It seems that "civility" is the liberal cause célèbre of the day (see "Obama Calls for 'Civil' Tone on Health Care"). Which is a code word for Shut up and Bend over. Get this:
A conversation more raucous than harmoniousInteresting that Dan used the word "police" in describing his intent. Censor is the word that he might have chosen, but either works.
By Dan Radmacher
When we first went live with the blog, we had some lofty expectations for it. Here's how we put it in the welcome message: "What The RT becomes will be largely up to readers. But we envision a place for a healthy and civil dialogue among The Roanoke Times editorial page staff and the community."
The dialogue has been healthy, anyway, if not always so civil.
We hoped the blog could be a fascinating extension of that "raucous harmony," where people could disagree without being disagreeable and discuss ideas without getting personal.
Alas, that has been difficult to achieve.
Unfortunately, the commentary on our blog reflects the state of the national discourse.
We can't do anything about that at the national level. But we can try to do something about it on The RT. And here's our plan: We are putting in place specific terms of service for those who participate on The RT.
Those terms include the usual: no profanity or obscenity. Nothing libelous. No personal attacks on other commenters. It can all be summed up in this final paragraph: "Ask yourself if you would use the language and tone in the comment you're about to post if you were having a face-to-face discussion. We do not require that commenters identify themselves, but ask yourself if you would want your reputation to depend on your comments."
We will police these standards studiously, and ... [link]
1) There will be those who will shout "freedom of speech, freedom of speech," in reaction to Dan's decision. But Dan can do whatever he wants with his site. Just as I've mentioned with regard to this weblog, this ain't no democracy. You don't like it, take it somewhere else. Dan apparently feels the same way about the RT blog. And that's fine.
2) This, to me, is a contact sport. As long as no one gets beaten up or gets his finger bitten off (both incidents perpetrated by people on Dan's side of the debate, by the way), let's mix it up. Smack each other around. Figuratively, of course. Arm wrestle. As long as extreme vulgarities are kept out of the discussion (after all, my mother reads this thing), I find it wholesome to have the fiery give and take. Call me names? Oh, woe. I'll try to make it through the day.
Besides, it's entertaining. Think of it as mud wrestling with a large-breasted woman with your clothes on and beer optional.
3) I found the back-and-forth on the RT blog to be agreeably diverting. And the sniping to be spicy and fun. Take away (or "police") the fervor and you end up with the "Voices of the Valley" section of the Roanoke Times. Who reads "Voices of the Valley"? It's about as much fun, and is as enlightening, as the Earth Channel on DISH.
Ever play football, Dan? Ever get into a fist fight with an opponent? Ever make up and be friends again once the competition had come to an end? Heck, I can't tell you the number of times my brother (my own brother!) and I got into fights during games. But we remained brothers. Throwing punches is part of the game. Ban physical contact and you might as well play parchesi. And poison yourself.
Be forewarned. When you go to the RT blog, beware the use of the word "asshole" when mentioning Henry's name ("Henry" being a frequent commenter).
Or, better yet, use it freely. "I was banned by the Roanoke Times for expressing my thoughts in the manner I thought appropriate in this our democratic republic of the United States of America where freedom of speech reigns supreme" makes for a great bumper sticker.
Or maybe a really cool hat:
Yours for just $14.95.
Wear it proudly. Or be milquetoast. Like Dan.