Where, exactly, they have arrived is still unclear. But the command has been handed down from the very top wingnuts: Destroy! It's a little like that Gandhi quip about the enemy first ignoring you, then ridiculing you and then you win. A little, because it's not yet clear who will win, though I tend to be fairly pessimistic in such predictions. Still, it's fun to be a thorn in someone's backside.
It all started with the attention the so-called liberal media awarded to the Yearly Kos, the gathering of bloggers, blog readers and politicians into an actual in-the-flesh convention. People had fun! And the politicians were IMPORTANT ones! EEEK! Better get the opposition rolling. And so it rolled. First, stories about the convention tried to find pictures of hairy and frightening lefty extremists but failed miserably. The people participating looked just like...ordinary people of all types.
Not to despair yet. There must be something else one can point out to make the lefty blogs look bad. Wait, I know. Let's point out that the blogosphere hasn't backed any winning politicians! Yes, that's a good one. Surely everybody understands that a few people blogging out of their basements for two or three years should have turned the system by now if they ever will.
Then let's point out how extremists these folk are. No way could we let them have any influence in the mainstream media where we listen to such sane and tolerant and truth-loving people as Limbaugh and Coulter and Savage and Beck and Gibson and...
A good beginning. What else could we do? Perhaps dig out some nasty information about some blogger somewhere and then make that apply to every single person who ever blogged outside wingnuttia? Good idea. Let's do that. Then we can point out that the leaders of the lefty blogosphere are not squeaky-clean and make all sorts of conspiracy theories in general. Well, except that there are no leaders really, because the left is disorganized and unable to hold on to any unified agenda whatsoever. Put that in, too.
That's it, pretty much, except for lots of repetition. Here's David Broder:
Judging from the amount of publicity they gleaned, the liberal bloggers who gathered in Las Vegas recently for the first annual YearlyKos convention represent the cutting edge of thinking in the Democratic Party.
But the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought. The candidates who have been adopted as heroes by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the convention's leader, and his fellow bloggers have mainly imploded in the heat of battle -- as was the case with Howard Dean in 2004 -- or come up short, as happened to the Democratic challengers in special House elections in Ohio and California.
His advice is to use the internet to read mainstream stuff instead. That's ok. I don't mind that advice. I'm going to filter into the mainstream eventually, because Some Things Just Will Be. But I won't stop reading blogs, either, because blogs keep the mainstream journalists honest and scared, and that is good.
If repetition won't get you convinced, how about turning the strength up a click or two on the vituperation dial:
It's a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face. It puts some people, like me, in the equally bizarre position of wanting desperately for Joe Lieberman to lose the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont so that true liberal values might, maybe, possibly prevail, yet at the same time wanting Lamont, the hero of the blogosphere, to lose so that the fascistic forces ranged against Lieberman might be defeated. (Every critical event in democracy is symbolic of the problem with democracy.)
Even beyond the thuggishness, what I despise about so many blogurus, is the frivolity of their "readers." DailyKos might have hundreds of responses to his posts, but after five or six of them the interminable thread meanders into trivial subjects that have nothing to do with the subject that briefly provoked it. The blogosphere's lack of concentration is even more dangerous than all its rage. In the Middle East, they struggle with belief. In the United States, we struggle with attention. The blogosphere's fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus.
Now I have to go and cry in a corner. I've been so totally put into my place.
But the writer doesn't get the community idea of blogs. There's a reason for talking about trivial things in the threads, and that is community building. We need communities, we humans (and goddesses), and internet communities can be real communities. They are sort of our megachurches. Heh.
Interesting that the term "blogosphere" has suddenly become synonymous with "left blogosphere". What happened to all those wingnut blogs which moved mountains (or so I read quite recently) in American politics? Also interesting how "left blogosphere" now means Markos of the Daily Kos. It's an odd transformation and has very little to do with reality. Such a transformation is necessary, of course, because the next stage in the wingnut campaign is to destroy the enemy and if the enemy is one guy running one blog the operation looks feasible. Sadly (or happily, depending on your point of view), wingnuts are poor war planners. I think we have some more time before we get occupied for the sake of our freedoms.
Though the metadiscussions on this already appear to accept the hierarchical model of importance.