The Electric Commentary

Saturday, March 03, 2007

*Real* debating, Pan's Labrynth, and book #3

Debating about politics is rarely a good idea, but I still like to do it. For a while I blogged about politics a fair amount and was a regular commenter on several Wisconsin right-wing and left-wing blogs. People on both sides seemed to have this "us versus them" mentality. They were so petty too. It got really frustrating so I've mostly shied away. But the other day I decided to visit a right-wing blog call "Real Debate Wisconsin." Real Debate Wisconsin's blog description says this:

Too often in today's political landscape discourse is kept among those who agree. This is not a blog to promote that. We discuss ideas here, we ask that you keep your tone in check and respect those who are willing to share.

Get it? It's all about debate. Real debate! It almost implies that different opinions would be welcomed. What bugs me about this guy, as well as the good majority of other right-wing and left-wing political blogs I've read, is what complete hypocrites these people are. Real Debate Wisconsin is a prime example.

What brought me over there was his post about the same busted bingo game that I talked about the other day. He compares it to immigration. He first quotes the newspaper article which says:

"Yeah, this is nickel-and-dime stuff," Dams said. "But no matter how small it is, I had to do something. I can't give someone permission to break the law."

Then he adds this:

Ok so in Wisconsin (or Greendale) no matter how small it is we can't give someone permission to break the law...Can anyone say ILLEGAL ALIENS? Communities all over this state where there is a police directive to not care about the legal status of residents?

Now, I think this is a fine comparison to make as long as you take the same position on both issues. If you think that cops should be lax when it comes to the small stuff regardless of what's on the books, then you should be against cops breaking up a bingo game AND be against enforcing immigration laws against illegal immigrants who aren't causing problems. Now obviously there are some policy arguments you could make against more open borders, but this guy at Real Debate Wisconsin has repeatedly suggested that a major problem (if not the major problem) with illegal immigration is the simple fact that they didn't go through the proper channels, fill out the proper paperwork, wait their turn etc. The letter of the law is what's important to him with respect to immigration. This being the case, if he wanted to be consistent and not a hypocrite, he would have to be in favor of the cops busting up this old-lady bingo game with tea towels on the line. So I asked in his comments section whether this was his position. I was mostly playing dumb since I know that he is a hypocrite and that's not his position. Anyway, to make a long story short, he banned me from his comments section. It was allegedly because I said something vulgar, but I didn't. I think I referred to someone as an "A-hole" or a "D-bag" or something like that. And I wrote it just like that, not even spelling outthe whole word. He allegedly has a "no bad language" rule "no insulting others" rule or some other such nonsense, but he enforces said rule very selectively. So much for enforcing the letter of the law. I think it's obvious that he just bans people when they disagree with him and he can't argue on the merits. So much for *Real* Debate.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw Pan's Labyrinth last night.

What a weird movie! Don't get me wrong, it was pretty good. Maybe even really good, but really weird for sure. I'm not quite sure who the target audience for a movie like that is. When I saw the previews, I expected it to be more like Labyrinth. And in some ways it was, but the bad guy is a lot scarier than David Bowie. It's about a girl name Ofelia that moves with her pregnant mother to a military compound in the woods headed by her mother's new husband, a Captain fighting guerrillas in Franco's Spain in 1944. She creates this imaginary world where she has to accomplish three tests in order to become immortal. The movie juxtaposes this magical fantasy story over the Spanish civil war. At times it's magical, awe-inspiring and whimsical, and then, for good measure they throw in an extremely brutal murder. The previews led me to believe that it was a kids movie (maybe just because it's a fantasy story and the protagonist is a kid) but this movie is very violent, and graphically so. I really liked the movie, but what surprises me is how many other people liked it so much. It seems like the target audience has to be adults that like fantasy stories, art, European history and war movies. I had no idea that there were enough of us to make this movie a hit.

I also finished book #3 of 25 for the year (yes, I'm behind schedule already).

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell was both enjoyable to read and interesting. I'm not going to review it because Paul already did that here and I would just be repeating him. Next up will be #4 The End of Faith by Sam Harris, #5 The Gunslinger by Stephen King, and #6 The System of the World by Neal Stephenson. Maybe not in that order.


  • Wow, that Real Debate blog is dumb.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:12 PM  

  • You know, I was flat out told that it wasn't the a-hole remark, but rather that you went on some kind of vulgarity tirade. Funny thing is, if a comment was deleted or edited, the blog would show it, but there is none.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 2:35 AM  

  • I can understand someone deleting comments they don't like, but if you call your blog "Real Debate," you should probably allow comments. He should just change the name of his blog to "Right-wingers giving eachother hand-jobs Wisconsin"

    By Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe, at 7:58 AM  

  • Careful JJIJAWM, that word has a hyphen in it and there's now precedent for banning you.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 12:02 PM  

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