February 23, 2005

A Different Drummer

Althouse has been giving some heat to, and taking some back from, some media pundit named Kevin Drum, who thinks that blogging is a man’s sport and women are too soft for its competitive back-and-forth opinion-mongering. (See her post “Women and Blogging, re-Drummed,” Feb, 23, 9:10 am.) This valiant upholder of machismo says:

“…men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it. Since I don't wish to suffer the fate of Larry Summers I'll refrain from speculating on deep causes — it might be social, cultural, genetic, or Martian mind rays for all I know — but I imagine that the fundamental viciousness and self aggrandizement inherent in opinion writing turns off a lot of women.”

This Drumette character and people like him remind me of gorillas beating their chests inside their cages, or more literally, of guys I wouldn't want to sit around and watch a ballgame with. In terms of emotional age, the playground is where these guys belong. I don't read his blog or others like it; I don't watch point-counterpoint-style TV pundit programs; I'm tired of that whole attitude.

I see nothing fundamentally vicious about the blog medium or about political or intellectual discourse in general. The vicious see viciousness wherever they look. Attacking people from a position of invisibility and anonymity is cowardly, and unfortunately there are many people -- apparently mostly men -- who confuse cowardly aggression with masculine strength.

As a new blogger, I welcome the chance to use this medium to express attitudes of generosity, openmindedness, inclusiveness, and fairness, and to use reasoned rather than ad hominen rhetoric. I find these to a great extent in Ann’s blog, although we have many political differences. It puts a bad taste in my mouth even to be driven to write this nasty passage about Drum. I can do that just as well as anyone, but I usually choose not to.

PS: I think it’s Martian mind rays.