Monday, March 03, 2003

James Lindgren, Professor of Law and Director, Demography of Diversity Project at Northwestern University, writes:
The thing I find odd about some of the blogs that criticize Glenn Reynolds or others whose politics they disagree with is the sneering names and dimunitives they use. I often (actually usually) read people I disagree with, but it becomes tiresome to read people who repeatedly refer to George W. Bush as "Shrub," or Reynolds as "Insty" or "Instacracker," or Tom Daschel as "Dasshole," or Hillary Clinton as "Hitlery," or even Donald Rumsfeld as "Rummy." You can use a cute name affectionately ("the Blogfather") and get away with it, but to use cute names REGULARLY in a mean way leaves anyone who doesn't despise the person being mocked thinking that the writer is unfair, since it becomes ad hominem.

I am not arguing that people shouldn't mock those they disagree with--that is often the most effective method of making a valuable substantive point--but making up or using unfriendly names for the person leaves me cold, at least by the 5th or 6th time I read the same "joke" name.

Somebody thinks Glenn is a [insta] Cracker? If by that perjorative, they mean a redneck no-nothing white trash type, then take it from someone who knows, Glenn Reynolds is as far from that type of person as I, a nice Jewish boy, am from Hitler. Glenn is without a doubt one of the most educated, erudite, rounded and world-wise people I know. Besides, he's paying me to say that....

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