Thursday, May 11

Hour of the Wolf News

Sooner or later I'll be guest-blogging at Blanton's and Ashton's, assuming something comes to me. I'm going through one of those periods where there's fifteen unfinished pieces floating on my desktop, most of which have been rewritten twice and rejected three times. I rewrote that Cohen piece yesterday as a sort of housewarming gift for B's & A's and never finished it. I knocked around the internets for three hours last night without anything irritating me sufficiently for comment, although the twin idiocies of K-Lo and Jonah at The Corner, grousing about an American Idol vote and posting "Trek humor. Deal with it," respectively came close.

It's spring and I've been lightly kissed by allergies, I'm bone-weary from gardening and stonescaping, and I gave up smoking five days ago. Pipe smoking, that is; I've never tasted a cigarette. I smoked maybe two dozen cigars between my teenaged plastic-tipped blueberry monstrosity days and the drugstore A & C's of my late twenties, when I developed a taste for the real item. Cigar smoking gave way to pipe usage when cigars got trendy and prices got ridiculous, though the latter wouldn't have been a deal breaker by itself. A month ago I just took a notion to quit once the last pouch was finished. No physical addiction involved, only slight cravings and the occasional need to find something to do with my hands, but tobacco does tend to focus the mind wonderfully, its one redeeming feature beyond the old-fashioned joys of cigar connoisseurship now rendered hollow and magazine-slick.

It's like there's a seasonal hole in my personal ozone layer, one that used to be plugged by a haze of African tobaccos from that shop in the Village, and I'm walking around like I know I've forgotten something important but I've not idea if it's Sorry I forgot your birthday important or Oh shit, I burned down the house important.

Or maybe it's just that the Blogosphere is talking about...the Blogosphere, not its most attractive quality, to be sure, but it is difficult to keep coming up with new ways to say George W. Bush is the incompetent inheritor of a global criminal enterprise and that his supporters, both current and erstwhile, have juvenile sexual psychoses obvious to everyone but themselves. Whattya gonna do?

What I did was go to sleep for a few hours, just shortly after I found this from Jane Hamsher:
There is a very good article on Richard Cohen by journalist Gene Lyons , whose work I respect a great deal. In it he notes:

The larger point is that Beltway courtiers like Cohen, Time’s Joe Klein and others currently succumbing to the vapors over critical e-mails from fans thrilled by Colbert’s gutsy performance are on their way out. The brief reign of the celebrity pundit began with cable TV and appears to be ending with the Internet. Washington socialites are quickly being replaced in public esteem by politically oriented bloggers like Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, the inimitable Digby, Glenn Greenwald, Billmon, Atrios and many others. As Greg Sargent recently pointed out in The American Prospect, “Readers are choosing between the words on a screen offered by Klein and other commentators and the words on a screen offered by bloggers on the basis of one thing alone: The quality of the work.”

I mention this because I’ve seen this same list floated recently as reflecting some ideal future punditocracy. And if the people Lyons mentions were all to step into the roles of the principal political pundits in our culture, I’d be standing under a banner saying "Mission Accomplished" with my own codpiece. But much like my predecessor-in-photo-op it would not be time to declare victory. I agree with Lyons that every single one of the people named is fantastic and worthy of a public stage for their commentary, but to the best that their race and genders are publicly known (and I admit I do not know them all) these are all white men....

Now I don’t think there is any big conspiracy to keep women out of the discourse; just the opposite in fact, I’ve found that liberal male bloggers actually bend over backwards to help us. I can assure you that nobody would probably be reading this blog today if TBogg hadn’t put us on the map by linking to us prominently 4 or 5 times a week until we got our sea legs. And I am just as guilty as everyone else of not linking to women bloggers enough; it’s just laziness. In a rush to feed a hungry blog every day I just don’t take the time to cruise around the blogosphere and listen to new voices the way I used to. That’s a problem.

So here are a list of my favorite women bloggers, it’s off the top of my head and by no means exhaustive so if I left someone out it was accidental:

Pam Spaulding at Pam’s House Blend
Taylor Marsh
Arianna Huffington
Watertiger at Dependable Renegade
Belle Waring at Crooked Timber
Laura Rozen at War and Piece
Barbara O’Brien at Mahablog
Avedon Carol at the Sideshow
Susie Mandrak at Suburban Guerilla
Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon
Sheri Zollinger at World ‘o Crap
Xan, Leah and Chicago Dyke at Corrente
Georgia10 and McJoan at Kos
Emptywheel at The Next Hurrah
Jeralyn at TalkLeft
Ellen Nagler at The Broad View
SusanG at Booman
MaryScott O’Connor at My Left Wing
Lindsey Beyerstein at Majikthise
Athenae at First Draft
Echide of the Snakes
Roxanne at Rox Populi
Elayne Riggs
Julia at Sisypus Shrugged
Shakespeare’s Sister

Okay, she left herself off, and Christy, and the top of her head missed eRobin, who belongs near the top of the list, none of which is to the point. Firedoglake is a terrific site, one which belonged on Gene Lyons' list (not a criticism; I'm sure he has other things to do besides read blogs). And, indeed, it's one that benefited from TBogg's links, which ran to "Why don't you two get a room?" levels, but it's a great blog which would have climbed into the upper reaches without it. So my question is, Where are your goddam links to these women? I've seen an awful lot of links to Atrios, Digby, or TBogg.

Yeah, I understand it's a lot of work putting together a blog, and I just do it in my spare time. And maybe I'm being a bit unfair, because I don't read any of the multi-megablogs on a daily basis. But it seems sorta pandemic with them. Is it any less work for Julia or Roxanne, who are always linking to someplace interesting, and rarely to Kevin Drum?

Really, though, my point--and I'll make it before I run to the car to see if there's any year-old tobacco in the glove box--is What's wrong with the blogosphere being the blogosphere? Why do we want any of these people to "replace" the celebrity punditocracy? Off with their friggin' heads. I already lived through "My Sharona" as a substitute for the Ramones. Replacing Laura Ingraham's headshot with Ana Marie Cox's is not my idea of a rallying cry.

11:38 AM fixed Robin link.


The Retropolitan said...

The eRobin link is screwy.

DBK said...

Any contribution you make would be appreciated. Ours is a humble web log, a small, insignificant news kiosk inside the Blogway.

But we do kick ass, too.

Anonymous said...

I like Gene Lyons but I have to disagree with him here. I think what makes Richard Cohen increasingly irrelevant is Richard Cohen, not the blogosphere. If he is supplanted by anything it will be a better (or worse, viz. Robert Sheerer/Jonah Goldberg) columnist. Perhaps blogs can make the Cohens of the world a little less influential with their favored insiders, but then the celebrity punditocracy isn't all that influential anyway. Most people have never heard of Cohen and never will.

The power of liberal blogs is limited to a rather small counterweight to the non-stop lies and propaganda of hate radio, Fox TV and other wingnut media. But real balance can only come from comparable radio and TV stations, not a surfeit of blogspot accounts. This isn't to say that bloggers don't make an occasional splash that seeps into the discourse, or even saturates the dreaded MSM, but it's still the dreaded MSM that controls the floodgates. And when folks start thinking that blogs are, or should be, anything more than blogs we get Pajamas Media.

Which is a very long way of saying I agree with your last paragraph.

julia said...


Thing is, though, I don't have to link to stories everyone has, because everyone has.

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Sure, julia, but the same is true for the Jumbo Bloggers. I'm all for giving credit where credit's due, but often that "Via Atrios we learn..." stuff takes us to no more than something he linked. On at least three occasions in the last couple weeks I've followed a link to a Well Known Blogger, only to find the piece mostly referenced someone else's work.

I'm not knocking anybody; popular blogs are, by definition, popular. But when Gene Lyons lists the three Big Name Bloggers, plus three top-notch commentators, and you're a woman who runs one of the most-read blogs, it's a pallid gesture to name two dozen of your favorite women in return. Especially when you so regularly swap spit with Digby and TBogg, however nutritious and packed with DNA goodness it may be. Personally, I stopped daily reading every A-list blogger who went to the '04 conventions and hopped around like Sophomores on a Hot Griddle, and it's everyone else that makes blogging for me.

julia said...

Well, TBogg and Digby have been really supportive of me too, I have to say, and I've been on Eschaton a few times.

I know TBogg is where I found World O'Crap, which is how I got here...

DBK said...

I'm with you, Doghouse, on this one.

With respect to the Top Bloggers, many of them quickly crossed over to mainstream and ceased to be what made blogging special for me anyway. It is precisely the crazy free-for-all of blogging, and the integrity of the voices here that appeal to me. Some of the bigger ones have remained the same, but some have lost that integrity as they start to smell money.

The fact that we are amateurs and many are rude and we say exactly what we think exactly the way we think it is what appeals to me; and that is precisely what Richard Cohen hates. But "this is the business we have chosen", to quote Hyman Roth from The Godfather. We have to deal with the drawbacks of this rude medium as well. So we do. It has been this way for over twenty years, reaching back into the early 80s when it was USENET, a vast anarchy in which most of the discussion groups, unlike the web logs, were entirely unmoderated. Cohen wrote about online discourse like it had just been discovered and needed his wise hand to guide it when, in fact, he had just discovered it, but there are hundreds of thousands of us who have been involved with it for decades and none of us need his help, thank you very much. And we are better than he is because we haven't yet descended into the state of sanctimonious assholiness.

Not yet, anyway. It will come eventually.

Anyway, for me, it ceases to be the counter-cultural land of real integrity with some of the A-List bloggers and the corporate web logs by "real journalists". That stuff is just crap to me because you never know when what they write is from their own or someone else's agenda. I don't care about that someone else's agenda, especially these days when you have the White House paying off the "real journalists".

Even the little bloggers can do real journalism. It doesn't take a press pass. I have two interviews, one with Congressman Rush Holt and one with congressional candidate Camille Abate, available as podcasts at Bluejersey. All you need is the time to do it. Make the time and you are set. I bought an iRiver 512 Mb T30 MP3 player/recorder. Cost $80, has a built-in mic that records very well, and has a CD quality voice recording mode. In high-quality mode, you can record up to 8.5 hours of digital voice. That's cheap and the quality is high, and I think it's like $5 a month to get your podcasts hosted and available at your site. Plus you can put your CDs on the iRiver and listen to them whenever you want. We don't need celebrity pundits. We are our own pundits, our own journalists, our own celebrities. And I am confident enough to decide for myself whether I am reading a crock or not.

Anonymous said...

> This is the Hour of the Wolf News

* Big light in sky slated to appear in east.

* Sonic boom scares minority groups in Sector C

* And there's hamburger all over the highway
in Mystic, Connecticutt.

Thank you. Those are the headlines;
now for the rumors behind the news ...

DBK said...

Hello I must be going
I cannot stay I came to say
I must be going
I'm glad I came but just the same
I must be going
I'll stay a week or two
I'll stay the summer through
But I am telling you
I must be going

By this time tomorrow, I will be in France. Cross-post away, mon frere! The editorial board of Blanton's and Ashton's is outrageously and unreservedly proud to have you pitch in a bit.

There may be a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower somewhere in your future, too. Not a bribe. The editorial board of Blanton's and Ashton's does not bribe. But they do know how to thank their friends.

eRobin said...

Aw, Doghouse. You're a peach.

So my question is, Where are your goddam links to these women?

blogtopian (hail skippy) royalty has gotten incredibly incestuous lately. I think that trend will only deepen as the elections approach. Over at dKos, Susan G does something called Diary Rescue, where she finds diaries she likes and front pages them before they get lost in the flood. That's a good thing. For a while Subverting the Dominant Link Hierarchy was popular in blogtopia - Rox is still very good at getting it done every week.

I'm not going to pretend that my wishing the big blogs would get better at finding smaller blogs doesn't have some selfish thinking behind it, but it would also be good for "The Left" in general if the pot were stirred allowing some new ideas to swirl up to the surface every now and then.

Congrats on quitting the pipe.