." Extensive pieces of
the "tech" are devoted to "word clearing". The very definition of
"MU" is mutable and arbitrary in that it can be a word
that makes one frown or blink or stumble or
slow down on reading, etc., as spotted by others.

"Look up your M/Us and quit your nattering Mister,
or I'll have you busted down to Ethics!"

M/U Phenomena

The emotional upset leading to Blows (disappearances from the
organization) that follows going by a misunderstood word, according
to the cult's "study tech." M/U Phenomena is the only reason someone
gives up on Scientology, according to Hubbard. If you think it is
all nonsense, it is because you went by a word you didn't understand.
If you think it is dangerous, and that the RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force;
the cult's gulag) is repressive and sick, you just have an M/U. If you
think the Purification Rundown is bizarre, you have an M/U, and it
is your problem. Get it?