Wednesday, February 14, 2007

And Getting Slightly Creepy Now...

I've been studiously ignoring the developments in the little spat between, predominantly, Tim Ireland and Guido since the last time I mentioned it, but it's all getting a little weird. The bit I find, well, oddest is Ireland's habit of turning up in comment boxes (never here so far) as 'Guido 2.0' referring to 'Manic' in the third person, and then huffily reminding us all that all three of them are, of course the same person. There's something indefinably strange about all the 'Manic has spoken' business too - a combination of breath-taking pomposity and titanic self-delusion.

If I find that odd, there are other things I find less pleasant. His habit of consistently 'outing' people on the net. It's bad manners to out Guido, even if it's hardly a masterpiece of deduction, it gets unpleasant when it's used as a constant implicit threat. People blog in the style they want, in the fashion they choose, and it's not up to Ireland to determine how they should identify themselves. The Devil's Kitchen blogs as just that - not his real name, though 5 minutes effort could discover it. It's therefore polite (and lets not forget this whole spat started over a fight about, basically, blogging manners) to respect that.

The substance (if there really is any) to the fight between Ireland and Guido could scarcely interest me less, while that between Ireland and Iain Dale seems to me bizarre in the extreme. It appears that Iain asked whether Ireland was not a nihilist too [as well as Guido] and then denied having called Ireland a nihilist. Well, for fuck's sake: neither of them are nihilists, and it's no more an insult to be called a nihilist than to be called a Cartesian dualist. If this is worth getting worked up over someone needs to take a few deep breaths and work on channelling the anger somewhere productive.

And then there's the odd little exchange on Caroline Hunt's blog that manages to combine the strange, the patronising and the astonishing speed at taking offence.

The *existing* rules that have naturally developed over time via a series of internet-enabled interaction formats (and this relatively new one) are there to protect the community and those who wish to interact with it, and better enable effective discourse within it.

If you do not abide by these rules, then you have no place in the community. If one community in particular does not abide by these rules, they deserve to be shunned by the wider community.

The problem is that this is meaningless. There being no regulatory body for blogs (praise be) the rules that Ireland sets out in his blog (oh just go and read them for yourself, I'm not chugging through that again) are merely exhortatory. Anyone is entitled to write their blog in the way they see fit - provided no actual (as in existing, enforceable non-imaginary) law is broken. There is, incidentally a lot of very authoritative nonsense being written about blogs and libel (some I think by me) but it's worth bearing in mind that the libel laws as regarding blogs in this country are not so settled as to make any definitive opinion possible, though Oliver Kamm is probably the most intimately acquainted with them. Vulgar abuse, by the way, can never be libellous, so we can all feel free to call anyone we like a fascist - since as I demonstrated the term has ceased to hold any real meaning - hurrah for linguistic devaluation!

Anyway, since there seems to be no way of derailing this god-awful procession of weirdness, let's just wait and see if the Common Law will eventually get a sparkly new precedent after all - all this energy can't just be spent in the comment boxes of other people's blogs after all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so terribly alone.

11:14 am  

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