Discourse -- or diatribe on blog sites?
Original post made
by Diana Diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Oct 2, 2006
Whatever happened to reasoned discourse?
A couple of months ago, I was invited to write a blog for the Palo Alto Weekly. I agreed, and thought it would be fun.
And four months later, I am not sure how much fun this is.
Blogging was a new experience, but having gone through it, I don't know if I like what is happening.
People mostly those who remain anonymous attack not the issue, but the blogger. If I happen to disagree with their point of view, they immediately call me "uninformed," "lacking the facts," stupid or whatever. It becomes a personal vendetta.
And under the anonymity cloak, which I don't wear, they feel free to do anything and name call as much as they want.
Case in point: I recently wrote a blog about the wisdom of the Palo Alto City Council agreeing to spend $1-plus million dollars on a future police station, which needs voter approval to proceed. I asked whether voters should first approve of the expenditure, before spending million(s) of dollars for studies and a campaign to get it approved.
There were those in the community who challenged me, who said they needed the information about the police station (size, cost, etc.) before they could vote to approve such an issue. A very fair comment. And a good dialogue.
But there were those who got into a personal attack:
"I find it disturbing that Ms. Diamond's smear jobs are found to be persuasive by anyone who is allowed to vote. She clearly caters her arguments to the most penurious section of the Palo Alto community."
Posted by An Involuntary Palo Altan, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 1, 2006 at 1:39 pm
This is a solitary example, but it echoes so many other responses to blogs I and others have written.
Now I am (relatively) strong, and I can take these attacks. But it seems to me that the blogs have disintegrated into angry, name-calling personal attacks, for reasons I don't understand.
Can't we simply discuss issues reasonably in town? I would hope so, but that is not what is happening.
I've posted about 20 blogs, and a lot of them have encountered angry responses. Nasty, mean comments, particularly my blog on banning pit bulls in town.
But, on the other hand, there also have been spectacular blogs, like the one on "Why shop in Palo Alto?" We had scores of residents with really thoughtful comments on why they do/do not shop in Palo Alto. It was fascinating. It was a discussion every city council member should read.
It's just not my blogs that get this hate mail -- it is happening to blogs nationwide. I see other bloggers being attacked with equal personal vindictiveness.
Why are we doing this as a society? What are we getting out of it? Why are we so angry at each other?
Like this comment
Posted by Charles
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 6, 2006 at 11:54 am
It's fun, and instructive, to watch certain neighborhood activists, like Doug Moran, who have been primarily repsonsible for holding up commercial and housing development both, with their incessant meddling, using Diana Diamond's heartfelt effort to reach out and ask "why the vitriol?" as an opportunity to blast someone, once again.
It's been my experience that many in Palo Alto who see themselves as "liberal protectors of the body politic" can be among the most vitriolic and mean-spirited whenn they're given a chance to cut loose.
Doug Moran uses a Bibical homily as an excuse to go on in a way that masqerades as reasons - by keeping his language lofty - to go on the attack.
Note how Moran uses the "boy who cried wolf" homily to nail DD. How quaint, and condescending. Really, Mr. Moran, and all those others who have attacked Diana Diamond, does it give you a thrill to make hay in thsi way? I've seen this kind of thing in living color in community meetings all around Palo Alto.
Give some of these people a reason to disagree with you, and watch them bear their vocalularic incisors (to invent a word, and coin a phrase)
Moran want to damn DD to "community hell" for her past errors; what does that say about Moran, and others who have - as they always do - come out to attack Ms. Diamond.
In fact, it's only Mr. Moran's sense of reason that claims DD was a "destructive force in our community". I hardly agreed with everything DD said, or says, but "a destructive force in our community??". Please, Mr. Moran, try to regain a sense of perspective and balance.
Doug Moran wants to make DD responsible for every mistake that the PADN made in its more salad days. Really, this is overreaching, and rather juvenile, because it's an impulsive statement that wouldn't bear close scrutiny.
Doug Moran talks about "personalization", and then goes on in as condescending way as he can conjur to personalize hisi argument against DD. Does this show a lack of reasoned self-insight on Mr. Moran's part? I think it does.
Mr. Moran wants to blame DD for hate mail, etc. etc. Maybe DD is also responsible for the muggings downtown. Is that possible too, Mr. Moran? Good grief!
To top it all off, Mr. Moran goes on to slam anyone who supports DD as "angry". Frannkly, it seems Mr. Moran is ithe angry one, taking generalistic pot shots and making generalizations that any debate team coach would mark as amatuerish.
Finally, he claims that the PADN worked to undercut problem solvers. In saying this, Mr. Moran puts himself in the loft position of problem solver, while tearing down anyone who ever agreed with Ms. Diamond. Does that make Mr. Moran sound like a conciliatory problem solver? Not in my book.
What really made me guggaw was Mr. Moran's final paragraph, which bears quoting...
"Note to all: I am NOT excusing abusive behavior (directed as DD or anyone else) - As a former moderator of discussion groups, I rejected tit-for-tat and tried to preserve civil discourse on the issues."
This is NOT an attack on Mr. Moran, rather it's to say that anyone reading the verbal whipping that he sends to DD and anyone who ever agreed with her, and then reading the final paragraph, would have a hard time not using the word "hypocritical" to describe Mr. Moran's rant.
In fact, DD, although I agree with her only half the time, has grown in the years that I have read her. She can be hard hitting, and get the facts wrong, but she has a passion and spunk that adds flavor and spice to community, if taken as no more than one voice, and treated in opposition in a reasonable manner.
I hope that Mr. Moran is able to grow in the same way, especially if he plans to run for public office again.