Saturday, 26 September 2009

Gang warfare

Yesterday I accused Tim Ireland of intellectual cowardice because he wouldn't debate the merits of sock-puppetry. On 26/11/08 [year corrected] I wrote in an email to him:
... Take a look at this picture Tim, and say what you see. If you really want to have a debate about sock puppetry, Hack's cartoon blog is exactly the right place to hold it.
The day after I had invited him to debate the issue, he wrote that I was:
... currently dashing from website to website making a variety of attempts to confuse the Gilligan issue and/or mock Gilligan's accusers, without declaring (never mind discussing or defending) his own position regarding the use of multiple false identities.
The rub is in the phrase never mind discussing or defending. That was exactly what I had proposed the day before, and which Ireland has avoided for ten months. So not only is he a coward, he also tells lies about me.

Aside from not being a very great custodian of the truth, I am aware that Tim was once accused of behaviour that "smacks of bullying". It was to do with his online campaign to have Julie Moult labelled as an "idiot". Not only did he want to abuse her himself, he encouraged others to do the same. The latest example follows an an article Ms Moult wrote about Sarah Brown and twittering. The concept of bullying is of course dependent on the power relationship between the two parties. In the world of print journalism, Moult's articles get a readership of millions. In the world of blogging, Ireland's articles get an audience of perhaps thousands. Moult herself is not being bullied, but it appears that the world of blogging is being led by a would-be bully boy.

I want to offer a simple formula to help resolve this:
Either: Julie Moult is an idiot OR Tim Ireland is an idiot
My own preference is strongly for Ireland as idiot for the following reason. Whilst it could be argued that Moult writes articles which are shown to be false, she manages to hold down her job and is thus valuable to her employer. However, it is demonstrably true that Ireland writes articles where he seeks to demean others, and he gains no reward for this other than his own self-gratification.

Others may of course want to argue the balance the other way, but they have to overcome the passive-aggressive hurdle. This is that Ireland is using emotion to win his argument. Idiocy is not a current medical condition (it may have been once) so there is no objective test to determine that "Moult is an idiot", as Ireland claims. His argument is based on an objective view about the truthfulness of her articles, and a subjective opinion about Moult's corresponding worth as a human being. Moult has kept quiet about her opinion on Ireland. But her retort should of course be: "It takes one to know one!"

The case against Ireland is now mounting. In the last two days I have called him a pervert, a coward, a liar and an idiot. This is turning into an all out slanging match! Has he courage to face his accuser, or will he set his little gang of "liberal" friends onto me? I'm just about quaking in my socks!!!

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