Damnation By Link... NY Times Article About Flame Wars

Jonathan Dee, staff writer for the NY Times Magazine, brings in this amazing story of a former sideman turned right-wing blogger turned right-wing enemy.  The article encapsulates the internal logic (or lack thereof) of many if not most internet communities: they are run by people who may change, they encourage anonymity which breeds animosity, etc. etc.  

The article is a must read for anyone who has spent time wondering about flame wars.  Or participating in them.  Says Dee of Johnson:

...I never got the sense that any of it was put forth by Johnson, either in person or on the blog, in anything other than perfect earnestness. He came of age, as a writer and as a public figure, in the culture of damnation by link, and he does not exempt himself from its logic.

For me the political isn't really what's important here; it is the psychological, the sociological that really make me intrigued.  And having visited LGF in the past I can say that it is hardly recognizable to a casual visitor in its current form - most of the posts are about Johnson.  But this isn't a new form of blogging, it is the most common form of blogging when you come down to it: intense, very personal, very engaged in personal relationships.

I don't know Charles Johnson.  But anyone who has spent any time on any web board/v-bulletin/the fresh hell of IMDB message boards knows that leaving the personality descriptions to "comments, blogs or trolsl" doesn't really do engagement via internet any sort of justice.  We're looking at an entirely different set of vectors on-line.  What causes recoil in the world causes engagement on-line.  It isn't a backwards universe... not exactly.  I'm fascinated by it.  We should all be.

In any case, read the whole article here www.nytimes.com

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