Article off the keyboard of RE
Podcast off the microphones of RE & Monsta
Published on the Doomstead Diner on August 4, 2013
Discuss this article at the Guerrilla Internet Free Speech Table inside the Diner
Last week in the Sunday Brunch article I discussed the problems of Censorship in the Commentary of many if not most Collapse Blogs & Forums. This is just one prong of a multi-faceted issue of developing real debate about what is certainly the most Important Topic of Our Time, if not the most Important Topic of ALL TIME. If Collapse leads to the Near Term Extinction of Homo Sapiens per Guy McPherson, this debate fits the latter category.
The issue I would like to discuss this week is the lack of a real Dialogue between what now is a fairly large community of “Collapse Professionals”. The lack of Dialogue is a corollary problem to the Commentary Censorship problem, and follows directly from it.
I began my investigation into Collapse Dynamics not as a Blogger, not as an Academic Researcher, but as a member of the Commentariat of the Peak Oil Message Board, back in what was its heyday during the financial collapse of 2008. In the case of a Forum as opposed to a Blog, all the folks in there discussing the issues are relatively Equal, though some are more Equal than others once they rise to the level of the Mod Squad on the Forum. Said designation usually comes after a Commenter has spent enough time on the board and is sufficiently in line with the Group Think of the website to be asked onto the moderating staff.
Much different dynamic exists on Blogs by a single author, where that Blogger is KING, and generally expects the Commentariat to be Humble and appreciative of his/her Greatness. If you post consistently CRITICAL commentary on the Blog, you get the designation of “Troll”. Anyone who disagrees often enough and at enough length to give the blogger a headache is a “Troll”. LOL.
Returning to the Forum dynamic, there basically everyone is an Expert with their own ideas, but in terms of justifying those ideas what they often do is take Quotes from recognized “Collapse Stars”, who in those days back on Peak Oil included authors like Joseph Tainter (Collapse of Complex Societies) or researchers like Richard Duncan (the Olduvai Theory). Who NEVER shows up in the commentary to discuss what these guys wrote about? The AUTHOR himself! So you can’t actually discuss these ideas with the guy who originally wrote about them, only acolytes who use the material to justify their own POV.
In many cases today though, the Authors of Books and Theories on Collapse run their own Blogs as well, and sometimes they allow commentary; occassionally they actually participate in the commentary; and sometimes they allow no comentary at all on the blog. In the case of those who do allow commentary and who do occassionally respond as well, the real Collapse Afficionado may drop in to discuss some ideas expressed in the authors latest Blog. That is where then the Censorship begins taking place as mentioned above and in the last article. So you do not get real dialogue going on these Blog Commentaries either, because everyone who posts up is expected to pay homage to the Author’s Greatness, not take him to task for his ideas.
There is still ANOTHER effect of this dynamic, which is Who ALMOST NEVER shows up on the Blog of a Collapse Star to discuss ideas they have which conflict with the ideas of the Blog Proprietor? Other Collapse Stars! So what would really be the MOST INTERESTING of Dialogues, two Pundits with conflicting ideas about Collapse facing down in a Commentary and Challenging each other on their ideas NEVER HAPPENS!
There are MANY subjects in the Collapse Panopoly of Ideas which have various Pundits with Diametrically Opposed conclusions about Collapse Dynamics which would benefit from these folks directly discussing Publically their ideas with each other. A few I can think of off hand would be say John Williams (Hyperinflationista) and Nicole Foss (Deflationato). John Michael Greer (Slow Catabolic Collapse) and David Korowicz (Fast Systemic Collapse). Antal Fekete (Gold Bug) and Ellen Brown (Debt Free Credit Money). I could go on and on with this, but of course the fact of the matter is none of these folks ever show up in the Commentary of their Evil Twin to hash it out online.
Why do these folks who have fundamental disagreements rarely show up in the Commentary of another Collapse Star to debate the points? Reasons are many.
First off, generally speaking a Collapse Star is a Bizzy Person, working on his Next Book some days, working on his Next Blog other days, Booked for a Speaking Engagement other days, and of course most of them still have some IRL JOB they have to do also. Just responding in your OWN Commentariat if you run one is time consuming, much less travelling over to another Collapse Star’s Commentariat to take him to task for an opposing idea.
Second, the Collapse Star has more to LOSE than to GAIN by going Mano-a-Mano with another Collapse Star. If they get Bested in the Debate, their Rep is Diminished. When you go offsite to somebody else’s Blog, you are always of course in the position of subservience to the Blog Author, so even another Collapse Star could have his posting Censored at a certain point if he pursues the argument too long. This is what REALLY gets you identified as a “Troll” by a Blogger.
Here is how it goes, even for the Smarter than the Average Bear Troll like yours truly on a given Blog in the Commentary. This is generic, it has occured for me on Market Ticker (Denninger) and Dark Ages America (Berman).
I make Post #1, questioning some ideas presented in the Original Article. Collapse Star responds mostly amiably in Rebuttal, then I come back with Post #2, Dissecting the Rebuttal. Collapse Star responds a good deal LESS AMIABLY with the next Rebuttal, with perhaps a WARNING that if I continue, my Posting will be Sent to the Great Beyond. I respond with a 3rd Post, which usually does not show up but if it does is followed by Napalm from the Blog Author and I am Permanently BANNED from said Commentary. LOL. So MAX here you have about 3 posts before you are Identified as a “Troll”. A Troll is anyone who keeps going on an argument longer than the patience of the Collapse Star will hold out, which usually is around 3 posts. LOL.
Contrast that of course to the Debates that go on inside the Diner. We have numerous Debates here that run 30-50 PAGES in length, with each page harboring 15 posts on the topic, and often a Principal in the Debate will have a dozen or more rebuttals that each themselves is of Blog Length. Go to the Hyperinflation vs Deflation debate or the Waste Based Society debate to get examples of what I am talking about here. Said Debates go on for MONTHS, in perpetuity really. They are fundamental questions which constantly have new input from the Real World to hash over, that impact substantively on the debate. They never end, but that does not mean you don’t keep learning from them as they progress over time.
Anyhow, we have fairly successfully overcome the napalm issues involved with long debates here inside the Diner between the Diners (though we still do occassionally EXPLODE with a Napalm Contest), but that STILL does not get Collapse Stars dropping on inside the Diner to clarify issues they wrote about which we Cross Posted as fodder for discussion. So, STILL no ability here to make inquiries of the Original Author of the Ideas in a Free and Open Debate situation.
To resolve this issue somewhat on the Diner, we started doing Podcasts. In the Podcasts, we invite various Collapse Stars to come on and Pontificate on their philosophy, and whoever is doing the Podcast as Host (me and Monsta usually, but also other Diner Admins like Surly, WHD and Haniel) gets to ask them questions about their ideas. This has worked out very well generally speaking, we have some fabulous recordings with people like George Mobus, David Korowicz, John Michael Greer, Gail Tverberg, etc. However, we still do not have the situation where these folks directly discuss Collapse with EACH OTHER. That would be the Next Step I would hope to achieve with Diner Podcasts. Working with the Database Cavalry from California on jacking on some nifty Video Conferencing software to accomplish this next Techno-Feat on the Diner.
There are ISSUES with doing this of course, main one being again it is not necessarily in the interest of the Collapse Star to get involved in the Podcast where their Ideas might be seriously CHALLENGED. This was the Genesis of the No-Show of Charles Hugh Smith to a Podcast we scheduled a couple of weeks back, and led to the Charles Hugh Smithless Podcast Monsta and I did as a Comedy Sketch which heads this article. I sent Charles a Script of questions, along with questions embedded in a Post made by Agelbert, one of the most Active Diners. Charles was REPULSED by the tone of Agelbert’s questions, and emailed me that he did not want to participate in a Podcast where people were SCREAMING at each other in VOLUMINOUS DISSENSUS along the lines of a Rush Limbaugh show. Which we never do here in our Podcasts, but Charles did not bother to listen to any of them to see what goes on, he just nixed it and did not show up.
Still uncertain as to whether we can EVER get the various Collapse Stars together, either in Text Debate on the Diner Pages or in Verbal Debate on Diner Podcasts. IMHO, this kind of DIALOGUE is a necessary part of elucidating the TRUTH about the Collapse, and what we might do to ameliorate the consequences of reduced per capita energy as the Industrial Society spins down.
So I plug onward here, clearly not the most Popular Guy in the Collapse Blogosphere because I get on EVERYBODY’S Case for Censoring their Commentary and not engaging in Dialogue with others who ponder on the issues of Civilization Collapse in great detail. This discussion must take place in REAL TIME, here and now, because sure as fuck it is not taking place in the MSM or at the Political Level amongst the purported “Leadership’ class of our society. I put up the Diner as a place where ALL can Speak Free, Pundits and Commenters alike. Here on the Doomstead Diner, NO COMMENT ever gets DELETED. No Diner ever gets BANNED. That does not mean you are FREE to trash a debate with Napalm, you most certainly cannot do that here, because I will SQUASH YOU LIKE A BUG if you try that tactic. Been at this game a long time now, know all the tricks, BTDT myself on MANY boards. You cannot pursue this paradigm here. On the Diner, I am ADMIN.
POWER OF GOD ON A FORUM.