Markos Issues Non-Apology Apology

Sunday, April 15, 2007

But first let me quote Booman's post from yesterday, addressing the urgent need for Markos to make an apology.

And here is my conclusion. Markos has pissed off so many people, and pissed them off so much, that there is no more benefit of the doubt left for him. I seriously doubt that these reactions would be anywhere near as strong if the dismissive statements had been made by any other blogger on the left.

My inclination was to assume he had no idea that Kathy Sierra experienced significantly more trauma than mere run of the mill death threats. I assumed that he was tired, uninformed, and annoyed with yet another call for blogger ethics. I assumed that he did the equivalent of blogging while drunk. I did not assume that he was picking on her because she was a woman. I did not assume that he was dismissing what really happened to her because it did not appear that he knew what really happened to her. But there are two things that are more important than the possibility that he was tired and his post was unintentionally assholeish.

First, he hasn't apologized or clarified his position. I know he is busy with his children and his wife, but he is getting a lot of criticism and he surely knows that people (including some of his front-pagers) are very upset about what he wrote. His continued silence will eventually force me to abandon any benefit of the doubt I was willing to grant him.

Somehow, I don't think anything less than a full-throated, I acknowledge the grievousness of my omission and ignorance, type of apology will really quell the outrage Booman is referring to. I don't think this will cut it.

I don't disagree with anything Lindsey wrote. I disagreed with using a bloggers threats as an excuse to foist upon us all a "Blogger Code of Conduct".

That's what I was saying. 1) There are assholes that will 2) email stupid shit to any public figure (which includes bloggers, but 3) that won't be stopped by any blogger code of conduct.

You see, stupid asshole psycho threatening emailers don't care about codes of conduct. That's all.

Leave us say it's not going to cut for me. I can't help but notice, and not for the first time, that Markos and Bush have way too much in common. Mostly it's the autocratic, dictatorial thing. But, in this case, I refer to his total inability to admit mistakes; glaring, odious, epically poorly judged, mistakes.

Terrance has an interesting take on this that I respect, even though I completely disagree.

First, the “code of conduct” he refers to isn’t being “foisted” on anyone. It’s entirely voluntary. At last count, there are 76.4 million blogs out there. There’s little chance of anything being successfully “foisted” on anyone, let alone being enforced. (By what authority?) Kos, and any other blogger can simply ignore it. (And Kos might have done well to do so in the first place.)

Second, nobody’s said that “stupid assholes” are going to stop making threats because of a code of conduct.

Assholes tend not to follow any code of conduct, and deeply resent any suggestion or expectation that they should. They tend to reject any notion responsibility to or for anyone but themselves.

The recommended code of conduct here doesn’t apply to the assholes making the threats. It applies to those of us who (a) operate blogs and (b) chose to follow the suggested guidelines. . . .

In all fairness, I can understand why this might be cause for concern for a blogger of Kos’ status. After all, how many comments does his site get on any given day, counting front page posts and member diaries? Far too many for Kos to keep up with, and probably too many even for his “trusted users” or others with administrative capabilities to keep up with. The idea of taking responsibility for comments on a blog that size, given the possibility that some like the ones Kathy received might escape notice and actually result in someone getting hurt or killed would be enough to keep anyone up at night.

So why do I disagree with this? For starters, as I said, I actually agree with Markos that the Code of Conduct is wrong-headed. It's a very slippery slope to start drafting apologia for censorship of content we don't like. Obviously death threats -- which are illegal -- should be deleted, as should people's addresses and phone numbers, obvious libel, etc. My problem with this idea is that it justifies the censoring of ideas and personalities. As I've said many times, no one has a first amendment right to publish anything on another person's blog, but I have always aimed to adhere to the spirit, if not the letter of the law. I believe in a marketplace of ideas and that includes protecting the right of others to say bonehead shit. That said, I think the blog administrator that allowed pics of Kathy Sierra with a noose around her neck to remain is an idiot. Death threats! Illegal! Not protected! Do we not know this?

But the major reason I disagree with Terrance, in this instance, is that Markos's problem has never been a laxity in enforcing speech restrictions on his site.

As caliberal said the other day:

I left dailykos because of the misogynistic and sexist statements made to women, I also left because the man in charge never said one word about it, he banned those with conspiracy theories but didn't deem it a bannable offense to say hateful, vitriolic things to women.

No, thought policing has never been in short supply on Daily Kos. It's just that misogynistic vitriol is not one of the numerous thought crimes for which a kossack may be banished to cyberia.

If Markos's contempt for all things feminist wasn't apparent when he referred to a solid chunk of his membership as the "sanctimonious women's studies set," his utter inability to comprehend and articulate why a woman getting graphic rape/mutilation/murder threats is hideously serious, should really clear up any remaining misconceptions.

But there are those who are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Not surprisingly one is his former enforcer, the Cuban Heel. And skippy explains it all to you:

we think big tent armando needs to attend a few 12 step meetings learn the meaning of the word enabler. because then he might not be so quick to defend markos as "merely clueless" rather than outright "misogynistic.". . .

however, in this case, he is making the same mistake that most humans with penises between their legs make in their approach to active misogyny, and that is that, as eldridge cleaver said about rascism, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

sorry, bta, but being clueless about misogyny, especially in the 21st century america, is not a valid, or even believable, excuse. to say, "hey, the guy wasn't the one who punched the broad in the face, he was just watching," is not a defense that will hold up under scrutiny.

armando would have us believe that markos does not hate women. replace the concept of women with the concept of black people in that world view, and you get the old canard, "some of my best friends are negros."

just as there is such a thing as lying by omission, there is such a thing as bigoty by inaction. and in something as horrific as a woman getting photoshop-quality graphic death and rape threats anonymously, such firmly-stated inaction can be legitimately viewed by some (read: human beings with vaginas) as beyond the pale.

you don't have to lynch negros to be a racist, you just have to sit by as institutionalized racism destroys entire communities.

and you don't have to rape to be a misogynist, you can just as easily poo-poo someone's legitimate fears of rape.


DavidByron said...

In fact although dKos has never censored feminist writings Armando is on record saying that anti-feminist writings would be censored there (at a time when he had that power).

Anonymous said...

Kos is about nothing other than opportunism and self-aggrandization.

This has been obvious for years. Even the name of his site is cultish and totally him-centric. Daily Kos. Rhymes with, and evocative of, Daily Dose. Of what? More like of who. Kos, that's who and don't you forget it.

Those who post at Daily Kos serve the King at his pleasure and at his whim. Why would any free person voluntarily enter into such an exploitative arrangement?

Yet you and others like you have, and continue to do so. Sure Kos is an ass, not news. That you continue to enable him says more about you than about him.

Curmudgette said...

Um anonymous...

That word "enable." I do not think it means what you think it means.
In case you missed the giant banner in my margin, posting at DKos is something I no longer even could do if I wanted to, which, frankly, I don't. I don't really see how proclaiming that I am proud to have been exiled from his little fiefdom, writing diary after diary on what a sick, little totalitarian empire it is, not to mention calling him out on his personal bullshit whenever I learn of it, is enabling exactly.

The Blogging Curmudgeon said...

I'm a huge fan of pseudo-British punctuation.

Curmudgette said...

The Blogging Curmudgeon said...

I'm a huge fan of pseudo-British punctuation.

Yeah. No kidding. Pseudo everything, in fact.

David said...

Did you just call him a pseud?!

"a person of fatuously earnest intellectual, artistic, or social pretensions"

You two certainly had a big falling out.

The Blogging Curmudgeon said...

My contempt for you is real.

Curmudgette said...

The Blogging Curmudgeon said...

My contempt for you is real.

That's been apparent for some time. Which is why I took your pretty words, here, with a grain of salt:

The Blogging Curmudgeon said...

Thanks for the nice words, but you don't owe me an apology. Not at all. I didn't respond because I completely understand why you were angry at me. You had every right.

I'm the one who owes all kinds of apologies to you.

I do have a big, self-righteous mouth. And I am one of the last people on earth who should be "taking inventory" on other people. All true.

I'm only sorry that you got tarred by association with me, but given the attitude of Marisacat, probably for the best you're not linked to blogs under her direct influence. Call it a serendipitous silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud. You didn't deserve all this trouble.

I've always admired your writing, which is why I return to this blog--not "lurking" so much as wanting to see the work of someone who's one hell of a writer.

March 29, 2007 2:22 PM

Why would I expect any word that trickles from your keyboard to be true?

After all, your contempt for pretty much everybody is real, isn't it? They're all just bit players in your fantasy world, aren't they? So what did Vandil do to deserve your extra-special contempt the other day? Steal your Gulf War veteran shtick? Is there anyone you don't hate for being authentic and accomplished?