Friday, September 3, 2004
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This should be interesting...
My APSA panel on blogs and politics is today. Andrew Sullivan, Wonkette, and Cass Sunstein on the same dias -- not to mention Henry Farrell and Laura McKenna from 11D -- and all I have to do is sit back and listen.
I'll post an "after-action report" once I've recovered from the numerous drinks that will undoubtedly be consumed after the panel.
BEFORE-DRINKS AFTER-ACTION UPDATE: Well, Andrew didn't show up, but by APSA standards the panel was a huge success -- I'd say
For an mostly accurate accounting of the panel, check out Steve the Llama Butchers' liveblogging. My favorite bits:
See also Richard Skinner, Eszter Hargittai, Chris Lawrence, and Steve Clemons for their observations. I particularly liked Clemons characterization of Antoinette Pole and Laura McKenna as "clearly the Thelma & Louise of blogging research."posted by Dan on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM
Any conservatives on that panel?posted by: Matthew Cromer on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I wanna go. :(posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Funny, if Cox's protege had stayed home and pleasured herself instead of taking up prostitution and putting it in a blog, Wonkette's audience would be a small fraction of what it enjoys thanks to scandal mongering.posted by: Eric Pobirs on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Any conservatives on that panel?
Yeah, the one who didn't bother to show up.posted by: Kieran Healy on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
"Any conservatives on that panel?"
No, just impure unwashed heathens. You may safely ignore it and stay in your SmugBubble(tm).
Elitist dick.posted by: Cardinal on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I wouldn't exactly call Sullivan a conservative.posted by: Bitehad on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
AOL makes money. AOL never goes dark.
Blogs are like chat along the circa 1992 backbone.posted by: lex on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
The blogs may have saved the United States. Am I employing hyperbolic language? Not in the least. The liberal media have done everything possible to destroy President Bush. Major dailies such as the New York Times, Los angeles Times, and Boston Globe often seem like partners of Terry McAuliffe’s headquarters. Earlier today the Associated Press lied about the Bush campaign claiming that his supporters expressed happiness concerning former President Bill Clinton’s medical emergency:
A number of blogs deserve enormous credit for combating the liberal media’s malicious attacks. I seriously doubt that our American democracy could have survived. We may have only been a step away from fascism. The John Kerry campaign tried to censor books and intimidate broadcasters. That was only a hint of the radical left’s future plans.posted by: David Thomson on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
>We may have only been a step away from fascism.
What? Because the AP erroneously reported booing? Or was it cheering?
This is only the very smallest example of the collective insanity of the media, who know nothing, generally, except the story, which is about the story, that the media is reporting.
I'm 100% behind your desire to see as many points of view expressed as possible, Dave.
It *is* customary for reputable publishers to retract 'nonfiction' books which turn out to be false (I assume you're referring to the Swift Boat book.) However, I admit a certain fondness - an admiration, even - for colorful lies and those who are dedicated to a complete disconnect from reality.
At any rate, it's a blessing that our current President is unperturbed by the mass media, being sheltered by his stalwart staff who instead read the newspapers for him and then let him know what to think, thus filtering out the poison therein.
“It *is* customary for reputable publishers to retract 'nonfiction' books which turn out to be false (I assume you're referring to the Swift Boat book.)”
Are you implying that the Swift Boat authors work has proven to be substantially false? If so, you are quite mistaken. Only in a few instances are there questions of accuracy. It is therefore slanderous to even to begin comparing their book to something like the Protocols of Zion. Error free nonfiction works are also an extreme rarity. In the vast majority of cases, the author has to eat a little humble pie. That is why it is best to normally publish the book---and then thoroughly fact check it afterwards. The Kerry campaign, however, wanted to prevent the American people from exercising their right to figure out for themselves whether the book has any redeeming value. It also tried to scare the hell out of broadcasters by hinting that they were open to lawsuits. Indeed, it is very fair for me to accuse John Kerry’s people of coming close to employing fascist tactics. The odds of his being elected president, thankfully, are now rapidly decreasing. Instapundit, Roger L. Simon, and others are to be credited for opposing the malicious aims of the liberal media.
You should perhaps be very disturbed by Douglas Brinkley’s Tour of Duty. It appears that this professional historian may have jeopardized his reputation. Many are starting to conclude that Brinkley’s work is sloppily done and borders on fawning hagiography.posted by: David Thomson on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
TheWesson: What? Because the AP erroneously reported booing? Or was it cheering?
Allow me to shed a little light on the matter, TW, because I can see where a non sequitur like We may have only been a step away from fascism could confuse a reasonable person. The problem, in the main, is that David Thomson is not a reasonable person. At his best he is comic relief, a caricature of right-wing stereotypes so perfect as rarely exists outside of stand-up comedy.
If indeed David is a real person rather than an extremely sophisticated hyperbole generator script being fed a basic set of topic and keyword guidelines--and I have yet to see much evidence of sentience, so the jury is still out here--then he is either a very clever Democratic troll, or a Republican troll barely half as clever as he thinks. He apparently receives his talking points from the elves that populate his particular alternate reality, for I can conceive of no other explanation for his disconnect from the realms of logic, facts, and common sense. If a Democrat asserts that the sun is hot, David will argue that the presence of overcast weather somewhere in the world utterly refutes said assertion, and manage to find a reason why Clinton is to blame for the rain. When it is pointed out to him that not only does this border on lunacy, but that the weather has nothing to do with whether or not the sun is hot, David will ignore what you just said and blame the liberal media for only reporting bad weather.
So sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy David Thomson's particular flavor of mendacity. As pure and unrelenting as it is, it serves no real purpose other than to make him an object of ridicule and a source of entertainment. But don't strain anything trying to actually take him seriously.posted by: Catsy on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Bloggers pleasuring themselves at home? Comparered to what -- TV watchers? Readers? Fly-tiers? There's an implied false dichotomy there.
As to David, I see him as the precise inverse of a mainstream public liberal. If you think him over-the-top, unreasonable, extreme, well ok. But try the trick of inverting his text to complain about conservatives in that language and you have a typical respectable liberal website.posted by: Assistant Village Idiot on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
New meme: Conservatives are elitist dicks who should just stay home and pleasure each other.
Hmmm. Working front to back:
1. AP has a Boo-Boo
Sounds like these web whackers are pretty dangerous.
PS: Cardinal, if that erection you got lasts longer than 4 hours, seek medical help.
They often denounced ''anti-Soviet lies.'' These lies had never been reported by them. Nor were they lies. And their exposure was the first that readers had been told of them.posted by: jdwill on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
But try the trick of inverting his text to complain about conservatives in that language and you have a typical respectable liberal website.
Substitute "fringe" for "respectable", and you'll get no argument from me there. I have no truck with extremists of either stripe, and have only marginally greater tolerance for the David Thomsons of my end of the spectrum, and that little owing to an understandably human sympathy with their core beliefs. That said, I believe you'll find that my most recent blog posts take serious issue with assorted examples of left-wing asshattery, and that a fair portion of my postings on dKos amount to admonishing people whose damnfoolishness serve only to do real harm to advancing sensible progressive causes, something I happen to care a bit about.
I'm sure Thomson is similarly easier to stomach without the benefit of Pepto if you share his conservatism and general antipathy towards the Democratic party. I find that I can identify one of his comments within the first sentence or two, and the way I manage to retain my most recent meal is to remind myself that he is a lunatic buffoon whose liberal media conspiracy theories are the stuff of Francis E. Dec and the Weekly World News. Given that context and frame of mind, I find I'm able to enjoy his rantings as the lowbrow, schadenfreude comedy that they are.posted by: Catsy on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Nice summary. Blogs are the future, whether you be a conservative, a moderate, or a liberal.
Tomposted by: Tom Proebsting on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Sullivan isn't a conservative, and it doesn't surprise me that he blew off this gathering.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
What's with leftists? You hijacked the word "liberal" from the free market classical liberals, and made it so poisonous that your own team runs away screaming from being called liberal whenever running for office in any district to the right of Ann Arbor. Now you've grabbed onto American's belief in the idea of constant betterment with the term "progressive" and have ruined another perfectly good term.
posted by: Matthew Cromer on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Congratulations, Matthew, you've won the "Mr. Totally Humorless Award" for the next month at least. Good job.
*Any* panel with two U of Chicago professors on it has S&M as an implicit subtext to it, so it's impossible for this to have been a first.posted by: Timothy Burke on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I can only assume Matthew's addressing me, since I used the word "progressive". The amusement value inherent in hearing myself referred to as a "leftist" knows no bounds for me.
There's no need to get up in arms about the evolution of language--it is quite possibly the most democratic process known to man. If a given word usage rings true and has traction with the majority of a population, it will stick. If it does not, it will not, and no attempts at gaming the process will succeed beyond transient and limited slang terms.posted by: Catsy on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
I wonder, though, if blogs will really improve the political dialogue. Maybe there are a million soapboxes, but it's so easy to find the sources that already agree with you - and just stick with them - that people will gravitate to the echo chamber that best suits themselves.
Whereas if there is a small range of sources - such as the local newspaper and a few national news magazines - these sources often feel it necessary to propagate an "objective" point of view, mainstream and centrist, which means that any extremists using these sources will be exposed to news and opinion from political points of view not their own.
The Internet can allow you to become better informed - could make you smarter about politics and economics - but only if that's what you had chosen to do already.
But I think it's very cool to get the best of both worlds - if blogs can serve as incubators for a very wide range of stories, then the "small" stories which actually gain traction (hopefully because they are worthy) can get into the national media.
Not that everything that thrives in the 'incubator' is worthy of a more extended existence, of course ... !
Another thing that occurs to me is that journalists are, as a rule, *extremely* lazy (in my opinion.) Now that there are thousands of people on the Internet doing their research and anlysis for them, perhaps we'll see a better quality of research and analysis in the mainstream media. (Not to mention that even reporters can learn how to google.)
Hmm, maybe the right-wing hijacked 'liberal' as a pejorative term, using it to describe those well-meaning people who would like to get in the way of ones being a bigot or other flavor of a*ole.
Anyhow, liberals need to take back the term. "Yes! I'm liberal! Just like the Founding Fathers!"
or something along those lines. Here, queer, get used to it? The lack of rhymes for "liberal" might impose an impediment, however.
Throw a twist into it - "Calling me a liberal? You're not? You're against libraries? Want to take books out of the hands of our children?"
You guys are *not* just like the founding fathers. The founding fathers believe in limited government. The left believes in leviathan (so do today's Republicans, unfortunately).
> What's with leftists? You hijacked the word "liberal" from the free market classical liberals, and made it so poisonous that your own team runs away screaming from being called liberal whenever running for office in any district to the right of Ann Arbor.
Sounds like a chicken & egg type of riddle. Which came first, the right's use of the term "liberal" to describe political views they found disturbing, or the left's use of the term "liberal" to describe political views that are clearly slanted towards the left and are views not shared by most Americans?
Throw a twist into it - "Calling me a liberal? You're not? You're against libraries? Want to take books out of the hands of our children?"
See, this sort of thing is part of the problem.
If I oppose spending 50 million on a brand new downtown library in a given city, proponents of this project will suddenly accuse me of doing just this- wishing to take books out of the hands of children.posted by: h0mi on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
Quite so ... where are the unsentimental liberals these days? Or is the notion that progress is possible towards an equitable society, with social harmony, and freedom from want - is that just fatally attractive to sentimentalists?
Alas, sentiment is the essential fuel for the political fire, though seldom the best basis for governance.
The swine of both left and right gorge themselves on sentiment these days, it would seem.
I won't comment on the vallidity of Mr. Thomas's argument. I will point out the wesson and catsy attacked him not the argument. As such I have ask are they republican trolls out to make democrats look like bigoted idiots whose idea of debate is ad hominem attacks ?
Ok, if anyone down here is still interested, I have an empirical question: Did AMC or anyone else on the panel address the use of slang terms for anal sex as a correlate of influence and/or readership?posted by: Doug on 09.03.04 at 02:49 PM [permalink]
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