Wars on two fronts have broken out in the blogosphere recently and neither one of them are pretty to watch standing on the sidelines.
Jeff Goldstein and Malachy Joyce have squared off partly over the Schiavo matter but mostly because Malachy used a bigoted expression when calling out Jeff on Mr. Goldstein’s portrayal of religious conservatives in the Schiavo matter. The epithet he used will not be used here. Suffice it to say it was a poor choice of words and, even if used innocently (I pointed out in comment #126 how it may have been an innocent use of an archaic expression) was insensitive and uncalled for. Mr. Joyce also should not have made the purging of his blogroll of people who did not support those of us fighting for Terri’s life a subject of a post. Perhaps a private email would have sufficed.
On the other side, well, Jeff Goldstein is Jeff Goldstein. When he calls some Christians an extremely derogatory euphemism for “Jesus Lover” he’s trying to get a rise out of people and get a little laugh at the same time. That’s what he does. That’s why his site is in the top 50 blogs. He’s a funny, talented guy who can skewer a target more effectively than a cook at a Texas barbecue.
But that comment was as out of line as Mr. Joyces. And I know it sounds crazy, but Ace is actually trying to referee this imbroglio…and making a lot of sense doing it:
Playing Ref: Jeff, I think you were way out-of-line to insult someone as a “(deleted).” You’re guilty of the same sin you’re protesting, and the “she did it first” defense won’t wash.
You can insult someone you’re angry with without also insulting believing Christians, too.
Don’t defend it. Apologize and retract. You’re better than that. I think.
A quick apology is usually better than a prolonged bout of back-tracking and “explaining.” It’s quick and painless and you even gain “manful admission” points.
And this advice for Malachy:
But HundredPercenter—not looking to get de-linked or anything, but have a bit of caution about plainly Jew-baiting remarks. What does that accomplish? Nothing, nothing except animosity and hurt feelings..
Now if this weren’t enough, two of my all time favorite bloggers are going at it hammer and tongs. Paul at Wizbang and the Commissar have gotten themselves into a mess that reminds me of the way that Europe got embroiled in the First World War.
Paul has some very strong feelings about evolutionists, namely that there’s no scientific proof for it thus its adherents are as guilty of the same kind of faulty reasoning as creationists. The Commissar has passionately defended evolution. Somehow, this battle of ideas degenerated into some of the most vile name calling I’ve seen on the web. Paul deletes comments from the Commissar. The Commissar gets madder and calls Paul more vile names. It’s nuts.
The blogosphere is not a place to solve the mysteries of the universe. Even the collective wisdom of millions of people harnessed just for that purpose would fail miserably. It’s not that some things are “unknowable.” As Paul points out, the sum total of our knowledge to date is nothing compared to what it will be in say, 2000 years. Even then, I doubt whether questions about the origins of life and the spread of species on this planet will be solved.
Watching these two go at it as well as viewing the train wreck happening between Jeff and Malachy gives me a slight uneasiness in the pit of my stomach. These are people who I “visit” 2 or three times a day. In a sense, you get to know them. So it’s kind of like watching two friends go at it with you standing powerless on the sidelines unable to do anything about it.
I don’t hold out any hope for comity between any of the warring parties. A truce, maybe. And in the end, former allies and colleagues have a falling out and the blogosphere is poorer for it.