Friday, May 23, 2008

Busted: Blogging, Bloggers and Blog Readers

James Wolcott was dead wrong about the popularity of Sex and the City, but he strikes me as dead on when describing the community of the left site Daily Kos. It could be applied to any number of blogs (and I felt a disconcerting slight recognition):
a community with a shared history (initial enthusiasm over Howard Dean, shock and grief over George Bush’s re-election in 2004, jubilation over the 2006 midterm elections) that is populated by individuals who, because they spend so much time hunched over a computer taking politics personally and living intensely inside their heads, are on constant hyper-aware alert—sensitive to slights, prone to excitations, and susceptible to a hair-trigger impulse to dramatize their thoughts and feelings with words loaded into a rocket launcher.
Okay, maybe some of that applies to me, but I want to note that I didn't support Howard Dean at all in 2004. I supported John Kerry from 2003. So my history is not shared, mayhap my present is also distinct, and I don't spend so much (too much!) time hunched over a computer taking politics personally....etc., etc. etc. Ow!

In When Democrats Go Post-al, Wolcott describes the civil war over at the Daily Kos between Clinton and Obama supporters and provides an overview of all the blogs I regularly view.

Wolcott also defines "concern trolls" - which I admit was news to me:
A new leaner, meaner cut of Democrat, Markos (founder of Daily Kos) spurned the classic liberal temptation to make nice and salve the bruised feelings of the angered and offended, something conservative opponents such as Ann Coulter and Limbaugh never bothered doing. The gibe used to be that a liberal was somebody so fair-minded that he wouldn’t even take his own side in an argument, and in the blog world the term for such namby-pambies is “concern troll.” A concern troll is someone perennially anxious about going too far and doing more harm than good by alienating moderates.
There is something thrilling about Obama's full throated defense of liberal principles (as opposed to Hillary's triangulation or selling out). He's changing the argument, challenging assumptions, hitting aggressively back not just responding. I so wish my mother was here to enjoy this. It feels like forever in coming.

This part intrigues, especially in context of Josh Green's convincing piece over at The Atlantic Monthly, which I wrote about last week.
The Clinton campaign was culturally disadvantaged at Daily Kos. Despite hiring Peter Daou, a well-respected blogger at Salon and the former director of blogging operations for the John Kerry campaign, as her Internet director, Hillary lacked the blog cred of Barack Obama, John Edwards, and others. She earned a reputation for snippy elitism when, alone among the contenders, she skipped the first Yearly Kos convention, in 2006; she attended the second, only to be booed for her refusal to spurn lobbyist money. The impression, fair or not, was that her campaign’s interest in the online sphere was solely as a fund-raising reservoir: lower vacuum attachment into databases, flick on power switch, and hose up contributions.
The whole Wolcott piece was fun for me to read. It's all admittedly very insular. He highlights
the Huffington Post, where even a notable progressive such as Barbara Ehrenreich tried to tar Hillary with fascist associations.
I laughed out loud. I just blogged about Barbara Ehrenreich's view this morning, though I'd read her Nation piece back in March (never saw it on HuffPost, as the Huffington Post is known). Maybe now that the book on The Family is finally being published, it'll get some traction.

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