Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So Long, and Thanks for All the Frisch

[posted by Callimachus]

Speaking of recurring bad dreams from the left side of the bed, here's another who's back. It's a suicide mission, typically, but it has silenced her target. And she's sniffing after his teammates.

This is not about politics, it is about psychopathology. This could happen to any amateur public writer, left, right, center, apolitical. We don't have corporate lawyers behind us. Each of us is out here on our own. When "troll" turns from a metaphor to a reality, we don't have a support except in our families -- and, theoretically, in one another.

When I studied the Lincoln administration's policy of using federal authority to systematically shut down anti-war newspapers in 1861, I was appalled that rival newspaper editors all but universally applauded the move, blissfully unaware that the tactic transcended the specifics of the case and could as easily be used against them. Newspapers then were more partisan than media today, and there was little sense of "media" or "journalism" as a unitary craft practiced by different voices.

Nowadays, I would hope, the reaction would be otherwise. So, I would hope, bloggers, especially political ones, would sense this is a Niemöller moment for us. As such, I'm interested to watch how it plays out on the left side. So far, all I can see is one notice, from someone who is eager to take credit for Goldstein's demise. Not a promising start. But the story is young.