Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obscenities and the Left-Wing Blogosphere

A couple of weeks back I wrote a post examining the tendency toward profanity among leftist bloggers: "Obscenities in the Blogosphere."

I argued that crude vulgarity has become essentially the lingua franca of the hard-left blogosphere and commentocracy. Widespread profanity appears to provide leftists with some assumed heightened firepower with which to beat down opponents, who are demonized as fascist imperialists intent to exterminate racial minorities and the poor, among other things.

My observations derived from recent experience, as well as the debate surrounding profanty at last month's Netroots Nation conference in Texas.

Well it turns out that Matthew Sheffield at the Washington Times has performed a Google content analysis to determine the relative propensity to profanity between top left and right blog communities: "
Profanity Greater on Liberal Blogs":

Are liberals more profane than conservatives? Online, the answer seems to be yes. Profanity, those taboo words banned from the broadcast airwaves, is a feature of many people's daily lives. It's much less so in the establishment media world. TV and radio broadcasts are legally prohibited from using it, most newspapers (including this one) have traditionally refrained from its usage.

That's not the case with the Web, where bloggers and readers face no such restrictions. That likely comes as no surprise; what may be surprising, however, is to what degree profanity seems to be a feature more common on one side of the political blogosphere than the other....

The top 10 liberal sites (
Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Democratic Underground, Talking Points Memo, Crooks and Liars, Think Progress, Atrios, Greenwald, MyDD and Firedoglake) have a profanity quotient of 14.6.

The top 10 conservative sites (
Free Republic, Hot Air, Little Green Footballs, Townhall, NewsBusters, Lucianne, Wizbang, Ace of Spades, Red State and Volokh Conspiracy) have a quotient of 1.17.
What explains this disparity?

Sheffield hypothesizes that Bush derangement is a precipitating factor. But beyond that, religious belief among conservatives inclines them less toward the use of profanity in their daily lives, and thus in blogging:

Conservatives, especially those who are more religious, are less likely to use profanity in their daily conversation.
This ties in pretty much with the my thesis on the left's secular demonology:

How might we explain all of this? Well, in my view, these folks are essentially Marxist, and at base, we might consider Marxist thought a doctrine of hatred, a secular demonology:

We hate those, whose existence urges us to reconsider our theories and our vocabularies. We hate what places a safe and irresponsible categorization of the world in jeopardy. We hate what threatens the purity and predictability of our perception of the world, our mode of discourse, and in effect, our mental security.

Thus, for the left, rather than consider that vulgarity has no proper place in the respectable exchange of ideas, crude language is a tool to beat down those who would challenge their way of seeing the world, especially those allegedly in the right-wing superstructure of greedy imperialistic designs.

See also, "The Obscenity of Spencer Ackerman," and "The Commentocracy of Hate."