I serve no function

Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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33 Responses

  1. Aaron W says:

    I think I heard my jaw hit the floor when the link loadedReport

  2. Rufus F. says:

    It took me a few minutes to figure out what it was all about. So she’s Joan of Arc now? Well, so long as everyone’s keeping a healthy sense of perspective about these races.Report

  3. T. Greer says:

    Sarcasm is a superior form of argument.Report

    • Barrett Brown in reply to T. Greer says:

      @T. Greer, At first I thought you were insulting me, but then I realized that you were actually being serious as the alternative would be that you are using sarcasm to attack the institution of sarcasm, and obviously that would not make any sense, and all blog comments make sense by their very nature. So I’m going to have to disagree with you – I don’t think that sarcasm is intrinsically superior to any other form of argument, although I am not unaware of anything wrong with it.Report

  4. MFarmer says:

    This is off topic to the post, just want to say I’ll be on a hiatus for awhile.Report

  5. Is being a RINO the same as being a concern troll?Report

    • Barrett Brown in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      @Christopher Carr, Apparently so, although it’s hard to keep up since both terms seem to apply to more and more Republicans each day, which is to say it’s difficult to figure out the parameters from context.Report

      • @Barrett Brown, I must admit I don’t really read Red States; is there some kind of litmus test to avoid being called a RINO, like, for example accusing someone else of being a RINO, or claiming personal communication with Jesus?Report

        • Barrett Brown in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          @Christopher Carr, I do not mind noting that I am indeed the world’s foremost expert on Red State sociology, an exciting field that too many sociologists of internet movement conservatism overlook. The question you ask, though, is difficult to answer in large part *because* the field is so exciting! Being familiar with both of the terms you use, you are no doubt at least a generalist in emergent behavior of online movement conservative communities, and will hardly be surprised to learn that the ascendancy of Christine O’Donnell has served as a catalyst of the sort that brings in relatively vast amounts of new data which is still being sifted through as we speak! Early as it is, though, I am confident enough in the following observations to make them here, even before peer review:

          1. It turns out – and this is something we’d long suspected, but had no way to confirm until recently – that both terms, RINO and concern troll, apply not only to relatively new Red State users who can be dismissed as such with relatively high levels of intellectual honesty, but also to users who have not only been posting to Red State for years and thereby revealed an obviously firm commitment to the most stridently tribalist conservative tendencies, but who have also actually had their posts voted to the top of the recommended list! Suffice to say that the recent banning of such previously alpha-level contributors has sent us all racing back to our notebooks and also the hard drugs that we have gotten into the habit of taking because we have been reading Red State for years and are now nihilists!

          2. Beyond Red State itself, though having partly played out in its various comment threads and malevolently-headlined posts, we have the development whereby the administrators of Powerline.com have turned out to be not only RINOs and concern trolls but also elitists as well! At the same time, radio pundit Mark Levin has conversely reached new heights of prominence and respectability due to his unflinching support for O’Donnell and despite the voice box transplant he appears to have had with a 12-year-old girl at some point in his life!

          At any rate, thanks for your question! I’m going to go take another Suboxone!Report

        • @Christopher Carr, So, do you think dressing O’Donnell up like Joan of Arc in that picture is indicative of a sublime sense of irony on the part of the Red States proprietors? Or just (literally) dumb luck?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          @Christopher Carr, (full disclosure: I have been banned from Redstate).

          When I was at Redstate (from around 2004 to around 2008), the site proudly discussed itself as not only a Conservative but also a Republican site. So you could sing the praises of following the Constitution, but not sing the praises of the Constitution Party. Constitution Party folks were welcome, mind… they just weren’t allowed to prosletyze. Same for libertarians (and other third party types).

          When it came to the famous three legs of the so-called conservative stool, the social conservatives (especially the theocons) were treated very well, as were the hawks (and especially the neocons). The Fiscons?

          Well, not so much. The mantra was “the only thing that matters is the war on terror” *EXCEPT* when the topic of same-sex marriage or drug legalization or abortion (my god, abortion) came up. At that point, it turned out that, well, there were things that mattered other than the war on terror.

          The 2006 elections came as a complete surprise to the folks there. I mean, they all expected some losses but they didn’t expect to lose the Senate and they gave a 50/50 shot at keeping the House. 2008 was even more surprising (not necessarily Obama, but the down-ticket losses).

          It was in the middle of the processing of how badly the election was lost that I got banned.

          I really didn’t stick around much afterwards to figure out if they’ve become born-again fiscal conservatives in the wake of the tea parties… but, from 2004-2008, fiscal conservatives were treated like concern trolls by the hawks and like worldly folks concerned only with filthy lucre by the theocons.

          I suspect that not much has changed… but I’m probably basing that on the directors’ inability to admit fault on the part of the Republican party around 2008. If they were able to move past that, it happened after I was gone.Report

        • @Christopher Carr, Please do tell, what did you get banned for?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          @Christopher Carr, the official versions are here:


          My explanation for it is here:

          Now, I do not believe that those two links fully explain exactly why I got banned from Redstate.

          When I was on there, I was a big supporter of gay marriage, drug legalization, and a government too small to do many things, including regulate abortion.

          I was a nutball libertarian who had read the Constitution before and was familiar with major Supreme Court cases and got into arguments with moderators more often than not… usually from the right. They weren’t used to that.

          There was a particular moderator whose skin I got under. He’s the guy who banned me.Report

        • @Christopher Carr, So following those links I just noticed that almost all the ads on Red State are for deus ex machina weight-loss products like “new West African herbs”.

          Jaybird, your explanation sounds like a Scientology defector debriefing. Did you ever support your RINO opinions with AuH2O references?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          @Christopher Carr, I was never a RINO.

          I came out up front and explained that I was a libertarian (libertine!) and was not a Republican.

          I didn’t use Goldwater that much.

          The thing one ought keep in mind about Redstate is this: The majority of the most prominent voices on the site are fairly young (like, Gen-X and younger). The Republican Party they have personal experience of is Reagan’s. Not Nixon’s, not Eisenhower’s, and certainly not Goldwater’s.

          These are Republicans who see the John Birch Society as a bunch of cranks and who see George W Bush as a better conservative than HW.

          They believe in a vigorous, interventionist foreign policy, they believe in domestic laws to prevent vice and promote virtue, and they believe that we can buy guns *AND* butter. (Or, at least, this description fit fairly well in 2008. Maybe they’ve changed in the last 2 years.)

          They aren’t conservatives as much as turn of the other century progressives with a different agenda. Not particularly Burkean, not particularly familiar with Thomas Carlyle, not even particularly familiar with Buckley anymore.Report

        • @Christopher Carr, That is a stellar description actually. Thanks.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          @Christopher Carr, at least they aren’t Democrats.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          The only time I’ve perused RedState was during the Ben Domenech foofaraw, resulting in threads like this one, consisting of unwavering faith in every one of Domenech’s increasingly dubious defenses, and death wished on anyone who stated the simple truth about his serial plagiarism. This led me to believe that the chief value there is tribalism.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          @Mike Schilling, that ought to have been a fairly instructive episode for me. It wasn’t, of course.

          The arguments basically all took the form:

          “Anyone who is pretending to care about this is a concern troll whose real agenda is only to do damage to conservatives and conservative causes.”

          When pushed, I saw arguments such as “we don’t have to prove our bona fides to you!”

          And, after the final, final apology came out, the argument “you got your scalp, leave us alone” closed the topic.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          And no one there appear to see that Domenech had compounded the sin of plagiarism with the more serious ones of refusing to take responsibility for his actions, blaming innocents, and abusing the trust of the rest of the community.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          @Mike Schilling, I wondered about that.

          He had a “I did nothing wrong!” apology, followed by a non-apology that admitted that some wrongdoing may or may not have occurred, followed by a fulsome apology that accepted fault, acknowledged wrongdoing, and apologized to those whom he had hurt.

          And… I don’t think that that particular diary is linkable anymore for some reason.

          Probably a technical glitch. Link rot. That sort of thing.Report

      • Barrett Brown in reply to Barrett Brown says:

        @Barrett Brown, Ha! I’m sorry to say that this is very much a beginner’s question, sir! One might as well ask if Aztec mythology was merely an elaborate joke. The use of the picture meant to convey that O’Donnell is indeed a divinely-driven warrior prophet who has been delivered unto Delaware by the Trinity Itself in order to deal a final blow to the theory of evolution, if not her opponent. To the extent that irony is understood and used by denizens of Red State, is it of a less subtle sort, as in, “Oh, I bet the liberal media will give Christine O’Donnell a fair shake! Yeah, I sure do bet that!”Report

  6. LauraNo says:

    Never have I seen so much crazy. You should have warned us you were being sarcastic about that link.Report

  7. LauraNo says:

    Oh. I see from the comments my previous assumption was incorrect. Apologies.Report