Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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133 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Though it’s the other current front page article that really shows their lunacy.Report

  2. Avatar b-psycho says:

    Clicked on “liberal” and got this as the first line.  Really:

    A liberal (also leftist) is someone who rejects logical and biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons.

    Are they saying that “biblical” standards are based on logic (which is irrelevant in the case of faith anyway)?  Or that logic and the bible do not contradict each other?  Or simply that filthy libruls reject both logic and gawd?  Do they even know?

    Scroll down a bit and whoever wrote this entry confuses an obvious lame joke about human possibility with an endorsement of bestiality.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron says:

    Successfully foisting overpriced cosmetics onto the male population, as much as doubling the market for the multi-billion dollar make-up industry, would represent a giant victory for marketing and capitalism. Why does the Conservapedia hate America?Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    You have to wonder if there’s some sort of feedback loop going on with the editing of Conservapedia that filters out all the reasonableness and leaves behind only the wingnuttery.Report

  5. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    Run, you fools!Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I think everyone is missing my question…  this IS a satire, right?

    I really think that it is.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      No its not satire. Read it and weep.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan says:

      I remember a lot of talk about a few years ago, and I don’t remember anyone having any sense that it was satire.

      I hope it is, but I’m inclined to think it isn’t.Report

    • Avatar David Cheatham says:

      You are suffering from the effects of Poe’s Law. Actually, from the corollary of it.

      It is almost impossible for outsiders to tell the difference between parody of fundamentalism, and actual fundamentalism. Hell, it’s often impossible for fundamentalists to tell the difference, as Conservapedia appears to be riddled with stuff that cannot actually be the actual beliefs of anyone.

      However, the effeminate=gay and thus effeminate=satanic conspiracy? I’ll go out on a limb and reassure people that’s real. The fake stuff doesn’t make the front page.

      Why? You’d be astonished as to how much homophobia with fundamentalist men is not because of gay sex, but because of gender roles. (Hence they can have gay sex whenever they want…in an airport bathroom, and go home to be the ‘head’ of their house.)

      Their actual problem with teh gays is not sex, it’s that teh gay men refuse to find a women to boss around, and tey gay women refuse to be bossed around. No one seems to know their place. (Frankly, something like half the far-right problems with the world can be summed up as ‘X doesn’t know their place.)

      This is what all their gibberish about ‘protecting marriage’ is about. Whenever anyone on the right says ‘marriage’, I urge people to mentally replace that with ‘traditional roles in marriage’.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

        In my experience this is completely, 100% correct.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Their actual problem with teh gays is not sex, it’s that teh gay men refuse to find a women to boss around, and tey gay women refuse to be bossed around. No one seems to know their place.

        This. I had pretty much the same thought recently: conservatives dislike gay marriage because it undermines the traditional roles people play in family arrangements and they use the supposed immorality of it as cover. Gay marriage “threatens the institution of marriage” precisely because it undermines the paternalistic authoritarian structure in which everyone in the family unit is supposed to be subordinate to the husband/father. It’s about preserving power and little else.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          nah. there’s always someone to hate. Gays, Muslims, Jews, Italians, Blacks. Always a minority, never a reason — except a rallying cryReport

      • Avatar Kim says:

        in japan, “loveless” marriages are at least acceptable (someone who’s been there give a shout if I”m totally making this up. media != real life). they have sex on their own schedule, but still have the traditional roles.Report

      • Avatar BSK says:

        Very well put.  It is why so many equate being effiminete with being gay.  I know many people who are, at least outwardly, accepting of LGBTQ folks but still insist that they can tell if a person is gay based on how they walk or talk or dress, etc.  And it is why the term “gay” has been co-opted as an insult.  It is not because people are bothered by having their sexuality mistaken, but because they (generally men) are offended at having their masculinity challenged, which they assume is happening when they are called gay.  To be gay is to be less than a TRUE man.

        I have been asked if I was gay on numerous occassions.  This does not bother me.  What does bother me is when I press people as to what about me made them thing I was gay and their responses tend towards my grooming style (long hair, beard), my career choice (early childhood educator), or my dressing habits (bow ties every Friday, loud shirts, louder sneakers).  When I then press them to explain what any of those things, none of which have to do with sex or love or whom I chose to engage in a relationship, have to do with sexual orientation and they smirk and say, “Well, you just know.”  No.  I don’t.Report

      • Avatar Freud & Jung says:

        So we’re back to anyone who opposes same-sex marriage is a raging, seething, rabid homophobes?  No matter how hard one tries, the narrative never changes.

        Don’t worry, Jason.   Your time will come.  It’s going to take awhile, because absent judicial fiats, SSM will never be accepted by the population at large.  Every state in which this has been on the ballot, has been resoundingly defeated–I think the record is 30-0 on state ballot initiatives.  This is far and away beyond our silly little debates on this subject. Love is blind. So is Mother Nature and she will protect her kids with every power she has at her access. It has nothing to do with homophobia.  It’s called neural hard wiring.  It’s called the DNA imperative and same sex marriage offers nothing to further these brute forces of nature.   Walking on water didn’t happen in a day.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Ooookay. If you can’t see how some variance in mental machinery is good for the human race…Report

          • Avatar Freud & Jung says:

            Oh, mental variance is without question, a great and useful thing. From a genetically point of view, it simple doesn’t exist with homosexual couples. If I’m not mistaken, under most circumstances, XX + XX and XY + XY does not produce offspring. There are, under very rare circumstances exceptions, XX males and XY females but the child born is sterile and sometimes, blind. But this is totally irrelevant to this discussion.

            By the way, human males will be extinct in 200,000 years. Ladies, better get all your partying in while we’re still here!Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          Someone hasn’t been looking very closely at the demographic data.Report

        • Avatar North says:

           Minnesota is up next on the voter initiative train, I’m volunteering and we’re all working very hard to put this voter initiative thing to bed at last. We have a decent shot at it too (though I’m expecting the worst so that the only surprises will be pleasant ones).Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          Women voting?  Nah, there’s something hard-wired in humanity that revolts against it!

          But anyway, here’s my favorite bit:

          absent judicial fiats, SSM will never be accepted by the population at large.

          Put in plain English, it says:  Judges are uniquely persuasive people.

          So now the question is not whether the people follow the judges — we agree that they do — but whether the judges have judged rightly or wrongly.

          And, Mr. H, I already know what you think on that score.  I already know that you think I’m a peculiarly defective specimen of humanity, and that, owing to my defects, I deserve never to get married to anyone I love.

          I also know that you do not consider this opinion to be homophobic.

          Well, given your love of music, I propose this to you:  Anyone who composes or performs music should not be allowed to get married either.  Music never helped anyone survive, so shame on them.  There’s a genetic imperative, I tell you!

          Also, I’m not music-phobic.Report

          • Avatar Freud & Jung says:

            Jason, my friend, no,. no, no,no. no.  Have I not already communicated to you that your situation is mirrored 100% by a member of my own family?  And I went to music school where the student body was probably close to being 30% gay?  And I would NEVER abandon my brother in a million years for his decisions in this regard.  I love him with all my heart–the poor guy was beaten and stabbed to within an inch of his life–yes, a gay hate crime if there ever was one.  I had many gay friends when I was in music school, friends whom I collaborated with on many of the violin and piano sonatas of Bach,  Mozart, and Beethoven.  We’ll have to discuss the genetics part later because I have to go lay down some sod. I don’t know about you, but laying down sod under a full moon and listening to Rusalka singing Dvorak’s, “Song to the Moon” to her pleading and abandoned lover is one of the great joys in life!  Back later–if I’m no banned for eternity, again. Listen to this Jason–(very happy you’re not averse to classical music) you will LOVE this.  Your atheist soul will be bursting with joy and love–I promise! Enjoy….

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

            It’s called neural hard wiring.  It’s called the DNA imperative and same sex marriage offers nothing to further these brute forces of nature.

          Were you laughing when you wrote that? “Snark”? Isn’t that what it’s called?Report

        • Avatar b-psycho says:

          You can disagree with a relationship without rage.  The rage is when you claim that the relationship you disagree with should be a political issue.

          They’re consenting adults.  It’s nobody else business what they do.  If the problem is that you equate marriage with government approval, then remove the government from marriage completely and be done with it.Report

      • Avatar James K says:

        I think this also explains why so much anti-gay sentiment is directed at gay men specifically.  Gender roles for men are more strictly defined these days than roles for women.Report

        • Avatar David Cheatham says:

          Indeed. They’re willing to put up with some women escaping from traditional gender roles. At least in this point in time. It would be nearly impossible to oppose that, they’re barely holding on there as it is, and fighting to keep women ‘out’ of man’s role is impossible. (Instead, they ‘let them in’, and then just discriminate against them, or treat them as a joke.)

          In other words, a woman operating outside of traditional gender roles is the enemy, and you can’t really do anything about that. But a man operating outside of traditional gender roles is a traitor.

          The fundamentalists’ nonsense makes a lot more sense when you stop trying to make it to some sort of idiotic moral position, and look at some of the weird disconnect that the ‘hypocrites’ seem to have. No one’s actual problem is with gay sex (Not even them), and saying that people who have sex shouldn’t be able to get married first is utterly nonsensical according to their own premises.

          Likewise, all this nonsense about masculinity and whatnot. I volunteer in theatre, where 25% of the men are ‘effeminate’ or just don’t care, and 15% are gay…and those two groups do not overlap anywhere near as much as people think. It’s utter nonsense.

          No, the problem fundamentalists have is exactly what they say it is, with the ‘sanctity of marriage’ It’s why they can stand there and repeat that marriage is ‘a man and a woman’ without being able to explain why…it’s because the actual belief they hold is secretly ‘a marriage is when a man gets a wife to be in charge of, and the man does man things and the wife does wife things’, but they can’t admit this to anyone. Not even to themselves.

          So they end up in some weird floundering where they cannot exactly explain why marriages must have two people in specific gender roles.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      Yeah Tod, this is no satire. These people are completely serious.Report

  7. Avatar Tony Sidaway says:

    Tod, I’ve watched Conservapedia with poorly disguised awe for some time, to the extent that your post here pinged one of my canned Google searches. I’m not as obsessive as some, though. You might want to check out Rationalwiki, a whole site full of fan boys who like me enjoy reading Conservapedia with their fists in their mouths to stifle disbelieving laughter.

    One reason I’m not a fan of Rationalwiki, by the way, is that some of those guys have a history of deliberately inserting rubbish on the site. They often intimate, too, that although the founder, Andrew Schlafly, is pretty serious in his opinions, some senior editors of Conservapedia may only be pretending, in order to put even worse rubbish onto the site and further discredit it. Senior Conservapedia administrator Terry Koeckritz, now deceased, is often accused by the RationalWiki people of trolling his fellow Conservapedia admins.

    But this would hardly be necessary in my opinion. Andrew Schlafly, who is one of the sons of Phyllis Schlafly, the founder of the extreme social conservative Eagle Forum, is in many ways self-parodying.

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I may have mentioned this before, but I find the Conservapedia article on Relativity fascinating.  It’s mostly an all-out attack, marshaling as many out-of-context facts as possible to imply that Relativity is a fringe belief.  It does allow, however, that time dilation exists and explains how a  universe crated 6000 years ago can appear to be billions of years old.Report

  9. Avatar Jonathan says:

    In Erik’s post, a commenter, Russell Arben Fox, writes:

    “A few painfully ignorant, earnest, and naive facts, interspersed with complete gibberish, overlaid with purposeful, outrageous nonsense. That’s the future of the Republican party, right there.”

    If only he had been wrong.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      That passes for incisive comment?Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        It does from the Left. Viz pretty much any and all leftist blogs.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          Russell Arben Fox is a conservative.  He just knows gibberish when he sees it.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith says:

            I was commenting (and I believe TVD was also) on Jonathan’s addendum to the quote.

            I’m guessing when you get out from Cato-land you periodically stumble on blogs wherein any snarky comments about “retardicans” are taken as gospel and no discussion is allowed nor encouraged on the merits.

            As for RAF being conservative, well, we could read his own words:

            I don’t know how many people in the conservative public sphere read George F. Will closely any longer–maybe lots of them do, but as I don’t particularly identify myself with that sphere, I wouldn’t know…. In any case, by the 1990s my evolution towards the left end of the political spectrum was well underway

            In the parlance Jason, that counts as game-set-match. Let’s play again sometime. 🙂Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

              Hey, I’ve got an idea.  I’d like to make a deal with you.

              I will happily and graciously admit that I’m wrong — as I often do, all over this site, on lots and lots of things — if you will agree not to be a dick about it.

              Sound good?  Do you think you can manage it?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Geez, I gave you a smiley-face, what more do you want? A winkie? 😉

                Methinks thou doth protest too much.

                As for the gibberish on the site, when I can point to Liberals purposely infiltrating organizations specifically to give them a bad rep I feel no need to defend “gibberish” on a wiki site. I’ve also often seen the more insightful (few though they may be) liberals such as yourself bemoan the “gibberish” that comes from the lefties and assume they are stooges from the right trying to make the left look bad.

                Because you’re such a fan of tu quoque argument I can add this to the mix.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                You also err in thinking I’m a leftie.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:


                we get it. there are plants everywhere. Hell, I know some of them. If a computer can post to wikipedia, then it can post anywhere.

                The IDEA of conservapedia is not a plant, and it’s a kinda sick thing to have in the first place.

                What’s that thing they say on kos? “reality has a well known liberal bias”? Smug ain’t it? Yinz don’t have to go and make ’em MORE smug!Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Clearly, you have a lower standard for “incisive comment,” Jason.  Sounds more like phlegm from Michael Savage to me.

            But for the record, are we talking the same Russell Arben Fox, Obama voter and—if this is the same fellow—member of Democratic Socialists of America [p. 13]?

            Because I’m not feeling you on any of this.


            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

              At times, it is the very height of incisiveness to call gibberish what it is.  I think that’s entirely true here, and I don’t see why you should take offense.

              I didn’t  imagine my conservative friends, you among them, to be as idiotic as Conservapedia makes them look.

              As to Fox’s socialism, I had understood it to be of the Red Tory variety, and thus very plausibly conservative.  Perhaps not, but Stillwater offers a much better refutation than yours.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                What people are responding to is the bit about “if only he had been wrong”.  And they have stated this.  Let it go.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                It seems to me like a distinction without a difference.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                TVD/WS:  “I’m annoyed by Johnathan!”

                JK:  “Russell Arben Fox knows gibberish when he sees it!”

                DD: “They aren’t talking about RAF.”

                JK: “That’s a distinction without a difference.”

                You’re gonna have to help me out here because I ain’t following you.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I’ll walk it through, very slowly, point by point.

                1.  “If only he had been wrong” is a statement of agreement from Jonathan.

                2.  Given that all Jonathan did was link and agree, I had thought it reasonable to talk about the original statement with which he was agreeing.

                3.  Under (2), comments about Russell Arben Fox’s powers of discernment become germane to the conversation.

                4.  Given that Jonathan agrees with RAF, and given that quoting RAF’s statement is Jonathan’s only intervention in the conversation so far, whatever I say about Fox would seem to apply in equal measure to him.

                5.  Comments about RAF’s own intellectual journey from conservative to left-liberal are of course excepted from (4).

                I’m not sure why any of this is difficult to fathom.


              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                What I’m having trouble with is the part where “we’re talking about the statement by Jonathan and not the statement by RAF” is “a distinction without a difference”.

                Apparently Kuznickian discourse declares that attacking a snarky one-liner response to a statement is equivalent to attacking the original statement.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan says:

                I’m annoyed you spelled my name wrong!!!!Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                OK, Jason, what you wrote is gibberish.  The Democratic Party speaks gibberish.  Are we happy now? That’s incisive commentary?  I call it cant.

                I’m still not feeling you on any of this, and I don’t know why you want it this way.  As for Dr. Fox being some sort of conservative socialist, you needed to make that oxymoronic distinction at the outset to avoid gibberish.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I wrote that the recognition of gibberish is at times the height of incisiveness.

                Not always, and not with your most recent comment.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                You’re the one who got it caught in his zipper, Jason, nobody else. Why you keep yanking I do not know.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                Because if you weren’t so eager to score points on me, you’d possibly recognize that what I’m saying is favorable to you.

                I don’t think Conservapedia represents conservatives fairly.  Prof. Fox doesn’t either.  Even Jonathan doesn’t necessarily think so.

                But the key thing for you, as always, is apparently that I must be wrong.  Somehow.


              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Jason, you yanked on my comment, not vice-versa.  My rebuttal was gently couched because of my respect and affection for you.  [It may appear I was piling on, appearing after WSmith’s rather scorched-earth reply, but they were generated simultaneously, and mine was held up in moderation.]

                I didn’t and don’t find Russell Arben Fox’s rant worthy of any league of gentlemen, and certainly not worth re-quoting and affirming as this “Jonathan” fellow did. As for the rest of your and my contretemps, I have no interest in re-litigating it or perpetuating it.  I’ve had my say.

                Peace, brother.  I appreciate the agreement on the Conservapedia thing, but clarity and good faith are far more important to me.  In fact, I did manage to get BSK’s back on the issue a bit, even though he has not been very fair with me lately.  He was right, so I agreed.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        It does when it comes from right wingers directed at lefties, so why not vice versa?Report

    • Avatar Freud & Jung says:

      I think he was the one parading around that Catholic church in a jockstrap and robe demanding to receive Holy Communion.

      Does Erik wake up every morning a new and entirely different personality? How does he manage to keep track of them all?
      I’ve seen eight so far but I’m sure there are at least a hundred screaming little banshees twittling around in that confused brain demanding to be heard. I’m waiting for the one demanding to own and use if necessary, an Abrams tank. Piloting an F-16 shouldn’t be too far away. Incarcerating gays who speak effeminately could also be on the agenda. I think we readers and commenters are at least entitled to a translation by a professional translator.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

        I know for a fact that Russell Arben Fox often reads this site.  I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of the very speculative description of him.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan says:

      This subthread took quite a turn. I honestly didn’t think a little throwaway line would stir such passions, otherwise I might have written something of a tad greater substance.

      But ’tis what it is. I’ll try to be critical of Democrats should I ever offer another “incisive” comment.Report

  10. Avatar BSK says:

    For me, it matters less what the intent is and more what the end-result is.  If it is intended to be satire but many readers believe it to be sincere, than the effect is real.  When Colbert first came out, apparently many conservatives thought he was serious and welcomed him as a hero.  I don’t know how true that was or is today, but I heard stories about his reception in conservative America.Report

  11. Avatar North says:

     Oh come on, conservapedia has to be satire… isn’t it? I remember stumbling across it a couple of times, chuckling a little weakly, saying something to myself about how the Liberals who were writing it were really laying on the ham and then moving on. It is satire isn’t it?

    Could someone please verify that it’s satire?Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      Nope, North. It’s not satire. It’s the real deal.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        I don’t think it is entirely real, have been all over it. It is a wiki site, so the content is user generated. They don’t seem to be too concerned with editing, in fact in one of the places they talk about not deleting but doing cut and pastes so the links aren’t lost.

        Clearly the site could use a good editor and generous use of the delete key. On the other hand it has an Onion-esque feel to it. Obviously they get tons of traffic from Google searches and the unwary may not realize the gag except when they go to post something as “authoritative” on another blog. Of course in my past blogging, it was a party foul (at least) to even link to Wikipedia. One person who shall go unnamed, when losing the debate would /create/ the content on Wiki and then link to it! If only he hadn’t suffered the obvious grammatical lapses and malapropisms making his chicanery so easy to spot.Report

  12. Avatar Chris says:

    I don’t know if it’s parody, but regardless, this list is awesome:


    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Thank you for linking to this. In a roundabout  and unintended way, it perfectly expresses a good point about politics and media. I would say “I will write a post on it” but I’m so backlogged that I am not sure I will.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      They left out the most conservative part of Sunny Afternoon:

      My girlfriend’s run off with my car
      And gone home to her Ma and Pa
      Telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty

      Clear an overly-entitled feminazi.Report

  13. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Conservapedia is like Microaggressions in that, at this point, it only exists as a competition to see who can come up with the most epic troll posts.  I doubt that 1/10th of the content on either site is actually intended to be taken seriously.Report

    • Avatar BSK says:

      I would agree with this if I didn’t hear the same nonsense repeated ad nauseum on conservative talk radio (which tends to be the worst of the worst in terms of major media outlets).  I’m not talking about all conservative talk hosts, but the particular few who engage in such obvious nonsens and do so to huge ratings.  Guys like Savage and Levin spout the exact stuff posted on Conservapedia and have some of the largest listening audiences.  I’m sure some, like myself, tune in to hear the absurdity.  But they have their share of supporters.  Perhaps they are fringe (I have to remind my wife that Savage purporting to have the #1 radio audience doesn’t mean that more people are listening to him than are not, only that he probably has a monopoly on a fringe element with few competitors), but they are real and I have no doubt that many people who do visit that sight do so sincerely and take what they see at face value.  Which ultimately might make the satirists their own worst enemy: if anyone takes their trolling posts as legitimate, they’ve just created a real life embodiment of their parody.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        Someone said something on the radio, therefore everything you read on the Internet is 100% serious and can’t possibly be a lame attempt at satire.

        I find your ideas fascinating and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.Report

        • Avatar BSK says:


          That is a far stretch from what I said.  My point was that I would be more inclined to believe that Conservapedia is 100% satire if I didn’t hear person after person call into the Savage Nation and parrot those very same ideas.  Unless those people are also in on the joke, it is clear that there exist SOME segment of the population that earnestly believes the things on that site.  If I never happened across a single person who indicated such a belief system, I’d say, “Yea, that is almost assuredly a joke.”  Knowing that there are enough to sustain several major radio personalities who espouse such thoughts says, “It is certainly possible, if not likely, that this is a very real site for that segment of the population.”

          How large that segment of the population is and how representative they are of conservative thought is not something I attempted to answer in my post.  I only sought to address the likelihood that that site was less than 10% of that site is legitimate by pointing out that there exists a very real and sincere audience for that stuff.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith says:

            If you hate Savage so much, why do you listen to him? Same for Rush (not the band). I’ve personally never listened to either of them, nor would I be so inclined in the future. Since I have no idea what gets said there, I don’t know what points need addressing. Perhaps if here or elsewhere you painted some strawmen so they could be addressed by those here? I mean I’ve heard (read really) liberals say particularly bizarre things but do not believe that any and all self-described liberals are obligated to agree with same? Do you including the obverse case?Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

              The greatest orator, save one, of antiquity, has left it on record that he always studied his adversary’s case with as great, if not with still greater, intensity than even his own. What Cicero practised as the means of forensic success, requires to be imitated by all who study any subject in order to arrive at the truth. He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. — John Stuart MillReport

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              Michael Savage is shunned by the mainstream right.  Finding the dumbest MFers on the other side to feel superior to has never counted for much in my book.

              [I admit I find Savage a guilty pleasure, though. but for entertainment purposes only.]Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Michael Savage is shunned by the mainstream right.

                Tom, how would you define the mainstream right these days?  I ask sincerely.  If someone asked me I honestly wouldn’t know how to answer.  I guess I’d mention George Will, but I don’t know if he still counts or not.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                They shun him, by making him the fourth most listened to radio program in the country.

                I wish someone would shun me that way.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                James, in the case of Michael Savage, I’d say if National Review or Limbaugh or Hannity won’t even acknowledge his existence, it’s safe to say he’s out of the mainstream.

                In fact, I can’t think of any forum that takes itself seriously that would think of quoting him, if only because the left and people like yourself would use it as a brickbat against their credibility.

                In fact, since I don’t exactly play on home turf hereabouts, I wouldn’t even consider quoting Limbaugh or Hannity, let alone Savage.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed it’s a convention with other righties here gathered and gathered anywhere there’s a hostile an unsympathetic audience, as it would bring nothing but derision and impeachment.

                Perhaps deservedly so, but regardless, I’m bummed when some at the LOOG freely quote their equivalents on the left, say Ezra Klein or Andrew Sullivan, both of whom have honestly earned their own share of derision.

                To cite them is to say that the author is completely unconcerned with his own credibility outside his own Amen Corner.  I have thought of the LOOG as more than that, as a rare marketplace of ideas rather than just another private club.

                Thx for asking, James.  I’m sure you’re glad you did.


                To your question exactly, I would probably put Mark Levin at one bookend of  “mainstream” conservatism and Mitt Romney at the other.  Levin is an “Anybody But Romney” man, but of course would still vote for him anyway over BHO.




              • Avatar North says:

                Wouldn’t the left wing equivalents of Limbaugh or Hannity be more like some NPR types? I mean if a blogger like Klein or a Conservative apostate like Sullivan is the left wing equivalent of Limbaugh or Hannity then what does that put the really out there left wingers?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Is there really any left counterpart to folks like Limbaugh and Glenn Beck? (I’m not so sure about Hannity.)  The specialty in trade of those two is lies, the purposeful creation of misperception, and stoking anger over the lies and misperceptions.

                I’m not saying there aren’t liberals who behave similarly, but is there really any nationally liberal  media figure who approaches them in this?  I mean when I hear left-wingers on the news, my usual response is a groan and thinking, “good lord, they don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.”  But when I hear a Limbaugh or a Beck, I think, “what a fishing piece of canine waste.”

                Limbaugh, and especially Beck, make a lot of reasonable middle-of-the-road people suspect they’re just poes, not really interested in the meaning of anything they say, but only in its effect (as measured in dollars).  I don’t really see anyone on the left like that.  Not that I’m looking closely, but I don’t look closely for such people on the right, either, and yet they are frequently brought to my unwilling attention, and that in itself is suggestive.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Sharpton’s bought and paid for, and I’d be surprised if Farakkhan wasn’t designed to be a jerk. But I don’t think either have a ton of credibility.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Well, this illustrates why even mentioning Limbaugh in a mixed audience never comes to any good.

                But for the record, he is not Beck [and has never spoken well of him, I think], and if you check yr scorecard, Beck is currently headed for the margins with Savage.  He’s not in the club.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Tom, I agree Limbaugh’s not Beck.  Limbaugh’s still far out there, deserving of every criticism I made, but Beck is so far beyond him it’s hard to comprehend his very existence.  And I wasn’t trying to claim either of them was mainstream Republicans.  I’m just asking who, if anyone, on the left is really comparable?

                Kimmi mentions Sharpton, but my impression is he’s not a regular player.  He pops into attention every now and then, then gets ignored (surely to his frustration) for periods of time.  Limbaugh’s always on (probably literally, 24 hours a day).  And I’m not sure Sharpton has such a single-minded purpose of destroying the credibility of ideological opponents.  Not that I find Sharpton worthy of defense, and we’d be better off with the whole lot gone.  But the question bandied about was about left-wing equivalents.  I don’t see them, but I’m sure others are looking more closely.  If they’re there, who are they?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I’m uncertain myself James, I don’t listen to radio. I remember the whole left wing talk radio project sputtered to a relatively ignomius end with that Air America thing. I just wanted to object to the idea that the spectrum of discourse has Beck as its rightmost anchor and Andrew Sullivan or Ezra Klein as the leftmost one. That leaves a lot of ground out to my mind.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                The liberal lights of the left get co-opted pretty quickly into the political circus. Al Franken comes to mind, Maxine Waters and others of her ilk speak such “gibberish” that one would be inclined to totally dismiss out of hand, except for that tremendous political power they wield. The right gets to comment but the left gets to rule.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                I’ll take your Maxine Waters and raise you a Steve King, a Michele Bachman, and a Louis Gohmert.  You can call with a Dennis Kucinich and a lefty to be named later.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                To lump Beck and Limbaugh together doesn’t offer enough clarity to proceed.  Defending Limbaugh to those hostile to him is a mug’s game, so I’ll leave it that I’ve often caught his critics in error quoting him, since they get their stories 2nd and 3rd hand from Media Matters and the like.  So who’s the liar? [See for the right wing version of MM.] Keith Olbermann was of course over-the-top not like Limbaugh and Hannity as much as Beck and Savage.  All have been permitted to drift to the margins, for the folks who dig that sort of thing. Overt repudiation by mainstream left or right was unnecessary. [Fox News cut Beck loose; MSNBC was relieved to see Olbermann go, and probably the mainstreams of left and right as well.] As for Klein or Sullivan, they have done enough on their own to forfeit credibility in a mixed audience.  That some folks quote them approvingly is disappointing, for reasons above. Then there’s Bill Maher’s smugfest, and of course MSNBC, esp that Ed guy, who sticks his foot in it with great frequency.  And Chris Matthews, who still reliably parrots the official center-left line although the left starts the No True Scotsman thing in their rush not to be answerable for his foolishness. So it goes.  This tu quoque thing is never productive.  There are contributors and commenters here at the LOOG who are far more venomous and incoherent than anyone on the right [Heidegger excepted].  But so what?  In the end, the other side is always worse, depending on the color of your flag.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Where have I seen those three together? We could go by IQ points but the libs would lose in a landslide then.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Oh, Gohmert’s punking Obama on the American Jobs Act was classic,and a huge blunder by Obama, who apparently can’t distinguish between a cart and a horse.  But let’s not forget about Gohmert’s terror babies.

                And thanks for throwing in Hank Johnson. That’s why I left the third Dem to be named by you–I was sure you’d be able to come up with a good one, but that exceeded my expectations because I’d forgotten about that bit of hilarious idiocy.

                As to judging them all by IQ points, though, somebody would have to show me some solid data before I’d bet on either side.  That’s easy for you to say (and just as easy for a liberal to say for their side as well), but I doubt you can really evidence it.Report

            • Avatar BSK says:

              People are really misinterpreting what I am saying grossly.  I made it quite clear that I don’t think Savage, his listeners, or Conservapedia represent conservative America.  My only point is that there exists a portion of the population that very much believes the rants of Savage or the posts on conservapedia sincerely.  Some people seem to be arguing that it MUST be parody because of how absurd it is.  I am only pointing out that there exists an absurd audience.  Is this unique to the right?  Certainly not.  But the conversation here is conservapedia.

              Was that really hard to find in my posts on the matter?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                There are folks who earnestly believe in UFO’s and fully funded entitlement programs. Whether they are one and the same is irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                And what does that have to do with what I said?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                I agree there exists an absurd audience.

                Perhaps the “mis”interpretation was caused by your first sentence:

                I would agree with this if I didn’t hear the same nonsense repeated ad nauseum on conservative talk radio (which tends to be the worst of the worst in terms of major media outlets)

                Talk radio as infotainment has been with us for a while. The liberals tried it for a bit, but there’s only so much bitching and kvetching that people will pay to listen to. On the other hand there’s always NPR.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                I suppose I should have been more clear.  The Michael Savages of the world are the worst of the worst when it comes to major media outlets.  I consider him to be a major media member because I hear him on the radio in every city I visit and he seems to have a huge listening audience.  I am sure there are equally horrible left-wing media members, though I don’t know any who have the coverage of a Michael Savage.  I did not mean to paint with broad strokes and lampoon all conservative talk radio hosts.  There are many whom, while I may disagree with, I respect as legitimate members of the media.  Or, as legitimate as any mainstream media personality is at this point, which is questionable for those on every side of the aisle.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                Outside of that, though, I think it is pretty clear I wasn’t taking a cheap shot as conservative ideology.  Only at the apparent kneejerk reaction that any such conservative lunacy can only be the work of satirists and can, in no way, represent a segment of sincere conservatives.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Mr. Schalfly, at least, is perfectly serious, and Conservapedia is his website. If he’s unhappy with, say, the page about Obama, I’d expect it to have been fixed long ago.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:


                The links on the front page also make it pretty clear that the site is intended to be real.  Why would a satirist link to FoxNews?

                Why are people so reluctant to say, “Yea, this is a very real element of the crazy conservative fringe”?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Just so it’s clear Michael Savage is outside the righty mainstream: the Oliver Stone of the right, and not the dishonest man Michael Moore is.

                Still, as BSK notes, the topic is Conservapedia, and if we can lower our flags and banners for a moment, it seems to me there is an alternate-info universe on the right that has no exact tu quoque on the left.

                At least in numbers, and it seems that Biblical creationism is the driver with Conservapedia and the culture wars.

                My own opinion is that it’s harmless, as least as harmless as believing in ghosts or UFOs.  Creationists still manage to be productive citizens and even scientists, even biologist or drug researchers.  Their brief is basically an abstraction, an academic argument about the past and how we got here.

                There is no disagreement about the science we have and work with today: a creationist can be a quantum physicist just fine.

                I don’t know what’s really in the minds of the what, 40-50% who tell the pollsters they believe in Biblical creationism.  It’s a complex subject with a complex history: In the later 1800s, God was replaced by modernity not only as creator, but as sustainer, and as the source of moral intelligence.  The creationists were on the side of the angels against social Darwinism and especially eugenics.

                And indeed, I wonder just what they’re saying in those polls.  That they reject a mechanical view of man and the meaning of life is at the heart of it, I think, because modern philosophy has not provided a satisfactory substitute for the meaning that God represents.  And I’m sure that many are unable to articulate this, or even clarify the concept behind their unease with modernity, so perhaps they just “cling” to the Bible’s account literally.

                So we have dynamics flying around, that this clinging to the Bible is a response to soulless modernity, and that perhaps modern types get quite exercised against creationism not merely as an offense against reason, but as an obstacle to the modernist’s secular-theist [or non-theist] agenda.

                The Adam and Steve thing, for instance…Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Just so it’s clear Michael Savage is outside the righty mainstream: the Oliver Stone of the right, and not the dishonest man Michael Moore is.

                Really?  I have the definite impression that “Michael Savage” is performance art.  Not nearly as many people would be interested in a merely grumpy nutritionist named “Michael Weiner”.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:


                I posited the same thing to a pundit I hold in high regard.  His response implied that there is something to Savage’s past or upbringing that makes it clear the worldview he presents on his show is very much his own.  He didn’t elaborate, so I’m really chasing whispers, but he seemed pretty convinced.  Not enough to convince me, but enough to give me pause.

                Ultimately, I think most media members are performance artists nowadays.  They are in the business of getting rates and, more specifically, making money.  So whatever sells tickets or ad space or whatever is going to become a part of the persona.  The problem is that real, genuine people seem increasingly drawn to these extremist characters of all persuasions.  What does it say about us that a guy like Michael Savage (or whomever his equivalent on the left is) gets the ratings he does?


                Thanks for your response.  I think you are getting what I’m saying.  If Savage really represented mainstream conservativism, we’d all be in a heck of a lot of trouble.

                It’d be interesting to see mainstream conservatives take a firmer stance in opposition to these guys.  Say, “THAT isn’t conservatism… THIS is.”  It would be impressive, to say the least.  Unfortunately, because many of these guys do have huge followings, it seems questionable to risk alienating them, especially for politicians.  I seem to remember a conversation here not long ago that insisted the issues that Muslims had with branding were almost entirely self-inflicted by their refusal to distance themselves from radical perversions of the faith.  Can we level the same criticism at the moderate, mainstream conservative base for not explicitly rejecting the nonsense of Savage and Conservapedia?Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                And to play both sides, I think liberalism has a very different issue.  Many tenets of true liberalism are rejected by mainstream liberals because they would not (or are perceived to not) poll well.  Mainstream liberals often aren’t very liberal at all.  Liberals are quick to distance themselves from anyone who could be perceived as being TOO liberal because they have allowed that word to be co-opted and stigmatized.  How often do you hear people proclaim themselves to a proud liberal?  It greatly pales into comparison to those who consider themselves proud conservatives?

                So where conservatives could improve their standing by distancing themselves from the radical, not-truly-conservative fringe but don’t, liberals attempt to improve their standing by appealing to the middle and rejecting true liberalism.  This is obviously SUPER oversimplified, but is it interesting to note the very different ways in which the groups handle their own identity development.  Basically, it is a race to the bottom with one group appealing to a radical fringe and the other ignoring their own.  Ultimately, it seems like this would lead to a shift to the right, but I’m not sure that is happening.  If anything, things seem more muddled than ever (spoken like a true 28-year-old).Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                @BSK. what I said here still applies. We’ve gone round and round on this site trying (and mostly failing) to define libertarianism. I’d TRULY love to see us do the same with liberalism and conservatism. That’s why I was serious when I said draw your strawmen so we could at least talk about them. There’s probably no legitimate place on the Internet where this has occurred, might as well try it here and see what we can discern. Or not, we could keep jousting with windmills.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:


                I assume that when you ask me to draw your strawmen, you mean you want me to define conservatism which you assume will result in the creation of a strawman?

                Defining any political ideology is difficult, because essentially every follower of that ideology will define it differently.  It is even harder as an outsider to that ideology.

                I am willing to attempt to do so but must first ask if you are seeking me to broadly define the concept of conservatism or to define conservatism as I see it practiced?  These are not necessarily one in the same.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “I don’t know what’s really in the minds of the what, 40-50% who tell the pollsters they believe in Biblical creationism.”

                What’s in their minds is probably about six different things, because those poll results lump Intelligent Design, God Of Gaps, and Young Earth together as “creationism”, even though they’re vastly different conceptions of what the statement “God created the universe” means.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Hey, Tom?

                This was more than a bit aiight.

                I know a research chemist who will with all earnestness explain why the feng shui in your house is bad.  It doesn’t make him a bad chemist, even though chi isn’t exactly what you would call falsifiable using physics.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                UFOs are a human right.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                That some people believe the exaggerated nonsense of a parody does not mean that parody was not created by trolls.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                trolls are easy to prove. bots be harder.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                And that a website seems nonsensical does not mean it was created by trolls.  If there are people obtuse enough to believe it, there are people obtuse enough to write it.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                except for ED. it’s EASY to prove when it’s a troll. trolls boast.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “[T]hat a website seems nonsensical does not mean it was created by trolls.”

                Good old Fake But Accurate. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                Back in 04, conservatives loved the “fake” part so much they forgot all about the “accurate” part.

                The same seems to be happening here.  BSK’s contention is not that the site was created by trolls.  It’s that it wasn’t created by trolls, which is more embarrassing.

                I freely admit I don’t know, but I also don’t think I know any conservatives who generally subscribe to its ridiculous beliefs.  So I consider it mostly irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                When my brother went to Yale, it was almost a school sport to invent letters to Ann Landers. Eventually it got to the point where she wouldn’t even open a letter from Connecticut. He used to send me entire bundles from just his dorm, which I would dutifully mail the contents of every few days from my decidedly non-CT address. I could /almost/ always recognize them when they got printed with sage Landers advice no less. I wouldn’t be the least surprised those young men and women in our higher education haunts aren’t having some fun at everyone’s expense here.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                heh. You seen “calling all wingnuts”… it’s a trip!

                (this is what you get when you piss off veterans…)Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Proving my point that these are false flag operations. What is easier than pretending to be your enemy and cause dissent and confusion in their midst, turn public opinion against them and discredit them? On a wiki no less.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Conservapedia is run by Andrew Schlafly.  He’s a true believer. Deal with it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                Your link to the Mike Stark wiki page is only evidence against Mike Stark, nothing beyond that.

                However it did reveal a bit more idiocy on the Republican side, O’Reilly claiming they’d have Fox security pay the guy a little visit.  Beauteous.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                You’re both missing the point, which I believe I’ve stated clearly. Bogus letters to Ann Landers, bogus callins to radio shows and bogus entries on a Wiki site all have what common denominator?Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                What’s interesting about your view, Ward, is that since the editors of conservapedia are most assuredly conservative, according to you they themselves are unable to distinguish between the real and the parodical conservatism.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                That their extent is purely up to the imagination.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Liberals just use Wikipedia itself for their disinfo.


                Since the epistemological playing field is unequal across the board [what liberal bias?], you’re going to see things on the right like Conservapedia as a reaction that have no analog on the left.

                [I mean there may be some howlers over at the lefty Disinfopedia, but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.]


              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                “You’re both missing the point, which I believe I’ve stated clearly. Bogus letters to Ann Landers, bogus callins to radio shows and bogus entries on a Wiki site all have what common denominator?”

                Done well, they call all be fishing hilarious.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                RTod – Exactamundo!

                As for the “editors”. Back when I was an ISP, I was called to testify on behalf of someone at a university with a similar position to Patrick Cahalan’s who was hosting a Usenet news feed for the school on school equipment. Someone who wanted him fired accused him of hosting child porn. Of course the porn in question was scattered n the tens of thousands (then) of categories and some of the original spam directing the dweebs back to the midget porn websites.

                I proved rather conclusively that it was humanly impossible to find and filter all possible content in a system like that. Conservapedia could take numerous steps, hire dozens more people (ala Wikipedia), clamp down severely on uploaded content and so on. They haven’t. That they haven’t is not indicative of agreement, it could simply be a budgetary matter.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                I’m still curious why there seems to be an outright refusal among some here to acknowledge that the site might be largely genuine.

                Can I say for sure it is?  No.  But why do so many seem convinced that they can say for sure that it is largely parody?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                I’ve seen at least two threads, on other discussion forums, devoted to trolling Conservapedia. And these forums, while as left-leaning as most of the rest of the Internet, aren’t what I’d call particularly ideological or troll-ridden. If the Regular Old Folks think it’s a gas to make off-the-wall posts on Conservapedia, what do you think goes on in the depths of DailyKos or DU?

                I guess what I’d do is turn the question and ask you why you’re so insistent that it be real. No, not “well some of it might be real”. Go back to your first posts and re-read what you wrote.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Andrew Schlafly is for real, so to some extent the question of whether the content is real or not is merely academic. The site is intended to be real, and if any substantial portion of it is not, then it is a tremendous failure.  Since anyone can apparently jump in and edit it, then either a) the site isn’t drawing enough conservative participants to make corrections (it doesn’t just require the editors to be aware), or b) the false entries are not identifiable by conservatives themselves.


              • Avatar BSK says:


                I said I disagreed with the notion that less than 10% of the site was real.  I never said it was all real or that it had to be real.  Only that the notion that the site was absurd and thus must be trolls required several leaps and assumptions.  Please point me to where I indicated a belief that ALL of it MUST be real…Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Only that the notion that the site was absurd and thus must be trolls required several leaps and assumptions.

                Well, the first part of that doesn’t require any leaps or assumptions at all… 😉Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                The page histories are illuminating.  Conservapedia’s nonsensical article on Relativity shows three edits by Andrew Schlafly in the past few days and an average of one a month for the past year.  Its idiotic article on evolution is apparently restricted, since all of the edits are made by site administrators.  Its stupid article on Obama’s Muslim heritage likewise has a recent edit from Schafly.

                Whatever trolling takes place is superfluous, since the people who run it are sufficiently batshit all by themselves.Report

  14. Avatar Freud & Jung says:

    BSK—heh, heh, heh,this is funny- “But they have their share of supporters.”

    Like 20, 000,000 a day! And why do you suppose there are such “few competitors”? Could it be that they just, ahem, S.U.C.K.?

    Your wife? Well, congratulations my friend–I forgot, you were just recently married.
    I seem to remember you talking about your fiancee a while ago, so I wish you and your wife a long and happy life together.Report

  15. Avatar Tony Sidaway says:

    If you think the encyclopedia project is wacky, check out the Conservative Bible Project, which was founded by Andrew Schlafly and is hosted on the same website. Pure nutcakery, and quite genuine.

    ‘The Conservative Bible Project is a project utilizing the “best of the public” to render God’s word into modern English without liberal translation distortions. A Colbert Report interview featured this project. We completed our translation of the New Testament on April 23, 2010.

    ‘Already our translators have identified numerous pro-abortion distortions that omit or twist clear references to the unborn child.’