Thursday, January 15, 2004

DAWN OF THE DEAD. For all their alleged contemporaneity and stoopid-freshness, right-wing bloggers still have an old-fashioned paleocon attitude toward the Liberal Media. All that distinguishes them from, say, William Safire in his Agnew speechwriting period, is style (or lack thereof), and perhaps class (ditto).

Take Professor Glenn Reynolds, for example and please. He continually hammers the point, with a series of "Oh, that liberal media" posts-'n'-quotes, that the NY Times, WashPost, and a host of other malefactors seek to manufacture consensus among those benighted folks who do not yet receive all their news and opinions from the internet. One common schtick: comparing the Times to Pravda, heh indeed.

But one should not infer from this that Reynolds cannot himself assemble a pack-not-a-herd when someone violates the standards of blogbrotherhood.

The other day one Dennis Perrin said something bad about James Lileks. Of course, some of us do that all the time, but Perrin registered his objections via a print publication.

This spurred from the Professor an extra-long post, summoning several of his independent-thinking friends to pile on Perrin.

Reynolds and his guests don't deal with Perrin's ideas much (unless you think calling his article "lame and confused" is a rigorous line of enquiry), preferring to insult Perrin himself. The consensus is that Perrin does not "get" the blogosphere.(One contributor even suggests, with apparent seriousness, that Perrin has been forced to work in print media because he can't make it as a blogger.)

The usually clear John Scalzi says that Perrin errs in attacking Lileks for expressing "his personal opinion on his personal Web site on his personal time." I just can't find anything like this idea in Perrin's article, and was mystified by Scalzi's assertion till I read this further down his column:
Perrin seems to want to shout that Emperor James has no clothes. Problem is, he's shouting this momentous discovery in the middle of a nudist colony. We're quite aware James has no clothes and is spouting off from the top of his head, thanks. As are we all. If you don't like it, you are of course perfectly free to go away and leave us nudists alone.
Once we get past the grisly image of Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, et alia, as nudists, it becomes clear that Perrin's offense was to judge Lileks' work by the standards of bad old Big Media -- clarity, reason, logical consistency, etc., as opposed to the "spouting" that distinguishes top blogs from underblogs in the Brave New World. Which is to say that nothing distinguishes them at all, except for preferential treatment by well-situated buddies.

"Looks like the Northern Alliance has been activated!" cries the Professor. Well, their thinking may not be clear, but it is certainly unidirectional. And with an army of zombies one can accomplish much.

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