I posted the following as a comment on a thread of Kelly Wilson’s at Vox Nova, here:

“I agree with Sam. I also suspect that with titles like “Gay Rights Are Human Rights” (with banners flying), and “A Hero Dead” in referring to a famous atheist (that is, famous for being an atheist), it just might be the case that Kelly is deliberately trying to press people’s buttons. : )”

Kelly deleted the comment. He was kind enough to email me to inform me of the reason. I do appreciate that courtesy. I won’t say what his reason was, since it was set forth in a private email. He is welcome to comment here if he chooses to make his reason public.

I’m posting this because I am opposed to blog censorship for reasons other than incivility (and of course spamming). I think it was a civil comment and didn’t deserve to be trashed.

12 thoughts on “

  1. For the benefit of those who read your blog, I’d be happy to identify the reason I trashed the comment, by quoting my email to you:

    “I’m trashing the comment, Agellius, on the grounds that if you want to engage with my post then you can, but if want to speculate as to what motivates me in choosing the titles I do, then you’re moving beyond your capabilities.

    Rework the comment if you want, and re-submit. A smiley face as an appendix doesn’t do enough for me to post something like this…”



  2. Since I’m not in a position to do much else, Agellius, I should say that your comment didn’t seem at all out of line to me. It was edgy, pithy, and a little cute, but hey, can’t we have fun?

    I use VERY provocative titles, but there is a certain responsibility that come with doing that. Since the discussion was largely revolving around the title, and since you were basically in accord with my own objections, I think it is clear that Kelly was being petty, thin-skinned, and defensive about it.

    Sorry that happened; know that it’s not the usual approach by most of us at VN.




    • Sam writes, “It was edgy, pithy, and a little cute, but hey, can’t we have fun?”

      Yes, it was intended as playful ribbing, nothing more. Even if Kelly was intending to press buttons, what, is that a crime? It’s a blog, sometimes you want to press buttons in order to spark a conversation. That’s what I think anyway.


  3. It is my usual approach. I’m one of those who thinks that those engaging with the content of my post are producing comments more conducive to good conversation than those speculating as to what motivates me in choosing the titles I do…

    Expect more of the same.

    Unfortunately, I let the conversation degenerate in a way I wouldn’t have, Sam, if you had been someone other than a Contributor. That’s my mistake. As one person said: “The whole devolution into arguing of who is heroic and who isn’t, becomes, after the first couple of salvos, meaningless ego intellectual ego masturbation.”

    That won’t happen again (although the topic will reappear).


  4. I am a degenerate, by your petty standards. And proud of it. Delete away, as I’ve said before. And expect stronger, more egotistical posts in contra. When an untruth is said I refuse to be polite.



  5. I think the problem with our conversation, Sam, is your inability to read my comments and then accurately engage with them. For example, why would you suppose my standards make you as a degenerate?

    The conversation clearly degenerated. Other readers have observed as much, and your comments, which brought that about, and my choosing not to moderate them (on account of your Contributing status) are both responsible.

    Post away but understand that I do not feel my arguments being too challenged when I don’t feel them accurately engaged with. If you would like a more detailed critique of the quality of your contribution to the topic “A Hero Dead” then I am more than happy to offer one when time permits.

    Further, if, in fact, your policy is that “when an untruth is said [you] refuse to be polite,” then perhaps you should make your own commenting policy more consistent with those of your fellow Contributors. It strikes me as odd to view only a truthful post (or what we perceive to be truthful or accurate) as being owed politeness.


    • An extended defense of the title, and the sentiment of the post, would be interesting to read. Especially one that is sensitive to the context it is speaking in (i.e. a Catholic weblog, a place where many consider people who Hitch openly hated to be true heros).



  6. I didn’t consider the conversation to have degenerated terribly, at least as it concerns the point Sam and Kelly were arguing. It did reach the point of what some might call “beating a dead horse”, but you know, it takes two to beat a dead horse. No one comments again and again on the same topic without someone else talking back. And besides, what harm does it do? The horse is dead anyway, it feels no pain. : )

    In any event, the title invited a discussion of what makes a hero. In fact it’s hard to believe the title was not intended to spark exactly that conversation. What else would you expect from an audience of Catholics, when a prominent atheist and militant anti-Christian is hailed as a hero on a Catholic blog?


  7. Nah. Like I might have said, had I known (and perhaps, as you say, I should have known) the conversation was going to so surround the title, I would have chosen a different one so that engagement with the post’s content would be possible.

    Upon reflection, Agellius, I agree with Sam’s evaluation of your comment. Perhaps my general boredom with the direction the conversation went, or with what I felt was the preoccupation of others with the title, affected the way I read your words…


  8. As usual, I’m a day late and a dollar short for the party, but since I was quoted….when a discussion ends up going round and round, with parties repeating themselves (and getting more personally affronted), as Agellius refers to as “beating a dead horse” above, I believe that is where it becomes ego masturbation. I disagree with people all the time. I have, however, realized that those times when I take personal affront to what people are saying are the times when I had best examine what I said and what is being said to me.
    Yes Agellius, you have readers.
    A blessed New Year to you.


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