John Cole be damned!
Seriously, whatever our differences on how to tackle foreign policy, whether we’re conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, neocon or post-neocon or noncon, witnessing this struggle for core democratic freedoms puts it all in perspective. There are no sides in this respect. Because this is America. And these people are risking their lives for freedom.
Yeah. They are risking THEIR lives for freedom. You changed your font color.
I think these kids should be supported, of course, but posts like this from Andrew only reinforce my earlier comments about the 2003 warblogger vibe and rampant narcissism.
Also, this pile-on is starting to feel a little like this:
Because this is America.
And I honestly don’t understand why people can’t get that I think Andrew’s coverage of the events unfolding has been spectacular. I haven’t found anything in our American media that I have not first seen at Sully’s, Michael Totten’s, or the BBC. It has been top notch.
Sensitive cheerleader is sensitiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive.
I was asking myself this question just yesterday: Why didn’t we do 8 years ago what the Iranians are doing now? Today I’m asking myself another question: Who’s the real victim of this Iranian fraud?
And that’s a little more important than discussing color schemes.
Oh please, sully, spare me the outrage at my lack of outrage. One has only to remember that when people peacefully protested Bush’s selection in 2000 Sullivan thought that was a huge joke. And if it were women marching in the street for abortion rights? He’d still think it was icky and unfeminine and stuff. For people like Sullivan this is nothing but vicarious courage. What is really happening over there is as real to him as a wwf match between two actors. That might be, emotionally, very real. But there’s no nobility in Sullivan’s confusion about how his watching relates to their actual struggle.
Yeah. You’d think Instapundit jumping on the bandwagon might give him pause.
On the other hand, boy — Obama’s sure pissed me off lately, but it’s still nice to have a leader who knows how to tread carefully in delicate circumstances.
Shorter Sullivan: My use of the color green to show my support for one clerically approved stooge over another makes me better than you.
There’s a reason he doesn’t allow comments, y’all.
Oh, lay off Sullivan. He means well.
What a perfect clip to “tie” in to the whole kerfuffle.
Nicely done there.
And to think that just a few years ago, they had to show off their purple fingers.
Perhaps it’s just because my ex-girlfriend is Iranian, but I don’t feel that this whole sympathy thing is narcisistic.
I’m going to the demonstration for democracy in Iran in Copenhagen tonight, and I’m going to be wearing green (not that I’m a huge Mousavi fan – he was PM under Khomeni – but you use what’s at hand in such a fight).
I hope that the iranians achieve some sort of real freedom, where a small ruling elite won’t be able to wreck their beautiful country economically and won’t be able to wreck their beautiful people culturally, politically and humanly.
I hope my ex girlfriend can go back to Iran and not wear a veil. Not this year, but sometime. And that she can walk freely in the street without fear of basijis or travel without having a husband write in her passport that she can do so without male supervision!
And, Godsdammit, that’s not a narcisistic wish, John!
@Limagolf: I hope all those things, too. My only point is I have no clue how turning my font green helps that.
All of these posts have not been about the Iranian people, they have been the vibe I am getting from the American bloggers, which most decidedly is the 2003 warblogger era, where we just all rush, locked arm in arm, uncritically accepting everything and demanding ACTION ACTION. The fact that Sullivan and Instapundit are back together again only reinforces my point.
It does sound a bit “this is Sparta”-ish. Is this really an argument that “core democratic freedoms” (as opposed to the peripheral ones? Of the non-democratic variety? Quibbles! Sorry!) are going to replace the whatever-they-got-now. Because this is not that struggle.
I’m all for rampant narcissism, and I can deal with two St. Patrick’s Days per year. It’s the argument that offends me: the idea that, no matter what kind of not-neocon you are! You can still! Agree! On some unrecognizable hypothetical outcome from a set of hastily constructed variables interacting in an information-poor environment that we have never fully understood nor now do we fully understand!
Honestly, the height of discussion about Iran in This Is America is remembering that they’re Persian, or something, and they took hostages, also Carter. The Seinfeld clip’s appropriate: let’s say Mousavi wins, do we encounter fewer public executions of homosexual men?
Sullivan is, in his heart, an Authoritarian Follower.
Despite eventually breaking with Bush on a few issues, and blundering his way onto the right side of a few issues, in his core he remains a conservative conformist who’s default position is to fall into lockstep with personalities who project power and strength.
I’d bet my house that he’s a bottom.
Or, I guess, shorter bloggers:
Oh we’re the boys in chorus
We hope you like our show
We know you’re rootin’ for us
But now we have to go…….
Sullivan, about green: “Does this color make me look fatuous?”
I would have said this but As’ad says it much better – of course it requires cutting through the hyper-emotional bullshit and thinking a bit:
Sullivan is an excitable chap. It leads him to make sweeping, emotional statements with no tether to reality whatsoever. But it’s also led him to be the very best aggregator of information on what’s going on in Iran, and I am very grateful to him for it.
I really don’t think he’s going off the rails on this one. His link to this point from Ackerman really speaks well for him: “with so many lives at stake, the administration can’t afford to take a stance just because it makes Americans feel just and righteous.”
Yes, he can be a little over the top, but we’ve all done worse things than making our websites green.
I’m confused. Can someone explain to me why American conservatives love the youth and urban elites in Iran, but despise them in their own country?
Yeah. Where’s your flag pin, Cole? Also.
It’s a bit early for results to be tallied, but I think Matt wins the Internets for today.
Easy. Moral Relativism.
Worse – a bossy bottom.
Am I the only one confused about all this talk of “fighting for freedom” in a country that has and will continue to have a Supreme Leader? While I will be the first to admit my knowledge of Iranian politics is less than encyclopedic, aren’t they essentially arguing over who gets to carry Khameni’s water?
Breaking! Breaking! Arooo! Arooo!
Forget about this unimportant Iranian stuff. The big news today comes from NRO: K-Lo’s House of Crazy is no longer K-Lo’s House of Crazy.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled geopolitical crisis.
LULZ. You’re doin’ it rite.
As someone who fed at the trough of 2003 warblogger-dom along with Cole, I get the same sort of vibe from Sully’s “flood the zone” coverage and unabashed revolutionary fervor as he sits in his apartment reading e-mails.
South of I-10
If I am to wear green, does it have to be the same shade as Sully’s website? Because that would not look good on me. Can’t I just support those risking their lives through my words and actions?
I see in the post below that Lily is wearing green in solidarity. So there, Mister Sullivan!
Comrade Vida Loca
Sullivan lost the right to be taken seriously on any topic at least as far back as 2003, if not before. At the moment he’s standing on the right side of history and providing a valuable service by aggregating the content he’s providing — but he could spray-paint himself green and run screaming naked through the streets until hell freezes and he still would have lost the right to be taken seriously.
As an Iranian Mullah, I must confess that Andrew Sullivan’s selection of a green font is very intimidating to me. I read his blog regularly. It was bad enough when he insulted me in the past; but now that he has altered the color of his font to show solidarity with the Iranian demonstrators I helped disenfranchise, I can see that he means business. My nation cannot function without the apathy of Andrew Sullivan; now that this no longer exists, our days are numbered.
I intend to advise my fellow clerics that we need to dismantle our regime and introduce free elections. Tell me, does your nation have any spare neoconservative thinkers who could come to my country and help us construct a system of government premised upon the free market?
South of I-10
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: I think we could scare up a few. . .
I just tried typing a nice comment but it got eated, so, f*** it.
There are a lot of people in this country who have a great deal of experience working as U.S. activists to establish some sort of useful solidarity with peoples in struggle around the world without doing so in a way which undermines the said targets of solidarity and without increasing the level of risks that those people face.
Without commenting directly on any of, say, Sullivan’s exhortations, because I don’t generally read them, and because he’s a shallow, impulsive, vain, narcissist who generally treats foreign people as the toys of whichever action scheme he’s currently entertained by, up to and including excitedly and enragedly supporting and calling for actions which slaughter hundreds of thousands if not millions of them in the name of what he thinks is a worthy cause…
…then there are tons of people in this country with valuable experience and insight into how to show one’s U.S. based solidarity with foreign peoples’ struggles without using them for one’s own cause.
Sullivan may in fact be doing the right things (that’s up to his readers to determine), but I certainly wouldn’t use him in general as a guideline in understanding how to conduct sane and ethical international solidarity campaigns.
The Iranian situation is among the thornier ones, where the solidarity is likely to be more indirect, given that U.S. government influence is either quite weak and indirect or linked with some rather horrible precedent.
A lot of international solidarity campaigns can have effectiveness when it’s a U.S.-backed regime, say that of Colombia, where a U.S. person’s activities to draw attention by U.S. officials and human rights observers can get Colombian officials to call off army or paramilitary intimidation.
Again, there are tons of people with worthy experience in these matters, and in looking for the rules of how to support other peoples, don’t look to loudmouth chickenshit warhawk writers.
However, it’s possible that by getting involved with actual humans on the ground now, Sullivan types may become more sensitized to the fact that there are human costs to the things we advocate at home, and so the next “bomb Iran” campaign led by the Ledeen / Pipes / FOXNOOZ crowd might turn him off.
Or it might be like the way in which Hitchens’ solidarity with the Kurdish peoples led him to not give the slightest shit whenever anyone suggested bombing and slaughtering other, non-Kurdish ordinary Iraqis, because to his mind all those actual other Iraqi peoples just turned into proxies for the regime.
There are good reasons to both encourage the eager solidarity of those who are working hard on some campaign as well as to maintain one’s suspicions of those whose judgments in these matters are routinely awful.
It changes the masthead to green or it gets the hose again.
Ann B. Nonymous
Sullivan is a guy who scored 290 Math, 350 Reading, but 790 on the essay question.
Yes, he’s a heater, he responds emotionally.
He’s also really dumb. His skill at putting words together belies his actual intellect. A C-minus savant, part of the Atlantic’s program of Hruska-style affirmative action for the relentlessly mediocre. (Coates is too smart for that crowd. I bet he leaves within a year.)
If that was your “fuckit” comment, the mind boggles at what your “nice” comment would’ve said.
This comment got me to thinking…always a dangerous thing.
My thought is this: Does a blogs comment vs. no comment policy roughly correspond with moonbat vs. wingnut status?
Most of the moonbat blogs I read have a open (liberal, if you will) comment policy and most of the wingnut blogs I endure have a closed or very strict (wingnutty, if you will) comment policy.
Is this an accurate observation?
“My only point is I have no clue how turning my font green helps that.”
But that’s not the point. A simple show of sympathy with an oppressed nation is not in vain (although Sully occasionally sounds as if he could do with a good nights sleep), even if it won’t help in any real sense.
I like his passion. It makes Sully wronger when he’s wrong and it makes him righter when he’s right. And this time he’s right, even if I’m not entirely sure a Mousavi presidency will end up very democratic.
We can only hope that the events set in motion by Ahmedinejad’s coup has rolled so much out of control that the people of Iran gets more freedom than they had reson to hope for.
And somewhere along the line international sympathy (and perhaps promise of normalization with the US) might help things along in the right direction.
It can’t really hurt to change the font colour, can it?
Here’s Andrew Sullivan on the Iraq protests on February 15, 2003:
Note that he calls them “the British marches.” The largest (~2 million) march was in Britain, but a greater fraction of Americans marched that weekend than Iranians this weekend (obviously at much less physical & legal risk; some violence occurred but it’s not comparable).
Sullivan’s completely dropped any hint of skepticism in favor of uncritical cheerleading; and he thinks he’s somehow physically aiding the effort in Iran – noting that he was at the top of some blog aggregator and that his site was under a DoS attack (you’d think if that had been the case he’d also be following up with evidence; I suspect this may be akin to the DoS “attack” on Lieberman’s site when he faced off with Lamont). Check out his rhetoric in 2003; it’s exactly the same, except then he was being persecuted by the Times when they stopped running his column or something. Then, he reposted every misguided quote from Fred Kaplan twisting Hans Blix’s remarks beyond recognition. Now, he’s posting completely unsourced leaked election results and treating tweets about someone’s uncle seeing ballot boxes as gospel (does he realize how many tampered ballot boxes would be required to steal 10 million votes?).
Now that’s a quality reference. Harold Carswell approves!
The Grand Panjandrum
Mocking Sullivan who, as EE notes, one of the best and earliest information aggregators with regard to the Iranian election troubles tells me that you have too much time on your hands. Sure these “greening” of avatars and blogs is silly. But he is also disseminating information that could be useful to others trying to set up proxy sites for Iranians to get photo and video out of the country. THAT is NOT nothing or meaningless.
Sure we here in the US and Europe face no imminent danger but showing support and doing things like setting of proxies is a way to make small contributions.
With that said I have my doubts about who actually won the election but we will never know. But in the end would Mousavi have been real change? Maybe a little but I don’t know if that is really true. But I do know that whatever comes out of this the people whose voices could actually effect the outcome are doing exactly what they should be doing. I am referring to the administration and they seem to have struck just the right chord.
Maybe you could write about the utter fucking stupidity of Cantor and Pence. They are the ones calling on Obama “to do something” and are actually being covered in the MSM.
Well… at least Sully does the obvious (and right) thing to point out that waterboarding and torture are, you know, very wrong.
More than I can say for the talking heads.
But I can see why he and Christopher Hitchens are pals – they are verbally talented emotional loose cannons.
But that corny “Know Hope” slogan Sullivan keeps slamming readers with really has to go. No, hope?
Woodrow "asim" Jarvis Hill
You mean besides the fact that large parts Western media has been out to lunch on much of this?
Part of it is, of course, that people in Iran are actually protesting. For whatever reason, people in Saudi Arabia don’t. If you’re willing to bleed on a street, it should be noticed by someone — even if only to pick ’em up and tell ’em that’s a bad idea. And media usually loves those kinds of “fightin’ the man” stories; the Saudi story has far, far less punch (literally and figuratively).
As someone who stood against the Iraq War, I’m pretty frustrated at the running opinion here. If all Sully did was change his site to green, I’d agree. But, again, his work has been so strong it ended up bringing the Atlantic’s servers to their knees. Somebody, somewhere, thinks what he’s doing and writing is important. Maybe we should focus on that, over picking fights about if “wearing green” means he’s still a Secret Bad Guy (which he is, some days.)
I think there is a bit of the vibe John mentions but Sulli has been really excellent in aggregating information and letting us know what is happening. If it weren’t for him and Pitney at HuffPo we would be rather clueless, so for that I think he deserves loads of credit and he can change his font color all he wants since it is not *all* he is doing.
I think that setting up proxies is a real way of helping Iranians, they need it and communication is the one thing keeping them on the streets.
@South of I-10:
Perhaps we could come up with a catchy euphemism for them. They’re not political consultants, they’re “freedom talkers.”
yeah, when i saw a photo of pro-ahmedinijad supporters on the streets before my first thought was hey, i’ll bet the RNC has a few crates of ‘Sore-Loserman’ signs rotting away somewhere…
seriously, why is fighting for democrasy such a big deal only when someone else does it?
“witnessing this struggle for core democratic freedoms puts it all in perspective.”
I thought 9/11 changed everything.
Actually, I’ve read neither of them, but there have been several authors at the Great Orange Satan who’ve been doing the same thing, actually reading farsi web sites, etc.
Neither Sully nor HuffPo is doing something unique in that regard.
I sympathize with your feelings about Sully’s usual over the top cheerleading in the Iran situation and that it has disturbing echoes of the pre-invasion of Iraq vibe. But the numerous pleas from Iranians in the line of fire to show some solidarity by wearing green does tug at my heartstrings and I don’t see any harm in it. I don’t share Sully’s optimism, however, and don’t see Moussavi as any sort of democrat so my cynical streak hasn’t entirely left me vulnerable to the fantasies that Sully is so prone to. And I also don’t care if you, John, or anyone else wear the green. It’s a silly fight Sully’s picking with you, but he does this stuff all the time as he ably illustrated with his stand on late term abortion ( despite all the evidence against it that HE compiled) and his weird inability to see his own use of his personal background to justify his opinions as no different from Sotomayor’s. I can only always remember that Andrew has no ability to separate his own enthusiasms from any analysis of any situation he decides to latch on to. I appreciate the great work he’s done on the Iranian situation but pay no attention to his hysterical insistence that we must all be just as hysterical as he is.
Johnny B. Guud
That about sums it up. I’ll admit Sullivan is doing a great job of aggregating information on this story. But I’ve yet to see anyone, Sully included, make the case that Mousavi, were he to be elected, would be substantially better for Iranians than Ahmedinijad (?)… The vibe I’m getting is that it’s a choice between bad and worse.
I was on the opposite end of the political spectrum in 2003, still am, but I also feel the war-blogger zeal in Sullivan’s coverage. I give him great credit for collecting and posting tweets, images, and for providing an alternative to the MSM apathy. However, the editorial fever surrounding his coverage is pretty interesting.
This is how Sullivan has always been. He loves to get carried away in the grand struggles of others while he sits on the dock drinking a beer. It is terribly bourgeois and smacks of Western liberalism being for the rights of others in far flung lands – except that being for others’ rights does not entail anything other than playing the role of fan.
That’s right, he’s being a revolution fan. He has identified completely with the spectacle to the point that he thinks his cheering will make a difference in the outcome. We are all NOT Iranians now. And as others have noted, he is not asking questions of Mousavi – he is against Ahmawhateverhisnameis and protesters are calling for democracy – that is enough. Sullivan is also, you will notice, saying “what this is about” and it conforms ideological to the little mythic narrative of Bush’s freedom agenda pretty closely. Freedom is a force which erupts under pressure (as opposed to being a complicated social effect that takes great care to cultivate and preserve).
As I said, I think it is wonderful that he has provided the coverage he has, and I thank him for that. But the uncritical identification is a bit much and it is not helpful. One does not need to buy a T-shirt to be in sympathy. But that is pretty much all one can be right now is in sympathy. There is no need to be checking people’s “down with the people credentials” here. That is just about Sullivan, not about Iranians. (As I have said before, though, Sullivan usually manages to make politics about him).
Desperate to be a witness to the grand arc of history from the comfort of his summer house (and given a gold star for being sage in recognizing history when it happens) – that is Sullivan.
@arguingwithsignposts: I agree with this comment. Yes, I know that lots of people read Sullivan and HuffPo for their information, but between U.S. and foreign sources and blogs I have been obtaining the same basic information, just maybe not the minute-by-minute twitter update. It’s a very helpful effort, but in no way should be portrayed as the only reliable source of in-depth information.
I think this is pretty accurate. Unfortunately, changing our font colors to protest it will not result in increased freedom for the disenfranchised commentariat of the conservative blogs. Oppressive mullahs like Andrew Sullivan are driven by their hatred of freedom.
But people protest all the time. In Bahrein they happen 2 times a week. What about in Palestine?
the point here is that this is a perfect example of the confluence of media and government – which we usually get pissed off about EXCEPT when it hits directly at our conditioning.
I’m looking at al Jazeera right now and there are a million of people in the street supporting Ahmedinijad. So?
I’m fucking with you, Ted.
Here’s an interesting take on Iran. 538 analyzes a poll of Iranian voters:
@Ann B. Nonymous:
Fallows is their crown jewel, and IMO one of the best writers out there today, so don’ lump him in with the mediocrity over at the Atlantic.
Yes it is.
It seems like every other day there are elbenty posts about Andrew Sullivan on BJ, reacting to what he is saying, past couple of weeks it was on abortion, now it is Iran. These posts usually have x comments against whatever it is that Sullivan is advocating that day and y comments saying how he is so wonderful and insightful, usually x>y.
Why is this blog obsessed with Sullivan? (especially JC and DougJ)?
I’m actually being serious about this: I really think we should ask that Sullivan liberate his readership and permit them to leave comments, before we take him seriously when he cheerleads Iranian dissidents. He’s a bit of a hypocrite if he castigates Iran for not tolerating dissent in their national elections, when he doesn’t even have the stones to tolerate it on his friggin’ blog.
full of win.
As for intervention, um, remember that whole genocide in Sudan? Isn’t that worthy of intervention?
Obama’s doing the right thing (did I say that!?!)
I’m sick to death of people using the excuse “he means well” in regard to Sullivan or anyone else.
The goddam Bush Administration “meant well” when they tortured, spied, looted, war-mongered and all the other crazy crap they pulled.
The wingnut who killed Dr. Tiller “meant well”.
Hell, even bin Laden, in his own twisted way “means well”.
“Meaning well” is a piss-poor excuse for inexcusable actions.
I’m NOT suggesting that Sullivan’s actions are misguided or wrong or evil or anything else in this particular case.
He has done an admirable job, in this case, in providing a place for what little information we are getting to be read. I applaud that.
Green fonts don’t do anything. They don’t hurt anything either. Do it or don’t according to your taste. But don’t tell me I care less if I don’t.
But we should all read what he’s putting up very skeptically. Wading through all that twitter-feed crap is most-likely a fools errand. The accuracy and veracity of it is impossible to determine and everyone has their own agenda.
I also applaud Obama for his restraint and caution. We have meddled in the affairs of Iran to our detriment all to often.
Mousavi has a Chinaman’s chance of overturning the election results and even if he does, there is no guarantee that he’d be anything but a marginal improvement over what they got now.
Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing.
@schrodinger’s cat: Because I think he is a great read and a compelling character. I think his blog is interesting, he links to lots of cool stuff, and is not afraid to put his thoughts out there and then defend him. You may not like him, and I know a lot of you don’t, but I think he tries to be a good person and he runs a great blog.
Ann B. Nonymous
I’m sure when the time comes — he’s been there on and off for thirty years — they’ll replace him with something made from pipe cleaners and construction paper.
Well, I’d rather talk about him than Protein Wisdom or Volokh (or, God help us, Atlas Shrugs). As bad as he is, there are others far worse.
Because John knows some of his “frequent commenters” found him via Sullivan and he’s hoping to rope in more.
(or maybe you didn’t come via Sullivan? Probably just speaking for myself in that case.)
Edit: See! Just like John said!
Jay in Oregon
That Seinfeld clip?
That there is liberal fascism.
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: Hear, hear.
@Johnny B. Guud:
Not to pick on you, but since I have seen this thought else where, including others in this thread, I thought I would give my take on it. While in a narrow sense you maybe right, I think it misses the larger dynamic of forcing the Iranian establishment to address the people of Iran’s wishes. If the establishment comes to the conclusion that they can not ignore the people, and that people are reaching the breaking point, do they, when the next election comes around, exclude candidates who have genuine widespread followings from the election? Does the head cleric dare overrule democratically elected institutions if they do something the clerics do not like? I think current events are important because of the long term implications, not the short term results of this election.
It’s silly to criticize Sullivan for not having comments. With the size and diversity of his readership, it’d be next to impossible (how could he find enough moderators that wouldn’t get into stupid spats?) and cost a ton of money without any tangible benefit on his end. He’s relatively good about answering and occasionally posting e-mail (well, having his interns do it) and I think that’s more than enough interactivity to expect. Of course, he selectively picks e-mails to reinforce his points and never posts “dissents of the day” on issues that aren’t subjective or where his logic is vulnerable, but whatever.
It’s too bad his archives don’t go back to 2000 (begin on 01/01/2001) – was he really that silly on the recount? His stuff from early 2001 isn’t all that bad; just accusing Dems of being the ones trying to steal the election. Oh, and this:
“I’m confused. Can someone explain to me why American conservatives love the youth and urban elites in Iran, but despise them in their own country?”
For the same reason that right-wingers could, back in the 1980’s, cheer on unions in communist countries, while supporting the murder of union members and leaders in South/Central America.
The tangible benefit he’d get would be more page views. That would more than offset any increase in cost.
Since I don’t have access to his email account, I have no idea how “good” he is at answering and posting emails. I know nothing about these emails, other than that they’re from purported readers. I’m sure Ahmadinejad can prop up an occasional Azeri supporter to say how much they love the regime, too, but that doesn’t obviate the need for Iranian democracy, does it?
Cost is a bullshit excuse for tyranny. If Sullivan’s going to argue it’s too expensive for him to tolerate dissent, Iran can make the same argument.
I think Jimmy Carter gets the win in this case.
If it weren’t for him, the Iranian Revolution – which brought Democracy and voting to Iran wouldn’t have happened.
See, it was all part of Carter’s Master Plan to Democratize teh Middle East.
1. Support the Shah – a brutal dictator.
2. Watch helplessly and haplessly while Iran erupts into an anti-tyrannical, anti-American revolution.
3. Secretly be pleased when they have elections and constructs a Theocratic Democracy.
4. Wait 30 years.
5. Put on a green shirt when Iran, feeling like a rebellious teenager, demands that their votes be respected by the Theocrats they put into power all those years ago.
Truly, Jimmy Carter was a man ahead of his time.
@Dream On: Wow, Sully is on the right side of torture. As if we required a Newtonian super-genius pied-piper to lead the rest of us brainless rubes to the same conclusion.
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: Tyranny, really? Besides, he’s polled his readership before and they don’t want comments. He posts enough as-is, and regularly responds to criticism elsewhere (cf, here). Adding a comment section to his blog would increase the cost substantially. Absent an active community (which as I note above, would be next to impossible there) I don’t think it’d help his bottom line.
Also, honestly, the Atlantic web staff seems somewhat not up to the task of handling the traffic that they have now. That’s a practical reason not to double the bandwidth used by AS.
orange monkey – watched your cable news lately? Torture & Tasers seem like the next Kewl Thing.
Yes. Sullivan is a bloodthirsty tyrant, in microcosm. :p
Yeah, and Saddam Hussein won 100% of the vote, so that settles it.
And dictatorships make sure the trains run on time, so why bother letting people vote or protest?
Then they can stop calling out other dictatorships until their own house is well-organized enough not to be run like one.
Laura W: Actually, I found John through a recommendation from a friend on a reality tv message board (embarrassing, I know). I had seen him referenced on Sully’s blog and between that and the friend’s enthusiasm over John and the commenters here, I came on over, liked what I saw, and stayed. Funnily enough, I am now banned from the site where I got the recommendation (they really hate my politics and the fact that I will state my opinions forcefully). And the guy that sent me must be a lurker because I haven’t seen him commenting. Though I think I may have glimpsed him the other day for the first time in a thread. Can’t be sure, though, because he didn’t say hi to me in the thread. Though that may be because he knows I’m banned at the other place and doesn’t want to be seen consorting with such a dangerous character. LOL!
@John Cole: Agreed. I don’t like everything he says but he is willing to put himself out there. As for the comments thing, a year or so ago he put of up a couple of polls asking if people wanted comments added. People voted no. Check his archives.
@Zach: Thanks for that linkage Zach.
From the same archive, I found more of Sullivan’s self-righteous codswallop and disinformation.
Then he can host another poll-election now, in honor of his solidarity with Iranians. Should he allow comments? Don’t let one poll from God-knows-when determine the results for all time; schedule elections regularly, like in a democracy.
Longer answer. Try posting conservative commentary on most liberal blogs, and you’ll be banned as quickly as any liberal posting on a conservative blog. True, there are far more conservative blogs with no comment boards than there are liberal blogs with the same policy.
Cole is one of the few who allow free commentary from both sides of the aisle, which is one reason why his blog is superior to 99% of the competition.
South of I-10
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: I like it. Make that happen.
It’s funny how Ta-Nehisi’s blog on the Atlantic handles commenters and an active “community” of commenters just dandy.
He’s the best thing they got over there – head and shoulders above Fallows.
@South of I-10:
I should note that in the free Iran to come, when city squares and boulevards and towns and firstborn children are named after Andrew Sullivan in honor of his heroic role in the resurrection of Iranian liberty, quite a few people around here will feel quite foolish, indeed.
@patrick: America certainly had more power over Iranians then than now, but perhaps that’s a bit much in a thread criticizing illusions of American grandeur. American support for the Shah predates Carter’s involvement. Further, the usual critique of Carter is that he abandoned the Shah during the ’77/78 revolt. By the time Carter was elected, the movement against the Shah was well under way.
Look, the real problem is that Sullivan and others like him leap full-on into yelling “freedom!” all across the blogosphere without realizing that their own reactions are colored by American self-interest in the outcome, and with stunning ignorance of Iran’s internal political affairs. And it is exactly reminiscent of the same sort of hyperbole that accompanied the Iraqi provincial elections of 2005, which bloggers like Sullivan cheered, even though the result was even further division along sectarian lines and 3 more years of vicious insurgency.
I’ve long opposed “realism” in our foreign policy, but the last eight years has taught me that disguising utter self-interest under the cloak of democracy-promotion (with the help of people like Sullivan very publicly getting the two confused) is about the worst approach to foreign policy that you can exercise. The lesson of Iraq is not merely that we shouldn’t invade other countries without good reason; it’s also that we should at all times be aware of our utter and complete ignorance when it comes to understanding the internal affairs of other nations, especially when all of our knowledge about those nations comes from Google and Twitter. I feel sympathy for the Iranian protesters, and I want them to win because it might (might) begin the process of undoing the regime in power, and because it would also conveniently benefit us. But it would be stupid beyond stupid for me to get on my blog and rail about freedom, and ask President Obama to go making very public pronouncements about who should and should not win elections in other countries. All of that is reminiscent of the worst of the ignorance of the last eight years, and I reject it.
@patrick: Living in Baltimore, I love TNC, but his traffic is 20 times less than Sullivan’s on a normal day, and he rarely covers the sort of stuff that makes for shitty comments sections.
I too found Balloon Juice via Sullivan’s dish, late last year during the Presidential election. The Dish was my favorite political blog the last three years. Before that I was in school and extremely busy, so I did not follow any political blogs on a regular basis, so I did not read the Dish in the period, when he was a cheerleader for the Iraq War. I like BJ much better than the breathless, excitable blogging that Sullivan does. For example, see his blogging about Palin’s baby and now Iran. Also the endless ruminations about what conservatism is, is boring. He sounds a lot like the communist apologists who keep saying that real communism has never been tried.
I don’t dislike him, and he does have interesting links, I agree. Also, I do appreciate his posts on torture. However, just don’t find what he has to say as compelling and interesting, as I did before.
I’ve had the same reaction to Sullivan as John has I think– impressed with the amount of information and the obvious effort he’s put into it, especially with so many other traditional sources not doing nearly enough, but also really uneasy about the cheerleading quality of some of it.
There have been more than a few posts where I’ve said to myself, that can’t be right, or that seems so slanted as to not be useful information. I think it’s the same thing that makes me uneasy about the twitterevolution that Sullivan and others have been talking up. There’s a reason we need reporters who are at least trying to be impartial. That’s why the Times Lede blog and the BBC have been so valuable the past couple days.
Having said all that: I think 2003 warblogging is the wrong frame of reference. There’s a difference between showing solidarity with those protesting a stolen election and cheering on a war of choice. Sullivan means well.
And this past weekend really did show how much the internets had grown up as a medium. Fascinating stuff.
Kinda OT, but ya’ll gotta see the pic Al Giordano has up at The Field website (oh, and read the post too it’s pretty good) it’s funny yet accurated.
I spend more time reading the comments here than reading the blog. I am not disputing your assessment that Sullivan’s blog is a great blog, and I know that comments take up precious disk space (and therefore have a cost).
To make a long story short, I find (moderated) comments *extremely* valuable to a blog. I hope you never find Sullivan’s lack of comments a sign of greatness and decide to emulate it.
So lets turn all our backgrounds, desktops green. Lots of Americans did similar things to show support for Ireland, and even gave a lot of money so the Protestants and Catholics could continue that little conflict. It almost seems un-American to not fund bloody conflict overseas and show our solidarity is superficial ways.
@D-Chance.: BS. Sorry — I post conservative critiques of progressive ideas all the time on dKos, and I’ve never been banned there.
Perhaps you don’t know the difference between trollery and conservatism? That would be reasonable, given the current surfeit of trolls who pass for conservative leadership here — but I assure you, the two really are quite different.
I’m with everyone who endorses Ta-Nahesi’s blog at the Atlantic. Best one there, though Fallows is a close second. And I, though I invariably hate myself the next morning, Andrew’s is alway gonna get a hit from me. The rest are completely worthless idiots, with the award in great achievements in idiocy going to McArdle. Nothing but stupid there. An embarrassment to all women.
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: There’s a great new phrase for political consultants I just heard the other day: “carpetbaggers”. I gather that it’s a pun on teabaggers.
You and I are nothin’ but trouble.
I voted “no” in the last poll because I was silly and naive and thought that comments diluted from the main posts (a la Huffington) and were the same 12 people flinging feces at each other 24/7. Of course, I feel differently today, having had a conversion experience thanks to the blinding awesomeness of The Juicers, so once you get that new poll up over there I will vote a big, green YES.
@schrodinger’s cat: I knew there was another person I was thinking of.
Edit: I think all this Green controversy is making Project Wonderful ad space go up. My ads keep getting outbid and kicked up every 10 seconds in the last 12 hours. I’m not sure I am happy about this.
The Sullivan Hits just keep-on a-comin’. A few more snippets from that same Feb 2003 period, when Andrew showed his true solidarity with da peeps:
Ironies abounding. Today Sully spooge-swallows Twitter feeds from strangers, but in 2003, when protests actually mattered in his own back yard and assembled in his own language, he went to the tank for his war-loving overlords, ridiculed young educated war protesters as not living in reality, and condemned the BBC as the “Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation.” Moral: Real broadcast agencies with foreign bureaus, not to be believed; Twitter feeds from strangers, swallow it baby, and get it down deeper!!
I apologize for not adding /snark the tag.
He read too much Luce, American Century nonsense. He’s a propagandist
Yes. Very nice nutshell.
Others have already answered (he is smart sometimes, if we must link to some conservative then Sullivan is far better than some, some BJ people started coming here via a link by Sullivan), but another reason is that in addition to being a blogger he’s a mainstream pundit. Writes articles for newsweeklies, appears on talk shows, etc. He has a megaphone or soapbox or whatever the appropriate metaphor is. It’s not like there’s a planned effort to change his mind about some issue, but if it happens, it’s a bigger bonus to change his mind than some other equally prolific blogger.
@Laura W: Not “Green controversy”.
Edit: “Diluted from”? Christ. Go for a walk, Laura.
Andrew’s an excitable boy. The blood rushes to his head and he gets a little silly.
Meanwhile, watch what you say about Canadian beer.
It’s remarkable even for Sullivan that he just reposted a Michael Leeden article that assumes there are “tens of millions” actively involved in these protests, that Mousavi wants to fundamentally change Iranian governance (rather than modify the theocratic hierarchy a bit), and basically lusting for the guillotine (“the mullahs surely know that if they lose, many of them will face a very nasty and very brief future”). Is it that hard to see that this is patterned on the ’79 revolution and backed by mullah’s who are slightly out of step with the ones at the top of the food chain? My understanding is that the opposition’s rhetoric since 2005 has been about combating political corruption, not restoring secular rule.
My only thoughts on that are incredibly obscene.
Can we at least call them freedom-baggers? That way even oral sex becomes an act of patriotism.
In discussion about the whole blog commenting side track in the comment section here, my worthless two cents:
I think it depends greatly on the blog itself frankly, based on its style, content, and audience. Places like HuffPo where the comments are basically a fight for who is more batshit between the moonbats and wingnuts are an example against comment sections. On the other hand, places like this and DK (I only know of left-leaning blogs, but they tend to have more liberalized commenting anyway, no pun intended) show that they are worthwhile, although worthwhile does not mean they’re read (I moderately read comments on DK, never on most other sites except this ).
That said, I am mostly indifferent to Sully’s choice on the matter and not sure whether comment sections would have a net gain. Honestly, I view his site as more like a sophisticated personal twitter than a blog, so I’d lean against going through the trouble of adding a comment section (but I’d support one if it were already there).
@patrick: I apologize for being too dim to not get that from “teh” or seeing who wrote it. It’s unfortunately exactly what I’ve seen elsewhere.
Yeah, just race relations, identity and politics, and music.
Sorry, Zach, no dice. Andrew Sullivan could have a commenting system, and it would work fine. He chooses not to. OTOH, equating it to living in a dictatorship is silly; it’s more like visiting a friend who won’t let you smoke in his house.
Sing it, Xan.
Here’s a link to an interesting piece at Antiwar.com that looks at the possibility that Ahmadinejad DID win, but also cheated.
We don’t know what really happened over there. I would hope we would all wish the best for the Iranian people but try to stay out of their internal politics unless we truly understand the situation. (And by “we” I mean individual people. Our government should entirely stay out of other people’s internal politics.)
Awesome. I await more of the pro-democracy grassroots-solidarity insights of such types as Michael Ledeen, whose Mussolini-inspired love of citizen power knows no bounds.
Frame of reference? How about frames of reference?
When Sullivan sees students and people of conscience assembled protesting injustice in Iran, he exalts them and tells us to “Know Hope.”
But when Sullivan saw students and people of conscience assembled protesting injustice at home he called the protests the “mother of all teenage tantrums,” an “obscene fabrication” and “statement of wilful amnesia.”
When confronted by the spectacle of real protesters outside his own window, Mr. Bareback called them “purveyors and celebrants of a rank and palpable injustice,” “self loathing,” “deeply, deeply corrupt,” “liars,” “self-hatred,” and condescendingly, “adolescents.”
Just so you couldn’t miss his self-righteous narcissicism, Sullivan took the high ground and referred to his own merry band of warpigs as “grown-ups.”
YES. The Iranians have had a similar awakening after experiencing 30 years of Shi’ite theocracy. They, too, are ready for change.
Become what you advocate that others become, Sully!
O/T but supercreepy even if justifiable: Israeli robotic remote controlled battlefield ‘snake’ with camera & mic.
I know it’s silly. But it’s still less silly than changing your font color and expecting anyone relevant to give two shits about it. When discussing Sullivan, silliness and hyperbole is very appropriate.
I think it’s just two different points along the same spectrum of ignorance. He meant well with Iraq too, and demonstrated about as much knowledge of Iraq’s internal affairs as he does Iran’s.
No worries. It’s a fine line, and I sometimes don’t go far enough.
It is an interesting point though, Jimmy Carter aside.
Did the original Iranian Revolution give the people of Iran enough of a taste of Democracy that they are now wanting more?
Did it lead to what we (maybe?) are seeing in Iran today – a willingness to fight for their right to paaaaaarrrrr-taaaaaayyyyyy?
Yes, here we have the same 12 people flinging YouTube song clips at one another. Much better.
Not so new. I believe it goes back to the civil war reconstruction, when opportunists would move into an area (bringing with them nothing but their luggage) in order to take advantage of people who need help.
I think the President and his cabinet should paint their faces green and paint green letters that spell out “GO IRAN” when they line up. That would really show our support.
Conservatives have a sense of perspective?
Of all the columnist who right for the Atlantic, Sully is the Fifth Columnist.
Excellent Canadian Bacon reference, re: title
Yeah, get your goddamned green lapel pin on, bumpersticker your car and dog’s ass, then tweet those ayatollahs into submission.
Sullivan should conduct joint operations with the feared RSSF. Maybe Amazon has some green freedom balls they can buy.
Just out of curiosity, if this current wave of Iranian dissidence and popular mobilization fails to achieve its goals (which are probably quite cloudy and difficult too outline), and especially if the state crushes them and reverts to status-quo-ante plus backlash, what then will the Sullivan types be demanding the U.S. do?
Because Exxon and the Carlyle Group told them not to.
Sullivan may be doing the right thing, but I don’t believe he is doing if for the right reason. I think he is a) trying to prove his personal superiority to traditional media and b) licking his lips at what he sees as an islamist government’s imminent collapse.
I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until it became clear he was viewing the whole thing through the lens of American mythology. And then when the posts started to be not so much about the Iranian situation, but rather vindications of what he is doing…
Personally, I don’t see the benefit in a lot of unsubstantiated, de-contextualized twitter feeds, many of which read like outright propaganda.
@Tsulagi: Will your bumper-sticker get you into Heaven anymore?
@John Cole: Sullivan is also the blogger who gets the most MSM exposure, I think. His reach is far and wide. And so, he becomes one of the sources of information that needs to be critically analyzed.
peer pressure … PEER PRESSURE
but, what happens if mousavi is worse?
I wonder if anyone else is starting to suspect that Twitter might be a real life version of Skynet.
Carpetbagging. The fact that it takes a Canadian (who likes Canadian beer… go Macauslan/Creemore/Upper Canada/Unibroue/Boreale… you guys don’t know what you’re missing) to remind you USers that carpetbaggers as a term far predates teabaggers is a little mind-blowing.
Carpetbaggers were the people who travelled from the northern states to the former Confederacy states during the Reconstruction, ostensibly to help fund it but really to buy southerner’s assets out from under them. A very early example of disaster capitalism.
exactly. he’s got a dual role here: blogger and propagandist.
@polyorchnid octopunch: see comment 116 please
One of the things that the post-Civil War angry and resentful Southern white upper class power structure most hated about the ‘carpetbaggers’ was their frequent tendency to be abolitionists and Northerners who wanted to work with Freedmen and who didn’t follow the racial hierarchy in economic affairs — particularly the black ‘carpetbaggers’ who headed South to aid in developing their freed brethren.
Gimmeafuckinbreak. If Sully ‘meant well’ about Iraq, then Bush and Rumsfeld also ‘meant well’, and the phrase ‘to mean well’ has now officially been pounded into meaninglessness.
I am not sure which effete ex- pat Brit twit I prefer, the alcoholic atheist or the one who once promoted the party that finds him an abomination against their God.
Americans who read or mention them desrve what they get.
“She had won the victory over herself. She loved Andrew Sullivan.”
NOW, can I get some respect around here…??
I was beginning to worry that would go unnoticed:
Free Honey Pronto, or we level Toronto!
Movie is a classic.
@gbear: Um. Dudes. Seriously. I went to middle and high school in northwest Florida and to college in Arkansas, where my wife *grew up*. I’ve posted those facts how many times? Do you *honestly* think I don’t know the genesis and history of the term “carpetbagger”?
Sheesh. You folks need your snark detectors tuned.
Death By Mosquito Truck
Sullivan has crossed a line here by damning you to Hell, John. It’s totally on now. Everyone wear yellow in opposition to Sully. This is America.
My Canadian wife (from Newfoundland – which is like the Mississippi of Canadia), who is also a communist, tree-hugging, socialized medicine loving, DFH introduced me to that under-rated classic.
“Canadians are always dreaming up a lotta ways to ruin our lives. The metric system, for the love of God! Celsius! Neil Young!”
With comments like this, how can you not mock Sully?
Yeah, um, good for Sully, I guess. It just reminds me of misogynist fratboys wearing pink in support of breast cancer research for one day a year to get the service points.
Wasn’t Canadian Bacon Michael Moore’s only non-documentary feature film?
Indeed. He fundamentally wants to be in a parade, preferable up near the front in a shiny costume. No actual thought needed.
Nice selection of quotes, btw, Zach and Sheik. I’ve never needed reminders since “fifth columnists”, but it’s nice to see others reminded of just how loathsome Sullivan has been.
@Fern: I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until it became clear he was viewing the whole thing through the lens of American mythology. And then when the posts started to be not so much about the Iranian situation, but rather vindications of what he is doing…
That has been my main beef with his blogging for years. I like his blog although I disagree with him pretty often, but the thing that has made me read him less and less is exactly what you name. His tendency to focus on an issue and then slide into having his attention to the issue become the issue. It is about his identity within the mediascape and his self-promotion as on some vanguard of opinion. The whole thing around Pym Fortuyn and about publishing cartoons critical of Islam, etc. It is about how is willing to discuss those issues in the way he thinks they should be covered as much as it is about the issue. The appropriation of an issue into his blogging of it is predictable and always the moment when I lose interest. Which is usually followed by a round of selected emails which create the impression of a debate about Andrew and his blogging choices.
Perhaps the best thing to do is not feed the bear.
Sullivan be damned.
He’s cheerleading for a battle between two conservatives who would gladly stone him to death together if he ever visited the country.
I get the same sort of vibe from Sully’s “flood the zone” coverage and unabashed revolutionary fervor as he sits in his apartment summer house on the Cape reading e-mails.
I know I’m swimming against the tide here, but I don’t see how shows of solidarity hurt. No, it’s not about us; it’s not like Iranians are glued to their PCs waiting to see what Americans think. But if the occasional message of “We’re behind you” gets through, it can’t hurt — and even if it only helps a tiny amount, it still helps.
Concerning comments in 2003: Mr. Sullivan was more hardline conservative back then. So, as I understand it, was Mr. Cole. People change.
On Moussavi being substantively no different from Ahmadinejad: That might have been true had he been allowed to win the election. Since the regime basically went all-in against him, I don’t think it’s true anymore.
Shorter Sully just now:
The man desperately needs a nap.
goddamn strike didn’t work.
BBC has gone green.
It wasn’t a documentary? Are you sure?
@cmh: Maybe. Not necessarily. It’s often green. The News site is still red.
[email protected]demimondian: Dude, the ignorance of people in the US about their own geography and history, let alone that of others, precedes you. Deal.
BBC has not gone green, and Sullivan has already scrubbed his post (cached here.) This is what you get when you take a blogger who fixates on anonymous Twitter gossip while ignoring official websites of credible news agencies with foreign bureaus on the ground (in this particular case, the same news agency Sullivan sees as an enemy that should be dismantled becaused they dared to scrutinise the lies of the Bush/Blair war crimes when he was cheerleading), a history of wargasms, and a breathless rush of blood to the head proclaiming himself “FRIST!!” He’s becoming emotionally unhinged and professionally unbalanced. But boy, is his head ever swelling.
LMAO, I can’t believe he actually thought the BBC “went green.” I know he lives in somewhat of an alternate reality, but what would EVER make him think an organization like the BBC would take sides in this?
However, if they ever featured Hopey-type circle/sunrise things, I stand corrected…
We are all
IranianJets fans today.
So, I guess this now means he no longer wants the BBC ‘abolished’?
To all of you dumbasses who think turning the font green is stupid, I can tell you this, if even one Iranian kid who just got his ass beat by the thugs and is thinking of calling it quits sees this green on an AMERICAN blogger’s site, and realizes that the world is supporting him and his fellow protesters, not only will he be a lot more likely to keep fighting and keep documenting the atrocities, but his fellow protesters will be a lot more keen on having good relationships with Americans once they come to power. Just saying.
He didn’t necessarily want the BBC abolished, he just recognizes that it’s a precondition for the UK to rise above its current (well, vintage 2003) hopelessness. You just have to look the other way when he quotes Yes, Minister every now and then.
Persian. Yessir. It’s all about us.
@Persian: Really? Turning a font green will do that? Instead of just, you know, saying you support what they’re trying to do and stuff?
For all they know, someone’s blog could be green cause they like Kermit. Or cucumbers are their favorite. Or cause green makes them feel happy.
Seriously though, shallow shows of “unity” are pointless. It’s the words that matter.
It isn’t about the excellent and relentless job Sullivan has done to make this ongoing story known. To me, it isn’t even about superficial showings of global solidarity. To me, it is about Andrew’s total immersion in the story beginning to blur his reality between Cape Cod and Tehran. As much as he keeps re-iterating that this isn’t about us, he sure is using the pronoun “WE” an awful lot.
PS – Just sayin’ is the wingnut equivalent of the hippy-dippy “Well, that’s just, like, your, opinion, man”.
Six years ago, what he now calls “The Beeb,” he was calling the “Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation.”
No way would the Beeb align itself with one side of a story.
Here’s a sampling of Sullivan’s stirling defense of The Beeb’s objectivity when his opinion might have actually mattered:
Will the REAL Andrew Sullivan please step up.
Am I supposed to believe the older “grown-up” version, or the newer, wiser, more self-righteous reboot?
Go look at the archives for this very site for March 2003 up to March 2004 (the Terry Schaivo debaucle).
John Cole can mature, but Sullivan can’t?
They HAZ it!
And so you fail technology forever.
Actually right about now, he (Sullivan) is starting to remind me of someone who is in a manic cycle – just before he crashes.
No, I agree completely, and mentioned as much upthread. I was was just countering Sheik and how easy it is to throw words from March ’03 in peoples’ faces. John may have purged his inner wingnut, but I don’t think my use of the word “mature” is very applicable either.
Sully seems to be conflating his ground-breaking coverage of the event with the actual events, which are ground-breaking. And as he delves into reciting poetry and bending his ‘Know Hope’ branding to play as captions underneath moving photography, the feedback loop of the energy of the movement igniting Sully’s raw enthusiasm grows and edges toward Delusions of Grandeur territory.
And I’m saying this, not as one of his detractors. I’m a huge fan of his blog and his writing. The guy needs a few hours on the hot seat of a dunk tank, for his own good.
From the evidence being presented, I would say that you are correct.
To John Cole:
Personally, I know changing the font colors on my blog isn’t gonna save the world. BUT I WANNA DO SOMETHING DAMMIT to show I’m with the good guys.
Sullivan is actually genuinely doing something, which is a lot more than I’m able to do: he’s reporting on the crisis, getting the news out where the traditional media is 3-4 days behind, if getting any news on this at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if people inside Iran are doing everything to get this stuff to him so he can pass it on to us. If his changing of font colors appears superficial, in a way it is, but it’s also an expression of the passion he has for this ongoing crisis.
At least you ‘get’ that Sullivan is doing some heavy lifting working on the Iranian protests/revolution-in-waiting, and so for that, I do thank you. And I understand why you think ‘going green’ isn’t really all that important, and I agree it’s weak compared to the genuinely scary stuff the people of Iran are going through right now, it’s just I ask it not be dismissed so readily… It’s either change my fonts green or else sit in front of the TV crying my eyes out like I did back in June 1989…
John, what a fundamental misread. This and your Seinfeld reference. Nobody takes offense at your idiocy because you won’t wear green. And no one will get mad at you if you don’t. It’s the fact that you mock those, like myself, wearing green as a show of solidarity with those angry, frightened, and courageous people protesting.
Most of the objection comes from two places. One idea is that we can’t do anything by wearing green and that in doing so, we are just partaking in an easy and cheap stunt to make ourselves feel better. Yes, it was easy for me to put on a green shirt this morning. Yes, it was easy to change my profile picture to green. No, it doesn’t stop a bullet from killing, a baton from crushing, or produce any tangible, material gain. However, it does show solidarity. As a person, my heart goes out to the protesters, and expressing that shows only good. It’s effect may only be spiritual, or perhaps it can show that the world supports certain inalienable rights. Let those who wear green be.
The second idea conflates wearing green with an interventionist bent on Iran. In it’s various forms, this idea says we’re egging them on (false, Iranians are doing it themselves, whatever I do won’t change that), that we’re choosing sides in a conflict we don’t understand, or that those who want democracy in Iran want it at the point of a gun, as in Iran (possibly true in some cases, but the majority support Obama’s approach, including Sullivan). The second reason is most insidious, and smacks of moral relativism.
Let me be clear, I believe that there are fundamental human rights that must be respected. I believe all cultures share these beliefs, and that this is clearly an instance of those agitating for human rights and country of laws, not men. And forces working to make that happen, originating within that country, deserve my unwavering support. All I can do is wear green. Sullivan is providing an outlet for the information to get out and point a camera at what’s happening. You, in your hopes, are doing all you can (at least what you think is appropriate). That is all we can ask.
But to say that the bloggers, and especially Sullivan, who is providing a valuable service, is having a “wargasm”, or to say supporting the side of human rights is jumping in for ACTION ACTION is to do a great disservice to the discourse on this subject. You’re wrong, and you’re caution is misplaced. See it for what it is, people of conscience standing with their brothers and sisters in Iran.
I simply find it curious and tragi-comic that Sullivan was wrong about the war, wrong about the protesters, wrong about the BBC – pretty much wrong about everything – and called himself “grown-up” while degrading his opponents as childish, assinine and corrupt.
That was then.
Today, if he seems slightly less hysterical and slighly less restrained to rush to judgment this time, wellll, let’s just say the distinction is a fine one. I’d prefer that the so-called “serious” “grown ups” acted a little more, you know, serious and grown-up.
Then get your ass over to a humanitarian aid org and donate or actually do something tangible to help like volunteer for them.
Otherwise, quit acting like an idiot and pretending green font and t-shirts is anything other then pure feel good wanking.
Take anything fed from Iran to a guy who would have cheerleaded bombing runs on Iran with a grain of salt.
People who pretend this means “we’re right there with them” *deserve* to be mocked.
The reason, I believe he’s been easier to read, especially the last year or two, has been his willingness to base his positions on evidence, and skepticism. Today, though, he explicitly said, “I’m not listening to the skeptics.” Which, from a pundit, is the equivalent of fingers in the ears, LALALALA behavior.
I think he really needs to calm down about this, because it’s when the guy’s blood is up, that he strays into unhealthy obsession/over-identification with his subject.
For the record, I changed my facebook pic (which I never touch my facebook account, really), and my blog’s (which is never read by anyone of consequence) background color is now gaudy green. For now.
I think if you’re tech saavy, and you really want to help, enable your internet access to be shared by a proxy.
Anything else is the masturbatory equivalent of saying you’re a revolutionary because you listen to Rage Against the Machine.
Billy Bob Tweed
I tend to skepticism, especially warranted when it comes to Andrew “We Have To Do Something!” Sullivan.
You could donate time and money to humanitarian orgs, or Journalists without Borders.
But that would apparently require something called *effort*.
Corrected for accuracy.
He may be an entertaining writer, but his past is chock-a-block with glaring cognitive dissonance & raging crackpotism. It’s not that I think that he can’t ever be right, it’s that I don’t trust his judgment at all.
I also wonder (seriously) how many of the Sully haters are long-time DFH’s and how many fanboi’s are current or former republicans/libertarians/wingnuts. I will admit that I am definitely of the former group.
I will admit that I am definitely of the former group, and I know many of the latter hang out here.
@Napoleon: Yeah, I think that’s the discussion I’m interested in, though I have to admit I agree w/ Johnny there. It’s just that you’re making an argument, that change is incremental, and this is one of those points where we start to take measure of the prospects for the future; whereas the sort of rhetoric we’re responding to supports more sudden, revolutionary change, not in service of any real political dynamic, but just as a statement of abstract principles that may or may not hold in this case.
And even beyond that I’m not sure that addressing “the people” and “the establishment” as two discrete powers always in conflict does less projecting than Sullivan’s posts. My (limited) understanding of the Revolution in Iran is that a lot of semi-official local thugs enforced laws and norms as they saw fit. So the cultural and political issues in play here are too complex to say “well, good for x, because it looks like an outcome we’d like.”
And the other stuff about blogs is a pretty similar discussion, because it seems like blog writers think they’re in a position to do something outside of any real understanding of audience, and have a duty to that something, and I’m wondering when that happened.
Are you saying that Sullivan’s adding to the discourse on this subject? He’s hasn’t acknowledged reasonable counterarguments at all; look at what he’s posted from 538 versus what’s been posted at 538. Go check out the AP photo feed in which he found the picture he keeps reposting of a riot cop being helped by protesters. The Iranian response isn’t remotely justified, but neither is Sullivan’s hyperbolic treatment of it. I thought the main benefit of Twitter was getting news directly from those who are in the thick of it, but a majority of the stuff he’s throwing out there is complete hearsay.
His biggest contribution to discourse here is hurling childish insults at anyone who doesn’t toe his line. Here he is on the Washington Post running an intelligent letter he disagrees with:
The Post ran this article in the very same opinion section on the very same day:
And this was the paper’s official position:
Not to mention decrying the entire news media for not being as single-minded as he is and tarring all professional journalists based on the woeful state of cable news. And calling what very well may be a majority (and is certainly tens of millions of them) of Iranians “the coup’s supporters.”
Also, the 2003 comparison is apt. That was the last time (in major foreign policy) the “respectable” left and right were unified on a universally accepted truth – that Saddam had WMD – that wasn’t well supported by facts. Certainly not to the degree that you were required to concede the point before entering a debate.
@Randy: I take it back. Iranians are xenophobic country bumpkins who never look outside their own borders. The only reason they held a vigil for Americans on 9/11 is because that happened to coincide with their annual “Light Candles to Show How Much You Love the Ayatollah” festival.
@Ash: You just said words matter – I have a feeling that in a different context, if I said all American bloggers should issue a statement about the atrocities and John Cole said that was stupid, you’d say “Silly Persian, words don’t matter, actions do.” A color change is a much faster way to send a message, and something tells me if these people were Russians, rather than Iranians, you’d be a lot more likely to support them in their struggle.
@Freelancer: I’m about as liberal as it gets, and I’m the guy who has spent much of the last few years saying the Muslim world has been misunderstood and that war on those countries is completely fruitless. Don’t insult me by comparing me to those dimwits.
And you know what? Usually I think Michael Totten’s a prick but his blog is way more on the mark on this issue than some people here.
I look at what’s going on in Iran and I think…meh.
When Iranians figure out that their problem is their hideous theocracy that presents them a faux choice of essentially interchangeable fundamentalist nutbags like Amadinejad or Mousavi, they’ll have my unqualified support.
Given their current rallying chant of “Allah O Akbar!” is the slogan of the ’79 Revolution, and green is the color of Islam — well, that hardly indicates they’ve actually cracked that code. Sullivan hasn’t cracked it either.
His hysterical posting kinda reminds me of that expression about prayer being a way to do nothing while feeling like you’re doing something.
@the crustybastard: And I suppose you think everyone who expresses admiration of George Washington is pro-slavery? Or that Obama is as bad as McCain and his supporters are morons for supporting him because, like McCain, he won’t end the war in Iraq and will consider military action against Iran? It’s people like you who’d rather have Bush win by voting for Nader rather than put up with a non-pure candidate who’s closer to your ideals.
One more thing: was Gorbachev was a raging capitalist? No, but he did more to bring down communism than any other Soviet leader.
Billy Bob Tweed