First off, let me say I love Arianna Huffington. I wouldn't go listen to her speak in person or anything but I pretty much stop down when she has something to say on TV. She "gets it" in a way that is refreshing and satisfying. Go Arianna!
I've seen some people on the left slam her pretty bitterly, falsely questioning her motives and commitment to progressive causes. To me, that reflects more on the accuser's defects than it does on her. I could live in a world of nothing but Ariannas. But life is not so simple.
Where I part ways with her oftentimes is in the solutions. One thing she cannot abide is "toxic dialog" and I understand completely what she means by that. Our discourse has been overrun by disingenuous and inflammatory comments without any intent of being constructive or truth-seeking. Those people are like acid eating into our souls with no possible good coming out of it.
It's beyond infuriating when someone burns down the house you're trying to build. One cannot both build and defend at the same time and these maniacal predators take advantage of this to practice their art of destruction. Such actions are intolerable and if allowed to continue are a threat to society as a whole. I think Arianna and I are eye-to-eye on that assessment.
What? Me toxic?
But her so-called solution is just as bad.
You did not hear Gandhi or Martin Luther King talk about censoring the hearts of their fellow man and God knows the toxic dialog they endured. Instead, they spoke of changing hearts knowing that would lead to a change of speech as the mouth is the overflow of the heart. What they did not do is foolishly hold themselves up as arbiters of what is good and true as no human can possibly make that claim.
Not that that stops Arianna and her many minions from doing just that. It's a false paradigm as she attempts to create a place of only "constructive" dialog. But one cannot make a difference only hearing what one wants to hear. One must let the chips fall where they may and trust in nature to sort it out the good from the bad so that we may all learn. That learning never stops.
I've had many comments censored at HuffPo and for a couple of years I stopped commenting in frustration. I also noted many other commenters complaining of and confused by similar treatment. "What did I do wrong?" The answer, of course, is nothing. Oh, the lament to be held captive of little minds!
But I've been sneaking back on lately only to be wholly soured once again. Arianna posted about a baseless lawsuit against her. Here is the gist of the suit:
NEW YORK — A blogger and labor activist has filed a lawsuit against AOL and the Huffington Post for not paying freelance bloggers while benefiting financially from the content they create.
Jonathan Tasini's suit, filed Tuesday, seeks class-action status on behalf of more than 9,000 writers and other content providers and asks for at least $105 million in damages.
The suit names Huffington Post co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer as defendants. AOL bought the Huffington Post for $315 million last month, which Tasini said prompted the lawsuit.
The suit claims the Huffington Post has been "unjustly enriched" by luring contributors with the prospect of exposure but keeping the financial gain from their articles.
She was mocking of the suit and rightly dismissive of it and I say this as one who provides free content myself. So to provide a satirical statement on the mentality of Tasini's lawsuit I posted this comment:
[Comment withheld pending payment]
Now, I thought that was pretty damn funny expecting to be paid for a comment and was also very biting on the whole something-for-nothing expectations of the suit. Instead, it got censored, deemed an attack on Arianna by the deaf, dumb and blind munchkins upon whom she relies to make her world pure and holy.
No, it's a fool's errand you pursue Arianna, both perfidious and self-defeating. The only thing worse than toxic dialog is toxic censorship, as bad as any state controlled newspaper or two bit dictator looking for the same sort of paradise through baseless repression.