Corrente is, justly, renowned because we say Fuck.
But I'd hate for us to become renowned because we say Fuck You -- especially to each other.
Sure, if they think you're technical, go crude (and if they think you're crude, go technical), and I'd hate anybody to think we're a few crudités short of a platter, but some of the recent threads have made me cranky, and I'm not the only one.
This is not a plea for Civility -- Civility is a Village value, fundamentally aristocratic, whereby Our Betters demand unearned deference from us. Fuck that and fuck them.
It's not even a plea for politeness -- I seem to recall a discussion on the uses and abuses of the term "ladies" that's still smoldering.
It is a plea for good writing. If you really feel that you need to eviscerate a post -- which is not the same as eviscerating a poster, because we are not the arguments we make -- there are far more interesting and effective ways to do that than by telling the poster "Fuck you."
Vercotti:[A] week later they called again and told me the cheque had bounced and said... I had to see... Doug.
2nd Interviewer: Doug?
Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.
2nd Interviewer: What did he do?
Vercotti: He used... sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and... satire. He was vicious.
Worse, Corrente's always been about the writing, and propagating the writing, and "Fuck you" has already been propagated quite successfully, so there's no percentage in it, for writers or for readers. Even worse, forcing readers to wade through sludge has an opportunity cost: They may hever get to the good stuff (of which we have a lot).
To the offenders and the offended -- and I realize these categories are by no means disjunct, let me say this:
One source of anger is fear: Fear, in this case, of being shunned or banned or dragged down by howling mobs. For whatever reason -- perhaps it's my teddy bear personality -- Corrente became a refuge for those who suffered on the front lines in that way. However, there are many of us, readers, writers, and Fellows, who haven't suffered in that way, and who can't understand why some would take offense at words or tropes that weren't meant to offend. Often, that will happen because, at the front, such were the harbingers of much worse to come. (To you, a harmless jest; to them, the rattle of machine gun fire preparatory to an assault). The remedy here is time and lots of posting.
A second source of anger is anger: This has certainly happened to me. This may come as a shock to some of you, but I really, really hate to lose an argument, and there have been times when I've "flipped the bozo bit" (as VastLeft says) on somebody, and started using tactics that I later regretted. I ended up feeling bad, and, more importantly, making the blog look bad. When you feel the anger feeding on itself, back off and post on something else.
Let's have a good clean fight here. No holding, no low punches, no biting, gouging or rabbit punches. You'll break when I say break.
NOTE The thread for voting for Obama, or not, is here.
NOTE As I've threatened to do before, I can start policing the threads, deleting everything I don't like, and maybe some random stuff, too, just to keep everybody on their toes, but I guarantee nobody's going to like the result. So don't make me go there!