Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Wrath of the Blogging Curmudgette

All too often, online discussions turn into pointless and contentious confrontations, and a recent exchange that I had with the Blogging Curmudgette has followed this path, apparently going from bad to worse. For those of of you who just tuned in, please allow me to recapitulate the events leading up to this latest pissing contest. . . .

After a prolonged period of relative silence in online discussions, I saw activist David Sirota on The Colbert Report, and I was motivated to post a blog entry about an idea that I had about taxing campaign contributions. In an effort to spread the good word, I eventually made my way over to David Sirota's blog and ended up engaging a number of Sirota's supporters on the issue of the minimum wage. In turn, this prompted me to explore the blogosphere and challenge advocates of raising the minimum wage with the position that expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be a much more effective and equitable way of helping the working poor.

The Curmudgette was one of many people whose blogs I visited in an attempt to find common ground on the issue of how best to help the working poor. I didn't keep track of how many people responded to me or how they responded, but my guess is that the vast majority of people I engaged on this issue did not respond at all. Of those responses that came to my attention, some responded with comments or articles on their own blogs, others responded with comments on my blog, and still others responded by e-mailing me to ask for more information about the EITC. The Curmudgette responded with a comment on her own blog, and I eventually stumbled upon her response after dealing with the more high profile responses that I encountered. Now I'm beginning to wonder why I bothered.

To be sure, the Curmudgette demonstrated a somewhat commonplace smugnesss and ignorance in her original blog post narrating the efforts of Democrats in the Senate to tie the minimum wage to congressional pay raises. Not that I have any desire to raise the wages of our elected officials, nor do I believe that the Republican-controlled congress has any interest in helping the little guy, but the Curmudgette's attempts to villify and demonize wealthy people struck me as somewhat sophomoric. Even so, I thought that maybe, just maybe, she might be interested in my position that the EITC is a much more effective and equitable way of helping the working poor than raising the minimum wage.

When I made my way back to the Curmudgette's lair and discovered that she had responded to my brief comment with a lengthy and wandering diatribe, I decided to post a new blog entry. Posting a new blog entry allows me to break up lengthy and wandering diatribes into bite size pieces, eliminating issues that are irrelevant and focusing on issues where further discussion might provide clarification or help me find common ground with an adversary. In this particular situation, my objective was to redirect the Curmudgette to the subject of whether an expansion of the EITC would be a more effective and equitable way of helping the working poor than raising the minimum wage. However, the Curmudgette would have none of that:
"I was not changing the subject. I was addressing a key tenet of your position, as stated in the blog entry you linked to in your terse comment on my blog. As I said then, you did not provide the financial data to back up your argument, but you did make other assertions, which I disagree with."
Okay, I get it. The Curmudgette thinks that wealthy people are evil, heartless bastards, and that inequities in wealth and income can and should be legislated out of existence by raising the minimum wage. As for the notion that I should provide the Curmudgette with financial data to back up my argument, that ain't gonna happen, as she has already demonstrated her bias and her ignorance, and I am under no obligation to save her from either one.
"You are too cowardly a debater to bother with."
And yet, here she is, bothering with me. And what is the basis of the Curmudgette's conclusion that I am a cowardly debater?
"Rather than respond to my response to you on my blog, where you started this discussion by leaving a comment, you run back to your own blog where you distort my position and quote me out of context and do not have the courtesy to alert me to the fact that you have done so."
Please direct me to the manual of etiquette which says that I am obliged to continue a discussion on your blog. As for whether I was obliged to notify you of the post on my own blog, I hadn't yet gotten around to that, and if I were truly cowardly, I would have censored your comments rather than publishing them on my blog.
"Well, I found your 'response' and it is a disingenuous twisting of my meanings and an exercise in meaningless, verbal gymnastics."
This from the woman who incorrectly asserted that I had made a grammatical error in my use of the expression "begging the question"? I had no intention of hiding my response from the Curmudgette, and I find it laughable that she thinks she matters that much to me.
"Other people may be convinced by your lawyerly butchery of the English language, but I am not. Good day."
You'll be back here to comment again, or you'll post a response on your own blog. Your exagerrated sense of self-importance will compel you to do so. And if not, who really cares?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read all the posts between you and the subject of your ire, and while I will not digress into a discussion of my stance on this issue, this much is certain:

You DID incorrectly use the phrase "begs the question". While it is true that the usage you employed has fallen into the common parlance, it is the mark of a pseudo-intellectual, of someone who wishes to sound "edumacated".

A better reference is here:

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/begs.html

I quote:

"...many people mistakenly suppose the phrase implies something quite different: that the argument demands that a question about it be asked—raises the question. If you’re not comfortable with formal terms of logic, it’s best to stay away from this phrase, or risk embarrassing yourself."

The "common usage" excuse is intellectual weakness and the refuge of people who argue that because "Febuary" has been listed in some dictionaries as an alternative spelling of "February" they have not erred...But they have.

And so have you...

7:23 AM, July 24, 2006  
Blogger Harold C. Hutchison said...

The way I see it, I'd accept an increase in the minimum wage in exchange for the following:

1. Permanence of the Bush tax cuts.

2. Removal of the top bracket for the individual income tax.

3. Elimination of the corporate income tax (dirty little secret: Wal-Mart passes its taxes on to the consumer).

9:07 AM, July 24, 2006  
Blogger Curmudgette said...

You'll be back here to comment again, or you'll post a response on your own blog. Your exagerrated sense of self-importance will compel you to do so.

Translation: Oh please stop responding to my gross misrepresentions and leave me to vilify you in peace!

Here ya go.

9:16 PM, July 24, 2006  

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