Saturday, December 30, 2006

Something strange in Staunton's water supply?

In the Daily Progress veteran political writer Bob Gibson zeroes in on the role that Rep. Virgil Goode’s now infamous anti-Muslim letter is playing in Virginia’s real world of politics, and in a somewhat distorted reflection of that world -- Virginia’s teaming blogosphere.

“...Goode’s unapologetic comments about cutting off immigration from the Middle East and warning against more Muslims in the Congress capture a spirit of anti-immigrant fervor generally popular among rank-and-file Republicans. More moderate Republicans from U.S. Sen. John W. Warner, R-Alexandria, to Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-Fairfax County, don’t speak for that large segment of the GOP faithful. Goode is carrying the ball for a lot of people in the economically distressed southern half of his sprawling rural district.”

Then Gibson turns his sights on a parallel brouhaha that has splattered from one edge of the blogosphere to the other over the holidays:

“...Waldo Jaquith, a prolific Charlottesville blogger on the left side of the political spectrum, drew the line at a few graphic images one of the pro-Goode, anti-Muslim bloggers posted depicting the beheading of an American in Iraq by Islamic terrorists. He removed the offending images and the blogger from his well-read political blog aggregator. Jaquith runs one of the few aggregators that shows every blog entry on about 170 Virginia political blogs - left, right, center or out there -- offering a political commons for discussion and well-rounded reading.

“Formerly known as the Virginia Political Blogs, Jaquith’s commons now appears as Waldo’s Virginia Political Blogroll, born last week after a 132-part discussion about his decision to delist the blogger who thought photos of a beheaded American added heft to his point of view.

“A few right-wing blogs named after donkeys and dogs have taken themselves out of the commons, or have been tossed out, presumably to go where grass is greener and debate is leaner, or more one-sided.”

Click here to read the entire Gibson piece.

It seems the Boycott Waldo movement was mostly centered in the Staunton area. I don’t know how many different people it really involved, but I'm left to wonder why Republicans in that part of Virginia seem so different than others?

Or, could there be a hidden reason beyond clashing brands of conservatism for a clique of rightwing bloggers to have turned on Jaquith, then their fellow Republican bloggers in the ODBA. What would make them do that?

Well, I don’t know what sort of plots may have been really been behind this situation. But maybe there’s a bizarre reason for all this bizarre behavior, a reason no one has thought of.

Maybe it’s even something as off-the-wall as this: There’s a Werner Herzog film called “Heart of Glass” (1976) that is supposedly drawn from a true story in which a whole village in Eastern Europe wigged out because a natural hallucinogen was contaminating the water supply. It put the entire population in a zombie-like trance. Sounds a little like some parties I almost remember in the 1970s, but I digress...

It’s said that director Herzog actually hypnotized the actors in order to get them to perform as strangely as they do in this movie.

So, maybe something weird has gotten into the water out there in the part of Virginia where Interstate 64 intersects with Interstate 81?

And, if some nefarious somebody did slip a mickey into the public water supply for those bloggers that Gibson mentioned -- named after donkeys and dogs -- who in hell would do such a thing?

Lefty bloggers? Communists, or maybe Muslims?


Anonymous said...

It's communist infiltration that threatens our precious bodily fluids...

Anonymous said...

I think Bob Gibson pays too much attention to the blog world and not enough attention to the real world. The same is certainly true for most bloggers as well. There may be 250 or so people (tops) in the whole state of VA who know or care one whit about some stupid feud between a faux teenage attorney and Waldo Jaquith. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Virginians are working full-time jobs and still living below the poverty line. (Minimum wage increase, anyone?) Please, Bob, focus less on what your blogger friends think is important and more on what the vast majority of Virginians think is important. You know, stuff like roads, and schools, and wages, and housing costs, and crime, and mass transit, and sprawl, and global warming, and racial/religious bigotry, and homophobia, and taxes, get my drift. That's where you really shine, Bob Gibson.

zen said...

I'm in Staunton and so far I've been able to avoid the rightwing koolaid...but would I really be able to tell??
Monday marks 2 years since I've stepped foot into Wal*Mart....that may have something with my immunity.

Karen Duncan said...

It's not necessarily the water, Terry. There's a mold that sometimes gets into rye wheat called ergot (or something like that - my middle aged memory sometimes fails me).

Scientists think it may have been responsible for several outbreaks of very strange behavior, including some of the hallucinatory incidents involving the witch hysteria in the Middle Ages.

It's properties are similar to those of LSD.

Perhaps the good bloggers of Staunton eat too much rye bread?

What does need to be taken more seriously, though, is how much of the anti-immigration fervor whipped up and exploited by the Virgil Goodes of the Republican Party is coming from those who work for minimum wage and are insecure about their jobs. The anonymous poster had a good point on concentrating more on real issues and less on underaged bloggers with over inflated egos who pose as lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rea,

My name is Charlie Fugate and I'm a right leaning blogger from SWVA and a member of the ODBA.I'm probably more conservative on most issues than just about anyone on the ODBA. Whether the intent is entertainment or information, blogging has been a tremendous joy for me.

That having been said, I feel I must bring up a valid point to the conversation that is being carried on in these comments. I have recently visited The Richmond Democrat, and with the exception of the post on the War in Iraq and two or three posts on Virginia Unionists, the entire page above the fold was about outing "Alex" and claiming another victim in the fraudulent blogger saga, or about what the ODBA should do.

I will grant you one argument, if you are clamining to be something you're not, you better be willing to pay the price if you are found out. However, I find it difficult to take folks on TRD seriously when all I see is posts about the ODBA and Alex. I have yet to examine the archives more fully, but I have yet to see substantive ideas and constructive dialogue regarding ideas both in the GA and in the upcoming Congress.

Please don't take this comment the wrong way. I don't intend to attack you or TRD. I've been guilty of getting wrapped up in the saga myself.

Please accept my best wishes for a prosperous New Year!!!

Charlie Fugate

F.T. Rea said...


This episode has been about a number of things, among them the prankster blogger who has used everyone on all sides of this soap opera like they were his/her tools. But other concerns were in play, too.

I‘m a freedom-of-speech guy from way back. Paid my dues. And, I don‘t like to see that righteous defense abused by craven opportunists. So, I jumped into this thing with both feet.

And, at this point I think it’s fair to say the debate was mostly good for the blogosphere. It has made some very opinionated people think seriously about where they want to draw certain lines in their own self-publishing endeavors, to do with fair play, loyalty and decency.

F.T. Rea said...

Charlie Fugate,

Your comments are welcome here, regardless of how far your lean left or right.

Occasionally I’ve gotten some crank comments from (mostly anonymous) readers that were a nuisance. Still, I usually enjoy hearing from people I don’t know, who have read my posts and care enough to say something about one of them. That’s a good part of why SLANTblog exists.

That said, it seems your beef is with Richmond Democrat, not me. Maybe you should say some of that stuff to him.

Charlie Bishop said...

Forget it Charlie. You lost him when you admitted to being conservative...

F.T. Rea said...

I’m Not Emeril,

Well, now that the dust has almost settled, it seems a few bloggers that wanted to get some attention have had their 15 minutes of fame/infamy. Over the last few days they've been huddled in a group sulk, preoccupied with insulting fellow conservatives for not being willing to jump off a cliff with them. Oh yes, and bragging about how they fooled everybody.

Please note, although I don’t know you, I’ve read some of your posts over the last year. And frankly, I’ve been surprised that a man of your vintage and insight threw in with them.

By the way, here’s something you might find mildly surprising -- I haven’t sent or received one email about this business, to or from a single lefty blogger, including Waldo Jaquith, since it started. My posts and comments have been out in the open for all to see.

So, the vast liberal conspiracy that GGD’s twitchy support group has seemed to imagine existed didn’t include me.

A week ago you asked me what I thought prominent conservative bloggers ought to do. Now I think you've gotten your answer from some of them. All in all, this exercise was probably good for the blogosphere. It certainly has made us all think more about what blogging teams or alliances are all about. What do they stand for, and what do the members owe to one another?

In closing, I wish you a happy new year.

Anonymous said...

I guess I have strongly mixed feelings about this. On one hand, derision aimed at particular cities or regions, even if meant in good fun, is still tacky. (Especially if it's an area where you live!) Reinforcing stereotypes is just not helpful, and many of us on the Right do NOT fit the pattern you describe. On the other hand, there is clearly something amiss with the conservative movement right now, not just in the Staunton area, so you may have put your finger on an emerging phenomenon that deserves further scrutiny. As for our water supply (hey, I'm just playing along), I know there have been fish kills in the South River, possibly due to mercury poisoning from the old textile plant in Waynesboro, but that wouldn't affect the tap water, which comes from a pristine mountain reservoir.

Spank That Donkey said...

The score card sure looks to be in our favor Terry :-)

This episode brought out a lot more that we didn't know about the Allen campaign...

oh, and maybe Waldo didn't email you because he was busy lobbying every Pub he could get his hands on... emails to you don't matter to us...

You really don't know about people until you get into a fight about principles, and meet some adversity....

Then the votes are cast...