Justin of Chicken Yoghurt is wearyingly obtuse in the comments at Never Trust A Hippy. In response to this from Paulie:

The prize for the most telling response to the Tim Toulmin /Alistair Campbell dialogue and call for a ‘blogger code of conduct’ surely goes to Chicken Yoghurt. His response is that the blogosphere….

“…hasn’t yet orchestrated a propaganda offensive (in both senses of the word) that contributed to the deaths of 655,000 people. What’s more offensive, a sweary blogger or a Deputy Prime Minister who can’t keep his hands to himself?”

Let me translate that for you.

“Why should I tidy my room when the world is in SUCH a MESS!”

Justin writes:

Nope, sorry. That’s a not a very good translation. Can you be a little clearer?

What’s your point exactly?

“What have I done?! It’s so unfair! NuLabour’s always picking on me! Just tell me, what have I done?”

Paulie’s point seems clear enough to me. Attacks on the government by bloggers like Justin—and this government needs attacking—would have a little more credibility if they didn’t read like they were written by Kevins with laptops.

With the patience of a trendy teacher dealing with a spoilt student, Paulie has taken the trouble to explain to Justin why his (and others’) behaviour is not “helpful”. Sod that for a game of soldiers. The correct response to online sulking and swearing and slander isn’t to call for regulation like Tim Toulmin; it’s just to quote examples like Paulie did in the first place and marvel at their mountainous inanity. So let’s do it again because it’s easy. Alastair Campbell says that blogs contain “offensive stuff”; Justin throws another egg at The Man:

“What’s more offensive, a sweary blogger or a Deputy Prime Minister who can’t keep his hands to himself?”

“Yeah but no but John Prescott shagged his secretary! So nerr!”

Perhaps that’s why bloggers have a reputation for not getting out much: if I unironically broadcast head-slapping, irrelevant, adolescent stupidity like that then I’d be afraid to show my face outside. Up against people so ignorant that they employ a team of librarians to do a job that could be handled by a small piece of computer code, some online commentators still manage to make their targets look good.

Here’s Kevin Justin again:

[Unlike Alastair Campbell, the blog The Devil’s Kitchen] hasn’t yet orchestrated a propaganda offensive (in both senses of the word) that contributed to the deaths of 655,000 people.

Now that is an inspired rhetorical curlicue. How can I translate it and still embed a clever double meaning like the one Justin rightly draws our attention to in the original?

“Yeah, we might cuss sometimes, but at least we didn’t kill hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis with our Words of Mass Destruction!”

I wish I could say I hadn’t seen its like since I was an undergraduate, but, with the state of debate these days, I can’t. Read the rest as we bloggers say. It’s crushing stuff. Turning on his PC every day to face criticism like this—its wit, its rigour, its scholarship—must have been what drove Matthew Taylor to resign.

I agree that a bloggers’ code of conduct would be a complete waste of time, but Justin’s claim that bloggers are “already self-policing” is hilarious—“self-reinforcing” more like. The members of the pouting little boy bloggertarians club, frustrated beyond reason by Blair’s continuing survival and the takeover of the main opposition party by the Forces Of Statism, deploy the English language against the UK’s establishment with the incisiveness of little girls in an Anastacia forum and police themselves by collectively celebrating the “best” online verbal abuse. And even in that department they’re pretty unimpressive. They should extend their Web 2.0 activism out from the blogosphere into the real world and set up a flickr gallery showing the Best Snotballs Gobbed at an Elected Politician in 2006.

Here’s Anastacia fan Gemma from the comments at PooterGeek objecting to criticisms of her debating technique:

“Diss diss diss diss diss diss diss diss dis diss 😛


Getting mad now are ya?”

Here’s Justin the thirtysomething teenager from the blog post in question objecting to criticisms of his debating technique:

“To think that [Alastair] Campbell once consorted with [sic] princes and presidents and now he’s slagging off bloggers for whatever slim living it affords. I think I have an erection.”

Don’t curl your toes like that, dear reader; this is part of the Web 2.0 revolution, the new coffeehouse culture, the revival of satire. It’s punk all over again, but, unlike the Sex Pistols, Chicken Yoghurt and The Devil’s Kitchen—crazy names, crazy guys—really will smash the system this time (rather than leave Yes touring stadiums 30 years later with a separate pantechnicon for their money and Johnny “Rotten” appearing on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here).

Today the old-timers under attack are the giant lizards of mainstream politics. The Kids have extracted DNA from Jurassic jokes—Charles Pooter, Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock, Rick from The Young Ones, Wolfie Smith, and Roger Mellie—and used modern technology to create a terrifyingly dull new joke: the bloggertarian profanisaur—“self-policing”, self-regarding, self-fisking.