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The Short List goes to the dogs: Voting for the People’s Choice Award is open

By the time I had time to deal with The Odysseus Medal last week, it was pretty late in the week. The week had been pretty light on nominations, and we were heading into Easter, so I made a command decision to combine these two weeks into one award.

Then today, when I went to look at The Long List, I found a whole lot of Bloodhounds in there. There were a total of 70 unique posts from 17 of our current contributors. Just short of 40% of all of the nominated posts were written by Bloodhounds.

You can say what you want about this weblog. It seems to be some sort of badge of dishonor to make snarky remarks about BloodhoundBlog or its contributors. About this I have one thought only — predictably a marketing issue: If your clients observe you talking trash about us behind our backs, might they not reasonably conclude that you are also spewing bile about them behind their backs? Everything you do establishes your character in the eyes of your clients — now more than ever before. That’s a Black Pearl — and the more you want to reject it, the more valuable it is.

In any case, I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone says, but I care a great deal about what people can demonstrate. The quality of work our contributors do, here and at their home blogs, is a potent demonstration of its own — a demonstration of the quality of minds who work here, and, I think, of the quality of thought we inspire in each other.

In consequence, this week’s People’s Choice is given over to BloodhoundBlog contributors, to one post from each of them who made this week’s Long List.

We end with with a total of 17 People’s Choice nominees. You can vote for the People’s Choice Award here. You can use the voting interface to see each nominated post, so comparison is easy.

Voting runs through to 12 Noon MST Monday. I’ll announce the winners of this week’s awards soon thereafter.

Here is this week’s short-list of Odysseus Medal nominees:

Deadline for next week’s competition is Sunday at 12 Noon MST. You can nominate your own weblog entry or any post you admire here.

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Related posts:
  • Voting for The People Choice Award: The long and short of short-listing Odysseus Medal nominations
  • The Odysseus Medal competition — Voting for the People’s Choice Award is open
  • The Odysseus Medal competition — Voting for the People’s Choice Award is open

  • 10 comments

    10 Comments so far

    1. Chris Johnson March 23rd, 2008 8:09 pm

      Deal is that people have seriously* thin skin. Realtors and academics both make the mistake of having casual disagreements degenerate into ad hominem attacks.

    2. Teri Lussier March 24th, 2008 7:47 am

      >If your clients observe you talking trash about us behind our backs, might they not reasonably conclude that you are also spewing bile about them behind their backs? Everything you do establishes your character in the eyes of your clients — now more than ever before.

      Now that is truly something to copy and tape to our computers, ignoring it at our own peril.

    3. Greg Swann March 24th, 2008 9:05 am

      >> If your clients observe you talking trash about us behind our backs, might they not reasonably conclude that you are also spewing bile about them behind their backs? Everything you do establishes your character in the eyes of your clients — now more than ever before.

      > Now that is truly something to copy and tape to our computers, ignoring it at our own peril.

      While we’re here, let’s take it to the next level.

      This is addressed to anyone who happens to be reading this: There is a type of rejoinder that I think of as The Sputtering Yeah-But. If you find yourself using the words “yeah, but” it almost always means you’re leaping before having looked. The “yeah” concedes the argument, while the “but” introduces a rebuttal. The two words together self-contradict — a hint that there is something wrong with your thinking. Even so, let’s deal with it.

      The Sputtering Yeah-But in the current context: “Yeah, but, you’re always attacking things, Greg Swann. What does that say about your character?”

      Indeed. If you read my archive, again and again you will find me using the most raucous and brutal kind of satire in my arguments. Arguments against what? Deception. Misrepresentation. Intellectual Piracy. Hubris. Coercion. Coercion. Coercion. And coercion.

      I’m pretty sure “my record speaks for itself,” as the politicians say. I’m thinking it says some interesting things about the folks who attack me and BloodhoundBlog, too, but that you can decide for yourself. In any case, I definitely believe in the redemptive power of satire in debate. And the companies, governments and individuals I satirize definitely do speak to my character. I always stand for what I believe to be justice, and I do it publicly, in my own name — explicitly naming the target and the nature of my complaints.

      And if you think this hurts my reputation with thoughtful people — think again.

    4. Chris Johnson March 24th, 2008 9:17 am

      Greg- Satire isn’t for everyone. I’m misunderstood each time I use it. Maybe it’s for the 20% of people that matter.

      My friend Adam Kontras did a video called Let’s Bomb Iran.

      http://www.atomfilms.com/film/bomb_iran.jsp

      Good video, after the self indulgent intro. He did all the voices etc. Anyway, he gets people thinking he’s seriously advocating the position.

    5. Greg Swann March 24th, 2008 9:34 am

      > My friend Adam Kontras did a video called Let’s Bomb Iran.

      Oh, that totally rocks! The idea isn’t new — there’s actuality of McCain making the same musical connection — but the execution is off the charts excellent. The lyrics to the song, in particular, are just sublime. That’s good comedy, and, like the man said, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

      > Satire isn’t for everyone. I’m misunderstood each time I use it. Maybe it’s for the 20% of people that matter.

      Everyone loves satire when you’re putting the screws to something or someone they hate. It’s when you pillory something they like that you find out who is whom.

    6. Chris Johnson March 24th, 2008 9:43 am

      the singing is impressive to me. And Adam predates mccain, and was bummed when it was out.

      The problem(?) with satire is the more notable the idea, the easier it is to take a position against it.

      Starbucks can be a target because it’s so familiar. Same for 37 Signals, Zillow the NAR, or others.

      Anything that’s a strong flavor can be reduced to absurdity…more easily than something mediocre.

    7. Greg Swann March 24th, 2008 10:22 am

      > Anything that’s a strong flavor can be reduced to absurdity…more easily than something mediocre.

      Check. What makes satire work best is fame, notoriety and — especially — power. The Romans claim the invention of satire, and certainly they formalized it in rhetoric. But the Greeks had deployed satire in the drama when the Romans were still starving on acorns. Homer would argue that the Greek innovation in art was moving the idea of a hero from pure valor (like Jason) to the man of wits (Odysseus). But satire distinguishes the Greeks, also, and thus The West as such. An Hellenic culture is one in which artists seek to deflate the powerful with the pinpricks of satire. The risk of retribution is an essential component of the art. Without that risk, the satire might be funny, but it won’t be thrilling to the audience.

    8. Chris Johnson March 24th, 2008 10:42 am

      So when it’s time to kick an anthill, make it one that has ants in it. Throw rocks at a tiger, so to speak.

      People though, cant differentiate between attacking a man and an idea. It quickly devolves, like your Cunningham vs. Whoever argument today.

      And, people take ideas more seriously when they come from credible sources.

    9. Greg Swann March 24th, 2008 11:13 am

      Now you’re conflating satire with flaming.

      The purpose of flaming is coercive: “I’ll punish you verbally to make you change your views.” This is a persuasively invalid move. We try very hard not to do that here.

      The purpose of satire is persuasion — of the audience, not the target of the satire. It can be valid or invalid as rhetoric — and is often both by parts — but the persuasive purpose is to redeem the congregation, as it were, not the putative devil. (And here we can see the huge influence Greek drama had on Christianity.)

      As an example, I lambasted ePerks.com last week — which essay drew only one complaint, yours, that I wasn’t biting enough! I did not scold ePerks in order to improve them — nor to coerce them to my way of thinking — but, rather, to educate the people reading the post about how they should react to these idiotic Cease and Desist letters. As a secondary objective, if I can put other vendors on notice what will happen to them, should their attorneys elect to flex their epistolary muscles, so much the better.

      To be frank, the devil is most useful when he doesn’t change much from Sunday to Sunday. Zillow.com makes full disclosure of the epistemology of Zestimates, and they’re no fun for me anymore. Redfin.com gets its buyers to view homes with its own buyer’s agents, and I have to toss a big bucketful of choice metaphors. These are both good examples of the redemptive power of the free marketplace, with or without satire, but I think you will agree that even comic morality plays suck when the villains won’t play along. ;)

      In any case, the distinction of the objectives of flaming versus satire distinguish them completely as rhetorical devices. If you want, we can continue by distinguishing the argumentum ad hominem (Greg Swann has cooties and therefore his argument is false) versus the unadorned, unassuming, unambitious insult (Greg Swann has cooties!), but that might be gilding the lily.

    10. [...] you didn’t check out this week’s nominees for The Odysseus Medal, you [...]