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Sunday, September 02, 2012

On closing comments

Walter Russell Mead shuts down comments at The American Interest:
After almost three years and well more than 40,000 published reader comments (and half a million spam comments that either we or our spam filter managed to identify and trash), Via Meadia is joining the ranks of non-comment blogs. We’re grateful to readers over those years who have shared their reactions to what they read here, and hope to develop new ways to interact with readers even as we continue to benefit from their thoughts and responses, but the traditional comments section no longer seems like the right way to go. To make the comments section work in its present form we would have to edit and curate much more aggressively than we do now and in our current judgment the effort needed to do that is better spent improving other features of the blog.
One uncomfortable truth I have observed over time is that most bloggers really don't want "to interact with readers". What they appear to really want is to be admired, to be praised and to see their opinions echoed back to them. The primary reason they permit comments in the first place is because comments serve as a metric of both status and success; one of the hallmarks of a successful blog is a plethora of comments following every post. In most cases, even if they claim to value discourse and diversity of opinion, the spectrum of permissible discourse is quite strictly limited, regardless of the blogger's place on the ideological spectrum.

Contra the assertion above, it is really not very much work keeping comments from getting out of hand. Mr. Mead purports to be overwhelmed by the difficulty of managing 40,000 comments in three years, whereas there have been 33,494 comments here at VP in the last five months alone. During that time, precisely one person had to be banned and that one person was only banned after first making dozens of comments and even having multiple posts dedicated to directly responding to him. The reality is that if you have a few good commenters capable of defending their own arguments and criticizing the overtly nonsensical arguments presented by others, there is very little that the blogger has to do himself. In nine years of this blog, which began in October 2003, I don't think there have been more than 20 people banned out of the thousands who have left a comment here at one point or another.

Granted, a few of those 20 or so people have been banned repeatedly under an impressively long list of pseudonyms. Who, after all, can remember all of the various identities belonging to the infamous Jefferson or that would-be literary critic, Dimwit Dan? However, the true troll is both rare and very easy to identify. As a general rule, the sort of individual who doesn't have the self-control to avoid getting banned in a comparatively relaxed environment also lacks the self-awareness to stop doing what got him previously banned.

Now, please note that I'm not criticizing Mr. Mead's decision to shut down comments, any more than I have criticized John Scalzi's decision to aggressively delete all comments from all sources that he so elegantly labels "assbags", or Instapundit's decision not to permit comments in the first place. Every blogger has a perfect right to run things however he happens to see fit and I can't see that comments would actually suit Instapundit's quick-hit, news-breaking format anyhow.

What I am criticizing in both the Mead and Scalzi situations is the pretense involved. In the former case, it is provably untrue that it is a lot of work to permit comments. In the case of the latter, it is provably untrue that differences of opinion on many subjects are permitted. As a blogger, one should do what one wants, but one should also be honest about what that is. If you want a one-way megaphone or you only want to permit dissent within certain parameters, that's not a problem.

But in such cases, you cannot try to claim that you also value the sort of open discourse and competitive exchange of ideas that takes place on a regular basis here at Vox Popoli. That is simply false advertising. What John Scalzi describes as "a feculent miasma" is actually the rich and pungent aroma of intellectual freedom. But his description is extremely informative. Only a man who spends his days with his nose up his own ass could mistake the scent of freedom for bullshit.

Vox Popoli is not, and will never be, an echo chamber. There are not, and will never be, any topics that are definitively outside the scope of permissible intellectual discourse. If, for whatever reason, you wish to defend racism, sexism, cannibalism, the Holocaust, the designated hitter, the nonexistence of God, or even the novels of Robert Jordan, you can certainly do so here provided that you do so on-topic - I'll even create a topic for you if necessary - and in an intellectually honest manner. The only commenters whose participation I will not tolerate is those who repeatedly lie, who demonstrate proven intellectual dishonesty, and who simply refuse to admit it when someone else has publicly shown them to be wrong. If you are not at least capable of acknowledging that you could be wrong about an idea, no matter how near and dear it is to you, then you will probably be better served commenting at a place where your ideas will not be questioned or criticized.

This may not be the best blog on the Internet, but I do hope that it is at least among the most open to ideas, however crazy they might be, and to genuine debate and discussion. I know I have changed my mind on numerous topics, from universal suffrage to free trade, as a direct result of the discussions that have taken place here, and I suspect I am not the only one.

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135 Comments:

Anonymous Beau September 02, 2012 4:34 AM  

There are not, and will never be, any topics that are definitively outside the scope of permissible intellectual discourse.

Uh, ma'am, we're the Blues Brothers. We do blues, rhythm & blues, jazz, funk, soul. We can handle rock, pop, country, heavy metal, fusion, hip hop, rap, Motown, operetta, show tunes. In fact, we've even been called upon, on occasion, to do a polka! However Caribbean is a type of music, I regret to say, which has not been, is simply not, nor will ever be a part of this band's repertoire.

Blogger Doom September 02, 2012 5:17 AM  

Hmm? I keep trying to describe what your blog means to me, or define it. Hmm, how about a bar for intellectuals. Oh, sure, 'teh stupid' gets in, hell, I'm here and often am quite scripted... though we all are, by something, someone, or groups of those things. Let's... be honest now. Still, it reminds me of the kind of pub I have dreamed about. The only downside is it is byob. :p

Anonymous Roundtine September 02, 2012 5:30 AM  

I noticed more blogs closing comments. I wonder if it's not related to social mood, the blog owners reflect the tendency to retreat from society.

It's a stupid business decision though. Nobody leaves a site before reading a post because of the comments, and most sites require you to click through to get comments. In the Howard Stern movie a the radio executive pointed out that although Stern was generating a massive volume of complaints, the people who complained about him were listening the longest. One should be so lucky as to attract a dedicated audience of detractors.

Blogger AdognamedOp September 02, 2012 6:00 AM  

Shutting down comment sections seems to be a trend these days. In my travels across internet message boards I've seen numerous comment sections either shut down or restricted to postings from paying clients. Alot of it had to do with pussy liberals threatening lawsuits.
The "bullying" nonsense, fed to us daily by media, lends to this move to silent opinion. The parasite lawyer set love nothing more than seeing the idiot goth kid off himself over social network comments directed his way. They worship death and will glee-fully offer sacrfices at that alter.
What they dont understand is that there are people still capable of printing out pamphlets and standing on corners screaming truth till their last breath.
Walter Mead, you are a coward.


Anonymous Jim C. September 02, 2012 6:24 AM  

"Only a man who spends his days with his nose up his own ass could mistake the scent of freedom for bullshit." ~ Vox Day

This. This is a quote for the ages.

This is why I come here.

Blogger rcocean September 02, 2012 6:41 AM  

I can understand why Meade shut it down. Most comment sections are disasters, full of trolls, bores and Johnny-one-notes. Not to mention, those who can't get anyone to read their own blog - so they live in the someone else's comment section. Conservative blogs also have to put up with an endless stream of lefties trying - to put it bluntly - destroy, subvert, and disrupt.

This one is pretty good because Vox participate

OpenID ampontan September 02, 2012 7:18 AM  

Have no idea the specific reason Meade shut it down, but whenever he talks about East Asia, he's in over his head and usually wrong, so there's not much point in reading his site to begin with. Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus.

But what is this false equivalence of the designated hitter to the Holocaust!

You might as well support the return to football players playing offense and defense both.

Anonymous Vic September 02, 2012 8:00 AM  

The blogs I tend to visit most are the ones with thinking commenters seeking to slog through the smoke and mirrors and get to the truth. The ones with a short fuse for stupidity. That's the main attraction at this blog.

Folks who fear no subject, and will air it out regardless of possible hurt feelings.

The truth is kind of like that too.

No comments = no entertainment, Why visit?

Blogger Rantor September 02, 2012 8:22 AM  

@ ampotan, don't give the team owners any ideas, they could save 50% on payroll.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 8:26 AM  

No comments = no entertainment, Why visit?

Well, one would hope there is some value in the actual blog product, to wit, the writings being provided on the site.

Blogger Rantor September 02, 2012 8:27 AM  

I come here for thought provoking conversation, most other blogs I have seen have mindless, "I agree with you," crap comments.

I am setting of on the blog adventure for my homeowner's association. It will be a learning experience. We'll see whether I allow uninhibited comments or decide to screen input. Don't want neighbors going to war against each other.

Anonymous Jim September 02, 2012 8:35 AM  

Most blog comments suck and the people who comment are mostly morons not worth reading. I usually will only read the comments if the author of the blog participates.

The reason I read a blog is because I enjoy either the authors style or his way of thinking (or both). Very few people who comment enhance that experience but if the author participates in the comments it often helps to refine the argument in the post. It also encourages the commenters to make good arguments. Smart people like to talk to smart people and a few interesting commenters will come out of the woodwork. An example from this blog is Stickwick. I always look for her when scanning the comments.

Anonymous Stilicho September 02, 2012 8:43 AM  

Well, one would hope there is some value in the actual blog product, to wit, the writings being provided on the site.

True, but without the interactive feature of comments it starts to resemble a newspaper after a while...which can lead to readers losing interest.

Anonymous Stingray September 02, 2012 8:45 AM  

There are very few blogs where the commenters stop to think for a moment or three before they hit publish. This blog has taught me so very much and shook, dragged, and pushed my old cherished beliefs out of me. All of this in a very civil and entertaining manner. I knew from day one that if I came on this site and posted drivel that I would get nailed for it and that has helped me to learn when to shut the hell up and read and when to simply ask questions politely. It's changed my beliefs in a way I would never have thought possible. The truth hurts, but it's incredibly freeing.

Anonymous Mr. Tzu September 02, 2012 8:54 AM  

Well, one would hope there is some value in the actual blog product, to wit, the writings being provided on the site.

There is a value in the initial post which starts the discussion. Your interaction and clarification within the comments, however, are what makes this blog an enjoyable learning environment.

Anonymous zen0 September 02, 2012 9:05 AM  

Some commentators provide a free proofreading service once in a while. That is something, anyway.

Anonymous jack September 02, 2012 9:07 AM  

There is real value here at VP. There must be; I keep coming back, though more than once I swore off never to return. Those episodes lasted a few weeks at most. The economic postings and commentary alone are worth any gut wrenching, vomit inducing reaction on occasion. keep it up Vox!

Blogger William Teach September 02, 2012 9:09 AM  

Personally, I like when some commenters get a bit crazy (to a point) because it increases conversation. Which is why I don't ask the blog owner at one I cross post at to ban a certain commenter.

Politics is a rough and tumble game, and those who can't take it shouldn't partake in it. For blogs like Meade's he should simply use Disqus which allows others down ding comments.

Anonymous aero September 02, 2012 9:10 AM  

What happens when one is to lazy to take out the trash from the own blog?

What happens when one no longer interacts with those that visit or allows them to vocalize with each other on their blog?

The comment section does two things it can reenforce ones opinion or change it.




Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 9:11 AM  

There is real value here at VP. There must be; I keep coming back, though more than once I swore off never to return.

Why did you swear it off? Not that I'm implying I will change anything, I'm simply curious.

Some commentators provide a free proofreading service once in a while.

That's helpful, to be sure, but it's the chance to have my ideas criticized in a substantive manner that I find particularly useful.

Anonymous RedJack September 02, 2012 9:16 AM  

I will finish the Wheel of Time for the simple reason that I want to see if Rand the pussy gets killed.

Yes, I have issues with that series.

Back a little closer to topic, the big problem is that people don't know (or want to) defend their posistions. John S.'s comments about "creepers" are a perfect case in point. He was trying to be a "nice" guy, and when you (and to be honest many others including myself) called him out on a few logical failures, he refused to comfront it. He could have dealt with it many ways, but he chose to run away rather than say "I want to make the pretty women feel comfortable at my fan functions, even though that means most of my fans are not welcome".

Being Nice is often the worst form of coward, for it turns a person into a door mat for whomever will scream at them.

Blogger James Dixon September 02, 2012 9:25 AM  

> If, for whatever reason, you wish to defend racism, sexism, cannibalism, the Holocaust, the designated hitter, the nonexistence of God, or even the novels of Robert Jordan,

Now wait a minute, there is such a thing as taking things too far.

The designated hitter is indefensible. :)

Anonymous Lulabelle September 02, 2012 9:33 AM  

Ah, Jefferson! I was thinking of him even before you mentioned him. I always liked him, even though most did not.

Anonymous Stingray September 02, 2012 9:36 AM  

RedJack - Ann Barnhardt on being nice.

Anonymous I can taste it. September 02, 2012 9:39 AM  

Vox Popoli is not, and will never be, an echo chamber.

Translation: Its become an echo chamber.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) September 02, 2012 9:47 AM  

There you go again Vox. You just can't keep yourself from criticizing Jordan even though the series isn't done yet.

How come you don't criticize Martin? He's killed off almost everyone. How the hell do you kill off Jon?!

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 9:48 AM  

I always liked him, even though most did not.

He wasn't the worst troll, he was just astonishingly incapable of admitting when he was completely beaten. When he finally couldn't defend his point anymore, he would just disappear... then come back under another name. Not always to refight the same battle at first, but if the subject came up again, he simply couldn't refrain from leaping in and losing again in precisely the same way.

I didn't dislike him, even though his behavioral pattern was annoying, but I always wondered if he had something mildly wrong with him.

Blogger IM2L844 September 02, 2012 9:54 AM  

Thought provoking is how I describe this blog. I'm often inspired by the opening post or a comment to putter around the internet or leaf through my home library doing research to get up to speed on an issue that was brought up. I've given up trying to anticipate Vox's take on anything, because he generally seems to approach things from a different angle than I would have expected. Often, just when I think he has totally missed the point, his sometimes quirky perspective is illuminating, even when I disagree or think it outrageous, exactly because many times I had never even thought of looking at the issue in that particular way before. That keeps it interesting for me.

If comments here were disabled, it would severely reduce the entertainment value of this blog, but I would probably still read the posts on a regular basis.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 9:57 AM  

How come you don't criticize Martin? He's killed off almost everyone. How the hell do you kill off Jon?!

My only criticism of Martin for killing off Jon is that he didn't do it in the first book. I despised the whiny bastard. And he may as well kill off Tyrion now that he's rendered him both ridiculous and boring. Danaerys too.

I'll readily admit that A Dance with Dragons is dreadful. But there were three very good books and one okay book before that. The entire Jordan series ranges from "the first book was sort of okay" to "I am now writing fan fiction just so I can kill Rand al'Thor, burn the body and salt the grave".

Warrior Woman: "The enemy is attacking! I shall lead my Amazons against them!"

Rand: "NOOOOO!" (sniffs, eyes well up with tears) "Then a woman might die! A WOMAN! MIGHT DIE! (bursts into tears, practically strangled by his sobs) "I CAN'T LIVE WITH THAT ON MY CONSCIENCE! (seizes Warrior Woman in arms) "Don't go, you brave and precious creature. DON'T GO!"

Warrior Woman: "Do you realize I cut my own breast off to be more accurate with my bow, you freaking pansy?"

Rand: "YOU MUTILATED YOURSELF FOR ME! OH, GODS, HOW CAN I LIVE? HOW CAN I LIVE WITH THE KNOWLEDGE?

Warrior Woman: (to the god of war) "Please, please, let me die in battle."

Anonymous jack September 02, 2012 10:11 AM  

Vox:
Why did you swear it off? Not that I'm implying I will change anything, I'm simply curious.

Two reasons: My other and better half [female...it's indicative of the times I have to specify] detests you and the Ilk. She will admit to the value of certain economic and history posts, though her opinion of the attitude towards suffrage and 'game' to name two, would not bear repeating.
Other reason: At least on one posting something Vox posted really caught me at the wrong moment. I can't even remember what it was or whether it was logical and sane. I believe at the time I thought not.
OK: So I left twice. And, returned. That time of the second reason, the un-sane? posting, I told her about it. That was the longest stretch. I do remember, after a few weeks, having to sneak around and visit this site when she was gone or asleep. Finally, much to her disgust, I admitted my 'fall from grace'.

Very sad...

Anonymous 691 September 02, 2012 10:14 AM  

Vox, speaking of interacting with commenters, the power came back on and I responded to you on the post from a few days ago about the multiplier. Anything more to add or should I claim victory?

Anonymous jack September 02, 2012 10:18 AM  

IM2L844 September 02, 2012 9:54 AM

I agree with IM2's comment from above. He put it well, the reasons we are addicted to Vox Popoli. I hope when we face St. Peter he will gives us some slack...

Blogger Spacebunny September 02, 2012 10:19 AM  

Very sad...

That you refer to her as your "other and better half" is pathetic in and of itself, that you let her dictate what you read is so far beyond pathetic I am at a loss to find an adequate word to describe it.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 10:31 AM  

My other and better half [female...it's indicative of the times I have to specify] detests you and the Ilk. She will admit to the value of certain economic and history posts, though her opinion of the attitude towards suffrage and 'game' to name two, would not bear repeating.

Dude, with all due respect, I think you have to seriously question the wisdom of permitting your wife to dictate what is permissible to you. She is not the Gedankpolizei And, in the unlikely event that she wishes to defend her perspective and debate either suffrage or Game with me, I would certainly welcome her attempt to do so.

Women tend to detest what they fear. And they fear what they cannot control.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 10:34 AM  

Vox, speaking of interacting with commenters, the power came back on and I responded to you on the post from a few days ago about the multiplier. Anything more to add or should I claim victory?

Not so fast, my friend. I did, indeed, begin responding to it but it will have to wait a few days. I have a chance to get a review of the new novel in an influential site, but I need to get them the rough draft on Tuesday. Remind me if I don't post it by Friday.

Anonymous Randy M September 02, 2012 10:37 AM  

"How come you don't criticize Martin? He's killed off almost everyone. How the hell do you kill off Jon?!"

huh. Well, I'm not going to complain about spoilers after a year or whatever of not being motivated to read the book. I didn't expect Jon to die. Is the whole series going to end up one big shaggy dog story?

Anonymous E. PERLINE September 02, 2012 10:43 AM  

Excellent self-commentary on your blog. You may be a little hard on your contributors. I, for one have getten a laugh out of some of the witticisms, and I was made to see the other side of many an issue.

Naturally some comments get in that are non-relevant to either logic or the subject, but the level is pretty high.

Since they cause bewildered reactions I avoid discussing my own form of psychology. Yet I enjoy the obscure references that others make.

Blogger SarahsDaughter September 02, 2012 10:45 AM  

My other and better half [female...it's indicative of the times I have to specify] detests you and the Ilk. She will admit to the value of certain economic and history posts, though her opinion of the attitude towards suffrage and 'game' to name two, would not bear repeating.

I remember thinking like your wife. Nothing could send me into a 12-yr-old girl tizzy like Bane. I don't miss those days.

That you refer to her as your "other and better half" is pathetic in and of itself, that you let her dictate what you read is so far beyond pathetic I am at a loss to find an adequate word to describe it.

This was the kind of talking to I needed to get over my own damn self, and why I enjoy this blog and the comments so much.

Anonymous vandelay September 02, 2012 10:51 AM  

Criticizing the pretention and not the policy reminds me of Andrew Sullivan's sky-high pretentions regarding comments.
He involves readers by posting emails he likes because he wants to involve only those readers who "add and don't detract from the experience." I suspect this means he wants to avoid those readers who can call him out on his BS.

Anonymous praetorian September 02, 2012 10:59 AM  

I don't know if it's possible or not here, but for the few trolls that do exist, I think that hellbanning is one of the best ways to deal with them.

I get hellbanned on HackerNews every once in a while when I take too hard a run at the Federal Reserve and it makes me cool off. I may object to the intellectual conformity that it creates there, but I can't dismiss its effectiveness. (Hey, not unlike Game...)

Anonymous Stingray September 02, 2012 11:01 AM  

What is hellbanning?

Blogger Joshua_D September 02, 2012 11:04 AM  

jack September 02, 2012 10:11 AM

Two reasons: My other and better half [female...it's indicative of the times I have to specify] detests you and the Ilk. She will admit to the value of certain economic and history posts, though her opinion of the attitude towards suffrage and 'game' to name two, would not bear repeating.


So jack, what you need to do is, the next time you see your lady say, "Hey woman, your man's hungry. So why don't you get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich."

And when she flips out just start laughing and say, "I'm just giving you a hard time honey. Don't worry."

Then give her a hug, and say, "Now about that sandwich."


Blogger vandelay September 02, 2012 11:11 AM  

How come you don't criticize Martin? He's killed off almost everyone. How the hell do you kill off Jon?!

I also won't complain about the spoiler, much. I've just started working through a pdf of Dance with Dragons after finding out the publication of the paperback in Canada has been pushed back again, now to March 2013. Just before the premier of the third season I assume. Greedy bastards.

I do note though that according to Wikipedia the third season will only cover up to the midpoint of Storm of Swords. Seems HBO's realized how much Martin likes to take his sweet time. If they kept at the pace they were at they'd have to stall the series.

Blogger mmaier2112 September 02, 2012 11:19 AM  

Don't ever change, Spacebunny... I don't think I could bear it if you didn't readily use them there claws.

Anonymous JMac September 02, 2012 11:23 AM  

Maybe the comments here are more interesting because the stuff VD writes vets the people who would comment in the first place. In other words the stuff he writes and the articles he links to take a bit to understand and think over so I wonder if that weeds out some would-be commenters in the first place.

VD tends to be less verbose and more pithy so I end up looking at the comments here as an aid to thinking the issue through.

Many other sites I look at don't address any fundamental issue in a way that invites a thoughtful response so the comments tend to be mud slinging that only reveals the author's mental impotence.

Blogger Nicholas Poirier September 02, 2012 11:29 AM  

On most blogs the participants act in a manner similar to a troop of baboons where one monkey just scratches the next one's back. Unfortunately group think is of the utmost importance to most forums on the internet. It all seems to be simply a way for persons to participate in a confirmation bias love fest where dissent is not welcome at all. I have never read Mr. Mead's blog, but shutting down the comments seems to be indicative of a fragile ego which cannot harbor the thought someone may disagree with it, or it could just be laziness.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 11:30 AM  

He involves readers by posting emails he likes because he wants to involve only those readers who "add and don't detract from the experience." I suspect this means he wants to avoid those readers who can call him out on his BS.

It almost surely does. And he doesn't realize that while his selections might add and not detract from the experience for him, that's not necessarily the case for anyone else. I don't always enjoy being criticized, but I seek it out nonetheless as it forces me to sharpen my thinking processes and improves my ability to articulate my ideas.

However, as much as I appreciate substantive and intelligent criticism, I completely loathe the shallow and stupid variety. If I give a critic the chance to take his best shot, then I want him to take his actual best shot and test me somehow, not to simply repeat some obvious nonsense I've blown apart twenty times before. I find it frustrating that people will acknowledge that I am intelligent and reasonably well-read, then present some superficial criticism that an uninformed chimpanzee with half a brain could refute. How does that make any sense at all?

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler September 02, 2012 11:31 AM  

If I comment anywhere, because I'm an European traditionalist, I am immediately crowned a troll and banned. That is why I like it here.

Though banned only once on a Vox thread on economics, I haven't been banned permanently. I have been banned at least 40 times across many blogs and message boards. Here, I may not be welcome because I'm a male chauvinist pig, raaaacis, racialist, homophobe, anti-semite, anti-asiatic, anti-slav, anti-African, bigot, misogynist, anti-communist, but I can still comment which I like about this thread.

Thanks for the leeway, Vox.

Anonymous praetorian September 02, 2012 11:33 AM  

@stingray: https://www.google.com/search?q=hellbanning

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) September 02, 2012 11:34 AM  

VD September 02, 2012 9:57 AM

How come you don't criticize Martin? He's killed off almost everyone. How the hell do you kill off Jon?!

My only criticism of Martin for killing off Jon is that he didn't do it in the first book. I despised the whiny bastard. And he may as well kill off Tyrion now that he's rendered him both ridiculous and boring. Danaerys too.

I'll readily admit that A Dance with Dragons is dreadful. But there were three very good books and one okay book before that. The entire Jordan series ranges from "the first book was sort of okay" to "I am now writing fan fiction just so I can kill Rand al'Thor, burn the body and salt the grave".

Warrior Woman: "The enemy is attacking! I shall lead my Amazons against them!"

Rand: "NOOOOO!" (sniffs, eyes well up with tears) "Then a woman might die! A WOMAN! MIGHT DIE! (bursts into tears, practically strangled by his sobs) "I CAN'T LIVE WITH THAT ON MY CONSCIENCE! (seizes Warrior Woman in arms) "Don't go, you brave and precious creature. DON'T GO!"

Warrior Woman: "Do you realize I cut my own breast off to be more accurate with my bow, you freaking pansy?"

Rand: "YOU MUTILATED YOURSELF FOR ME! OH, GODS, HOW CAN I LIVE? HOW CAN I LIVE WITH THE KNOWLEDGE?

Warrior Woman: (to the god of war) "Please, please, let me die in battle."



I have to agree with you that most of Jordan's books were steaming piles of crap and your representation of some of the scenes is enough to fall off the chair laughing.

Regardless, your characterization of Jon isn't completely true. Sure he whines sometimes, but that's only a small amount of the time.
It seems like you're taking a character defect and amplifying it 100 times because Jon isn't like the sly scheming f'er Littlefinger that you love.

I'm going to have to read your books now and critique them. If I detect any whining in any of the characters in your books, I'll be sure to let you know.

You know nothing, Ser Vox Day.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 11:36 AM  

It occurs to me that the idea that I am an arrogant elitist and I cannot bear the idea of others disagreeing with me is intrinsically incoherent. If everyone agreed with me, then I would be normal. Which would, of course, be unthinkable.

Therefore, one could argue that my refusal to run an echo chamber is actually evidence of my narcissistic superiority complex, because it is the very act of disagreeing with me that permits me to feel superior to other, lesser minds. And the desire of bloggers like Andrew Sullivan and John Scalzi to run echo chambers is an indication of their own recognition of their pedestrian intellectual abilities.

On a related note, please don't tell me I'm right....

Anonymous Stickwick September 02, 2012 11:42 AM  

I knew from day one that if I came on this site and posted drivel that I would get nailed for it ...

Heh, not me. I got the smackdown from Vox a couple of times when I first started posting here. They were civil, but sufficiently firm that I didn't want to repeat those mistakes.

Commenting here has forced me to really think about my arguments, and as a result I've come to change my mind on a number of topics. It's also toughened me up and refined my arguing skills to such a degree that in real life I no longer fear debating any topic on which I'm informed.

Anonymous Question September 02, 2012 11:59 AM  

I got banned by Space Bunny for pointing out that Islam is an Abrahamic religion just like Christianity and Judaism. It wasn't really a ban though because I tried to post several months later and could but a bunch of my comments were deleted. Another favored tactic is to bombard someone with a load of questions from different people and when they don't answer one invoke the rules of the blog. Don't pretend to be impartial, your whole shtick is being an asshole paleoconservative.

Anonymous dh September 02, 2012 12:03 PM  

> This may not be the best blog on the Internet, but I do hope that it is at least among the most open
> to ideas, however crazy they might be, and genuine debate and discussion. I know I have changed my
> mind on numerous topics, from universal suffrage to free trade, as a direct result of the discussions
> that have taken place here, and I suspect I am not the only one.

I was pretty surprised to ready this, VD, because I have a very hard time determining when you are being genuine, and when you are I guess for lack of a good description, trolling.

Anonymous Scintan September 02, 2012 12:08 PM  

I got banned by Space Bunny for pointing out that Islam is an Abrahamic religion just like Christianity and Judaism. It wasn't really a ban though because I tried to post several months later and could but a bunch of my comments were deleted. Another favored tactic is to bombard someone with a load of questions from different people and when they don't answer one invoke the rules of the blog. Don't pretend to be impartial, your whole shtick is being an asshole paleoconservative.

It would probably help if you'd learn the difference between exercising the privilege of free speech on a private blog and just being an asshole. Most blogs don't even allow much of the former. Still fewer are going to put up with someone constantly being the latter.

Blogger Vox September 02, 2012 12:09 PM  

I have been banned at least 40 times across many blogs and message boards. Here, I may not be welcome....

Only 40? I am genuinely astonished. And you're as welcome here as nearly anyone else, Wheeler. It just wouldn't be the same without the occasional paean to Lost Sparta.

I got the smackdown from Vox a couple of times when I first started posting here. They were civil, but sufficiently firm that I didn't want to repeat those mistakes.

I think I remember one or two of those. I seem to recall you genuinely appeared to be a little surprised. What, I'm not going to hit a girl? Although few things have been funnier to me than John Scalzi, the grand defender of women in physics, banning you from his blog.

That was specTACular.

I got banned by Space Bunny for pointing out that Islam is an Abrahamic religion just like Christianity and Judaism.

No, you didn't. Of course it's an Abrahamic religion. I remember when you got banned and it was for refusing to answer a question, Question.

Another favored tactic is to bombard someone with a load of questions from different people and when they don't answer one invoke the rules of the blog.

It's interesting how the questions that don't get answered are so often the ones that would paint folks like you into an indefensible position. I answer loads of questions from different people all the time. You want to play here, you have to be willing to do the same.

Don't pretend to be impartial, your whole shtick is being an asshole paleoconservative.

I have never, ever claimed to be impartial. It's right there in the rules: I am explicitly not impartial and I am above the law here. Nor am I a paleoconservative. I am far too radical and extremist to be a paleoconservative, although I have more respect for them than for progressives, neoconservatives, or conservatives. I am precisely what I claim to be, a Christian libertarian, albeit now I would say that I am a Christian nationalist libertarian. It is increasingly apparent that there is no liberty without the nation.

Blogger Vox September 02, 2012 12:12 PM  

I was pretty surprised to read this, VD

Why? I once wrote a column in favor of the Iraq War. Then I learned my reasoning was based on a false premise - there was no peace agreement between Iraq and the USA to be violated - and changed my mind. I've written loads on free trade and how my thinking has changed on that. Even my position on universal suffrage only came about because I was dared to defend the anti-suffrage position, (it being so obviously absurd that it was supposed to be an impossible challenge), and ended up convincing myself and not a few others.

Anonymous Scintan September 02, 2012 12:14 PM  

One of the things we seem to be seeing across the country is the willingness of people to stifle the speech of others. It's sad, but not surprising, that such behavior is spreading to more and more areas of the internet.

Anonymous Question September 02, 2012 12:19 PM  

No, you didn't. Of course it's an Abrahamic religion. I remember when you got banned and it was for refusing to answer a question, Question.

I didn't say she denied it was an Abrahamic religion, I said she banned me for bringing attention to the fact that there is a clear historical and textual link between Islam and the others. If I recall she kept saying something about moon gods or some other junk in an attempt to obfuscate the link.

It's interesting how the questions that don't get answered are so often the ones that would paint folks like you into an indefensible position. I answer loads of questions from different people all the time. You want to play here, you have to be willing to do the same.

Yeah thats definetly not how I remember it and since all the comments were deleted I can't go back and prove you wrong. If I were feeling snarky I would call it interesting.

Blogger Markku September 02, 2012 12:22 PM  

I was pretty surprised to ready this, VD, because I have a very hard time determining when you are being genuine, and when you are I guess for lack of a good description, trolling.

Sometimes he is obviously trolling in the way he puts something (usually this can be told by the presence of particularly pretentious words and/or an ellipsis) but I think he is seldom if ever trolling about the claim itself.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 12:29 PM  

Yeah thats definetly not how I remember it and since all the comments were deleted I can't go back and prove you wrong. If I were feeling snarky I would call it interesting.

First, nobody gets banned for simply imparting information - in this case accurate - unless it is clearly off-topic. That's a possibility too, I suppose, since I don't recall ever writing a post concerning the conceptual historical roots of Islam. Regardless, it wasn't a discussion in which I was involved.

What could possibly be "interesting" about the comments being deleted? CoComment was bought and then shut down. I had nothing to do with that and would have preferred to continue it, although Blogger does a nice job of dealing with the spam. Too nice, actually, about 10 legitimate comments get spam-trapped every day.

Snarky is never good. It's for teenage girls, not adults.

Anonymous Question September 02, 2012 12:34 PM  

What could possibly be "interesting" about the comments being deleted? CoComment was bought and then shut down. I had nothing to do with that and would have preferred to continue it, although Blogger does a nice job of dealing with the spam. Too nice, actually, about 10 legitimate comments get spam-trapped every day.

I wasn't aware of this. At the time Space Bunny personally deleted all the comments I had put in the thread. That is what I was talking about when I said the comments were deleted.

Anonymous Gruntled September 02, 2012 12:41 PM  

Re: This blog

I find the intelligent comments as or more interesting than the original posts. If there were no comments I doubt I'd visit anywhere near as often.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus September 02, 2012 12:51 PM  

Off topic, but - http://finance.yahoo.com/news/wells-fargo-fires-iowa-worker-for-minor-1963-crime.html

A low-level worker with Wells Fargo gets fired because he put a cardboard dime in a coin-operated washing machine in *1963*.

Yet, Corzine gets away with ripping investors off for over a billion.

Whenever some dipstick tries to defend the banksters as necessary for capitalism, I laugh out loud right in their faces.

Blogger James Dixon September 02, 2012 12:59 PM  

> ...though her opinion of the attitude towards suffrage and 'game' to name two, would not bear repeating.

Well, compile her arguments against Vox's position and post them. Assuming she has any, of course.

> On a related note, please don't tell me I'm right....

OK, we won't. :)

Seriously, when the majority of people start agreeing with me about something, it's usually time to check my premises and/or see what has changed.

Anonymous dh September 02, 2012 12:59 PM  

> Why?

I find it difficult to extract when you have a serious argument, and when you are simply pressing-the-case, playing devils advocate, or refuting a claim or counter-claim. Off-handed remarks that are sort-of-dog-whistles to crazy theories occur within your posts and comments all the time. Or maybe I just hear them when they aren't spoken. The other day you mentioned something about Hillary firing her lawyer in an untidy manner. That's an example, just one, of weird fixations that you seem to draw-material from again and again. Perhaps because I am not a conservative I just don't get the inside-track? Or maybe because I don't generally read the WND/Newsmax style-sites which are constantly screaming headlines about various conspiracies.

I am happy to hear that you've changed your mind based on comments and posts from your readers. That's the sure sign of honest debate. I know the same is true from my perspective - many especially complicated matters (like trade) are well reasoned and argued and have led me to come to some very different conclusions that when I started reading your column, and then blog.

Blogger Chris Ritchie September 02, 2012 1:12 PM  

"This may not be the best blog on the Internet, but I do hope that it is at least among the most open to ideas, however crazy they might be, and to genuine debate and discussion. I know I have changed my mind on numerous topics, from universal suffrage to free trade, as a direct result of the discussions that have taken place here, and I suspect I am not the only one."

That's why I'm here, Vox. I appreciate the candor and the free exchange of ideas. I actually like it when people blast on each other "What an asinine thing to say!" It brings clarity to the discussion that you'd better be able to defend your ideas and then be able to admit you were wrong.

That's all I'm asking for from many of the groups I debate: show some humility! We don't all have all the answers all the time. I'm incredulous at some sectors (namely evolutionists) who continue to insist that science is the ultimate god and that their views are above reproach. That's just one example.

I will continue to post here and will enjoy the debates.

Blogger Spacebunny September 02, 2012 1:22 PM  

At the time Space Bunny personally deleted all the comments I had put in the thread. That is what I was talking about when I said the comments were deleted.

You were banned for the same dishonest bs you're trying to pull here. Moon gods? Really? I have never talked about moon gods. And once you are banned, all of your comments get deleted without being read.

Blogger Markku September 02, 2012 1:23 PM  

OT: If you are using a browser with which Blip currently works (at least IE works), take a look at this from 3:10 on (Nostalgia Chick is the site's token feminist girl).

I guarantee you will be amused by the words that are said a minute later.

Anonymous Joe J September 02, 2012 1:26 PM  

" Only a man who spends his days with his nose up his own ass could mistake the scent of freedom for bullshit."

One of the best lines I've seen.

I have to admit, the main reason I don't comment here much anymore is, it would get lost in the volume. This post is up today, and by the time I saw it, had 66 comments already.

Blogger Chris Ritchie September 02, 2012 1:32 PM  

VD tends to be less verbose and more pithy so I end up looking at the comments here as an aid to thinking the issue through.

I agree.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 1:35 PM  

I find it difficult to extract when you have a serious argument, and when you are simply pressing-the-case, playing devils advocate, or refuting a claim or counter-claim. Off-handed remarks that are sort-of-dog-whistles to crazy theories occur within your posts and comments all the time.

Here is the general rule. If I am willing to engage, go into detail, and defend the position, it is a serious argument. If it is just a one-off and I don't even slow down to acknowledge it, it's not worth delving into. I'm not going to defend my sense of humor, I simply indulge it at will.

Take the purported Moon landings. I think the official story is probably more or less true. But I am entirely open to the possibility it is entirely faked, would not be terribly surprised to learn that was the case, and it amuses me how the mere mention of the possibility that the official Moon Landings story is not 100-percent pure scientific fact can send certain individuals into an instant frothing rage.

I've seen enough crazy theories turn out to have some basis in truth that I simply don't discount them the way most people do. Hope this helps.

Anonymous jack September 02, 2012 1:39 PM  

Spacebunny September 02, 2012 10:19 AM

Very sad...

That you refer to her as your "other and better half" is pathetic in and of itself, that you let her dictate what you read is so far beyond pathetic I am at a loss to find an adequate word to describe it.

That word/phrase might just be tongue-in-cheek humor. She does not dictate what I read. I am here am I not? She just thinks I'm as crazy as the rest of us here; she may be right.
She's a good woman whose opinion I value. Just as I value yours and Vox' opinion even when I don't agree with either or both of you.
Anyway, when again is that epic novel due out? I'm ready to read until the eye drops are called for. And, SB, when are you going to write a fiction novel for our digestion?

Anonymous Stingray September 02, 2012 1:42 PM  

fiction novel for our digestion?

How about a cookbook? Or just a PDF of some favorite recipes? ; )

Anonymous jack September 02, 2012 1:46 PM  

Joshua

So jack, what you need to do is, the next time you see your lady say, "Hey woman, your man's hungry. So why don't you get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich."

What I do is threaten to make dinner. She turns pale and thats that.
Works every time. Now, I can deal with my own cooking. Others not so much. Their loss, I say.

Blogger Spacebunny September 02, 2012 1:51 PM  

And, SB, when are you going to write a fiction novel for our digestion?

Good grief - that will never happen, nor would you want it to. I am one of the rare voracious readers who doesn't think I have a great novel just waiting to be written.

Blogger Spacebunny September 02, 2012 1:55 PM  

How about a cookbook? Or just a PDF of some favorite recipes? ; )

I just steal recipes from others and tweak them to my personal tastes - why reinvent the wheel? If you're on Pinterest I have a few, but by no means all, of them posted there. Recently found an amazing roasted red pepper pesto that has proven very popular around here.

Anonymous Question September 02, 2012 1:55 PM  

You were banned for the same dishonest bs you're trying to pull here. Moon gods? Really? I have never talked about moon gods. And once you are banned, all of your comments get deleted without being read.

Just to clarify what I meant by moon gods I refer to the claim that Allah is based on some tribal Arabic moon god instead of the god of Christianity. I see that a lot on the other bible thumper web sites I peruse and it wasn't out of place here.

Anonymous Anonymous September 02, 2012 2:01 PM  

You were banned for the same dishonest bs you're trying to pull here. Moon gods? Really? I have never talked about moon gods. And once you are banned, all of your comments get deleted without being read.

Just to clarify want I meant by moon gods I refer to the claim that Allah is based on some tribal Arabic moon god instead of the god of Christianity. I see that a lot on the other bible thumper web sites I peruse and it wasn't out of place here.

Anonymous Stingray September 02, 2012 2:01 PM  

I just steal recipes from others and tweak them to my personal tastes

I do the same. I am always on the hunt for something new and I have a feeling you would have some that would be popular around my house. I've never heard of Pinterest. I will check it out. Thanks!

Oooh, I bet that Pesto would be good over chicken . . . Hmmmmm.

Anonymous Shutterbug September 02, 2012 2:25 PM  

I've described this blog to others as "...free speech run amok, and it's not for the weak."

Thanks to the influence of Vox and the Dread Ilk, I'm no longer a Republican kool-aid drinking neocon. Now, my liberal friends think I'm a Nazi and my conservative friends think I'm a godless hippie. It just cracks me up.

I don't comment much here, but read pretty much everything. I've had to learn not to debate Ilk-style on facebook as too many people just can't handle it. The humor here has teeth. I miss the Nate/Bane flame wars.

Anonymous Stickwick September 02, 2012 2:30 PM  

I seem to recall you genuinely appeared to be a little surprised. What, I'm not going to hit a girl?

I'm don't think that was the source of my surprise. I was a regular recipient of smackdowns from my dad, who made a point of treating me and my brother the same. I think I was surprised that a blogger was willing to interact with his readers to such a degree and would directly call me out on inferior debate tactics. Most other bloggers I read either tolerate such tactics or respond to them in a way that you don't know what you did wrong. You just laid it out my mistakes plainly, and once I got over my feelings, I realized it was pretty helpful.

Anonymous Stickwick September 02, 2012 2:32 PM  

Argh, typos! My inner grammar Nazi is having a conniption. I miss being able to edit comments.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews September 02, 2012 2:55 PM  

I disabled comments on my hibernating blog because I was getting too much Oriental (Chinese?) spam postings that Blogger didn't catch.

I leave here occasionally because it can be a bit of a downer, though modern society tends to reinforce that.

I also do not like the difficulty of following the conversation here, especially if I am using my iPad. Much easier on the computer if I have left a post I can search for to start reading again.

I have been insulted and will certainly be insulted in the future, but I rarely let that stop me from speaking up when I think it appropriate!

This group kind of reminds me of my high school advanced math group. We were the "brains" in the school, but included a wide mix of people ranging from clean cut to a drug head. (Dangerous to have your oil changed by him since he was always high at work.)

Perhaps that is part of the appeal.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews September 02, 2012 3:02 PM  

Did my reply just get deleted?

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews September 02, 2012 3:04 PM  

Seems so. That is annoying.

Key thoughts:

- When I have left here for a while it was largely due to the negativity. Though modern society is the pits, so it is not surprising. Good mix of other things at times though.

- It is really hard to follow threads here without a computer. Finding where you last read on an iPad is a real pain.

Blogger Markku September 02, 2012 3:07 PM  

Seems so. That is annoying.

Are you using Adblock Plus, or any other adblocker? Some people have reported that it is the source of the comment disappearance problem, and that there is some workaround. Some URL that needs to be whitelisted.

Anonymous Faust September 02, 2012 3:30 PM  

Mr. Mead's an intelligent writer, and his "blue-state" model is very important. That said, he had a penchant for sloppy thinking in his posts, and liberal commenters that would poke holes in arguments because he hadn't taken time to think them through. The arguments themselves were still valid, but he choose bad examples and was loose with defining his terms. If he'd engaged his comment section once in a while, he would be a better thinker and a better writer.

Anonymous The OASF September 02, 2012 3:45 PM  

I'm still waiting for that 'Steelers' tag. I suppose I will be waiting for a while.

Blogger Mme Scherzo September 02, 2012 4:18 PM  

I quit commenting at my local newspaper's online edition, due to the insanity of most of the people commenting via DISQUS. I seldom see this kind of insanity here or on most other blogs I read.

Anonymous lookingforadvice September 02, 2012 4:23 PM  

That you refer to her as your "other and better half" is pathetic in and of itself, that you let her dictate what you read is so far beyond pathetic I am at a loss to find an adequate word to describe it.

You tell him dude, mano a mano.

Btw, I'm looking for a good way to increase my testosterone, got any suggestions? I only ask cause I'd rather not juice and you seem to exhibit the same aggression as some of the hulk monsters at my gym, you don't take steroids do you? What about body hair, what's the quickest way to deal with so much chest hair?

Blogger James Dixon September 02, 2012 4:36 PM  

> Just to clarify want I meant by moon gods I refer to the claim that Allah is based on some tribal Arabic moon god instead of the god of Christianity.

I believe that claim was made by someone in thread, though I don't remember the specific details. I'm pretty sure it wasn't SB though.

Anonymous Boogeyman September 02, 2012 5:14 PM  

I like reading the comments here because this place is like an on-line biker bar for intellectual mutants and cultural outcasts, the real 1%.

Also, if I had money to bet, given Martin's weight and age, I'd wager he'll stroke out/die of heart failure before the books or tv series is finished. Never read a giant series until it's officially finished or the writer dies.

Anonymous duckman September 02, 2012 5:14 PM  

James Dixon September 02, 2012 9:25 AM


The designated hitter is indefensible. :)

Is too defensible. So there!

:p

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 02, 2012 5:26 PM  

First off, just to get this out of the way: Wally Mead is very weak tea, so who really cares whether he permits comments or not.

Second, just to be difficult: Islam is an Abrahamic religion? Since when? Just because a pack of liars, rapists, pedophiles and slavers calling themselves "Muslims" say so?!? Who in his right mind credits _them_?

Let me be more specific. If you are talking about a value-neutral, social-science-oriented, anthropological sort of humanistic taxonomy of "religion", then of course you could say with a straight face that Islam is a Semitic, monotheistic, "Abrahamic" religion; but only in the same rather narrow way that you'd say, taxonomically speaking, that Eastern Mediterranean pantheistic religions like the pantheon cults of Egypt, Greece and Rome bear a family relationship, or the way that the Hindu/Buddhist/Taoist cults of nihilism of eastern Asia bear a family relationship. Nothing more.

If, however, you were speaking about it in the terms of weighing what is or is not "true religion," then you could not say that Islam is an Abrahamic faith. It is an elaborate justification for piracy, pillage and rape, nothing more. Islam is really just a complicated excuse for committing crimes.

If one wanted to get deep into it, I believe that Saint John the Baptist provided the definitive explanation for why citing an "Abrahamic" tradition or origin is not a valid way to justify a basis in true religion. Islam does not even have the fig-leaf excuse of having been historically made up by Jews.

Anonymous VD September 02, 2012 5:38 PM  

Did my reply just get deleted?

Given that I just wrote about 10 legitimate comments getting spam-trapped every day, I would think the logical conclusion would be that your comment has been spam-trapped and will be released when it is discovered....

Anonymous dh September 02, 2012 6:54 PM  

> I've seen enough crazy theories turn out to have some basis in truth that I simply don't discount them
> the way most people do. Hope this helps.

It does. I am immediately biased because when I read your column, the WND site takes great pains to allow just about every crackpot theory equal inches, right besides above/below your columns. Then I come here and see some offhanded comments, and it goes all blurry.

Based on a post you wrote a while back about hits you get in comparison to other columnists, I can't imagine you write for WND for the exposure. And since you pretty actively shun the spotlight of mass-media punditry, I can't imagine why you work for WND. Driving traffic to the blog is pretty much the best explanation, but regardless, it makes it tough to figure out which posts are worth thinking about, and which ones are frivoulous.

I am pretty sure at least part of it is because of my sub-standard reading skills.

Anonymous Stilicho September 02, 2012 6:57 PM  

On a related note, please don't tell me I'm right....

Meh. You're only right when you agree with me. Which happens far too often if you ask me.

Anonymous ridip September 02, 2012 7:03 PM  

Stingray, you need know nothing more about Pinterest than it is porn for women. As bad as Facebook is, delete all the men and Pinterest is what you have left.

Anonymous Marellus September 02, 2012 7:22 PM  

Vox.

I don't like you. I really don't like you. But I'll admit that you're one very clever fellow.

As for the fate of Jon Snow, you'll see him resurrected in the following novels as Azor Ahai. Why ?

Note : Spoiler alert for 'Game of Thrones' readers.

"There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him."

A woods witch prophesied that the Prince-That-Was-Promised would be born from the line of Prince Aerys and Princess Rhaella. When Aegon V heard the prophecy he arranged the marriage between the two.

And who is Azor Ahai ?

Darkness lay over the world and a hero, Azor Ahai, was chosen to fight against it. To fight the darkness, Azor Ahai needed to forge a hero's sword. He labored for thirty days and thirty nights until it was done. However, when he went to temper it in water, the sword broke. He was not one to give up easily, so he started over. The second time he took fifty days and fifty nights to make the sword, even better than the first.

To temper it this time, he captured a lion and drove the sword into its heart, but once more the steel shattered. The third time, with a heavy heart, for he knew beforehand what he must do to finish the blade, he worked for a hundred days and nights until it was finished. This time, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast. He drove his sword into her breast, her soul combining with the steel of the sword, creating Lightbringer.


So why Jon Snow then ?

1)Jon's wounds smoke while Bowen Marsh cries, providing the prophecised salt, and Ser Patrek's bloody, star laden heraldry is in the air above.

2)When Melisandre looks into her fires for Azor Ahai, she sees only things to do with Jon or snow, which he thinks must just be ash but she sees a possible connection to Jon.

3)Jon Snow has a dream where he fights the Others with a red sword burning in his hand.

4)If having the Blood of the Dragon is a prerequisite, if Jon's father is truly Rhaegar, Jon would satisfy that prerequisite. He would be the grandson of Aerys and Rhaella and thus come from their line.

5)Jon chose his duty to the Night's Watch over his love for Ygritte. He indirectly caused her death by warning Castle Black of the incoming wildling raid. Similar to Azor Ahai sacrificing Nissa Nissa to complete Lightbringer.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Azor_Ahai/Theories

So why is Jon Snow a Targaryen ?

Anonymous paradox September 02, 2012 7:23 PM  

duckman September 02, 2012 5:14 PM

|||James Dixon September 02, 2012 9:25 AM


The designated hitter is indefensible. :)|||

Is too defensible. So there!

:p


The hell you say... wash your mouth out... now! The designated hitter is an abomination to baseball.

National League... 4 life!!! xp

Blogger RobertT September 02, 2012 7:25 PM  

This is the best blog on the internet.

"How come you don't criticize Martin?"
I assume this is a joke.

Anonymous Marellus September 02, 2012 7:28 PM  

(Continued)

Many readers believe that Jon is not the son of Eddard Stark. Instead, he is the son of Prince Rhaegar Targayen and Eddard's sister Lyanna. Rhaegar and Lyanna disappeared together to the Tower of Joy early in Robert's Rebellion. There, it's believed, Rhaegar leaves a pregnant Lyanna to defend his family's dynasty.

At the end of Robert's Rebellion, about one year later, Eddard and his companions find three of the Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy: Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower, Ser Oswell Whent, and Ser Arthur Dayne. The reasons for their presence and the ensuing fight are unknown, but defending the unborn son of the Heir Apparent would be a good reason to have been posted. The only known survivors of the fight were Eddard himself and Howland Reed. Eddard recalls his sister dying "in a bed of blood," where he made her an unknown promise just before she died.

Also, while Robb, Sansa, Bran and Rickon are said to have Tully features (hair color, eyes), Jon and Arya are said to be closer in appearance (which had made Sansa believe Arya was also a bastard like Jon, until her mother put Sansa's theory down). Arya is said to resemble Lyanna.

Further evidence to the truth in this theory in the eighth Eddard chapt of A Game of Thrones, in which Ned contemplates the significance of King Robert's bastards. As he muses Neds thoughts drift to Jon Snow, a logical segue, but also to his sister Lyanna, the promise he made her, and to Rhaegar Targaryen, implying some tacit link between the three individuals.

With Eddard beheaded by King Joffrey, Howland Reed is the only living person who knows the nature of Lyanna's death and what she made her brother promise.


http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Jon_Snow/Theories#Lyanna_Stark

Now Vox, if I'm wrong about this, I'll happily swim butt-naked across the Potomac during rush-hour in Winter ... ah ... you're grinning Vox ... then note that your name will be on my arse then ...

Blogger Unknown September 02, 2012 7:43 PM  

I check out the blog every day. Don't comment much anymore, because my opinion is of little value, and time is short.


When I first came around here, and Vox allowed comments I had the obsessive need to comment on everything. I'm sure it grated on everyones nerves.

The comments are an essential part of the experience here. Vox posts something, and many times it is the debate in the comments which helps me decide whether he is full of it or that he got one right.

Oh, and I miss Bane. Can't believe I am saying that, but that crazy guy was entertainment gold.

Someone commented about debating style learned here and Facebook. Yeah, they just can't take a serious beat down. I baited them with a Willard "mittens" Romney rant the other day, and then when some of them tried to defend the @#**#$%, I dropped the hammer on them. Got called cruel, unkind, harsh, arrogant, and a Demonrat. Seems that the Repukes can't take the heat

Blogger Unknown September 02, 2012 7:44 PM  

The above comment is mine.

farmer Tom

I can not get my computer to accept the comment system.

Anonymous zen0 September 02, 2012 7:45 PM  

@ Question:
Just to clarify what I meant by moon gods I refer to the claim that Allah is based on some tribal Arabic moon god instead of the god of Christianity. I see that a lot on the other bible thumper web sites I peruse and it wasn't out of place here.

What do you mean by 'not out of place'? Is it that your unilateral categorization of sites as BT or not BT includes a proscribed appearance of claims of Allah as a moon god? Somewhat like your tendency to project features of one blog to another would not be "out of place" in your flawed grasp of reality?

Anonymous Grinder September 02, 2012 7:57 PM  

I like this blog. The topics are often of interest, an extremely wide range of comment is permitted, and I'm often learning something new and useful. It would be improved if people put their fine brains towards coming up with solutions to the problems of the world instead of just laying on dozens of clever sarcastic comments about how things are not working out presently as they should.
Ideally, Vox should be more of a strongman despot-blogger but his style is more laissez-faire libertarian - as in just let it play out and perhaps something useful will come out of it.

Anonymous Grinder September 02, 2012 8:03 PM  

The comments are an essential part of the experience here. Vox posts something, and many times it is the debate in the comments which helps me decide whether he is full of it or that he got one right.

Oh, and I miss Bane. Can't believe I am saying that, but that crazy guy was entertainment gold.


I've read Bane's postings. He was intelligent but I got the impression he was volatile and violent. There's lots of talk on the internet like that but from him it really seemed to ring true. Guys like that make me nervous. I think crazy is accurate.

Anonymous Stingray September 02, 2012 8:41 PM  

ridip,

Not to worry, I don't do the social networking sites, but I checked out Spacebunny's Pinterest and it has some great homeschooling stuff on it. Porn or not, I can't pass up a couple of the ideas she had there for my kids. ;)

Good chicken recipes, too.

Blogger Galt-in-Da-Box September 02, 2012 8:56 PM  

Would be a shame if the plebes responded by boycotting his dreck, wouldn't it.

Anonymous zen0 September 02, 2012 9:07 PM  

@ Grinder:
It would be improved if people put their fine brains towards coming up with solutions to the problems of the world...

Your charge is frivolous. Many solutions are presented, with the understanding that of course they will not be implemented.

Man is fallen. The problems will continue no matter what solutions are presented. The only final solution is the Kingdom of God.

Meanwhile, the spectacle of the continuing trainwreck provides a source of entertainment and instruction, much like watching the activities in the monkey compound at the zoo, only more complex, disturbing, and profound.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews September 02, 2012 9:48 PM  

Thanks Markku. Any idea what I should explicitly whitelist?

Sorry Vox, I thought it was automatically deleted when it was spam trapped. I will work a little slower in the future.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews September 02, 2012 9:49 PM  

The negativity is what gets me down more about a place like lewrockwell.com. Though being positive about the way things are headed is a bit tough. Kind of like noticing the nice paint job on a car rushing toward the edge of a cliff.

Anonymous Robert in Arabia September 02, 2012 10:53 PM  

Group Polarization and the Fad of Ethnomasochism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppIS19La8W8&feature=player_embedded

Anonymous The other skeptic September 02, 2012 10:54 PM  

Some reporter things gold is backed by nothing

Anonymous paige September 02, 2012 11:00 PM  

I used to manage 20 to 300 coments a post on my blog. There is little work at all in that. Writing interesting stuff everyday that is hard. That part was more than i could keep doing

Blogger Brian September 02, 2012 11:05 PM  

Though I rarely post comments of my own, this is one of the few blogs I follow that I make sure to open a new tab to read all the comments that come with each post. The discussion is usually quite interesting.

Blogger Unknown September 02, 2012 11:31 PM  

totally OT,

Vox, I thought you might find this link interesting,

just got a link to it from a FB friend,

Doug Wead

farmer Tom

Anonymous Idle Spectator September 03, 2012 12:39 AM  

I've read Bane's postings. He was intelligent but I got the impression he was volatile and violent. There's lots of talk on the internet like that but from him it really seemed to ring true. Guys like that make me nervous. I think crazy is accurate.

OH yes. True. I read his BaneRants blog html-cover to html-cover (I read very fast). Except one correction, replace intelligent with "freaking brilliant." He was also definitely an alcohol abuser, despite how "in control" he thought he was. I can tell because he had a fair blond complexion, and his drinking triggered Rosacea, which means he was beating the living hepatocytes out of his liver.

Just imagine what Bane could have accomplished if he hadn't been so volatile, got rid of the alcohol problem, and had not gotten the sociopathic tendencies from a poor and violent childhood. But then he would not be Bane. The blog would be renamed SaneRants, with pictures of daffodils and puppy dogs.


Just imagine.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews September 03, 2012 1:09 AM  

It is amazing that some can have a rough childhood and do well in spite of it while it determines the course of their life for others.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza September 03, 2012 1:10 AM  

Great post, it garners more respect for VP and commenters. VP allows discourse, debate, a few rants within the guidelines of what is appropriate. I thank VP/SB for the blog.

But also it is educational for people like to me reign in my own words. For example, I confused/forget there was no RNC convention in Charlotte in 2002 or 2003, it was a repub leadership workshop.

As for deleting comments, out of mercy, delete whatever stupid things I post.

Blogger Spacebunny September 03, 2012 1:29 AM  

Stingray, you need know nothing more about Pinterest than it is porn for women

Of all of the descriptions of Pinterest I've seen this has to be the dumbest.

Anonymous tiredofitall September 03, 2012 1:51 AM  

"Only a man who spends his days with his nose up his own ass could mistake the scent of freedom for bullshit." - VD

Vox that has to be hyperbole, or how else would all the people commenting on his site get the time to kiss his ass as much as they do?

Anonymous Noah B. September 03, 2012 2:00 AM  

This blog is a rare gem, and the discussions here have made me reevaluate many of my own ideas too. Sure, a turd turns up in the punch bowl every once in a while, but they help keep the place interesting.

Anonymous tron3dfx September 03, 2012 4:40 AM  

"This may not be the best blog on the Internet, but I do hope that it is at least among the most open to ideas, however crazy they might be, and to genuine debate and discussion. I know I have changed my mind on numerous topics, from universal suffrage to free trade, as a direct result of the discussions that have taken place here, and I suspect I am not the only one." - VD

Holy freaking cow amen to that brother! I don't post often, but I read pretty much every day. Usually, more often than not, I find the discussions/debates here most extremely worth the while.

Anonymous tdm September 03, 2012 6:16 AM  

Short answer: I come here for the humor.

I suppose I come here because I bore easily (this seems to be the only trait VD and I have in common) and VD and some of the Ilk are the most interesting people I have ever met.

I know I come here to sharpen my reading and understanding skills so I can understand GOD's Word better.

Anonymous Stingray September 03, 2012 9:04 AM  

Spacebunny,

I rather liked it. It's organized, it's efficient and it's pretty. I didn't look at anyone else's page on the site, but I thought your page was very nice. I can't wait to try the tin foil craft. We have a budding artist and a school room needing original wall decorations. School starts tomorrow and I have several new ideas now that I didn't have before. Thank you for telling me about it. Also, tortellini soup, mmmmmm.

Then again, I am a woman, so why wouldn't I like it?

Anonymous CaptDMO September 03, 2012 1:59 PM  

Yeah. Shut down the comments because "It's just too hard to manage the volume."
Kinda' Like McElroy dumping all the archives "Because we're just too popular."
The plethora of well reasoned commentary that
1. Dismantled the "positions" she (and Brad) defended, and
2. The curious regularity that critics responses were coming to fruition in the "real" world.

Almost as if the comments, and addressable/oft referanced archives, were frequented by um...un-classically "educated" sociology/psycology sci-fi writers!

Access denied! Kinda' like Obama Resume/CV, and AGW "research" data?

Anonymous Shutterbug September 03, 2012 3:55 PM  

Look, if it were impossible to comment at this blog, we would never have been treated to such gems as the following:

"He looked like an epileptic retard trying to eat ice cream under a disco ball."

and

"Well I for one am looking forward to the auniggeration."

This kind of discourse is simply found nowhere else, and resulted in my laptop needing to wiped down due to my drink being spilled because I laughed so hard.

Anonymous Poli_Mis September 03, 2012 11:15 PM  

No other site has challenged and in some cases completely changed what I believe like this one. And all of it based on rational debate found ONLY in the comments which thankfully Vox participates. That is the pure gold part. Vox is brilliant but that is because he basks in the glow of his Dread Ilk.

Whoever said the biker bar thing was spot on. This place is awesome. Even the stuff on the jukebox is cool here. Except that completely awful Nordic metal stuff. And I honestly love nearly all legitimate music. But let's have some limits here. Heck, I am listening to Flight of Icarus at this very moment.

Vox's biggest sin in my opinion is his panning of The Beatles. I wholeheartedly disagree with him. But then again I forgive him and his love for awful synth bass powered pop. As a bass player, that is worse than kryptonite crossed with the smell of rendered hog fat.

OpenID Lana September 04, 2012 12:31 AM  

I've been reading this blog on a daily basis for the better part of a year, comments and all. As others have said upthread, the comments have helped me flesh out the arguments involved as I came late to some of the ideas presented here. I don't comment because I don't think my comments would add to the discussion, but I do value the comments and most of the participants. This never happens on any other blog or forum I have ever read. Generally, the post is what is the most interesting idea and the comment section is a wasteland I don't read past comment 10. This is the only place I have run across where that was not the case. And Vox and the comment section have changed my mind about quite a number of things and I appreciate it.

Anonymous Bob Ramar September 04, 2012 3:22 AM  

...late in due to a trip. Thank you Vox for the blog! Proverbs 27:17 says "Iron sharpeneth iron..." which is why I am glad this forum exists. I learn a lot and enjoy reading the opinions and thoughts of the participants, especially the 'dread ilk' and appreciate being able to join in with a comment from time to time. Thanks again!

Anonymous DonReynolds September 04, 2012 2:46 PM  

Thank you.

Anonymous Daniel September 04, 2012 4:44 PM  

Now Scalzi has a picture of the woman he was almost too scared to dance with, hoisting a monument to his inability to handle dissent.

Blogger The Aardvark September 05, 2012 10:58 AM  

Fa-CHAY-book is the monument to your point, Vox; a virtual soapbox from which to narcissistically whinge, because EVERYONE deserves "my" opinion. Dissent is dealt with by either passive-aggressive screeds, or a swift stroke of unfriending.

That Facebook refers to the one-line bleat as a "story" is yet another sign of The End of Things.

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