Al Gore's contribution to the human experience

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
OK--the title was a cheap trick--but I was wondering about this internet thing. The people posting herein are commenters on RLS's site; that site has evolved into this site--we are, IMHO, becoming people who share our views and joust with each other intellectually. And we acquire people who comment on our ruminations. (of course my spouse always comments on my ruminations, but mostly it is to advise me to get off the sauce.)

This brings me to my interests--do we wonder what each of us look like? (I am still, for example, trying to post a picture next to my profile--while Syl changes pictures more often than I change underwear). What is it about blogging and commenting that is, for me, so interesting? When my wife yells at me about me being on the computer, I tell her its like writing letters to the editor--and the editor writes back.

And my really big question of the day--Who is PeterUK? who knows the latin name for slime mold; who apparently has an encyclopaedic knowledge of humanities; etc. Blogging and commenting bring us together and yet retains an air of anonymity--and I am not yet sure how good a thing that is.

In a way this is like being on Kaertner Strasse in Vienna, sipping kaffee mit schlag; reading the Zeitung; conversing with your neighbors; listening to the street musicians, except every one is masked. Is this a good thing or not?


vnjagvet said...

It is also like Ben Franklin's Junto. Take a look at this link for a description and see what you think:

Knucklehead said...

Be thankful for small favors such as not knowing what I look like. Does the vision of a whacko shoving his face into the hole the axe made and smiling, "Honey, I'm home!" ring any bells?

I think this new conversational technology is a darned good thing. I have a hope (admittedly dim) that it will help to rekindle the art of conversation and eventually push its way out to the more generalized public.

It doesn't bother me that I don't really know who certain people are or what they look like. I can admire PeterUK's wit and erudition (does he really know the latin for slime-mold? Are you a crossword junkie Peter?) from the net equivalent of afar. How could I possibly have gotten to "meet" and converse with the likes of PeterUK, Rick Ballard, Terrye and Ambi and all the others I've had so much fun with.

I'd honestly rather have y'all to the hacienda for dinner but this will do fine until someday.

flenser said...

Rogers place brings together a wide range of different people, united by their support for the war. (And by extension, for Bush and the GOP.)

This blog and its predecessor represent a effort to let all these varied people talk to each other in a more unrestricted manner. Roger sets the topic at his blog and we all attempt to stay within the boundaries he sets.

There are online communities which grow up around blogs. The LGF people have meetups in various cities, for example. Some of us have kicked around the question of whether these on-line communities will eventually become some type of new social structure, transcending normal political borders.

The Australian election results in 2004 were seen as a "win" by the Bush supporters in America, and the Bush victory was seen as a win by the right in Italy. The left has always been an internatonal movement but it will be dramatic change if the right follows suit.

I don't peronally care about what other people I "meet" online look like. I don't have a problem with the anonymous nature of the interaction either. The fact is that I know more about my fellow bloggers here, whom I have observed and interacted with for almost two years, than I do about most of the people I know in a more cnventional sense.

The anonymity gives people the freedom to speak their mind. That's a double-edged sword, but provided you have people who don't abuse the freedom, I feel its a good thing.

terrye said...

Remember Kim Darby from True Grit?

Well when I was a kid people said I looked like her.

But she is older than me.

Now you can believe that or not.

chuck said...

It doesn't bother me that I don't really know who certain people are or what they look like.

Yeah. Why spoil an online romance by actually meeting your partner(s) ;)

Actually, I wouldn't mind meeting up with folks, but we are scattered all over the country.

ex-democrat said...

Funnily enough, i look exactly like a young paul newman.

Rick Ballard said...

Geesh - a portrait's not good enough?

MeaninglessHotAir said...

A meetup is a good idea. If I'm ever travelling near any of you I plan to look you up. I would hope you would do the same if you find yourselves in CO.

Peter UK said...

They never did find Ernst Stavro Blofeld,did they?

Anonymous said...

Real world liberals aren't near as insane as the ones on the web.

truepeers said...

From the Junto Society link: In 1727, Benjamin Franklin convinced 12 of his friends to form a club dedicated to mutual improvement. Meeting one night a week, these young men discussed the topics of the day. The group lasted for 40 years and eventually became the nucleus of the American Philosophical Society.

vnjagvet, any idea why he chose twelve? I just saw a tv program on the HOly Grail and they talked about H. Himmler of the SS's fascination with the symbolism of twelves when he built the club house for the SS. It was somehow his way of linking to the symbolism of the Crusader knights.

Anyway, an interesting link, but the Juntos make some strong claims for themselves. They were not the first of such clubs. THe history of civil society, of which we are now creating the latest part, is fascinating for the great explosion of clubs and fraternities, first in the British Isles, soonafter in the colonies, from around the start of the eighteenth century.

Civil society being inherently a means of developing hypotheses about what it means to be human, about the nature of culture and its origins, I wonder if it has built-in conservative tendancies, even as its history suggests that civil society grows most rapidly, as a kind of necessary freedom, at the times when society is expanding most rapidly. Civil society is a kind of mediating force trying to recreate a balance between the latest demands for production and consumption.

Eventually, you can only consume so much blogging before you have to produce some yourself. Anonymity may help us produce more than we would otherwise. And this may be rooted in our reaction to the celebrity culture of the MSM, but also perhaps some implicit recognition of the Jewish wisdom that the center left unfigured, unoccupied, may be socially the most productive. BUt if we're doing this all for free, for social or spiritual betterment, how do we justify time spent to our families? Here is the problem with anonymity, or more obviously with the network technology we are now part of, and the limits to the kind of sociability it allows us - atomizing.

Jamie Irons said...

In a way this is like being on Kaertner Strasse in Vienna, sipping kaffee mit schlag; reading the Zeitung...

Ach! Ich bin kein Wiener!

(Ich bin Berliner auch nicht!)


Jamie Irons

Knucklehead said...


You're not gonna send Lawyer Daggett after us, are you?