Skip

The congealing pot
August 14, 2003 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Americans pay lip service to diversity says David Brooks in The Atlantic. Though we talk about the melting pot, we tend to group ourselves with similar people. Do you really care enough about diversity to actively seek it out? Is metafilter a virtual example of this phenomenon?
posted by rainbaby (61 comments total)

 
I also thought about Metafilter when I read this article. I think it's doubleplusungood that so many prominent conservative members (ParisParamus, Hama7, MidasMulligan, S@L, etc...) have abandoned ship lately. And I'm revolted by the pile-on treatment that 111 gets everytime he/she dares to post a conservative idea.

The question is where all this inbreeding will lead. I don't think it will be a good place.
posted by Ljubljana at 9:56 AM on August 14, 2003


Some artificial life experiments like this one imply that even a slight, otherwise imperceptible bias in an otherwise equal and unconstrained environment will lead to segregated communities.

An observation I thought might have bearing on the discussion. 8)
posted by Cerebus at 9:59 AM on August 14, 2003


Clearly there's a valid point here. However, it should be pointed out that the diversity being questioned is apparently ideological more than racial. There's a big difference between seeking out people that look like you as opposed to people that think like you do. Honestly, I'm less worried if my close circle of friends is guilty of the latter, though of course I think it's a bad thing to totally shut out/ignore opposing points of view.
posted by synapse at 10:13 AM on August 14, 2003


I think this writer is right on, especially regarding racial and political diversity. I have noticed myself how much less diverse my circle of friends has become since college, and I think it's a shame. On the other hand, forcing diversity for diversity's sake is silly.

As I think about my close friends now, they certainly come from diverse backgrounds geographically, financially, sexually (orientation-wise), and emotionally. However, they are mostly white, 'left-leaning', spiritual (non-religious) - like me.

I don't think MeFi is a particularly good example of diversity, since most of the posters are lefties (in lack of a better word), and as previously discussed in MeTa, presumed to be predominantly white.

My take on this is that we are more likely to form close friendships with those who think like us (duh). So we may have many acquaintances and friends who are conservative, or latino, or born-again, or whatever - but we surround ourselves with people who reinforce what we believe in.

Or - upon rereading - maybe we surround ourselves with people who are like us in whatever area is most important to us. In other words, those of us who are more intellectual or 'head-oriented' are more likely to place a higher value on people who think like us. Those who are more 'body-oriented' are more likely to prefer those who look like us.

Hmm. Poorly phrased, but definitely food for thought.
posted by widdershins at 10:18 AM on August 14, 2003


My feelings are quite to the contrary, Ljubljana. I sometimes wish Metafilter actually were as left-leaning as a lot of people seem to think it is, because then we might be able to get past the same tired old left-right arguments we've all heard hundreds of times and get into the real meat of the matter. There's something to be said for finding a group of people who share your basic principles: it lets you get past arguing about the basic principles.

There's a lot of isolation involved in the modern urban life. It's not at all hard to see why people would look for ways to feel like they belong, and if you're going to be surrounded by strangers either way, it's much easier to feel like you belong when you're among people who think like you do and share your aesthetic preferences.

I'm not revolted by the pile-on treatment 111 gets, because as far as I can see 111 is just trying to bother people. Online conversation is vulnerable enough to troublemakers that I'm really not impressed by someone who enjoys pushing other people's hot-buttons.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:20 AM on August 14, 2003


Ljubljana : I believe Paris self-identifies as a liberal sort. You can lump him in with Owillis in the difficult to sort category.
posted by thirteen at 10:21 AM on August 14, 2003


Y'all realize, of course, that there's an insidious Gödelian paradox at work here. If you start seriously worrying about this, you may end up hanging out exclusively with the sort of people who would worry about this, and further the segmentation.
posted by condour75 at 10:24 AM on August 14, 2003


Of course, people like to live near others who share their values and lifestyle. Most of the time, those people will have the same ethnicity, but not always. The point of fighting housing discrimination isn't that we should force people of different races to live together; it's that we should allow them to.
posted by electro at 10:32 AM on August 14, 2003


Ljubljana, while I don't disagree that Metafilter would benefit from increased contributions from conservative viewpoints, our POVs diverge on the case of 111. I'd say 111 gets piled on regularly not because of the political orientation of his/her ideas, but because his/her logical argumentation skills and concept of standards of evidence are both very different from the prevailing norm.

In my eyes, mefi discourse tends to be fairly sophisticated. Sure, there are daily exceptions to the general rule, but I'm talking about the tendency of folk here to read critically, diagnose fallacious reasoning, challenge lazy and stereotypical thinking, and point out each other's grammatical errors. That's what I see as our prevailing commonality, and I'm not sure I feel the need for diversity in that context. Would we really miss our trolls if they were gone?
posted by clever sheep at 10:34 AM on August 14, 2003


> I think it's doubleplusungood that so many prominent
> conservative members (ParisParamus, Hama7,
> MidasMulligan, S@L, etc...) have abandoned ship lately.

There's at least one of us left, though I admit to lurking lately more often than posting. I actually thought about posting rainbaby's Atlantic link myself earlier today, but finally thought wtf, it's just asking for aggro I don't need.

One substantive comment: you know you don't always get to choose your ideological bedfellows? As an Episco-palaeo I've had the gay marriage question much on my mind lately, and I'm pleased to find that my new friends on the issue are all African, Asian, and Hispanic. Never been a member of such a flash mob of Persons of Color before and guess what--diversity does make you feel all warm 'n' fuzzy. Who would have thought?
posted by jfuller at 10:58 AM on August 14, 2003


Diversity qua diversity is not, and should not be, a "goal" of society, a university, a workplace, etc. "Diversity" can be/may be/should be a nice thing to "have", so to speak, but in and of itself, it is not desirable; it should be a by-product of freedom.
posted by davidmsc at 11:11 AM on August 14, 2003


davidmsc - nicely put.
posted by synapse at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2003




davidmsc:
I disagree. Maybe there is noting inherent to diversity that is deisrable, but for a given organization it will produce tangible benefits. You're in the military, right? By all accounts, fragging is a thing of the past now that the issue of diveristy among officers has been adressed, no?

Any process or institution that entilas a brainstorming procudeure also immeidately benefits from diversity of viewpoints: the vetting of a given idea is just that much more thorough.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:26 AM on August 14, 2003


On further reflection, I may have missed the author's point. In the last paragraph, he suggests that "it's probably important for adults to get out of their own familiar circles" and offers several ways people likely to read The Atlantic might accomplish that. He proposes a national service program for young adults to "thrust them in with people unlike themselves." This makes more sense if you assume that circumstances do not generally push people out of their original group, which is pretty much true (if I remember the census bureau stats correctly).

I guess I'm coming at it from the opposite angle. My parents moved a lot when I was a kid, and I lived everywhere from a rowhouse in Philadelphia to a suburban tract development in Sacramento; we were religious and solidly conservative, and attended churches ranging from traditional formal-dress Presbyterian to "non-denominational" and mildly charismatic. Now I'm a nonreligious radical leftie living in a downtown Seattle artsy-nightclubby neighborhood. My life has been one long stream of different cultures, opinions, and lifestyles, and if there's one thing in common it's that I have never fit in. "Diversity" to me signifies loneliness and isolation. I'd never quite put it in these terms before, but I guess you could say that one of my adult life's themes has been a search for a way out of diversity. I want to find other people like me. I'm tired of dealing with all these strangers, tired of defending my weird ideas, tired of looking different, wearing different clothes, eating different food, liking different music, having life goals nobody shares...

Familiarity with the "other" is definitely a good thing. It's harder to blame your problems on "those people," whoever they are, when you have met them and gotten to know them a little bit. Familiarity may breed contempt, but it does so by dispelling myth. It's hard to demonize a group when a specific example of an ordinary, decent person who happens to be part of that group keeps coming to mind. So as far as that goes, I agree that it would be better for society in general if people made some effort to acquaint themselves with groups other than the one they call home.

But as far as the diverse society itself goes - well, I grew up there, and it sucked. Find your own kind, however you define that, and stick with 'em.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:30 AM on August 14, 2003


I am trying to bring diversity of spelling conventions to metafilter.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:31 AM on August 14, 2003


I dunno. I work in a very large, predominantly conservative corporation. And the higher-ups preach a nice game of diversity. But I don't see it amounting to much.

As a matter of fact, I see the opposite. A lot of subliminal racism directed toward our quite large, mostly Indian externals. As a result, I go out of my way to say hello to them and be friendly. Not for any of the "cuz it makes me feel good" shit, but because I want them to know some folks genuinely do care about them and their kick-ass cuisine. Same goes for our Latino workers (sadly, many of them are cleaning staff).

But I agree with davidmsc; diversity as a goal dilutes its meaning. It should be a natural by-product.

And, another note, what really pisses me off is the little comments people make and assume they're harmless. Yesterday a co-worker asked how I like my new house, and if I was relieved I didn't have to "smell that horrible curry all the time."

I'm sure he didn't see that as a racist comment, but I sure as hell did.
posted by tr33hggr at 11:35 AM on August 14, 2003


Mars Saxman and clever sheep: You may be right w/r/t 111. But here's what gives me pause: I once saw a leftie post something pretty innocuous on LGF and get the thrashing of a lifetime. The members there dismissed the poster as a "troll," questioned his sanity, and generally rode roughshod over him. (Or her.)

In short, it reminded me of some of the political discussions here, except flip-flopped, so that the tighty-righties were the cuckoo birds trolling for attention.
posted by Ljubljana at 11:35 AM on August 14, 2003


On Metafilter, nobody knows you are a dog.

Or a Liberal. Or Rush Limbaugh.
posted by ilsa at 11:40 AM on August 14, 2003


The whole "sticking to one's kind" thing sounds like a McDonald's phenomenom - if individuals do it's their right and not a problem, but if a entire society does it regularly it becomes problematic. But it's still a right, so what do you do to fix it?
posted by orange swan at 11:43 AM on August 14, 2003


It's an interesting article, even if obvious (birds of a feather flock together-- duh) and of course quite data-selective. Like Tom Wolfe, Brooks has this obsessive interest in class whose underlying message often contradicts his open discourse.

Ljubljana, you must always take into account the silent majority: all the people who are not gay, leftwing etc etc but do not care even to respond to these fringe ideologies. Ordinary, middle-of-the-road people do not usually organize themselves into flocks/mobs/unions, because conservatives as a general rule can take care of themselves.

On the other hand, it must also be noted that, perhaps as a survival tactic, minorities are much more vocal and strident in everyday discourse than mainstream folks. Consider as well the fact that half-knowledge often hides itself under the rainbow-colored veil of the hypersensitive, totalitarian zealot.

So some groups these days live in closed circuits which reinforce not only their ideologies but the very belief that these ideologies reflect some kind of major standard. That kind of illusion spills out into daily life, and that's what we sometimes see in MetaFilter.

My opinions put some people off because they've been living for so long in these hothouses that if I say, for instance, that two men kissing is a disgusting sight, they'll process that as some kind of deliberate insult, since in their minds 1)that couldn't possibly be true, since all their pals are gay and they get their info from the gay-friendly media or 2) even if that was my opinion, I should refrain from expressing it because MeFi is becoming a homolefty sanctuary and I should either conform or else stay silent.

Actually, Brook's article draws attention to the fact that diversity is a goal much more than a way of life, but also that everybody, including Brooks himself, has little agendas-- and they'll use whatever means is available to push them forward, including surface evidence, mock indignation and "peer" pressure.
posted by 111 at 11:50 AM on August 14, 2003


Be sure to check out the article link to Claritas.com. They have a fascinating system for grouping people into different markets, "You Are Where You Live." They use two different classification systems, PRIZM and MicroVision 50. PRIZM has more amusing classifications, like "Young Literati," while MicroVision has cheesy photos and tamer classifications. Check out your zipcode!
posted by khirasaki at 12:12 PM on August 14, 2003


111 : everybody, including Brooks himself, has little agendas-- and they'll use whatever means is available to push them forward, including surface evidence, mock indignation and "peer" pressure.

"Everybody" including you, 111. As made clear in your own post, which is teeming with "surface evidence" (which, lacking a standard definition, I interpret as wholly unsupported generalizations), "mock indignation" (how dare we hothouse residents overreact to your statement that two men kissing is disgusting?), and "'peer' pressure" ("Ljubljana, you must always take into account the silent majority").

111, do you really not see the irony in denouncing those with different beliefs than your own as "living under the illusion" that their "ideologies reflect some kind of major standard," even as you make it clear that you operate under the exact same illusion?
posted by clever sheep at 12:12 PM on August 14, 2003


The problem with leaving diversity to the whim of being a by-product of freedom is that, as the simulation I pointed to above shows that when all else is equal any preference for "one's own kind" (however you define it-- ideologically, religiously, racially, or ethnically), no matter how small, results in the eventual segregation of groups.

In other words, if you feel that diversity is desirable, you have to work for it, or it will be lost over time.
posted by Cerebus at 12:17 PM on August 14, 2003


Diversity qua diversity is not, and should not be, a "goal" of society, a university, a workplace, etc. "Diversity" can be/may be/should be a nice thing to "have", so to speak, but in and of itself, it is not desirable

And here we are arguing basic principles. Heh.

I don't think diversity is so much a goal to achieve as it is a condition to deal with. You have a certain amount of diversity in your population, and your goal is freedom; how do you see to it that the greatest number of people enjoy as much actual freedom as possible? (Now let's fight over what "actual freedom" means. Oh boy.) Diversity isn't a by-product of freedom, it's a necessary consideration in implementing freedom.
posted by furiousthought at 12:18 PM on August 14, 2003


you must always take into account the silent majority

You can never fully account for the silent majority, because the fuckers are silent. The right has no more claim to them than the left, the centre, the up, the down, or the freaking whatever, because THEY ARE SILENT!

Moreover, if you are arrogant / dumb enough to believe they are all like you, then think again, because in that case you'd be silent too...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:21 PM on August 14, 2003


It has been brought to my attention that the java alife simulation I linked to doesn't work. Well, it works for me, neener neener neener.

Whatever.

Here's a better treatment, anyway (from the Atlantic, interestingly-- the article is really good, but the part relevant to this discussion starts with "Mr. Schelling's Neighborhood"), and here are some movies of the simulations in action.
posted by Cerebus at 12:30 PM on August 14, 2003


Is there a cognate argument in there 111 or did one have trouble re-reading what you had written with all that jism running down the screen.
posted by johnnyboy at 12:34 PM on August 14, 2003


>>Ljubljana, you must always take into account the silent majority: all the people who are not gay, leftwing etc etc but do not care even to respond to these fringe ideologies. Ordinary, middle-of-the-road people do not usually organize themselves into flocks/mobs/unions, because conservatives as a general rule can take care of themselves.

Then I guess we have to ignore all the evangelical Christians out there for whom their church is a central part of their lives, who go to Bible-study groups and pot-luck suppers and so forth. It's a natural human instinct to flock together, you know.

And if conservatives don't organize themselves into flocks/mobs/unions, I don't know how you explain Promise Keepers, the Republican Party, 19th century temperance societies, and so forth.

>>even if that was my opinion, I should refrain from expressing it because MeFi is becoming a homolefty sanctuary and I should either conform or else stay silent

Who said you should refrain from expressing it? You needn't refrain from expressing it. But nor must others refrain from expressing their opinions of your opinion. Stop creating straw men.
posted by Tin Man at 12:40 PM on August 14, 2003


revolted by the pile-on treatment that 111 gets

Reading the article kept think about an a teen experiment . It related how teens treat their peers. The control teens; no introduction, then a quick introduction, liked and also disliked. (maybe saw it here) The out come was: all the teens were meaner to the stranger. What was odd too, even when it was pointed out, that the stranger was nicer than the quick introduction disliked teen, they still had no problem being mean.

Maybe the problem too, cell phones. Can they make them more diverse. So people will be more sociable outside their cell-phones, please!?

Go to the mall or anywhere large groups gather as family or friends. Notice the individual groups talking and walking together but fractioned by some having another conversation by cell phone. Then why would they integrate into a third party at the mall. Feel the cell phone has people locked into the one's they only hrang with.

How do people make dates or get together today. Before, made a date or just met at a designated place & time; today, call you when I'm out the door. Spur of the moment plans are easier today because of cell phones.

"thrust them in with people unlike themselves."
Think my analogy, cell phones, went wrong, partially. As it is similar to the discussed article: jumping into a new social circles spontaneously.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:45 PM on August 14, 2003


I love you, thomcatspike.
posted by Tin Man at 12:48 PM on August 14, 2003


cleversheep, no, because I seldom complain about the countless troll accusations, the insults etc etc. I stick to the facts and I'm 100% indifferent to people.

As to majority/minority, it's lefties like you that acknowledge christian values, capitalism etc as predominant and call for a little "diversity"(as long as it's your own brand of homosexual, leftist, atheist diversity of course).

I fully agree that you people dwell on the outskirts of mainstream society, and that could be easily deduced from a careful reading of my 2nd paragraph. So I agree with the fringes when they complain that they are "oppressed", but only in the sense that they're simply outnumbered. Perhaps not here (if we count only people who post often), but certainly in the Western World thank God including the USA.

I'm not here to convince anyone; I'm expressing myself as freedom of speech and my conscience dictate. Finally, so as to control the level of diversity we desire in our Metalifes, once again I urge Matt to give us some sort of user filtering system. It would be the best of both worlds for everybody. On preview, check out johnnyboy's comment-- who needs this kind of primate-babbling? Do you lefties identify yourselves with it?
posted by 111 at 12:49 PM on August 14, 2003


I'm a conservative. I'm here. I get piled on regularly. It's fun. I love it. I love the names I get called in here, and the attacks on my character. I also do (snarkiness aside) like the fact that there are some thoughtful people in here who have ideas that vary from my own, and in certain instances, facts that I don't have. It helps me a lot. So I stick around while Postroad and ParisParamus and MidasMulligan leave. Like that time with the drug exit-theory that everyone piled on me about (where the New York Times would later run an article saying that Swerdloff was right, Metafilter wrong). Ok, not like that time at all, but I like to bring that one up when people here start getting on their high horses about my being wrong all the time.

Also, I find that the kind of diversity that is mandated by law is retarded, the kind of diversity that leads to this sort of action is offensive, and taken in the name of faux-diversity, and the paternalistic sort, which is what I encounter most, of "those people" (any group not ones own) have it harder/easier than we do, so we collectively must give them a leg up/tie them down is repugnant.

</soapbox>
posted by swerdloff at 12:53 PM on August 14, 2003


I love you, 111.
posted by Tin Man at 12:54 PM on August 14, 2003


Until someone proves 111 is not a trollbot, the correct formulation is "his/her/its", "he/she/it", etc.
posted by signal at 12:57 PM on August 14, 2003


ljubljana: that is a good point, and I thank you for reminding me of it.

I think there is a difference, though, between the sort of self-righteous pomposity 111 indulges in and the kind of thoughtful - if sometimes aggravating - commentary we get from conservative-leaning people who respect the people they disagree with. 111's commentary is laced with phrases like his recent post's "fringe ideologies", "vocal and strident minorities", "flocks/mobs/unions", "hypersensitive, totalitarian zealot", or even "you people"; this is not the voice of someone who is willing to participate in a fair conversation.

I stick to the facts and I'm 100% indifferent to people.

And that latter bit is the entire problem. We can tell you're indifferent to us; tell me, please, why you bother to visit?
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:57 PM on August 14, 2003


As to majority/minority, it's lefties like you that acknowledge christian values, capitalism etc as predominant and call for a little "diversity"(as long as it's your own brand of homosexual, leftist, atheist diversity of course).

Ahem. The will of the majority does not supersede the rights of the minority. Pretty much a founding principle of our country. Christianity may be in the majority-- might always-- and we're not trying to change that (well, we might like to see it changed, but we're not going to kill Christians so we can achieve a majority), we're just trying to make it so that being in the minority is acceptable, as well.

So I agree with the fringes when they complain that they are "oppressed", but only in the sense that they're simply outnumbered.

I'm sure the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. would agree wholeheartedly with you.

expressing myself as freedom of speech and my conscience dictate.

(snark) Oh, I understand the problem now. Once I got out of the Catholic church, I started using my brain, instead of the arbitrary construct created by religion's instilled guilt over being alive that they called a "conscience", to form my opinions, and everything makes a lot more sense now. (/snark)
posted by nath at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2003


rainbaby, sorry to derail (and thanks for the engaging post) but let me just add this: in the name of controlled diversity, which is the point of Brook's article after all, would anyone who considers me a troll be willing to endorse my campaign to have user filters, kilfiles whatever in MeFi? Because that would be the very best choice for everybody. If you are coherent and if you walk like you talk, please insist with Matt via MeTa or email and there will be peace in the Valley for everybody. Simple as that.

Mars, I'm indifferent to people but I'm not indifferent to opinions and arguments and to the links themselves. If MeFi were made of/by people like you or signal, with opinions and writing skills similar to yours, I'd much rather watch paint dry or visit fark, but there are thousands here. Even if everyone of us were allowed to block, say, 100 other users, there would still be plenty of stuff available. I'm being totally candid as usual, and I ask you to consider this option as well.
posted by 111 at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2003


I know, don't feed the troll and all... but that took about 30 seconds of my day, and I think it was worth it.
posted by nath at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2003


I love you, 111.

I hope you understand that's a one way deal. 111 hates everyone.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:20 PM on August 14, 2003


I prefer to call it primeval babbling thanks 111. I would not normally respond as such but I feel that your lazy assertions as they are need to be rebutted or perhaps failing that to leave you at least a morsel to ruminate over. You have branded me as a lefty, indeed, if anything the political party I would identify strongly with is the Conservative party, whose origins lie in the political musing of edmund burke, certainly not a lefty. Nor am I an atheist (sorry to disappoint) as I do attend church every week as is my wont. But there you were, postulating to your hearts content, admittedly this was probably provoked by my hostile response to your previous posting. Is it justified to brazenly tar metafilter as the home of 'homo-lefties'. I am acquainted with people who have a vehement dislike of both homosexuals and socialists, and have always wondered where such bile emanates from. We all have our own ideals and beliefs, none of which I have found to be mutually exclusive.
posted by johnnyboy at 1:21 PM on August 14, 2003


111: As to majority/minority, it's lefties like you [clever sheep] that acknowledge christian values, capitalism etc as predominant and call for a little "diversity"(as long as it's your own brand of homosexual, leftist, atheist diversity of course).

111, perhaps my original point about the irony of your post would have been clearer had I not deleted my final paragraph. It asked for evidence, ANY evidence, that your own individual brand of social conservatism truly enjoyed 1-to-1 correspondence with the "mainstream," "majority" viewpoint. As you have offered no evidence whatsoever to date that this is the case, you are clearly operating under the illusion that this is true. Ergo, you're in a poor argumentative position to write derogatorily about others [minorities] operating under the identical illusion. ...So they lack evidence, do they? I say, so do you!

In addition to which, you wrong me when you imply that I would only welcome "my brand" of homosexual, leftist, atheist diversity. Nonsense--my ideal society would have a wide range of homosexuals, leftists, and atheists. The more the merrier!

I might add, and this is important, that my ideal society would also include a wide range of heterosexuals, rightists, and theists. Heck, they're even welcome to constitute the majority of the population. That wouldn't matter in the slightest so long as that majority respected the rights of those who were differently oriented or inclined.

111: I'm not here to convince anyone; I'm expressing myself as freedom of speech and my conscience dictate.

This actually explains a lot re: your consistent failure to provide logically structured arguments or supporting evidence.

Have you ever considered the possibility that your lack of concern with producing convincing argumentative positions may be directly related to the "countless troll accusations" leveled at you?

...And as a final thought, feel free to email me directly with your replies if you share my concern that we're getting too "cagematch" with this discussion. No need to bore the entire community if we're going to continue directly addressing each other.
posted by clever sheep at 1:28 PM on August 14, 2003


I stick to the facts and I'm 100% indifferent to people.

And that latter bit is the entire problem. We can tell you're indifferent to us; tell me, please, why you bother to visit?

Plain meanness. He/she/it bothers to visit in order to feel better about him/her/itself by means of attempting to make a host of people feel bad about *them*selves. I can tell by the absence of any meaningful discourse.

My current working theory is that the primary differentiator between the conservatives here who are contributing members of the MeFi community, and the ones that can be written off as trolls is the "hit and run" factor. 111 (like several others I could name) never feels the need to reply to any direct questions regarding his/her/its position. Ask for clarification of terms, or a justification for a particularly outrageous statement, and poof… 111 is unavailable for comment. It never fails.
posted by Fenriss at 1:33 PM on August 14, 2003


which is the point of [..] after all,

Because that would be the very best choice for everybody.

there will be peace [...] for everybody.

Simple as that.


It's all so obvious now.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:38 PM on August 14, 2003


111 : would anyone who considers me a troll be willing to endorse my campaign to have user filters, kilfiles whatever in MeFi?

Ok, a thread about diversity contains a request for killfiles, does this constitute proof that 111 is a beautifully executed piece of trolling?

Or did we kill satire?
posted by fullerine at 1:50 PM on August 14, 2003


fullerine, you owe me a keyboard, you magnificent bastard.
posted by clever sheep at 1:55 PM on August 14, 2003


fullerine, you didn't read the article I suspect. Brooks' point is that we rhetorically endorse diversity but in real life we are highly selective when it comes to our own choices re friends, acquaintances etc. Read at least ainbaby's text and you'll see that. Perhaps.
posted by 111 at 2:23 PM on August 14, 2003


My current working theory is that the primary differentiator between the conservatives here who are contributing members of the MeFi community, and the ones that can be written off as trolls is the "hit and run" factor. 111 (like several others I could name) never feels the need to reply to any direct questions regarding his/her/its position. Ask for clarification of terms, or a justification for a particularly outrageous statement, and poof… 111 is unavailable for comment. It never fails.

Fenriss, you've described exactly my complaint with many of fold_and_mutilate's posts, but he's pretty damn far from being a conservative.

The problem is not the politics.
posted by NortonDC at 2:28 PM on August 14, 2003


Trudeau seems have read Brooks as well.
posted by goethean at 2:45 PM on August 14, 2003


NortonDC, fair enough. In fact, I considered tacking an addendum onto my previous post, stating that the right-leaning members of our community have no monopoly on the "hit and run" tactics I describe. I just felt it was important to spend by bandwidth making the point that not *all* conservatives are subject to the pile-on treatment around here; just the ones who consistently make provocative remarks, and then refuse to support them with anything like a cogent argument.

And you'll notice the trend continues…
posted by Fenriss at 2:51 PM on August 14, 2003


if I say, for instance, that two men kissing is a disgusting sight, they'll process that as some kind of deliberate insult, since in their minds...

indeed, it's not you that has the problem.

anyways, how bogus a premise is it to get to know someone just to "promote diversity?"
posted by mcsweetie at 3:37 PM on August 14, 2003


well, I guess now that I think about it, it would be a good idea if you were cognizant of your prejudices, but as is often the case (see above) bigoted persons rarely perceive their handicaps as their own faults.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:47 PM on August 14, 2003


111, I find your unstated assumption that the "silent majority" is in fact "conservative" to be, frankly, silly.

You and I are coming at things from opposite fringes of the political spectrum; our run-ins in the past show that pretty clearly. The difference, however, is that while I'm left of center I know it, while you who are right of center do not.

Wake up and look around. The "silent majority" is more liberal than you want it to be. It's also more conservative than I want it to be.

This is the nature of the center. It's in the middle. Meditate on this, grasshopper.
posted by Cerebus at 4:30 PM on August 14, 2003


i hope this thread answers your question rainbaby.

or what Ljubljana said
posted by poopy at 5:00 PM on August 14, 2003


Fenriss, you've described exactly my complaint with many of fold_and_mutilate's posts, but he's pretty damn far from being a conservative.

The problem is not the politics.


Too true. It's the quality and the tone of the argument that's at fault. As for 'homo-lefties', quite a surprising number of homosexuals I've met are actually right-wing and/or Christians. Life is complicated and people constantly defy categorisation.
posted by Summer at 3:25 AM on August 15, 2003


Familiarity with the "other" is definitely a good thing. It's harder to blame your problems on "those people," whoever they are, when you have met them and gotten to know them a little bit. Familiarity may breed contempt, but it does so by dispelling myth. It's hard to demonize a group when a specific example of an ordinary, decent person who happens to be part of that group keeps coming to mind.

Mars Saxman sums up my view. I actually was thinking of how lucky I was as a white woman to have had black male housemates in college for two years. Granted, we were all college students from relatively affluent backgrounds. While I never considered myself racist, the experience enabled me to filter the world through a perspective I otherwise would not have had. So I rather like the idea of national service, in the abstract. Something.

As for metafilter, the ordinary, decent people on the right are overshadowed for me by the more rabid, inflammatory people of that group, as evidenced in this thread.
posted by rainbaby at 6:29 AM on August 15, 2003


I find the division between "ideological" and "racial" diversity to be a sham. The argument leads to absurd conclusions. For example, that one group of four people, all of whom are upper-middle class progressives working in the technology industry, but one is black, another Han chinese, a third Punjabi and the fourth white are "more diverse" than another group of four people, all of whom are white, but who come from varying socio-economic strata and with differing interests and value systems.

Racial diversity ought to be valuable because it leads to ideological diversity, otherwise one is advocating "token blacks" everywhere and missing the point. The point of racial diversity is supposed to be that people from different ethnic groups have different viewpoints based on their different upbringings and that allowing people to compare these viewpoints will teach them tolerance for other viewpoints and hopefully provide one with a useful critique of one's own culture.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:14 AM on August 15, 2003


The question is where all this inbreeding will lead. I don't think it will be a good place.

i don't know, i'm kinda liking this third eye. and these cool flippers.
posted by quonsar at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2003


Pseudophedrine, I think you wound up proving the *opposite* of what you were trying to prove. In other words - RACIAL diversity is meaningless, because when you get right down to it, RACE is meaningless. We are our values, our ideals, and our actions - not our skin color or ancestry.
posted by davidmsc at 5:32 PM on August 15, 2003


111: ...if I say, for instance, that two men kissing is a disgusting sight, they'll process that as some kind of deliberate insult, since in their minds 1)that couldn't possibly be true, since all their pals are gay and they get their info from the gay-friendly media or 2) even if that was my opinion, I should refrain from expressing it because MeFi is becoming a homolefty sanctuary and I should either conform or else stay silent.

Actually, they'll process it as a deliberate insult because you are someone who uses phrases like gay-friendly media and homolefty sanctuary.
posted by troybob at 12:14 AM on August 16, 2003


dave> My point wasn't to bulk up racial diversity as a good, but to insist that it is ultimately only ideological diversity in another form, making the distinction between the two a forced dichotomy. Nor is race "meaningless". It isn't a rationalistic first principle useful for categorising humanity accurately, but it's not supposed to be. I'm fully willing to admit that a black person has an entirely different experience in life, based at least partially on the fact that they're black and I am not. I might prefer a colourblind society, but let's not confuse how we'd like things to be with how they are.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:20 AM on August 16, 2003


« Older I call mine my 'sourdough pancake powered mower'   |   Speech Accent Archive Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post