Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bluster and Bunnyholes, Part 1

Okay, been on another break to deal with life and all the things that go along with it.  I'm a husband and father in a pretty atypical family situation, and that will always be where my priorities lie.

I'll try to do a better job of keeping up with posting, starting with this one.

I've noticed that there's a certain class of conservative that, like my cockapoo, barks and makes a lot of noise, but scurries away if there's an actual chance of a direct encounter.  In the case of the dog, he'll run and hide behind the feet of a protector, empty his bladder, or both.  In the case of some people I've observed, that's a pretty close comparison, too.

A textbook example of this is Ken DeMyer, who goes by more than a few pseudonyms online, but does most of his standout blustering on Conservapedia where he goes by the name "Conservative".  You can find a good recap of his antics in this Rationalwiki article, but the behavior I'm focusing on here is the "bark-and-bail" pattern.

DeMyer is fond of putting out challenges to people that he can spin into victories in his own mind, and claiming that his adversaries are "hiding in their intellectual bunny holes" when he creates an impression that no one's willing to take him up.

The reality is that people are taking him up on his challenges, and instead of backing up his bluster he jumps through hoops to weasel out and try to make any evidence of the exchanges disappear.  There are too many examples of this to get into, but he's fallen into a predictable pattern:

1) Issue challenges from a safe, online forum where he controls whether responses appear or not.
2) When people reply, block the responses from ever appearing, and use wiki/blog tools to erase the record if people find other ways to call him out.
3) Claim victory because "no one is willing to take on the XYZ challenge".
4) Lather, rinse & repeat with any number of topics.

The one other pattern that DeMyer relies on is that he now only issues challenges for people to take on conservatives other than himself.  He used to propose debating people directly, but played the old game of throwing out absurd conditions that no sensible person would accept.  This kept him safe from actually backing up his bluster, and he'd declare that his opposition were cringing in their bunny holes.  Then a handful of people decided to call him out on this and actually meet his conditions, and faced with having to "walk the walk", DeMyer ran like hell instead.

So the tactic that replaced this is simple, but pretty cowardly.  He now challenges people to debate items of controversy with other people instead of himself, and only in rigged forums where he and his friends are in control of editing the outcome.  That's sad enough, but he's taken this to a point where the people he's trying to drag in as his proxies are fed up with it, and want nothing to do with him.

DeMyer is a middle-aged man, and way too old to be picking fights with strangers and then asking his friends to do the fighting for him.  On the other hand, he's also such a ridiculous cartoon character that it's hard to take him seriously, and nobody really does.  The shame is that people like Andrew Schlafly are perfectly content to treat people like DeMyer as useful idiots, letting him fling poo like a monkey all over his "Trustworthy Encyclopedia" as long as he attracts page views.

But if Ken DeMyer is a cartoonish poo-flinger allowed to perform his antics to grab eyeballs, his "bark and bail" tactics would be shunned by anyone claiming to be a highly educated, respectable conservative Christian advocate, right?

But more on Terry Hurlbut and his Conservative News And Views blog in the next part...    

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