Friday, 17 January 2014

Subversion and blog comments


I have been reading a history of art from a Christian (Calvinist) perspective - Modern art and the death of a culture by Hans Rookmaaker - which provides food for thought about the operation of evil in the world.

Among other things, it documents (albeit not explicitly) the way in which subversive became a term of approbation in art - until subversion became (for some people) the primary job of the (modern) artist.

For them, all real art was subversive. 


After a while (since about the mid-1960s) the idea became mainstream. Subversive is good - if you can subvert, then you are doing a good job. People ought to be allowed to subvert, they should be free to subvert... Dang-it they have a basic human right to subvert!


For a traditionalist, this is bunk.

Subversion of the Good is evil - and indeed one of the very worst of sins when it confuses or inverts the polarity of Good and evil.

(I would judge that modern artists - as a subspecies of radical intellectual - have been among the worst sinners, the most evil people, ever to inhabit the earth.)


So... I have no intention of publishing comments which are subversive of blog posts which are important to me.

A commenter has no right for their comment to be published, I have no obligation to apologize-for or excuse the non-publication of a comment - indeed (as a broad rule) I only publish comments I like and which I believe will enhance the post.

Certainly I do not publish comments which I believe or suspect will subvert the blog post - why would I do that? Why would I spend thousands of hours a year writing a blog only to facilitate having it pulled to pieces by subversive commenters?

Nor do I publish comments which criticize or mock me - of course not! What kind of masochistic nutcase would I have to be actually to facilitate and approve and propagate the publication of slurs and rants against myself!


This is just a matter of basic mental health.

Other bloggers seem happy to have their blog posts deflected, pulled-apart, hijacked and in general subverted by commenters; and to publish vicious, silly, ignorant or irrelevant and hate-filled diatribes against themselves and the things they love and wish to promote.

But I regard them as crazy.



Robert Brockman said...

If you are correct then you are incapable of publishing comments that would subvert/undermine your posts. Truth is truth.

If you are incorrect then you would want your posts to be subverted as quickly as possible.

The Great Enemy is subtle. Be aware.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RB - Um...

Maybe it doesn't actually work like that.

I suspect that people blog a mixture of stuff they believe to be correct and also stuff they know to be incorrect - and it all gets subverted anyway - indifferently of its truth; and this contributes to the relativistic cancer of our times.

George said...

Robert, Google "trolling"

Nicholas Fulford said...

Sometimes a challenging comment is helpful in refining thinking, and enabling a stronger response which is more effective.

Of course, nobody is entitled to be published anywhere. We put it out there, and the editor decides.

In this blog the editor is you, and I have and will never complain. I will simply submit my comments, and at least know that you have read them. That is really all I can ask.

alexi de sadesky said...

And rightfully so Bruce! This is one of the last vestiges of decency left on the internet. Knowing that it will remain such keeps me coming back. Thank you for creating this place (and guarding it). It is a joy to visit.

ajb said...

+1 to what NF said.

Sometimes, I'm interested in seeing some (implicit) counter-point addressed, because if you were to rebut it, I would find what you are saying more compelling.

On the other hand, I don't want to wade through trolling.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - I am not just talking about trolling.

Sometimes I do not publish a comment if I think it has already been dealt with in the post. Another time I do not publish a question or attempted rebuttal because I have not time, or lack the inclination, to rpovide and answer or counter-argument.

I also tend to delete comment threads in which I have become bad tempered - and sometimes I delete discussions a day or so later. I don't want these 'hanging around' for maybe years after the post has been archived.

Sometimes I do a particluarly serious post - for example on a Christian topic - and I have a very high bar for publishing comments if they, in any way, detract or divert from the serious point.

The Continental Op said...

We live in a time when every reader has his Precioussss: his opinion. When it's not given a hearing he flies into a rage.

SFG said...

The idea, I thought, came from analogy with the First Amendment (which doesn't really apply anyway as it applies to the government, and not one guy's blog)--much of the Anglophone web is American.

Also, the idea is that if you can't address the other guy's arguments and have to suppress them, you must not be that confident in your own arguments. I do remember my own argument with the gender-free date guy on the Good Men Project, which never got published--thought I did a nice job of taking him down, which was probably why. ;)

Of course, as a Christian traditionalist, you believe in absolute Truth, which is pretty rare these days. So it's not surprising you'd be out of step with the modern Internet.

I actually expect your ideas will make a comeback as society decays, but for now, a voice in the wilderness...

Bruce Charlton said...

@SFG - "I actually expect your ideas will make a comeback as society decays, but for now, a voice in the wilderness... "

I have no doubt of it - but it is a tragedy of the first order that our society (and its individuals) could not/ did not use its power, peace and prosperity in the service of good - instead of in the destruction of good.