Thursday, July 28, 2005


My blog traffic is way up in the past few days. Comments have been heating up, too -- see here, here, and here. (EDIT: and, most especially, here.) Unfortunately, instead of cultivating and building on that momentum, I'm leaving tomorrow to go spend three weeks singing at a Gilbert & Sullivan festival in England. I will have at least periodic internet access, but it's unlikely that I will spend much time with this blog until I get back August 22. I will be checking email and updating my G&S blog. Don't expect controversial liberal politics there. But if you want to argue with me about the merits and demerits of various interpretations of comic operas, Jonathan's Buxton Diary is the place for it.


  1. Jonathan,

    Break legs in the UK.

    I followed the link to Sgt. Ef em all's website and saw that he was bragging about being responsible for the increased traffic he's brought to your site. That's funny because I think you might have left the first and only comment he's ever gotten on his.

    That being said, I have to ask. Are you rewarding the trolls by linking this guy? If you ignore them, don't they just fade away? Clearly this guy wants attention. It isn't like he wants an exchange of ideas or has any to exchange. Cut him off.

  2. Thanks very much, Clayton.

    I thought about not linking, but I decided I don't care about what he wants enough to take that step. I linked because I thought some of my readers might find it interesting. I'm definitely in ignoring mode.

    And he's definitely not responsible for increased traffic. I'm getting dozens of google hits for the Cpl. Berg story. Yes, I noticed the lack of activity at his blog too. Amusing.

  3. I found it interesting (the link), so thanks for posting it.

    Doesn't matter much if you're indulging him in some attention-getting scheme. You're obviously having fun (of a sort) trading posts with the guy, and it's all worth reading.

    Have fun across the pond!

  4. What a joke! The grad student actually thinks someone is paying attention to what he has to say! The news is that no one reads this but your friends, just as no one reads my blog but mine. That you're deluded into some other view is just another indication of how foolish you are.

    And btw, Clayton, feeling's mutual. More than you can know. Nice photo, btw. Are you singing in the Gilbert and Sullivan thing too?

  5. Jon has readers that aren't his friends. I'm one of them. I've never met him, I live over a thousand miles away, and I suspect that some of my students have become occassional readers as well. Did I come to like Jon by reading his blog? Of course, he's a smart, witty guy who has the patient of a saint because he's willing to engage assholes like you as if you were people.

    So I'm not sure exactly which feeling is mutual since I didn't express my feelings about you in my previous comment, but since you want to discuss them, here they are.

    You are a pathetic worm. You've co-opted the tired rhetoric of oppression to cover up the fact that if you were an intelligent conservative with something worth saying, you wouldn't need some lame pseudonym. You talk a big game making anonymous threats to grad students but, Jesus, think how pathetic that is. I can't think of a single grad student I've met who has ever been in a bare knuckle brawl and here you are trying to intimidate them with anonymous threats. What, there aren't any children or ladies with walkers you can push around?

    I am glad that you like the picture. So do I. My ex girlfriend took it when we were driving through Kansas. We were returning from a Shins concert. See, unlike Jon, I'm not a huge fan of Gilbert and Sullivan. I like country, some new rock, and early punk. I should point out there is something seriously wrong with a grown man who listens to System of a Down. They really, really, really suck. Badly. I guess this means Jon pretty much has you beat in terms of personality, intellect, courage, and fan base.

  6. Wow, you sound really cool, Clayton. Early punk and country, eh? Wow, how hiply ECLECTIC! I bet your tastes are even broader than that, Clayton (nice name, too, very metrosexual)--I bet you like ALL KINDS OF THINGS, unlike those dumb right-wing morons (y'know, Santorum and the rest of 'em) you and Jonathan dislike.

    The Shins! Wow, that is just too hip. I bet you like lots of other groups that no one will ever hear about because they're playing in their garage, where they belong. In fact, I bet you are constantly on the lookout for hip, obscure, new, 'non-mainstream' music you can latch on to and tell your other hip leftie grad student friends "Guess what I'm listening to now?" Or maybe you're even too cool to announce it to them--maybe you just leave it in your CD player and let your good friends discover it themselves. 'Wow, Clayton, who are the Stunning Knuckleheads and Dripping Postmodern Gender Benders? They sound REALLY COOL and HIP!' 'Yeah, well, I have been into them for a while, well before most of the other leftie grad student crowd started listening to them. In fact, I'm thinking of not liking them anymore because too many people are getting into them now.' What a totally COOL conversation. I wish I could be there for it.

    You're the same species as your "witty" buddy, Clay Boy. I looked at your boring blog. So what if you 'met' him via the internet (I bet a lot of your acquaintances are linked to the technology, aren't they, Clayton)? That you two imagine anyone who isn't in your little tribe is avidly reading what you have to say about the world or anything else is just the most laughable notion I've heard in a long time. But, by all means, let the fantasy continue! I'm sure NPR is on the verge of contacting you both for a big interview.

    I have no doubt you know NO ONE who's ever been in a fight, and I have no doubt you couldn't even begin to understand how laughable that makes you for people who've actually lived in the real world instead of passing their entire lives in the middle-class Disneyland of leftist academia. You're way too civilized for violence, huh, Clayton? And anyone who had actually done violence to someone else, well, that person would not be cool and hip and non-mainstream (almost certainly a misogynist, racist, fascist, homophobic right-winger--"Satanic," as you put it on your blog), so of course someone as tuned in to all the cool stuff you are wouldn't associate with anyone like that, would you?

    You probably check out your country music in the privacy of your own grad student office, eh, Clayton, or in some alternative left grad student 'country' bar, where you can't smoke and nobody drinks and drives (uncool!) or hits people for looking at them wrong. One look at you and two minutes reading you are all one needs to know that you can't possibly know SHIT about country music or early punk, because you're too much of an effete college boy twinkletoes.

    I lived in southern California in the early and mid 80s when Flag and the rest of the west coast punk scene was happening, and your wimpy intellectual poseur type would have gotten his teeth knocked out at any of the shows I went to.

    And I've been in honky tonk bars in Kentucky and Tennessee and trust me that your kind doesn't go over big there. But then I bet it's more the gay/lesbian/transsexual country scene you're into, huh? It's far COOLER than the redneck, rightwing, wife-beating, Bible-thumping stuff.

    What a good time! Do write some more silly things I can shred up into pieces! You and Jonathan are so WITTY. I bet he thinks you're witty too btw, just so you don't think it's just you who really, really, really likes him. I'm sure he thinks you're really hip and cool too. Maybe someday you'll both get to work in the same department, won't that be great! In fact, I bet you guys could start a 'leftist witty philosophy grad students who are way cooler than most other people, especially those who aren't leftists' club. What fun!

    Thanks for making the equation of children and grad students. I was gonna say the same thing, but don't have to now.

  7. Unfortunately, sgt. f emall your personal attacks against jonathan show that you have no sentient answer to his dialogue. I am not syaing I agree with jonathan politically as I tend to the right side of things but he provides a much more intelligent perspective to the dialogue than you. I know jonathan and he is a great intellegent person, don't get made if he outsmarts you, it is no reason to insult him....

    negatives rock

  8. "he is a great intellegent [sic] person, don't get made [sic] if he outsmarts you"

    Well, I certanely trust yoor judgmint on intellegents, you seem verry smarte.

  9. I furgot to mintion, Jonethan is luky to have smarte reayders like you.

  10. Sorry for the misspellings, I was rather busy at work, and I didn’t realize that blog comments were such a formal forum. If all you have to do is critic the spelling of others get a life, go out and do something real.

  11. No fair. I want a pet troll, too!

  12. Sgt. Emall, do you think that people ought to be derided because they believe drinking and driving is uncool? Is it contemptible to not resort to physical assault in the event that someone looks at you "wrong"?

    The relevant passage:

    You probably check out your country music in the privacy of your own grad student office, eh, Clayton, or in some alternative left grad student 'country' bar, where you can't smoke and nobody drinks and drives (uncool!) or hits people for looking at them wrong.


  13. Sgt. F. Email:
    I am definitely more conservative than most people who read this blog, but I must say that I’m having a difficult time keeping an open mind when comes to reading your comments. They seem to lack logic and are overflowing with personal attacks and broad stereotypes. If you state your arguments in a more concise and logical manner, with supporting facts, readers might be more open to reading what you have to say.
    I must admit I was highly offended by your honky-tonk paragraph: “And I've been in honky tonk bars in Kentucky and Tennessee and trust me that your kind doesn't go over big there. But then I bet it's more the gay/lesbian/transsexual country scene you're into, huh? It's far COOLER than the redneck, rightwing, wife-beating, Bible-thumping stuff.” I am from the great state of Kentucky and will eventually move back there one day. And let me tell you, based on what I’ve read, Clayton would fit in quite nicely since most Kentuckians are not redneck, rightwing, wife-beating, Bible thumpers. The state, as a whole, is a little conservative, but not close-minded. We don’t let our personal beliefs get in the way of politeness and kindness. Your stereotypes are definitely not appreciated.
    Also, I have a response to your comment about the Shins (“The Shins! Wow, that is just too hip. I bet you like lots of other groups that no one will ever hear about because they're playing in their garage, where they belong.”) With the popularity of Garden State, advertising executives are starting to realize that bands, like the Shins, are quite good and fairly well known. Thus, the recent M&Ms commercial featuring Iron & Wine’s “Such Great Heights.” Although I would find it unfortunate if a song by the Shins was featured in a commercial, I definitely think it is a distinct possibility. And I think that such music isn’t just appreciated by “hip leftie grad student[s].” It’s also appreciated by those of us who are conservative professionals.
    Please start posting comments with some meat to them—not comments that attack a person based on their musical taste.

  14. All right, I've been following this dialogue for a while now and I'm convinced. This man is a total sock-puppet. He's not a teacher, a professor or an instructor of any kind. His inability to marshal any kind of critism beyond callow ad hominem attacks belies maybe a mid-highschool education, at best. He obviously has provincial hate towards accademia, intellgence and reason. So he constructs an 'insider' persona to give creedace to his screed. If he's ever spent so much as a day at the grad-level education I'll staple bagels to my face. His pusillanimous annonmyity only underlines his duplicity.

    Not only is he a liar, he is a coward, too. Not to mention puerile and inane.

  15. The Shins' "new slang" was featured in a McDonald's commercial a few years back. They're not exactly a hippie leftist grad student band. They're more like good music that people have heard and enjoyed.


  16. I don't remember that commercial, but I'm betting that came out during the time when I was without a television. :)

  17. Darn, Jen and Josh have blown my cover!

    I had always thought that my knowledge of music was limited and taste was underdeveloped. I rather liked being described as some lefty hipster type with vast knowledge of obscure music. I'll note with the irony that while taking a beating for my alleged 'counterculturalism' and tragic hipness Sgt. tried to 'outcool' me by placing himself in a west coast punk scene that reached its peak when I was 4 years old. Yeah, you got me there. I didn't get to see Black Flag in their glory days since I was in preschool. I'm surprised that Sgt. is a fan, though since their front man Henry Rollins hated Regan and his followers (which I suspect includes our dear Sgt.). It is odd, to say the least, that a man would take offense at being called an 'asshole' while recalling fondly a band whose lead singer would routinely jump down from stage to punch out fans and whose fans were prone (according to him) to punch out guys who sometimes wore glasses (?--I don't know why else I'd be a target). Maybe I was being insensitive by name-calling but I thought credit was due. If he couldn't get called an 'asshole' on a thread like this, he's clearly doing something wrong.

    Jen, I'm glad to know that I'd be welcomed in Kentucky. It always seemed like people there were plenty friendly. Even to me. I used to live in Tennessee and got along fine there too. Only once did I have to brawl with a redneck. Apart from that, I got along with pretty much everyone down there (although, I'm not a huge fan of people who abuse their spouses or drive drunk. But I'm also not stupid enough to think that these behaviors are typical of southerners unlike some people whose name I can't mention since they post anonymously).

  18. In case anyone cares, I know nothing of Jonathan other than what appears on his blog. I'm a professor of philosophy who happens to think Jonathan has some good things to say, philosophically and politically. So I know pretty well that his blog is read regularly by people who aren't his friends or acquaintances.

    So: greetings Jonathan!

    I suspect that Imlac is right: the Sgt probably is a fraud. He's certainly a coward to remain anonymous while being disrespectful.