A blog, I think, is like a shark, it has to constantly move forward or it dies. So I’m kind of happy about ClosedCommentsGate. When I show up here and the comments for the day are all about how cute the pet pictures are or how we all agree that Nick Gillespie is an idiot, it makes me nervous. When it’s a bunch of people screaming at each other about race or teh ghey or hipsters or Israel, I smile.
No one asked me, but I’ll say two things about ClosedCommentsGate. One is that getting trashed in the comments does hurt one’s fee fees. I now avoid certain topics — hipsters, Israel, Washington Post reporter chats — because they bring out the haters. I’ve come very close to banning a few commenters who bug me.
The other is that tribalism and prejudice are a complicated stew. I’ve always been comfortable writing about race, because I know I’m not racist. That’s not for any awesome reason about myself, it’s probably because all the black people I know well are high-achieving types I met in college and grad school, or are people I now do research with. I did grow up around a lot of rural, white poverty and I used phrases like “trailer trash” and “white trash” in the past, and I feel very bad about that, because it really did come out of prejudice that I had.
I don’t think ABL’s post was about calling anyone “white trash”, I think it was about the absurdity of Donald Trump supporter types claiming Obama’s not an American, that he shouldn’t have gotten into Columbia, and so on. But there is one place near to that post that I don’t want any of us to go — and, to reiterate, I don’t think ABL went there — and that’s a place where we say “Obama is an intelligent, educated man and you haters are lower class trash”. Just remember that the guy leading the birtherism charge is a privately educated
billionaire highly-leveraged and serially bankrupt son of a multimillionaire.
Anyway, that’s all.