A Note to Readers and Commenters


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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92 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Ritchie Kelly says:

    Thank you.Report

  2. Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    This comes part and parcel with merging multiple blog communities, I think. Not to blame either community as the root cause, just that Your Friendly Troll in one community (i.e., Bob, here) isn’t automatically recognized as Your Friendly Troll by writers who didn’t blog here before… or by commentators who didn’t comment here before, either.

    Similarly, Their Friendly Troll might not be automagically recognized as such by the folks here, either.Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Growing pains, such is the nature of these things. Patience and understanding is needed… you’re either changing or you’re dying etc…Report

  4. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    “Friendly Troll?” You mean, I’m a troll?
    Hey, and why did I get mentioned. I’m the language monitor here for crying out loud! PLus, with my dial-up I can no longer keep up with the ‘conversations.’
    Plus, if you kick me off where you gonna find another ‘real’ conservative? Mike Farmer bailed out because someone was picking on the South, the beloved South! So we gotta get Mikie back and I noticed some of the old guys aren’t commenting very much, lately!Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

      This is what happens when you spend most of your time around progressive thinkers. When you encounter an honest-to-God paleocon, you’re taken aback and think “this guy can’t be for real”.

      More’s the pity, the conclusions you communicate are represented eloquently and, more importantly, *PATIENTLY*. Lord knows, I disagree with 50% of your conclusions and about 100% of the processes that get you to them but I cannot imagine wanting them excluded from the counter-arguments my views have to deal with.

      God knows, I hope to become old enough to be a paleocon myself.

      “You kids today and your plural marriage. When I was a kid, we married *ONE* person! FOR LIFE!!! None of this Month-Spouse bullshit…” and so on…Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        (I should say the premises you used in the processes that got you to them.)Report

      • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

        People can represent a paleocon view, or any view, with or without name calling. If you want your views to be heard it really isn’t that hard to write respectfully and with some humility. Most of us can think others are writing in good faith with something to offer. Some people prefer invective and assuming the worst about others.Report

    • You’re no troll, Bob; you’re a fine and worthy sparring partner. There are those who need to mind their language, mind their manners, that’s all. I notice you are ready to ding someone who agrees with you for an etiquette violation as you are someone who disagrees with you. I for one appreciate that.Report

    • Not really, Bob. But “Uncle Bob” wouldn’t be parsed as readily by a newcomer; besides, it sounds vaguely creepy.Report

  5. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Hey, guys now stop that…I’m getting a little choked! Yes, you guys have tolerated my rather ‘unpopular’ ideas for a long time without threats and I appreciate reading the truly intelligent conversations here, both the blogs and the comments. I’m a little concerned about some of the new people but it’ll probably take me a little time to get used to the ‘change.’ You know how we paleos are adverse about ‘change.’Report

  6. Avatar Michael Heath says:

    Erik and Mark,

    I’m a newcomer here having followed James Hanley and Jonathan Rowe to your blog.

    I’ll give your blog another shot. It’s nice to read what was recently encountered is not representative of the standard of discourse in this venue nor what you want your blog to represent.

    Cheers . . .Report

  7. Avatar MFarmer says:

    After further consideration, and after Erick’s eloquent post, I will continue to spread my wisdom. I can’t leave Bob all alone — he might wander off and hurt himself. I call for many years of long, intelligent conversations on many difficult issues.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to MFarmer says:

      C’mon Mike, let us hoist the Bonny Blue flag, align our regiments on brigade front and sound the tattoo for the charge! I’m really glad your back, dude!
      So let me raise my glass to friends, old and new. Let the debate continue! Sadly, I’m outta Maker’s Mark and down to brother Beam.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        I’m glad that my own personal antipathy to the South isn’t enough to drive MFarmer away. After all, I’m hardly an important enough personage to have that kind of effect.

        Robert, my sympathies on being out of Maker’s Mark. An amusing story. Last week I was in an Akron, OH, bar and ordered a Maker’s. The waitress claimed the swill she brought me was from a Maker’s Mark bottle, but no Maker’s Mark has ever tasted so bad. A second glass, allegedly from a second bottle, tasted exactly the same. My drinking partner, whose palate is in fact more sophisticated than mine, was in firm agreement with me that whatever they had served me, it wasn’t Maker’s.

        Next day in a different bar I asked for a glass of their best bourbon. They brought me Jack. Really. Their “best bourbon” isn’t even a bourbon.

        Akron’s a surprisingly nice town (I had expected a blighted rust belt town, but it’s actually a rather attractive place), but apparently they’re not really attuned to the south’s second greatest contribution to our culture (the blues being the first).Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

          Actually James, chivalry is the greatest contribution (it was your people who imposed ‘total war’) and a unique ‘conservatism’ is the second greatest contribution of the South, much abused by that railroad lawyer his betters and epigones.
          I’m a few miles east of Akron, the capital of West Virginia, in the valley of the Little Beaver Creek where we, like you, can differentiate Maker’s Mark from Buffalo Trace from Jim Beam. God bless the Marcellus play!
          I see you teach at Adrian. Unfortunately, my friends teach at Hillsdale.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:


            Well, when you start a way, I don’t think you can much complain about the response from the other side. (Which is what I say about Syria’s complaints about Israel/Occupied Palestine holding onto the Golan Heights.) And there’s a bit of hubris in thinking chivalry is a unique contribution of the south. There’s also a bit of irony in your bringing it up, given that it’s so historically tied in with militarism, and it was in part my critique of the south’s militaristic tendencies that led to one person’s (fortunately short-lived) exit from this blog. As a Yankee, though, I admit I may not really grasp what southern chivalry is aside from a perpetual stream of sirs and ma’ams, which, like sugar in my coffee, is only bearable in quite limited quantities.Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley says:

              Damn, Obama must be from Lotsabootie, Mississippi if militarism is a southern thang. He’s pushing for 2014 — He’s getting into this Head Warrior deal.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

              Yes, I agree chivalry is tied to militarism but it is only part; it is how they treated not only their women and children but their friends and slaves, and how they responded to those who would invade their country. their lands. My God, sir, the Yankees have much to answer for and I have ancestors on that side as well.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                I misread ‘way’ and you meant ‘war.’ Allow me to claim, rightfully I think, the war was ‘started’ by Lincoln’s refusal to abandon Southern lands when ordered to by the Confederate States of America. Allow me to point out that neither Lincoln nor the Yankee monied interests gave a damn about the ‘union’ until the new Confederate congress released its tariff rates following the original gathering in Montgomery. Lincoln would not remove his boot from the southerners neck insofar as the tariffs were involved.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:


                I’m no fan of Lincoln or his mercantilist economic ideas, and I think he made a mistake in not letting the south go. My reasons for that are different than most people’s. In addition to thinking the states had the right to secede, I think the rest of us would be better off without the southern element of our politics (but would still have the benefit of your music and bourbon, thanks to the power of economics).

                But your claim that Lincoln started the war by refusing to leave federal military properties is one of the worst bits of historical revisionism I’ve ever heard. The war started when the shooting started. Everything before that was utterly normal politics, no matter how much you disliked the results of it.

                My apologies for the confusing typo, though.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

                James, I see your point and agree only in the sense that the South could see the ‘foreign’, perverted, consolidating ideologies that were capturing the North, along with the capitalist monied interests, and radical abolutionists.
                However, I am delighted that you agree with me that the South had the Constitutional right to secede and we are both correct on that matter. I hope you teach that at Adrian.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                OK, maybe I don’t really want to go there but…did you just say chivalry is about how they treated their slaves and that chivalry is a great contribution to America?

                I just gotta call Poe on that. And here you’ve had me fooled for what, two whole days?Report

              • Yeah, uhm, Bob – how they ‘treated their slaves’ was by, you know, keeping slaves. That says about all I need to know. I won’t blanket-condemn the South, and I know the North had plenty to answer for in the war, and nor were the motives of any side pure, but slavery is simply and utterly and entirely wrong and no amount of chivalrous behavior can change that. Chivalry at the end of a whip is not chivalry at all. Give me a break.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                The pertinent point is that this is 2010. Slavery in the south and the north has ended. We can go back to Pericle’s slaves, but it doesn’t have much relevance to the southern US today.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer says:


                We didn’t bring it up out of the blue. Robert brought up slavery in conjunction with chivalry, upon which he apparently places great value. It’s more than legitimate to question what’s going on there.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley says:

                “I think the rest of us would be better off without the southern element of our politics”

                This was in relation to the south seceding, as if the politics in the south haven’t changed since that time.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                E.D. your website has kept me up beyond my bedtime however let me ask this question knowing full well you are bound to reply as honestly as you can:

                If the North was able to grow cotton, tobacco, and rice when do you think African chattel slavery would have ended? Would the South (who in our theoretical economy does not require ‘free’ labor) have invaded the North to ‘end’ slavery. Would your Northern family, producers of Northern cotton in 1860, been slaver holders?

                Re: the matter of ‘chivalry’ I was trying to differentiate those planatation owners, who were by and large the primary owners of slaves, who treated their slaves badly and those plantation owners who treated their slaves as best they could, given the situation. (see “Roll Jordan Roll,” Eugene Genovese, pg 123-33). No one defends African chattel slavery, in fact most believe we would be a better country if it had never occured. But if we did not have slavery in our past the Black population would probably be less than 1%…is that what you want?Report

              • Bob – to answer your first question: I do believe geography and the economy it produced is the reason the South had slaves longer than the North and were the tables turned I’m sure it’s quite possible everything might have happened in reverse.

                To answer your second – of course not. That there is a large population of African Americans in the United States is a very good thing. I’m not one to tinker with history. However, I wish it could have come about in a different manner.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                The beautiful thing about human beings and their histories is that it’s all mucked up. American slavery is just one of our not-so-good memories and, as you know, there are many others. But, as flawed as we are, as corrupt, as sinful (am I allowed to use that word?), there is a remnant of good men and women who work assiduously to restore order, to do God’s work.Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        Beam is fine, my friend. Here’s to struggel!Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

          and the struggleReport

          • Avatar Rufus in reply to MFarmer says:

            I think Beam is fine too. I’m not actually sure what I’m drinking tonight. Let me check. (insert pause as I go check the bottle) Okay, Wild Turkey. No surprise there.Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Rufus says:

              Ah, Wild Turkey. Very good. Athough the truth is I quit drinking after my quintuple bypass, I drank enough Wild Turkey in earlier days to float a sizable ship.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer says:

                Yes, neither of the Akron Bars was able to offer Wild Turkey, which is my second favorite bourbon (but only at 80 proof, which has a more sophisticated flavor than the 101 proof), one position ahead of the Mark. (I rarely bother to request my favorite, Knob Creek, unless I have the pleasant surprise of seeing it on the shelf. Of course then there are the really elite bourbons, which are regrettably out of my price range.)Report

  8. Avatar James Hanley says:

    OK, sorry about the “gnats” comment. I only meant to say that I would almost certainly be annoyed, but wasn’t worried about the debate getting to the level of harm. Obviously my attempt at humor came out horribly wrong. (I like humor, just as I like singing. Unfortunately I’m about as good at one as the other. Fortunately, I still have my kids fooled about my singing.) All (lame) jokes aside, I can how how “gnats” sounds incredibly condescending. Contra humor and singing, I’m impressively good at that. I’ll try to keep it in check, though.Report

  9. Avatar Barrett Brown says:

    Doobidoob. A bit tired, maybe. Best not to say more. Bedways is rightways now, so best we go homeways and get a bit of spatchka. Right, right?Report

    • Right right, Br B.

      I see what Erik & Mark are after. We had a nice run with The Reform Club blog, modeled after the debating society in London. Luminaries like HG Wells and Churchill passed through their doors.

      My favorite was the very religious GK Chesterton vs. the very non-Religious GB Shaw, with Hilaire Belloc moderating. I did a piece on it as a sort of rededication to principles much like this one here at LoOG from E&M.


      Sustained principled discussion has always been fragile and rare—found then lost then found, as well as the artful wielding of the needle, or as I’m reminded Aristotle called it, “educated insolence.”

      When it’s done right, it’s real horrorshow, as our droogie Barrett might say.Report

  10. Avatar Heidegger says:

    All I can say is, if Mr. Bob is kicked off this site, I will begin a hunger strike immediately. I love it when you just let it rip, and allow your stream-of-consciousness to take over. Sometimes logic is so arid, barren, dry. I know it has its place, but being insufferably ponderous keeps one from seeing and experiencing the great, beatific, mystical ecstasies of life that are always there to be to be seen and discovered.

    Hey, you think you have it bad–Professor Hanley and Mr. Ridgely have contacted the Purple Gang here in Detroit and taken out a contracted on my life–yes, they want me “rubbed out”! Lucky thing I’m a very good swimmer–they had me thrown off the Belle Isle Bridge, in four point restraints, about a month ago and I had to pull a Houdini to survive. You don’t suppose the administrators had me in mind when they wrote this post. do you? I thought I was being polite enough.

    You want heaven, the Godhead, listen to Beethoven’s piano sonata, Op. 109, 3rd movement—ah, beauty, absolute immortal beauty. It’s so, so, gorgeous–almost like a plaintive prayer to God resigning himself to the unimaginably painful fate of his complete deafness. An acceptance. And yes, he really did cut the legs off his pianos so he could play and “hear” his music. Of course he couldn’t really hear, but by feeling the vibrations with his head resting on the floor, he was able to actually translate those vibrations into music. A truly beloved and blessed soul existing in a realm beyond our wildest imaginations.


    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Heidegger says:

      Methinks the new group misunderstands the problem — it’s not the jiggy brilliance of edgy tittat, nor the dixiebash breaking the tender pumper of a shitkicking boony — it’s the yawning void of pontification that dulls the last nerve, and snickers can only delay the enough-already.Report

  11. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Thanks for everyone’s input. I just wanted to clear the air and get back on course.Report

  12. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Even when we are consumed by modernity, and consequently alienated within our exitence, when we share the derailments of our era in a strange and benevolent brotherhood of disparate ideas, that exists among us, someone continues to be dedicated to understanding the phenomenon of the divine, where reality can not, ever, be eclipsed by an ‘absolutized external reality.’
    For me, I will worship the Word that spoke creation into existence in freedom and in love.
    If that is true, in any sense or in any degree, than there is hope that we can discern a politics in which we can not only exist within the polis but prosper in the longing, searching, questing ‘constituted’ in a tension toward the divine ground. But, we must know that there is no utopia, the ideologies destroy us, the statists feast on our corpses. All we have is the word/Word, the dialectic, the debate. The mysticism that is existence.Report

  13. Avatar Heidegger says:

    If God does not exist, does that mean He is an atheist? It takes an equal amount of faith to believe He doesn’t exist as it does to believe he DOES exist. So it really gets down to what is more fun-that we’re mere random, accidental products of a godless uncreated universe, or that every atom in the universe has God’s verifiable autograph?Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Heidegger says:

      “It takes an equal amount of faith to believe He doesn’t exist as it does to believe he DOES exist.”

      Is that because it takes an equal amount of faith to believe any proposition as any other?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Yeah, gotta sign on to this one.

        There are very good reasons to believe in God.
        There are very good reasons to believe that God does not exist.

        There are very crappy reasons to believe in God.
        There are very crappy reasons to believe that God does not exist.

        If your internal response to the debate is some variant of “Broncos v. Chargers”, you’re more likely to be in the latter group than the former.Report

        • Avatar D.A. Ridgely in reply to Jaybird says:

          I dunno. A pretty good case could be made this season that the Broncos don’t exist.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

          Jay, I agree with you here. I think my own hesitation about opining on the existence or non-existence of God has always come down to the incommensurability of other people’s experiences. I certainly have had no experience of the Divine, the numinous or whatever you’d like to call it. But people close to me have and I assume they’re talking about something or other. It’s similar to women who’ve given birth and talk about experiencing an instant bond with the baby. I’ve never been there, but I imagine they’d know more about it than I do. This is probably why I don’t tend to jump into the scrum when the subject comes up.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Rufus F. says:

            “I certainly have had no experience of the Divine..”

            Are you sure?
            Perhaps you were consumed in some immanent reality and you missed the opportunity? The Logos is a seeker of love/dialogue and He offers that love to all.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

              Is experience of the Divine easily overlooked or confused with the mundane?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s a good point. I would think that if one were a confessing atheist that any pneumatic irruption would immediately be interpreted as something that could be ‘explained.’ It seems people, in many instances, refuse God until they’re in a ‘foxhole’ situation, but I’m sure that there’re those atheist who shake their fist at God as they plunge of the abyss.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F. says:

            Bob, Marshall McLuhan, a devout Catholic convert, liked to say that the only way to come into the church is on one’s knees. He prayed until he got what he believed was an unmistakeable sign. I’ve asked that question, “give me a sign”, on many nights. The line is certainly open on my end and I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.Report

  14. Avatar Heidegger says:

    St. Francis, “The truth of the matter….God does not exist”….HA. As if you would know such a thing! Atheists make me laugh so. They love to think they have some kind of a privileged connection to ultimate truth, when in reality, their shots in the dark have no greater meaning or gravitas or rationale than any others. We’re all the same Bozos on this bus.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Heidegger says:


      There is no empirical evidence for God. So given that you’re making a claim for God that’s not based on any evidence you can demonstrate to others, isn’t it really you that’s thinking he’s got “some kind of privileged connection to ultimate truth”?Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to Heidegger says:

      You DO NOT get to elide the words “most likely” and put my line in quotes. Dammit, that kind of mis-statement of my position really p*sses me off!

      I choose to invest my time and energy in trying to understand some of those things for which there appears to be empirical evidence. Since I see no empirical evidence for the existence of any of the gods that have been worshipped in human history (except maybe Loki), I have chosen not to have any faith in the presence or absence of any god.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Francis says:

        Francis, you seem a bit, er….shall we say ‘alienated.’ You’re caught up in one or the other of modernity’s better dogmatomachies (my, I love that word) and you can’t get out.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Heidegger says:

      So, Heidegger, you’re saying that the Firesign Theatre doesn’t exist?Report

    • Avatar the innominate one in reply to Heidegger says:

      “As if you would know such a thing! Atheists make me laugh so. They love to think they have some kind of a privileged connection to ultimate truth, when in reality, their shots in the dark have no greater meaning or gravitas or rationale than any others.”

      Oh, yes, theists are always so humble about the degree of certainty of their own knowledge about the existence of a god.

      Pot, kettle, you know the rest.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to the innominate one says:

        On the subject of pots I happen to have ownership of a small china teapot that was bequested to me by Bertrand Russel. I gather that it’s currently in an eliptical orbit around the sun out between Earth and Mars. I’m soliciting donations to fund an expedition to retrieve it from the depths of space since I think it’d be a lovely talking piece (and would probably make a mean cup of tea).Report