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For some baffling reason, liberal journalists seem to have believed that they could expand the membership of an email listserv to include 400 people without worrying that anyone would be ethically flexible enough to violate the off-the-record ground rules. They are now being spectacularly embarrassed by leaks from that listserv, called Journolist, mostly through the reporting of the Daily Caller.
There have been many complaints on the left about the way the Caller is reporting the story. The primary bone of contention is that quotes from the dumbest things ever said on the list are being taken out of context to give the impression that everyone agreed with them. If we were to see these Journolist threads in context, we are told, we would see that Journolist wasn’t so much a hive-mind conspiracy to control media coverage as just a group of likeminded people debating and sharing ideas. (Of course, the ability to share ideas at the speed of email does have an effect on what journalists say, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)
A secondary complaint from the left is that while the threads we’ve seen give the impression that Journolisters spent all their time discussing what the media should cover, the list was dominated by mundane questions along the lines of “does anyone have so-and-so’s email address,” and that many of the most memorable threads were casual discussions of pop culture and other frivolous topics. The thread below the fold, which was given to me by a member of Journolist under the agreement that it be printed it in full, is one such discussion. All names are removed; the two Journolist members who are addressed by name in the course of the conversation are identified by letters.
The most notable message in this thread regards the computer game Spore. A Journolist member comments, “I expect it to be banned in schools across the Bible Belt. It is Darwinian evolution at its best, backed by most of the current theories of life.”
Spore has in fact been used in schools, and there have been complaints about this — but not from creationists, but rather from scientifically literate gamers who understand that the “evolution” in the game has nothing to do with the actual mechanisms of Darwinian natural selection. (You can see gamers discussing this here and here.) The mixture of disdain for “the Bible Belt” combined with hilarious ignorance — not to mention the inability to just enjoy a computer game without succumbing to the urge to politicize anything and everything — is sadly typical of contemporary liberal thought.
And that’s the real lesson of what we have seen from Journolist: These people are very, very silly. The proper response is not to be afraid of how they might conspire to manipulate media coverage. The proper response is to point at them and laugh.
Most of this thread, which begins with a member sharing a mean email she received from a reader, is an inane discussion of “Japanese tentacle porn.” It probably goes without saying that the image of 19th century Japanese woodcut in the referenced Wikipedia article may not be work-safe, and is definitely bizarre.
>From: [a reader’s name and email address]
>Date: September 8, 2008 10:00:50 AM EDT
>To: [Journolist member A]
>Maybe you’re just angry because Palin is hot and you are hideous. Something to think about.
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And remember: All postings are off-the-record.
[A] definitely gets the valor award simply by staying in the game, doing what she does, and dealing with this kind of crap.
well, that explains it all.
“Maybe you are angry because Michael Jordan is a legendary basketball player, and you are still living in your parent’s basement with your collection of Japanese tentacle porn. Something to think about.”
I will give you five Yankee dollars to post that [A].
What is japanese tentacle porn? it sounds really exciting!
it’s frightening. Very Japanese. In a sort of “you can buy schoolgirl panties from a vending machine in Japan!” sort of way.
These goggles really aren’t doing anything.
Every time someone mentions Japanese tentacle porn, it makes god cry.
or kill a puppy. I get confused.
i have to say that one thing that’s good about the Palin debate is that now women who wear glasses can be classified as “hot” on more than just Lenscrafters commercials. It’s truly liberating. Change I can believe in.
I just received my copy of SPORE this weekend. This ‘game’ (I hate to use the word) is truly revolutionary; the first real connection between a social-networking site and edutainment software.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, it is basically evolution in a game. Start with a single celled organism, work your way up to interstellar travel. And all the other creatures, planets, etc. in the game (which has no ‘end state’) are user-generated.
The semi-pol part of this is that I expect it to be banned in schools across the Bible Belt. It is Darwinian evolution at its best, backed by most of the current theories of life (life starts with an asteroid crashing into a planet, you get a bigger brain by eating proteins, you ‘evolve’, etc.).
IIRC, there is a good video on YouTube about it. I bought it for my 13 year old daughter, but I ended up getting a second copy for her and kept the first one for me.
But how does it compare with japanese tentacle porn?
[This message by Journolist member B]
In a good world I would be working uninterrupted, calculating the cost
of those parts of John McCain’s economic proposals that his campaign
refuses to evaluate. Instead I am googling “Japanese tentacle porn”.
Something, somewhere, somehow has gone very wrong…
Don’t do it [B]. The goggles will be of no help at all. Promise.
Too much information:
Now back to the cost of McCain’s Alternative Maximum Tax…
wow! that is so fabulous!
But why does the octopus look so angry?
Not angry—he’s just really focused.
I feel I really learned something on j-list today.
And, you know, that is what the free market of thought is all about. Glad we could be of service.