21 Feb 2008

Language Hat goes from 'hot' to 'not' in 7 days

Not only five days ago, Language Hat's positive mention of my blog was an honour because I respected him as a skillful writer. While his review mentioned skepticism towards my views on a 'Proto-Aegean' language family from which Etruscan would derive, there is obviously ample room to disagree on that. I use my blog to both inform and explore new ideas. So I expect my readers to distinguish an established theory from a conjecture or to disagree when I've gone overboard with specific points rather than childish name-calling. At any rate, things were going kosherly for a while but it hasn't taken long for things to sour on his site.

John Emerson, one of his regular commenters, set the tone for the incoherence that would follow:

"His anti-Dravidian bias vitiates Gordon's entire research projects. Hard words, but the truth."
Strike one. After this fallacious statement that Emerson fabricated out of random fragments of pseudo-intellectual jibberish, I decided to investigate this odd character further only to find that he maintains a rather 'erratic' website filled with this same childishness which is devoted to simply shaking a fist at the establishment without goal. What value among adults is a person who disguises his disdain for structure as a form of 'comedy'?

After three whole days, Language Hat finally found the time to redress things (and only after some of my readers questioned Emerson):

"That's John's little joke. He pretends to believe that everything is descended from Dravidian. Don't mind him."
Strike two. It's mentally perverse to expect readers to waste their time weeding through trollish drivel to get to the good stuff. I would definitely call that a lack of appreciation for one's audience. Intelligent adults don't come to academic-oriented blogs to read flame wars caused by a resident troll. They want blogs to inform them and inspire them with new insights on a subject. Anything less can be easily replaced by a computer program. Unfortunately, this lack of comment moderation goes on and the blogauthor doesn't know when to stop:

"Hey now, I didn't say you were wrong about Proto-Aegean, just that talk of such things makes me nervous. As I'm sure you're aware, in the wrong hands such talk can be a sign of all sorts of weirdness."
At this point, something is obviously lost in translation since I never object to disagreement if it's grounded on facts, but this persistent insinuation of 'weirdness' is condascending rhetoric which attempts to both imply something negative about the addressee while dodging logical debate about what was actually claimed by the person. At this point, I look at Language Hat as merely a puppet, whether consciously or unconsciously, for John Emerson's scholastic Dadaism.

Some of my own readers piped up and presented themselves well but coherency was short-lived when another troll under the rather expected nickname "Anonymous" decided to chime in with more rhetoric:
"Gordon talks the talk but doesn't quite walk the walk."
And then today, this gem that obviously sinks to a new low of lunacy in order to desperately discredit my Etruscan language database project that never hurt anyone:
"The guy seems unbalanced and possibly mentally unstable."

Strike three, you're out. How can one ever respond intelligently to such a desperate attack? It speaks for itself. Whether we can say that Language Hat is a direct contributor to this commentbox madness or merely a passive middleman, it conveys a total lack of respect for not only me but also his readers who are forced to weed through mindless trash in order to find anything informative if at all. Without comment moderation, a blogger diminishes the value of his or her blog. This latest fiasco demonstrates why it's important for bloggers to be clear-headed and assertive on policies from the beginning concerning what comments are beneficial and what comments are without value to even publish. On my blog, people like Emerson are always deleted. There is no space here for chitchats about alien conspiracies, bigfoot or the latest discovery of Noah's Ark because those kinds of unmoderated blogs and websites are a dime a dozen. And we obviously don't need to go around mudslinging others to feel alive, do we? We're all looking for something better than that and this blog is about linguistics first and foremost. Not comedy or stupidity. Free speech isn't free.

Therefore, I've eradicated Language Hat from my blog. In the end, you have to laugh though. Why compliment someone and then immediately afterwards try so hard to rip out their heart and eat it? It's really over-the-top.


  1. Glen, I have no idea what you're on about. I like your blog and I was defending you against attack. If you were expecting me to delete all jokes and comments that are not supportive of you, that's not how LH works. I believe in freedom of speech for everyone, not just those I agree with. I hope you'll reconsider.

  2. Emerson's Dravidian jokes is a long running theme at LH, I'm sure no personal malice or disrespect was intended to you. Your response I believe would strike most people as churlish and hypersensitive. You have only succeeded in burning yet more bridges, to what end?

  3. We have jokes at Languagehat, and for that reason, you will not be comfortable there.

    My joke was not even directed at you. It's a LH standing joke.

    Before your tirade, LH and several others were favorable disposed toward you. Now, not so much.

    You must have read a lot of my blog to find the Dada, because the opening posts are about the relationships between theoretical reasoning, practical reasoning, and ethical reasoning. The Dada is buried pretty deep at the moment.

  4. Language Hat: "I believe in freedom of speech for everyone, not just those I agree with."

    Yes, you believe that supporting the rights of meaningless speech trumps support for coherent and mindful speech. Evidently you can't seperate the two and think that this relativistic slush is somehow good for the reader. Bye bye, now.

    Your rejection of me delights me very much. This is not the blog for wikitrolls. Society has rules about what speech is acceptable and what isn't and there's just no escaping that. One day you'll understand this instead of fighting against the wind under three seperate nicknames.

  5. (In fact it's deeply suspect that Language Hat, John Emerson and Vanya rush to my commentbox like children opening up Christmas presents, all within a mere half-hour. Talking about borg-like mental telepathy!)

  6. John Emerson: "My joke was not even directed at you."

    Newsflash: The average surfer has no clue who "John Emerson" is from Adam, nor are we necessarily versed in the internal politics and jokes of a small little asylum called "Language Hat". It's like giggling at the sun and then telling someone who doesn't understand your strange sense of humour that they're stupid or mean for not laughing too.

    So you find Dravidian 'funny'... Mmm... okay. {nervous laugh} Whatever makes you happy, eh.

  7. Vanya: "Your response I believe would strike most people as churlish and hypersensitive."

    I'm confident that intelligent adults will see the statement of "The guy seems unbalanced and possibly mentally unstable" as antisocial and deranged. My blog isn't interested in giggly children who can't talk about linguistics.

    Your tactics in social politics were what Nostratic-L tried to do. They suffered greatly for their rhetorical indulgences with a big drop in member involvement that has never recovered to this day. Your choice.