December 5, 2009

An Undebatable Line

Justin Katz

Contributorship has its advantages, among which is the right not to be called unnecessary names in the comments sections. Indeed, crossing that line is such a monumentally stupid thing for a commenter to do if he or she derives any value from participating in the ongoing discussions, here, that I can only conclude that the culprit isn't actually interested in maintaining that privilege.

For those who require an explanation, it's simple: Each contributor is more important, more valuable, to Anchor Rising than a slew of readers, even active readers. That's why we've asked him or her to step out from the shadows with a real name, actual contact information, and even a picture and take some ownership of the Anchor Rising brand. We're not paid for this, and dodging schoolyard insults on our own turf is an unacceptable negative.

And so, George Elbow's comments are no longer welcome on Anchor Rising. As always, sincere repentance will be accepted.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.


I was just beginning to understand George Elbow's comments and rants!

I must admit, I was reminded of a business associate we all wanted to pin a bull’s eye over his heart, load one of five rifles with a live shell (other four with blanks) and let all of us randomly select rifles, line up and all fire at bull’s eye target at same time.

Anchor Rising Blog can get rough at times. I feel it swings left to right; right to left or down the middle with comments depending upon the subject matter.

After living 60 years in RI I’ve seen and experienced more than you will ever (I also swung a hammer just like you for a living, worked private business, out of state instructor for a school system, government, military and survived four recessions).

In my retirement years (moved out of RI) living in Hawaii I’m beginning to understand there is a need for people like George Elbow, and Sara Palin to bring us back to reality even though I don’t know if George Elbow authored a fairy tale book yet!

Am I sticking up for George Elbow? NO!

Am I sticking up for crass unwarranted derogatory comments that have no subject matter bearing? NO! Because it demeans the rest of us who make comments on Anchor Rising.

Am I sticking up for right to open individual opinions? YES!

Humor me because I do log on everyday to see what the RI subject matter of choice and comments are. George Elbow and another contributor always tickled my intellectual funny bone with their comments and rants. If you read closely, George Elbow’s comments actually made you think and were actually constructive!

Of course as you know, I can’t keep myself from comparing the fantastic living, cost differences, tax savings and unions operations between HI to RI. The two states are like night and day even though both GAs are Democratic, Governors are both Republicans and HI has higher unionization than RI not to mention current President was born and raised in HI!

Posted by: Ken at December 5, 2009 9:47 PM


The reference to a firing squad is really not appropriate.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 5, 2009 10:39 PM


Thank you!

I will lower my expression of graphical descriptive feelings in the future!

Spending 2 tours in Viet Nam and working in RI ME’s Laboratory desensitizes a person.

I’ll watch my language and analogies in the future.

Oh by the way, I know it’s snowing back in RI (we already had snow on our mountain tops) but we will have 60 foot face waves on our Northern Shore this Monday for surfers generated by a huge Northern storm and swell that will be headed towards the mainland and New England.

At least we can get in the big-board surfing contests (40 foot face min required) this year!

Posted by: Ken at December 5, 2009 11:17 PM

You've got to be kidding!

Tell us it ain't so, banning George Elbow.

As Ken, a frequent sparring partner with GE, noted, GE always provided thought provoking commentary that typically resulted in additional commentary and exchange of ideas. Just look at the number of responses to a typical thread that GE contributed. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that threads GE contributed to ended up having far more than your average number of comments.

GE's thought provoking and usually spot on commentary was only equaled by the entertaining manner in which he ranted, which is an important ingredient if you want people to participate.

GE always engaged, never backed down from explaining and clarifying his views. The same can not be said of many of those he disagreed with. For example, a standard Bob Walsh post was a one line nonanswer.

I probably agreed with 90% of GE's commentary, which is probably the percentage he himself agreed with, but I always appreciated the banter he stirred.

Suggesting that someone who compares an A-Rod contract to a RI union imposed contract is stupid is not name calling. It is telling it like it is.

Calling someone a dope is not name calling when the target inaccurately quotes someone. At best, it is hook. As a reader, I read that and say to myself 'can't wait to see why someone is a dope'.

Will you be requiring BobN, Patrick, EMT, RaginRhodeIslander and the slew of other anomymous commentators to provide their name, rank and serial number?

Can we expect Andrew to demand that BobN create a front-yard sign advertising his view that the NEA is a 'corrupt thug orginization'?? Or are such demands reserved only for those that disagree with Andrew and refuse to back down in their beliefs?

If one of your missions is to generate and exchange ideas and views, you would better achieve that means by requiring your contributors to not provide their name, rank and serial number. That way the discussion is truly about the ideas and views expressed, leaving out the baggage that may come from providing name, rank and serial number.

There are various forums to exchange ideas. Some more formal than others. Human nature is such that we all think things and say things in private that we'd love to say in public if we could be assured that we wouldn't be retaliated against (that is probably why the individual that said the NEA is a 'corrupt thug organization" signed of with BobN and not his full name, address and picture. You shouldn't expect a blog to adhere to the same standards as the editorial page of the NY Times, or as GE suggested, a debate in a Harvard auditorium. More importantly, you shouldn't be so concerned about your contributors having hurt feelings. They know when they anonymously post to blogs that it can get a little more than rough. That is why they have the option of being anonymous.

Nor should you require different standards for one contributor versus another. Is labeling someone a union hack different than calling someone a parasite. Is asking someone if they are stupid different than asking them if they are a fascist?

Imposing your style upon contributors will only hurt in the long run. I hope you will reconsider your misguided ban of GE. Your blog is better with him than without him.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 6, 2009 2:48 PM


You're missing the distinction between "contributor" (those of us with a picture on the left-hand side of the screen) and "commenter." The rules are different for each, and I simply will not allow repeated disrespect of the contributors. Period. Crossing that line is an obnoxious and profoundly stupid thing to do.

But, hey, if a subset of Anchor Rising readers wish to abandon us in order to form and promote a blog that allows all the spit and bile that a human being cares to read on the Internet, they should feel at liberty to do so.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 6, 2009 3:54 PM

[Anonymous --- You are not as clever as you apparently believe yourself to be. You're done. --- JK]

Posted by: Anonymous at December 6, 2009 6:08 PM

Whew!!I really like the contributors here,even when I sometimes disagree(Justin)-I'm glad my crass,bilious,and scatological remarks re:Sheldon Whitehouse;Patrick Kennedy;Steve Brown;and Art Handy still seem to be okay.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 6, 2009 6:14 PM

Someone wrote:
"Will you be requiring BobN, Patrick, EMT, RaginRhodeIslander and the slew of other anomymous commentators to provide their name, rank and serial number?"

Anonymous? I don't know who BobN or RRI are, but everyone knows who EMT is, he's far from anonymous. As for me, if you have any clue at all, my name has been prominently on this site with an Engaged Citizen.

Posted by: Patrick at December 6, 2009 8:37 PM

I really have no desire to belabor this point, but would like to clarify one thing going forward.

Anyone who uses anonymity to launch personal insults at other commenters, is asked to make their points without the insults, and replies that that the crude invective is necessary to open the world's eyes, should not be surprised to be challenged about where else they are applying this principle. If the answer turns out to be "nowhere, but I have a God-given right to act out in the AR comments section and treat the people here like sh** in a way that I would never dare do in my own neighborhood or in front of real people", well, things are going to go downhill from there. Mostly for the commenter.

Commenters, anonymous or otherwise, who are able to interact with a basic level of civility to one another and focus on their reasoned arguments will never have to worry about being a part of this stupid dynamic. And it's never been a problem with more than a very few people.

Joe B., we've met in real life, and I will vouch that there's no difference between what you write in the comments and what you're willing to say in public.

And as Justin suggests above, since commenter Geor^H^H^H^HAnonymous thinks he has a better understanding of the dynamics of civic engagement through blogging than anyone here, he should start a blog of his own, and put us all to shame.

Posted by: Andrew at December 6, 2009 9:12 PM

I know you guys own the blog, so you call the shots. But I consider anyone who brings new perspective or expanded perspective to the discussion, a "contributor".

I consider myself a "commenter" because, for the most part I simply share my opion on the subject at hand and offer an occasional wise-crack.

I have always looked foward to George Elbow's contributions because they have offered well written, thoughtful analysis of the union-democrat vs. the rest of us dynamic - something very important considering the sad state of our home State.

So, as a frequent commenter, I would like to remind the "Management" that commenters do "contribute" and without commenters, your contributions are just bits and bytes in cyberspace.

Posted by: George at December 6, 2009 9:29 PM

We're all bits and bytes in cyberspace, George, and the very fact that the official contributors spend so much time participating in the comment-section discussions proves that we understand the value that commenters bring to the site. But whatever you want to call us --- contributors, The Ones With Pictures --- we've put our names on the thing. We're the ones who have to answer in public for the tone and content of the site. I'm the one who devotes a second full-time job's worth of hours keeping the thing operational for no pay to speak of.

So excuse "management" for insisting that there's a line between us and anonymous commenters who somehow feel they've a right to treat us as anything less than hosts.

I've been parrying requests (even demands) from all over the political spectrum to ban George Elbow probably for years, at this point, and it wasn't out of fear of offending people that I didn't comply.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 6, 2009 9:45 PM

As someone on the receiving end of many an Elbow tirade, I didn't take it personally.
I just considered the source.
I hate seeing somebody like that turned into a free speech martyr.

Posted by: rhody at December 6, 2009 10:35 PM

All George Elbow needs to do is open a Yahoo or other on-line account with free e-mail and hide behind a different anonomys name. Maybe this time he'll write words that he would actually say to a person face to face.

Posted by: michael at December 7, 2009 8:52 AM

Anonymous? I don't know who BobN or RRI are, but everyone knows who EMT is, he's far from anonymous.

Clearly I've been doing something wrong. The whole point of a nom de guerre is because I'd like to be able to express myself without risking my job, since I don't have a contract to protect me.

Posted by: EMT at December 8, 2009 12:29 PM


I never thought I'd see the day when that arrogant pain-in-the-butt would be banned from here. Kudo's Justin.

Unfortunately it took personal attacks against the contributors to do it.

I personally don't like blogging anonymously, although as EMT stated some people need the anonymity.

I believe, however, that if you are going to "get in someone's face" or continually insult someone you need to put your name to it. My opinion.

Anyway, I was on the receiving end of many of his insults and I am glad to see him gone.

Unfortunately I am still falling victim to him on He regularly posts idiotic statements under the pseudonym(sp?) "SelflessTKenney". He gets bounced and then suddenly reappears.

So much for those of you who might defend him. It's one thing to post insults here, where every regular poster knows what he's all about. But to post on under my name is a crime.

Posted by: Tom Kenney at December 9, 2009 9:45 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.