Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Commentarama: Fringe Sleaze?

The other day, I was checking around the internet to see where Commentarama’s name might come up. Within a few minutes I’d found a mention of our humble site in the comments at Slate -- a run-of-the-mill leftist e-rag. The comment, made by someone I shall call “Idiot Girl,” described our site as a “fringe sleaze site.” Hmm. We’ve been many things, from a Nigerian bank to a dispenser of invisible t-shirts, but we’ve never been about sleaze. And we certainly aren’t about the fringe either.

Much of the blogosphere, left or right, is about following the crowd and posting a link to some well known article along with a couple sentences that say: “I’m hopping mad about ___. Isn’t ___ a jerk.” But that’s not us. We do our best to provide original content everyday. And even when we do hit a popular topic, we always try to give you more than you’ll find anywhere else (sometimes with a little humor tossed in). We like to think of ourselves as more of a magazine than a blog.

Our goal at Commentarama is to provide you with a fair analysis of issues that we see, in the hopes that this will challenge your views and get you to understand your own beliefs more clearly (plus, we like to hear ourselves talk!). Thus, we try to present you with the facts and the arguments of both sides, and we give you our honest opinions -- not the opinions we think you want to hear. Nor do we repeat right-wing talking points, or left-wing talking points, or anyone’s talking points.

Indeed, you’ve seen us take many stances that ran counter to the rest of the right-wing blogosphere. Take, for example, my article on leaving Afghanistan. Or consider our CommentaramaCare plan that doesn’t fit cleanly on either ideological spectrum. Nor do we refrain from criticizing the right when they are wrong, nor do we withhold our contempt for corrupt Republicans any more than we withhold our contempt for corrupt Democrats. We believe in principle above party, and truth and logic above all else.

All told, we think that’s helped separate us from the rest of the blogosphere pretty well. For example, we told you that Obama was failing (here, here, and here) long before anyone else did, way back when everyone else was still screaming that he was an evil genius working according to a secret master plan that would guarantee him permanent power. We told you (here and here) what was happening in Honduras a few days before even the Wall Street Journal became “the first” to figure it out. And we continued to walk you through Obama's surrenders in Honduras step by step, when others were merely screaming about his love of dictators (here, here, and here). We showed you how Investor’s Business Daily was wrong about ObamaCare, when everyone else was running around feeling outraged by IBD's incorrect conclusion. And in other instances too, we gave you the actual analysis while others merely ran with the most extreme rumors they could find -- Climategate, ObamaCare, the economy, Copenhagen, China and its dangers (here and here) but also that we shouldn’t overstate China's powers, cap and trade, etc.

In none of these instances, did we act like a fringe site. Yes, we weren’t particularly flattering to Obama and the left, but that’s because they did not deserve to be flattered. There is a difference between being fair and uncritically accepting the arguments of both sides. We are more than willing to identify those instances where we agree with the left, or where they have valid points -- even if we don’t share their views, or where we think the right is simply wrong. But when history has shown that a particular policy has failed repeatedly, or when something is illogical or just plain stupid, or someone is lying, we will call them on it. In other words, expect us to be fair, but don’t expect us to be patsies.

So what I’m trying to say is that we do our best to be accurate. When we aren’t, call us on it. If you disagree with us or you hold a different opinion, speak up. We won’t be offended. We want to hear from each of you -- not just the conservatives (and yes, I know some liberals read this site. . . I can name a couple of you).

So make Commentarama your daily read, and feel free to participate. And if you ever run across something you want us to talk about, just ask -- we’ve probably got an opinion about it.

In the meantime, if you run into Idiot Girl, tell her that if she thinks that we are a fringe site, then maybe she should consider that she’s the one on the fringe. And as for “sleaze”. . . tell her to get her mind out of the gutter.

Thanks for listening!

42 comments:

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I think we have taken pride in being conservative writers who are willing to listen to and occasionally even agree with our liberal brethren. We're not shy about going after political-correctness, corruption, incorrect statements of the law and the Constitution, and just generally being tough on politicians, sometimes with humor, sometimes with anger, but always with facts.

We check our sources carefully, and on those occasions when we got something wrong, we didn't try to justify it, we corrected it, loudly and clearly. With our meager resources and no funding at all, we've managed to scoop the major journals and talking-heads on several occasions. And we don't even claim to be a news site.

We've managed to write serious and humorous articles without dropping the f-bomb every other sentence, and that alone keeps us out of the sleaze brigades so common and beloved of liberals. We're not saints, but we're not Markos Moulitsas or Arianna Huffington, either, which puts us well back in the tail-end of the sleaze race.

Your links were apt and well-chosen, but not even close to exhaustive (I agree that too much of a good thing is a bad thing). I take great pride in what we have accomplished, and I join you in challenging "Idiot Girl" to a full day of blogging with no f-bombs and no references to an inordinate interest in sex and bodily functions.

Applying the Miller-Roth contemporary community standards test, we've avoided writing works that describe in a patently offensive way sexual conduct or excretory functions, and most of our works (humor aside) have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. That means we can't be defined as obscene or sleazy, unlike the DailyKos and the HuffPo. And unlike theirs, our articles are written for thinking adults. So, Idiot Girl, s---w yourself (oops, I think I just violated at least two rules).

wahsatchmo said...

I come for the fringe, but I stay for the sleaze.

Actually, Commentarama is an awesome site. I loved your analyses of ObamaCare and the subsequent offering of CommentaramaCare, and while I disagreed with some of your points on Afghanistan, I certainly couldn't fault your presentation or the logical approach.

I am an avid reader, which makes me a Commentaramist, I guess.

patti said...

my site was blasted in the UK. They linked me and my traffic shot up for almost 3 whole days (big whoop), but they never said a word about how they disagreed with me on my site...that was saved for their site. it gave me a laugh, but then again, i probably deserved the slam. after all, i did call barry a douche on the post they took umbrage with.

Anonymous said...

I did a search for the Slate article but I couldn't find it.

As I told a film school friend of mine recently when the subject of my blogs came up, "Yes, they're conservatives and even though you and I are more middle of the road and many of our friends lean to the left, you know what? They don't like Obama's healthcare plan so what did they do? They came up with one of their own. Ya gotta respect that!"

I just like that you guys aren't total haters (as Andrew said to me once, Obama Derangement Syndrome is no better than Bush Derangement Syndrome) and that your articles and the comments are substantive, well-thought out, and detailed.

LawHawkSF said...

wahsatchmo: Welcome to the party, and keep commenting. As you indicated, if Andrew and I were simply repeating right-wing talking points we wouldn't nearly have come to blows over enhanced interrogation. We agree on our ultimate military/intelligence strategy, but disagree loudly and often on tactics, particularly Afghanistan, and the percentage of GDP which ought to be devoted to the military.

Patti: As they say in show biz: Every knock is a boost.

ScottDS: Unlike the doctrinaire left, we know that independents and moderates are the key to nearly every election. You, and so many people like you, are the ones we most want to consider our views. If we talk only to conservatives, in conservative terms, and with those "right-wing" talking points, we convince nobody who isn't already convinced--even those who think we're a couple of stealth-liberals. LOL

USArtguy said...

I just had an exchange with another (supposedly) conservative over at Big Government regarding the Tea Party Movement. This lady had made a remark about how one can't be against pro choice if they're going to be a Tea Party(er). Someone else posted a "that's news to me" comment and this "lady" went off on him/her about religion and it's her uterus and he/she should come in from the dark ages, etc. When I pointed out her strategy of ad hominem attacks smacked of the way the Left does things and if she wanted to convince the original poster and like minded people of her view point, she should persuade with the power of her ideas and not throw bombs. She then, of course, turned on me.

I come here for the great analysis, humor and camaraderie of like-minded people. I like the fact you personally reply to your readers even if they disagree and never insult their intelligence. Your articles are well written and researched and you certainly aren't bomb-throwers.

There's a few businesses around town that have a bell for you to ring (or some other gimmick) if you get good service. While I try to be "liberal" with my compliments, I never ring the bell. If I like the service I come back. If I really don't like the service (feel I was cheated, encountered an insolent employee, etc) I don't.

If this were a fringe site, I wouldn't come back every day.

AndrewPrice said...

wahsatchmo, Thanks! We're glad to have you!

"come for the fringe, stay for the sleaze!" Hilarious!!

Commentaramist -- even better!! :-)

I'm glad you've liked the articles. I don't pretend to know everything or even to always be right, but I do my best to call them like I see them, and then it's always interesting to see what other people think. And I can fully respect your disagreement.

Thanks for reading!

Writer X said...

Andrew, when people get hysterical you know you've hit a nerve. ;-) Keep up the great work! Your site has become required reading for me each day.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. I feel like we have approached this with an open mind, and if we haven't I'd honestly like to know -- you can't learn anything with a closed mind, and life is about learning.

Not to pat ourselves on the back too much, but I'm also very pleased with what we've achieved. . . though I'm actually a little more dismayed that we have at times done a better job than the media at putting together facts. I wish they would step up their game. Democracy relies on a free and competent media, and we don't seem to have that right now.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, That's funny. Maybe you're banned from the UK now?

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Scott! We're glad that you're here too -- it's always interesting to hear other views. And I definitely enjoy the film series.

Yep, I did say that about Obama Derangement Syndrome and I stand by it for many reasons. I can understand how upsetting politics can be, but if we just travel down the path of hating the other side, assuming the worst, refusing to try to understand each other, and just opposing the other guy -- then our whole country is in a lot of trouble.

(I'll see if I can find it again and post the link.)

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Scott, One thing I want to add, don't confuse some of the fun I have with the other side (like the Weekly Bidenisms) for any sort of hate on my part. I don't hate Biden at all. I do find it frustrating that he gets away with saying things that would get a Republican executed, but mainly I write those because it's fun to poke fun at the other side.

AndrewPrice said...

USArtguy, Thanks a bunch! I couldn't agree more that you just can't convince people by attacking them. If you want to win people over to your views, you need to explain them carefully and show the other person why they should accept your views.

I really like your description of why you come here! That's exactly what we're aiming for! We definitely do our best to present thorough and careful analysis, but it is you the readers who keep the place running. We are very impressed with the quality of the comments that we get, with the thoughtfulness, and with the camaraderie. You folks are a great audience!

Thanks!

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Thanks! And thanks for coming, and thanks for writing the articles you send us! :-)

You're right, when people won't argue with you reasonably, you know that you've won.

Anonymous said...

Andrew - I know what you mean, re: Bidenisms. :-)

But the thing you said about ODS was in an-email; I don't believe you actually wrote about it on this site.

And thanks for the kind words re: the film series. At the rate of one per week, it'll be over by the end of next month.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott,

Whether it was in an e-mail or not, I do stand by it. I don't think ODS is any better than BDS.

Three more episodes huh? Hmm. You should get a job on a film set so you can keep the series going! ;-)

By the way, here's THE link to the Slate comment. It looks like someone linked to one of Lawhawk's articles and Idiot Girl -- aka Chick Camel slandered us: LINK And here is the quote:

The Washington Times, a nut wing rag. Commentarama, a fringe sleeze site I haven't seen before. Thanks, And finally the Washington Slimes has an article they got from junkscience.com, a corporate funded site that is more than just self serving.

You and these propagands websites are beyond pathetic.

Come on Eric, grow up, All these propaganda sites prove is that they are propaganda sites. Get real.............



My life hasn't been the same since. . . *sniff, sniff*

Anonymous said...

Andrew - After this Saturday's blog, I'll have four or five more.

And as for fringe sleeze, what's wrong with just regular sleeze? :-D

Individualist said...

"As you indicated, if Andrew and I were simply repeating right-wing talking points....."

Pssst! Lawhawk

I thought you and Andrew were writing the talking points for the rest of us ......

Oh right Mums the word!

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, Shhhhhh! ;-)


Scott, LOL! Now I've got to wonder what exactly would constitute fringe sleeze compared to just regular sleeze? Hmmm. Good question.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I don't know how I'll ever recover from such a devastating attack, particularly one in which I'm sleezy [sic] and write for a right-wing fringe propaganda blog. Does anybody have any spare hemlock?

Tam said...

A fringe "sleeze" site she's never seen before...brilliant. It is ALWAYS a good idea to make judgments on things you have never seen before. I'm pretty sure I could make a similar assessment of her without ever seeing her...

Tennessee Jed said...

Clearly since the person who called Commenterama fringe sleaze also called the Washington Times a rag, she has her own issues with conservative derangement syndrome. Now I have made comments on this site (as have we all) that may have sunk slightly below our most professional high road best.) But, in my view, the people who run and write for this site are intelligent and incredibly gifted writers. I am no dummy myself (let alone fringe) and wouldn't spend the amount of time "commenting" if I didn't feel that way.

Put another way, I don't have much experience with the blogosphere, but I think we are incredibly well mannered and serious in our discussions for the most part.

LawHawkSF said...

Tam: Maybe she thought the article was so boring, as well as "sleezy" fringe right wing, that she just couldn't bear to read any of the hundreds of other articles we've written. Hmmmm.

Indi: Keep it under your hat. As soon as I've read tomorrow's left-wing talking points at the DailyKos and HuffPo, I'll send you the memo with our Thursday talking points. I won't read Slate now that they've hurt my tender feelings.

And now that I think of it, why the heck were they attacking an article from last September? Does it take them that long to read a one-page article?

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: Thank you, and you are absolutely right about our readers and commenters. I've been very grateful for the level and tone of discourse all along. It's clearly a cut above the tripe I see on so many other blogs. While we're crowing, all of you should give yourselves a hearty pat on the back. We thrive on your thoughtful and occasionally contrary comments.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, Absolutely right! How much credibility can someone have when they attack something they admit they have no knowledge of? Plus, notice that she doesn't even address the article itself, she just attacks the source! Veeeeeeeery persuasive.

Monica said...

If Commentarama was really fringe sleaze, would I recommend it to my parents (and coworkers, friends, people at church, other relatives, etc)? I think not! You all are great at making intelligent presentations of current issues, and I appreciate that. Maybe "stupid chick" just can't appreciate the good stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree completely -- she clearly has anti-conservative issues. I've looked over the whole thread and she dismisses everyone who challenges her as "fringe" or something similar.

Thanks for the kind words! I agree that we have all made the occasional "non-high road comment" now and then, but I think the tone around here has been very pleasant and genial. The comments we get are wonderfully thoughful, the discussions are serious, and each of you is obviously an independent thinkers -- which is great!

And, like you, if we were a fringe site, I wouldn't want to be here either.

LL said...

Does this mean you'll succumb to posting porn to pander to those who want you to promote sleaze?

cool...

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Monica! And thanks for recommending us!

It's funny, but when I look at the kinds of arguments this "Chick Camel" was making, and I compare that to the kinds of excellent comments we get from each of you, there is no contest where I would rather spend my time.

I am constantly learning things from the people who comment here, and getting new ways to look at things. . . I can't imagine there is much intellectual (or emotional) growth where Chick Camel spends her time.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, How did you get a copy of our marketing plan? LOL! We've got our hands on Congressional porn, the fringiest kind of porn you can imagine!

DCAlleyKat said...

Andrew: Democracy relies on a free and competent media, and we don't seem to have that right now.

We don't have it 'left' now either!

Seriously, this is the best hotspot for news and analysis, free thought and quips,etc. What you guys have put together totally rocks! Here's to looking forward with much much more Commentarama point of view....hugs!

StanH said...

You know that you’re being effective when the left projects, “sleaze, fringe,” - - Commentarama…not hardly! As a certifiable silly person myself, I enjoy your articles, as you deal with serious subjects, and you lay your out your premise without becoming overly sanctimonious, unless of coarse you mention, “conspiracy” or she whose name that must not be said “JG”…all’s fair…HA! You guys don’t just complain but lay out reasonable solutions that would in the most part be good for our great country. Some of your articles have tongue firmly planted in cheek, “Bidenism’s, Boiler Room Elves,” etc. and gives needed levity to otherwise very serious time for our country. When I start my day Commentarama is part of my required reading. Well done!

BevfromNYC said...

I'm always late to the party! I was testing Pomegranate martinis for Writer X last night and it took ALOT of research to get the recipe just right.

I don't mind them calling us names. Because if they are calling us names then they know who we are and the horizon broadens (there is no bad publicity). However, I do mind if they can't back it up with anything more productive than "fringe sleaze". I see this all the time on Huffpo and Big Hollywood et al. Name calling but, no real discussion. We have the edge because we really discuss these topics intelligently like adults and a healthy dose of humor too.

I wish that the silent liberals who read our blog and disagree would let us know why and share your ideas. You can't change any minds if you don't share your ideas.

LawHawkSF said...

LL: My assistant Kelly insists that I'm into kitty porn, but I promised not to post it here.

DCAlleyKat: Thanks a mil, and we intend to keep trying to illuminate and amuse as long as our readers can tolerate us.

StanH: I like to think that we're occasionally queasy, but rarely sleazy.

Bev: Andrew and I couldn't agree more. Speaking for myself, and living in San Francisco, if I didn't have liberal friends, I'd hardly have any friends at all. Most of them are intelligent, articulate people, and don't spout leftist talking-points any more than we spout rightist talking-points. I'd love for them to join us more often and liven up the debate.

AndrewPrice said...

DCAlleyKet, What troubles me even more than the bias is the incompetence. I can't tell you how often I watch the news and the reporter doesn't have a clue about what they are talking about. I could sort through the bias, but it's gotten so bad that I can't even trust the press to get regular details right.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Thanks! And you're right, we need the humor to break up the seriousness of these topics. It's also a great way often to convey ideas. Plus, it's just fun.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'm glad your researched worked out! :-)

I agree about Huffpo -- everytime I've been there, it's been nothing but name calling and anger. . . very little real discussion. I'm thrilled with the way our discussions go here because everyone has been very respectful and very thoughtful!

And, like you, I too wish that our liberals would speak up more.

Anonymous said...

In this world there are leaders and there are followers. I get the impression that "Idiot Girl" is a follower who desperately wants everyone to think she's a smart leader.

So sad. So predictable. But maybe if she shouts both coarser and louder...

MegaTroll said...

This is my favorite site. I tell everyone I know. Keep up the great work!

AndrewPrice said...

Thank Mega! We're happy to have you here.


Anon, I think you're right. She strikes me as someone who just repeats exactly what she's heard, and she does it very emphatically. Real leaders understand how to motivate and how to convince, not just how to name-call!

rlaWTX said...

pshaw...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, LOL!

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