Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Time to pull the plug on Jeff Jarvis

Jeff Jarvis is the supposedly liberal blogger over at I don't know how he got his start - think he was a tv producer or something - but it seems to me his continued existence(?), influence(?) in the blogosphere derives from what little popularity he garners from television appearances. I say this having experienced very little of his blog writing, but I think it's possible to get the gist of someone's blogging skills by reading just a few posts. I wasn't impressed by his blogging a few weeks/months ago when I checked out his blog after seeing him on tv, and now, after stumbling upon a post from December 14, 2004, I'm horrified.

The post, entitled 'Juan Cole is pond scum', is reprehensible not just because it is extremely distasteful, but because I believe it is dangerous. It was a response to Juan Cole's mild analysis post, here. I believe Jarvis's reply is so hateful that it has the potential to provoke violence:

  • The man is pond scum
  • Cole is too deaf, dumb, and blind to see the liberal irony in that
  • you fool
  • Cole continues his spiteful idiocy
  • Just one problem with that, fool
  • Ali does a ... good job of telling Cole ... to go F themselves

  • The 'fool' is Cole - as addressed by Jarvis.

    I'm not sure of the author's goals for the post, but it seems to aim for at least one: make Juan Cole's views go away. How does it aim to do this? Intimidation, I suppose, would be the most immediate result of the hate speech employed by Jarvis.

    Receiving death threats is no fun, I imagine, and my guess is that Cole's popularity has made him a target of the right-wing fundamentalist wingnut crowd. By using hate speech as Jarvis has done he unleashes the wingnuts on Cole - giving them the opening they need to threaten his life without the implicit shame they might otherwise feel for doing something wrong. Now that Cole is no longer human thanks to Jarvis's post, he can be treated like an animal, or worse. Jarvis knows that the world is not made up people who can read his mind - or people who are emotionally stable - we get all kinds here. In this regard, bloggers and all media folks have a responsibility to maintain a certain level of discourse that is honest and decent, because we never know who is reading or watching. Jarvis fails miserably at this test.

    Jarvis's post is so distasteful that, at first, I thought it was satire. I thought this Jarvis dude was trying to make fun of a wingnut who would attack Cole for daring to disagree with the President of the United States. But I'm starting to get the feeling that this Jarvis dude actually authored this post. True liberals aren't afraid of dissent, and as such, encourage open and vigorous debate. Instead of addressing the very mild analysis in Juan Cole's post, Jarvis just goes batty - calling Cole names, using hateful language to describe Cole's intellectual faculties, arguing about things that Cole didn't even address, etc. It's almost like you can see the foam starting to protrude from the corners of Jarvis's mouth as he hacks away at the keyboard.

    Jarvis's hate speech deserves a response. He apparently still gets on all sorts of networks tv and radio stations, including Air American Radio. Anyone who calls themself a liberal and attacks a leading critic and decent guy in such an unseemly manner should not be invited back on that show. For all the many times I've disagreed with Cole, even vehemently, I've never gotten anything but a respectful response. If anything, he's been far too easy on U.S. policies in Iraq and elsewhere. Whenever I disagree with him, it's on this issue.

    Jarvis's comments section doesn't appear to offer comment-specific links, but here's what I wrote:

    Is this is a real blog? 'Deaf, dumb, and blind'? Did someone actually write that? About Juan Cole?

    'My friends'? People take this Jarvis cat seriously?

    I remember seeing this Jeff Jarvis-type dude on tv - he was supposed to be representing something about the blogosphere and then they said he was a liberal, and his blog was I thought, "shoot - never heard of that one". I did run across the site a couple of months later I think, but didn't pay it too much attention, apparently.

    And I don't know how I stumbled upon this site again today, but wow, talk about scary. Wingnut-type hate speech. Pro-Iraq War. Every Iraqi is the friend of this blog's author, apparently. And this dude is supposed to be a liberal? About as liberal as Kaus, right?

    There are some liberals out there who are ignorant and even downright stupid, but the author of this blog post is straight outta Fox hate-stupidity-ignorance-is-bliss-wingnut land.

    I was confused at first because I thought the author of this blog was supposed to be liberal (i.e. smart, relatively well-informed, able to comprehend simple blog posts, compassionate, etc.), but apparently not. Maybe someone's buying, but not me.

    Get help, brah, if this blog is not satire, that is.

    Jarvis should not be making any appearances on Air American Radio until we get that sincere, complete apology - that's for damn sure.

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