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Friday, August 31, 2007

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Tim

Dan forfeits his Xarkness:

Xarkers look at the promiscuous, deviant and destuctive sexual behaviors that have always been a part of the human experience and then go find better things to worry about.

Huffman

Tim is absolutely right. Even though the Republicans have been cramming their family values down our throats (so to speak) for so many years, we should certainly ignore it when their own hypocrisy comes to light. Shame on you Daniel. Shame, shame, shame.

Tim

That's right, Robert. Only be Xarky when it allows you to ignore the hypocrisy you like and still be a partisan hack when it suits you.

Of course, Dan could have a media blog, political blog or diary on HuffPo/dKos, and Xark for his different personalities/interests.

Instead we get treated to the media demagogues from Air America and MSNBC. And if Dan was favorably posting videos of Rush Limbaugh and O'Reilly on Xark, I'd be calling him on it also.

But this really is about unanswered questions:

- Are there different types of credibility?

- What weight does the written word impose on the author?

- Can Aristotle's forms of rhetoric (logos, pathos and ethos) be applied to other forms of expression besides text (oratory, visual, ...)?

So, Robert, pay a visit to the Xark FAQ and Manifesto with those questions in mind.

I'm all for political debate in the blogosphere. Dan is a gifted writer with the ability to raise or lower the quality of debate. When he uses Xark to lower it, I'll complain.

If he wants to label me a troll and tell me to leave, I'll do that, too.

Daniel

Here's what I wrote about sex in the manifesto:

1. The sex lives of other grown people are none of your business.
2. It's none of the government's business, either.
3. If you choose to believe in a religion that says differently, that's your business. But that doesn't give you the right to apply it to the rest of us.
4. Most of the established, monotheistic religions on the planet are still struggling to deal with deep-seated, bronze-age Middle Eastern sexual anxieties that tend to perpetuate the very pathologies they oppose.
5. Gay people deserve all the civic rights of straight people, and that includes marital and family rights. If a particular church wishes to exclude them from its sacraments, fine. But a gay couple that wants to go down to the courthouse, or the local notary for that matter, should have the same civil rights as a hetereosexual couple.
6. There is no practical separation of church and state when it comes to family law. Our statutes on marriage, divorce, child rearing and custody are derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition and are, consequently, a mess.
7. In America today, a person who violates the marriage vow against adultery forfeits his or her right to property, parental equality and control of future income. On the other hand, a spouse may violate all the other standard vows -- to love, honor, cherish, etc. -- without fear of penalty. This should tell us something important.
8. Disastrous divorces are a self-fulfilling prophecy, brought about by legal and cultural institutions that seek to protect "the family" by making divorce punitive.
9. Wanna cut down on the divorce rate? Make it as hard to get into a marriage as it is to get out of one.
10. Cultural conservatives fear that without the shame-based dominion of moral stricture, human sexual behavior will become more promiscuous, deviant and destructive. Xarkers look at the promiscuous, deviant and destructive sexual behaviors that have always been a part of the human experience and then go find better things to worry about.
11. You want to go wild on spring break? That's your business. Just don't come crying to us when it doesn't turn out so well. We suggest you learn from the experience.
12. In sex as in everything else, karma is a bitch.
13. Men and women are not the same.
14. Men and women are equal.
15. Laws that attempt to enforce sameness are absurd.
16. Laws that do not recognize equality are immoral.
17. In matters of sex, the governing doctrine is consensuality. This implies a right to a reasonable expectation of protection from non-consensual exposure to sexual behavior . In other words, it's OK to put limits on public expressions of sexuality. This includes covering Janet Jackson's breast, protections for children and municipal zoning bans on sexually oriented businesses near churches, etc. It does not include prohibitions on protected free speech or restrictions on what people may do or view in private.

As for posting stuff from Olbermann and Air America: I'm a liberal. One of the functions of the blogosphere is that individual choices about what to feature serves to amplify particular messages in a viral way. Sometimes those messages are political. Sometimes they're just odd, like Dramatic Chipmunk.

Huffman

Well, let's see if we can avoid this devolving into some snarky flame war about who's xarkier. Besides, I am not sure you have to subscribe to the Xark manifesto to read and comment on the site.

Instead, how about telling us what you object to in that video, Tim. As nearly as I can tell, Maddow has one simple point to make: if, as Rove said, the Republicans lost control of congress because of Mark Foley, then they have a real problem given the number of sex scandals since those elections.

I will admit the video is partisan since Maddow enumerates the scandals with such relish. However, it is not clear to me how it is demagoguery.

Tim

Robert:

Then we should check Maddow's accuracy. yes?

Rove Remains Steadfast in the Face of Criticism

The theory is this: The building's infrastructure was actually quite sound. It was bad luck and seasonal shifts in the winds that blew out the walls -- complacent candidates, an ill-timed Mark Foley page scandal and the predictable cycles of history. But the foundation is fine: "The Republican philosophy is alive and well and likely to reemerge in the majority in 2008."
...
n an expansive interview last week, Rove said that strategy was working until the House page sex scandal involving ex-representative Foley (R-Fla.) put the Republican campaign "back on its heels," as he put it. "We were on a roll, and it stopped it," he said. "It revived all the stuff about Abramoff and added to it."
Rove lists many reasons, Foley is mentioned twice by Peter Baker in his article.

Dan: One of the functions of the blogosphere ....

So there is no difference between Xark and dKos? They adhere to the same blogospheric functions?

Daniel

The big difference is that Kos is a political site, and Xark is a blog that sometimes has politics in it.

Another is that Kos has a "diary" system that frightens and confuses me.

But otherwise, yes, Xark and Kos adhere to the same general blogospheric functions.

And for the record: the people at Xark are not required to agree with the freakazoid positions I took in the manifesto. It was written as a personal exercise before any of the other authors were invited and agreement with its ideas was not a requirement of participation.

Tim

To clarify, I'm not applying Xark's goals to anyone else than the author of those goals.

Stated goal: "Xark! transcends political and spiritual orthodoxy. It is neither liberal nor conservative, Christian or non-Christian, quantum nor relativistic."

Xark's Politics

Dan: "I'm a liberal."

The difference between dKos and your stated goal for Xark is dKos is politically self-referential to create affiliations and associations that strengthen a political ideology and elect Democrats. Xark is not.

Or, I misunderstood?

Daniel

I'm a liberal. I'm also many other labels, in varying degrees of accuracy and descriptiveness. And their accuracy fluctuates.

Orthodox? I don't think so. And as for Xark? Well, if I were Xark, Xark wouldn't be so interesting to me.

Tim, if you don't think the way I'm acting aligns with what I wrote, that's fine and you're entitled to that opinion.

Tim

Dan,

I don't think these posts align with what you want. Otherwise, I wouldn't try.

We'll pick this dance up again on some other post.

Janet

Just for the record, I do not believe that manifesto ideas are "freakazoid." I think the manifesto is brilliant, thoughtful piece of writing. While not everyone will agree with the contents in toto, at least it opens a path for discussion without being insulting, hostile or pandering. It takes courage to list one's stances in a permanent medium that allows others to comment on them in whatever tone they wish.

Accepting the label "liberal" does not mean one becomes an ask-no-questions, toe-the-line follower of the Democratic Party any more than "conservative" makes one a party-first-no-matter-the-cost Republican. These are terms with highly relative definitions, although there are many who wish they were immutable.

In fact, so many of our favorite ways to classifying people and beliefs are convenient, expedient and inherently inaccurate. The broader the category, the more superficial it becomes: Christian. Black. Southern. Feminist. Within each of these is diversity that defies simple sorting. Not that this stops continual attempts to do so (particularly by sound-bite, quick-hit mass media) but the picture it creates can be highly distorted.

In the long run, accepting labels as anything more than a starting point is an insufficient means of understanding the world or of creating meaningful relationships with those who populate it.

It is a really good way, however, of drawing clear-cut, defendable -- and easily imposed -- distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad, friend and foe, me and you.

Tim

Janet,

I'm in complete agreement with your first paragraph.

I do see room for discussion concerning the observable orthodoxy of Xark's political posts and Dan's explanation by labeling himself a liberal.

I linked to Xark's politics tag as evidence of observed orthodoxy. I didn't label Dan a liberal. I'm actually using Xark's goals to argue against the divisive rhetoric found in the labels of Master Narratives (something Dan has criticized Cal Thomas and George Will for). One of the most frequently mislabeled academics of our time has been Samuel Huntington who too often has to address it:

LAMB: Well, I guess what I wanted to ask your opinion on is -- do people say they`re liberals or conservatives, say they`re Republicans or Democrats, do either one of those mean anything today? And do people follow some line...

HUNTINGTON: Well, all this problem of -- when you talk about liberalism and conservativism in the United States, that we, in our popular discussion and so forth, define those terms very differently from the way in which they were historically defined in Europe. And as many scholars have pointed out, all Americans are liberal, including anybody, whether it`s George Bush or people to the right of George Bush, are liberals in the European sense. Neo-capitalists are certainly the epitome of European liberalism. But we think of them as conservatives, and liberals are people who promote government involvement in the economy to help poor people and provide services, and so forth and so on. And it seems to me all of these groups, however, have an appropriate role to play in our society.

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