Monday, August 13, 2007

Remember the Name

"This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill/
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will/
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain/
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

With site traffic up, the critics chirping, and this being the 200th post ever on the Nexus this is probably a good time to take some time out to once again explain the Nexus of Assholery creed for the benefit of our readers.

Some people have managed to come up with some fairly regular complaints about the Nexus. Most of that has to do with the name. Observe:

"Who but a "real" intellectual would title his blog "Nexus of Assholery"?"

So, it's on that note that we must ask ourselves: what's in a name? Would a rose by any other name smell just as sweet, or an anus by any other name just as sour?

Perhaps. But, as it has been alluded to, there is actually a very deep philosophical underpinning to the name of the site.

In Consumed, Benjamin Barber notes that the modern capitalist tendency toward people branding themselves leads to a number of unfortunate consequences. One of them is the tendency to make "black and white" judgements about political issues, often equating political affiliation with moral affiliation as well ("you're with us or you're against us").

No particular ideological slant really holds a monopoly on this attitude, no matter how vehemently those who hold a particular ideological or political slant may insist that their opponents do.

It's no question that people brand themselves politically. Especially on the blogosphere, that is precisely what a person is doing by electing to become a Blogging Tory, a Blogging Dipper, or write a Liblog or Progblog.

This, of course, raises the question of how one will treat their competing brands. All too often, it's with vicious disdain.

As with any marketing campaign, political brands try to set themselves apart from one another often by merely attacking their competition (the Pepsi/Coke, Nintendo/SEGA and WWF/WCW feuds of the 1990s serve as an excellent example). Politically, the tendency to brand oneself also comes with a tendency to brand competitors, often along moral terms (moral capital is, after all, a very valuable political commodity).

What is refuted by all too many people is the right to disagree. If you disagree with someone on a black-and-white issue, it's going to become pretty evident to the other person where you stand. This isn't merely a political branding, it's a moral branding as well. The idea is very simple: if you disagree, it makes you a bad person.

Our society has dreamed up all sorts of nifty labels for bad people: prick, bitch, cunt, and (most importantly for the purpose of this explaination) asshole (most of them have to do with unpleasant or socially-tabooed bodily functions).

Longtime readers of the Nexus will notice that this blog has a tendency to disagree with people from either side of the (ill-defined) political spectrum, and often on key issues of import to such people (support for same-sex marriage comes from the same source as skepticism regarding the certainty of climate change science, for example).

It doesn't really matter where on the aforementioned (ill-defined) political spectrum one looks. There are people on either side who regard the not-so-humble author of this blog as an asshole.

We at the Nexus embrace this categorization. If speaking one's mind honestly makes them an asshole, then we at the Nexus are indeed assholes. If not adhering strictly to any particular political brand makes one an asshole, then we at the Nexus are certainly assholes. And if either of this cases does turn out to be true, then (to paraphrase the words of Dennis Leary) "we're assholes, and proud of it."

This is the Nexus of Assholery. You probably won't agree with everything you read here. You aren't obligated to.

One thing you will do, however, is this: you will remember the name.

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