TRAFFIC: A tempestuous hissy-fit in the Chinese blogosphere teacup

Traffic.  Some unthinking bloggers think of traffic as an essentially valuable commodity whose value is measured quantitatively, just like the value of gold or other pure substances.  But verbal traffic, the traffic of words and ideas, is never any more or less valuable than the contents of the characters, and the minds, of the Internet traffickers.

Hack journalists such as many of those who work for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, get a lot of traffic.  Loathsome hack bloggers such as Michelle Malkin get the most traffic of all.  The cult of publicity and popularity is a poisonous one, polluting the mental environment as much as fossil fuels and China’s unsustainable industrialization pollute the physical environment.

Our blog is not concerned with quantities of traffic, or publicity or popularity.  We have made this clear from the beginning.  We do not, and never will, accept advertising or sponsorship.  Nor is our blog a means of networking for opportunistic professional purposes; if anything, our trenchant, unreserved denunciations of the myth of China’s “economic miracle” will continue to make us pariahs among any “China Hands” who have access to business opportunities in any country, as well as among all Western mainstream media.

And yet, here comes Richard of Peking Duck, throwing a puerile hissy-fit in response (several responses, actually) to another China-blogger’s post regarding how and why Richard has banned us from his site.  He imagines that our differences with and criticisms of him all come down to a craving for traffic, as he comments:

I expect that to generate yet another post on said blog, where site traffic is far higher than my own and the comments more voluminous, but I can deal with that.

And again, with a limp attempt at sarcasm (as he apparently knows our blog traffic is low), he writes:

Let’s see how big a noise you can make, Catherine.  Judging from your site activity, it looks like you’re doing a great job.

OH!  Handbags!  What a performance!  Kind of like this one:

 

Now, Richard’s main grievance against our blog seems to be based on a post in which I took him to task for his lack of consistency in suggesting that China’s one-child-policy might be necessary – or at least less than absolutely condemnable – on the grounds of necessity, while in the same breath he praised the CCP (however reservedly) for beginning to apply their laws equally to all citizens.  My argument was, and remains, that if anyone really advocates China applying the one-child-policy equally to all citizens, then the logical implication is advocacy of mass-infanticide, instead of the (so far) limited infanticide which is going on in China, so far limited to killing babies of the poor and dispossessed.  In other words, my post pointed out the logical consequences of enforcing China’s one-child policy in a truly consistent way, the way which Richard advocated without thinking through its implications thoroughly.  If someone advocates, or even expresses understanding of the “necessity” of China’s enforced population control – which includes forced infanticide – then one has only two choices, without any room to weasel out:  Either you say infanticide is okay and must be enforced upon all mothers throughout China, or else – if you find infanticide objectionable at all – you must say China’s one-child policy is as evil as the Nazi Holocaust.

But Richard didn’t get it.  He chose not to.  He commented:

Just take a look at Catherine’s blog and see how I am attacked and misrepresented as an advocate of mass murder.

No, Richard, our blog is not misrepresenting you as an advocate of mass murder.  We’re taking you to task, to think more about the logical implications of what you wrote.  We did so in the same spirit as Jonathan Swift’s famous satire, “A Modest Proposal” in which Swift pretended to advocate the killing and eating of poor Irish babies, as a deliberately shocking way of illustrating the logical implications of England’s policies toward the poor of Ireland policies which in the England of 1729 were considered “regrettable but necessary” by respectable English journalists – but not by the poor of Ireland whose babies were dying from those policies.  But you know, Jonathan Swift cared nothing about being “fair and balanced” about his country’s economic relations with Ireland, and that is why, to this day, although Swift was a prosperous Anglo-Protestant, he remains beloved by the Irish Catholics for whom he spoke out and defended against their foreign and domestic oppressors – and he did so without any reservations or pretensions of journalistic “balance.”  One wonders whether any “fair and balanced” American journalists in China will be as beloved by the poor of China 100 years from now, as the unbalanced, scatological Swift is loved by the Irish today.

But enough of that.  In conclusion, Catherine and I believe that if our blog’s traffic ever has the effect – through God’s (or the Universe’s) peculiar way of “writing straight with crooked lines” – of ending the enforced mass-infanticide of China, then we will have had the only kind of “traffic” that ever really matters in the long run, because the teacup of the Foreigners’-China-Blogosphere is too small to contain the importance of the tempest of mass murder.  Or in other metaphorical words, there was a lot of “traffic” on the trains to Auschwitz, and our blog shuns and repudiates THAT KIND of traffic.

auschwitz

TRAFFIC TO AUSCHWITZ

Copyright Anne Frank Stichting

Margots Blick

In der dritten Nacht hält der Zug plötzlich an. Mitten in der Nacht, gegen zwei Uhr. Die Waggontüren werden geöffnet. „Aussteigen, schnell, schneller“, brüllen die Männer in den gestreiften Anzügen. Die Gefangenen müssen ihr Gepäck im Zug zurücklassen. Sie sind in Auschwitz. Häftlinge müssen die Menschen aus den ankommenden Zügen treiben. Auf dem Bahnsteig gehen SS-Leute mit Hunden und Peitschen in der Hand umher. Grelle Scheinwerfer beleuchten den Bahnsteig. Die Männer müssen sich auf einer Seite aufstellen, die Frauen auf der anderen. Otto Frank sieht seine Frau und seine Töchter zum letzten Mal. Über diesen Moment sagt er später: „An den Blick in Margots Augen werde ich mich mein ganzes Leben erinnern.“

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5 Responses to TRAFFIC: A tempestuous hissy-fit in the Chinese blogosphere teacup

  1. Ned Kelly says:

    To the commenter who said the Monty Python video in this post could be construed as “homophobic”,

    Your comment was deleted because part of its content implied an escalating personal feud between this blog and another. We have no interest in any such personal feud and we do not want anyone to encourage others to take any interest in igniting, fanning and escalating one.

    As for the video being “homophobic”, you should tell it to the four surviving members of Monty Python, and BBC, before you tell it to us. Or tell it to the departed ghost of the gay Python member Graham Chapman who was a genius at making fun of all kinds of ridiculous behaviours of all sexual orientations including his own. That video clip will remain linked here as long as the Pythons themselves do not repudiate their making of it.

    Now pardon me while I launder my favourite brassiere and polish my
    white stiletto heels. Kiss kiss!

  2. HKSojourner says:

    “We have no interest in any such personal feud and we do not want anyone to encourage others to take any interest in igniting, fanning and escalating one.”

    “And yet, here comes Richard of Peking Duck, throwing a puerile hissy-fit …”

    Sounds pretty personal to me.

    As for the clip it’s hilarious and I take no particular umbrage at it, but it’s all in the context, right?

    Anyway, I have always respected your integrity in the past, so let it be.

  3. Ned Kelly says:

    HKS,

    Thanks for saying you respect our blog’s integrity.

    We just want to mention that other commenters who are not familiar with the China blogosphere, such as those who commented on the “Final Solution” post in the Telegraph blog section, didn’t perceive it as a personal attack. Outside the China blogosphere, the commenters just focused on the issue of population control and “personal” issues never occurred to them.

    As our target audience is mostly outside the China blogosphere, we look forward to continuing to be regarded in that way, as critics of dishonest Western journalism beyond the parochial China blogosphere’s soap operas. Our target audiences are those who can actually make a difference in what is happening in China. But the problem of blinkered expats in China who aid and abet popular Western illusions about China, is part of the larger problem and we will continue to take some China-blogosphericals to task whenever we find it appropriate to do so, in order to inform those audiences who really matter.

  4. Catherine & Ned,

    Sorry to learn about your experiences with other peoples’ short cuts of thinking that led to baseless ad hominem attacks against you!

    We agree with you that there’s more to blogging than traffic. It seems that Boxer, in her article at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21013 , has a point when she suggests that “[f]or many bloggers infamy is better than no kind of famy at all,” and that “[t]he law of the blogosphere is Hobbesian: survival of the snarkiest.”

    Your experience shows us once again that the blogosphere is mostly a place where it is *not* the progressive types who set the tone. Sophia and I believe that it is best to not lower yourself to the bottom of the heap. This is to say: Thanks for resenting that dirty rat race for maximum attention, measured in inbound links. This is what makes your blog a tremedously interesting read! We would gladly count ourselves as members of your “target audiences” anytime! Keep up the good work!

    [Please note: we do not endorse most of Boxer’s generalizations, as her way of seeing is very U.S.-centric and misrepresents the global, multilingual phenomenon of blogging]

  5. Ned Kelly says:

    Peter and Sophia,

    Thanks!

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