Saturday, September 26, 2009

Silly Blogger

Sad Arizona Solar Clown

The President recently bemoaned the state of discourse in our society, "I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding," said President Obama.

On August 5th, “Rate Crimes: Impeding the Solar Tipping Point“ was published on Robert Rapier’s excellent R-Squared Energy Blog in preview of the story’s publication on the renowned The Oil Drum two days later.

The preview was posted on R-Squared at 5:26 PM that evening. As of today, there have been just over 50 comments. Half of these were responses from Rate Crimes. The other half was contributed by eight others.

It is difficult to recommend the commentary except as an example of reactionary, dismissive, misrepresentative, and denigrating blather that was responded to as respectfully as possible. The hope had been to subject the Rate Crimes analyses to a crucible. Sadly, the comments for the preview consist almost entirely of unconsidered and ad hominen attacks. The first comment was a knee-jerk response that was posted only a little more than an hour after the article’s publication. This first commentator very obviously did not delve into the Rate Crimes analyses before he felt the need to cast aspersions, misrepresent this blog’s message, and ask a question that was answered in 2004. Throughout two days of commentary, this willful scramble towards ignorance barely hit a hurdle.

It is certain that there are many thoughtful, learned, and astute readers of the R-Squared Energy Blog. The blog consistently offers well-considered analysis and commentary on a wide range of topics related to energy and sustainability. But what thoughtful readers would foolishly interject themselves into the midst of a negatively noisy commentary proffered by a conspiracy of dunces? Only a few brave souls dared to venture a thoughtful comment and the only benefit Rate Crimes gained from the commentary was from an astute observation of a mislabeled graph.

Much careful labor has been done to develop the Rate Crimes analyses. Too often, this labor has been performed in solitude and without the invaluable gift of shared effort, or even thoughtful criticism. Only recently has there been published an important validation of the methodology that I developed earlier this decade. Even though my expectations for enlightenment from a blog posting were not high, I had hoped for a response more valuable, or even more thoughtful than an unsubstantiated, “I think you and your blog are exceedingly silly.”

The recent events surrounding the health care “debate” have exposed our society’s civility gap. Too many are ready to deliver judgment without careful consideration for either persons or ideas. The response you are now reading was intentionally delayed in order to gain perspective and to give careful consideration to an issue that is perhaps even more important than the hardly-silly issue of the long-standing repression of solar energy.

Rate Crimes exists to bring transparency to the economics of energy. All thoughtful commentary is welcome.


  1. Paul-
    The baby boomer generation and above (probably the key audience of R-Squared Energy Blog) seems to have radicalized over the years. Baggage from the culture wars, economic shell shock, social (community) collapse, and media stoked narcissism ( ) – all contribute to this madness we are witnessing.

    Take Glenn Beck for example, anyone with half brain would be able to tell that the guy is entertainer and he doesn’t have a clue about anything he talks about. Yet he has over 2 million dedicated viewers! I think the average age of Fox new watcher is 65. At some point these people became true believers – see Eric Hoffer. They “want to escape a flawed self by creating an imaginary self and joining a collective whole.” To these people there are no shades of gray….the narrative has to be simple. And if what you are saying doesn’t fit into the world view they sunk their teeth into than they dismiss you and try to rip you a part.

  2. I hope Rate Crimes can maintain some long-suffering in the face of the sputum-cum-opinion produced by the vast, ignoble contingent among us. That is, those who function at just a high enough level to string together a thoughtless remark or two and hit their “Enter” key. What you’re experiencing are the existential cries of lowly, pitiful self-affirmation and nothing more. Or, to respectfully expropriate from the late, great Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel – it’s Horton Hears A Simpleton. Not having a blog myself, it’s surely easier-said-than-done advice when I say - pity them in the nanosecond before you ignore them.

    This blog and others like it - R-Squared, The Oil Drum, etc. – are the intelligible voices above the din that is the “blogosphere.” I hope you can tolerate the voices of the ignorant as mere gnats in your ear since people like me depend on this and like sites to get truly insightful, meaningful and vetted information. I realize my responses on Rate Crimes have been, at times, irreverent, but at least they were intended to be relevant and thought provoking.

    Ad hominem attacks are everywhere these days but, on behalf of those of us who actually give a damn about the future, I hope you’ll “hang in there.”

    p.s. – May I humbly suggest that your clown illustration is far too sympathetic a representative for its intended knuckleheads. A little malevolence would have been fitting, although I do detect a bit of obliviousness…
    Thanks again for your efforts.

  3. Having read through more of the sniping commentary in response to your R-Squared article, it seems that your detractors fall into two categories: those who are unable to follow an idea in a multi-syllable-word sentence and those who are so entrenched in the status quo that considering an alternative energy to that which involves devouring finite resources and despoiling our resilient-but-not-indestructible ecosystem is simply overwhelming.

    Or, for those requiring more straightforward prose: they may have to, like Fonzie from Happy Days, admit at some point that they were ruh-ruh...ruh-ruh-ruh-wrong.
    Having hopefully clarified, let me say that I enjoy this blog precisely BECAUSE of its wonderful balance of elegantly presented information.

    As for sensible policy, it comes down to those of us who see our past errors or oversights regarding energy (which would be nearly ALL of us) as “an evolving sensibility” compared with those who see the same as weakness, an abhorrent specter to frail intellect.

    I wish you the stamina to calmly rebut challenges with any degree of merit, and the will to resist acknowledging all else as even remotely worthy. And remember - those with one foot in the future will surely be persecuted by those who stand only in the present.

  4. Thanks for your continuing support.