Monday, July 31, 2006

Why Sans Has So Many Fans

The ever-growing superthread of comments to sans-culotte's July 23 post here is clear evidence of how well liked he is by a wide variety of people who share his general worldview. I would like to provide some insight into why this is so.

Like many others, I first encountered sans, not through his excellent and often unique work on his own blog,, but through his comments on Americablog, where he has been an active participant for some time. In an instance I mention in the thread below, he went out of his way to provide technical advice on how to post links to a relative newcomer (Mike in Philly) , and did so without condescension or haughtiness. As it happens I am in a position to give a concrete example of his unique and endearing presence on Americablog.

[-note: the above reference to 'the thread below' is to comments on the original blog this post was written on, now defunct. -SBT]

On June 30, 2006 John Aravosis posted this item on Americablog: Bush Stands Rebuked which deals with the very important Hamdan v. Rumsfeld Supreme Court decision. The entire blogosphere on both the left and right was discussing this, so it was a no-brainer for Aravosis to do so too. In fact the issue was so hot that I decided not to post anything about it on my own blog because I thought there was little I could conceivably add to what was already out there; on any issue like this, involving a legal decision, you really don't have to read much more than Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory to get a good picture of what's going on.

First let's quantify Aravosis' effort on this post.
-He wrote one sentence: "Great analysis of th Supreme Court decision from the Wash Post:"
Not even a grammatically complete sentence, and he didn't bother to correct the typo on the word 'the.'
-He provided one link to one article.
-He provided an 'extract' from the article, consisting of paragraphs 1,2,3, and 6.
No commentary, no analysis, and no further participation in the thread were forthcoming. His glorious job done, he turned his back and walked away from the most important issue in probably a month, giving it no further consideration.

About 27 minutes later, sans-culotte joins the thread for the first time with this. (Open in a new tab in firefox or a new window if you still, for some ungodly reason, subject yourself to IExplorer.) Now, I like etymologies (word origins) so I might not be a good judge of this comment, but it shows something about sans I find unique. He goes onto the path less taken, and finds something of interest there to share with others. Furthermore, its not just the raw material but what he does with it. From 'rebuke' to its Germanic root in "busche" - to chop wood, then to Bush's name and his penchant for clearing brush, a brilliant synthesis. I thought it was so good I saved a link to the comment # (which is why I can go back to this a month later.)

For my money, at this point sans-culotte has already contributed more of unique value to this blogpost than its author, JA. But if you look at the comment thread from 12:27 to 1:27 am., here's what you'll see: A total of 12 comments by sans-culotte, with 9 links. This is out of a total of 35. Another 5 comments are in response to something sans-culotte has said. So he has taken over almost half of the comment thread. But not in a way anyone could possibly object to, even Aravosis at his most hissy-fittest. Here's a play-by-play for that one hour period.

-12:59: ha ha - is in response to an audio link posted at 12:55. This encourages others to post, and helps keep the thread alive and vibrant.

-1:05: -off topic but interesting Repug-bashing item about Bob Ney's staff quitting, with links to Roll Call and TPM - if you follow the link to Ney's statement it is redolent with prevarication

-1:06 - laughing emoticons in response to cowboyNEOK -once again encouraging others, and 'rallying the troops.' Boy, any politician with an ounce of grey matter would give up his arm to have such an effective supporter.

-1:14 - reprints bulk of a 10 month old AmericaBlog post - great anti-Repug ammunition - Catapulting the propaganda, sharing talking points that other participants can use. sans the campaign manager. -provides link, of course. credit where credit is due.

-1:15 - More strokes for 2fortheshow - rallying the troops

-1:21 - In response to question by Kim Chi, sans googles Karen Hughes' name, provides links to info. Acting as a research assistant to others. Both links are to hours-old posts.

-1:23 - morale-building response to Sharona's rather defeatist 1:21 comment.

-1:34 - link to salon article indicating that Guantanamo interrogators were trained by torture experts. Building evidence for a possible future warcrimes trial. Very lawyerly.

-1:43 - Now apparently responding to DKarma's 1:35 comment, expands on his 1:23 explanation re: impact of Hamdas decision - succinct, informative, upbeat

-1:47 - Responding to Fernando's 1:42 comment 'Bush stands and puked', sans pulls out a story about Bush Sr. projectile vomitting on the Japanese Prime Minister. - very funny, good bash, with link provided.

Have I made my point yet? Read the whole thread, even after sans leaves at 2:12 am, for the tokens of admiration and respect from other commenters, including Gregory Lyons, Fernando, Mike in Philly, and Reality Check. I already told you one reason Mike in Philly is a big fan. The rest probably all have similar stories.

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