Dear 1585,

    I have read your essay about Mrs. Sarah Palin and I must say that I am impressed.  But I do believe that you missed a few key points.  Now I could type out all the things that you have missed about Sarah Palin, but there is a website that does all the explaining for me: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-kurtzman/sarah-palin-by-the-number_b_127355.html

    But the beginning of this email is beside the point.  I’m just curious, and I could be wrong because I haven’t read all of the essays on your site, but are you trying to tell everyone who reads to not stimulate their political curiosity?  When I read some on the articles on your site, I begin to think that you are simply trying to say McCain sucks and Obama rules.  (On a side note, I am all for you.  Obama all the way for me).  Before people vote they read sites such as this one and think that this is all the information on the particular subject that you can get.  There is never a CLEAR winner on the Presidential debates and such because there is never a clear LOSER.  In my opinion, I don’t like McCain.  But that is severely opinionated because my Brother is in Iraq.  And I want him to come home and be safe. But that is just my opinion.  I would love to simply Kick McCain is his shins (not what I was going to say) than let my brother stay in Iraq for another 15 months.

    Whoops, sorry.  I’m getting off of the subject again.

    What I’m trying to say is that I know the 1585 is all about political debates and philosophical arguments.  And I’m all for that.  All that I’m saying is that the site should be less “Obama” and more “Person that isn’t going to die in office!”

    I’m sorry this email is so short, but because of my age, my time on this computer is limited.  So from one of your youngest readers, Goodbye 1585.


    Dear NR:

    No reason to apologize for the short e-mail.  It’s about time there was something short and to-the-point somewhere on this site.

    Anyway, I’ll begin by answering the part of your e-mail that was actually a question, and say No, of course we aren’t telling our readers not to stimulate their political curiosity.  We are not trying to be dogmatic about endorsements, of Obama or anyone else.  These last few essays are kind of a rarity for us, since we usually just talk about issues and don’t even mention candidates, or even specific real people if we can help it (as we pointed out at the beginning of the Palin essay).  During the primaries, for example, we did not say a word, even about the Hillary/Obama “horserace.”  Partly, this was because we are a hybrid political site after all, and wanted to leave the primaries up to the respective parties (it is, I suppose, clear by now that we are technically Democrats by party, but then again we never obscured this; it has been sitting there plain as day in the FAQ for as long as the site has been up).  But to an even greater extent, it was because we simply didn’t have anything to say about them—or, rather, not anything that other people weren’t already saying just as well or better.

    Unlike a lot of blogs (are we even a “blog,” by the way?  People keep calling us one, but I always thought we were just, you know, a regular website…  Sure, the content is opinions about stuff written by people, but what isn’t?  What, do you have to be written by robots or something not to be called a “blog”?  Unless I have been misinformed, “blog” is short for “web-log,” indicating that it is basically someone’s public diary, and while we may not be perfect, I think it safe to say that what we do here is a little more ambitious than a diary.  Seriously, stop calling us a blog.  Unless you are nominating us for a bloggie, in which case, we are in fact a blog, and deeply honored by the nomination), we are not in the habit of updating constantly just for the sake of updating constantly.  As a result of this, if we have an opinion on a current issue, but it happens to be the exact same thing that everyone has already read on a thousand other websites, we don’t bother writing it up and posting it.  We’d rather have people say “Wow, The 1585 always says what no-one else says, in a way that no-one else says it” than “Yeah, it is basically the same shit as everything else, but man do they ever update frequently!” 

    So, certainly I don’t think that our essay on Sarah Palin was the only word—or even the last word—on Sarah Palin.  The stuff in the Kurtzman piece you linked to is definitely all vital information and, yes, ultimately more important information that anything in my Palin piece.  It was objective hard data that made a compelling case for why she sucks so much, whereas mine was mainly jokes about how women who work in offices think you’re mean if you know too much about dinosaurs.  But, as you proved by the fact that you linked to it, you had already read the Kurtzman piece, and so didn’t need us to tell you all the same stuff again.  If we thought that info to that effect wasn’t already floating around out there, we would have provided it, but it clearly was.

    And as I also pointed out in the Palin essay, people simply do not always vote based on sensible, relevant stuff—they vote because of weird psychological shit that they themselves don’t fully understand.  And weird psychological shit that people don’t fully realize about themselves is our specialty.

    We concentrate on this stuff because it’s what we’re good at, and it fills a niche.  The fact that it means we never have to do research and can’t technically be proven wrong is merely an added bonus.

    Also, according to spellcheck, the word “specialty” has only one “i” in it, which means that young Obi-Wan was just flat-out pronouncing it wrong, regardless of how cool it sounded that way.

    Anyway, you’ll get no argument from me to the effect that only what 1585 says should be read or paid attention to.  Clearly, our work is intended for an audience that is already fairly well-informed:  people who don't also read a lot of other stuff probably wouldn't even like or get what we do, so the problem kind of takes care of itself.

    As for the alleged vociferousness of our Obama endorsement—or our supposed damning criticisms of McCain—I can’t really find too much on the site to support this, to be honest.  Other than admit that I am voting for Obama (briefly, in this essay) and provide reasons why atheists should still vote for him, which was a response to a specific anti-Obama argument I found on another atheist blog, I can’t find anything else I’ve said about him. 

    But the fact that you still got this impression speaks to the widespread nature of a meme that has been, in my observation, wrongheadedly forced upon people your age (you mentioned being young) by well-meaning, ultra-contemporary educators: the idea that expressing an opinion at all inherently constitutes an effort to “silence” all others.  Of course there is, as you’ve said, “never a clear winner in a presidential debate”—it’s not like a sport, where you score a set number of points for performing a pre-determined, clearly specified action—but that doesn’t mean a damn good case to the effect that someone has done so can never be made, or even that there’s anything wrong with trying to make one, be it damn good or only damn average.

    Do we here at 1585 think that the stuff we write is good?  Absolutely.  Do we think it’s the only stuff anyone should read?  No.

    Look at your own e-mail, N.R.  You expressed the opinions that McCain should be opposed because a) he is likely to die in office (which we did, by the way, discuss at length in the Palin essay), and b) the War needs to end.  Now, if you had a blog, you would be expressing these opinions on your blog, instead of simply in an e-mail to me—but would that mean that you believed these to be the only reasons anyone should cite for opposing McCain, or supporting Obama, or however you want to look at it?  No.  Just that they are the reasons you personally feel like giving.  You would not intend them to drown out all others, and would (presumably) be more than willing to entertain debate after having voiced them.  It saddens me to see you seemingly apologize for your entirely legitimate reasons by hastily adding that “severely opinionated” bit.  “Opinionated” is a silly word, N.R.  I don’t know whose idea it was for people to start acting like there’s something wrong with having beliefs, but it was a bad idea.

    What, after all, is the alternative—that no-one ever says anything, simply because it is not everything?    

    In conclusion, N.R., congratulations on being one of our youngest readers.  The site is not easy reading, even for many adults.  And although we obviously don’t pray, we are all hoping and wishing that your brother (and everyone else we’ve got over there) comes back safe and soon.

                Yours in Plurality,

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