What can I say about ATC? Seriously, I think Bill just couldn't manage the work it took to defend his position anymore. That has to be it, it just got too hard for him. When I started posting using headlines, he went off on me. Then he made a new rule that you have to post using a name, so I started posting by playing a game I called "Name The Dictator™". :)
I would post once as Joseph, the next time as Benito, and then Adolf, and.. occasionally as George, amongst many others. Anyway, he eventually started just deleting my posts once he knew it was me. I sometimes felt compelled to just go back in under my own name, but to be honest, it just seemed too much of a commitment. For some strange reason, when I'm in under my own name, I'm very less likely to let something go - and I just couldn't bring myself to get back into it.
But, much like the gentleman in your White House, it appears that Bill's "rules" began to expand.
I lost all respect for him when I put up a post using one of my Dictator names (might of been Idi ). Anyway, it was a post in response to an article that he posted which was highlighting Iranian shelling on the border of Iran and Kurdish Iraq. As usual he was framing the story as "another reason that Iran is so evil" entry. This even though the story is clearly indicating that Iran is responding to incursions and terrorist attacks within its boarder. My memory kicked in a bit, and I did a search back in the archives. Sure enough, there was a post back during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, where Bill was arguing that the alleged attack by Hizbolah against the army patrol justified the Israeli incursion. It was pretty scathing, basically highlighting his hypocrisy, but I had posted it very early in the morning - by the time I got up, it had been removed.
Alas, probably a good sign if people such as he feel the need to go underground.
Most intelligent people I know have long ago given up attempting to carry on discussions with wingnuts because it seems such a hopeless enterprise. I told our friend Freewheel once that my participation at ATC made me feel like a hamster on a wheel, spinning madly and going nowhere. But when I told him that, I also tried to explain that I was doing it not so much to change anyone else's opinion, but to engage in a sort of mental exercise for my own benefit - to clarify and express my own opinions, as well as to understand other points of view. Having been booted off the wheel, however, I do find that I don't miss it much - fun while it lasted and all that. The larger questions remain, though, which are: Can we ever get back to a point in time (if there ever was such a point?) where people with opposing viewpoints can carry on discussions that are not only civil but based in reality? Is it hopelessly naive to think that such a time is possible?
I'm feeling awfully down in the dumps today, which made the discovery of an email from Neil especially timely - Thanks Neil! (Neil also has started a blog which can be seen here.) It has been so dispiriting this last 6 years to watch the Bush administration's assault on our basic fundamental American values and structures, and to see these things occur with so little pushback from the press and the American public. I suppose it was only natural that my hopes would have been too high when, at last, the Democrats were able to win majorities, albeit slim ones, in Congress last year. So when stories break out, as they did late last week, about Democratic complicity in some of the worst abuses by the Bush administration, it's awfully tempting to give in to hopelessness. Refuge in humor (H/T Crooks & Liars) helps some but not enough. And of course, there is always strong drink and extreme profanity, but these too provide only temporary relief. What say you, dear readers, how do you cope?