Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 14, 2005

MoA Census Summary

Here are some preliminary results from the census thread below:

- 123 posts

- 117 contributors (assuming that all anonymous entries are different people)

- 57 have their exact rank, with no comments

- 44 have provided their e-mail, 7 a website

- 66 have left a name, including one "Anonymous"

- 7 have left no name at all

- last exactly correct contributor: 85 (and - isolated, 110) despite Stoy's and LeslieinCA's efforts to bring back the numbering on track.

More interestingly, I have noted (this is a subjective count - some of the "lurkers" may have been contributors at the Whiskey Bar that I do not remember - and do note that these are rounded numbers because the frontier is hard to tell and more precision is error-inducing, so the total does not match...)

- 50 or so regular contributors

- 25 or so occasional or past contributors

- 40 or so "lurkers"

while a few of the regulars have not participated in the census

Which means either that more than half of the readers contribute or that not many of the lurkers joined the census...

As this site was built from e-mail messages sent to about 100 people and, until recently, very little outside publicity,  the number of readers sounds realistic as a ball park figure, which means that the ratio of contributors is pretty damn high, which is great (self congratulations to all!). Let's continue to keep this place lively!

As you may have seen, I have made a few more visible postings over at Kos. Do any of you have any strong opinions either way about this (stop/continue)? This thread may be used for meta comments, but please be warned that if it turns into a brawl I will stop the comments in order to avoid a Annex-style meltdown (and b - feel free to cut off the comments at any time if you think this thread is a bad idea).

Posted by Jérôme à Paris on January 14, 2005 at 14:55 UTC | Permalink


my 2 centimes on posting at Kos... keep it up. i am pleased to see posts and comments at other sites. feels like running into old friends at the corner grocery store.

i count myself between a "lurker" and random poster, as more often than not what needs to be said has already been said and in a variety of different voices that i appreciate here.

ready to pitch in wherever to keep this place going, i remain

esme in paris ;)
n.b., my e-address is on one of the original lists, that's why i don't include in posts.

Posted by: esme | Jan 14 2005 15:31 utc | 1

esme has already spoken for me. I should lurk more and post less as I committed the original fumble in the numbering. :P

Kos is great but filtered where I work for some blinking reason.

Posted by: beq | Jan 14 2005 16:27 utc | 2

I also agree with esme. I would have never found this site if not for your posting a link at Kos'. I was [am] a regular Whisky Bar reader but seldom posted before he shut down comments.

Posted by: Thumb | Jan 14 2005 18:54 utc | 3

I thank HKOL for guiding me here.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jan 14 2005 19:11 utc | 4

I've been wondering when it would come to this. Have you forgotten?

Also, to be honest, over the past few months I've noticed a definite deterioration in the quality of the conversation here at the bar. Trolls I can usually give the bum's rush pretty quickly - at least most of the time. But I'm seeing more and more stuff on the threads that strikes me as marginal at best - people who seem to get their main kick out of insulting or picking fights with the other patrons; people who don't have anything particularly intelligent to say, and aren't very articulate about saying it; people who don't seem to have anything better to do with their time than to cut and paste long passages from mainstream media stories, or the unabridged lyrics of old rock 'n roll songs; people who appear to be mentally unbalanced, and not always in a good way.

That's generally what the on-line world is like, I know, but for a time Whiskey Bar seemed to inhabit a different space: a bit more thoughtful, more intimate, less raucous, and - maybe most important of all - less crowded.

Billmon 6/28/04

I'll venture my first opinion here, and I'm definitely one of those who can't express myself well or intelligently, but I think you're just trying to outnumber r'giap, because you can't write with the same conviction, grace and lyricism.

Posted by: dk | Jan 14 2005 20:03 utc | 5


I'm in the same smokey dark corner that r'giap inhabits and I am happy to know him online here. Much is the better of my life for it.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jan 14 2005 20:31 utc | 6



that's me, being happy not being the same

Posted by: esme | Jan 14 2005 20:44 utc | 7

sorry guys, that last bit was directed at Jerome and was meant to be an example of troll baiting and the dangers of indiscriminate invitations. which further proves that I can't write.
CP, I always enjoy your posts.
esme, I look forward to more of yours.

Posted by: | Jan 14 2005 21:30 utc | 8


I thought we had turned that corner 6/28.

This is a very nice place that Bernhard created and Jerome inherited.

I sure the hell ain't looking back.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 14 2005 21:35 utc | 9

What a fucked-up media that reports to to us.
Hold the elections, then get out

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jan 14 2005 21:42 utc | 10

on brawling

i do not consider the posts i have written of late - in any sense - a brawl - even when it gets very hot indeed as it gets with either alabama or jérôme - i do not feel threatened - perhaps i should

there is only one poster here that i have the profoundest of difficulties & even with that poster, i listen - even when i think i ought not to

what i will not do however - is dress up my marxism - to make it 'decent' - it is what it is - & it s what i believe to the marrow of my bones

i am not as elegant as flashharyy would want me to be but ever since i have posted it has seemed to me that they are written in states of emergency - that the world we live in demands an urgent response & yes sometimes in that urgency i write a little incoherently & do not pay the attention i should to typographic issues for example but they are written with as honest a brush as i am capable

as i am not interested in converting i am not interested in being coverted

what i have been angry about are incredible oversimplifications of a genuine 'left' position that has taken on the worst aspects of anti communism

with jérôme - on the issues he knows well energy, banking, economics - i learn a great deal even if i am instinctively cautious & i wonder why jérôme must see me as the love child of maurice thorez & lillian gish. then i think our day to day lives are different. i work in the situations of great misery - of great difficulty & i have worked in those situations for the greater part of my life. it is what i see - i see what capitalism does when it kills the dreams - i work with people not only isolated from that dream but as destroyed as any jérôme may have seen in the ukraine & this is in a large but wealthy provincial city in france

so i think our difference may be that - that our day to day experiences colour deeply what we say

what i want known - that i never enter here without thinking what is it i have to offer - it is the same rule i apply in my workshops - for me the most serious question - what have i to give but also what have i to learn

so when i say as i have this week what i think of negroponte - it is not rhetorical - it is what i think & i have enough respect for common scholarship to say what a reasonable historian would

so if jérôme of b find my input too tempestuous or that i am a brawler then i will take the obvious & evident inference

evidently it is not a personal issue - it is about what are the limits of speech, really - in any circumstance

& i was happy to have my honour protected by dk even if it was sd only as a joke

still steel

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 14 2005 22:05 utc | 11

That's a good one CP.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 14 2005 22:06 utc | 12

I'm glad to know that was a set up, because I was trying to find words that did not flame either of the francophones mentioned.

fwiw- there's something to commend in both the latinate and the germanic inheritance (as it's known when translated into English stylistic modes).

Carver and Pynchon. Hemmingway and Fitzgerald. Four bar blues and Improvisational Jazz. Pale Ale or Stout. Plain or Almond M&Ms.

I like semi-obscure joints --small tables and a curved bar-- no ferns, please, but art on the walls always works --with regulars but also newcomers who run across the place and know they're home. And I always enjoy the quiet person in the corner who comes up with something au point and staggering and everybody buys 'em a round.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 14 2005 22:26 utc | 13

it really was earnest in content, but demonstrative of poor style and lacking substantiation. if I had style, I would be able to say it in a less contentious/offensive manner. Lacking that, it serves only as troll bait. And makes a better point as such for this particular thread. (if only I were able to get it across)

but, I will take this opportunity to thank you for your insight and knowledge and prose and passion that you've shared here. I am certainly the richer for it. sorry I don't have the learning(yet) and talent to defend your honor as I should.

Posted by: dk | Jan 14 2005 22:43 utc | 14

@dk I'm not sure why holding a census would indicate any sinister purpose like suppressing freedom of expression or "outnumbering" anyone. but maybe I missed something, some nuance, by not reading Kos?

metacommentary anyway, is a dangerous hobby... the occasional intemperate post may be the price of truly engaged and passionate disagreement; and I think sporadic intemperacy is different in quality and destructive power from the kind of weirdness that disrupted the Annex. so I'm not real worried about the Moon.

I'd agree that full-text posting of lengthy articles makes threads harder to read and we should not encourage it. but on the whole I find the quality of discussion here remains pretty good. I have my favourite (and less favourite) barflies like everyone else -- even good Christians have a hard time loving everyone equally and heaven knows I am not one -- but consistently I look forward to dropping by to see "what's the buzz".

I could reproach rgiap for longwindedness I suppose, but that would truly be the pot calling the kettle sooty :-)

Posted by: DeAnander | Jan 14 2005 22:50 utc | 15

& i meant it earnestly. & you should not devalue your own capacities. no one possesses a monompoly of information & knowledge & everybody's real capacity to share here is one of the wonders of such a site

& as i've sd repeately - the work of clones poster blackie, sic transit gloria - iis a serious amont of work as anyone who post regularly can understand & their work has both focused attention & opened up different possibilities or reading

the multiplicities of expertise on offer here is of assistance in understanding issues & of knowing that the community is in its own context vast

evidently, the responsibilities of managing a site are different from those posting on it & i can understand the pressures - but even in the carnage sometimes of the threads at billmon - i learnt something. the only thing that is not acceptable is wounding others intentionally, cruelly & i have not found that to be so here or even on billmons. the questions we are all discussing are not marginal - they are the things which are ventral to our existence - so it is not so surprising that the heat levels increase sometimes. as a reader i have always learnt

marx sd in his theses on feurbach that the educator must himself be educated & i think that is what happens here, mostly. we are taught & at moments we teach

the prose styles of people are so different that even on that level & that level alone this site & lespeakeasy are interesting but it serves such a grander purpose & i fundamentally believe that

at a time when most media read like poorboy pornography - the odd hot moment is not such a harsh price to pay because in essence the information is opened & filtered

i imagine the responsibilities of b & jérôme as i did with billmon are quite quite irksome at moments but the existence of sites such as this are so important & i would withdraw myself if i thought i was a threat to its existence

still steel

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 14 2005 23:07 utc | 16

Huh? Who ever said RGiap was a threat to the Moon? Or anyone else who posted in this thread? I'm a bit lost.
If it's about the census, my bet is that Jérôme is just the same kind of stats/data junkie as I am and was trying to see what kind of results would turn out.
For one, I'm not surprised that a very significant part of the readers actually post, since it was the whole point of this and the Speakeasy: to allow a place where barflies from Billmon could continue to discuss a wide host of issues and topics. Though, it turned out that even a mere reading without taking part to conversations is already satisfying to the mind, with B and J very good posts, and with all the bright and informed people posting comments. So, it turns out the Moon may be closer to a classic blog than first envisioned, making it far more than a mere message board, which was the first and essential need when the Whiskey Bar closed. I obviously won't complain that there are well-thought-out posts by B and J, and quite deep and informative conversation in the comments. Though we're not yet at the 500 posts a day that occurred in the last days of the Bar, and in fact am rather relievedwe're closer to 100/200, which makes the whole more realistically readable to me. OK, I'm selfish here.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 14 2005 23:59 utc | 17

Rgiap - I would not want you to go away, but then I probably take things around here not very personally, so I don't get upset easily. (Hey, Pat tried and gave up! ;-) )
Like I said, I don't agree with you on much, but I don't think that your perspective is illegitimate nor that I cannot learn anything from it, quite the contrary.

I hope that you will give consideration to my proposal in a previous thread to reverse roles - give me the topic you want me to fight for (or against) - and I will let you write the ultimate critique of Castro in return. And please don't think that the ability to argue for the other side means that you're just a guy for hire. Being able to put ourselves in the shoes of someone else is at the core of our humanity, I think.

More tomorrow.

Posted by: Jérôme | Jan 15 2005 0:00 utc | 18

not the census, the linking back from Kos I see as potentially dangerous to the harmony of this site. despite the passions displayed, a sense of respect and a certain loyalty are apparent here. I fear too many voices may spoil that. And I'm positive that the majority of American posters at Kos will have a hard time digesting the posts of "leftists" here. and to be selfish, I like reading them. I don't know of any other blog where Marxist positions are argued so eloquently and treated w/ respect by those disagreeing (a few recent comments excepted). I read Kos daily as well, but find the size of it seems to discourage thoughtful debate, while folks choose sides and rating wars ensue, and majority tends to rule provided it matches the sentiments of its editors (witness the wars over the Ohio recount). liberal is a dirty word amongst some Democrats now, and Marxist has been for 60 years and is taken as fact.
I really have no idea of Jerome's intent and I doubt replicating the problems of Kos is it, but I fear the results of linking back from Kos and the increase of posters would be the same. I think Jerome's posts should be on Kos as well, I just don't know if MoA would survive in present form if inundated w/ Kossacks.
and with those overly repeated two cents, I'll go back to lurking until there is a subject I know something about.

I see what you see, but on Chicago's westside.

Posted by: dk | Jan 15 2005 0:09 utc | 19

dk - I certainly won't mix MoA with Ohio or DNC over at dKos. I try to keep my posts on somewhat "intellectual" topics at dKos (international, deeper economic or political issues as we are used to here) and I expect that the people that read them - and follow the links - will appreciae what we have here.

We'll see. As I said, I will take feedback here into account.

Posted by: Jérôme | Jan 15 2005 0:16 utc | 20

no jérôme i take your proposition very seriouslly. i follow f w scott fitgeralds dictum that a good mind should be able to hold two differing positions at the same time. believe it to be one of the elemental rules of creation.

just the time factor - i have promised at lespeakeasy a continuation of the thread on arab philsophy from antiquity, the thread you suggested on marx & i would really like to develop something on the 'macbeth' proposition - perhaps in collaboration of some sort with alabama if he were willing

so your proposition -will take time - & hopefully others will forgive me if i do not arrive at it rapidement - no i think the proposition more than a rhetorical jeu - is interesting in opening up the spirit of debate

for example - i think - this question of trust - i think fidel could trust his people a little more - because i think at some deeper & more practical level they understand what would happen if the gangsters in miami were to turn this beautiful island into the whorehouse it was under battista & meyer lansky. not so different from the iraqui gangsters chalabi & allawi

what the blockade has meant in cuba - is that essentials are not being dealt with - are not able to be dealt with - & a people's will begins to suffer greatly for any change - even for the worse sometimes

as in nicaragua - i remember a bbc(?) documentary just before the sandinistas lost(? the forced election. the people were tired very tired & the americans had sd very clearly - if you vote for the sandinistas - the war of the contras would continue

is it so hard to forgie a peopl for wanting to live in peace than choose the better angels of their nature

i remember reading the beautiful article - i think in granta of serge ramirez the poet/politician - which made me weep, really weep - because you knew that on the whole - these were good men & women. decent men & women who had fough for something that was doomed to die because the us wanted it to die.

what i cannot forgive is that the us murdered ordinary people, really ordinary people - i lost a friend - an irish man - who was killed on the border of nicaragua who helped to build schools in nicaragua - he was killed by american trained goons - who no doubt celebrated their murders in some sordid restaraunt in miami

so here in incaragua - this trust - this question of trust is a difficult difficult question. so i would like to write something on trust - but to understand - that i am in france - i do not suffer the consistent & deliberate blocking of a country's desires - as is the case in cuba

but yes when there's time i will work on your proposition

still steel

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 15 2005 0:19 utc | 21

Censor interuption

Metathreads, talking about something in something, can be desasterous. I will close comments to this thread now.

If you think this is bad behaviour from my side, feel free to send me an email. I will read it.


Posted by: b | Jan 15 2005 0:59 utc | 22

The comments to this entry are closed.