I think this is the big macrosocial conflict of 8/25/09
My blog readers, which are probably white guy social science geeks and fellow travelers, are for the most part out of this conflict.
I think it's a skirmish against people that identify with Glenn Beck and people that identify with Color of Change (with the rest of the US population serving as refs), and the skirmish is primarily about status for those two subnational units.
I think Beck reframed the conflict from faceless "Color of Change" against him to Van Jones vs. him, and in the process sought to increase stigma (or signal that he could) specifically of Van Jones as an individual -in response to "Color of Change" successfully increasing Beck's stigma.
I think work by Goffman (the book "Stigma") and that of coordination game theorists comes into play here, as does the work of macrosociologists/political scientists like Gelman.
I'd like to see real time commentary from people more expert than me.
To be futurepundit-esque, what can I learn in my own microsocial strategy?
If stigma against me is increasing, perhaps I should counterstigmatize an appropriate target. If my goal is to increase absolute value attention to me though, perhaps I should pick a target like Van Jones that I can get a dialectic going with, rather than a target I can destroy too easily.
EDIT: This seems to me like fairly expert stigma production:
I had a chance to watch about half of it. Seems to me like, targeted, strategic retaliation for what I assume is media produced by Color of Change and affiliates to stigmatize Beck (who himself may have made a play at stigmatizing Obama).
In these tactics and contests, I'd expect a combination of organizational intelligence and luck to determine how status hierarchies sort out (I think the competing traits here are narrowly above average in SES black men vs. below average in SES white men, with the determination being which should confer higher status: SES not accounting for race, or race not accounting for SES).