Friday, October 15, 2004

"You were part of the problem"

Man, what a shame. Less than 48 hours ago, we had, out there, a relatively straightforward moral and legal question to ponder:

"If a man is an active supporter of a particular government and prime minister, is it fair (and legal) to opine that he is at all responsible for the consequences of the spending and policy decisions of said gov't and PM?" I think it probably is, as long as you're not holding him personally and directly responsible for a specific consequence in the absence of evidence.

Unfortunately, that question has now been relegated to a side note in the kerfuffle that is Kinsella v. mouth-breathers, and that is most certainly to Warren Kinsella's benefit. The original post by Damian Brooks which made the argument above has been withdrawn, so that people now stumbling onto this story are unable to judge it for themselves. My quasi-summary is here; the offending sentence from Brooks' post was most certainly, referring to Liberal "support" for the military, "You were part of the problem". Kinsella, on his own site, is now characterizing this as dually "one of them wrote that I was actually responsible for the death of this child's father", and "if someone publishes that I killed a soldier...".

The post that IS still up that Kinsella objects to (by Ian Scott) represents a much less interesting question. While it doesn't appear defamatory either, it's much less mature insight than Brooks', it's rambling, and it pretends to insult Kinsella's parents, one of whom died a few months ago. In short, it's exactly how Kinsella would portray Canada's "right-wing" blogs if he could write it himself.

I said before that few or none of us doing this web-comment thing are in it to make enemies and cause serious trouble. I still believe that's still mostly true, although there are a few who wish to drop trou with Kinsella and get out a ruler. I don't see why you'd want to get into it with someone whose #1 career skill is "winning arguments". His post today underlines that pretty well; he manages to combine ad hominem attacks with quotes that aren't exactly "quotes" and characterizations which are not so wrong as to be false. I mean, wow!
  • Rightist bloggers are mostly guys and white (and "aroused" by Mark Steyn's website)
  • This is an "avalanche of hate"
  • He gets hate mail which he doesn't quote from directly, but characterizes as Puce-style (Jean Chretien's conversations with his homeless buddy come to mind here)
  • Paints all his detractors as people who would sympathize with someone who uses the term "race-mixer" (presumably as a negative - again, it's unattributed)
Why would you want to mess with that? He's periodically insightful, but he's a jerk - and I don't think there's much more to say.

UPDATE (minutes later): Kinsella also makes a bit of an issue about people not using their real names. I know this is also a big talking point whenever blogs are discussed in large media. Anyway, I'm Matt Fenwick. I never wrote this site under an alias so that readers wouldn't know who I was - most of you who have received an email from me know this. It was so that people who know me, but don't know I have a blog, wouldn't find out via Google. You may think this is equally gutless, I don't really care.

So I don't get tarred with a wide brush: my name is Matt Fenwick, I'm a Leo, and I'm presently wearing a golf shirt and Dockers.


At 1:50 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger comments - don't mean to be anonymous:^)

We bloggers do need to know the legal issues.
I find four bloggers being threatened quite disturbing.

The politics of blogging are such that although a lot of people are picking this up and didn't see some of the original posts, there is a pretty common concensus.

Kinsella is already using the situation to his advantage at his blog, and I think moral and legal questions remain. My personal view is that this event goes beyond politics, but some are able to use political skills to their advantage. I think most readers would understand that bloggers aren't sending Kinsella anonymous hate email, they are busy picking this story up and posting it.
I remain concerned for those who were threatened - it is a difficult thing to go through. BD

At 4:59 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a far left-winger, almost an anarchist and I'm assuming this is a right-wing site. I just want to say you right-wingers should not back down. If you do, Kinsella is totally using you as a foil and a tool to maintain his public visibility.

In fact, I think the blogging community is at a crossroads here. If you give up in this fight against Kinsella, he'll become your master. He'll go around representing bloggers like you at conferences at Trent and wherever else he goes, when at same time he is being instrumental in stifling free speech in the blogosphere. Is that the kind of joke you want to perpetuate?

I thought the right-wing had more balls than that in this country, but appears you're going to fall meekly into line.

At 12:56 a.m., Blogger jc said...

This is now old news...Ian held his ground, Kinsella came up with a proposal for a clarification. Ian agreed as the clarification added nothing to the clarification which was in his original post.

You stand up to a bully and you win...especially if you have bloggers, right, left and center supporting you.


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