Wednesday, November 5, 2003

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Blogosphere norms 1, legal wrangling 0

In the conclusion to the Atrios-Donald Luskin dust-up from last week, both Atrios and Donald Luskin have posted a joint statement on their blogs. The key thing is that Luskin has "retracting his demand letter."

Good for both of them. It's refreshing to see that informal norms of civility can surmount the urge to legalize disputes.

I only wish that Luskin had come to this conclusion earlier. In his puursuit of Krugman at all costs, he contributes to a situation that Eric Alterman's arguments in the Nation acquire a whiff of plausibility:

Conservatives, and some not so conservatives, are testing out a new thesis in their effort to shut out ideas that make them uncomfortable: Any attempt to analyze the origins of a distasteful phenomenon is tantamount to endorsing it. Whether the problem is global terrorism or anti-Semitism, the message is the same. "It's bad. It must be condemned. That's all we need to know."

Now, Alterman conveniently omits the following facts:

  • Many on the right (ahem, cough) critiqued Krugman's piece on substantive grounds;

  • Many on the right -- including contributors to NRO's The Corner -- attacked Luskin for going too far.
  • However, because Alterman could point to Luskin as evidence for his broad swipe, he could safely ignore the more substantive critiques.

    Alterman link via Andrew Sullivan, who points out at least one absurdity in the article.

    posted by Dan on 11.05.03 at 03:34 PM


    You really think that statement was informal? It sounded like a lawyer drafted it.

    posted by: Norman Pfyster on 11.05.03 at 03:34 PM [permalink]

    Ahhhh. It was so fun!

    posted by: Tom Holsinger on 11.05.03 at 03:34 PM [permalink]

    You seem to have misread Alterman's "Conservatives" as "Every single conservative", and his list of five or six other groups besides Luskin as, well, nonexistent. Alterman should probably point to right-wing dissent from the anti-semitism smear - but how much was there? Your NRO link is to the Atrios dustup, and your justoneminute link concerns an even more egregious Luskin charge. You might note when you link to Sullivan here that Alterman considers Sullivan to be complicit in the smearing and that when Sullivan "points out at least one [I guess you mean "points out an"] absurdity", he does so by saying, No I'm not.

    In addition, you might want to comment on the rest of Alterman's allegation - that it has been difficult to discuss a range of topics because of "why do you hate America" attacks.

    Off-topic, it would be nice if you would readdress the question of correlation in the thread, where a commenter claims to have disproven your analysis.

    posted by: rilkefan on 11.05.03 at 03:34 PM [permalink]

    Another problem of your link to sullivan is his description " defending Paul Krugman's limited defense of Mahathir Mohamed."

    Had Krugman defended Mahathir Mohamed sullivan might have had something there. When will you people understand that attempting to analyze and explain is not defense.

    posted by: Barry on 11.05.03 at 03:34 PM [permalink]

    Alterman re Sullivan above: I wonder how Andy’s demand that no editor ever even publish Ted Rall because Andy was offended by one of his cartoons fits in with his “first-amendment absolutism.” I wonder how he justifies comparing my work to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” which would have had the effect of deligitimizing[sic] me if anyone took him remotely seriously.


    posted by: rilkefan on 11.05.03 at 03:34 PM [permalink]

    "When will you people understand that attempting to analyze and explain is not defense."

    If by "you people" we mean Andrew Sullivan, I think the answer is "not nearly soon enough" or possibly "the 12th of Never." The guy's as thick as Tewksbury mustard. I should have thought that was obvious by now to even the most casual observer.

    posted by: Cervantes on 11.05.03 at 03:34 PM [permalink]

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