All Wind, No Wood [Part II]
It seems that Piccolo—who goes by the internet tag "I Am Coyote"—has "won" an "award."
It's right there at the top of the redesigned NW Republican blog, which is the generic blog design (with a little tweaking) that blogger offers when you open a new, free blog. They HAVE recently tweaked it, though. It's gone from white (hex code #FFFFFF) to a canary yellow background (hex code: #FFF3BF)
It's the "Thinking Blogger Award." Evidently it is given to blogs that make one think. At least, its placement at the very top brays the greatness of the blog. Alas, being a blogger who thinks, I immediately thought, what the hell is that award?
After all, I'm familiar with the whole "Web Award" mania that swept the early internet. The first awards that really had wide web distribution were the "Top 5 Percent Of The Web" awards, which came from a place called Point Web Reviews (pointcast.com)
As noted on this old MIT site:
City of Bits On-line has been named one of the Top 5 percent of the Web by Point Web Reviews. Point provides descriptions and ratings of the Top 5 percent of all World Wide Web sites, while searching for the best, smartest, and most entertaining sites. Their rating scale reaches from 0 to a perfect score of 50 in the categories of content, presentation, and experience. City of Bits On-line received a score of 43 in Content, 38 in Presentation, and 40 in Experience.But a profusion of "awards" soon became a meaningless fog of awards, and, finally, "fake" awards became the scam of the early internet. There was a period that "awards" were handed out like candy canes at an orphanage Christmas pageant. After all, web awards aren't worth the pixels they phosphoresce on.
Indeed, our old friend "Freddy Lenz" ended up with a whole virtual wall of them, although their actual existence is questionable in the extreme (e.g. he probably made up more than a few). Take a look at his website.
In the middle, you will note this "Mystic Gold Medal" award
-- which is, literally, ripped off from the 1996 World Internet Exposition "Gold Medals." I know, because I won a Gold Medal (as you can see on my website -- although the neon flashing outer rim is a modification that I made to the "official" virtual medal.)
original webpage on the Netherlands server.]
There are awards and there are awards: In 1997, I paid taxes on $1000 in prizes that came with that award, including CorelDraw 6, (which formed the base of my video and publishing empire.)
As I said: there are awards and then there are fake ripoffs like Dead Freddy Lenz' "Mystic Gold Medal." (Hint, if you're going to rip off a legitimate award, at least have the good grace to do in a less ham-handed and transparent manner than the "Mystic Gold Medal." Otherwise, all we've got is a mustache on the Mona Lisa.) And note this: I do not say that Lenz was responsible for the forgery. He merely advertently or inadvertently collaborated in the fraud by displaying the bogus "award."
As I said, being a "Thinking Blogger," I looked up the original site, which spoke of a certain "meme" and the nature of the "award"—which I'll get to in a moment.
According to Wikipedia, a 'meme' (as opposed to a 'memento mori') is:
The term "meme" (... rhyming with "theme"; commonly pronounced in the US as ... rhyming with "gem"), coined/popularized in 1976 by the biologist Richard Dawkins, refers to a "unit of cultural information" which can propagate from one mind to another in a manner analogous to genes (i.e., the units of genetic information).Remember, this is ABOUT meanings, which in this case contain that philological buzzword (which I use with great reluctance—I'm still averse to "proactive") and its relation to this rhetorical universe that "political debate" currently exists within.
Dawkins gave as examples of memes: tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots, or of building arches. A meme, he said, propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusion - analogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene. Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.
The idea of memes has proved a successful meme in its own right, gaining a degree of penetration into popular culture which relatively few modern scientific theories achieve.
The meme I am familiar with respect to Piccolo/"I Am Coyote" is that what a thing is called is intrinsic to its nature. We find it deeply embedded in Vedantic philosophy, specifically in Mantra Yoga. There is an intrinsic and unalienable connection between the word and the thing represented BY the word.
It is an ancient Western conception as well. In Genesis, Yahweh instructs Adam to name all the animals:
Genesis 2:18-20Again, the 'meme' that words are intrinsically connected with their objects is a very ancient conception -- in contradistinction to René Magritte's "Ceci n'est pas une pipe"
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field ....
('This is not a pipe'), or his paintings applying wrong words to common objects. There is quite a bit of philosophical discussion of Magritte's philosophical point, which you can explore if you're interested.
The point which I adhere to is that the Vedantic/ancient Hebrew conception is, in my empirical experience, a more correct 'meme.'
And there is another meme here: "Coyote" is, in virtually all Western American Indian tribal mythology, the trickster, akin to the Norse Loki, or the Roman Mercury and the Greek Hermes. Coyote is found, again and again, as in the European conceptions as an untrustworthy trickster, whose tricks are sometimes beneficial, but more usually the cause of grief, as often for Coyote as for his victims.
Coyote often plays the role of trickster, although in some stories he is a buffoon and the butt of jokes and in a few is outright evil.When I returned to Santa Fe, New Mexico, my hometown in 1989, I noticed that "Carlos Coyote" was everywhere: the coyote with a bandanna, howling at the moon. And I immediately thought it odd that Santa Fe, the ultimate solar city mythologically (the State Capitol building is consciously formed in the shape of the Zuni "zia" which is the solar symbol on the golden New Mexico state flag) was now ruled by the image of the lunar trickster god.
And, on a purely archetypal level, the symbolism held true: Santa Fe was referred to by locals as "Adobe Disneyland," and "Santa Fake," referring to the omnipresent trickery and fake "authenticity" that suffused the tourist culture of "the City Different"—by then more properly "the City Indifferent."
So, having grown up around the Coyote tales, I have to take Piccolo's self-bestowed moniker as seriously as had he nicknamed himself "Loki"—although in my experience, he is anything BUT low key. In the case of his new "award," I was naturally wary. WAS this like Lenz' "Mystic's Gold Medal"? Or was it legit? I looked all 'round the award website.
I did not find any reference to NW Republican or Coyote having won a "THINKING BLOGGER AWARD" anywhere on the website. So, I wrote the proprietor of the site and award. He replied:
Re: awards question
Apr 19, 2007
The awards are given by friends to other bloggers and not me (when I started it, I had to choose 5 bloggers). It is aimed for you to highlight 5 of the best blogs that make your gray matter work. Here is the post of NW Republican:
So, I checked the "I'd Like To Thank The Academy" posting. Here is part of what it said:
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I'd Like To Thank The Academy
Oh and Max... for the nomination as a "blog that makes you think."
I don't totally understand the rules (so much for thinking eh?), but I think I am supposed to also link to this site so folks, well... understand the rules.
Yes. The rules are simple enough: you have to nominate five websites to receive YOUR award; in other words, the "Thinking Blogger" is a sort of unregulated internet chain letter.
The award itself dates from February 11, 2007:
the thinking blog
fuel by ilker yoldas
11 February 2007
Too many blogs, not enough thoughts! Nevermind, that didn't rhyme (blobs?). What I've been pondering on since I tagged Divya Uttam (and she tagged me back!) is the purpose of these so called blog memes. What is it? Could it be word of mouth marketing? Could it be search engine optimization? Or more simply, is it a form of 'innocent' link baiting?
The reason why I participated in 2000 Bloggers was because.. well, I don't know. It was the first thing that introduced me to the concept of memes....
Which means that Coyote was a little less than two months down the food chain from the initial unleashing of Ilker's 'meme.'
Let's trace the family tree of Coyote's "award," shall we?
Coyote was nominated (as one of five) by "Max Redline."
Max Redline's "meme" is the neo-traditional Right Wing "debate technique" of heaping derision on those who don't agree with him (ad hominem), and on those who practice "science" (as opposed to 'talking points'). Indeed, he seems somewhat obsessed with "Climate Change Denial" and making fun of "algore"—the old Rush Limbaugh slur, from the early 1990s. From April 15:
Yet Again, Another Global Worming Protest Cancelled(NOTE: this is merely a representative posting).
Heavy rain and sleet cut down a protest op in Reno, disappointing organizers. While a couple of dozen folks turned out despite the weather, most apparently opted to toss another log on the fire and curl up with a good book. AlGore's message seems to be losing some traction. What's surprising is that it ever had any. Well, he does sort of look like a penguin....
Not what is generally considered "Thinking" in any system with which I am familiar, but let's look at where Max Redline got HIS "Thinking Blogger Award" (hereinafter, TBA):
Congratulations, you have won a Thinking Blogger award from WhackyNation."Whacky Nation" it turns out, is even MORE smugly self-satisfied with his "knowledge" about the mythology of global warming, and even more certain that heaping derision on Al Gore (herein termed the "Goracle") is the way to win scientific arguments. There is a "team" of three ideologically-joined-at-the-hip bloggers. Mark Gardiner, Lou Guzzo and Alex Hayes.
Lou Guzzo—author of the nastiest of the Al Gore ad hominems—has the gall to claim (April 9):
"as one who has devoted his life to journalism and the print and broadcast news media ..."You might note the ubiquity of the 'meme' in all three blogs, thus far: Coyote, Max Redline, and "Whacky" all have decided that they are climatologists and that Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" was made up out of whole cloth by the former Vice President. Therefore, making fun of the former Vice President is the proper tactic to refute any scientific argument about "global warming." In each case, the Homer Simpsonesque smugness mirrors that of the "Traditional Values Coalition" spokesnake Andrea Lafferty, who told the New York Times on July 11, 2004:
"There's an arrogance in the scientific community that they know better than the average individual."Call it what you want, but I don't think anyone could reasonably call it "thought." (Unless, in the meme of the right, 'unreasonable' is 'reasonable' as long as we say it is. You know, like their devotion to 'the Rule of Law' and to 'restoring integrity to the White House.')
We track Coyote's self-touted "award" still further down the chain:
March 31st, 2007 3:44 pmHe reciprocates with the "elite" award by naming "Leaning Straight Up" as one of his five chain-letter citations.
Thinking blogger awards (sic)
By Mark Gardner
Leaning Straight Up has given WhackyNation the Thinking Blogger award ...
And, as each succeeding blog has been nastier, and more mendacious, "Leaning Straight Up" takes vicious blogging to a new low, even as it brays:
"Independence, Moderation and rare Common Sense"Mr. "Moderation" has a particularly vicious segment on the war protests in Washington, D.C. focusing on the "patriotism" of the leather-jacketed flag-wavers, and suggesting that the war protesters are:
He's a lousy politician and a joke of a candidate, but he has GREAT hairBoy, that's sure "fun" ain't it? "Thoughtful" too. Right? You are cordially invited to read Mr. "Straight Up"s screeds, and adjudge whether or not they are "thoughtful" or the screams of a borderline psychotic ill at ease with any semblance of civility or civil discourse.
Posted Thursday, April 19th, 2007 at 11:51 PM by Karl under Just for fun
Some days, I swear, the politicians make our job too easy. Such is the case of John "Silky Pony" Edwards, erstwhile presidential candidate and Breck model....
Here's some more "moderation" from Mr. Manners:
"The media are the biggest hypocrites, for they supported the leakers, and argued it was no crime at the time, while they now pander to poor Val who was victimized....by them.
"Plame is a liar. Too many people have clearly said she was not covert, and that she gave recommendations for her husband. She lied, period. I don't expect Ringmaster Waxman to call her on it.
"Wilson lied about his trip, about his findings, about the conclusions, about who he told, about the president, and pretty much everything else related to the issue. Joe and Val are partisan hacks who are in this now for the movie deal and the lawsuit. Period."
- Gore is a 'prima donna'
- Global warming is a myth
- "More dissent to the Global Warming's Holy Consensus" (sic)
- True patriots don't protest the war (but show up in leather jackets to "protect" the Vietnam War Memorial because you can't trust them commie protesters, etc. etc. etc.
- Leftie blogs are filled with hate, they are "moonbats" and "nutroots."[And he has the gall to call himself "moderate."]
Thinking Blogger AwardsNote the family tree (a nut-bearing species, evidently).
Posted Friday, March 30th, 2007 at 11:58 PM by Karl under general
Bushwack at American and Proud and Beth at Blue Star Chronicles have both graced me with an award, the Thinking Blogger award.
While on it's surface it seems like a bloggers chainletter, in that when you get it you should likewise honor 5 blogs that make you think, as i considered it and looked at other bloggers thus awarded, I am honored to be in such company (all sic).
So, here are my 5 blog picks for the Thinking Blogger Award (see rules below):
1. Steve at Andrews Dad
2. Max Redline
3. Suzie at Assorted Babble
4. Whacky Nation
5. Perri Nelson
Congratulations, you won a Thinking Blogger Award.
Let's take a look at "Bushwack at American and Proud."
Bingo: we've hit the "hateblog" jackpot. Consider what "American and Proud" displays (just a few):
Or this (with another confederate flag): "Sons of the Confederacy." Or "Cowboy Code Blogroll" (another phony cowboy, see part I); "Reject the UN Blogroll"; the astonishingly phony astroturf group "Americans Against Hate"
Founded in August of 1998, Americans Against Hate (AAH) is a civil rights organization and terrorism watchdog group, whose goal is to be an active voice against those that spread bigotry and violence. While there are others that claim to do the same - and at times they do - far too many times they are suspiciously silent. Americans Against Hate was formed to fill that void.Which, I note, Bushwhack places directly above a "Liberal Hunting Permit."
There is no question that our focus has changed, since the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Now, more than ever, there is a need for an organization such as ours... to speak out against hatred, even when it is politically incorrect to do so, even when it entails criticisms aimed at certain religious sects.
For far too long the free world has sat back and ignored the violent hatred that was growing within undemocratic nations. We therefore unequivocally support our government's - and any other willing government's - war on terrorism.
Ha ha. That's 'funny.'
Aristophanes, alas, is dead, else he'd be laughing his ass off at the naked sophistry of that satanic reversal. If you read between the lines, "Americans Against Hate" is about bashing Muslims, now.
Before, I'm sure, it was about attacking any P.C. utterance as "hate speech."
Actually, they're lying. They allege that they formed in August 1998, two months ahead of the "hate crime" of the torture murder of Matthew Shephard in Laramie, Wyoming in October. But, according to SourceWatch:
Americans Against Hate (AHA) was founded in 2000 by Republican consultant and media specialist Stephen Marks. The group ran no-holds-barred television ads linking Vice-President and presidential candidate Al Gore to fellow Democratic party leader Al Sharpton.Yes, they were the proto- "Swift-Boaters." Gee: One wonders who is being "hated."
Marks told the New York Daily News, "We want to hold Al Gore's feet to the fire, just like George Bush got nailed for going to Bob Jones University," referring to Bush's controversial campaign stop at an anti-Catholic school in South Carolina with an interracial dating ban.
Time magazine described the AHA commercial as one of the "gut-punching ads hit the airwaves last week [the end of October 2000] in the handful of ground-zero states as both parties and their sympathetic special-interest groups worked to boost turnout among the faithful—or drive it down."
Time described the AHA ad, which aired in four states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennesee): "Sharpton, says the announcer, admires Hitler (flash to photo of the dictator) and defends rapists and cop killers (video of Willie Horton-style mug shots). The ad asks, 'Mr. Gore...what kind of unholy alliance will you have with Al Sharpton?'"
Which brings us almost back to Coyote.
Recall from part I that I was talking about Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and how they were sold to us as "cowboys"—to which I should add they were also sold as "regular guys," "plain, simple folks," and "common sense," even though that was just packaging memes that the ad agencies that run the modern GOP came up with.
Down the page is a prominent coverage of the "Draft Fred Thompson" movement, or whatever it is (probably astroturf).
You see, Fred Thompson is the PERFECT candidate of the new GOP meme: is he a "president" or does he just play one on TV? He was a lawyer for the minority during the Watergate hearings —defending Nixon, in other words. Then he was an actor, playing aircraft carrier commanders ('The Hunt for Red October' 1990) and other powerful Alpha males.
And he served one term in the US Senate before returning to television.
Perfect: he's the meme. Is he a politician? Or is he the tough D.A. of one of NBC's endless "Law & Order" spinoffs.
World Net Daily, the online Pravda of the NeoCons reports breathlessly that Thompson may RUN for PRESIDENT!
The perfect blending of TV fantasy and real world reality. You don't know if he's an actor or a politician, just like you don't know whether the "Thinking Blogger Award" is a reality or a con.
Because reality doesn't matter anymore.
And, trickster "Coyote" likes it that way. Consider the genesis of his award: something that anyone can have, filtered through the websites we've examined, and ask yourself how debased that coinage actually is.
And then ask: is the "award" there to honor the blog, or to con you into thinking that "NW Republican" is some kind of intellectual, rational, reasonable blog?
Just a couple weeks ago, Coyote posted this looking-glass screed that could just as easily have come from the pages of "Americans Against Hate":
Violent Liberals[Note: he belies his "moderation" at the bottom with this:
Friday, April 13, 2007
... Yet no where on this blog can one find a conservative calling out a liberal so that he can "punch" them in the nose. Yet you see this kind of behavior all the time by the left. Heck, just recently on a popular leftwing bigot blog aptly named "Horsesass" the blogster was inciting violence in his liberal blogaudience. How typical.
Yip YipWell, painting the opposition as violent AND crazy 'moonbats' doesn't exactly burnish one's 'reasonableness' credentials. But that's not in the meme.]
Posted by I am Coyote at 6:27 AM
At least they're consistent: Rationality has no place in the debate. It's all ad hominem. And it's the consistent meme throughout the five blogs—and their satellites, if you want to follow the chain letter further. I didn't pick and choose the most egregious examples. I simply followed the line of crumbs back to our "Lost Cause" Redneck mafia nominator and his "Thinking Blogger" award.
And I hope that you've done some "thinking" herein.
But, with his fellow "team members" (Coyote writes about 90% of all NW Republican posts) Ted Piccolo occupies an interesting place in the grand orchestra of American political discourse:
This Piccolo is all wind and no wood.