Sunday, November 04, 2007

Swift Reactions 5

This was quite a week for this modest blog. We were nominated for a 2007 Weblog Award for Funniest Blog (if you haven't voted for us yet today, go here and vote now before you read any further; we'll wait here until you get back). And our victory over Facebook (which was a victory for all Pseudonym-Americans) has brought us so many encomiums, citations for bravery, proposals of marriage, and the like, that it would just be too tedious to mention each and every one of them. But for this edition of "Swift Reactions" I don't want to focus on me but on you, my dear readers. Like a proud parent, I was happy to see that in the course of heaping great amounts of praise upon me, many of those writing about my battle with Facebook had some very nice things to say about my commenters as well.

"Some of the comments on Jon’s post about this are truly wonderful," said Lee Hopkins, who went on to cite a comment left by g4rg4ntu4: "I’m appalled at how unprofessional these farcebook people are. I myself had a similar problem when I tried to create an account under my pseudonym (g4rg4ntu4). After much harassment and threatened litigation I had no choice but to go with my real name (which of course is Francois Rabelais)." Hopkins also quoted Norman P, who wrote, "When I read your post this morning, I asked myself as I always do, 'What would Jesus do?' But you’ve noted that there are 500 people named Jesus Christ on Facebook, which means that I may very well get 500 different answers," and Gwyneth Llewelyn (not her "real name"), who believes that Facebook's discrimination against Pseudonym-Americans and pseudonymous people from around the world is actually a violation of international law: "Pseudonyms have established legal rights. Refusing to accept a pseudonym is actually more illegal than breaking a ToS [terms of service agreement] that is, by itself, in contravention of international copyright laws." I also want to cite Code Red, one of the hardest-working commenters we have ever had here, who did some digging and created an exhaustive list of links to other Facebook accounts under such "real" names as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, John Wayne, George Bush and the Gingerbread Man.

As painful as this whole ordeal was for me, one of the things I learned this week that gave me hope for the future was how respectful many people, especially young people, are of rules nowadays. It was very refreshing to discover that so many people believe that all rules should be obeyed and enforced no matter how absurd and arbitrary those rules may be. More and more it seems we are living in a society that is, as I once said of Guantanamo, Kafkaesque in a good way. "Providing your real name is a very clear very upfront part of the Facebook TOS," wrote Jen Flanigan, whose writings, which she posts on the Internet under her real name, will haunt her for the rest of her life. "Bottom line is that you agreed to that TOS when you signed up and you violated it. Whether you like it or not, Facebook has the right to enforce that. You don't have a leg to stand on, whether the policy makes you happy or not." John (yes, that John) agreed: "If you don't want to use your real name, don't use services that require it. Facebook is a private company, not a public utility, and can make whatever rules they want." A number of the commenters at this Wired article on my plight were also squarely on the side of Facebook. They seem to be the kind of people who know every obscure rule in the Official Scrabble Rule Book and are vigilant about challenging any word that may skirt those rules.

Believe it or not, though, there are times when I wonder whether I should start requiring people to use their real names in my comments. That thought occured to me when I read some of the comments to my piece "Steven Boylan Is Not a Moron," where I proved that Col. Boylan could not have written the email sent to Glenn Greenwald, using what Tom Bozzo described as "Aristotelian logic," which is some of the best logic you can use. "Seriously? That's the basis of your defense of Boylan? That he could not *possibly* be a moron?" asked Barry, who is apparently not a great fan of Aristotle. Lefty, a new visitor to my blog, was also not convinced, writing, "To say that you can't imagine [Boylan] being this stupid means you are so far behind the curve that I'd have to seriously question your judgement of anything else you ever post."

When I failed to respond to Lefty's arguments in a timely fashion, he left another comment: "I will assume your lack of response like the good Colonel's betrays a lack of a defense. Moron." I patiently explained to Lefty that I rarely make it down to the cellar of my blog where the comments are kept because my commenters do such a good job that my presence would be superfluous. And besides I find it to be a little dark and dank down there for my taste. I also took issue with his use of the word assume: "Didn't your mother ever teach you never to assume because it makes 'a ss of u and me'?" I asked him. "I'm not sure what a 'ss' is, but I always assumed it was something I didn't want to be, though if I had learned my lesson well I wouldn't have assumed anything at all, I suppose."

A number of commenters on my post announcing my Weblog Award nomination for Funniest Blog were puzzled that I was nominated in that category since my blog is only unintentionally funny. Autumnal Harvest, however, supplied a very logical explanation: "Other commenters here have noted the oddity of your nomination for 'Funniest blog,' rather than 'Best conservative blog.' I was myself a little confused by this, since, looking through your blog, you seem to only very rarely make jokes or engage in satire--and really, although it pains me to say this, your jokes are very rarely funny, and you should restrict yourself to your insightful conservative commentary. However, I have noticed that often in the comments to your posts, there are comments by angry liberals who take issue with your commentary. These comments are extremely funny, since I often feel that these angry liberals have failed to understand that fine points you make in your posts. And angry liberals are always funny! Perhaps these comments are responsible for your nomination as 'funniest blog'?" So what AH is saying, in other words, is that when you vote for Jon Swift for Funniest Blog, you are really voting for yourself.

It warmed my heart to see so many kind words wishing me good luck in the comments to this post, but in the end, I must say, words are cheap. I am losing and losing badly and it's not just embarrassing for me but embarrassing for all of you as apparently your efforts to help me win have been such a miserable failure. Surely, you can do better than that.

Now, I don't want to say anything bad about DUmmie FUnnies, the blog that is currently in the lead in the Funniest Blog category, but like Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, I don't mind linking to someone who does have something bad to say about my esteemed opponent, like this post at Sadly, No, for example. Instead, I plan to stay high-minded and above the fray, a strategy that also seems to be working out quite well for Barack Obama.

It's bad enough that I am losing pathetically in my category, but even worse is that many of the blogs I endorsed are also being trounced in their categories. Many of these bloggers are under the impression that I have some power and influence in the blogosphere, but when they see that an endorsement from me makes so little difference, their dreams of succeeding by sucking up to me will be cruelly shattered. Please let them know that their efforts to flatter me and shower me with gifts have not been in vain and go right now to vote for these fine blogs (some categories have more than one Jon Swift-approved choice):

Best UK Blog
Nourishing Obscurity

Best Culture Blog
Self-Styled Siren

Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Best European Blog (Non UK)
Michael Van Der Galien

Best Literature Blog
Diary of a Heretic
Writers Block
Maud Newton
Classical Bookworm
Erik Hare

Best Diarist
Robin Slick

Best Education Blog
NYC Educator

Best Video Blog
Hot Potato Mash
Crooks & Liars

Best LGBT Blog
Susie Bright's Journal
Republic of T
Pam's House Blend
Fetch me my axe.

Best Political Coverage
Foreign Policy Watch

Best Science Blog


James Higham said...

I've always "sucked up" to this blog because I happen to think it's an excellent blog.

Irrelevant to me what happens in the awards - to make the final was enough.

Susie Bright said...

I, too, have gone from elation to horror in this whole awards rollercoaster. At first I was flattered. Then bewildered. Now, the ego-deflating experience of watching myself lose, lose, lose, day after day, is more than my love bubble can take. The only fun part is reading your columns about it. You're the missing ingredient from the Miss American competition. You're the lost chord from Miss Congeniality. Heaven will provide your true reward!

Unknown said...

ah, but jon, at least you aren't dead last in the voting for your category!

WomanHonorThyself said...

ah my friend congrads and congrads!..dont sweat it..I heartell its all being rigged by the computer geeks as always renedering "online" polls shady at best!
Youre a winner in my book anyday!
p.s. I'm gettin ceremoniously slaughtered

Anonymous said...

You're looking at it all wrong Jon. I'm just a gal who got caught too many times. I don't even play Scrabble, honest.

Or you could blame it on the fact I work for the government. That will make anyone just a little batty, especially about rules.

I'm all for the part where you called me young though. Now I kinda like ya. ;)

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the nomination - I am new to your blog, but I like what I see!

Pseudonym said...

Canadian Pseudonyms support you!

Kathy said...

When I try to vote (for you) the page says I've already voted in the last 24 hours. So far as I know, I've only voted once, 3 days ago. Strange!

consejo comprar yate said...

There's no doubt, the dude is absolutely just.

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The 2008 Weblog Awards