Swirling in particular around Krugman of course (here, here, here, here). I have an odd relationship with these sorts of discussions. On the one hand I do jump in more often than not because I think the blogosphere is useful forum to cultivate, and that means calling out who I consider to be bad actors and defending guys like Krugman and DeLong that have great contributions but can get somewhat petty - and yet somehow get turned into Godzillas by the more delicate among us.
The fact is, everyone pulls their hair out every once in a while over someone else that just doesn't seem to get it. That's life, and it's not something we should really get worked up over.
What gets me more, and makes me want to just stop reading the exchanges and actually go do things I should be doing (like homework), is the sheer obliviousness of some of it. Krugman and DeLong at least seem self-aware of their abrasiveness - and their argument is that it's worth it to get worked up because of what's at stake. Some of the opposition shocks me in that they don't even seem aware of how nasty and condescending their compatriots can be.
I'll be a little more interested in the navel gazing when someone on the libertarian side starts treating Krugman like something other than the village idiot or smacks down Cafe Hayek every once in a while, and when maybe Krugman wags his finger at DeLong for a particularly catty post.
Otherwise this stuff is mostly silly. I can't think of a single person who has piled on Krugman that doesn't regularly turn a blind eye to other bad behavior. As long as Krugman continues to crank out critical insights, my attitude towards the hand-wringing over Krugman will be occasional interest but mostly a "c'est la vie" stance. This is how it goes.
Not a single person that has lectured me on how I should be harder on Krugman and DeLong strikes me as being more civil than them or more likely than me to scold the guys they like. 99% of the blogosphere finger-wagging is your own bias. I personally rank Krugman as about on the level of Mankiw, Cowen, and Rowe on civility (many notches higher on excitability). The guys he really goes after directly are usually politicians or people who are really battering him (What is he supposed to do? Not respond?). I rank DeLong as about the level of Sumner or Murphy. Much more gloves-off, but not a jerk.
One of the things about DeLong that I think people miss is first that like Krugman he can get excitable, but also that there are a lot of schtick posts he does on a regular basis. Here's a clue: if there are about 500 nominees for "dumbest guy in the world", he probably doesn't actually think they're the dumbest guy in the world. Brad know how superlatives work. I take a schtick title a lot better than a directed, personalized insult that I read on a daily basis directed at Krugman or DeLong. The other very strong quality Brad has (aside from very insightful posts), is that he's one of the only bloggers out there that criticizes, corrects, and re-evaluates himself. I know I'm terrible at that.
For the Weekend...
1 hour ago