We wouldn’t want to leave everyone with the feeling that YearlyKos was heaven made manifest on earth, so I’ll just mention that Socratic Gadfly is blogging up a whirlwind of anti-Kos sentiment. I think it’s a bit overdone, but there is a germ of truth to some of his complaints.
I’d worry a little bit about an excess of Kos idolatry, but it was less in evidence than you might think from the name of the conference, and what you might read in dKos diaries. Firedoglake, MyDD, Glenn Greenwald, Atrios, and AmericaBlog were all big players here, and the attendees were highly egalitarian, more so than a list of panel members would indicate (this was a real problem, I think; way too many panels had the same people showing up on them, and a little more outreach to respected but low traffic blogs would be a good idea.) Gadfly thinks there is too much groupthink and narrow channeling of accepted views at dKos, but as long as a wide range of other bloggers are accepted at the convention, that shouldn’t be a big concern to the online activist community. I think it’s also good to have bona fide liberal skeptics like the Gadfly barking at their heels to keep them honest.
Julie O. says
I’d take him more seriously if he didn’t describe himself as a “willful deliberate contrarian,” which I don’t count as “bona fide liberal skeptic.” Kos is so popular, so Gadfly feels compelled to tear him down whether deserved or not. He won’t even link to Kos? Come on. Really, Kos is that bad?
If he has specific examples, he ought to link, since it is hardly worth fishing through the thousands of diaries and comments to find them.
Dan D says
This “refuse to link there” stuff might be ok if we’re talking about off-the-charts nut-balls like Ann Coulter or the KKK, but I find it a bit much even as an admitted kossack.
Also, some of his posts are just catty. Picking on Markos’ jokes is just petty.
I’d be more worried if Kos portrayed himself as a leader of the Left Blogosphere when he has explicitly rejected that title on numerous occasions. He doesn’t seem to be making millions from this either, so while we should be vigiliant that the leaders of the movement don’t get corrupted by their success, we’re not there yet.
PZ, I know this is not the right thread. But I saw this quote from you, on the theory of sexual selection, and I was wondering if you could clarify it for us.
“As Paul Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, put it, “I think much of what Roughgarden says is very interesting. But I think she discounts many of the modifications that have been made to sexual selection since Darwin originally proposed it. So in that sense, her Darwin is a straw man. You don’t have to dismiss the modern version of sexual selection in order to explain social bonding or homosexuality.”
So PZ, I think there should be some explanation for homosexual behavior, which extends beyond our species. After all, we don’t want to be in chorus with those who say that sex is exclusively for reproduction and contraception is a sin(by the way one not so well known follower of this philosophy was Adolf Hitler).
Alon Levy says
Oh, I wish it were egalitarian. Basically, the blogosphere is a good example of capitalism at work. First it’s a highly individualistic scheme, where you rise and fall on your own merits. But then there’s corporate consolidation, and your reputation starts being based on adhering to the established hierarchy.
Ostensibly, Kos says “Let’s agree to disagree on things – we don’t have to agree on everything.” In reality he says “Let’s forget about the little things and focus on the important stuff,” which wouldn’t be nearly as revolting if he didn’t consider any social or cultural issue to be unimportant. Furthermore, his supposed support for people-powered politics breaks down when you realize that it’s he who gets to decide what people-powered politics means.
He’s right that the movement’s bigger than any one person. It’s about a system in which there’s one king who pretends to be a primus inter pares. If Kos has a change of heart and decides to accept feminism, then suddenly abortion will become a core Democratic value. If Kos drops out, then after a short power struggle someone else – perhaps Jerome Armstrong, or Atrios.
PZ Myers says
That’s the thing: while I think there were some non-egalitarian things about the organization, the overwhelming sentiment of the people on the floor was egalitarian. Every news article that focused on Kos, Kos, Kos missed the point of the meeting, which was very unfortunate. I hope they do more to break that pattern for the next one.
And yes, as long as the attention is focused on Kos as the “leader”, rather than Kos as just one among many diverse bloggers, there is going to be a necessary misrepresentation of the community.
Did you wear a tinfoil hat like a good little Kos zombie?
Steve Reuland says
Jay Denari says
Just thought you migth find this interesting as a counterpoint: Capital Hill Blue. He didn’t like YearlyKos, but has no problem slamming political corruption as a problem on BOTH sides.