Thursday, February 11, 2010


I’m writing a longer post about argumentation, but I’m going to leave this one first.
The following (not entirely consistent) insinuations and allegations have been made by Greg Laden in recent days:

Much of your commentary together with this statement could lead some people to assume that you have some serious antisemitic issues to deal with. I'm not saying that, but I just want you to know that it could look this way. (I don't happen to think it is the case.)

This is not about appeasement. It is about not being a racist slob.

I honestly believe that SC's commentary and other commentary on other blogs (on SB and NN) looked dangerously like antisemitism, telling the loud jew to shut up, a bit of victim blaming.

I also honestly believed that this was nothing like the intent of those who were making the comments.

Greg has been asked numerous times, in a variety of manners and tones, by a number of people to point to the specific “commentary” he’s talking about and how it can reasonably be seen this way in context, and to explain his bizarre reading of the one sentence he did single out. (Of course some people could read my comments any way at all, but they could be deluded, willfully misinterpreting, or stupid; only reasonable interpretations are material here.) He has explicitly declined to do so, as has his sidekick.

So far, the people who have preferred to quietly abide or defend these accusations, often disingenuously and callously suggesting that they’re irrelevant to some broader point he was supposedly making or of no particular significance, have also failed to cite anything specific or attempt to make any substantive case on his behalf. If anyone wants to do so, this thread is open to your comments. If you cannot produce anything in support of these insinuations/allegations but continue to ignore them and defend Greg’s “argument,” then be aware that you’re condoning Greg’s making the worst sort of charge about another person* – and one whom he called a friend – casually and baselessly, and refusing to retract it and apologize when he couldn’t defend it. You should think about how you would feel in my place.

*And let's be very clear here: the insinuation is obvious to anyone reading honestly. But even assuming he was "merely" talking about how my comments could be read by objective others, no evidence has been presented in support of that, either.


  1. Hi SC,

    Never having followed Laden's blog, I've only dipped in once, seen what an idiot he is, left a couple of comments and vanished. His modus operandi reminds me of a BBC TV series, House of Cards, with sequels To Play The King and The Final Cut, adapted from novels by Michael Dobbs, and highly recommended. The villain, a charming but crooked (and as it turned out, murderous) Tory politician called Francis Urquhart (brilliantly played by Ian Richardson) had a trick of getting journalists to ask questions that cast aspersions on his rivals, to which he would reply:
    "You might well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."
    He came to a sticky end - which I won't reveal if there's any chance you might ever watch them!

  2. My friend, I've responded on my blog. Your comment machine does not let me post a link.

    I'm in the Google. Call me.

  3. SC, I've lurked all the way through on both GLB threads. I was gobsmacked when I read the first quote in your list on his "civility" thread. Who-the-fuck doesn't know what "innocently" juxtaposing a particular person & and an unsavory idea like that plants in the mind of the reader? It's like one of the biggest jokes online or anywhere else (like the running gag on Dispatches about Glenn Beck not denying raping a girl...)
    I thought your response was completely appropriate & justified, including the caps. I am amused that he now seems to be begging you to come back, if obliquely...
    And I can't help but think that somewhere H. Gee is chortling at all the victim cred he's getting, not to mention having his original sexism swept under the piss-sodden rug...
    It occurs to me that GL could appear to some as a total narcissist; not saying he is, mind you, but someone might get that idea...
    --Diane G.

  4. SC,

    I just wanted to drop you a note to offer my support, for what that is worth. I know nothing of Greg Laden's style or history, nor of how that might color the interpretation of his posts for seasoned readers. But from my particular position out here in the nosebleeds, he could be most kindly described as esoteric. I do not consider myself a subtle person, but even I call bullshit when I find myself having to re-read his comments for the nth time, in an effort to capture what I have apparently 'missed'. If other outsiders similarly find him too cryptic and inaccessible, he should perhaps consider that he has only himself to blame.

    I suppose, however, that knowing a little about you from here and Pharyngula does help me out. To someone ignorant of you both, your persona is automatically under suspicion from the mere association with antisemitism, whereas Laden, perversely, enjoys protection because of the very charge most will assume he does not make lightly. Under that reading, I suppose that would make Laden out to be a cynical and cowardly ass. I'm not saying that, but I just want you to know that it could look this way.

    Best Regards,


  5. I've followed his blog for a while and I have to say that its gone downhill since it became a double act between himself and a sidekick with a severe case of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The current pattern is to have Greg make an obtuse post with rather overblown claims and when challenged by commenters to back up his claims have the sidekick come on to insult those who would dare challenge Greg (frequently throwing in an accusation of racism or anti-Semitism).
    Greg will then pop up to say he completely agrees with his sidekick.
    Whatever you think of the ethics of such an approach it is certainly working as a means of getting people to read their blog.

  6. I just want to thank you guys for the supportive notes. I'm done over there. If he has anything to say to me he knows where to find me.

  7. A modification of my earlier post: I should have said "I know nothing of Greg Laden's style or history other than what I have seen since the Henry Gee episode began..."