Tuesday, September 05, 2006

dailykos versus Slate

Sorry if this post presumes that I have any talent for writing, any ability to communicate ideas and information, any grasp of the funny, ironic, pithy or sophisticated. But I think it does, and that puts me in a very precarious (and, oddly enough, uncomfortable) position.

Still, since you’d be hard pressed to find a more self-absorbed poster than yours truly, it’s a good fit.

I put up a post I wrote Wednesday, “The 9/11 Tragedy™ Wasn’t That Big of a Deal”, as a diary at dailykos.com. After 23 responses, all of which extremely negative except for one (Thanks, topazz!), and after about an hour and a half or so, it was deleted.

It’s not a big deal. It’s just that the whole issue is fascinating to me, the dichotomy of kos and The Fray.

No one likes to be flushed, except you masochists out there. You know who you are. And I began to think about posts of mine here that have been deleted.

Kevin deleted one in my early days because I was topposting too much for one day/page. “Pope John Paul 11: Some Final Thoughts” or something, in which I probably went on and on and on about the art of sorting paper clips by size and dimension. Good times!

Adam (I think) deleted this post from Politics or Today’s Papers, but, to give him the benefit of the doubt, I just assumed the board was on auto-delete and that he probably hadn’t read it.

Geoff or Adam deleted my send up of Hitchens’ blowjob piece in Vanity Fair on Fighting Words, which was a shame because it was both on topic and scathingly trite.

Other than a few ‘neath posts that got swept away in various and sundry flame fests, I think that’s about it. (Weird, though, that I can’t find my review of Riding the Bus With My Sister. What the eff?! Help me out here, Scouring Lurkers.)

Anyway, the kos thing got me to thinking about this place. Last year Michael Wolff wrote an article in Vanity Fair about liberals and their sense of humor, or lack thereof. It was the same article in which he slammed Slate proper, and it was the same article many of us referred to when Mike showed up for Slate’s 10th anniversary, he being one of several writers invited to say something negative about our favorite little online magazine during its birthday party. If I’m not mistaken, Wolff concluded in that article that because liberals by definition (or is it by default?) have to be sensitive to everyone’s needs at all times, they don’t have the luxury to laugh when someone shoots at a helicopter that’s coming to rescue him, and that they have to say everything under the sun to the point of actually saying very little for fear of offending someone.

Now one could make the case (as kyu has) that I moved too far too fast with kos, and that it took a good 5 months for me to trick many of you into not completely despising me. Fair enough. But I do wonder if my first breakthrough post had been, instead of the Mork & Mindy movie review, 5 months later and had been the “Hurricane Refuge Survival Quiz”. That post reeks of racism, thoughtlessness, insensitivity and elitism. If that had been the first post of mine that you’d ever read, wouldn’t I, without the context I’d cultivated, come off to you as being a real asshole (Hi, that one guy at kos!)?

Hard to say. There was a guy who used to post here. His nic was tictactoe. Brilliant stuff on a rundeep/Sissyfuss/daveto/bacon level. The problem was he was so ironic that people would immediately beat up on him because they hadn’t read the whole post so they never heard the other shoe drop. It was hysterical.

Still, it does seem pretty pointless of me to post “Katrina Was a Good Thing for New Orleans” and then follow that up with “The Holocaust Was Blown Way Out of Proportion” at dailykos.com, doesn’t it? Of course it does. Which is precisely why I’m going to do it.

There are few things less funny than having to explain why something is funny (except when I do it). So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I have this thing I do to people where I make them explain a joke. When they get to the punch line, “You named a drink ‘Frank’?” I give them The Blank Stare of the Pea-Brained Half-Brother, then I look slightly puzzled, and mutter, “Frank.” To which they respond, “See the name of the grasshopper was Frank.” Then I interrupt with, “Ah, right, as if to suggest that a grasshopper would have a name. So he thinks the name of the drink is ‘Frank’, not ‘Grasshopper’, which actually is the name of a drink. I see. Yeah, that is funny.”

It completely confounds them and I do it to strangers who tell me jokes that I no longer want to talk to. Works every time.

In a sweet post by bright_virago, she basically cuts to the heart of the matter:

I mean, how can "they" be so so so very different from "us"?

My knee jerk reaction is to conclude that, in general, when it comes to Slate versus www.dailykos.com:

1.) Y’all get humor, although quite twisted at times.
2.) Y’all get irony.
3.) Y’all (most) seem to see what it is that I’m trying to say.
4.) Y’all are more tolerant and more open-minded, which is deliciously ironic in epic proportions because kos prides itself on being so liberal and, therefore, so tolerant. And that’s really saying something because you bleeding-hearted hand-wringers really can go over the top on occasion.
5.) Ergo, a lot of kossers are retarded pinheads.

But, upon further reflection, it’s the context. We as posters are not single posts but a collection of posts, for better or worse. After I’ve read something by one of you that’s particularly intriguing, when I don’t recognize the nic, I immediately hit MBTU to see what the deal is. Most of the time I’m not disappointed.

I fully expect to be deleted and banned from dailykos at some point next week. And if I do it right, it should look like quite the little meltdown of quiet desperation. Banned from kos. I wonder what that says, ultimately, about The Fray. Geoff? Adam? Kevin (We know you’re still here.)?

(Oh. Fuck. Did I just explain a punch line? Dang it!)

1 comment:

TheQuietMan said...

I would have thought the contrary.

My first assumption would be that by and large the audience is of equal intelligence - and where I'd see differences, then, I'd conclude that either a) there was some history which explained the difference (no one got to know you yet, for instance), or that the things you see as major differences aren't as major as you'd hope them to be.

It would take several years before I could comfortably say one group was better than another.

Just a thought.