Let me just say that I am a big fan of Maureen Dowd, maybe even a groupie. And I was more than a little chuffed to see her sitting at the table next to me when I attended the 'pundit training' workshop she also mentioned in her article. But as I read Dowd's description of YearlyKos, I wondered how two people could be sitting just a few feet away from each other and, yet, be so far apart.
Maureen Dowd's description of 'the mood' being 'like a masquerade' is not mean-spirited or hurtful or in anyway worthy of condemnation. It is just not an accurate description of the 'mood' in the room. The attendees at YearlyKos were not just happy to put names with faces, but were deeply moved to be for the first time standing in a new community built entirely on trust.
Two thoughts: First, perhaps being so quick to trust so fully those who are, at best, electronic acquaintances is not such a great idea. With online dating it opens the door for potential mad stalkers. With online politics it makes you susceptible to intemperate policies.
And second, there is a reason why psychologists rely on their own observations when studying a cult rather than the narrative of a cult leader or his true believers: Things often look very different from the outside the bubble. I'm no fan of Maureen Dowd, but in this case, I'd suggest taking your hero at least as seriously when she tells you uncomfortable things about your left-branch treehouse gang as when she's elucidating the various treacheries and horrors of BUSHWORLD.
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