Friday, August 21, 2009

One to bank for future use ...

Oliver Kamm (on Chomsky, but that's not the point):

"In the manner of the conspiracy theorist, he snatches at quotations that divulge a latent policy agenda."

Almost a perfect decription of the Decent blogger m.o.

14 Comments:

Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

indeed - and Kamm is one of the very worst for that.

also is it only me who a) can't understand what Kamm's going on about generally and b) finds this a pretty amusing phrase:

a tone of knowing condescension that I recognise

Indeed...

8/21/2009 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strictly OT but amusing nonetheless.

Conor Foley sticking the heid on HP Sauce Somebody has certainly rattled his cage but I'm not sure about either his distinction between above and below the line commentators, or his desire to shut down websites no matter how offensive. His comment that they will likely be sued soon and that they have had it coming is perhaps more defensible though.

8/21/2009 06:16:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Sorry that comment above was me.

8/21/2009 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Weird thing is that some people seem to be under the impression that blog owners are not responsible for comments made on their postings. They surely are and I can't imagine why anybody would be under the contrary impression.

A judge might take a more lenient view of a comment than a posting, no doubt to some degree taking into account how the blog owners dealt with it, but surely you can't just say what you want on other people's blogs and they can't evade responsibility if you do.

8/21/2009 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Completely agree Justin. I think the reason the Harry's Place that we know came about is that they made the wrong decision regarding trolls early on. Like Conor, I agree with some of David T and Gene's posts, but the comments are frequently ugly. There's a strange comment on that Guardian thread: The greatest power in the Internet world, and the greatest anonymnity, belongs to the forum moderators who can slice away other people's words and block their accounts. Any chance they could be named? Forum moderators are blog owners or their employees. It's not hard. While some Guardian moderation strikes me as bizarre, there's not enough of it. There's too much hate floating about in the comments. Mind you, CiF could raise the standard of the articles, so as to at least set an example.

On topic again, am I alone in not really understanding the Kamm quotation above? It seems the worst possible expression of what Kamm means. Does he mean that Chomsky finds quotations which may be a sort of Freudian slip by the speaker - and that he reads an agenda into these? That would be like a conspiracy theorist. When Kamm uses 'divulge' however, he implies that Chomsky is correct that these quotations do indeed express the tacit beliefs of whoever spoke. Only the word 'snatches' conveys any disapprobation. That can't have been OK's intent. And what the hell is a 'latent policy agenda'?

8/21/2009 08:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Yes, 'divulge' is odd. The overall effect is midway between 'quotations that appear to support the policy agenda that he has inferred' and 'quotations that appear to support his inference that there is an underlying policy agenda'. I think what he meant to write is the former, but he also wanted to close the door on the possibility that Chomsky's inferences might be correct. Once you concede that there might be some difference between the public and private languages of political actors, it becomes harder to point and laugh at those silly conspiracy theorists.

8/21/2009 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anscombe said...

Kamm's article is strange even by his own standards. Chomsky claims that the NATO bombing precipated - i.e. was one of the central causes of - the escalation of atrocities. Kamm accuses Chomsky of talking nonsense. Why? He tells us:

"Nato ought to have realised that Milosevic would use the air campaign as a pretext for stepping up his attacks on Kosovar Albanians. But it didn't. It made the mistake of simultaneously underestimating Milosevic's depravity and using inadequate force to stop him."

It follows from this that Chomsky is not talking nonsense. Rather it follows that what Chomsky said is true. Kamm's attempted explanation of why Chomsky is talking nonsense merely describes the way in which the bombing managed to escalate the atrocities, i.e. by giving Milosevic a "pretext" for escalating them. This does not deny Chomsky's causal claim, but rather provides an an explanation of why his causal claim is true.

Now it may be that Kamm is really attacking Chomsky's claim that General Clark told the White House that the bombing would cause the escalation of atrocities. But if so, what Kamm says is irrelevant, for nothing in what he says shows that *this* claim is nonsensical, for Kamm does not even deny the claim.

8/22/2009 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous darkhorse said...

Kamm's attitude to Chomsky is bizarre. Although he disdains the demigod-like status that Chomsky holds amongst certain sections of the left, he does seem utterly thrilled, dizzy teenager stylee, that Chomskers deigned to condemn him stentorian tones on one occasion, and never passes up an opportunity to remind us that this happened (eg, the at the end of that article).

8/22/2009 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin Wisse said...

I'd hate to psychoanalyse Kampf --actually, I'd love it-- but his attitude to Chomsky isn't that bizarre; it's a lover spurned.

8/22/2009 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

You mean as if America were writing to Allen Ginsberg rather than the other way around?

8/22/2009 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex Higgins said...

I'm not impressed by Kamm's dismissal of the 'tacitly acquiescent in horrible crimes' accusation (which he has proudly used as a banner on his blog) by responding that he merely has different politics.

Bit of a non-argument given that his politics involves occupying Iraq, which involves horrible crimes, and Chomsky's doesn't.

8/23/2009 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

Also in Decent circles, "having different political opinions" is often actually interpreted as "is guilty of genocide" ("marching to support Saddam", et al).

8/24/2009 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Can I be the first to note that this sentence from Aaro's Times piece today...

The thought is that there is a section of opinion that is, perversely, rather keener on being friends with the likes of Colonel Gaddafi, than it is on nurturing our relations with out main and most important ally. After all we do want to show the Americans how independent we are...

...May be the most insulting piece of Decent Telepathy he's belched up thus far. I'm often inclined to blow off Aaro's excesses as mere rhetorical flourish, and I think a couple of points he raises in that column are very good. Sadly, because of that one paragraph, he thoroughly deserves to be diced with a butter knife and fed to ravenous badgers.

It should be incredibly easy to type a column without accusing anyone of sucking up to dictators, but like a man with a sore tooth, he just can't resist pressing it, can he? Ow, appeasement! Ouch, ow (bad Michael Jackson analogy with implicit hint that American torture is No Biggie!) ouch!

8/25/2009 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I noticed Portillo in the Sunday Times said:

"Yet now we are meant to accept that one of the worst terrorists in history should go home after serving only eight years, simply because he is unwell."

Which is a strange way of putting it, no?

8/25/2009 11:17:00 AM  

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