Friday, September 21, 2007

"But...but it was Friday night!"

Until yesterday's posts about the Jena 6, McArdle's blog had been a fairly quiet place. Comments tended to come from her dedicated coterie, whose comments were often better informed and more literate than the posts that inspired them, with regular incursions by a few detractors. Some of us have posted there, with one or two still enjoying the dubious privelege of being allowed to comment; I was banned for questioning her claim to have read a certain book, Fishbone was banned for some other infraction and Brad was, presumably, banned for starting this blog. Though it is The Atlantic's property, Asymmetrical Information is McArdle's fiefdom and she has the right to run it as she sees fit. For the most part, she's run it well and kept it clean.

The barfight that erupted in her comments section yesterday was ugly, with open expressions of appalling racism, calls for vigilante violence and at least one entreaty to McArdle to commit suicide. The brawl spilled from her first Jena post to the second and didn't slow down until the evening. As of 12am Saturday, none of the comments had been deleted, the worst offenders were still posting and, despite a few pleas for moderation, McArdle was nowhere to be found. Never one to engage frequently with the hoi polloi, she's decided that discretion is, truly, the better part of valor, and run away.

For all of McArdle's faults as a writer, I'd always assumed that she would have some atavistic regard for her employer's hallowed reputation, and that even if that reputation didn't inspire her to become a better, more disciplined and engaged writer, she would at least honor that reputation by not falling asleep at the switch. Failing to take note of one racist's trolling because she'd taken ill was excusable. Allowing Sambo-speak, apologies for vigilantism and exhortations to suicide to go unchecked would be considered negligence from an independent blogger; for it to happen under The Atlantic's aegis is a bloody disgrace. The excuses she may cook up for her inattention will, in all likelihood, be as pathetic as the defenses she offered for her ignorant, lazy posts on the Jena 6; on a matter of lesser import, they might have been amusing. This cock-up isn't funny, and her self-deprecatory charm, if it was ever genuine, shouldn't save her.

Fire Megan McArdle.


M. Bouffant said...

Wow, I've posted there several times & haven't been banned. Am I falling down on the job already? I do try to be nice while beating on her. I e-mailed her today asking about her reaction to the collusion/competition item @ TCS Daily that S,N! mentioned today, but I'm sure she was out of town or househunting or whatever by then.

brad said...

As of this very moment, I remain unbanned.
I certainly cannot tell you why. I would have thought I'd been more offensive than anyone but the racist dood.
Ah well, leaves me the space to get in pokes.

Fishbone McGonigle said...

Never one to engage frequently with the hoi polloi, she's decided that discretion is, truly, the better part of valor, and run away.

I miss Douglas Adams.