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Thursday, 02 March 2006


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Speaking of which, I notice BionOc has posted again, and 'twas worth the wait.

"Murderous fucking barbaric ethnic cleansing scum. Dear christ how I hate them."

Speaking of buttock-clenching petulance. Goodness!

Yes, Jeremy, and for those not familiar with this latter day Irma Geese it is Jews she is referring to cheered on, no doubt, by her comrades, 'lenin' and 'bat020'.

I think I must post soon on the lacerating disability of hatred, not just Jew-hatred but hatred in general. The Emma/Emmy duo above are an example of it in another guise.

Not sure what the Virtual Stoa is doing amongst that lot - while the likes of 'Lenin' ban and censor people every five minutes (usually while labelling them racists, his definition of which seems to encompass everyone on the planet who isn't a card-carrying member of the SWP), I believe Chris has only banned one person in his blog's entire history - and as it's been going since 2001, that's an awfully long span of blog years.

And I seem to remember that this sole ban was enacted not because Chris disagreed with the commenter's opinions (he's been quite happy to entertain regular comments from the likes of Peter Cuthbertson, and it's hard to imagine two people with less in common) but because the majority of a substantial number of posts by this person were:

"annoying, trollish, provocative without being interesting, offensive, or on behalf of points of view it isn't worth anyone's time to be discussing here (creationists, General Pinochet, Adam Yoshida, et cetera). On this and various other blogs his comments have evinced sexism, racism and homophobia, and attempts to engage him in some kind of dialogue have provoked his distinctive cocktail of irrelevant and false claims and his characteristic double-standards."

I remember the outbreak of trolling too, and it wasn't a pretty sight - there are some particularly juvenile and obnoxious examples in the comments to the 11 September 2004 post commemorating the murder of Anna Lindh (for some reason your comments system won't let me post a direct link, though the curious can access it through the 'Archives' link on the Virtual Stoa's sidebar).

So why is a single solitary crackdown on one annoying time-waster enough to justify inclusion on this particular shortlist?

(now that's a rhetorical question if ever there was one!)

Michael, thank you for taking me down memory lane. For the benefit of others, the particular exchanges that Michael refers to are here:
Please scroll down to the 11 Sep and the post on the late Anna Lindt, a Swedish pol I had never heard of but who is, so I now gather, deeply admired by the Left mostly because she was careless enough to be shot.

These, in order, are the comments I made:
"Anna who? And apart from her Mum and Dad, who cares?"

In reply to the news that 50k Swedes had mourned for her: "I'm crushed! 50k Swedes! Well, well, well! Sort of Scandinavian princess Di, was she?"

Then some-one linked to the news story concerning this political minnow to which I replied: " Zzzzzzzz......."

Then 'Backword Dave' chipped in his confusing tanner's worth and I wrote: "Sorry, BwD, didn't quite take your drift above but I'm sure it was kindly meant. And indeed, not only do I now know Mike [another commenter], I know where he lives - er, electronically speaking, of course. Had a quick squint at his blog and was rather impressed. Enjoyed reading his essay on Jewish comedians. Good stuff!
See, I can be quite nice when I try."

Now, let me make clear that I am happy to state for the record that I am sure Ms. Lindt was a fine wife, mother and exemplary human being and I wish she had not been shot but a political colossus she was not! All I did was point that out in what I thought was fairly mild terms. Later on I was banned.

'Virtual Stoat' is an example of those Oxbridge, common-room socialists (Dawkins is another!) who can dish it out in their own snidey, sneery way but fly into a hissy-fit if anyone dares to throw some of it back.

David, that's a highly selective and partial account of your sojourn at the Stoa, as will be obvious to anyone who follows that link and reads both that and the surrounding comments threads.

First of all, your comments in the Anna Lindh discussion were obnoxious by any standard, regardless of whether you'd heard of her beforehand. Indeed, you specifically asked for information about her, and when I made the mistake of obliging by researching and posting a link, your response was the above-quoted "Zzzzz".

Now this would be grossly ill-mannered even if you'd merely been asking for gardening tips, but in the context of someone's recent murder, even without taking into account your similarly dismissive comments elsewhere in that thread ("who cares?"), it was pretty damn vile.

And having marked your cards as a peculiarly repellent troll, you continued to post in a similarly inane vein for the next few days. Chris made several attempts to respond intelligently to what usually turned out to be drivelling flippancy, and when it became abundantly clear that you weren't showing any interest in anything other than being annoying and that he was wasting his time even bothering to respond, he broke the habit of a lifetime and banned you.

But I'm not aware of anyone else who's ever been banned or even censored. Indeed, I've known Chris for literally his entire life, and I honestly can't recall him ever running away from an argument that was actually worth having - he's usually only too happy to start them. So, aside from this one-off incident, I'd be grateful if you could highlight a single other example on his entire site that justifies your labelling it as one of "those Left-wing blogs whose owners' belief in freedom of opinion and speech is limited to those speeches and beliefs that co-incide with their own. Anything else is banned!".

(Since Peter Cuthbertson often posts trenchantly right-wing opinions in the Stoa's comments threads, perhaps you could ask him whether Chris has ever suppressed them, censored his posts or even failed to engage with his arguments. And if the answer is "no", as I suspect it will be, can you explain why Chris hasn't banned him - and many others who have expressed similarly dissenting views - if his blog really merited your description?)

Oh dear, this is going to become very forensic, I fear. First, I apologise to you, Michael, for not realising that you were the 'Mike' referred to in the exchange.

I am almost tempted to throw a hissy-fit myself at your suggestion that my extracts were "a highly selective and partial account of your sojourn at the Stoa ..." I provided the exact link and urged my readers to go to it and read it in full. It was *you* who accused *me* of being "obnoxious by any standard" and so I published *all* of *my* comments to allow my readers to judge. How can that be "selective and partial"?

I have my own particular style, some might call it my peculiar style, but still, 'Tis a poor thing, Sir, but mine own'. Instead of asking me why I think I was banned from 'Stoat's' site, you might like to ask yourself why the sites on the 'Role of Honour' manage not only to put up with me but to give me back as good as they get. It might have something to do with Oxbridge effetes lacking the bottle to counter-punch. I have admitted here and elsewhere that I am a semi-educated, lower-middle-class 'oik' but all I use is "words, words, words" which are apparently, simply too, too much for the sensitive 'Stoat'. My heart bleeds!

I accused you of being "selective and partial" because you only quoted YOUR comments and not the ones you were responding to.

For instance, do you really not see how rude it is to respond with "Zzzzzz" to someone who has taken the time to look up some information and post a link - regardless of anything else going on in the thread? (Not that it took me more than ten seconds, so I'm not that bothered - but for all you know it might have involved a fair amount of digging). But that comment alone suggests that you probably weren't someone worth taking seriously, even if the thread hadn't been discussing someone's recent murder.

As for your theory as to why you were banned, while I'm amused that you think it was something to do with class differences, with Chris being "sensitive" and "effete" (if I remember rightly, his favourite sport at school was rugby) or because he "lacked the bottle to counter-punch", I would respectfully suggest that it had infinitely more to do with the fact that the clear and in most cases sole purpose of your posts was to be annoying. And by that I mean "annoying", not "provocative", "controversial" or even "expressing views different from his".

I repeat: in the nearly five-year history of the Virtual Stoa, you are the ONLY person Chris has ever banned. But since you are very very far from the only person who has posted dissenting views (which are usually expressed in a pretty robust fashion), doesn't this in itself undermine your claim?

But readers are welcome to follow the link and decide for themselves - having dipped in for the first time in eighteen months or thereabouts, I find myself marvelling at Chris's patience more than anything! Not so much with the length of time it took him to ban you, but with the number of times he attempted to engage you in halfway sensible conversation - but maybe that was just him being effete and sensitive.

(Incidentally, I should make clear that I'm finding all this enormously entertaining, so please don't read this as any kind of disgusted-of-Tunbridge-Wells diatribe)

Well, I'm always happy to entertain anyone in need of a smile or three. As for my 'blog' manners, I agree, some people might grade them as anything from poor to atrocious. Still, they are only words but, alas, your mighty, rugby-playing champion, the 'Virtual Stoat', simply packs up his toys and goes home when the words sting a little. His choice!

"Packs up his toys and goes home" is a curious metaphor under the circumstances, especially since he didn't actually move anywhere: all this technically took place at his "home".

And despite him welcoming you in, you persistently abused his hospitality by metaphorically crapping on the table, pissing in the tea, shouting loudly and often incoherently whenever anyone else wanted to get a word in edgeways, and generally making yourself thoroughly unpleasant to be around.

And after taking up residence for several days and showing very little sign of improvement in your behaviour, the bouncers were eventually called in - with some regret, as Chris was gracious enough to acknowledge that not all your posts were totally worthless.

But while these metaphors are fun, they're missing the main point, which is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Chris actively suppresses dissenting views as a matter of policy. He banned you because you were being a wilfully and persistently obnoxious time-waster - which is a quite different issue.

Come on, David - five years of existence, dozens if not hundreds of commenters, thousands of comments... and just one single ban. Does that really sound to you like someone who revels in suppressing free speech or even someone who has a problem with words "stinging a little"? (You wish!)

I really don't want to do it because 'going back' is always a disappointment but Michael's advocacy on behalf of his friend is compelling. So, I will return to those long-lost, sunny days of yore and re-read some of my exchanges with the 'Stoat'. My memory of him was that he was a stuck-up, socialist pseud and I was, at the time, glad to be 'struck off'. But memory plays tricks, especially at my age, so I will go back and 'review the situation'. Never let it be said that 'Duff & Nonsense' is anything but fair, even-handed, tolerant and forgiving!

Right, that's it! I've just wasted half an hour of my rapidly dwindling time re-reading the threads on 'Stoat's' September archive. If there is anything there that is a justification for banning me, apart from boredom, an excuse with which I might have had some sympathy, I can't find it. One thing I did find, which Michael somehow missed, was that I *apologised*, voluntarily, for my cruel remarks concerning the late Ms. Lindh.

Let us remind ourselves of the reasons put forward by the 'Stoat' for banning me, as reproduced so helpfully by his friend Michael with my comments added:

[Duff is]"annoying, trollish, provocative [such a sin!] without being interesting [so why bother worrying about him?], offensive, or on behalf of points of view it isn't worth anyone's time to be discussing here (creationists, General Pinochet, Adam Yoshida, et cetera [or to be precise, topics and views that run contrary to the 'Stoat's'!]). On this and various other blogs his comments have evinced sexism, racism and homophobia [no examples given but anyway, his definitions are not likely to be mine], and attempts to engage him in some kind of dialogue have provoked his distinctive cocktail of irrelevant and false claims and his characteristic double-standards [mere abuse and not even up to Oxbridge standards]."

Sorry, Michael, you tried. You have proved yourself to be a good and loyal friend and it's just a pity your efforts were wasted on such a 'Pantaloon'. At least Meaders, 'Ryan of Manchester' and the Yanks over at 'Fruitsofourlabour' are made of sterner stuff, but the 'Stoat', I'm afraid, is a weasel and he stays on the 'Street'!

The Central Committee was unanimous in support of Chairman Duff's decision.

Without in any way defending the ban on Mr Duff, whose comments I can recall enjoying, I can confirm that I've not been censored in any way on Virtual Stoa - although I don't suppose I've ever pushed the envelope too far on the blog either.

That's because you're a gentleman, Peter, and I'm an 'oik'. 'Intellectual', socialist toffs like the 'Stoat' always begin by patronising the 'oiks' until such time as they have the effrontery to start answering back, at which point, they have you shot, if they have the power; or they ban you if they don't.

socialist toffs like the 'Stoat'... have you shot, if they have the power

Charming David. A very fair and no doubt accurate allegation.

Dearie me, how whiny did that comment sound?

Did a 'socialist toff' steal your bicycle when you were a small boy or something?

'Larry', about as fair and accurate as any grumpy gneralisation ever can be!

'N.I.B.', yes, you're right on this occasion, it does sound a bit pathetic, more than a touch of 'Mummy, that big boy stole my bike' about it. As I explained to 'Larry' over at his place, I was a bit grumpy and out of sorts over the weekend, not at all my usual sunny self. Don't know why, apart from 'Larry' talking even more rot than usual.

Alas, David, I think you are dead wrong about Gendergeek. They generally provide a well thought out view (their view) on things and as they have said again and again, it is not their job nor their aim to give you a beginner's lesson in feminism.

"The Patriarchy" of which they speak is not an organisation, and an open minded reading of their blog and many others by feminists would make that obvious. It is state of society and they provide many examples of that throughout their writing.

You might not agree, but you cannot realistically claim not to know what they are saying, unless you don't really want to know.

If they do not like your comments, then that is their business. Their blog is for feminists, not about feminism. My own blog is open to comments from anyone at the moment, since I rarely seem to piss anyone off, but I can entirely understand their policy of selective banning.

Feminist blogs are particularly susceptible to attack from particularly nasty trolls (not saying you are one) and as a whole tend to be unforgiving and unbending in their comments policies.

Yankee! We have an Italian and an Isle of Wight(er) to balance out our two Yankees, thank you very much!

Who asked you over here, 'RinR'? This is strictly a one-way street in which *I* go over to *you* and make a prat of myself.

Anyway, the Italian is 'multo bene' but an 'Isle of Wighter'! That makes him almost bloody French!

"Alas, David, I think you are dead wrong about Gendergeek", writes Katherine who hails from a 'blog' that I recommend:

Let me explain that I questioned the humourless harridans at 'genderkeek' as to what exactly they meant by the term 'the Patriarchy'. Katherine attempts, but fails, to defend their non-disclosure. Not surprising since it is indefensible. The term has no meaning and no existence in the real world. It is an example of 'agit-prop' similar to Goebbels talking of the 'unter menschen', or Lenin/Trotsky talking of 'the capitalist classes'. It is a way of lumping together a whole range of people, sticking a label on them and thus undermining their individual humanity.

Katherine goes on to *imply* that somehow 'blogs' are private clubs for members only. Not in my view, they're not! They are the electronic equivalent of setting up a soap-box at Speaker's Corner. If you can't stand the heat of detailed questioning, opposition or even the odd rotten tomato, you shouldn't be there. 'Bloggers' who ban people for anything other than decency, libel or incitement to violence are pathetic and should be treated with the contempt they deserve which includes the most degrading punishment of all, entry into my 'Street of Shame'.

Sorry, Katherine, on this, and I suspect, other matters, we must disagree but I think, I hope, that you are made of sterner stuff!

Detailed questioning, opposition, or even the odd rotten tomato, maybe, but not even the people at Speaker's Corber are expected to withstand an avalanche of shit - which can happen - I notice Chicken Yoghurt's just had to take action because of about an especially unpleasant troll.

Also please can you add Genghisblog to the Street of Shame - he's a cowardly fucker who refuses to publish any dissenting comments.

Yes, 'Larry', I agree that "an avalanche of shit" wpuld be intolerable but, of course, I know that you would not place my witty, shrewd and intelligent interjections into that category!

As to 'Ghenghis', I have asked the question.

"I know that you would not place my witty, shrewd and intelligent interjections into that category!"

No I didn't mean to imply that. The occasional bucket of shit perhaps, but mostly rotten tomatoes. Too much for some, I can understand, but I can hack it.

Ms Oc, humourless? She may be a bit strident, but her Keira/Alien "separated at birth" piece actually made me laugh, unlike anything I've ever read by (oh, say) Richard Littlejohn.


Thanks for the comment, and if the person known as 'Teabag' wishes to comment, he is as welcome as the next, but as I reserve the right to eliminate obscenities from my own pages, I wonder if he can write a sentence without reverting to type!

As a distant relative of the noble Khan, I'm rather annoyed that someone who can't put up with a bit of robust demotic language has expropriated his name. I'll be round to do the impaling later.

Ah, now I see all! Yes, 'Ghenghis', I regret to inform you that 'Larry Teabag' is a four-letter man. I think this is because his speciality is 'Sums', not English language. I have admonished him on several occasions and he has improved, over here at least - his last comments notwithstanding!

('Teabag'! I won't tell you again ...)

As for 'Larry Lamb's' comment, I am forced to honesty in admitting that that photo joke by the otherwise execrable 'BionOc' made me laugh as well!

But you must explain, 'Larry Lamb', how you are a distant relative of the admirable Khan who was OK as a leader but a tad soft on law and order, I felt!

To be honest, it's a balance of probabilities thing - family from that part of the world, most people there related to GK - who got around in several senses.

I think I'll start my own 'Street of Lame': Those Right-wing blogs whose owners' belief in freedom of opinion and speech is limited to those speeches and beliefs that co-incide with their own, and which don't use naughty words. Anything else is banned!

Pheeeew! Well, that lets me out, then!

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