Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Brother Can You Spare Your Mind? 

Recently, a bunch of us got into it over on the comment boards at a favorite "gay" blog of mine, Americablog. Here's a comment made by one of the site's authors, a man I respect greatly and who I believe represents some of what's best in Blogtopia (whatever, Skippy).

Hold their noses? Sorry, I don't plan protests with wingnuts. And anyone who thinks this protest is about US imperialism in Cuba and Haiti (Haiti? We fucking saved Haiti) is a wingnut in my book. And worse, anyone who would join forces with ANSWER to do this protest is simply nuts. I'm not marching with the Che brigade, sorry - it's time we grew up as a party, we need to get rid of those with no backbone, but we also need to stop letting the kooks run our protests.

Get mad at me, fine, but that ain't my politics.
John Aravosis | 09.04.05 - 3:35 pm | #

Now, leaving aside the issues addressed in the original post and comments following, I want to point out a couple of ideas I had at the time. First off: even for those of us who are news junkies, as John obviously is (and a better man than I, for I believe he not only blogs, but works for pay at a full time job!), it's really, really hard for us to keep track of all the dead, dying and oppressed people around the globe. Which is fair: it's a big globe and people are very small and numerous. But I can't help but wonder, is it really that simple? Or is it the case that we're well, conditioned to care more about certain kinds of people? certain, fish-belly colored people in suits for example, who are very well represented on that shiny talking box in the living room?

In the spirit of combatting the impact of the HappyShinyTeeVee people in their war to keep you racist and stupid, and in helping out those folks who are currently experiencing Bush's form of "help," I want to direct your attention to this fine blog, where a fellow Hyde Parker has been doing an excellent round up of news and events on that poor, pitiable island known as Voodooland to most, and Haiti to some. To prove I'm really a happy, well adjusted person, here's some good news from that site:

by cntodd:
I just received the following e-mail 5 minutes ago from one of the Haiti lists I am on:

On Friday, September 9, American journalist Kevin Pina was arrested in Haiti, because he insisted on filming a search at the church of political prisoner Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste. A Haitian journalist, Jean Ristil, was arrested because he photographed Pina's arrest. Both spent the weekend in prison (articles about their arrests are below).

Thanks to a mobilization in Haiti, the US and throughout the world, pressure was put on the Haitian government to stop this political persecution. Thanks to attorney Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, who represented Pina and Ristil, Judge Jean Paul Peres has released both journalists, with no further charges against them. Ristil was released early Monday, Pina was subjected to 3 and 1/2 hours of interrogation, and released just after 5 PM Haiti time.

I'm not sure if it's the lawyers, public outcry, bloggers or some combination, but it's good to know that at least this one time, journalists didn't have to get shot or imprisioned for bringing us the truth about Bush's policies. That's right, count me in the group that considers Haiti Bush's "little Iraq," where no matter which darkie is positied to be in charge, it's really Washington calling (for?) the shots.

The other point I wanted to make is about blogging itself. Now, before you slap your hand over your head and cry, "For Bloggity Blog's sake, not again!" I'll keep it simple. Because I think it's a pretty powerful point in itself. John at Americablog got a pretty serious smackdown from his readers over the issues brought up by the post itself, and a lot of knowledge got spread around really quickly. I've seen the same thing happen at most major blogs, from Eschaton to Gilly, DU to the Smirking Chimp. But what's so powerful, and so wonderful, and so amazingly liberal is the self-correcting nature of the blogoshpere when employed with reader comment sections. I'm not a newbie, and I suspect most of you reading aren't either, but I'm still and constantly amazed by what I learn from the comments. Not only "true facts," or even news before it breaks the 'mainstream' level of the big blogs, but, as John's own misstep demonstrates, how people are thinking and what the boundaries of those thoughts are, and thus the limits of the progressive media's reach.

Knowing that is both terrifying and inspirational to me.

Perhaps this is why so few of the major Right wing blogs have such comment boards. Andy 'Bareback' Sullivan and The Cornerites, are you listening?

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