November 11, 2002
Whence The Anguish?

Last week 'Junius' (Chris Bertram) wrote:

I've spent some of today composing an explanation of why I think I'm on the left, why I actually am on the left and what "left" (ought to mean). This was an anguished response to being included on a list of right-wing bloggers by Ampersand, over at Alas, a Blog. It turns out that this was just a mistake and I've been restored to my leftful place, which renders the whole excercise otiose!

I find "anguished" a very odd choice of word here. If I were included on a list of left-wing weblogs, I would most likely feel irritated, amused, contemptuous, or some combination of the three.* But anguished? That is how one feels when included in a group that is utterly and obviously loathsome, and even then only if the inclusion is not entirely undeserved. If someone were to call me 'racist' or 'misogynist' (it's been known to happen) and if reflection on the charge made me think that there might be some truth in it, then, and only then, would I feel obligated to turn to anguished reflection. This would lead either to an exculpatory argument or a sincere apology and promise to reform. Does Junius really think 'right-wingers' so obviously loathsome that he fears being included among them? Is conservatism a dark temptation that appeals only to our basest urges?

*Added twenty minutes later:
Like Diana Moon, to whom this actually happened, I would ask to be removed on simple grounds of honesty and accuracy, but my first reaction would most likely be a snort or a giggle and a "Yeah, right!" -- with or without a rude epithet, depending on my mood at the time.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at November 11, 2002 03:58 PM