Jamelle points me toward William K. Wolfrum’s response to this post over at Shakesville. Normally, I’d leave it there, especially since Wolfrum doesn’t call me out by name (which, considering what would have happened to my comment section if he did, was very classy, and I thank him as sincerely and unironically as I can). But Wolfrum really summarizes what’s disconnected me from Shakesville, so I feel a few more words are in order.
A constant theme within Shakesville is that they haven’t left the liberal blogosphere, the liberal blogosphere’s left them. It’s not that McEwan and the Gang were more sympathetic toward Clinton and critical of Obama than is reasonable for progressives, it’s that Josh Marshall and John Aravosis are sexists who Just Don’t Get It (TM).
Now, I’m always skeptical of these kinds of “the world’s gone mad, I’m perfectly sane” theories, whether Zell Miller or Melissa McEwan is expressing them. Roy Erdoso’s “Nelson Mandela Republican” formulation just about nails it. And Wolfrum’s post really shows who’s been doing the repositioning here.
The liberal blogosphere I know is one that has consistently fought against the mainstream media’s critiques of us based not on our content, but on our tone. We reclaimed “shrill”, we kept on swearing, and we mocked the establishment’s hackish attempts to critique us. We not once stooped to their level, attacking the language arguments are formed in rather than the arguments themselves. We were better than that.
Not Wolfrum, I guess. Not once in his post does he respond to an argument I make, or an argument litbrit or Sir Charles make. Instead, he deems us our reaction “spiteful”, and follows that with a long list of non sequiturs and banal truisms about his right to vote. That’s the kind of tone-focus and incoherence I expect out of the Washington Post editorial page. It’s disappointing coming from what used to be one of my favorite blogs.
If Wolfrum, or zuzu, or Melissa has a half-way coherent explanation for how voting for someone other than Barack Obama, or a third party, doesn’t harm the progressive goals they claim to be devoted to protecting, I’d love to hear it. I mean that: the current literature, from them and others, is some combination of “but he’s not as good as Barbara Boxer because that’s a completely reasonable expectation from a major party nominee!” and “if you squint really, really hard he totally sounded sexist this one time!” Something more systematic and consequence-oriented would be welcomed.
But if all they can muster are attacks on my tone, then all I can say is that I’m sorry they’ve left us and I hope they have a safe trip to wherever they’re going. Wherever it is, it sure ain’t anywhere I’d want to be.