August 04, 2005

Sense, Sensibility and Intellectual Dishonesty

Sadie has a question for you:

Pop quiz time - who wrote the following inarticulate statement?
I don’t think women generally have the sensibilities to run the country. Before you jump all over me, it’s important that you know I don’t care what you think. You’re reading this blog, so you obviously care what I think, so there it is.

Well, folks, in case you were wondering, it's that cutting-edge, I'm-a-big-shot-and-you're-not "Conservative" Blogger, La Shawn Barber.

To be fair (more fair than she is apparently) this is what she wrote in its entirety:

Rice for President: One of my advertisers is a group called Americans For Rice, and I’ve been asked by several people where I stand on the Condi-for-president meme. I wouldn’t vote for Condoleezza Rice for president of the United States. First, I don’t think women generally have the sensibilities to run the country. Before you jump all over me, it’s important that you know I don’t care what you think. You’re reading this blog, so you obviously care what I think, so there it is.

Second, Rice is pro-choice and might be pro-race preferences. No moderate Republican who I know is a moderate will ever get my vote.

So, what we have here is a statement against Condoleeza Rice for President. La Shawn has her reasons for not potentially voting for her. That's all well and good, but to say that "I don’t think women generally have the sensibilities to run the country" is beyond the freakin' pale. Note how she uses the qualifier "generally," as if that's going to keep her from getting into trouble. Then she acknowledges that people might be a wee bit upset about her sexist remarks and makes the most unbelievably arrogant statement I've seen yet: "Before you jump all over me, it’s important that you know I don’t care what you think. You’re reading this blog, so you obviously care what I think, so there it is." (My emphasis.)

You know what, LaShawn, I don't read your blog unless someone points out something inane and stupid that you've written. What can I say? I revel in it when someone who has such a puffed-up sense of self-importance gets slammed. I'm mean that way. Sue me.

I could say an awful lot about LaShawn's blatantly sexist attitude, but Jody does it better. But it doesn't end there. Oh, no. {Insert best Ron Popeil voice here} But wait....there's more! When LaShawn, in a fit of magnamity, deleted Jody's trackback, Beth had a few choice words to say about La Shawn's apparent inability to have people disagree with her.

Apparently, according to a comment La Shawn left at Jody's place and an update to the post linked above, the easiest way to discount someone who disagrees with you is to chalk it all up to jealousy over traffic and Ecosystem rankings.

First, the comment:

Way harsh and uncalled for. What did I ever do to you? Don't envy my ranking. I've worked hard for it. If you apply yourself, you can do it, too. By the way, save yourself the aggravation and don't wander over to my blog anymore. It's only going to get worse, I promise you. I'm starting to care less and less what people of any political stripe think of me, male or female.

Notice how she doesn't bother refuting the merits of Jody's argument. It's all about Ecosystem rankings and how hard she's worked to get where she is. I particularly adore the patronizing tone of the "If you apply yourself, you can do it, too" statement. I'd like to thank all of the little people...

Second, the update:

New/smaller bloggers, I’ve got something to say to you. One day a few of you may become huge. Your traffic and Ecosystem ranking will rise, and your reputation in the blogosphere will grow. Or not. But whatever happens, do me a favor? Don’t forget about or bad-mouth the bigger bloggers who linked to your posts and helped you back when you were smaller or first starting out, OK? It’s bad form. Especially if you asked them to link to your posts.

Sadly, it’s happened to me, and it’s…sad. The bitterness dripping from one such post was…bitter, and I don’t know why it’s there. I’m not a flame warrior, so I won’t link. It really doesn’t matter who it is. Just remember old LB’s advice.

To quote Kevin Spacey's character, Lloyd, from The Ref:

"You know what I'm going to get you for Christmas next year? A big wooden cross. So the next time you feel unappreciated for all the sacrifices you've made, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it."

See, since Jody asked the simple question: "Please someone tell me why she is so high in the ecosystem?" LaShawn could easily chalk Jody's criticism up to jealousy. I'm sure she'll do the same thing to me if she bothers reading this post, even though I don't give a rat's flaming behind about Ecosystem rankings. It's that simple for LaShawn: you don't like what I have to say? Well, since my blog is bigger and better than yours is, I must be bigger and better than you are. Hence your criticism is invalid and I will go along my merry way, spreading my inane ideas across the blogosphere to wide acclaim because no one will know if anyone disagrees with me because I will---ahem---delete their trackbacks and ban them from my blog.

I ask you, my devoted Cake Eater Readers, is that an attitude that represents the best of the blogosphere? Is this an attitude that represents the most intellectually honest position one could take?

I don't think so. Furthermore, I just flat-out love how LaShawn is all about helping the little bloggers. Her post has many little bits flavored with all sorts of advice for bloggers, yet she makes one of the most egregious errors of etiquette you can make in the blogosphere: she deletes the trackback of someone who disagrees with her. The only time it's appropriate to delete a trackback is when it's spam---of either the blogger-generated or pr0n operator variety. That's it. The rest of us humble bloggers see this format as a means of having a conversation. It's a sort of cocktail party, wherein you can chat with many people, gain many different ideas, and, most importantly, make up your own damn mind about whether or not those ideas have merit. LaShawn is anything but humble. She, apparently, is the cocktail party guest who says "SHUT THE HELL UP AND LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY BECAUSE I'M THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE ROOM AND THE REST OF YOU ARE PEONS!" Then, if someone has the temerity to speak up, she puts her hands over her ears, in a most childlike fashion and screams, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Most bloggers are interested in debate. LaShawn, from what I can gather, is only interested in herself.

I have some questions for all you bloggers/blog readers who read LaShawn's blog: does LaShawn Barber's Corner really represent the best and the brightest of the blogosphere? Does she embody all the promise blogs and the blogosphere present? What, precisely, do you get out of reading her blog? I'm completely serious when I ask these questions. If you think the Ecosystem has any merit to it, you should know that LaShawn is ranked #20 within it. Is her blog better or worse for her ranking? Or am I out of line when I criticize her inability to take criticism simply because I'm ranked #913 (as of today)? Would you judge my criticisms of her "work" as valid---no matter what my ranking---or should I just kow tow to a "big dog" because that's the way LaShawn would have the blogoshpere work?

I'm interested to hear what you all have to say about this one because it really does get down to the heart of what a good deal of us think the blogosphere is about: the spread of ideas. How those ideas are spread is, apparently, an issue of debate itself. Would you rather read a blog that cares about debate? Or are you only interested in blogs that are echo chambers of approval for their authors? The blogosphere, I believe, is all about saying what's on your mind and then listening to what people have to say about it. It's about furthering the discussion.

Is it really interesting to you to read a blog written by someone who only has a mouth, but no ears?

UPDATE: Yeah, LaShawn, we're all really jealous of your ranking!

{...} have reason to believe these people are either envious of my ranking (who cares?) and don’t want me to be there, or can’t figure out why I’m there in the first place. Here’s the irony: because of their boredom/pettiness and links, I’ll rise even higher over the next few days. The ranking is based on links.

Thanks, kids, but I’m not worth your precious time. Contribute something to the blogosphere that doesn’t revolve around what another blogger is doing or writing. It’s boring.

Christ. Could LaShawn's head get any bigger without exploding and splattering stuff all over the place?

The only reason I ask is because I don't want to get any on me.

UPDATE DEUX: Oddybobo has a few choice words for LaShawn and Andy believes LaShawn's second post was actually directed at him for something Intelligent Design related in that massive linkdump---which, quite frankly, could be the case: she's just nutty enough to piss off that many people. Go and read both posts.

Posted by Kathy at August 4, 2005 02:21 PM | TrackBack

Great post, indeed, Goddess of Snark!

I thought you might be able to answer that pop quiz with flying colours. A+

Posted by: Sadie at August 4, 2005 02:54 PM

It seems La Shawn can't stand criticism. She's decided to delete any trackbacks and comments that disagree with her on this one, then of course she whines that she's being "attacked" on other blogs. I think she's getting a little thin skinned to be blogging with comments and trackbacks open. Since she's such a star maybe it's time to turn off the comments and trackbacks and simply rely on her own writing to maintain her status in the blogosphere.

Posted by: Janette at August 4, 2005 02:58 PM

Bravo, Kathy, Bravo! Well said (written)

Isn't it ironic, regarding the UPDATE entry, regarding what other bloggers are doing or writing? Hmmmmm. A. Isn't that half of what the 'spere is about? and B. wasn't that part of what LSB was doing in the post that Jody linked to?

Posted by: William Teach at August 4, 2005 03:00 PM

The irony is obviously lost on La Shawn because Jody was critical of her post. Hopefully if La Shawn reads Kathy's post she'll get reality check.

Posted by: Janette at August 4, 2005 03:06 PM

I don't read her. It's not that I have any great beef with her, but she's just not my cup of tea.

The one time I linked to her was to comment on a disagreement she had with INDC Bill (I sided with Bill). A number of people took either side in the dispute, but at the time she said

"Update IV (6/6): I can’t believe people find this post so interesting. Was it something I said? Whatever. I hope you’re putting as much energy into condemning thug terrorists who want to destroy the U.S. as you are commenting on this post. Say what you will about me, as long as you link to the blog and spell my name correctly."

Apparently he editorial standard has changed to "link to the blog, spell my name correctly, and agree with me."

Posted by: The Colossus at August 4, 2005 03:45 PM

To be honest I rarely read LaShawn. But the one time I did link to her disagreeing with her over-the-top hostility toward anyone condemning Tom "Bomb Mecca" Tancredo, she deleted my trackback too.

Writing, "I don't care what anyone else says about me," while simultaneously trying to expunge all dissent from her trackbacks & comments is NOT the behavior of someone who truly doesn't care what others say about her.

If others want to read her and link to her, so be it. I personally don't see the appeal. But I can't figure out why Atrios is popular on the left either.

Posted by: Doug at August 4, 2005 03:56 PM

Would you judge my criticisms of her "work" as valid---no matter what my ranking---or should I just kow tow to a "big dog"

I don't see what anyone's ranking has to do with whether or not you're allowed have an opinion. I base my opinion on who makes the most sense to me on any given issue. A lot of my favourite bloggers are ones I don't always agree with -- present company included -- and I like it that way. Less boring.

(And BTW, I think ranking should be by blog age) (then I'd be a "big dog" and get all that kow towing)

Posted by: Ith at August 4, 2005 04:10 PM

I gave up on the ecosystem, It ranks links higher than daily traffic. It's not too hard to get links everywhere. It's much tougher to get people to check your blog everyday.

I also think LaShawn is a moron for not trusting women. That's just the kind of PR Republicans don't need.

Posted by: Tracy at August 4, 2005 04:44 PM

I confess I have been a reader of LaShawn's, if for nothing more than seeing some different perspectives. But long ago I began having serious reservations about her and her ideas. As she proclaims her faith, it seems, in practice, much has been left out in practice. Humility being one of them. As much as Christ stood firm on the truth, he was meek -- expressing his power as much through his silence as through his strong stances. Her self-given title of a Voice in the Wilderness leaves little more than a bad taste in my mouth anymore. And this 'little incident' has been the last straw for me. Sad.

Posted by: jae at August 4, 2005 04:48 PM

In the past, I rarely read La Shawn's page mostly because one only has so much time in the day to goof off reading blogs, right?

Then I had the same exact experience as Doug from Bogus Gold. I disagreed with LSB over the Tancredo affair and her reaction and promptly got my trackback deleted. In the few times I've visited her site since then, I've noticed a disturbing tendency on her part to talk a lot about herself, her popularity and her influence in the blogosphere.

My take? She's too thin-skinned to be a blogger and unless she backs off the 'I'm a big influential blogger and you're not' schtick, she's going to find herself extremely unpopular not for her ideas, but for her online persona.

Posted by: Slublog at August 4, 2005 05:06 PM

This whole deleting of trackbacks thing is so immature. God - I have no words!! You've said it all, Kathy.

Disagreement just cannot exist for some people. They experience it as an attack. They must belittle you for disagreeing.

It's so stupid.

But ... the deleting trackback thing is so transparent. Yuk.

I like MY way of blogging much much better. :)

Posted by: red at August 4, 2005 05:08 PM

Red, I do believe everyone loves your way of blogging ;) There's always something good going on at your blog.

Posted by: Kathy at August 4, 2005 05:19 PM

Oh Kathy that was great. I will disagree with her here: I have complete faith in the sensibilities of women to do the job of president. In fact, I think the position would be better served by a woman. I know I could do the job. I guess that LaShawn knows that she can't.

Posted by: Oddybobo at August 4, 2005 05:22 PM

Arrogance is arrogance...and it's unbecoming whether it's being spewed by the top dog in the blogsphere, or an insignificant microbe like me. :) I'm all for differing opinions but the "I'm-so-great" attitude behind this blog is tacky.

Then again, I'm just one of the little people. What do I know? ;)

Posted by: Barbara at August 4, 2005 07:10 PM

Oh...and just in case I wasn't clear...I didn't mean THIS lovely blog. lol

Posted by: Barbara at August 4, 2005 07:12 PM

I have heard of Barber, but not read her blog before now. Sounds like maybe her traffic had gone down and she posted something deliberately provocative. She doth protest too much, and that ALWAYS makes me suspicious.

Posted by: Ruth at August 4, 2005 08:15 PM

Be fair, LaShawn feels that womnn are not generally fit to be president, Then neither are men generally

I have more faith in male canidates, because there are vastly more men running for president. A certain percentage of men start running for president about the time they start to shave. With women, tney more apt to start running after they send their youngest off to college.

Most men and most women do not want to be presidnet, but more men do. So the talent pool is larger. Maggie Thatcher was a great PM but she is rare bird. Right now that about the only women I can see as presidential timber is Condi Rice. As women tend to enter politics later, they don't have the time to develope as canidate.

Posted by: David L at August 4, 2005 08:43 PM

Be fair, LaShawn feels that womnn are not generally fit to be president, Then neither are men generally

Curiously enough, David, she didn't state that. She said:

First, I don’t think women generally have the sensibilities to run the country. Before you jump all over me, it’s important that you know I don’t care what you think. You’re reading this blog, so you obviously care what I think, so there it is.

I fail to see why anyone should bother arguing about the merits of her argument when she has yet to present one.

Posted by: Kathy at August 4, 2005 08:54 PM

Exactly, Kath. She just makes statements without backing them up...not very persuasive as a form of writing or blogging, is it?

Another bit of irony is that she thinks bloggers who blog about other bloggers is too 'boring.'

Isn't that the post that started it all anyway...she did a massive link dump with the Condi paragraph right in the middle.

Whatever. She's a damn token and nothing more. If I were her, I'd probably go into denial over that painful little detail as well.

Posted by: sadie at August 4, 2005 09:21 PM

Wow. Lately I've thought she went downhill by sounding like someone who would support Nehemiah Scudder for President, but I still read her. I don't even necessarily think it's wrong to opine that women aren't cut out to be President. I disagree, but it's not an unreasonable thing to believe or to say. Of course, I have been on the Condi for President bandwagon since before I started blogging, so I disagree about her in particular.

The interesting thing is that she's one of those already-a-writer or already-MSM-associated bloggers who was never truly little or unknown, and she didn't have a long wait or big struggle rising in the rankings with which she seems to retain newbie levels of obsession. In her post about this and similar posts on other blogs, she went over the top, and that bothers me far more than anything she said in the original post. I actually held off linking her when she hit the scene for that reason; a distaste for the instant stardom effect. But she could write and was cool, so I got over it.

Now? I dunno. Perhaps in a few days it'll pass.

Posted by: Jay at August 4, 2005 10:44 PM

I've considered her a good writer and someone who reports well, usually. She should come clean on the ego things, though, the sooner the better.

Flame wars never accomplish much, and that is pretty much what this seems to turn into. It is its own form of entertainment, but I get the feeling that most aren't enjoying it all that well. But what do I know? I'm on the outskirts of the blogoshere, for the most part.

Posted by: ilona at August 5, 2005 12:36 AM

I'm wary of anyone who behaves as if they are "holier than thou."

Whatever their opinions.

I used to read LaShawn -- but frankly, she's too conservative for me. I like a little liberalism sprinkled in with my conservative crunchies in the morning and well, frankly, it's people like her who made me quit visiting church on a regular basis.

Too much clucking and tch tch'ing going on.

And yet -- they're the first ones to have the "I'm not perfect but I'm SAVED!" bumper stickers.


Sorry, my bias is showing.

Posted by: Margi at August 5, 2005 02:51 AM

LaShawn Who?

Never visited, don't care to.

All of those so-called top bloggers, in fact, leave me a little nauseous. The fact of the matter is, they are a bit too refined - I don't find them in the least compelling, original, or even GASP! interesting. I prefer to eat cake at the chronicle, enjoy a bit of feisty repartee, or even a few fistfuls of fortnights. I don't see what the big deal is - she sounds like an irresponsible and arrogant individual. I can't even imagine coming to the conclusion that "I'm somebody because the Nobodies care what I say." Sounds like Dan Rather, to be honest.

As to the question of whether a woman "generally" has the "sensibilities" to be President...I've always felt that sweeping generalities are dangerous. Isn't it past the time when we should all be judged on our merits and not on our sexual organs? Seriously! This is too stupid for words.

Posted by: Phoenix at August 5, 2005 09:49 AM

Hi, I'm Chris. We're the folks at Americans For Dr. Rice who advertised on her blog. Now we're not pissed off or anything like that. It's her blog, she can say what she wants. She could probably stand to do a little more research into where Condi stands on abortion or race preferences than she obviously has. But the fact that she's making a blanket statement that women can't be President because they're not wired to do the damn job is simply dumb. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir led their nations in two wars.

LaShawn strikes me as a "more catholic than the Pope" conservative, who would hold out for a Human Life Amendment instead of trying to reach some sort of national consensus on the abortion issue as Dr. Rice would advocate.

Posted by: Section9 at August 5, 2005 11:22 AM

Thanks for chiming in, Chris. It's good to know where you stand.

I was just wondering, though, are you going to keep advertising on her blog? It's apparent that she's more than willing to take your money, but doesn't really care all that much about your cause...would that affect where you choose to spend your advertising dollars? Or is it simply a traffic thing for you? Do you even have any control over it?

Don't feel you have to answer and divulge everything if you don't want to. It's simple curiosity on my part.

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by: Kathy at August 5, 2005 11:30 AM

Up until now only thing that attracted me to Ms. Barber's blog were her frequant take-downs of people who advocate "minorities are victims" and "quotas are required to equalize the outcome".

Her intolerance of commenters who disagree with her, though, has caused me to reduce my visits lately. That she cares not what they think makes me wonder why she even has a Comments section.

Her idea that women "generally" are unfit for national leadership will probably increase my visits, though. I am incurable curious about commentors with views so ridiculous.

Finally, yes, you could have done without the bit about the size of her readership. It does taste just a bit like jealousy. Otherwise, your Fisking of her is spot-on.

Posted by: Doug Purdie at August 5, 2005 11:46 AM

Doug -

LaShawn is the one who starts the "readership" argument, not any of us.

First she says "who cares?" about her ranking and then goes on to tell the little people how to get better rankings. This is cognitive dissonance at it's finest, opposing thoughts rattling around LaShawn's empty skull like some kind of cranial maracas.

Also, it's being overly generous to call LaShawn's comments box a "comments box." I believe the correct wording is "echo chamber" (because maracas sound even cooler with echo effects!).

I'll agree with others who have suggested elsewhere that LaShawn's popularity with the MSM is because she's such a caricature of the right. She makes right-wingers look like crazed, religious idiots.

All of that said, it's still fun to poke her with a sharp stick.

Posted by: andy at August 5, 2005 12:06 PM

Just for the record, since I am guest blogging over at Steal the Bandwagon, I am enjoying the flame war immensely.

Posted by: William Teach at August 5, 2005 12:23 PM

LaShawn LOVE the ranking. Work HARD for it. Remember her roots, she does. Try like heck to help the little people. Little people ungrateful bunch of sots!

Posted by: Greg at August 5, 2005 03:36 PM

Geez, Kathy, I wish you'd warned me about this stomping before I read the comments. I could have changed into a pair of coveralls to avoid getting any blood on my good work clothes.

"Take down to the Cake-eater. Two points."

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at August 5, 2005 06:15 PM

I left the following comment on La Shawn's blog, which she deleted.

" '’s important that you know I don’t care what you think. You’re reading this blog, so you obviously care what I think...'

"I'm not reading it anymore. You really need to check the ego, La Shawn."

I'm also getting an access denied message. Did she ban me, or is there a technical problem?

Posted by: Matt at August 7, 2005 01:01 PM

I'm also getting an access denied message. Did she ban me, or is there a technical problem?

Matt, this may answer your question. LaShawn bans anyone who has ever disagreed with her, even if they do so on another blog.

Posted by: Slublog at August 15, 2005 10:03 AM

Oops, I should use this type of redirect link instead.

Sorry about that.

Posted by: Slublog at August 15, 2005 10:17 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?