Wednesday, August 17, 2005

PMS: Potty Mouth Syndrome

As is the case for many conservative bloggers, I was drawn to this through the encouragement and exhortation of Hugh Hewitt. Hugh had a vision of what the blogosphere could be and ought to be while the rest of us were still trying to get our brains around the concept.

Hugh wrote his most recent tome with us in mind. Blog is a primer, for all intents and purposes, on the subject of the blogosphere.

One of Hugh's strongest admonitions to young bloggers of whatever political stripe is, "Watch your tongue." Fight the temptation to let your tongue wag freely.

Write maturely and people will think you are, in fact, mature. More concisely, reputations are quickly built on the Internet. Build the best one you can, and when we're talking about communicating that means using language appropriately. As a corollary, it also means using appropriate language.

At the risk of generalizing very broadly, it seems in the blogosphere that most of the potty mouths live on the left. I generally read conservative bloggers; my contact with left-leaners consists of an occasional visit to Josh Marshall's TPM and TPMCafe.

When I do have reason to read a Kos or other liberal blogger, I'm often struck as Dean Barnett was, by their choice of writing styles:

Basically, you want to realize what prejudices might be working against you and address them.

So if I were a young left wing blogger, I’d know pretty damn well what prejudices might be working against me and work to show that those prejudices are unfounded. What are those prejudices? I would say the maturity and propriety of left wing bloggers are in question. So if I were writing a left wing blog, I would bend over backwards to not fuel those prejudices and to show that in my case they don’t apply.

Barnett eventually moves to a real-world example. A young lefty blogger, Brigham, responded to a Barnett piece in The Weekly Standard, with the usual lefty-blogger flare:

I know his response was just a manifestation of the angry young blogger shtick, but it’s tired. All the obscenities, all the rage – what do Brigham and his ilk think they accomplish? Do they not see how pathetic such antics make them look?

LEFT WING BLOGGERS LIKE BRIGHAM are often guilty of confusing and conflating “straight talk” with vulgar talk. Look, I’m no prude, especially when it comes to coarse language. Those who personally know me, and especially those who have played golf with me, view me as a uniquely unlikely champion for obscenity-free communication.

But politics is different from one’s rec-room or the golf course. There are a bunch of people who find obscenities offensive. In politics (and bloggers like Brigham are in politics), there is no need to gratuitously offend a segment of the voting society with coarse language. And yet Brigham and many of his cohorts insist on writing like they’re politically obsessed Quentin Tarantino characters.

I started this essay by talking about shoring up one’s perceived weaknesses. For left wing bloggers, the doubts they have to overcome is whether they are mature enough and sophisticated enough to take their act public. Some of them seem to know this. Chris Bowers at MyDD is doubtlessly one of the brightest liberal bloggers around, and he eschews a constant stream of obscenities in favor of well thought through and maturely expressed postings.

Bowers is also seeking office, and he’s smart enough to understand all of this. The bigger question is, why aren’t all of them?

I admit that it is a rather broad generalization that we make here. But, as Dennis would say, that's not so much a problem when it's true!

No comments:

  • Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels
  • Evangelical Outpost
  • One Hand Clapping
  • Camp Katrina
  • TPMCafe
  • Dodger Thoughts
  • Boy of Summer
  • Irish Pennants
  • tabletalk
  • Fire McCain
  • My Sandmen
  • Galley Slaves
  • Michelle Malkin
  • myelectionanalysis
  • Iraq the Model
  • Mystery Pollster
  • A Bellandean! God, Country, Heritage
  • Right Truth
  • The Fourth Rail
  • Counterterrorism Blog
  • Just One Minute
  • Broken Masterpieces
  • Kudlow's Money Politic$
  • Econopundit
  • Tapscott's Copy Desk
  • The Blue State Conservatives
  • Palousitics
  • Christian Conservative
  • Outside the Beltway
  • The Belmont Club
  • Froggy Ruminations
  • The Captain's Journal
  • Argghh!!!
  • Chickenhawk Express
  • Confederate Yankee
  • Reasoned Audacity
  • Taking Notes
  • ThisDamnBlog
  • Three Knockdown Rule
  • Dogwood Pundit
  • Dumb Looks Still Free
  • Unfettered Blather
  • Cut to the Chase
  • Alabama Improper
  • Austin Bay Blog
  • Michael Yon-Online
  • The Trump Blog
  • A Lettor of Apology
  • GM Fastlane Blog

  • Powered by Blogger

    Listed on BlogShares Who Links Here