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What we're about, and what we're not about

Note: Paragon and I had been kicking around some ideas about re-affirming where we want to go with this blog; some of those ideas have been used in the following post.

Sigh. Last night I took a jab at SuperBruinMan for a comment he made on BruinsNation, calling Trojans a bunch of pedophiles. It's their blog, he can write what he wants, but Paragon and I thought he needed to be called on it over here. It's one thing to talk shit, but he crossed the line.

As a result, BruinsFan1, who has been a regular and welcome commentor, and who felt that he had got the ball rolling on BN in the first place, took it upon himself to make an apology on the thread for his original comment. He went the extra mile and sent a very gracious apology to Paragon, and also posted a diary on BN to apologize:

Obviously, my biggest apology goes to CC and members of the Trojan family. I hope my apology is accepted as sincere. It is.

My second apology goes to BN. A statement like this, even though it was not meant the way it was interpreted, is a blemish on the reputation of BN.

Frankly, I can't think of the last time I saw someone on the web make such an obvious effort to apologize for something that they regretted writing. I can only applaud BruinFan1's integrity in doing this.

For his trouble, BruinsFan1 got a less-than-enthusiastic response from some members of the BN community:

Fox71: I never understood your mixed loyalties, but it didn't really bother me.  What bothered me was that a person with mixed loyalties (and there are plenty of them that visit the BN) would call himself "BruinFan1" when in fact he was not the Number One Bruin Fan.  I always thought that appellation should be reserved for someone who was a Bruin through and through which in my opinion you are not. But that's just my opinion.  You may be the hardest core of all hard core Bruins.  If that's so, you hide it fairly well.

EricBruin: EricBruin: Actually, I'm more embarrassed by you felating [sic] CC and the Trojan [sic] than anything.  And, as for cordial discussions with those guys, feel free to continue your extensive comments over there.  But, bring it over here?  No thanks.

Tydides: ...if those assjockeys at CC are in an uproar over being called pedos... a terrible mistake would be unconditionally supporting their morally bankrupt football program, which I bet all of those knuckle-draggers over at CC do

Say what you want, they certainly have a broad range of invective. There was one minor request for civility that backfired somewhat:

tasser10: can't go around calling all U$C students and alumni and anyone associated with them "rapists", "drug dealers", "murderers", etc. Don't start name calling like that. Inappropriate.

Tydides: ... I was implicating those who support their football program despite their extensive rap sheet. Given the kind of place CC is, I made the generalization that they are the type of people who enable this behavior by supporting it. If you were not able to read the context and recognize where I was placing the blame (despite specifically calling out CC twice in three paragraphs), then that's on you. If you DID recognize it and still think it's inappropriate then all I can say is: You Are Wrong. Since when did a fanblog become representative of "SUC students, alumni, and anyone associated with it"?.If you're looking for a retraction because you are under the misguided notion that those who turn a blind eye to criminal behavior for the sake of winning football games aren't bad people, then you can blow me, because that's never going to happen.

An apology for potentially having made BN look bad is met with accusations of being a Quisling, and a rousing reminder of how we are described over there. Plainly irony was turned down for a visa when it tried to visit the Nation.

Anyway, this is an opportunity of sorts to revisit a question that comes up here periodically in response to the more outrageous examples of innuendo, slander, bile, and whatnot that characterize BN content as a whole. The question, as addressed to Paragon and me, is: why don't you take on those guys?

Well, so far the main reason has been that SBN is a community, in its way. After things got a little out of hand last November we were asked by some other SBN bloggers to take certain posts down, and also along with BN to cool things off a bit. Since then, we've done our best to maintain a civil tone. That has always been Paragon's goal, with the benefit that achieving some measure of civility was what was sought by the SBN community. We're not really about individual insults: we don't accept that here, so we try to apply the same rule for talking about people who post on other blogs.

Despite various but ongoing provocations in multiple forms from BN and some of its participants, we've not been taking the bait on individual or group insults - why give them the satisfaction of descending to their level? Equally, we're not interested in getting into censorship here over shit-talking there; that would be counter to the point of having college-specific blogs.

In any case,  our concern is with what goes on with CC, and any policy that would require spending more time looking at BN is a bad one. It's understood that you trash talk differently in your own house, and BN is a broad church of abuse in that regard - which is entirely their business, distasteful as the result is. Their trash talking is theirs to own in its glory.

As for their various "exposes" and criticisms, we won't spend our time arguing with or about BN: no-one has that much time. So in place of repeatedly responding to the bullshit of the day, the following can be saved for your future reference. When reading something on BN that angers or disturbs you, remember that said blog can be summed up in this fashion:

  • It is a shambolic disgrace, rather like their football team, a blog that occasionally has a 13 - 9 kind of post but mostly is punting at the opposition's 35, or losing bowl games to Wyoming.
  • It is a community dominated by those who apparently think being proud of their school requires exhibitions of shrieking paranoia and that loyalty requires an echo chamber for unhinged speculation and groupthink. It demeans reasonable Bruin commentors.
  • Its content is a briar patch of sophistry more typical of half-educated 12 year olds, larded with pedantic argument over minor errors and variations. The understanding of their teams is made indigestible by its toxic wrapping.
  • It is a disgrace to a fine university. We don't just randomly use comparisons with UCLA for academics because they are the cross-town rivals, we do so because for all the jabs about UCLA being the satellite campus to Cal, it is a school that has produced many distinguished alumni and much scholarship of which to be proud. Tydides asks,"...since when did a fanblog become representative of '[USC] students, alumni, and anyone associated with it'?" - a fair point and one that might come as a relief to the broader Bruin community.
Not to put too fine a point on it, BN is an inflamed, pustulent boil on the backside of the blogosphere.

Both Paragon and I refuse to believe that Bruins Nation reflects all alumni of UCLA. Not all people who comment on BN stoop to the tone set by the authors and many of their cronies. Certainly BN does not reflect UCLA alumni whom I know, friends or family of friends who are great people to be around. Hell, for all I know the BN regulars help old women across the street and are kind to children and puppies, but it's not evident from what they write and how they write it -- and that is all we know of them.

We could surmise that BN reflects those who care about sports at a level out of proportion to UCLA's ability to deliver, and whose disappointment is vomited daily onto the virtual pages of their blog. We could speculate that a large part of their enthusiasm for NCAA championships in sports like softball derives from their inability to cope with the absence of any sustained success on the football field, as well as not having cracked how to take that final step on the basketball court for thirty years. Fundamentally though, only they know their motivations and disappointments, and only they care.

You can take it that from here on out, we might choose to acknowledge BN if they publish something egregiously defamatory or patently false. As for the daily dose of rage and bigotry, it does not deserve our attention, nor yours. I can see no advantage to rolling in a pit of slurry, and CC readers should take it as read that if they see any BN posts that are defamatory of us or our university, or lie about our athletes and their actions, we condemn those posts as the hateful and/or lying filth that they are.

In the meantime, we intend to stay focused on USC, USC sports, and the Trojan family. We will continue to cheer our teams' successes, and to condemn behavior that is illegal or unethical. We remain welcoming of all UCLA fans, all PAC-10 fans, and any other fans of college football who can stop by without pissing in the potted plants. We support if not genteel, at least civil commentary. But when it comes to BN, to quote Nick Saban, we don't have time for this shit.

Update [2007-5-25 9:25:59 by Paragon SC]: Comments on this post have been disabled. Things are getting too far out of hand. So we'll let things calm down.