On Partisanship

One of the big complaints I hear from readers is that I’m too opinionated on US domestic issues, too partisan. “You’re great when you write about China, but you’re totally partisan when you write about Bush.”

Well, the bad news is, I believe I’m mediocre when I write about China and at my best when I write about the US. That’s because my knowledge of China is sketchy and relatively recent. I’ve been studying US politics since I could read, and am much more informed about the intricacies of US law and history than I am of China’s.

In each case, I write what I see, through my own filters. If I am opinionated and partisan about bush, then I’m certainly just as opinionated about China. I think the real issue is that these readers want me to be partisan in the same way that they are. I’m afraid they’ll be disappointed; I’m not toning down my criticisms of bush — unless he gives me reason to.

Yes, I’m partisan as hell, but I also try to be open minded. I’ll praise China if I think it’s merited. I’ll endorse a war led by Bush if I think it’s justified. But this is a blog, not a public information service funded by tax dollars. It’s supposed to be opinionated. So I don’t understand the complaints that I’m opinionated. These same readers love Conrad, who’s certainly as partisan as I am. Would he be any fun to read if he weren’t opinionated? Of course not. In fact, it’s those opinions that make him so readable.

So please, just try to accept it: I am a liberal and I find bush a menace to this country and the world and I say so, like thousands of other liberal bloggers. Instapundit loves bush and hates Kerry and he believes the Swift Boat Liars and he says so, and that’s his right. It’s what blogs are supposed to be. I realize I will never, ever convince you to join my side, but I’m not trying to (though it would be nice). I have no illusions — some readers hate my politics and come here to fight, others relate to my politics and come here to agree. But to tell me to stop being partisan about bush — forget about it. I am watching my country go to hell in a proverbial handbasket, and the last thing I’m going to do is go mute.

Anyway, it’s a hard week and it’ll take me and nearly 50 percent of the country a while to fully recover from the shock. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t ready to pick up the fight and press forward. We have to organize now more than ever before, because come 2008 the country is going to be even more of a basket case than it is now. I hate to even think about it — our environment, our tax system, our jobless, our Supreme Court. So as far as shrub goes, this blog won’t be getting any kinder or gentler. Take it or leave it.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Actually, thats why Conrad stop being fun to read, because he came off as a shrill ass. Aside from Asian girly pictures being drooled upon by middle aged expat men, the site has become rather dull. Theres no substance to the posts and rarely any worthwhile commentary. I agree with a lot of your viewpoints, but I don’t think theres a need to debase this blog with partisan demagoguery and cheap shots (well cheap shots are ok, as long as they are funny). I guess my beef isn’t so much with your partisanship, but rather that you’ve become too focused on principally the U.S. elections. There are lots of other interesting stories around, and its a shame to let them languish while the being constantly repetitious about Bush. If we as readers wanted faux-witticism and insipid one-line commentary, we could turn to reading Instapuppy, Conrad, or delve into the depths of the Free Republic. This is what I would like to think of as the difference between the left and right in America is today. The left still has standards, the right wallows in mediocrity and dillettantism.

November 5, 2004 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

I understand, and will try to branch out a bit — this was an all-consuming election, unlike any other. Once the initial shock has worn off, I promise to diversify.

November 5, 2004 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

Actually, It means, too, that these readers know even less about China than you and want some kind of reprieve from the partisanship they read and hear in the States. The foreign stuff is great when its exotic, but actually make it comprehensible or relate it to domestic events, and that’s wrong.

I think the blogosphere has to wake to the fact that many people perhaps read blogs not to think, but to escape. The bloggers who succeed do so, because they brand themselves into a position where people no longer read them critically. The same phenom occurs with newspaper columnists.

Like the blogads issue, this is another sign that bloggers need to choose between blogging and selling copy. I see this as a personal venture, not for money, although I’d like to make money. My few readers will just have to accept that they can argue with me, they suggest topics, but they will get my opinion whether they like it or not. Like the TV, the computer has an power button. And, if they don’t like it, they can start a blog with Blogger for free and try to convince me with all their HTML skills and powers of argument.

I will say, though, that generally, westerners are better able to make and evaluate arguments than the Korean students I teach everyday. I just wish westerners would use all the skills they learn, and Koreans don’t, more often, instead of succumbing to laziness. If every American citizen had a blog, it would be a wonderful thing.

November 5, 2004 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

Infidel, great comment (though I don’t think it would be such a great idea for every American to have his/her own blog). Great site, too — I used to work in Maryland, so it’s a place very near to my heart.

November 5, 2004 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

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