Pruning the links list


I've deleted a few weblogs from my links page. I realized that some people I know actually link to A Small Victory, which is one of the more popular right-wing blogs it seems, despite her racism towards anyone who isn't Christian or Jewish. She's the kind of person who says racism or anti-semitism offends her, and then gladly keeps comments which talk about how Arabs are the scum of the earth and how the world would be better off if the Palestinians were all killed -- example.

Anyone linking to sites such as that one is now gone from the list.


Hm. So I guess I'm off your links list now.

I have to say that aside from gay issues (on which she's quite cool) I'm not in line with most of Michele's political views at all. But her poltics have nothing to do with the reason I link to her site. When I first started reading her, and when I first linked to her, she focused a lot more on stories about her life and kids and pop culture and so on, and that's what made me like her site. And she does still write about that stuff sometimes. That's why I continue to read her site - because although I don't see eye to eye with her politically, I do think she's often an entertaining, evocative writer. I don't link to many politically-oriented sites at all; I deal with political issues all day every day at work and most of the time view my blog as an escape from that. When Michele writes about other things, like when her son was being bullied at school and how he solved the problem on his own, for example, it can be very touching. I'm not going to apologize for reading her.

I can totally understand your not linking to her site yourself, but the further step of not linking to anyone else who does strikes me as more than a bit punitive and divisive, and I think it ignores the fact that many bloggers read and link to the sites of others they disagree with because they respect their writing ability or like *some* of what those people have to say.

Anyway, I don't know that I'm articulating this so well, and of course it's your site and you can link to whoever you want, but for what it's worth I think this is a bit extreme. If it's okay with you, I'm keeping my link to your site up on mine. Let me know if you'd rather I remove it.

Oh, no. I don't have a problem with you linking to me, certainly. I'm not angry with you at all, but I feel a responsibility towards those who use my links, and one degree of separation just isn't enough for someone like her. I once had Choire kill a comment on East/West when I said I found her "kill the Arabs" views abhorrent.

I just really can't deal with the idea of someone who things my Palestinian friends, who have lived in Israel/Palestine for (at least) hundreds of years deserve to die or be driven from their homes. That kind of fascism is one of the things that makes me fear for this country as well. I find it horrifying that such opinions are considered to be in the area of "agree to disagree" statements.

Oops. I forgot to add something. This doesn't mean I've stopped reading you, just that the link won't be there anymore.

hey barry,
chris, what you said is true for me. michele and i diverge on many occasions politically. vehemently, in fact.

also, i would add that anytime i have truly been upset or confused by either what michele has written (say, about rachael corrie et cetera), or by one of her more extreme commenters; i have simply either commented myself, or written her directly. based on her responses and our exchanges i respect her, whether we disagree or not.

another thing about michelle; i wrote to her the day we started shock and awe in baghdad, because i was terrified. and she told me that she was too, and it made me feel like i wasn't alone. that's human and ok with me.

i appreciate what you are trying to do; and i honestly expect you to go over to a small victory whether you want to or not. any truly astute political activist needs to do that; even if it breaks your heart.

but delinking? whatever, barry. do what you need to do. seems ridiculous. why don't you just engage with her?

[edited for a few typos and grammar problems...]

In a perfect world, yes I would be a good enough person to engage such people and try to help them change their minds.

This isn't a perfect world. I think liberals like us, since we want to believe that people can be reasonable and we can discuss things, try to have conversations with people even when their opinions are beyond the pale and they should be told so.

I also think someone who wrote, in her revised Rachel Corrie post, "I'm really tired of apologizing. I'm tired of walking on eggshells around people who don't feel the same way as me. My days of appeasement for the sake of friendships or civility are gone." is beyond debating, and it's delusional to believe otherwise.

I actually engaged her once as I was seeing people in the comments talking about Arabs breeding like rats -- the post about Oriana Fallaci's book. Interestingly, she took down that post, which might be in her favor. I asked her to remove my comments from her blog after her scary minions started posting on my site. I've been through periods where people put nasty comments on my site, including asking me if I masturbated when I saw the footage of Rachel Corrie. I don't care to encourage the sort of people who post on her site.

Arguing that she's OK on some issues doesn't absolve her of encouraging a community of people who believe most Arabs and Palestinians should be killed -- people who say put a wall around them and "fill it with water". To argue that she's OK on some issues is completely unacceptable. Are we to say that as long as she tolerates people asking for the deaths of certain people, and those don't include white homosexuals, she can be reasoned with? Such people should be shunned as extremists, not talked about as "OK on some issues".

This is the same logic that has allowed this country to move so dangerously to the right. The right wing keeps pushing more extreme positions, and the "middle" keeps moving to the right. Look at what happens when TV wants to talk about gay rights -- they put someone that basically says we should all be put in jail against people such as the head of the Human Rights Campaign -- the kind of people who think we deserve rights only if we act like nice middle class people and don't make too much of a fuss. We're putting the center against the far right and then acting surprised that the whole term of the debate has moved rightward. When do we start screaming, "These people are bigots and this kind of behavior belittles what our country is supposed to stand for!"

It's the same thing with religion, particularly the Catholic Church at this point. I've had it with people that stay in such an organization and say that don't agree with most of it. It's an oligarchy people -- you don't have a say. If you want to keep sending money to people that protect pedophiles while saying homosexual families do "violence" to children, you are abused victims who don't know when to flee the abuser.

and this is a blog, and the issue was delinking.

please don't soapbox me; or call into question my past or future politics.

and stop wasting your time preaching to the choir. or randomly aligning me with an abused catholic.

thanks, and have a great day.

xo jennie

Ugh, I have to post some more stuff so that this scrolls off the page. It's not coming out right and I sound more shrill and unthinking than I mean to be. I *know* that Chris and Jennie are not the enemy, and I should probably just put them back on my links. The problem is those nice blogrolling lists put something like her site at the top, and the idea of my Arab friends who read this blog being a couple of clicks away from a "community" that wishes them, and all people like them, dead is really painful for me.

I believe certain things are simply unacceptable, and I'm deeply concerned that, in the interest of civility, those of us whose hearts are in the right place are sometimes quiet, or we "agree to disagree".

I grew up in a small town in Arkansas. While most of my closest family was quite reasonable, many of my relatives and family friends were very racist. I grew up wondering when to be quiet and when to say, "stop saying nigger in front of me!" When I went away to college in Texas -- my hometown was basically 99.9% white -- I was asked things such as, "Do you have any niggers in your class?" by some family members and friends.

We're not helping the situation by staying silent when abhorrent views are aired in front of us.

thanks for clarifying. i mean that.


a) no one is staying silent (see my first comment)
b) your method of protest just managed to make me (i can't speak for chris) defensive, by wrongly making me out to be an "enabler" or whatever the kids are calling it these days.


c) isn't directly addressing your issue with michele and her readers.

btw, i grew up in new york city and we hate the texans *snicker*

(that was a joke) ;)

You overestimate the significance of your links page.

Jennie's right - this DOES make me feel defensive; I don't like feeling as though I'm being lectured to about how I don't do enough, when I've devoted years of energy and in fact my career to civil rights activism, just because of one link on my blogroll. And I think anyone who clicks through to other sites from your links list should be grown-up enough to handle whatever he or she might find while surfing from site to site; this twice--removed protectiveness seems a little condescending towards them, frankly.

I guess this shouldn't bother me as much as it does. But it does nonetheless. And I think Jennie's said everything I would want to say about this anyway.

this has been... interesting.

way to coalition-build.

that's all, folks.

I think the problem I have here is one of "disconnect". I fail to understand how people with your politics could link to such a weblog without some kind of disclaimer. I would never link to a site that might have a post advocating the exile, if not murder, of a whole class of people. You wouldn't be bothered if an Arab friend ended up on her site through yours?

Chris, I know you work very hard on civil rights issues, and I respect you enormously for doing so. I am deeply troubled by the idea that linking to someone who encourages evil people is a non-political act. The right wing didn't get to where it is today by making such separations between "fun" and "politics".

Jennie, you said in your earlier post that, "i honestly expect you to go over to a small victory whether you want to or not." If I want to read a conservative, there are plenty out there who are capable of making their arguments without resorting to bigotry.

I'm sorry if I offended either of you. My point was to say that I don't understand how people I respect can provide an endorsement -- and that is what I consider putting someone in a links list to be -- to such a person.

P.S. Jennie: Most people Arkansas and Texas probably should be made fun of!

Note to "Just sayin": please give me a real email address or URL when you post on my site. I generally delete comments without at least one of those.

Interesting discussion, folks. I often try to interact socially with those I disagree with, read newspapers whose political stance is opposite to mine, etc. By getting to know those with whom I disagree, by constituting part of the audience for media with whose standpoint I argue, I've found that I help change people's minds, and they mine, sometimes. I see that as positive. The alternative is the pensée unique idea, in which dissent on any number of a hundred issues excludes one from a hundred different circles. Even where that dissent is disagreeable, I think it's nice to admit it into the conversation, rather than relegate it to a separate one. That's me, though; your mileage may vary.

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