Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Reality Prostitution

The AZ Republican primary between JD Hayworth and John McCain further refines the distinction Choir Blogging. Hayworth is such a farce (birther pandering and renouncing) that even tea party leaders are afraid to endorse him, yet a perusal of the local blogosphere would have one think McCain is about to get trounced.

Like talk radio, choir blogging reinforces a point of view in a form of "reality prostitution," but instead of make believe love pretending you're desired, it's make believe reality pretending you're right. Inside of this distinction, comment threads tend to come in two flavors: 1) "mutual support", and 2) "talking to walls". For purposes of distance, leap back to 2006 and consider this 140+ talking to wall thread where a vitriolic exchange between less than a dozen people accomplishes positively nothing. Similarly, witness the inanity at a Daily Kos post insisting "Giffords must be stopped!" Near the end, Sirocco, then under the handle "Chessguy" noted, "Aren't we all just talking to walls?" Indeed. The key distinction is that reality takes a back seat to the facades.

An excellent example of "mutual support" recently occurred at a Sonoran Alliance post. The blog duly notes an event seen as a reason to bash McCain, and henceforth ensues an orgy of agreement about why "McShame," "McClueless," "Mc[whatever]" sucks and how JD Hayworth is going slaughter him. They are not interested in a remark noting McCain's growing list of endorsements and his HUGE name recognition advantage statewide. The key distinction is that reality takes a back seat to the facade. Hayworth will win, and she's really into you, really. You're special. With you, the money is just an extra bonus.

Once distinguished, choir blogging is exceedingly dull. Starting to think it's all choir, I almost quit entirely (and still might). Is it all choir? What isn't? Well, interesting or not, inside scoop from Tedski is not choir. Blog for AZ's detailed explanation of a bill is not choir. Well written first hand accounts of a rally or a debate are not choir.

Coming soon: Vendetta Blogging.

Qui ferait cela?



Blogger Sirocco said...

Yeah, I remember those days ... I had to post as ChessGuy on DKos because Sirocco was already taken.

This post (and the Choir one) does a good job of describing (albeit, in a different manner than I had envisioned) why I eventually stopped blogging entirely - I felt I had simply become part of the choir, and frankly my voice doesn't add anything to such a chorus. (You, on the other hand, still largely stand outside the chorus, and should continue blogging on subjects when they interest you.)

Further, I've also come to the conclusion blogs can be fairly informative and thought-provoking, and the best ones are. I do include yours in this category. However, I don't think they do much to actually sway opinion on any subject where a reader already has a developed opinion of their own. As you note, those threads either become an endless list of "me too" statements, or end up in a lot of vitriolic back-and-forth.

That doesn't mean the latter type of thread is not sometimes useful. It still can be used to get an idea as to how those who hold opposite views think, and let you get experience in seeing their arguments and addressing them. Appropos, I do recall a fairly lengthy debate I had on Art Jacobsen's blog The Data Port over the relationship between gun ownership and crime. A lot of what I researched in supporting my points and disputing contrary views served me well in several subsequent debates on the same topic, in different venues.

3/03/2010 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to those threads you listed and read them. At first I thought, "What is x4mr talking about? These people are citing lots of various facts."

Then I kept reading, and it started to dawn on me EXACTLY what you are talking about, and the bulb went off. People stated various things, but what was stated was irrelevant and made no difference. 140 comments of what only seems like a conversation. It is a facade, a kind of reality prostitution.

Now that I get it, I can see why those come to realize this would either stop blogging or realize they have to find blogs "outside the chorus."

"Choirs screaming at choirs" is perfect. I bet over 80% of both the stories and the comments are nothing but this phenomena. The thread at Sonoran Alliance was pretty incredible too. They went on and on about McCain, and when x4mr noted McCain had the endorsements of Kyl, Brewer, Franks, Flake, Shadegg, etc., no one even replied.

Maybe they just can't stand x4mr, which wouldn't surprise me.

Now that I get "Choir Blogging," I can already see "Vendetta Blogging." In both cases, we have situations where the agendas are so loud no one hears a thing.

Insightful distinctions, x4mr.

3/03/2010 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Sirocco is right that blogs can be very informative and useful, and the good ones are. Most are not.

I think Rush Limbaugh knows that he is making a fortune with hate speech that strokes the views of the ignorant and stupid. Regarding choir blogs, you might be giving more credit than they deserve if you suggest they are aware of what they are doing.

I would bet that most choir bloggers believe their own facade. That's why they can get all worked up in 100+ comment threads as if they are actually saying something to someone, "Giffords drives SUV!!"

Consider that when they think the prostitute cares, they are actually right. They are each other's "reality prostitute".

3/03/2010 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I love the image - obscuring one's vision with a knife. It says a lot.

Your astute story has a lot of truth on many levels. Sadly, I don't think many people will understand what you are saying. I think the very subject you are talking about has eliminated most of those who would read your blog.

3/03/2010 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I forgot to make my further point that my last remark (choir blogging has driven away people that would read you) supports Sirocco's view that even good blogs don't make a difference in elections.

Choir blogs draw large crowds of voters already entrenched. Blogs that have a lot to say have fewer readers, and what they say probably has little impact on a vote.

Oh, I'm not local, not that anyone cares.

3/03/2010 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The AZ tea party leaders are not "afraid" to endorse JD Hayworth. They don't endorse him because he is a total hypocrite to claim he is not as "establishment" as the rest of the crooks.

Republican schmucks across the country are trying to pretend they are conservatives now that it is in fashion.

Hayworth was in office for 12 years, and the entire time he was a total game playing go along suck up insider rubbing elbows and using prostitutes with Jack Abramoff & Co. Hayworth is pure windbag.

Conservative support for JD shows how truly stupid these people. The morons at the SA link in your story would support a hog's ass if it sang with their choir.

3/04/2010 7:27 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Since your choir blog post, I've found most of the AZ political blogs nauseating. I think the right is worse than the left, but those lefty threads you cited show they can choir up a storm. The distinction really strips the inanity naked. I am clear Sirocco and most of those who commented get what x4mr has identified, but I think it is actually quite subtle. I doubt most get what he is saying.

Now, blogs like Seeing Red are almost hilarious. Have you seen IC Arizona? That lady needs to get a life.

3/04/2010 12:41 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Always good to hear from you Sirocco, and I understand completely about the blogging. I've come close to just checking out completely on several occasions.

People are coming unglued. Consider Stephen's "drunken sailor" comment at this SA piece. Amazing.

Yes, Nav, a full appreciation does require seeing something rather subtle, but a simple sense of it is just noticing that everything is fixed and dead. There is nothing alive in the conversation. Go to the SA post I just listed. It's dead.

Sirocco knows what I mean. The good threads back in the Data Port days were not choirs. We were really exchanging ideas and genuine thought. You can tell that these threads are qualitatively different.

They can get spicy too. Liza really lit into Framer at my post about the T-shirts. Still, it was alive - a real conversation.

3/04/2010 2:49 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...


Framer didn't comment at your T-shirt post. The Framer/Liza explosion was at Conniving Cloth, and what a thread that was! Now THAT was a conversation.

I miss those days. I wonder if the people in this country are losing their ability to talk to each other. If Washington is any indication.....

3/04/2010 8:54 PM  

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