Bite a Dick You Quivering Douche Bag

In or around 2004 fellow Bums Logic blogger Todd.Levinson.Frank and I had a web site called Eight Track Mind. It was partially our bands site along with what was essentially a blog. We wrote stuff and posted it our site much like we do here. Only that back then blogs weren’t as big as they are today.  When we launched Bums Logic we re-posted some of our favorite writings from that site and dated them as such. Top Ten Most Overrated Musicians/Bands or Pink Floyd’s Discography Review are two such posts now appearing on Bums Logic. A third re-post was of a semi-controversial topic: Top Ten Reasons Why Neil Young Is Better Than Bob Dylan. Ha! What idiocy I have writing such things. So I am a fan of Neil Young and Bob Dylan I just happen to lean more towards Neil. When I wrote the piece I was looking to rile up some online conversations and partially trying to play a devil’s advocate to the oft held belief that Dylan is the bees knees.

The original posting led to some interesting exchanges with readers. Mostly Dylan-loving loyalists who were astonished to be reading such ridiculous nonsense. And let me remind you about this or any other blog: In the end, it’s all ridiculous. Posts are written based on opinions because that is what each and every one of us has that is 100% unique to ourselves: our opinion. It could be ones based on taste: Hey, I like that beat and singer. It could be based on influence: My friend Matt said he heard this band, check em out. Or it could be just a pure gut-feeling about something.

I understand the need for some people to take full advantage of their free speech and post comments on as many blogs as they choose. They are at least making themselves part of a conversation. When it can lead to fluent, thought-provoking dialogue then you have nothing but knowledge to gain from it.  But when it comes to the point where someone feels the need to express themselves by opining on your state-of-mind or throwing personal insults at you, well, then its all fair game my friends.
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The 5 Comment Theory of the Political Blogosphere

I have a 5-comment theory on political internet chatter. The theory goes that (once commenters start a post-article dialogue) somewhere after the first to the fifth comment, the line of argument will either have gone completely off-course or will have devolved into pure id-driven rage or eroticism.

The latter usually happens when commenters can remain anonymous. The former just usually happens.

So, I say, why bother? You won’t convince someone to change their core beliefs in an online conversation. So, all you can do is give them the information that you think is important and let them absorb it over time. Eventually, even if you were the catalyst, they will convince themselves over time that this is their own idea or belief and consistent with their past thoughts. And they will also be convinced that any change was completely self-driven and rational, given a propensity of evidence to which they’ve been exposed.

Here is a network analytic picture of the right/left blogosphere and their connections (via links) to other political sights. As you see, there really isn’t a lot of cross-polination going on, or an open debate of ideas. We are all “guilty” of this phenomenon. Daily Kos and Salon are not exactly tapping ideas from Reason or Commentary magazines.

We aren’t apt to expose ourselves to information that counters the causal theories of our core moral attitudes and beliefs. And if we do, we need a propensity of evidence and gentle prodding to recognize the validity of it.

I don’t propose an end to debate, of course. What I propose is that everyone stop taking their side so seriously without being prepared to defend their arguments in a formally structured debate format.