Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Missouri voters rejected a huge tax on ciggarettes on Tuesday. I'm glad.

To dispense with one of the arguments against, I don't buy the whole "persecuted smoker" thing. Smokers engage in a disgusting activity, routinely litter everyplace they go, and at the least make it unpleasant to breathe and at worst cause helath problems for others. So my sympathy for smokers is limited at best.

Still, there was a mean-spiritedness to the campaign for this amendment. There was an ad running that flatly said that those who oppose the amendment "don't care" about the illnesses smoking causes.. They made it seem that opposing this bill was tnatamount to doing nothing while your teenage child started smoking. That didn't impress me.

Second, and this was not something they advertised, these funds could be a back door around the ban against using state funds for organizations that perform abortions. Since these wouldn't be regular apporpriations, they aren't subject to the ban.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't mention this concern in its write-up, but of course it assumes that everyone's pro-choice anyway. It makes excuses about the lack of time and a vague "voter mistrust." Never mind that supporters spent about 40 times as much as opposers. The Post-Dispatch makes it seem like those in favor of the proposition were the plucky underdogs fighting impossible odds.

Here's a question -- wouldn't the $4 million spent supporting this campaign been better spent on supporting the health care issues these supporters claim to care so much about?
I think the readers' relationship to a blog goes through phases similar to what we go through in our personal social interactions.

When we first meet a person, we usually do so under more flattering circumstances. People are putting their best foot forward, and trying to make a good impression.

When you think about it, our first interaction with a blog is similar. We see a link from MegaPundit that says, "Great takedown of Marty McBlowhard here." We think, hey, it's about time someone told McBlowhard where to get off and follow the link. We start reading, and think that the writer must be some sort of undiscovered genius for all this time. Of course, this is likely one of this blogger's better pieces, since it was chosen to be linked by MegaPundit, and we followed the link mostly because we agreed with the summary.

So we start visiting the site daily, and eventually the writer will say something we disagee with. That's fine. But then she'll use the same rhetorical tactics against some cause we believe in that she used in her takedown of Marty McBlowhard, and we won't think it's so clever anymore. In the meantime, we'll see a link to a takedown of Wendy Windbag, who we dislike even more than Marty McBlowhard, and read him for a few days.

I think this pattern applies even to our own writing sometimes, which is why some blogs (including this one) flicker out after a while. Sometime we get tired of sound of our own voices, and stop thinking our perspective is all that unique.