You call this the "highlight" of my day?

Something intrigued me about all this cartoon business over at InstaPundit, so I decided to take a closer look.

I dislike loathsome human beings, so I really wanted to find out more about Ted Rall's personality. Sure, I had seen his cartoons, but never liked them that much, as they just seemed rather strained. The guy thinks he is a lot more profound and more talented than he really is. Pomposity and I-know-better attitudes bore me, so I just never paid much attention to him. Now that I have read through his insult-laden, downright hateful blog, I think he's worth a comment. I guess that's because he doesn't allow comments. Here's why, in Rall's own words:

When I was researching the whole blogging thing, a cartoonist pal strongly advised me against including a comment feature in my blog. After I spent a few months reading hundreds of political blogs, particularly among the minority of bloggers opposed to Bush's fascist takeover, I understood why. A comment feature, in an ideal world, would allow people to discuss issues in a civilized way. But we don't live in an ideal world, and what happens in reality is that a bunch of right-wing maniacs link to your blog and encourage their right-wing maniac friends, all of whom should be in Gitmo rather than running free, to post insults in the comments section.

Yes, there are people for whom the highlight of their day is to post "Ted Rall is a commie asshole" on the Internet. Those people are welcome to post such illuminating messages on their own blogs.

Point of personal privilege here!

This is definitely NOT the "highlight of my day." Frankly, when I began this post I didn't know what I would think of the real Ted Rall, and right now I am finding him deadly dreary, even deadlier and drearier than the anti-gay bigots who would imprison me for sodomy. That's because the real Rall would throw me into Gitmo as a "right wing maniac" -- just for having opinions opposed to him. I wouldn't even get to enjoy the very icky stuff some bloggers love to describe in delicious detail. Psychologically, Rall is described by the Village Voice as someone looking for enemies. His personality seems to have been shaped by a showdown with a high school bully. While I have stood up to bullies -- and teachers -- in my time (I was the smallest kid in my class), I haven't let it preoccupy my life to the point of writing an entire book about it. Rall has. (But maybe I too can get pubished if I become a bigtime Marxist cartoonist!)

Real brave guy, this Ted Rall, stander-upper-against-bullies. Not afraid to bravely support the fedayeen who are killing US soldiers.

Nor is he afraid to take on the evil Generalissimo himself, George W. Bush (Rall on why "we" "hate" Bush).

I don' t mean to piss on Rall's parade here, but I think he knows it really isn't all that brave to "stand up to Bush." No challenge at all. Unless, of course, you first build him up as "El Generalissimo," as Top Nazi Pig, a ruthless stealer of elections who crushes all freedom, and imprisons small cartoonists at whim.

I have to admit, you would have to be brave to stand up to a guy like that. (Does that mean Rall believes in his own cartoons?)

More brave deeds by Ted Rall. I got on google, and I found this story.
and this one, about his attempt to crush a smaller cartoonist, one Danny Hellman, with litigation.

Some cartoonists I do respect, including Art Spiegelman and R. Crumb, have rallied to Hellman's defense. So did the City of Minneapolis.

Why would a Marxist like Rall go out of his way to squash a little guy like Hellman, anyway? Here's Rall's self-serving explanation:

Rall makes a point of his political radicalismĖheís an avowed Marxist. (One wonders if that radicalism has cost him work in a media culture thatís got to be more offended by Bolshevism than it is by cartoonistsí scrota.) So I asked him if, as a putative Red, he was prepared to get hassled for appealing to authority as soon as someone gooses him. Thatís a particularly salient question when you remember that the Voice article that Rall wrote to catalyze this mess was a deliberate provocation. If youíre going to gleefully kick someone, as Rall did, shouldnít you accept it in good grace when someone wants to boot you back? Thatís the business weíre in.

"The fact is, we live in a capitalist society," Rall responds. "And until the revolution comes, Iíll be toiling within this capitalist society to do the best I can. When the revolution comes, Iíll toil within a communist society to do the best I can. Thatís just the real world. And one has to be realistic and say, well, maybe the revolution is never going to come. Similarly, in this case, the legal system makes provisions for what Danny did. If we lived in a primitive society, I would just go kick the shit out of him. But thatís not legal."

See what I mean about bravery? Sue a harmless little guy, then justify the lawsuit by bragging about how generous you are in not kicking the shit out of him! Brave! Meanwhile, toil away under the yoke of capitalism and wait for the revolution. Brave! But hell, you know it will never come. So meanwhile.... enjoy the fruits of your toil. And sue anyone who makes fun of you!

I repeat, this is dreary, and not the highlight of my day! And I didn't need to devote yet another blog post to Rall. Better bloggers than I have already done a better job. Michele had fun with Rall's comment policy, while Michael Totten also fisked him.

Obviously, there is more, and I wasn't blogging when a lot of it was written. So I am still catching up. But the best Rall fisking I found was administered by Michele here, on "Bitchslap Ted Rall Day." Read it. It's a real gem. There's a lot I missed before I started blogging.

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear this Ted Rall guy was in some sort of a contest with Michael Moore.

Enough "highlights" for one night..... Yecchhh!!

I'd rather live in a civil world.

UPDATE: Here's Andrew Sullivan on Rall:

After 9/11, I was roundly criticized for daring to suggest that there were some people in America who wanted the terrorists to win. But if you read Ted Rall and others, there can be no mistake. There is a virulent strain of anti-Americanism in this country. Some, like Rall, are now urging the murder of American troops in defense of Islamist terrorists and the acolytes of one of the most brutal dictators in history. Ann Coulter couldn't invent something this depraved. That's where parts of the left have now come to reside. It's as sad as it is sickening.
Again, it's dreary, deadly, depressing. Rall is planning a trip to Iraq, though....

UPDATE: In recognition of another blogger's well-earned proprietary interest, I must point out that Michele outdoes her last fisking of Rall, and tears him a brand new one here. Little wonder; for as Michele remarked,

"Ted Rall is my bitch!"
(Whew! I'm sure glad he ain't mine!)

UPDATE: I am honored to discover that this post has earned me another Instalanche. Thanks to all who are visiting my blog, especially newcomers. And thank you, Glenn Reynolds. (In retrospect, I am not so sure about the title of this post -- but I can't change it now!)

posted by Eric on 11.12.03 at 05:54 PM


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Ted Rall is a commie asshole!
An even worse commie asshole is a jerk named "raj", who takes the opposite position. He once said, in a comment on some blog somewhere, that blogs that don't have comments are just personal "vanity" blogs, and that instead blogs should be open democratic fora for the masses, public property in other words, which is a Communist attitude. He regularly leaves comments on other people's blogs with no URL, no e-mail address, and no real name. A troll, in other words. One of the blogs on which he posted frequently was Arthur Silber's. He posted the first comment in response to Atrios notifying readers of Arthur's plight, a gloating comment that Arthur was a "wacko libertarian" and thus deserves no sympathy. Despicable.
I don't yet have a comment system on my blog, and I don't know if I want one, precisely because of trolls like "raj". If I do get one, I'll make a point of banning "raj" or deleting any comments he leaves, and those of any others who leave no valid name or e-mail address or who insult me. On that I agree with Rall, if I want to insult him I should do so on my own blog or on a blog where such insults to him are welcome, not on his blog. That's why I only post comments on blogs that I like and respect. Contrary to "raj", your blog is your private property, and insulting the blogger on his own blog is like scrawling graffiti on the walls of your living room in which we commenters are guests and should behave accordingly. Offering opportunity for comments is an act of generosity, a gift not a right.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  November 12, 2003 10:53 PM

You raise an interesting point about commenters who don't have a blog. I wonder whether there is a way to only allow comments from real bloggers. The only thing I can think of would be to require sign-ins, which I don't like. I had some comments by RAJ and I wasn't bothered by the fact that he disagreed with me; I tried to answer him as fairly as I could.

What really bothers me are SPAM comments from the usual penis enlargement crowd.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 13, 2003 5:25 AM

I'm not against commenters without blogs. Most people don't have blogs. _I_ didn't have a blog until fairly recently and I was commenting a lot. But I did and do at least have the decency to leave my real name and my e-mail address. Nor is there anything wrong with disagreeing, that's what makes horse races. What's wrong is insulting people on their own property.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  November 13, 2003 8:24 AM

Hmmm. Who's next on your list? Mark Morford?

OF Jay   ·  November 13, 2003 9:06 AM

Nah! I just read his piece on Barbie dolls,

and he's a far cry from Rall (or Howard Veit). Plus I really wanna be civil. It's just that when people say I should be in prison I feel obligated to defend myself.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 13, 2003 9:19 AM

That piece on Barbie Dolls was RICH. He may be sophomoric but he is, i agree, a far cry from Rall. Quite a partisan lefty when he writes about politics but when he doesn't, he can be entertaining for a few minutes.

OF Jay   ·  November 13, 2003 11:10 AM

Rall draws like a 5-year-old, but that matches his chosen perceptions of reality. His choice of deliberately ignoring the fact that "My feelings tell me NOTHING about what I'm perceiving, but tell me MUCH about HOW I'm perceiving them" leaves him open to objective criticisms of distortion, lack of objectivity and reliance on ad hominem attack.

Rall's meanness, smallness and overriding pettiness -when coupled with some small power as a 'known' cartoonist- make him mildly dangerous to well-meaning and competent Americans everywhere.

His punishment is his continued being, as he is.

SharpShooter   ·  November 14, 2003 11:26 PM

Ted Ralls thinks George Bush is the new Hitler. Yet Ted feels free to make exactly that charge. Why? because he knows as a public figure, Bush will do nothing to either stop him, or punish him. Whereas, if Bush really were Hitler, he'd be off to the concentration camps, exactly for making that comparison.

So, the fact one can say Bush = Hitler, without punishment, proves that Bush does NOT = Hitler. That the person making the charge is either lying, or unknowingly has a false sense of reality. Either reason disqualifies him as someone worth listening to.

ben   ·  November 15, 2003 1:48 AM

As for commenters who post nicknonymously, as I do, not all of us are trolls concealing our identity from some presumed retaliation. The address I give is not my main one, but it is functional and I delete spam from it every day. I choose to use a blogging-specific identity, but my True Name is not a deep secret.

There is nothing to stop a troll from calling himself Bertram Scudder or Michael Winton and setting up a throwaway address which won't bounce. He can then post his vitriol and slink away just like he did with the obvious handle.

triticale   ·  November 15, 2003 10:25 AM

Never particularly cared for Rall's stuff, but now that I see how much he annoys wingers, I'll have to reconsider.

Isn't Glenn Reynolds another one of those bitches who don't allow comments on their blog?

Johnny Fairplay   ·  November 15, 2003 11:00 AM

Actually, I am quite tolerant of annoyances -- such as heated disagreements. It's when people like Rall and people like Phelps (or Dobson, or Sheldon) want to put me in prison that they become more than annoying.

Hey Johnny, how come you call people bitches when they don't allow comments, but you don't give me an email or a URL? Touchy, aren't we?

Eric Scheie   ·  November 15, 2003 11:32 AM

Why snipe at Rall for not allowing comments on his blog while ignoring that Reynolds doesn't allow them either?

Pick a position and stick to it.

Johnny Fairplay   ·  November 15, 2003 2:09 PM

Keep up the good work eric!

Hey johnny, glenn does allow feed back to his work!

What about mr. rall. NONE!

panther   ·  November 15, 2003 7:10 PM

Many of the high-profile bloggers don't have comments. This may be because policing the comments is too much work, there are too many of them and large comments flows often degenerate into flame wars (think Slashdot without any moderation).

Or, in my case I was too lazy (or busy) to write a comment page in my home-grown blog software - and sice I haven't been doing it for a while (since the end of the war), I have not been motivated.

But I was always happy to post email from others.

Eric E. Coe   ·  November 15, 2003 9:05 PM

Johnny, instapundit's traffic is probably orders of magnitude greater than Rall's -- a comments section would be an ungodly ungovernable mess (and waste of his bandwidth.) See: "little green footballs".

Judgment of Rall or anyone else obviously shouldn't ride on whether he's made the right enemies -- i'll take it you're being facetious. Rall is as profound an embarrassment to the left as Coulter should be to the right.

Alex   ·  November 15, 2003 10:47 PM

I thought Rall was in jail for his views. Aren't his cartoons being smuggled out of the secret prison he's in?

Joe Goebbels   ·  November 16, 2003 2:00 PM

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