I’m doing something different this week.  Instead of sharing my thoughts on the news stories that I missed these past few days because I decided to have a week-long Memopalooza, I’d prefer to take some time and discuss the State of the Us.  This seems worthwhile for RVS’s one-year mark.  Let’s look at what kind of a little community we have and where we want it to go, if you’ll indulge me.

On Friday night, I was up late as I usually am, fooling around on the Internet and looking for something engaging.  I found a shiny object when I saw a discussion in which a guy was asking a question about the FISA Memo scandal.  There wasn’t anything going on here at RVS, because you lame-oes were probably sleeping or participating in active social lives with people you enjoy being around, so I responded to him.

I didn’t throw in anything pro-Trump, as I could tell from his question that he was anti-Trump, but it did not get the response I was expecting.  The guy went off on me.   Repeatedly.  He even started to respond to other comments I’d made that weren’t to him, all with some pretty creative attacks.  At first, I thought about blocking him, but I noticed that he was actually addressing my points.  There wasn’t anything better to do, so I kept arguing with him and not responding in-kind to the insults.

Then a funny thing happened.  As we kept going, he gradually eased up and we ultimately had a reasonable discussion.  Nobody “won” and neither of us had our minds changed on anything, but we were two people who disagreed strongly on an issue of national importance and just asked each other questions and answered them with our own points of view. When we were both too tired to go on, we left off amicably.  He was surprised by it.  I wasn’t.  He probably doesn’t get many such talks.  I do.

That’s the way it is nowadays on social media, most blogs, and other forums where politics are discussed on the Internet.  Thankfully, we’re not like that in public for the most part, but it really is a bloodsport out there lately.  On the rare occasion that somebody leaves his or her echo chamber and ventures into another one, somebody fires off some insults and inevitably gets told to “go kill yourself.”  It’s the norm everywhere, but not here.

Go through some of the threads this week.  CM and I exchanged maybe 50 comments on the FISA Memos across a couple of threads this week.  Yes, there was some dickishness on my part and some weaselly behavior out of him, but nobody got shut down.  Nobody ragequit.  Nobody was told to go blow his brains out.  Then we went onto the open thread, agreed that Deadpool is fantastic, and I let him have a good laugh at my expense over my goof with the Rotten Tomatoes scores for Marvel films.

I like that.  I love being a part of a forum where that sort of thing regularly happens.  What sucks is that there are so few places left where it does or even can happen.  Zoom, JDPS, pfluffy, Grendel, and I started up RVS because we wanted something like it to exist.  We wanted to be able to chat and keep out the toxicity.  One year in, I think we’ve gotten what we were after.  At least, I think we’re on the right track.

There aren’t many commenters here, but I’d much rather spend time with six or seven people who can entertain many points of view than 100 flag-waving Drumpf-humping clones of myself. I know many of you on the Left feel the same way about being around 100 libcucks, all saying the same shit and thinking the same way all the time.  It would be boring and predictable.  Forget that.

It’s for that reason I say everybody here who reads and comments on a routine or semi-routine basis is exemplary.  Most people do not do what you do when you watch us hash out both sides of any issue and then agree to get along.  I will point you to as many comment sections and Twitter feeds as I need to if I have to demonstrate it.  That’s not to say that we’ve created some sort of shining city on the hill.  Even I’m not that full of shit.

A couple of you have told me in recent weeks that my editorial tone has been problematic.  Is that safe to say or does it not go far enough?  The guy I mentioned from Friday flat-out told me that he thought I was a piece of shit because of stuff I had written on the particular site we were using.

It’s not easy to do, but I’ll admit that the critics are right.  I think I’ve gone too far in one direction. It seems that I’m getting dangerously close to worrying more about being right or advancing the interests of one side than having fun and getting the mental stimulation I so desperately need for me to be doing this either.

For all that, I recognize that I’ve been going a full “10” on the Ruthlessly Biased Political Scale and it’s hurting RVS.  I promise that I’ll try to drop it back to about a “7”.  That’s sort of the maximum limit where I think it’s exciting and still welcoming.  You should start noticing a gradual change this week.  Be patient with me.

I’m not the only one though.  Many of us have gotten a bit deranged because we’re human beings.  When human beings get frustrated, angry, or scared we get mean.  We attack viciously and defend stubbornly.  You can’t stop us when we’re charging or move us when we’re dug in.

We get ugly.  Most Americans you see discussing politics these days–both sides–are exactly that.  Not ugly.  Many of us are damn fine.  They’re frustrated and angry about what they see happening and they’re scared of what’s happening to their country.  Most feel this way, but the kicker is that they don’t feel this way for the same reasons. Speaking to those of you outside of the US, I sense that you feel this way too.

Well, isn’t there value in talking about how these big events affect smallfolk such as ourselves?  Isn’t it nice to have someone who you may disagree with but know as a stand-up guy present the other side of the argument and make sense of it?  I get that from many of you.  If these discussions bring anybody any comfort and settle the negativity for even one person, maybe it’s all worth it.

The dude I argued with on Friday night lashed out at me not because he was a bad person.  I didn’t see that anyway.  He’s frustrated because nothing good is happening.  Angry that his country is being run by Republicans he feels were put in place by ignorant bigots.  Scared for the future of his family.  I got all that, it’s just that the facts were on my side on the very specific issue under discussion.  It sure as hell doesn’t mean that they always are and will be if I make the choice to let my own worst emotions dictate my stance instead of facts.

Anyway, I think I’ve been too slanted recently and it’s starting to affect RVS.  I’m not being “exemplary” when I do that and I sure don’t want to be ordinary.  It’s not me and it definitely isn’t any of you weirdos either.  There’s enough of that out there already.  Let’s all be exemplary together even if it’s a small club of incessantly bickering, smug assholes.

Today I’m asking all of readers, whether you’re a regular commenter or a lurker or even a new reader, to help keep RVS suck-less.  Here are a few options:

  • Gripes, Bitches and Complaints – I’d like feedback, good or bad.  It’s hard to hurt my feelings, so give it a try.  SPIN THE WHEEL, MOTHERFUCKER.  This is a good place to also discuss the future direction of the blog, content you’d like to see more of, or whatever else.
  • Are You Guys Being Quaint, Like, Ironically? – Design feedback.  Is there any feature, plugin, or other technical solution we ought to be looking into?  Experts wanted.
  • Ask Anyone Anything – Consider this an opportunity to learn more about RVS, its lore (yeah we have lore, shut up), and its members.  You don’t have to answer anything you don’t want to, if asked, but everyone should take this as an opportunity to resolve any questions without being presumptious.

Regardless of whether you leave a comment or not, thank you for reading this far.

44 comments

  1. Let me be the first to say I don’t believe you should have to apologize for the way you feel. If this, in fact, the way your feel. I agree with what Jay-Z’s sentiment toward Trump was when that obese cuck first called him out on social media and then slinked away like a coward when Jay-Z accepted his pussy challenge: Don’t let anyone feel safe by shunning them. It’s not productive. The best thing you can do is open the forum up to challenge the viewpoints.

    So, let’s dispense with opening the forum up to tar and feather you. I don’t believe you’ve said anything wrong per say, because you’re revealing how you think and feel. I don’t want you to think if I don’t comment it’s because I’m discouraged or a quitter. It’s quite the opposite. I try to temper my responses, but I DO try to weigh in on your topics and show you the respect you show us by writing for free.

    So, if I may offer a suggestion, how about some thought exercises for a few topics instead of some of the hot button day-to-day stuff? It will be there next week, I’m sure, and if it isn’t Trump will give us another reason to be distracted or divisive.

    What is really important to me are linear thought processes, and how they affect someone with a particular ideology. That would signal to me that there is a value system someone adheres to, and something that I can respect even if I disagree with it. Part of the reason I think Trump should be kicked out on his ass at the nearest convenience is because I think he is a disreputable and disingenuous cuck that neither loves the military, middle America, nor the middle class. I believe he turns his back after hitting the conservative bullet points in a speech and like the wolf of Wall Street signals to his buddies that he’s got suckers on the end of his fishing line. He’s an actor that doesn’t believe what he’s saying to America.

    So, here’s some thought exercises that might help me understand some of your more recent viewpoints.

    1.) Why is law enforcement disreputable when we’re discussing the FBI, and more specifically the FBI only in regard to how it is handling Trump’s allegations of collusion… but law enforcement on the local level has done absolutely NOTHING disreputable enough to warrant an NFL player protesting the national anthem?

    2.) Is the tax break recently signed into law a good policy move in your opinion, given that it is an immediate 1.4 trillion dollar subsidy? If you approve of this legislation, why are you a conservative, or why would you vote conservative? If the only thing that separates our two political parties is splitting hairs about how we overspend, why would you hate voting for a democrat?

    3.) Would you please explain how Trump’s immediate government intervention into companies like Carrier is NOT textbook socialism out of a political science book? If our government picks winners and losers in business, or more importantly, makes them immune from foreign competition, how is that NOT a government nationalizing a business? If there isn’t any difference, then please, again, explain your aversion to socialism but your allegiance to it at the same time?

  2. Let me be the first to say I don’t believe you should have to apologize for the way you feel.

    No, I’m not sorry for how I feel. What’s more significant is that I think I’ve been letting my passions interfere with the Grand Experiment that we’re doing with RVS, and I’m changing course. I’m going to feel the way I feel, but I can do that without throttling discussion and free-thinking.

    I don’t want you to think if I don’t comment it’s because I’m discouraged or a quitter. It’s quite the opposite. I try to temper my responses, but I DO try to weigh in on your topics and show you the respect you show us by writing for free.

    I get frustrated by a couple of things. The first is that I sometimes get annoyed that people don’t find the same topics as interesting as I do. That’s purely my own ego getting in the way. Naturally I can’t expect anybody to like what I like.

    You guys might disagree, but I’ve always felt like my biggest weakness as a blogger (besides the total refusal to proofread, excessive use of profanity, lunatic theories, etc) is that I don’t have a very good sense of what people actually want to discuss. I use the Open Threads for this purpose. It shows me which stories people are actually following. When I don’t follow up by doing anything with the links I get from the group, it falls apart though.

    Second source of frustration I have is that I didn’t realize when we started up that I’d be carrying over 95% of the content. At the VO dwex, you, Rich, zoom, and I spread it out fairly well as contributing authors. Things went to shit when Rich left, I got busy raising the kids, and dwex went to law school. We petered out because no one person was willing or able to be the workhorse.

    I regret that I didn’t step up and do more to keep the VO going, which is why no matter how busy I get I make sure there’s at least a weekly DJ thread (and pfluffy has been a godsend by helping with this) and Sunday open post so that RVS doesn’t shrivel up and die like the VO did.

    The reason I don’t make a big stink about it is because you guys contribute in different ways. Zoom has given us a stable platform and pays the bills. Grendel shares our posts on social media like a madman, and pfluffy picks up every other DJ thread, you’ve contributed the artwork I use for the blog’s social media accounts, etc.

    I’m good with the thought pieces you have presented and we should definitely use them. It’s just that I want it understood that I both need ideas AND for someone to also put in the work. Each week, I have only a few hours to dedicate to RVS and can’t do much more unless I want to sacrifice my irl job performance and time with my wife and children.

    So yeah, when you come to me with these post ideas, I’m going to be like, “Well, I have very limited time to acquaint myself with the subject matter, I’m not especially interested in this topic, and I’d much rather spend my limited time writing about topics that interest me. Why don’t you write a post on these so it will at least get written?” Instead, you’re demanding that I write posts that I may not necessariy agree with, that aren’t that important to me, aren’t worth my time, and that you’re fully capable of writing yourself. I don’t get that at all.

    I mean, can you imagine me at the VO insisting that dwex write a post to get a discussion going about how the immorality of the gay lifestyle is driving HIV infection? What do you think he’d have said to that? I’m guessing that he would have laughed and written a post about some conservative Republican who was busted banging tranny hookers instead. Or what if I had suggested that you write a post about how incidents of excessive police use of force are far overemphasized? I honestly can’t imagine doing that.

    Shit, our most viewed post at the VO was some stupid post I wrote one time about Bigfoot. I shit you not. Even I hated that post and I constantly flirted with the idea of deleting it. Can you imagine dwex writing that post?

    Seriously, the comment you wrote about this right above mine is sufficient material for a blog post. I can’t understand why you don’t just publish it as a post if you’re willing to take the time to write it. If I seemed like I was exasperated the other day, it’s because I genuinely don’t understand.

    Now the discussion points you’ve offered are excellent and Discourses posts are going to come back this week. Where I agree with you is that we need to be hosting more of those “think pieces” and fewer talking points. The last thing I want is to give up our smart and thoughtful ideaologically diverse group for a stupid and dogmatic one.

    But even then, most of the think pieces I put up are going to be those that I find interesting, not always what you find most interesting. If you want to discuss these topics in depth, I think you should post them yourself. Or at least tell me to terminate your status as a contributing author so I can know what my expectations should be.

    At some point, I’m hoping to recruit some active contributing authors because I don’t really want this to be the Thrill Show all the time. We need balance around here and I can’t provide it by myself. Because I’m imbalanced.

  3. Well, here we are again alone at the dance on opposite sides of the gymnasium. The lights are spinning, the 80s love songs are blasting and the punch bowl is full. Lmao

    In all seriousness I’ll put a post up this week. It’s disrespectful of me not to get something in. I had all these great football/sports posts but they ended up being fodder for politics so I backed off.

    However I’ve got a couple on college basketball and the nba I’d like to discuss. No one there seems to want a national conversation so I think I’d be safe just talking about the sport.

    In addition I think everyone here knows each other by now, many for years. We’ve never asked for money but at the same time there is at least a little bit of a social contract. If you, or I or anyone posts something it would be nice if it was validated every so often. I don’t mean everyone has to punch a time card here but give me a fucking break. How many times have we begged for input, asked what would interest people, how we could be pretty like her only to have our audience go back to harrumphing and ignoring us again.

    It is a bit tedious.

  4. Isn’t it nice to have someone who you may disagree with but know as a stand-up guy present the other side of the argument and make sense of it?

    This should be the tagline of the blog.

    Honestly, that’s pretty rare, and it’s definitely what makes the blog work.

    As for the last couple of weeks – it’s not that you’ve gone ‘full ten on the ruthlessly biased political scale’. It’s that it’s quite hard to have a discussion about the subject when there are so many unknowns. You’re a Republican, so you believe your side is telling the truth. I’m a liberal so I believe they aren’t. As we’re not privy to any of the evidence, that’s basically as far as the discussion can go.

  5. However I’ve got a couple on college basketball and the nba I’d like to discuss. No one there seems to want a national conversation so I think I’d be safe just talking about the sport.

    PLEASE do that. I refuse to post about sports unless there’s a political or cultural angle to it like the NFL kneeling. Even if you just posted scores for the week, it’s more than I would do.

    How many times have we begged for input, asked what would interest people, how we could be pretty like her only to have our audience go back to harrumphing and ignoring us again.

    Yeah, I’ve sort of come to accept that our commenters work on some weird cyclical basis. There are weeks where EVERYBODY shuts up for a few days and then there are days where everybody shows up and chips in. I’ve learned to just go with it and not expect it.

    I know some of you can’t stand CM, but I’ve been secretly delighted to have him here because he keeps me busy. Really engaged commenters like him who stir up controversy are every small-time blogger’s dream.

    The downside to that acceptance about “Well, they’re probably not going to comment this week” is that I stopped worrying about discussion at all. We stopped doing Discourses posts and I just started focusing on advancing my own views and informing people what I think they should know rather than creating an environment for other people to share theirs.

    Any idiot can read a news story, link it, and blabber about it for a few paragraphs. What’s far harder is nurturing an environment where people who disagree and may even hate each other can discuss that story and keep it constructive. That’s what we’re actually in business for.

    It is a bit tedious.

    It is, but I still think there’s value in it even when we don’t get any comments because these guys are selfishly off spending time with their loved ones, jobs, and constructive hobbies.

    I know some of you are irritated that I spent so much time last week writing about Memopalooza, but you have to realize that I put a lot of research into that issue. I went through the Nunes Memo, the Grassley Memo, and the Strzok texts exhaustively (not all of my RVS time is spent writing). There was time spent reading what other people were saying (experts) and sharpening and testing my points on Twitter and Gab and elsewhere.

    You all got so many posts on the topic because I had put in so much time researching it and I wanted it to be put to good use. A lot of conservatives on the Web were misrepresenting the significance of the memos and the FBI texts and I think I helped clarify some things. I sincerely hope that some of the stuff I put out there helped both right and left wingers with their arguments on other venues.

    I don’t regret any of it, it just can’t be the norm for RVS.

  6. No real criticisms here, although I do miss Hal.

    He’s been busy, but I’m sure he’ll get back to writing when he can. If you’re on Twitter, he’s one of the top people I suggest following and he’s very active.

    The way commenting has dropped off over at RTFLC worries me though.

    But I have noticed that people on the Interwebs seem to take everything personally.

    It’s why it’s so necessary that we humanize each other. I know I pissed a lot of people off with my touchdown dances on one of the memo threads, but it’s hard to hate me for being an arrogant ass when I’ll own up to getting something else wrong through sheer carelessness and even go on to tell a story about how I stupidly ate a dog treat by accident.

  7. As for the last couple of weeks – it’s not that you’ve gone ‘full ten on the ruthlessly biased political scale’. It’s that it’s quite hard to have a discussion about the subject when there are so many unknowns.

    You’re right about that. Reviewing those threads, I think I was relying too heavily on the corroboration between the two memos and couldn’t sufficiently explain that the one boosted the credibility of the other. Anyone on the other side of the argument could say “Yeah, but both were written by Republicans” (and CM did) and use that as reasonable doubt.

    I felt like my viewpoint was solid and backed by the factual evidence, but I should’ve focused more on a Q&A style discussion to get my arguments out instead of point-scoring. As I said, I’m mending my ways.

  8. I know some of you can’t stand CM

    Cress and CM provide balance and I am glad to see them enter discussions. I am guilty of not commenting when I enter the party late and all my positions have been covered. I do read most posts and comments though.

    You should feel lucky that you found a decent conversation online. I just waded through more comments than I care to admit from an article and I swear a lot might have been bots. Same thing over and over, drowning out anything else.

    I almost did a book review when we had some of those but I realized the book was 10 years old. I have been taking a Holocaust Literature class trying to finish up my degree (still, LOL) and have had to read more than I realized I would. I thought i had read a lot about it but I hadn’t read a single piece of the literature. I can talk a blue streak about it now though. Hint: It’s depressingly depressing. For the love of Pete, please please let us maintain our checks and balances on all branches of government right down to the HOA level. The best thing about America is that if you don’t like it somewhere, you can go somewhere else.

  9. You should feel lucky that you found a decent conversation online

    It was NOT easy. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the guy was a savage. I don’t want to link to it because I don’t want to put him on the spot so you’ll have to take my word for it, but most people would have given up and blocked him the first four times he landed blows or simply insulted him back until somebody got banned.

    It wasn’t luck, just my usual bloody-mindedness.

    I have been taking a Holocaust Literature class trying to finish up my degree (still, LOL) and have had to read more than I realized I would.

    See, the more I learn about you guys, I swear…

    Mrs Thrill is highly interested in Holocaust studies. She even includes a tremendous amount in her teaching. She’s visited Auschwitz and is always up for watching documentaries and reading stories, along with the literature of the time. Like “Night” by Elie Wiesel.

    If you need any help, I can have her get in touch.

  10. Like “Night” by Elie Wiesel

    That was one of them! A few of the pieces really stayed with me.

    I would love to visit Auschwitz one day.

    It wasn’t luck, just my usual bloody-mindedness.

    We started out that way. Anymore, just finding someone that talks in complete sentences is a score.

  11. She recommends this because she knows the most depressing thing to pick on any topic:

    Yea the kid stuff is rough. Had to watch “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”. It was pretty uncomfortable.

  12. Yea the kid stuff is rough. Had to watch “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”. It was pretty uncomfortable.

    I can’t handle kids dying or suffering at all and I’m known to enjoy some warped shit.

    Even Harry Potter puts me off if I get too wrapped up in that aspect of how many kids get brutally kllled by adults and monsters. Cedric’s death is fucked up. Or the dead girl getting eaten by a werewolf. Yeeesh.

    Rowling seems to have a hard-on for this too. Mrs Thril hated “Casual Vacancy” because a kid gets killed. She can read all of that Holocaust stuff, but I get yelled at if I even mention “Casual Vacancy”…and she’s a Potterhead.

  13. I just wish we had more people to bounce things off of…i remember the chaotic and wild days at RTFTLC, and the variety we had.
    maybe if we had some more non political issues to throw about. well less R vs D type stuff? .. dunno..

    A yeah,. JDPS, the boxer pup is dong quite fine, shes pretty much got our boy wrapped around her stubby tail. and yeah she bonded with me as much as our make has bonded with my wife..

  14. Grendel shares our posts on social media like a madman, and pfluffy picks up every other DJ thread,

    heh im hoping that some one that follows me will take teh time to retweet or come in and post something, barring that im hoping that a post i make on Instapundit might attract the attention of the crowd there.,

    As for Thrill and Pfluffys DJ posts, i really do love them, but i feel my self so under prepared to reply some times. and Friday night i usually dont get time to do anything till about 9 pm or so, given it usually is my guy night with my sons…

  15. I just wish we had more people to bounce things off of…i remember the chaotic and wild days at RTFTLC, and the variety we had.

    If anyone ever decides to write a book on the rise and fall of blogs in the pre-Twitter/Facebook age, I’d definitely suggest applying RTFLC as a case study. I still don’t entirely understand what started the decline around 2005, as Lee remained a conservative to his death.

    His criticisms of Bush have been vindicated. Even I don’t defend Bush’s record anymore and I would have refused to vote for his brother even if he had run against Hilary instead of Trump. Can you imagine what Lee would be saying today about the FISA Abuse Memo? “Told ya so, fuckheads.”

    What ultimately hurt RTFLC was that it was about Lee. People liked Lee. He picked capable co-authors to manage the blog when he went to China, but there just wasn’t any substitute for him when he was gone for good. Nobody could’ve done it. It was his blog and he had a celebrity status that couldn’t be replaced.

    im hoping that a post i make on Instapundit might attract the attention of the crowd there.,

    What’s crazy is that they’d read what you linked, then maybe–MAYBE–move on to a post like this one. They’d immediately stop reading and never come back. “What? He’s a liberal who’s criticizing Fox News? He isn’t telling me that Obama was colluding with the FBI on muh Hillary emails like I want to hear? Fuck this stealth libtard.”

    I’ll admit that there’s more than enough written here to drive progressives away, but I’m not kidding when I say that any skepticism of any right-wing talking point of the week gets me called a shill or worse on the echo chambers. It drives me crazy when you guys accuse me of being like that because I just don’t see it.

    Unless you’re selling only what people want to read in a particular audience and nothing else because you have no integrity, it’s very hard to get anywhere in political writing. Consider how much more polarized we are now than in 2005, when RTFLC started to slide.

    I honestly don’t know if it’s possible to get 100 commenters on a blog like this one anymore. I’m determined to find out though.

  16. You have a 100% customer satisfaction rating from me. I read all the posts and probably about 99% of the comments (my personal favourite is deciphering what Grendel is saying 😉 ). I like the fact that there are differing views between the administrators.

    I wish I could contribute more, but between work, family, and life I don’t have the required time to put in enough research to even hold a flicker of a light to the well-though out arguments I read on this site. I just ain’t that articulate anyway.

    I definitely would appreciate more sports related posts.

    And above all else, I appreciate your humour. I’m happy to be a part of this community, and I look forward to birthday number 2.

  17. You have a 100% customer satisfaction rating from me. I

    You have always been a true friend and I’d keep blogging even if you were the only guy reading. One day, I hope I can make it up north and visit some of those nude beaches and strip cl–, I mean enjoy some craft beer and fellowship with no nudity involved.

    I definitely would appreciate more sports related posts.

    Yeah, JDPS. Get on that.

  18. What ultimately hurt RTFLC was that it was about Lee. People liked Lee.

    Well, that was the long and short of it; Lee was a good writer and people liked him. Lee was libertarian and he mocked the religious right similar to how dwex does now. He butted heads with liberals and conservatives alike, which is a cross that libertarians bear. I always found him to be very logical. Everyone was welcome there and he rarely moderated. For some reason, he felt that he couldn’t blog from China even though he blogged from China.

    It all went to shit when he left because he WAS the blog. He didn’t leave libertarians in charge and the blog changed. One of the new bloggers was a conspiracy theorist and Lee hated conspiracy. Another was a social conservative, which Lee wasn’t. I never understood some of his choices. I stuck around out of some goofy sense of loyalty, but I finally bailed to the VO.

    Currently, there is no reason for a liberal or libertarian to bother.

    Every once in awhile Jim has to step in and set them straight. Once he said “okay you can go back to your circular arguing”. I LOL’d. Talk about goofy loyalty, he hates the place.

  19. Thrill, I’m not really sure where to go with this post.

    I don’t think you have ratcheted anything up at all. It seems that if a conservative/libertarian argues their point, that it is somehow aggressive or has a “wrong tone.” I’ve actually enjoyed feeling your passion in the posts. You don’t have to do it for all, but on the ones you feel passionate about, do it. It’d be interesting to me to understand who has told you that your posts have “hurt” RVS. I would disagree completely.

    Frankly, if you lose some of that edge (again you don’t have to have it all the time), I’m not sure you’d be any different than most other blogs that are either too bland or too over the top. I can’t believe I have to say this, but it is ok to push back against BS when warranted. And though we don’t “know” everything about the memos and investigation, we can all clearly see things have gone off the rails in regards to institutions that are supposed to be bias free.

    It’s absolutely ok to call BS or certain things, with vigor, if the times/subjects call for it.

    I don’t always comment because you’ve either covered my point, I’ve no time or those arguing don’t debate with honest methods (so why waste my time).

    If you want to make this blog “different” and stand out, then you have to be you. The other authors, also, have to be themselves. Judge should post scores, and his latest rant on Trump’s cuckholdedness. And, either that will be enough or not. But, not being true to yourself is not a valid way forward for long term success.

    While RTFTLC is an example of an what can happen if a “Lee” is no longer available after building the readership – I don’t think there is a way around it. The only thing Le could’ve done for his blog’s brand, was to find more Lee’s – and they are out there. But instead, he, AFTER the brand was established, used bloggers that weren’t on the same page, or style, with him. And that’s ok – but you have to do that BEFORE a brand is established. Once he did that, readership dropped. Not because they were biased or ignorant – but the blog had built a brand for a certain style and when it no longer existed, they left. Imagine walking in to a Bass Pro store to buy a new tackle box only to find that Bass Pro no longer sold fishing supplies, but literature about fishing. You’d be disappointed. And you probably already have a place to read about fishing, so the Bass Pro change doesn’t help you and you’d just stop going there.

    Every blog has a brand. If you want this one to show “open conversation” and freedom to debate “without animosity” then build that. But you have to do it early, and again, each author has to be themselves.

    It’s true in every type of media – TV, Magazines etc. They all have a brand, regardless of the author or personalities involved. If you want RVS to be that way, get people to contribute in their authentic selves with a slant to foster discussion. Otherwise, YOU will be the blog, YOUR style will be the brand and ultimately the blog will rise and fall with only you.

  20. Currently, there is no reason for a liberal or libertarian to bother.

    THAT is exactly what I want to avoid. Once there’s a sense among readers that they’re just going to get a faceful of the other side’s predictable propaganda and get hammered the second they state their own opinion, they leave. Or they troll.

    Either way, the site becomes worse for it. It isn’t pleasant for anybody. The dominant side gets its comfortable talking points repeated back to it and you start to get something of a cult. The few dissenters operate as trolls and make everybody angry. It becomes a cesspool.

    Here’s my first submission on the Ask Anybody Anything portion. What sites do you guys read on a routine basis besides RVS? Not just politics, everything. Include social media platforms, YouTube channels, and anything else. I’m curious to know what informs your thoughts.

  21. Hah, you broke the internet. I can get to the RVS main page (at work), but when I clicked o the comments section I get blocked.

    Sorry, you don’t have permission to visit this site. Not allowed to browse Adult Material category.

    Can you gone it down a bit?

    Which is funny, because I can still view it on my phone while using work’s wireless.

    I’m curious to know what informs your thoughts.

    Toronto Star – http://www.thestar.ca
    Mark Steyn – http://www.steynonline.com
    Reason – http://www.reason.com
    RTFLC (can’t let it go)

  22. I don’t think you have ratcheted anything up at all. It seems that if a conservative/libertarian argues their point, that it is somehow aggressive or has a “wrong tone.”

    Ah, blameme, my old friend!

    Just so you guys know, many years ago blameme was the first one to come over with us to the VO and stuck by us until the end. I’ll never forget that.

    See, we have “lore”. I told you.

    I don’t want you to be alarmed. I’m not going to stop advocating what I believe nor am I going to be less edgy. None of our more left-of-center folks are asking for that, as far as I can tell. I personally would hate it if I thought I had to pretend to be neutral and totally factual all the time. There’d be no reward in doing it for me and it would be bland for anyone who reads it.

    One point I want to throw out is that I think I’m more balanced in my arguments than some people around here give me credit for. I’m not neutral and unbiased by any means or completely fair and balanced. I don’t want to be either. But I sometimes feel like the progressives around here unfairly mischaracterize things I say and my motivations for saying them.

    A good case in point that’s recent is some of the comments about FOX NEWS. I’ve had it come up a couple of times in threads when I’m supposedly either defending FOX NEWS or it’s somehow significant that FOX NEWS disagrees with me on a topic and I have to explain why there’s a gap between me and FOX NEWS as if that has anything to do with me or the price of tea in Hong Kong.

    That confuses the shit out of me because I don’t know what the basis for it is. I don’t have cable so I don’t watch Fox News. The only time I see it is when I’m at the gym and even then it’s on the screen right next to MSNBC. My eyes tend to go back and forth while I’m on the stair climber depending on what story each is covering or who is on a commercial break. I literally watch MSNBC equally as much as I watch Fox News.

    I’ve gone back through my posts over the last couple of weeks and I found that I use links from Washington Post slightly more than other mainstream media outlets, including Fox News. I use CNN, New York Times, and others fairly equally so I don’t get where the idea that I’m getting heavily influenced by Fox News is coming from.

    I mean, the one time in the past couple of weeks that I cited Fox News in a post outside of an open thread was the one about the FBI texts and in that post, I made it clear that I disagreed with Fox News’s interpretation of what was under discussion. Not one of the progressives remarked on that or even seemed to notice or care. I made this argument before any other conservatives did and those that did, like Andrew McCarthy at NRO, got attacked from the Right for suggesting that Fox News was wrong and that Obama probably didn’t do anything improper.

    Now I’m not saying that I expect you guys to throw me a vanilla wafer dog treat every time I say something you might agree with. However, on the comment thread of the very next post, I again got hit with a comment about how I’m supposedly in the tank for Fox News and that it’s supposed to matter to me when they disagree with me on an unrelated topic. I’m not picking on anybody here or singling anybody out. But this happens quite a bit and it’s annoying.

    I see stuff like that all the time when my criticisms of Trump, other Republicans, or anything else get ignored while any pro-Trump or pro-GOP arguments get written off as robotic partisanship and my reaction is, “What the shit?” So I’m saying this. I’ve listened to what you guys have had to say about my arguments and stances and I’ve taken it to heart. What I’m asking in return is for a formal agreement that Thrill =/= FOX NEWS. Okay? You pay more attention to Fox News than I do, swearsies.

    So I can be as impartial as possible but I’m still going to get accused of being a Fox News Talking Points Machine. There’s no reason I should stop being myself because it isn’t going to matter anyway. But that’s not really what the issue is though. I don’t want to speak for ilovecress and JDPS, but I’m going to. They can correct me if I get this wrong, of course. But…

    it’s not that you’ve gone ‘full ten on the ruthlessly biased political scale’. It’s that it’s quite hard to have a discussion about the subject when there are so many unknowns.

    He’s right, it’s hard, but it can still be productive. The problem is I didn’t approach it as a discussion. The posts were alright. I don’t regret anything there and I still maintain that I’ve interpreted the memos correctly and that when the facts eventually emerge, we’ll be able to see that they got it right. It’s in the comments where I think I messed up and let my partisan slant undermine what I should have been doing.

    I may as well have said, “READ THIS! HERE ARE UNDENIABLE TRUTHS, FOOLS!” If you really look at those threads, you’ll see more of a 2007-era Thrill scoring points rather than a 2017-era Thrill who would be looking to build a consensus. If you look at where those threads left off, we didn’t get one and that’s a shame.

    For guys like me, you, or Zurvan it’s great because we already believe that the FBI did engage in misconduct. The discussion would have been more fruitful if I’d gotten some agreement on those areas where there should be agreement rather than simply arguing “you’re wrong and here’s why, morons.”

    I think I did that and I also don’t think that’s what RVS should be about. You could use my arguments and bolster your own against progressives on other forums and that’s great for our side. But at what point do the progressives say, “Eh. RVS is all Republican propaganda these days. I’d argue with Thrill but it’s like throwing eggs at a brick wall. What’s the point?”

    Like I said to pfluffy, they either leave or they start trolling because we have nothing to offer. They can get GOP talking points anywhere and there’s no reason why they should find anything I write as especially compelling for that. What they cannot get anywhere else is a reasoned discussion with conservatives and libertarians. That’s what sets us apart. It’s a product differentiator that feeds into the strength of our brand, if we’re applying a business mindset.

    Whether there’s an environment where that can occur is up to me, sorry to say. I just don’t think I’ve been doing a good job of it. I can be an opinionated Republican bastard and still foster constructive disagreement. That’s unique. Nobody else is doing that.

    When I’m spouting off the same lines of attack that other right-wing sites are and focusing more on winning arguments than having discussions, I have to wonder what the hell I’m doing and why I’m doing it. It’s not my job and I gain nothing from it aside from short-term satisfaction. But is that good for the long-term prospects of RVS? I don’t think so.

    The other authors, also, have to be themselves.

    Yeah, and that’s the primary thing I miss about the VO. I could do whatever I wanted because there was dwex to provide balance because he was writing about topics he was passionate about. Rich and JDPS (Manwhore) could balance each other out too.

    I now have this responsibility to maintain open dialogue where it didn’t exist on my previous blog. It comes with the turf of being the primary author. It’s a double-edged sword where I enjoy the freedom to post what I want without any editorial restrictions, but I also am solely responsible for protecting the brand.

    What I want is to have the old VO dynamic back where we had multiple, active contributing authors all doing their own thing. I’m not asking anybody here to step up, don’t misunderstand. It’s just that I have to work at maintaining the brand and that’s not going to change until we have more contributing authors from both the Left and the Right.

    In the meantime, I’m not proposing anything radical. I’d like to get back to where the posts and discussion were a year ago on here. I wasn’t being as knee-jerk defensive of Trump and I was moderating threads better to promote discussion instead of point scoring. It started to change at some point to where I got more interested in point-scoring and I just want to get away from that.

    At the end of the day I have to ask if it matters more to win political arguments or is it more important that I keep RVS as a “safe space” (I hate the term) for discourse in a world where everyone else is obsessed with winning political arguments? I think you know what my answer is.

  23. Can you gone it down a bit?

    Ah, damn it. I knew that would start happening sooner or later. I might have to stop saying “fuck” all the time and be a bit more judicious in some of the featured images I’ve been using.

  24. Looks like we have a lull in the thread.

    JDPS: I’m going to respond to your questions. If you were writing a post on these, don’t worry about it. This is an open thread so we can go on here in the interest of keeping the thread live.

    So, here’s some thought exercises that might help me understand some of your more recent viewpoints.

    1.) Why is law enforcement disreputable when we’re discussing the FBI, and more specifically the FBI only in regard to how it is handling Trump’s allegations of collusion… but law enforcement on the local level has done absolutely NOTHING disreputable enough to warrant an NFL player protesting the national anthem?

    I’ve never said that and certainly not “recently”. Not even close. How is it one my viewpoints if I’ve never said anything like that and even said the opposite on separate occasions?

    See, this is exactly the sort of thing I was moaning about in my response to blameme. I’d say it’s an example of mischaracterizing what I’ve said, but even that would be charitable. This is just flat-out untrue.

    First, I have not made the claim that the FBI has only been disreputable with regard to Trump-Russia-Possible Collusion.

    Here’s me on February 3rd:
    http://www.ridiculousvikingstuff.com/2018/02/03/the-post-memo-age/

    Shoddy investigative work, questionable political activities, difficulty in working with local law enforcement, and civil rights violations have been FBI trademarks since its inception. It’s staggering when you go through the list of fuck-ups and malfeasance.

    You have their wiretapping of Martin Luther King, failing to detect that a career FBI agent was literally colluding with Russia for 15 years, having an innocent Boston man locked up for 30 years when agents concealed exculpatory evidence to protect one of their informants, then there was the killing of Weaver’s wife at Ruby Ridge, the various missteps that led to people being burned alive during the Waco siege, almost screwing up the Oklahoma City Bombing conviction because they failed to turn over evidence to the defense (yeah, they do this a lot), framing Richard Jewell for the Olympics bombing, fucking up the Wen Ho Lee nuclear spying investigation, failing to prevent 9/11, blaming the wrong guy for the Anthrax mailings for years until a different guy died so they could blame him instead, the inexplicable conduct of FBI agents related to the Garland, TX ISIS attack, and then the three examples I cited above. You might also have noticed that I’ve been enormously critical of the FBI when I’ve written about the Las Vegas Massacre, which has nothing to do with Trump.

    I could go on about it all day. My distrust for the FBI predates the 2016 Election and endures in recent cases that have nothing to do with Trump. I’d love to see the FBI disbanded because of its awful culture and shameful history. You know who’s to blame for the state of poor public confidence in the FBI? The FBI.

    I don’t think I’m being “anti-law enforcement” when I describe the FBI’s atrocious record and I’m not limiting my criticism to what’s happened with Trump. The FBI has enormous problems, deep and systemic, that come from bad leadership, a shitty organizational culture, improper societal roles, and awful training and doctrine.

    I’ve also never said that local police departments have done “NOTHING disreputable enough” to merit criticism. Just the opposite. Here’s a post from August that I know you saw because you replied to it.

    Read the post and my comments below it.

    http://www.ridiculousvikingstuff.com/2017/08/28/remilitarizing-the-cops/

    I don’t even think I need to comment on or excerpt anything from that. It speaks for itself.

    But you want recent? Here’s the most recent thing I’ve had to say on the topic of local law enforcement tactics and doctrine. New Year’s Eve. Another post that I know you saw because you replied to it.

    http://www.ridiculousvikingstuff.com/2017/12/31/the-open-thread-at-the-years-close/

    (The Burriss swatting police shooting) ties together a couple of worthy discussions to have. First, it’s another example of how fucked American law enforcement tactics are. Again and again we see that police place too high of a priority on “officer safety” and too little on public safety–the very reason for their existence.

    You know what I’m pointing to in those posts? Bad leadership, shitty organizational culture, improper societal roles, and awful training and doctrine. My “recent viewpoints” show that I’m consistent in my criticisms of law enforcement whether we’re discussing the FBI or local police.

    All of this is tied up into NFL players and their right to protest, but you’ve predicated it on the idea that I ever said they’re protesting an imaginary problem. As I’ve demonstrated, I never said that it’s not a legitimate problem.

    2.) Is the tax break recently signed into law a good policy move in your opinion, given that it is an immediate 1.4 trillion dollar subsidy? If you approve of this legislation, why are you a conservative, or why would you vote conservative? If the only thing that separates our two political parties is splitting hairs about how we overspend, why would you hate voting for a democrat?

    No, I don’t think it’s a good move in terms of policy to cut taxes without reducing spending. I’ve said that I’m happy to have extra money in pocket, but my “more recent viewpoint” on the matter was this, on Superbowl Sunday:
    http://www.ridiculousvikingstuff.com/2018/02/04/sportsball-day/

    On a personal note, my bi-weekly paycheck that I received on Friday had a noticeable increase in my net pay. I have benefited from the tax reform that was passed by Congress and signed into law by….uh…by….that is, uh, it was signed into law with a pen.

    I’ll be adding this extra money to the savings jar each week. Years from now my children will use that worthless currency, destroyed by inflation, that I’ve saved up to wipe their asses when the toilet paper runs out.

    Here’s me back in March arguing that we should be looking at raising taxes, not lowering them:
    http://www.ridiculousvikingstuff.com/2017/03/31/prognosticating-our-demise/

    Fortunately, you didn’t reply to this post so I can’t say you were aware of it. But which of my “more recent viewpoints” are you basing all of this on?

    You suggested that I voted “conservative” in 2016. I didn’t. I voted for Trump. He’s not a conservative and I’ve never said so. The deficit is important to me, but wasn’t a key factor in determining my vote or one of the top issues I was voting over. I didn’t expect either Hillary or Trump to be that stellar on the issue. It was a wash so I focused on other issues, such as judicial nominees, immigration, and military interventionism where there were clear differences in platform.

    Now if we’re talking party control, I’d say that the best option for deficit reduction is to have a Democrat president and a GOP Congress, based on history (Clinton, post 1994 and Obama, post 2010). The worst is to have a GOP president with a Democrat Congress. Anyone who votes party on the basis of fiscal discipline alone should have voted for Hillary in 2016 and hope that the GOP retains Congress this year, if we’re being honest.

    3.) Would you please explain how Trump’s immediate government intervention into companies like Carrier is NOT textbook socialism out of a political science book? If our government picks winners and losers in business, or more importantly, makes them immune from foreign competition, how is that NOT a government nationalizing a business? If there isn’t any difference, then please, again, explain your aversion to socialism but your allegiance to it at the same time?

    Easy. Trump is not a conservative. If he could wave a magic wand and implement universal, government run healthcare, he would do it. I’ve said it on here and I’ll say it again. By the end of Trump’s term, conservatism will be on the ropes. Not socialism.

    I’m not sure what this has to do with any of my “more recent viewpoints”. I’ve never suggested that Trump was a small government conservative who was opposed to nationalizing businesses.

    Whether or not a small-government GOP can survive in the future is a great topic for a future post. But it’s clear to me that this isn’t what Trump is trying to create. That has never been my viewpoint, recent or otherwise.

    You’re attributing to me things that I have not said and ignored that I’ve said the opposite of what you say I said. How are we supposed to have fair and open discussion when people aren’t accurate or truthful about my viewpoints?

  25. Holy crap. I’m part of “lore.” I never, ever thought this would happen to me. I’d like to thank all of the little people that made this possible.

  26. Just ten more years, and you’ll get promoted to “apocrypha” when we start just making up stuff. It’ll all make you look good though. Trust me.

  27. my personal favourite is deciphering what Grendel is saying )

    Hell, i cant even decipher what im saying half the time, i think there is some kind of dissconnect between my brain and my fingers…

    What sites do you guys read on a routine basis besides RVS? Not just politics, everything. Include social media platforms, YouTube channels, and anything else. I’m curious to know what informs your thoughts.

    Instapundit Libertarian based blog
    Twitter
    the Firearms blog i think this one sis pretty self descriptive.
    Weasel Zippers ..way out there right wing blog, good for knowing what the nutters are talking about.,
    Angry Staff Officer Milspeak with Starwars references.
    Reason
    Overlawyered
    Transterrestrial Musingsspace development related stuff.

  28. It’s staggering when you go through the list of fuck-ups and malfeasance.

    I have for some time considered that Ambush of Bonnie and Clyde to be straight up Murder by the FBI/police…they were given no chance to surrender, the Feds set them up and opened up on them.

    and the FBI was involved in this cock-up. the Twin Peaks restaurant, in Waco Texas,. what might be the cover up story is that a FBI shooter opened up on some of the bikers and sparked a masssive shootout.
    http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/18/what-really-happened-in-the-waco-motorcy

  29. He’s an actor that doesn’t believe what he’s saying to America.

    You just described every politician since at least as long as I’ve been alive. If that’s your reason for not voting for him, I can only conclude that you were not planning to vote for anyone…ever.

  30. Hell, i cant even decipher what im saying half the time, i think there is some kind of dissconnect between my brain and my fingers…

    Funny thing is that I can always tell what you’re saying and I’m not even sure how. It’s like how Rey can understand Chewbacca and BB-8 with no explanation given.

    Cue video: “Is Thrill a Mary Sue?”

  31. Other than your deeply flawed opinion of TLJ, you’re doing great. Speaking of which…

    No bullshit, I did wonder at the time why they didn’t get sucked out when they let Leia in since there wasn’t an airlock on the door.

    And yes, the lightsaber pong at the end would’ve been sweet.

  32. What sites do you guys read on a routine basis besides RVS? Not just politics, everything. Include social media platforms, YouTube channels, and anything else.

    Recently, I’ve been listening to The Ben Shapiro Show. Despite the annoying ads the guy reads, he makes a lot of sense, and doesn’t let ideology get in the way of reality.

    Other than that, I’ve got my FB experiment still going on where I “followed” every one of my FB friends. Some of my “friends” are total nutballs when it comes to politics, both conservative, and liberal. I’ve had to restrain myself from commenting too readily on their posts for fear of unfriending them.

  33. I’ve had to restrain myself from commenting too readily on their posts for fear of unfriending them.

    Ugh. It’s a dangerous game. I personally wouldn’t be able to hold back for more than two days. I’d either have to unfriend everyone, go on a political assault spree, or destroy reality itself with some kind of device. I don’t know what. I’d have to get an engineering degree or something, but I’d do it.

  34. Zurvan, I completely disagree with that assessment. I will say that I was not a politically aware adult through Reagan, Bush 1, and Clinton but I think you can draw a major distinction between any of them and trump. Namely, a sense of civic duty backed up by experience in the field of politics, first and foremost.

    Second, for all of his flaws, I think George w. Bush wasn’t blowing smoke up anyone’s ass about his value system. He cared about africa more than any other president I can imagine and he did something very special on that continent, proving he wasn’t just bluster. He handled 9/11 weong in almost every conceivable way but I would still have rather had him leading the country over trump during that time. He, in my mind, was at the very least an American and a patriot.

    Obama, in almost no way I can think of was not thorough in his value system. You can cry until the cows come home about his political ideology, the birtherism or whatever but I don’t doubt for one second he was genuine about improving the human condition of his fellow Americans. Again, he made policy errors we can argue about but I think given the bum wrap he was handed with the economy he did what he thought was best on a macro level to help this country. I also believe he did his best to navigate America through a lot of foreign conflict that I doubt trump would even hesitate to go dick first right into.

    Trump, on the other hand, I don’t think has done anything beyond setting the table for himself and his family to profit. His policy stances aren’t informed on anything more than what would further himself personally first.

    I don’t even know why I bother responding to bullshit like this because if you are unable to see even basic distinctions in candor you’re beyond reproach in a discussion tbh. In addition, I’m not going to be a defeatist and say “well, fuck it,” That’s a pathetic, sad fuck way to live and I refuse to do it. Have at it yourself, by all means.

    I don’t think trump is an Andrew Jackson, so I’m not in the camp that he’s some anti-Christ. He’s too much of a pussy and cuck to have the balls to take someone outside for a drubbing like ole hickory, but I’m not going to make some Clinton-Bush-obama parallel with that small hands weakling because those three examples are hands down better PEOPLE than trump. Yes, even bill Clinton.

  35. My lord, what a thread. Amazing.

    Santino said:

    I wish I could contribute more, but between work, family, and life I don’t have the required time to put in enough research to even hold a flicker of a light to the well-though out arguments I read on this site. I just ain’t that articulate anyway.

    This is me too. I so wish I had more time to research and post. It used to be (at Moorewatch forums for many years over the Bush years and first Obama term I think), and Right-Thinking to some degree more recently) that I’d be heavily involved (some would say too heavily) in most discussions.

    Thrill, I really disagree with you a lot, and some of what you right does get right in under my skin like a son-of-a-bitch, but rather than make me dislike you it actually does the opposite. I have immense respect for your writing, research, use of logic, intellect, and humour. Those are amazing qualities to me and far outweigh any political differences. Sometimes I’m all ready to get stuck in on a talking-point issue before it dawns on me that I’m going to have to spend many hours reading online to be able to discuss at the required level of detail and knowledge. Back at Moorewatch forums I’d spend that time. Didn’t have kids then, or my own business. I shudder to think how many thousands of hours I spent getting deep into the weeds when it came to Iraq or climate change.

    You’re right, I have no interest in going to hang anywhere liberal. I’d rather be shown up and learn at places like this (as painful as it sometimes is). I’m still active Facebook friends with big right-wing contributors from Moorewatch forums and consider them to be most excellent people whom I have great respect for. I’m also really good (virtual) friends with a liberal from there, FB chatting most days even though we’ve never met. I must confess to having met ilovecress though (please don’t hold that against him)!

    CM and I exchanged maybe 50 comments on the FISA Memos across a couple of threads this week. Yes, there was some dickishness on my part and some weaselly behavior out of him, but nobody got shut down. Nobody ragequit. Nobody was told to go blow his brains out. Then we went onto the open thread, agreed that Deadpool is fantastic, and I let him have a good laugh at my expense over my goof with the Rotten Tomatoes scores for Marvel films.

    Absolutely. So very this. That is exactly what I want. Again, it was something I loved and miss about the old Moorewatch forums. Didn’t quite get that at Right-Thinking (at least I didn’t, but I was a relative late-comer I guess).

  36. CM, I’m humbled by that response and it’s better than I deserve. You’ll always be most welcome and have a place here. I wish I could say more, but this is the first time in all of my years of blogging that someone managed to render me speechless.

    I am glad you jumped in here because I wanted to ask you a question. A few months ago, I had said that you didn’t seem to be familiar with America or that you’d met many Americans. In last week’s open thread, I found that I was wrong about this and you have traveled within the US.

    What was your opinion of the United States and its people? Was it what you expected and how did it affect your perceptions of us vs how our country is portrayed in news and entertainment?

  37. I must confess to having met ilovecress though (please don’t hold that against him)!

    In a country of less than 5 million people it would be weird if we hadn’t met IRL…

  38. I am glad you jumped in here because I wanted to ask you a question. A few months ago, I had said that you didn’t seem to be familiar with America or that you’d met many Americans. In last week’s open thread, I found that I was wrong about this and you have traveled within the US.

    What was your opinion of the United States and its people? Was it what you expected and how did it affect your perceptions of us vs how our country is portrayed in news and entertainment?

    Ok, here’s the start of the long answer…..
    In 1993 I was 19 and living at home, going to University locally and my mother decided that she could do with some extra $$$ (I was going through a lot of tissues and toilet paper and moisturizing cream probably, for no particular reason at 19). So we ended up having a student teacher from Alabama called David live with us for 3 months. He’d opted to do his last 3 months in the classroom (before you graduate as a teacher) overseas, via some program. We got on brilliantly (he was only a couple of years older) and just before he headed back we (along with a guy from Kentucky doing the same thing, staying with a friend of my mothers) did a quick 2 weeks tour of NZ in my beaten-up shit-coloured 1984 Ford Laser. Damn, if that wasn’t an amazing time. We camped, we stayed at backpackers with ridiculously dressed Euro-babes, we bunjy-jumped, white water rafted, black water rafted, climbed glaciers, we got the car stuck in a river, we ate out of cans, etc etc. At the end of it, he said ‘you should cover over the US sometime and we’ll do something similar’. Yeah, yeah, sure, sounds awesome (never gonna happen, I got no money, I’m still a student).

    Anyway, in 1995 I graduated and got a job straight away, and he reminded me that he ‘owed me’ a ‘local tour’. I thought, well shit, why not, and the Olympics are in Atlanta during the summer of ’96, so let’s do it! I convinced my best mate Ross to come too (the three of us hung out a lot during those three months here in Auckland, and actually Ross and I did US History at University together). So the three of us spent the whole of June, July and August of ’96 tooling around the US. We started at his place in Huntsville, then went to Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Mobile, New Orleans, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, Fort Stockon, Carlsbad, El Paso, White Sands, Albuqueque, the National Parks of Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Grand Canyon, then Vegas, San Diego, into Tijuana (fuck that shit), the nearest Taco Bell back inside the US, then…LA, then camping up the coast until San Fran, then camping up through the Oregon coast (Gold Beach was amazing), then Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, stupidly camped at Glacier National Park in sub-arctic temps, then Calgary (stampede was ON), Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, then called my friend in Ontario and asked best way to get there, and went Fargo, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Kitchener (Onatario), then Niagara Falls, Buffalo (shout out and apologies to the fine girls at Hoosters Buffalo), Boston, New York City, DC (saw some Olympic football there), and then we ran out of money so drove to stay with D’s uncle in Winston-Salem in North Carolina, and then high-tailed it back to Huntsville on the smell of an oily rag. Man, he sure paid me back. 14,000 mile trip.

    Part 2 is the return trip to the US, which is when my wife and I tooled around The South for 3 weeks on our way to live in London in 2002. We did as many Civil right and civil war sites are we could.

    I’ve also stayed a couple of weeks in Hawaii (Oahu and Maui).

    Actual thoughts also to follow….lol

  39. Recently, I’ve been listening to The Ben Shapiro Show. Despite the annoying ads the guy reads, he makes a lot of sense, and doesn’t let ideology get in the way of reality.

    I really do like that guy, balanced….

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