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Is This “The End” For Socio-Political Blogs?

Posted by intellisg on August 17, 2007

dodo.jpgYou all know what Dodo birds are don’t you? The Dodo aka Raphus cucullatus was a flightless bird which once lived a placid existence on the island somewhere in West Indies. The dodo has gone the way of the dinosaur since the mid-to-late 17th century. It is commonly used as the archetype of describing lousy thoughtware that leads to inexorable extinction. The phrase “it’s history like the dodo” means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead beyond all possibility of recall. The stuff of gone with the wind, kaput, habis, finito etc. The verb phrase “to go the way of the dodo” means you’ve just bought yourself a one way ticket to the end of the road.

Recently, I came across a Dodo statement, don’t ask me where I read it, but it’s probably very near a place where the road runs out and after that a cliff follows. The statement goes like this:

“I share a common view with Alex Au (aka Yawning Bread) that there is an over optimistic view that the internet is the answer to the tipping point for political change in Singapore. In reality, it does not work for a few reasons. First of all, there is no direct translation of activity from social political blogs to the real world. Most of us (including myself) are armchair critics. If Martyn See’s video is that effective, the political parties involved should all be helping those poor people out there. Has there been any action taken to help those poor people? Has anyone alerted the authorities that we need to help those people? It is the lack of action that convinces me that the social political blogs in Singapore do not have an influence in the off-line world.”

Do you really want to know why I believe this statement deserves the Dodo award of the year?

Let’s examine the innards of this rant: it posits a few things, but the crux of it centers on this issue: “what does socio-political blogging actually accomplish?” Allow me to paraphrase: “Why do you write about socio-political happenings?” Well according to the author blogging about the socio-political scene doesn’t amount to a hill of beans! Why? Because it doesn’t produce any tangible results i.e the valence between thought or will and action that’s able to save either planet or people is lacking.

Let’s just stand back for a while and look at this statement for a bit longer. Maybe I was too quick off the mark popping it full of holes? Is it really true to say, just because most socio-political bloggers do very little except talk and talk and talk, they really accomplish nothing? It really depends what you define as “nothing.” On a general take, I would agree very reluctantly with that statement. Having said that, it hardly lends one molecule of currency to the author’s proposition: talking produces absolutely nothing.

On the contrary, the statement,

“It is the lack of action that convinces me that the social political blogs in Singapore do not have an influence in the off-line world.”

Suggest for there to be anything remotely measurable and tangible words have to be steeled with affirmative action.

How true is this notion, that talking without acting amounts to **** all?

A cursory take may even suggest, talking alone and it doesn’t matter whether it is socio-political discourse or how to bake a cake produces no enduring value except an explosion of commentary and opinion – all of which simply adds up to unmitigated diatribe to a explicit utility value of zero.

Here’s the kicker and it’s a hard one let me just warn you, enough to send it from here to the moon! Nothing can be further from the truth.

Firstly, talking remains the only process whereby schools of thoughts and states of minds can be continually imported and exported. It’s our most reliable tool set that allows us to make sense of the known world by stacking facts along the wall to see how they measure up to our assumptions.

Great advances don’t come from nothing, not even the simple act of tying shoelaces! They have a chronological trail that emerges directly from mashing ideas to derive at the known truth – that can only be accomplished by talking. Ideas do not fall from the sky; they come from people who talk. People who talk with other people hammer out concepts, they clarify their respective positions and throw out stuff into the light to regularly produce software, products and services. In fact, if you think real long and hard about it, every new thing that has ever given us pleasure, excitement and stimulation, be it a novel or the tweaks that makes our computers hum slightly faster, is the result of just talking and very little else.

That’s my first tungsten carbide nail into the coffin – there it goes, “thump!”

So if you think talking is just the homily sugary stuff of hello Kitty and Precious moments. Or worst still, you dismiss it as an irrelevant act that amounts to the sum of zero, you might as well gut out the missing link that even explains the chronology of how monkeys to successfully evolve into man – it creates a blank space in the narrative, and we all know what happens when a discussion gets bracketed, it’s creates the right conditions for radicals to step it to fill in the blanks with their self-serving narratives. That’s how suicide bombers are regularly recruited, their puppet masters just fills in the blanks and off they go!

That’s the second nail that goes into the coffin – “Thump!”

Granted talking alone doesn’t produce any tangibles, it can’t for example stop a North Korean war head from blasting off somewhere in the straits of Japan, but the criticism that it amounts to ‘nothing’ suggest there’s even sense of finality. That criticism is unfair; talking if you think real hard about it is simply a manifestation of forming, shaping and sharpening ideas – concepts, schools of thoughts and states of minds which all form part and parcel of the act of “talking” in the socio-political context even if they have little immediate practical influence to move a table in the living room one millimeter – does not necessarily suggest it doesn’t posses latent value that is able to solicit real and meaningful change. It would be just as absurd to dismiss the ‘irrelevant’ act of talking as dispensable to how it may one day add up to solicit social and political change as it would have been to dismiss Einstein’s project for splitting the atom when he was just messing around with marbles during the time he whiled away his time as a patent office clerk. Or to brush off Kant’s project for perpetual peace as irrelevant to the world of megalomaniac Napoleon – both great treatise developed in an environment which were diametrically opposed to such notions, but given the play of time, fate and destiny, they translated into profound developments that even changed the course of human history.

So to say something is irrelevant just because one doesn’t see that immediate results is to discount the whole idea of possibility in relation to time, space and opportunity as it plays out in the sea of time.

That’s the third nail in the coffin – “thump!”

Bloggers and blogging provide real value through the act of talking, they continually coax, tease and juxtapose ideas and concepts to continually perpetuate and clarify the known world. To even suggest it all amounts to zero may remain a palpable truth, but to even believe even this simple act doesn’t have a claim or harbor the imperative to being promoted as the catalyst for change is to go down a very slippery road. As to suggest it is so dispensable that it’s even replaceable for another means of instilling coherency in reason and logic – and this of course raises the question: why then should dictatorial regimes be so afraid of those who do nothing except talk and talk and talk only to do every little else except that? Why are intellectuals the bane of every regime that tries to suppress the truth so as to keep up all the appearances of the great lie?

For me talking in a socio-political context doesn’t really have to do anything least of all even anything resembling affirmative action, simply because we no longer live in an age where Byzantine beach landings and D-Day great parachutes jumps form the backdrop of winning over our foes, rather much of the war transpires in something as fragile as our grey cells – yes, it’s a battle of the minds – what emerges directly from this geo-political reality is the belief that unifies most socio-political bloggers even if they don’t consciously realize it (I don’t believe most of them have given this area much thought and I consider this a grave omission): that talking isn’t supposed to change anything. Rather if it is to have an imperative at all, it serves only to preserve something intrinsically valuable if society is grow coherently and holistically – the compact between the writer and the reader who are both capable of critical and if possible lateral thought to seek out the broader truth.

That’s why when one says, talking is “useless” and “doesn’t have the capacity to solicit change” it’s nothing short of placing the cart before the horse by assuming just because talking CAN have agency, it MUST have agency and there in the palm of your hands lies the flaw in logic and this is where we will lower the coffin and simply end it all with the words dust to dust – game over!

Blog on! From where I am standing there are no dead ends – the road is where you walk.

(This has been brought to you by your friend Brotherhood Controller, Aurora / Written by Darkness & Vollariane / Sociology / Politics / Strategic Studies – ES 9908211E – The Brotherhood Press 2007)

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32 Responses to “Is This “The End” For Socio-Political Blogs?”

  1. Aurora said

    http://bleongcw.typepad.com/simple_is_the_reason_of_m/2007/08/social-politica.html

    KFC

    I believe there is where the quote comes from.

  2. Your GP Teacher said

    (Thanks Aurora/KFC for the source.)

    Darkness: Over 1,600 words but did you actually say something that is genuinely incompatible with what the opponent position–when it is not quoted out of context–says? This is the full quote:

    Lack of translation from blogs to reality: That comes to my second point. It is exactly the political climate in Singapore that there is a lack of translation of activism except for very few social issues (for e.g. the repeal of Section 377A and cat lovers) from blogs to reality. I share a common view with Alex Au (aka Yawning Bread) that there is an over optimistic view that the internet is the answer to the tipping point for political change in Singapore. In reality, it does not work for a few reasons. First of all, there is no direct translation of activity from social political blogs to the real world. Most of us (including myself) are armchair critics. If Martyn See\\\’s video is that effective, the political parties involved should all be helping those poor people out there. Has there been any action taken to help those poor people? Has anyone alerted the authorities that we need to help those people? It is the lack of action that convinces me that the social political blogs in Singapore do not have an influence in the off-line world, maybe until the next election where online videos of rally start circulating again in YouTube. Ultimately, the readership for blogs in Singapore is relatively small (it is far less than 50,000 unique visitors for the most dominant social political blogs) as compared to the US (about half a million unique visitors). In the US, the situation is in the reverse. During the democratic Senate race in US last year, the political blogs coupled with the marketing efforts of left wing democrats caused Joe Lieberman (a senator and ex-vice president nominee) lost the Democratic primary for his race to be a senator.

    The opponent position includes the claim that blogging has already translated into action in the US. This means that the opponent agrees that talk can (in fact, already has) translate into various consequential real world effects. This means that one can\\\’t construe the opponent position as saying that blogging never translates into action without committing the fallacy of arguing against a strawman.

    C-/C for effort.

  3. darkness said

    The opponent position includes the claim that blogging has already translated into action in the US.

    U need to go back to play school, my point is simply this u dont need anything close to “translated into action” to hit the mark!

    He ****ed up and all i did was showed the holes that’s big enough for a 747 to drive right through.

    PS: Show me one sentence where I referenced the US?

  4. darkness said

    No strawman agogoo – how did I know it was you? I wonder?

  5. darkness said

    You want more, I will give you more. You have no idea how, I am holding back.

    Its a dead duck anyone can see it.

  6. Your+GP+Teacher said

    \\\”The opponent position\\\” = the position of the person you are arguing against
    \\\”You\\\” = you

    It\\\’s the opponent position that references the US. You didn\\\’t.

    The opponent position–when it is not quoted out of context–essentially makes a comparative point. Your failure to take this comparative point into account makes your characterization of the opponent position at best incomplete, at worse, simply false.

    If one **** up the elementary step of formulating the opponent position–what the opponent, the one you are arguing against–is saying, then no matter how brilliant subsequent arguments are, they are irrelevant. You end up attacking a strawman of your own making, rather than the opponent. (The wiki on \\\”strawman\\\” is here.)

    It is always easy to quote out of context and argue against a strawman. For instance, suppose I say that Darkness makes a dodo statement because he claims that \\\”my point is simply this u dont need anything\\\” and then go on to (thumb, thumb, thumb) say a bunch of fancy stuff about how idiotic it is for him to think that people don\\\’t have needs, that we don\\\’t need anything, etc. When I do so, I will be arguing against a strawman–no matter how brilliant my arguments are, no matter how many half-baked quotations from Kant I make, I\\\’ve misrepresented my opponent\\\’s position.

  7. observer said

    The singapore angle fell into a trap. They feigned withdrawal, now they will take everything apart, point by point, health insurance etc.

    You have no idea how dangerous they are when they roll out their reserves and when they form you.

    You all fell into their trap, now it is finished.

  8. darkness said

    My friend its cut and dried, it’s finished. You wrote, I read and surely, you dont expect me to use my ESP skills to read beyond what you meant by context etc.

    There is more if you want. I held back only because it would have been too lengthy, doesnt take much time, without a spell check, all it takes is 15 min on my Nokia.

    Do you want so more? Bc I will give another round of rubbishing. I would rather deal with some of the stuff posted in Singapore Angle.

    Take it like a man, it will heal. I spoke factually and drove it hard and furious, but I keep it true.

    I didnt go all the way for one reason to spare you the grace of a honorable exit. So take it.

    You wanted a robust debate. I gave you one and now you are running like a laced virgin around a coconut tree? You are no match for me. Pls dont say I am personal, I gave it to you fair and square.

    I am darkness 2007

  9. Your GP Teacher said

    Darkness,

    Oh I\\\’ll take my honorable exit all right. Life is too sweet to be spent in the coldness of cyberspace.

    Context is just the text surrounding. Or–since you like Kant–zusammenhang as the Germans put it: that which hangs the whole thing together. You don\\\’t need ESP to divine context, you only need to read what comes before and what comes after. (And use your brain–but you know that already.)

    Your tough talking does not impress me. You keep it true? That\\\’s coming from someone who ended a quote of his opponent mid-sentence! LOL! Take it like a man? How about you take it like a man and admit that you didn\\\’t even represent your opponent position correctly, thus ending up attacking a strawman of your own imagination.

    Deal with the stuff on Singapore Angle? That\\\’s your problem with them–not me. As far as I\\\’m concerned: you are not different from those windbags. All equally good at talk.

  10. darkness said

    Hey dodo,

    I’ve given you fair warning, but you keep ranting on abt your fetish abt a scare crows, so this is what I am going to do with my buddy Vollariane, we’re going to pack you off to the Smithsonion Archeological section in a nice Sarphogus to commemorate your demise as a extinct species once and for all.

    Stay tuned folks for Part II (remember I gave him a chance to bow out) – dont worry, without spell check, it will take abt 15 -20 min to warehouse you.

    Stay tuned never a boring day with the bro press.

    Happy extinction.

    Darkness 2007

  11. shoestring said

    That which is happening, but is not seen could well be more significant than immediate/tangible action.

    Whether windbags should make any tangible difference depends on their motives/ personal agenda for blogging and whether they are short-sighted or far-sighted. If a particular windbag’s agenda is urgent, he/she would probably expect immediate tangible action to support his/her agenda, and be disappointed if it is not forthcoming.

    Conversely, if a windbag is just contented to share his/her ideas, then it doesn’t really matter whether he/she sees any tangible results because his/her goals have already been met when people read.

  12. Sitis said

    That was wonderful, Darkness. I am beginning to enjoy the “fun” that is done “ad hoc” in just 15 minis with your Nokia. You lead and we will follow.

    Now, when one proclaimed oneself as a “Teacher”, in Transactional Analysis, it means he is simply talking down on you. He is the so-called “Teacher” and you are his “Student”. Such attitude being displayed tells a bystander observer a lot about this person, whoever he was/is or may be. Chips on both shoulders, with an air of superiority, talking down upon others and attempted to grade others’ effort simply show the real opponent-position, the true colour, the hidden character. Would my words be translated into any change?

    If not, then I would rather remain:

    AS IT IS!

  13. inspir3d said

    Your GP Teacher is not BL, is some unknown. thank you

  14. Aurora said

    Inspir3d,

    We know exactly who ‘teacher’ is. We dont see personalities here, only the colors of the flags they fly. They take a position, they know the risk.

    We live by the same rules.

    Aurora

  15. shima said

    Inpir3d, I think it is time to delete the comment section again. What do you think?

  16. inspir3d said

    i have enabled first-time moderation.
    all first time commenters will need approval.

  17. shima said

    No lah – stop all the comments. I have read enough to decide who was the real dodo – BL or Darkness.

  18. Slapping the elites said

    ‘we’re going to pack you off to the Smithsonion Archeological section in a nice Sarphogus to commemorate your demise as a extinct species once and for all.’

    Funny how the positive end of the supposed unspoken pact isn’t as explicit.

  19. Slapping the elites said

    Sitis:

    You forgot to account for the loss of faith.

    Then again, such one-sided reporting is just typical of you, isn’t it?

  20. MOE said

    It is the mark of any good teacher to know their students better than they know themselves; to be a ‘fisher of men’.

    How else to ‘mould the future of our nation’?

  21. MOE said

    “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew.
    -Guillaume Apollinaire

  22. sphgirl said

    This Bambi darkness is deadly, quick thrust, precise, each finding the point, but only to slow down the enemy.

    Its definitely strategic, he is holding back.

    Deadly and full of panache, elan and aplomb very brotherhood.

    Show off!

  23. Epilogue Log said

    Sing your way home
    at the close of the day…
    Sing your way home,
    drive the shadows away.
    Smile every mile
    For wherever you roam
    It will brighten your road,
    It will lighten your load,
    If you sing your way home.

  24. montburan said

    Bambi baby darkness,

    dont fret. You are no fun when you are so angry, come dance with us.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/amiguch

    Remember this?

    Love Montburan

  25. prima delli said

    Dont need to be so angry.

  26. Bird of Prey said

    The Great Chronicler,

    Do you want me to stop? Tell the great devil, it has been a privilege to serve the brotherhood.

  27. Linga said

    Both Darkness and the OP have trouble keeping their feet in one place, or rather in Darkness’s case, he was engaging an essay that wasn’t water-tight to begin with. I would agree with the assertion that he set up his own strawman argument, and while he does engage this strawman competently, I don’t think you were fighting in the same ring. To draw a poor analogy, one of you is a muay thai kickboxer, prancing around in the ring with gloves for boots while the his/her opponent brought a torchlight to dispel the shadow of said muay thai …. boxer. Aheheh. Shadow boxing, get it?!

  28. freedomom said

    I am sorry from where I see it, he just nailed the author to four corners. That’s my POV and I have a right to it!

  29. Sitis said

    ( Slapping the elites Says:
    August 18th, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Sitis:

    You forgot to account for the loss of faith.

    Then again, such one-sided reporting is just typical of you, isn’t it? )

    Who lost whose faith? I have never and will never lost faith with the Brotherhood. Whoever others lost their faith, that has not the slightest infraction upon me nor vice versa.

    Are you sure I was one-sided? Read my comments again, please.

    While you continue your way, I will continue mine in remaining:

    AS IT IS!

  30. […] sitis  […]

  31. sitis said

    Dear all readers,

    The BH Press has relocated to this site. Sorry for the inconvenience and late notification. We hope you will continue to visit us and please pass the word around to your friends.

    http://whatotherssay.wordpress.com/

    Thanks and much obliged.

    SITIS.

  32. scb said

    The rains do usually come after the lightnings and thunders although there are times of false signals.

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