Sat, Dec
29
2007

A Very Odd Definition of Courage

Sat, Dec 29, 2007

I think Canadian Cynic would agree with me if I called his blog provocative. He is passionate about his views and when his views come into conflict with others, he isn’t afraid to disagree. And when people get a little testy in disagreeing with his disagreements, well, let’s just say that he can match them for every verbal slug.

I admit to paying a few visits to CC. It’s a guilty pleasure. I am attracted to passion cloaked in snarly wit. I must also confess to keeping an eye on professional wrestling. And quite often, CC nails an opponent for something richly deserved.

In one of the more bizarre turns the blogosphere has taken, we have this post, wherein a Blogging Tory blogger makes an unprovoked attack on Canadian Cynic, and calls him out for his… cowardice.

Cowardice?

I have no problems of criticizing other people’s blog,but have the courage also to post on their blogs and explain yourselves for it.

Now… let me get this straight: Canadian Cynic is a coward because he blogs a lot of snark about other people’s blogs, but then doesn’t… “follow through” must be the phrase I’m going for, here… by going over to the blogs he creates and express those opinions in the comments’ section of those blogs.

The scenario that comes to mind is Canadian Cynic being in a bar somewhere, expressing his opinions to those friends of his sitting in his booth, only to have somebody across the bar take offense, stand up and shout, “hey, why don’t you come here and say that? Are you a coward? Are you a coward, huh?”

Now, of course, any rational person — any individual in fact with the emotional maturity of somebody not attending a frat house party — knows that Canadian Cynic doesn’t have to stand up and walk over and say anything to the shouter’s face in order to prove anything. And he doesn’t. That doesn’t stop CC’s regular commentators from going over to the website and having a go at the individual, such that the post calling out CC onto his comments’ section ends up having its comments closed, but CC’s approach, of staying right where he is and continuing to do what he does is many things. None of them, I think, are cowardice.

I mean, you all realize that this is the Canadian political blogosphere we’re talking about here, right? Posts made from the comfort of one’s own home in a country where freedom of speech is a charter right and the time since any individual was dragged down by a mob and viciously beaten for expressing a point of view is, I believe, measured in years, if not decades? Of all the things that one requires to blog politics here in Canada, I don’t think courage is high on the list. And this individual is calling CC out to his comment section so he can do… what, exactly? Talk to him stern? Or (gasp!) ban him!

I have criticized Canadian Cynic before for his approach to his blogging subjects, but ultimately, CC blogs on his blog and is expressing his opinions in the manner in which he sees fit. He is doing nothing more than exercising his right to speak in his own private space. Emphasis on those last five words.

It is my own choice to come to CC’s blog and read his posts, and ultimately if I don’t like the approach he takes, then I’m free to just walk away and enjoy my segment of the Internet in peace. So, I don’t understand the vitriol that some bloggers have for Canadian Cynic, because they are just as free as I am to walk away. As far as I know, CC does not comment on the blogs of people who don’t welcome him. As far as I know, he has saved his strong criticism for the pages of his blog alone, and doesn’t go posting abroad looking for trouble.

(I could be wrong on that last point. Canadian Cynic could have posted strong language in the comments’ section of bloggers he disagrees with, but I’ve never seen him engage in actual trolling activity — which I define as persisting in commenting on other people’s blogs long after the arguments have gone south, to the point of trying to circumvent a ban. Plenty of other bloggers do that; many of them on the right half of the fence. CC, not so much).

And here we have a case where somebody goes to CC’s blog and reams him out for not going out to other people’s blogs to apply his standard of discourse there — accusing him of cowardice, in fact, for not engaging in the activities of a troll.

A troll criticizing a blogger for not trolling other people’s blogs? The blogosphere has gone all post-modern, hasn’t it?

In some ways, the focus that a lot of conservative bloggers have on Canadian Cynic is matched by the obsession that some progressive bloggers have for particular provocative sites on the right, in my opinion. I think some of you all know the ones I mean. The ones who don’t, just be glad you don’t. I would put Canadian Cynic in a different class from these sites, because rather than engaging in racially-motivated hateful behaviour, he instead “hates the haters” as it were, and laughs at people for their written opinions rather than other unsubstantiated characteristics, but the reactions against these provocative posts still strike me as an equal waste of time. I wouldn’t be surprised that if those who get incensed by such incendiary posts chose to simply walk away, never to return, the blogs in question would lose half their audience, or more.

Canadian Cynic is not libelling anybody, as far as I know. There is no legal recourse to try and silence him and, unless he screws up royally, nor should there ever be. If the posts make you angry, they’re bound to make a lot of people angry. If you find the invective extreme, others will likely agree. And if you were to just walk away from the attack, you can leave the heat of the posts to destroy their own credibility. Instead, by going in and responding, you taint yourself with the argument.

It’s as the old saying goes: when you wrestle with a pig, you get muddy, and the pig likes it. And while CC might object to being compared with a pig, I think we can follow this analogy further along. A pig is a far more intelligent animal than most people tend to give it credit for. A part of me suspects that CC likes seeing so many bloggers jump at him for his invective — it suggests that he’s getting through and that some of his points (or could that be tusks?) sting. Indeed, that’s about the only explanation I can see for this individual’s attack on CC here. And a pig tastes good fried up as bacon… make of that what you will.

Well, whatever floats your boat, i guess. The great beauty of the blogosphere is that it is a forum for individual activity. Everybody gets to do their own thing and to enjoy it. If we don’t like what we see, there’s always some other site. This is not like Usenet where flamewars and spam killed the communities there; we retain total control over the appearance and conduct of our own blog pages. And if we keep on going back to sites and voyeuristically watch behaviour we object to, then the only fault is our own.

So, blog on, guys. Have fun. I’m not stopping you. I may even peek in to watch.


I am totally wiped from that party. We set up the clubhouse first thing in the morning. Went directly from that to serving the meal at noon. Sat around and chatted, and then feasted on the leftovers at six. Then clean-up. It was a filling and fun-filled day.

We leave Des Moines for the long trek back to Kitchener tomorrow, and with luck we’ll be checking in around Kalamazoo again tomorrow night. Wish us luck, and to everyone, a Happy New Year.


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