Thursday, July 05, 2007

Owning Pennsylvania Avenue: Real Estate in Cyberspace

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Remember the game, Monopoly (the original version, not the new adapted ones)? If you write a Blog, you own property in Cyberspace. If ads are houses, then corporate sponsorship are hotels. Commenter's are those pieces that run around the board and visitors to your site help with the rent. Where is this leading?

Every Blogger imagines their space online as Real estate (i.e. Monopoly spaces); When I go to Aurora's site, I imagine an Australian pub with American and Israeli flags near the jukebox; With Jason's, I picture a loud Hollywood club with music blasting and his movie playing; In Chess Novice's Blog, it feels like a library at Tea Time. But I want to discuss the Blog that birthed the Valley: The Blog of Ann Althouse. And what do I picture the Althouse Blog to be? A living Dali painting with a fruit garden.

I used to comment on her Blog before I started this one. She is a a Democrat who is shifting rightward. I took the same journey back in 1992. Her Blog is commentators heaven. She posts, and the comments go flying. However, since she chose Bush over Kerry in 2004, the Left Wing Blogosphere has charged her with heresy and never forgiven Professor Althouse's vote.

Here is some dramatis personae who comment:

AlphaLiberal: Does not want Althouse to write on politics
Dave(TM): Posts only to insult Althouse; Liberal hate Speech at it's finest.
Downtownlad: A gay Blogger who thinks Christians are not to be trusted compared to Islamists.
Doyle: Hates Althouse for her opinions and tries to shut down debates; Luckeyoldson does that too.
Freder Frederson: Doesn't have a kind word to say about Althouse.
Hdhouse: Until I mentioned, I treated President Clinton with respect to his position (even though I despised him), he refused to even acknowledge President Bush's name.
Luckeyoldson: Claims to be a TV writer, but has not linked to his IMDB resume. Writes homophobic pieces about Republicans and yet does not know any. Downtownlad says nothing about his homophobic pieces.
Steve Simels: A pop music reviewer who comments in the same style as Dave(TM).

Basically, all Bloggers let commentators in for a variety of reasons. But Liberal hate Speech is never called on by Democrats. Ever. In 1974, Sen. Goldwater went to President Nixon to tell him there was no votes to stop impeachment among Republicans. There is never any Democratic leader to say to the younger folk, "Stop!" That's why a Conservative Republican exposed the evil Heathlander and his love of terrorists, not a Democrat.

I love having different opinions in the Valley (Jason, take a bow). Just show up with a name and usually (unless I know you in real life), you get published. But showing up with threats to a Blogger, any blogger, is wrong and must be despised. Argue the point of the post, not personal attacks.

The Democratic Party may have won 2006, but how do you gain votes unless you win by conversion, not inquisition. As long as these commentators act the way they do, as long as the Heathlander publishes on Kos, the democrats have lost this vote.

Every Blogger should feel at home on their piece of their Monopoly Board. What happens to Althouse might happen to the rest of us.


  1. Anonymous5:13 AM PDT

    So I'm an Aussie pub and Ann's a Dali Garden, hmmm? Can I at least be an Aussie beer garden? ;)
    Well you can enjoy your beer and I'll sip my Merlot and we can shoot the breeze when you come visit sunny Sydney. We might be able to fix the problems of the world! (Will have to check Ann's blog out now after that glowing rap).

  2. BTW, thanks for the link to my blog. Guess I'll have to write something to commemorate the auspicious occasion...

  3. You left out Wade Garrett.

    He's quite the piece of work.

  4. Nice post! It takes getting used to, these comment threads. There's much vile, spewing hatred. Ad hominems rule much of it. I appreciate you writing about it, and in an interesting AND evenhanded way.

    Have a good day.

  5. For every example you've given, I could give examples of blog trolls of every possible political bend. Blog trolls come in every shape, color, size and political affiliation. Do you really think anybody from any political party is going to waste a second of time even acknowledging their existence when there are life and death issues out there? You don't debate trolls or try to use them to score political points. You use them to sharpen your comedic roasting knives and say things to them that you'd never dream of saying to another person's face. To be blunt, you use your superior language skills to make them your bitch.

    Do you really expect a crowd of democratic blog trolls to be nice to one of their own who has committed the ultimate act of betrayal and voted for Bush after seeing him in action for 4 years? Do you not quite get the extent of just how much that man is reviled by people on my side? If you are genuinely interested in gaining some insight into the mindset of the other side, I'd be more than happy to try to explain just what it is about that man and his administration that gets many of us as angry as we are.

    At my bar right now, Tool's 10,000 Days is blaring from the jukebox and the last few episodes of Big Love are on the TV.

  6. Anonymous8:38 PM PDT

    Freder used to pollute the atmosphere at the Volokh Conspiracy until he put everybody to sleep.

  7. First, a general note: Just because you are a "troll" on Althouse's site does not mean the same attitude flies here at the Valley.

    Aristotle taught man how to argue an issue; The Adams' (John and Sam) taught Americans how to debate issues even with a great divide.

    It's easy to throw feces and write curse words. Jason, who disagrees with me on everything (just about), can argue and tell me why he thinks I'm wrong and not get crude or personal.

    Do you realize the post is about Personal Bloggers space on the internet and their rights not to be shat upon at their own site?

    The Althouse readers and commenters understand, the trolls still throw their feces.

  8. Jason,

    I understand where you are coming from. However, how do you win an arguement by spitting at someone publicly? What does it prove?

    These "trolls" on a site I used to frequent cannot even act civil among people who disagree with them. Civility is what keeps civilization from becoming a wasteland.

  9. There's a new Monopoly? Is nothing sacred?

  10. It's really all a matter of taste. People allow what they want on their own blogs. I take an anti-authoritarian approach with my comments. Part of free speech is the freedom to be a complete jackass. If you come for honest debate, you get honest debate. But if you come to fling poo, you get bigger, badder and generally much wittier poo flung back. Really, in the grand scheme of things nothing anybody posts on a blog really matters a whole lot. It's mostly just mental masturbation to pass the time.

  11. Jason,

    I learned from the old-school political machine party Democrats. The issue of how you act online because "no one knows you're a dog," doesn't fly. The acid test is not defending your own partisans, but defending someone else's.

    The issue of dealing with the "Great Unwashed" (i.e. those not interested in politics during 4 year breaks) started with these lessons:

    1) The aim is to convert voters, not scare them.
    2) Disagree with your opponent, and then make sure you get their family presents for Christmas.
    3) If you act like a crude partisan, why should anyone care with what you say?

    These came from the Tammany folks. There are more, but those I remember right know. Those "Trolls" can't pass either of those rules. And these are Democratic Party machine rules!

  12. JSF, I don't think I'm really following what you're saying or how it relates to blog trolls. Until I start hearing candidates mentioning blog comments outside of jokes to a particularly geeky or young crowd, I pretty much just continue to take them with a few grains of salt. The only purpose they serve is so that people on either side can point their fingers, link their links and say "hey, look at what a bunch of uncivilized assholes are on the other side" which after years of this nobody really takes seriously anymore. But it does give the finger pointer a certain feeling of satisfaction. I know because I've done it myself from time to time.

  13. Nice post. It's interesting to go from blog to blog and get a totally different commenting atmosphere at each one. Some are more troll infested that others, but the best blogs are ones where the owner keeps the dialog going.

  14. Paul,

    Hey, glad to know I'm appreciated.

    If this woman was the face of your law school, I'm sure you'd be a little bit less patient with her crazy ramblings and blatant grabbing for attention.


Welcome to the Valley! Please comment about the post and keep to the subject.

There is only one person (JSF) keeping track of comments, so as long as what you write is civil and close to the purpose of the post, you will see it.

Keep this in mind: Politics should not be Personal; then you have a place here.

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