Re: The Good Old Days

1

When did you change the hover text over his link? (I'm assuming that's the closest we'll find to an entry from you.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:15 AM
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Man, I must have changed that a couple of years ago.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:19 AM
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He always seemed like a jackass to me.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:19 AM
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Last year sometime. When Ogged was on break, right after all of us newbies started blogging, I changed it to "This link in memory of Ogged" rather than just removing it. Ogged must have changed it sometime after that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:20 AM
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Ah, there you go. Not so good with the dates...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:22 AM
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It's interesting how relatively rarely I see left wing blogosphere policing of the right wing blogosphere these days. A little power makes a lot of difference, it turns out.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:22 AM
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left wing blogosphere policing of the right wing blogosphere

I'm not sure what this means?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:23 AM
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It means he misses the Althouse posts.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:24 AM
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Oh, I got you. I do sometimes feel bad that I don't read more rightwingers -- I do check Insty a couple of times a week, but there's so rarely anything interesting there, and I read McArdle, and whenever any of the rightier posters puts something up on ObWi. But I don't read them generally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:26 AM
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7: Oh, I just meant that I'd bet that if you look at the frequency of "make fun of Insty" or "get outraged by Powerline" posts--at Unfogged, for example--the number per week has dropped considerably. (I think it' reflects a good thing.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:27 AM
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It's funny -- I didn't get into blogs until right before the war: while I couldn't date it to a month, say January 2003. And I never got any sense of Insty other than schmibertarian Republican -- the goodwill and respect he's gotten on the left has always puzzled me. He must have built up this incredible reservoir of credibility in 2001-02 that he's been drawing against ever since.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:34 AM
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The Powerline criticism really just peaked for the year after they were selected as World's Best Blog or whatever by Time magazine.

As if the winter of 2004/2005 wasn't depressing enough. I mean really, Time magazine, come on.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:37 AM
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re: 11

Yeah, I read him for a very short period of time round about then and my impression was the same as yours. But he (and other similar schmibertarian shitebags of the same ilk) aren't good for my temper. I don't think I read any right wing blogs any more. I find the right wing commentators on the various 'centre' blogs I read annoying enough.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:40 AM
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11: The last four or five years have been really interesting. Weirdly, we've (or I've) seen various cracks and fissures in the broader assumed American consensus more starkly because the stakes are--relatively speaking--so low. It's a lot easier to forgive mistakes when there are real and obvious potential existential threats than otherwise. People make bad decisions, and follow their lesser angels more often when under stress; all of that is harder to excuse when the country is basically maxing and relaxing.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:41 AM
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He must have built up this incredible reservoir of credibility in 2001-02 that he's been drawing against ever since.

Right, he was the first blogger a lot of us read, and we thought it was so cool, and he was a blogging machine and very generous with links and helping people get started. He always had the antipathy toward liberals, but that became really obvious only after 9/11.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:41 AM
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11: Before the Iraq war there was a lot more blogosphere comity. Furthermore, Instapundit really did get a lot of people started blogging. A link from him was worth 40,000 hits in the days when most blogs got 10. And he was generous, supporting bloggers of different political persuasions, just because they were bloggers. In the days when putting someone on your blogroll meant they'd put you on their's, Insty's blogroll was everyone.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:42 AM
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I do sometimes feel bad that I don't read more rightwingers

I read Sullivan regularly; and now and then I look at Drezner and Djerejian, as well as Hit & Run and some of the libertarians. I figure that fulfills my recommended daily allowance of intellectual integrity right there.

I never discovered Reynolds until after his hackery was already a joke. So I never had a "Gee, Insty's become such a hack" moment.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:48 AM
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I can't stop reading Michelle Malkin. It's such a lame excuse for keeping up with the righty half of the web as the patent crazy makes it all too easy. I have a string distaste for the Insty and Powerline interfaces.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:53 AM
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It's not just that he's a hack, it's that he's a passive aggressive hack. Of the "I'm a libertarian, let's beat the crap out of Jose Padilla more out of sadness than anger" variety.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:53 AM
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I never discovered Reynolds until after his hackery was already a joke.

Me either. I started with Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall. Also, I knew about Ezra before any of you punks.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:53 AM
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Right, he was the first blogger a lot of us read, and we thought it was so cool, and he was a blogging machine and very generous with links and helping people get started.

This is mildly weird to me. Did nobody else who comments here start out reading Kottke, Rebecca's Pocket, /usr/bin/girl, etc. in the golden days of pre-warblogger blogging? (I'll assume nobody actually started out reading Jorn Barger.) My first blogging efforts were done on Greymatter; rfts' were done on a crappy hand-rolled platform I whipped up for her in like three hours.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:55 AM
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Hey I never noticed the hover text over the links, cool.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:55 AM
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I don't read any right-wing blogs and I see no reason I would want to.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:56 AM
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djerijian is not really a right-winger, or at least has not struck me that way since i started reading him c. 2004. or maybe he's just the foreign policy version of an old-style country club republican, the ones who actually cared about smaller govt, competence & efficiency. (i do believe there were such people. there is at least indirect evidence they once existed.) as soon as the true outlines of the iraq disaster started emerging, he bailed fast--possibly faster than sully.

in the matter of misplaced deference, the one that always baffled me was the obwi obseqwiousness towards tacky tre/vino. jesus, that guy is just a fascist nightmare with leaden prose to boot. and yet for ages you were not allowed to speak ill of him, because he was a 'blogfather'? i mean, sometimes you just have to disown your parents, okay?

oh--rey/nolds? i have never read him. on principle.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:57 AM
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I've heard of those other bloggers who were blogging long before Insty, but I never read any of them. Some people came to blogging through techiness, and a bunch of other people came to it later through politics.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:57 AM
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I didn't really find Reynolds pre-hackery either.

I was looking back and my first, "Hey, this guy is a right-wing hack" post in late 2002 was about Lileks. I liked the way he wrote but basically everything he had to say about the war was so bugnuts. I remember commenting in an early CT thread that was about a cavalcade of right-wing scumbaggery by saying, "Why are you paying any attention to these people whatsoever?", because to me they didn't really exist then. I was mostly just reading stuff I liked when I was first looking at blogs.

I think it was the war that really made the lunatics visible to me. Also a lot of Belle's postings where she was really working these guys over made me much more aware of them.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:57 AM
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I have this vague memory of insty linking to the college rag I edited, taking issue with some joke we were making. As I recall, he e-mailed me to draw my attention to the post, and then he did the same about a week later. I ignored both e-mails.

But searching now, I've never been able to find a link to it. This would have been around 2002-3, and I distinctly remember the site being colored blue, not red. Did his site used to be blue? I could be misremembering the whole thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:58 AM
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I think Kottke is one of the earliest people I remember reading a lot of. Invisible Adjunct was where this really all started to become important to me.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:00 AM
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21: I started reading blogs with Camworld, Kottke, Rebecca, jwz, etc. It was a natural shift away from usenet.


Posted by: Roamsedge | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:01 AM
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Glenn Reynolds, just like Josh Trevino and a dozen other right-wing hacks, were always insane, despite whatever status they used to have as the Liberal Blogosphere's Favorite Right-Wing Blogger. They didn't change at all, it's the political environment that changed around them. So back in the day when Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum were neoliberal hawks and the only lefty blogs of any real prominence, there wasn't enough substantive difference between them and people like Instapundit and Sullivan to cause any massive fights. It wasn't until 9/11 - and the Patriot Act, and Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Abu Ghraib - that it became increasingly obvious to the "sensible" left that these people were lunatics. Nevertheless, these moments were almost invariably couched as sudden turning points in the respective mental health histories of various conservative bloggers ("Has Glenn Reynolds gone insane?") rather than as dawning realizations ("Has Glenn Reynolds always been insane?"). I suspect this is due to the natural human tendency to deny our own naivete.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:03 AM
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30--
that's ridiculous; i've never been naive.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:05 AM
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I'll assume nobody actually started out reading Jorn Barger.

My dim memory is that Peter Merholtz and Jack Saturn were the first "blogs" I read regularly, but Barger wasn't far behind. I still have a post card Calamondin sent me from Barcelona.

the one that always baffled me was the obwi obseqwiousness towards tacky tre/vino.

A case of being humored by one's betters, I always assumed.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:07 AM
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I read Robot Wisdom a bit back in the day.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:08 AM
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I got started with Bartcop and Media Whores Online. I suspect I was one of Atrios's first hundred commenters, before it became a zoo over there. The big names I remember were Ann Coulter, Mickey Kaus, Andy Sullivan, and Instapundit. I always thought they were too stupid to read or to respond to, but I came to realize that they controlled a lot of the netspace (early adopters, path-dependency, founder effect, etc.) Insty got where he is by developing a predictable schtick (many short posts, mix of political and non-political, sometimes fun, easy to take) and being there first.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:09 AM
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33 posted without having read 21. IN YOUR FACE snarkout!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:09 AM
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And then MeFi.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:10 AM
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I still have a post card Calamondin sent me from Barcelona.

She has slept on our couch. This, uh, somehow proves my superiority over w-lfs-n. Or something.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:12 AM
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I had been reading blogs since about late '99, first Kaus, later Marshall and sometimes Sullivan. I didn't discover Insty until immediately after 9/11, and I was, I have to admit, hooked.

First, there was the fact that you could refresh the page seemingly any time of day or night and find something new, in a time when I was ravenous for news and commentary. Secondly, there was this sense of cross-party solidarity that Insty fed with his attacks on the anti-(Afghanistan)-war Left. I even got annoyed when leftier bloggers (e.g. Atrios) made deprecating remarks about Reynolds being a hack. (In my defense, I can say pretty confidently I wasn't alone there; didn't Dahlia Lithwick pose for a photo with her Instapundit coffee mug or something?)

Anyway, my path to disillusionment led via the Instapundit blogroll. My occasional clickthroughs revealed a pattern of nuts-o blogging that became increasingly difficult to ignore or explain away. Sometime between summer 2002 and the election that fall I had reluctantly concluded that Glenn was a right-wing hack. That it took me so long to reach this now obvious conclusion is, I suppose, an illustration of the primacy effect.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:13 AM
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34: And, sounds like, by the McArdle technique -- being personally kind and pleasant to people who disagree with him, and so getting respectful treatment. It's funny, I can't think of anyone on the left who makes that work. Are we less likely to be cross-ideologically kind to people, or are they less likely to respond to advances like that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:13 AM
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A case of being humored by one's betters, I always assumed.

It's more than just that. They banned him for a while, after he made some egregiously offensive comments, and their commenters were genuinely huffy about this until he was allowed back. The blog itself has always gone out of its way to recruit right-wing bloggers to replace the right-wingers who inevitably stop blogging there, to "make up" for the blogging of Hilzoy and Publius. It's a seriously dysfunctional dynamic, and I've never seen their weird, strained reverence for Trevino as anything but sincere.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:14 AM
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40: Umm, because it started out as right wing blog, no?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:16 AM
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re: 39

re they less likely to respond to advances like that?

I think it's worth remembering how much the right really hates 'us'. Where 'us' means anyone who doesn't buy into their world-view.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:17 AM
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For me, Atrios was the main portal into political blogs, and by his account, he was one of the first to break the reverential stance toward Instapundit. He was also against the war from the beginning -- something that cannot be said for most of the liberal blogs now (Kos excepted, though his site is boring as fuck).

I literally could never wrap my head around the idea that one would even ponder whether the Iraq War was a good idea, so the blogs I first read -- like Tom Tomorrow or Xoverboard -- tended to be "further left" than the mainstream of liberal blogs, and they're now pretty marginal as far as I can tell. Atrios's narrative about how people who were right all along continue to be marginalized still seems plausible to me -- the "Very Serious People" meme (among people who were the "Very Serious People" not too long ago) notwithstanding.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:17 AM
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man, when it comes to reverence for tacky, sincerity is distinctly not a good-making property.

yeah, hilzoy is awesome, but that venue has some pathologies.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:19 AM
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40: What's sincere (I think failed, but sincere) is the ObWi idea of being a left/right meeting place, with bloggers and commenters engaging civilly despite disagreement. The problem is that there seem to be a lot more left of center types who want to engage there, so the blog does a whole lot of bending-over-backward to attract people on the right and make them believe they'll be well treated. The Trevino thing is I think partly not just about Trevino, but about signaling to other rightwingers that ObWi means them no harm.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:19 AM
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I can't think of anyone on the left who makes that work

The lines are already drawn now; there's no reason now to expect help or a link from someone of a very different political persuasion.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:20 AM
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Unless you're McArdle. And I don't know anyone who ever did make it work anything like as well as Insty -- who on the left got that kind of respect from the right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:21 AM
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41: It started out as a "moderate" blog, if by "moderate" you mean "a mix of conservative and liberal bloggers whose commenters fight constantly and bitterly." But it also started out in 2003, and with a set of original bloggers who have all since left. Given that the general political discourse has headed left since then, and given that none of the originals are still there, it's simply bizarre to insist on artificially tilting the blog's dynamic to the right whenever it looks like it might actually become a liberal blog.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:21 AM
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48--

right--as a smaller example of this same exercise, when did you first realize that sebacious wholecloth was a right-wing hack?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:23 AM
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it's simply bizarre to insist on artificially tilting the blog's dynamic to the right whenever it looks like it might actually become a liberal blog.

And yet, still their choice.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:24 AM
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Further to 38, it was Insty's inexplicable (to me, at that time) pimping of Patr/ck Ruff/ni that caused the scales to finally fall from my eyes.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:24 AM
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45: I certainly think that's sincere, but I also think it's naive and wrongheaded. Nobody is ever going to convince Sebastian Holsclaw to become a liberal or to change his basic political beliefs; the gulf between left and right can't be bridged at this point in this country. We don't need more left-right discussion; we need more intra-left discussion. Trying to get Moe Lane to agree that torture is bad is just a waste of breath.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:25 AM
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And yet, still their choice.

Sure. It's a bad choice, and it makes for a bad blog, which is why I stopped reading them a long time ago. But anyone's free to run a bad blog if they want to.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:26 AM
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When did you first realize that sebacious wholecloth was a right-wing hack?

I never thought otherwise. I may be gullible, but I ain't stupid.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:27 AM
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54
or naive, naturally.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:28 AM
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53: I don't know. While the execution leaves something to be desired (not saying I could do better, just that clearly it could be working better), I think it's got some value as evangelism, and as protection against echo chamber problems. If someone on the right ever did have something useful to say, it's nice to have venues where credible people like Hilzoy are listening to them and ready to pick it up.

And while I don't expect evangelism to have huge effects, ObWi has flipped some of their commenters, and presumably more people read than comment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:29 AM
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52: seconded. I think that this has been true at least since Gingrich became Majority Leader (i.e., for 13 years).

Right now the Republican Party is half batshit crazy ideologues, half criminals looting the government. The "honest conservatives" and undecideds are not living in the real world. At the moment the Democrats are the liberal party, the moderate party, and the conservative party.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:31 AM
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56: I don't read right-wing blogs because at this point, I can easily anticipate what a right-wing hack will say about any issue at all -- as can anyone who has been paying attention.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:33 AM
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I missed 52. Look, no one's ever going to convince Holsclaw of anything, but ObWi has probably flipped OCSteve, and there's a good shot they're going to flip Olmsted. Persuading people to walk away from the party of crazy may not be the most cost-effective use of energy, but it's something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:33 AM
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56: Here's the thing: Hilzoy is smart enough that she could actually be saying something smarter and more incisive than the kind of stuff she's typically saying on ObWi, where's she's making this sort of very basic pro-liberalism argument. Obsidian Wings, as currently conceived, more or less relegates Hilzoy to eloquently stating the obvious, rather than pointing out something new I might have missed in my own analysis of a subject, the way Yglesias, for example, sometimes does. In a venue where the audience is assumed to be more or less ideologically similar to yourself, you're freer to go to more interesting places analytically, and even try to make arguments within and about the ideological movement itself (where it should be headed, tactics and strategy, etc.). Not that there isn't a role for eloquently stating the obvious, but to be honest I kind of prefer bloggers like Digby and the late lamented Billmon for that.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:38 AM
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there's a good shot they're going to flip Olmsted

No there isn't.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:39 AM
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re: Trevino. "Tacitus", despite his turgid prose, had a good grasp on the "I am a grand and learned man of history and will discourse upon you ignorant and starry-eyed liberals" mode of rhetoric. Hence the arrogant nom de plume and classical pretensions. The liberal establishment has been getting bitchslapped by that WASPy professor in a bowtie style of pontification since before any of us were born--it's a horridly authoritarian reflex. cf. Buckley and Allan Bloom.


Posted by: Glenn | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:40 AM
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I miss Billmon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:40 AM
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Me too.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:42 AM
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"I am a grand and learned man of history and will discourse upon you ignorant and starry-eyed liberals" mode of rhetoric.

which can be more concisely referenced as "DM rhetoric."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:46 AM
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60: Yeah. Excluding the wingers doesn't mean an echo chamber. There's plenty of room for disagreement within the Democratic party (even not counting Lieberman).

The real problem is that the Nader-Chomsky wing is still shunned. A lot of the stuff people are finding out today (Hilary will continue the War, Reid and Pelosi will fold) is stuff Chomsky and Nader were saying 20 years ago.

Right now one of the Firedoglake guys is appalled at the way Reid and Pelosi are planning to cave in on Justice and the war both, but there's no reason to be surprised.

Around 2002 I made a deal with myself: maybe I can't hope for the Democrats to go my way on policy questions, but at least maybe they can be convinced to fight aggressively for their own policies. Sometimes it seems that even that was too much to hope for.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:47 AM
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Did nobody else who comments here start out reading Kottke, Rebecca's Pocket, /usr/bin/girl, etc. in the golden days of pre-warblogger blogging?

Never heard of any of those people.

I think I was reading blogs in 2001, but it was mostly MaxSpeak, Talking Points Memo, the Nathan Newman blog, and "Alas, A Blog", which I think has gotten more and more insane over the years but perhaps I just didn't know what they were really talking about back then.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:55 AM
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67 continued: and Billmon. And Bartcop, who I see is still around! Although he is no longer classified as a "blog".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:56 AM
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67 continued: and "Body and Soul".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:56 AM
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And I don't know anyone who ever did make it work anything like as well as Insty -- who on the left got that kind of respect from the right.

J. Bradford DeLong? Not that he's on the left on every issue.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:58 AM
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OT: not really "news," but Tony Snow's stepping down in two weeks..


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:01 PM
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Uh, whoops: link for 71.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:01 PM
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The reason that there was once so much good-will for Instapundit was that in the aftermath of 9/11, there was a temporary but broad unity across political lines. But once the effect of 9/11 wore off, the American right remembered it hated liberals a lot more than it cared about Osama bin Laden, terrorism, or the Middle East. You can see the right slowly coming to their "senses" in the lead-up to the Iraq war, when they turned on anyone who said anything other than happy-talk.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:03 PM
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At the moment the Democrats are the liberal party, the moderate party, and the conservative party.

Great statement.

A lot of the time when I'm trying to convince people not to vote Republican, I want to say "The Republicans stand for this, this and this. If you're a conservative, you don't stand for those things, you stand for the exact opposite. In what way are the Republicans the conservative party?"

But that's impossible with our media narratives. Every single Republican is a "conservative" despite the violently emetic effect their policies would have on Edmund Burke.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:04 PM
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66 is right. It's right in the UK, too; in the sense that any analysis of why ostensibly left-wing or liberal political parties should be going down increasingly authoritarian and right-wing lines is largely absent. It's the same 'we'll be all right once we get some better people involved' thing that avoids much in the way of deeper thought.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:05 PM
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And also the likely answers which might involve 'because it suits a lot of rich and powerful people that it be this way, and they've insisted huge amounts of capital in making it so' are 'conspiracy' thinking.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:09 PM
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invested, shite ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:09 PM
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Most of the blogosphere is right-wing to me. Not long ago I read a heated discussion as whether it was right to send money to AQI. The answer was no, because AQI were really bad guys.

Sparticist stuff. England has the best blogs.

Don't be dissing ObsWi. I have lost my patience with the blog & commenters, but hilzoy & Katherine are among the best people I have ever known.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:09 PM
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73: It took Andrew Sullivan about ten minutes to start turning on the liberals after the 9/11 attacks.

(Okay, that came out kind of strange.)


Posted by: Steve H. | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:21 PM
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I argued that the future Instapundit was a right wing hack before the 2000 election, when he was A.G. Android on the Slate fray. He hasn't changed.


Posted by: unimaginativeguywhocantthinkofawittycybernym | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:22 PM
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I don't know that I can beat Apostropher at 20, but I remember when Ezra Klein was at Not Geniuses, me with his crush on William Saletan. I have to say my regard for Ezra has grown a lot since, just as he has grown as a writer. My regard for Saletan, on the other hand, bottomed out a couple years ago, the last time I ever bothered to read him.

Before a brief interest in Instapundit, before I discovered MWO, thank God, I was mostly reading Salon and the forums at Independent Gay Forum, which was sort of a hangout for libertarian-ish gay politics nerds. I still kind of miss the IGF forums, because the quality of the conversation was really pretty good (it helped that most of the commenters were substantially less libertarian than the main page writers). But the site's administrators yanked the forums after several commenters (David Ehrenstein, for one) started beating the hell out of Sullivan after his embarrassing little personal ad came to light. It was cowardly of them to kill the forum, and one more reason not to trust conservative/"libertarian" homos.

Demosthenes was another early read for me.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:23 PM
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81: dammit, "annoying me with his crush..."


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:25 PM
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strasmangelo in 60:

Not that there isn't a role for eloquently stating the obvious, but to be honest I kind of prefer bloggers like Digby and the late lamented Billmon for that.

I don't think that this is a fari characterization of Billmon. I think he did a lot fo blogging about serious financial issues that are far from obvious points--at least to me.

I never read Insty. I heard about him when when Christopher Lydon, posted a podcast on his Berkman Center blog. He was interviewing a lot of early bloggers including Kos, Jay Rosen, Josh Marshall and Real Live Preacher. Glenn Reynolds was one of them. I think that Reynolds said something about how the liberal media were so anti war or something liek that, and Kydon who generally appreciated and respected Reynolds, said, "Um, hold on, they published a whole bunch of articles by Judith Miller making the case for war." It was then that I knew he was a hack.


Posted by: Bostonaingirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:27 PM
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Yay! A meme!

I should probably chime in to point out that I got started reading blogs with the venerable David Chess and the snarktastic Dean Allen, which is far more towrd snarkout's end of the spectrum; Atrios (during the Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond fiasco) hopelessly corrupted me into politics, a field I have no business plowing. --Also, that I only have two links to Insty pre-dating the one in question, one neutral enough re: Harry Potter, the other mildly approbational on a specific issue the gist of which I can't remember even though I looked it up only this morning.

But maybe I'll do it over at the pier, instead of haunting more comments sections. About time for my August vacation to end, what?


Posted by: Kip Manley | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:27 PM
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Speaking of Christopher Lydon, I sure hope Radio Open Source comes back.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:32 PM
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79:Which is one of the problems I have with ObsWi, the embracing of OCSteve. I grant there is some jealousy of the prodigal son, but I have also been burned too often and too deeply to be forgiving or tolerant. He will break their hearts, after the carrier or division is lost the the upcoming Iranian War. "Iran killed 10,000 Americans, and you blame Bush and want to surrender?" It may get so fucking ugly. I don't even trust Yglesias & Klein to get as literally traitorous as will become necessary.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:34 PM
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Bob, you know I love you, man, and keep commenting here forever, but you are absolutely insane. If things get as bad as you keep on speculating, the willingness or un of a couple of teenage pundits to crawl through the sewers with knives in their teeth will be the least of our problems.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:37 PM
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Eek, I specifically failed to mention that Reynolds actually blamed the New York Times for being anti-war. Thus Lydon's comments about Judy Miller.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:45 PM
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86: The liberals of Obsidian Wings were born for broken hearts, McManus. See the whole Moe Lane debacle: "What? Our founding conservative co-blogger actually likes torture, and was arguing in bad faith the whole time? Oh, bother! Quick, let's find someone else just like him, only hoping that this time it'll all come out somehow different!"


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:47 PM
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hilzoy & Katherine are among the best people I have ever known.

I'll certainly second that. And there are several other folks who comment there with whom it is well worth engaging from time to time. The grand project may be a failure; I don't particularly care about that anyway.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:51 PM
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Completely off topic for this post, but related to shit people were talking about a while ago, there was an interesting article in the NY Times about IBM's vacation polices.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:53 PM
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I remember not long after 9/11 that even Tom Tomorrow and Eric Alterman seemed to be buddies with Instapundit -- all part of the anti-idiotarian party.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:53 PM
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Never been a reader of Instapundit. Partly the right-wing thing, partly because what little I could gather of him back in the day made him seem like a total goober, partly because nothing since has made that image change. Memory is hazy, but I seem to remember a website during the whole impeachment thing named something like "Stop Ken Starr" that was sort of bloggy, I think, at least for the time. From there to Media Whores, then started reading Josh Marshall via Salon, I think, but had always liked him due to his being at Brown and in a related dept. at the same time as I was there. Some of the other usual suspects early on--Sullivan, Kaus, etc.--but stopped pretty quickly when I realized that they were mental poison. Seriously, reading Andrew Sullivan in 2001-2 (and probably for quite some time afterwards, but I couldn't say) was like having a hateful little voice talking to you inside your brain all the time. Stopping that was a tremendous relief.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:55 PM
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LB, McManus plays an important role in my life: keeping my spirits up. Everyday, I read the news and I think "Shit, we're fucked." Then, inevitably, Bob comes along to remind me that things could be much, much worse.

It's a seriously dysfunctional dynamic

Not to disrespect the awesome work that Hilzoy and Katherine do, but yeah, I've always imagined ObWi as "the dysfunctional Family Circus of political blogs."

She has slept on our couch.

I hope she's well. I liked her blog.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:55 PM
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FWIW, my introduction to blogs came in three distinct phases: 1) I started to read Bob Somerby's Daily Howler, which I found by way of online collections of outside-written political articles (like ZMagazine) and sites devoted to media criticism (like fair.org); 2) much later, I discovered the world of academic blogging through Acephalous; and 3) much later still, I became moderately obsessed with writing/publishing blogs a la Making Light, Neil Gaiman, Miss Snark, etc.

It's interesting to me that while I once had a passion for seeking out far-left writing online--I remember looking half admiringly, half bemusedly at a photo of General Franco on a very small Spanish-language Zapatista website from work at CellOne back in 1998--I find that I have a very low tolerance for online political debate these days, which often leads me to other, less explicitly political kinds of blogs. I just feel overwhelmed now, in a way that I rarely did before, by the increasing conviction that I'm just at insurmountable odds with most of the people writing about politics online.

That from a person who couldn't be a more insistent champion of the virtues of sympathetic reading.


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:55 PM
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91: I kind of think it's evil (in effect, if not in intent), unless supported by a whole lot of corporate culture encouraging you to take vacation. When there's no explicit 'line' between taking a reasonable amount of vacation and taking too much, I think people will get fearful and conservative about taking vacation at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:56 PM
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I can't think of anyone on the left who makes that work.

Didn't Timothy Burke post in this thread? And, as Gold/stein will surely remind you, I've guest-posted on Pro/tein Wis/dom, and was treated civilly.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:58 PM
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Further on 87:

a couple of teenage pundits to crawl through the sewers with knives in their teeth

Although this would make a great comic book.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:58 PM
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It's a great mystery why there aren't better people on radio. Lydon was OK, he's the only radio guy who had ever read a book, but that's a low bar. I heard Rush recently recite some lines from "some guy named e.e. cummings." And Rush is among the better informed. There was Gretchen Helfrich, but she was also unlistenable.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 12:59 PM
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Oops. "General Franco" s/b "Subcomandante Marcos."

That's a truly atrocious error.


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:04 PM
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I was going to say, Nick.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:09 PM
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Calpundit. Still top of tha game, ain't a damn thang change.

Sometimes I read his blog and know what snappy go-to kicker he'll choose before I'm halfway through the post.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:13 PM
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99: Lydon was better on the Connection than he was on Radio Open Source.

LB in 96:

I kind of think it's evil (in effect, if not in intent), unless supported by a whole lot of corporate culture encouraging you to take vacation. When there's no explicit 'line' between taking a reasonable amount of vacation and taking too much, I think people will get fearful and conservative about taking vacation at all.

I once read taht there was a time in the early part of the 20th century when Cavendish labs shut down for two weeks. Everyone was forced to take a vacation.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:18 PM
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At the moment the Democrats are the liberal party, the moderate party, and the conservative party.

At the national level, that's true, but people like Scwarzenegger are showing a way for the Repubs to go moderate conservative again. But when those guys reach the national stage, they have to cater to the national base -- see what's happening to Romney in the primary. They'll be running back toward the center the moment the primaries are over, though.

It's a two-party system. The fact that the national Democratic party includes the whole sane political spectrum requires people to do this double fight, competing with the crazies in the other party and at the same time fighting for their vision of the Democratic party. Obvious enough, I guess.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:22 PM
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I heard Rush recently recite some lines from "some guy named e.e. cummings."

Just for a tiny moment, I'm going to pretend he was reading, "i sing of Olaf glad and big".

(Hi Kip! Long time no interact.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:28 PM
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Yeah, I think the political blog I read was Calpundit. But really I backed into blogging through mommy listserves.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:40 PM
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99: Lydon was better on the Connection than he was on Radio Open Source.

Only heard him a handful of times on the Connection, so I can't argue this point, but in any case, the Connection was already lost, and I thought the format of ROS was a good idea. The format and Lydon's wound-up, just-did-some-toot-before-the-show energy made for good and novel listening amongst the general format of public interview shows.

I know Bob Somerby's style can get on people's nerves, but I've gotta say, I think his is one of the most important ongoing projects among the liberal blogs. A model of the good that can be done by a pissed-off obsessive with a Lexis-Nexis account.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:41 PM
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Second that on Somerby. He has 9 years of chapter and verse on those guys, right at his fingertips. His archives are searchable, so if you ever are trying to remember something Chris Matthews or Judy Miller, etc., said or wrote, that's a good place to start.

Not an entertainment blog, a work blog.

Oddly, off the net he's a comedian and after-dinner speaker. His hobby is serious and his job is fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:44 PM
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60: Break us a give, man. Hilzoy actually posts real true news of the "new information" sort; much as I like Digby and Yglesias and the rest of the lefty bloggers, they don't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:45 PM
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Hey, snark. —Out by the airport; where you been? to doubtlessly misquote some Waitsian stage-patter I heard third-hand.

I think I missed a mission statement somewhere: were we supposed to be actively converting them or something? I thought we were just trying to shout through the fevre-dream of our national mediaspheric Zeitgeist to better reflect what is already true. (—Forget teen pundits crawling through the sewers: far worse is the inexcusable lassitude I feel in my own bones. Tens of millions of people in just about every country in the world tried to stop the Iraq war to no goddamned avail at all—how many learned their lesson and find themselves now unable to speak a word? Why is my mouth already full of ashes, as if nothing could possibly be done that would mean anything at all?)


Posted by: Kip Manley | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:46 PM
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I can barely remember my blog beginnings. I was reading D/en Be/ste but never Insty. I like long radical deep think pieces, even if totally psycho.

Moe and von and even Tacitus were very kind to me onceuponatime. It's very hard, I agree & disagree with DeLong about ideas & ideologies because I am not completely sure if ideologies or people kill people.

I am also, apparently by nature, more sympathetic to the radical than the pragmatic, and so feel more comfortable with a Cella or Trevino than a Drezner or Henry Farrell or Drum or hilzoy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:51 PM
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I know Bob Somerby's style can get on people's nerves, but I've gotta say, I think his is one of the most important ongoing projects among the liberal blogs. A model of the good that can be done by a pissed-off obsessive with a Lexis-Nexis account.

I agree with this completely. But I've always been puzzled by the fact that Bob Somerby is a comedian -- from his writing on the Daily Howler, I would have said he completely lacked a sense of humor. Has anybody seen his comedy act?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:51 PM
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109: There is a lot to recommend about Hilzoy, but I don't recall that being one of them. She's pretty determinedly about careful criticism of things that have seen some play elsewhere in the blogosphere.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:51 PM
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103: Red Hat essentially shuts down for at least a week at the end of the calendar year. The folks I know who work there are immensely grateful for this. They are expected to take time off and spend it somewhere - anywhere - other than at work. It would be a polite fiction that it really shuts down or that everyone is chased away but it does become a ghost town without recrimination (to my second-hand knowledge).


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:52 PM
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I started reading blogs with Alterman and TPM. I occasionally followed links to Reynolds but never thought him worth reading regularly. I liked Calpundit, too.

Back in maybe 2002-03 I followed a link to Unfogged and caught ogged saying something hawkish, and didn't go back for a long time after.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:53 PM
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Kill!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:56 PM
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103: Some startups do that, but they're not paid vacations- if they're running low on money, they lock the doors from Christmas to New Year's and turn off the lights to save money. When your cash flow is negative, closing for a week if pure profit!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:57 PM
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is pure profit.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 1:57 PM
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109: I think that is Katherine who contributes actual new information, not Hilzoy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:03 PM
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Kill!

I've since become aware that he lacks only the love of a good lifeguard, and needs our compassion and solicitude.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:04 PM
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110 captures what sucks about first becoming politically conscious under the Bush administration. The hopelessness can be pretty overwhelming -- it's as though "public opinion" is something that is accessible only to the media and political elites (i.e., they trust their own narrative more than actual opinion polling), and somehow it's impossible to even begin to think about stopping an illegal war, torture, the degradation of every government function, the mockery of the constitution, etc., etc., etc. This is all fucking basic stuff, yet it feels as hopeless as establishing a socialist utopia.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:07 PM
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cerebrocrat--Lydon does best with live callers, and after the first few weeks ROS didn't offer that. Reading blog comments isn't the same.

The beauty of the old Connection as that sometimes a caller would know more about something than the official guest, and Lydon would let them talk. (Lydon is often criticized for interrupting his guests, but it goes both ways.) One of his callers had played for Stravinsky, teh former owner of the Coffee Connection called to discuss coffee, and back when he was sane Dershowitz would sometimes call in as would other prominent lawyers and scientists.

And if an unknown person knew more than a professional expert that person got talk time too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:11 PM
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I don't really care if the lifeguard is any good, slol.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:21 PM
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What if the lifeguard's bigoted against immigrants?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:22 PM
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112: I think The Daily Howler is really funny - especially when he curses.

I bet his comedy act is really funny too.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:22 PM
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113:hilzoy at least contributes to areas like Tanzania (Zimbabwe?) that aren't covered deeply elsewhere.

And besides her brilliance and erudition, hilzoy contributes her fucking life. When she writes about the war, I always remember who she is, where she has been, what she has seen. hilzoy is a Kantian liberal de profundis.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:23 PM
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ObWi is mostly excellent. I really enjoy Hilzoy's writing.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:27 PM
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Does Somerby do shows in the DC area with any regularity? A quick google didn't find anything.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:35 PM
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And besides her brilliance and erudition, hilzoy contributes her fucking life. When she writes about the war, I always remember who she is, where she has been, what she has seen.

I thought Hilzoy was a professor, not some war correspondent waist-deep in the shit.

Obsidian Wings's greatest contribution has been Katherine's writing on torture and extraordinary rendition, which actually did involve original research and new information. I stand by my assessment of Hilzoy's writing in 60, and the restraints her blog puts on it. If Katherine blogged more there, I'd probably read the blog more. As it is, there isn't much there I can't find elsewhere.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:39 PM
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I agree with the part in 60 that mourns the loss of Billmon.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:42 PM
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129:stras, do you know much about hilzoy's biography? She doesn't flaunt it, usually just mentions it in passing, but if you have read her for years, you pick up on stuff.

No, she is not just a professor. If experience counts for anything, and I don't know that it does but other people think so, hilzoy has the kind that can be converted into wisdom and compassion.

It is not my place to tell her stories.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:48 PM
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The first three blogs I read were, in order, Wonkette, Yglesias, and this one.

I love being young. I feel like I came to the party right after the ambulance.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:49 PM
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D/en Be/ste

Hahahaha

I forgot about him. It's kind of a shame he left his warblogging gig; he was an exemplar of a certain style of earnestly stupid conservatarian (over)writing. Well before Matt Taibbi's entertaining takedown of Friedman, I remember somebody doing a similar analysis of DB's style.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:55 PM
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I started reading blogs with Alterman

There's a tell.

I remember somebody doing a similar analysis of DB's style.

d^2 used to do a Shorter SDB.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:57 PM
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snarkout @ 21 :
'll assume nobody actually started out reading Jorn Barger.
I started out reading Jorn Barger. On Usenet, when his .sig was still "I edit the net"
Jorn hung out on rec.arts.books for years.
My posting/lurking ratio, while wildly variable over time, has an average close to zero.

I still read Danny Yee's Pathologically Polymathic, which is another ur-blog.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 2:59 PM
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As a long time ObWi commenter, it seems to me that the blog's vision wasn't compatible with the country being taken over by right-wing wackos. A cross-spectrum blog where the conservatives have to agree on almost all active political issues with the liberals or be crazy won't thrive. Back in the day I read Balloon Juice for an alternate perspective on events, but for years now John Cole has sounded like a liberal despite keeping his principles. In 2009, when there's a Democrat in the White House and stronger majorities in congress, there will be room for honest cross-spectrum dissent, and ObWi may return to its original vision and be more successful.

I still think it's one of the best blogs out there.


Posted by: rilkefan | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:00 PM
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119, yes, my mistake. But also 126 a.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:03 PM
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There's a tell.

Do tell, Tim.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:03 PM
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138: Yeah, there's nothing really there. I don't much like Alterman's writing, assume others don't either, so I snarked a bit. But I couldn't figure out what the comment would mean, and meant to delete it. The post button is inconveniently convenient.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:10 PM
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I feel like I came to the party right after the ambulance.

Kid, I like your style.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:11 PM
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Never encourage the kids; it goes to their heads.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:19 PM
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Den Beste was awesome, one of the best things about the early blogosphere. Often imitated, never equaled. It's a damn shame his classic posts about strippers have been erased from the web.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:22 PM
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Yeah, look how I turned out.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:22 PM
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Fafblog. I miss Fafnir and the Medium Lobster.
Giblets not so much.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:24 PM
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More to the point, what kind of kid wants to develop the same sense of humor as we older folks? Get out while you can, d.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:25 PM
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142: The internet is forever.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:26 PM
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146: Gosh, I'd forgotten that such an infuriating affront to my humanity existed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:30 PM
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Every once in awhile, I type in mediawhoresonline, just in hope.

I actually started reading politics online before any of it was on blogs - TomPaine.com (where Dean Baker taught me in 1998-9 that "Social Security is in trouble" is a scam), fair.org, This Modern World (which wasn't in blog format before 9/11), some others. Then Nov. 2000 came, and I discovered Kaus, Josh, & Somerby more or less simultaneously (I've read almost every single thing Josh has ever posted, and it's still my first daily read; his politics are lackluster, but his reportage and tenacity are superlative). Because my first awareness of Kaus was him doing some good work during the Recount, it took me awhile to realize that he was a hack, rather than just a neo-liberal with a tiresome schtick.

Insty, OTOH, I figured out was a hack the first time that I ever read him - someone linked to him saying that all protestors at an event are responsible for the three guys with anti-Semitic signs, I read his post, emailed to tell him he was nuts, he kindly but dismissively wrote back, and that was that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:32 PM
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146 -- I'd never read anything by this fellow. Wish it was still true.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:35 PM
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Heebie, stop trying to be a person. Just be a woman. Like those nice women at Vegas strip clubs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:36 PM
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Holy shit, the link in 146 may well be the most pathetic thing I have ever read. It's like Smoove B. testifying at his civil commitment hearing.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:36 PM
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Yeah, that thing is eerie. I feel that I should be offended, but it's hard not to just hope that he gets help somehow. Feeling that way has got to be a heck of a way to live.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:38 PM
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Mediawhoresonline is a mystery. Was it done anonymously by a famous person, or did the person doing it, supposedly named "Jennifer" just quit for reasons unknown? Bartcop claims to have no idea, and claims to have had only a businesslike internet relationship with the MWO person.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:38 PM
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I'd find the D/en B/este stuff a lot funnier if that fucker weren't responsible for all the redacted Labs comments on this site.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:39 PM
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i'll never think of you as a female person, Heebie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:39 PM
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144 - Chris of Fafblog did a (goofy s.f. serial) comic strip in my college newspaper; I remember liking it but finding it wildly uneven. Fafblog was so fantastic that I fairly often find myself wanting to go back and reread it to see if within it lay the seeds of the Medium Lobster.

SdB was one of the original characters of MetaFilter. There are some pretty classic threads you can dig out way back in the archives there.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:40 PM
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it's hard not to just hope that he gets help somehow

God, LB, you're such a softie. Yes, the man needs therapy, but I got no truck for people who channel their insanity by deciding that all the people who won't fuck them are the screwed up ones. I mean, if you're depressed and shit, at least have the decency to realize that that's your problem, not everyone else's.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:41 PM
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Slowly the activation potential grows on the affected neurons, and I remember other blog-like-things that led me slowly, insensibly, step-by-step, and then in a headlong rush, to the hopeless blog addiction that is now my curse.
Three-toed Sloth
Signal To Noise


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:41 PM
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BTW, I'm glad to see Somerby getting the love here. About 3 years ago, a lot of people treated him as the Drunk Uncle of the left blogosphere, for his repetition on the War on Gore. But he's broadened his focus a touch, and, more importantly, a lot of lefties have learned on their own the lessons that ol' Bob was trying to tell them in the first place (I'm looking at you, Franke-Ruta).

I also think he's valuable for coming from a very different place than almost any other well-known blogger - he's really not interested in the blog community, and calls things as he sees them. He's wrong a fair bit, but it's nice to see someone who isn't being contrarian, just contrary.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:42 PM
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154: Yeah, the dealings with him around that showed that he is quite possibly the biggest dick on god's green earth.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:42 PM
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i'll never think of you as a female person, Heebie.

Do you think of me as a stripper?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:44 PM
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Y'all seem to have forgotten Mr. D/gnan.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:45 PM
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"the one that always baffled me was the obwi obseqwiousness towards tacky tre/vino."

The three original posters (one of which was me, right wing indeed!--but our commenters & blogroll originally were) fake-met on his site. Boy was THAT a long time ago....I think I found his site when he was kind of friendly with Kos.

The attempt at bipartisan comity thing pretty much failed (though I've liked some of the more conservative posters--still do), and it's highly dysfunctional. But: hilzoy! And it sure changed MY life.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:45 PM
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Much more than a stripper -- a mathematical stripper!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:45 PM
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Drunk Uncle of the left blogosphere

*cough*


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:47 PM
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""I am a grand and learned man of history and will discourse upon you ignorant and starry-eyed liberals" mode of rhetoric."

1000x yes!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:48 PM
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Y'all seem to have forgotten Mr. D/gnan.

You're obliged to love Smoove D, B.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:48 PM
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159: Yeah. I wish there was a better vocabulary for "kind of insane, but in a manner that clearly doesn't effect either his reliability or his usefulness." But even the obsession with the War on Gore is useful -- you can really rock the occasional person back, should Gore come up, but reminding them that absolutely none of what was said about Gore was true. It was all invention. People really do get thoughtful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:50 PM
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Curmudgeon, no?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:51 PM
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165: but you have company.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:51 PM
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165: I've had a Goldilocks and The Three Aging Hippies thing stuck in my head, using mcmanus, I suppose IDP, and you -- "This Aging Hippie was too crazy. This Aging Hippie was not crazy enough. And This Aging Hippie was Just Right."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:52 PM
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167: Which one's Smoove D, is the question.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:55 PM
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159, 168: That's sort of what I meant when I said it was a working blog, not a fun blog.

Suppose someone in the bean trade ran a blog talking about nothing but bean-related stuff. It would be boring to everyone not in the bean trade, but invaluable for bean-trade people. Somerby's was a working blog dealing with America's political media. Gore-Bush provided the paradigm, but he wasn't really obsessive. He just used Gore-Bush as his primary reference point.

One thing he can't repeat often enough: it was the legit high-class media that screwed up on Whitewater, Gore-Bush, and the Iraq War. Not anonymous bloggers or winger talk show hosts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:56 PM
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Hmph. I thought Jackmormon was my friend. Thullen is pretty good though.

Gary Farber deserves some love too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:59 PM
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The crazy uncle niche is fairly well populated. Oddly, all the middleaged women I can think of who blog are remarkably sane... Digby, Hilzoy, Sisyphus Shrugged's Julia, TNH.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:02 PM
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174: I thought it was a compliment.

"Kind of insane, but in a manner that clearly doesn't affect either his reliability or his usefulness."

No, kind of insane in a manner that doesn't affect his reliability & greatly enhances his usefulness. The print journalism equivalent would be Seymour Hersh.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:03 PM
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175: Althouse.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:04 PM
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177: Well played. Althouse indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:08 PM
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No, no, no. She's not crazy in a good way.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:10 PM
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Yeah, I was going to say: if you're looking for benign crazy, Althouse is not the answer. But crazy!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:12 PM
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I actually was the crazy uncle of my four youngest nieces. They're in their late twenties now and just now forgiving me for teasing them when they were six.

My two current nieces love me. When one of them was five she called me her "uncle with the big fat belly." What a nice thing to say!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:13 PM
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176: Well, every crazy uncle wants to be the crazy uncle of the whole universe. We don't like to share.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:14 PM
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Your two current nieces? What happened to the others?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:15 PM
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They became real people. Nieces are little and cute. Soon I will be niece free, but I do have my wonderful grandnephew.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:17 PM
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Which one's Smoove D, is the question.

B, I meant you *particularly* are obliged to love Paul D/gnan.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 4:22 PM
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I nominate Thullen. He is funny, I am just obstinate.

I travel the far reaches of the blogosphere in search of crazy aunts. Ungentlemanly to name them, but hey, it's me.

"Jacqueline" at Ezra's is the Edna St Vincent Millay of commenters. "Anne" of a 1000 economic blogs, long block quotes, and bird prizes annoys some people, to my amazement. Blue girl red State at Drum's? There must be more.

There are no intellectual property rights attached to "crazy maiden aunt"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 5:05 PM
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I alost always like Anne's post, and she likes mine, but she doesn't like it when I talk about major economists (Merton, Scholes, Schleifer) being crooks. But they are.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 5:08 PM
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Yes, the man needs therapy, but I got no truck for people who channel their insanity by deciding that all the people who won't fuck them are the screwed up ones.

Unless they're wry about it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 5:46 PM
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Oh, Emerson. You're the only crazy internet uncle I've ever met in person, if that makes you happier.

By the way, 115 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 5:49 PM
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Thy crazy internet uncle is a jealous internet uncle.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 5:52 PM
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154: Ooh. I did not know that. Warm glow of nostalgia, fading.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 6:01 PM
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Eek!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 6:01 PM
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You know, I don't even know that I want to have this kind of conversation any more. Not just because McManus is going to come on and bust my ass about the amount of lead I'm going to have in my skull after the glorious revolution and w-lfs-n is going to tell me I'm a humorless prat, but come on--what they were *trying* to do at Obsidian Wings seems so obviously valuable to me that I can't believe anybody wants to bitch about it.

You guys remember the snowball sample that showed that of the people buying political books on Amazon, that the "liberal" and "conservative" networks literally had no crossover at all? Like, one book out of ten thousand? That can't be a good thing, for anybody. Sure, you can blame the conservatives for being a bunch of motherfuckers and more or less be right about that, but it's bit different than talking about some bunch of motherfuckers who live in Patagonia or something. (apologies to Unfogged's Patagonian commentariat).

The big drive for me always has been this: you have to find a way to live *even* with the 27% crazyification people, let alone the swing-types who swing a bit different than you. Winning a democratic election even with a significant majority doesn't make them magically go away, or entitle you to impose major cultural and social transformations by fiat on a significant plurality who live in a basically different universe. Among other things, that's what I think the cultural left did wrong in the 1970s: think that winning a certain amount of cultural capital in hard-fought struggles was the same as arriving at the end of the dialectic, all rednecks can just go off and die now k thnx. This is old hat to me: one of my favorite things about colonialism in Africa is the perversity of its unintended consequences, that the more people with ambitions to change culture apply pressure to those who don't want to change, the more they end up making everything they were trying to outlaw all the stronger.

So *somebody's* going to have to figure out how to have a conversation. There's a big fucking difference between trying to make that space at something like Obsidian Wings and the truly ugly stuff that a lot of us started to notice in the early history of blogging.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 6:49 PM
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So *somebody's* going to have to figure out how to have a conversation.

I don't know that conversing and living with really go together in this case. What are you going to say, let alone convince someone of? If it's possible to build goodwill between reasonable people and the 27%, it seems to me that it'll happen by gestures and actions taken (or not taken), and will take many years. Life doesn't actually happen on blogs, or at the level of political discourse, right? But even so, I'm not optimistic. At the level of the crazies, you're dealing with things we can't tolerate: racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and not the pro forma think tank versions, but the felt kind.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:01 PM
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w-lfs-n is going to tell me I'm a humorless prat

Say what?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:03 PM
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This: So *somebody's* going to have to figure out how to have a conversation

doesn't follow from this:

The big drive for me always has been this: you have to find a way to live *even* with the 27% crazyification people, let alone the swing-types who swing a bit different than you.

That's the lesson of the last--at least--seven years. The massive cultural transformations of the sixties and seventies were painful, but they had to be done. This is a different time, though. It seems to me that significant percentage of the left blogosphere is in fact pretty conservative: they think we'd worked out a lot in the 90s, and they want to go back, in some fashion, to that tradition.

I don't think I'd say that my politics are at all akin to those of mcmanus, but I think he's right (if I've read him right) to suggest that someone's always got their foot on someone else's neck, and if that's so, I'd like it to be my foot on the other person's neck. And that may mean strengthening alliances outside the 27%, and ignoring (and ignoring the interests of) that 27%. It's not as if everyone but the 27% agrees on a specific program.

It's one thing to say that there must constantly be a conversation as alliances shift, and another to say that you cannot determine that, at the present moment, it is impossible--despite good faith on both sides, even--to strike a deal with some subset (say about half) of the other side.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:05 PM
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There's a difference between a political deal, which I don't think you're obligated to make--in fact, the opposite--and the arts of living in community with people, which includes staying involved in conversation. I think people get these two things mixed up a lot.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:11 PM
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What they were *trying* to do at Obsidian Wings seems so obviously valuable to me that I can't believe anybody wants to bitch about it.

Engage in dialogue with stubborn, enraged, cruel people with no reality sense?

Beyond "Nice doggy, you don't really want to bite me" there's not much you can say to those guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:12 PM
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183:Partyyyyyy!!!!

What are the consequences of comity and compromise? One hundred years of Jim Crow is one good example, although the tolerant and accepting Yankee liberals didn't suffer too awful bad. Another consequence of allowing the far right to sit a the table? A million dead Iraqis?

Now it could be we are not willing to pay the costs of confrontation. but that simply means somebody else, innocent and powerless, will pay the costs in our steads. Unwilling to go to war over taxes? The poor will have no health care. Katrina is the shining example. Who paid, who suffered? Not Republicans, not elite liberals.

Easy to be easy in academia and the safety of the upper middle class. Somebody else's fucking war.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:13 PM
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Tim, I believe we've had this argument before. The trouble doesn't come from here. The trouble comes from out 30% mentally-ill conservative demographic. The ones who think that miscegenation should be illegal (40%+ in Alabama, by vote), that we should use nuclear weapons in the Middle East NOW, and so on and so forth.

These are not people who are willing to split the difference. You beat them, or they beat you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:15 PM
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And why I admire hilzoy for the ObsWi project is that I believe she is committed to comity out of deontological moral grounds, not fear of confrontation and the scarey disruption. She would grant the Fascists and Communists and Jihadists a hearing because they are people.

She has chosen the hardest road. She is not avoiding a fight out of cowardice and a desire for comfort.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:25 PM
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Easy to be easy in academia and the safety of the upper middle class. Somebody else's fucking war.

This is where mcmanus and I part: that's a cheap shot at Burke. To the extent it's true, but it's true for pretty much everyone in the blogosphere, on any side, and maybe in the US. And, again, if it has to be a foot-neck issue, I want to be my American foot.

I think my discomfort with Burke's point springs from my increasing belief that good people naturally, unconsciously, make compromises, and that if we're unwilling or unable (it takes energy, I think) to recognize how different are our values in some areas--occasionally different enough to make even discussion fruitless--we end up compromising much more than we should. I don't think they have that problem on the other side. They've got a well-worked out explanation about how we caused (or will cause) the downfall of America. (I mean, it's not like we didn't try to compromise. Remember Kerry for President?)

I guess I don't worry too much about a lack of conversation and compromise, because I think it's natural, and that we will--without any thought about it at all--start doing it by 2010, and perhaps earlier.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:29 PM
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202:Tim, I think it is the very heart of "liberalism" Smith & Edmund Burke were about protecting and preserving elites and privilege, from the poor and from each other. Equilibrium and stability has its costs, and those costs must be passed on to the least powerful and least capable in such a way that they remain powerless.

Rather than have the Clintons and Bushes go to a shooting war a million Iraqis must die.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:48 PM
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"...and that we will--without any thought about it at all--start doing it by 2010, and perhaps earlier."

Totally wrong. The Southern Conservatives and the Republican Party finally completely converged in the 90s and we are not even at the beginning of the 2nd Civil War.

It is going to get much worse, not better.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 7:57 PM
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185: Huh. Well, that's a moral obligation I'm falling down on. Sorry.

Re. the crazy 27%: as I was sort of saying in the thread yesterday where Sifu and I and a couple others were arguing about okies and shit, the thing is, it isn't that hard to reach a certain comity with the crazy 27%. I just don't know if it can be done on the internet, and I don't think you're necessarily going to change the fact that they're probably going to vote for the crazy-ass candidates. I think part of it is that the "reasonable" tone that Burke loves is, itself, anathema to people who feel disenfranchised and resentful of the status quo. My dittohead uncle isn't reading ObWi or Easily Distracted, I can pretty much guarantee you that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 8:04 PM
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Does anyone else think it's jarring to be talking straightfaced about the crazy 27% on their side while bob predicts a second Civil War?

I mean, shit. It's the crazy 100%. Just a question of about what.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 8:20 PM
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Bob doesn't seriously predict a civil war, he just dreams of one.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 8:21 PM
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207:I would certainly prefer an American Civil War to a massive bombing of Iran. I, at my advanced age and experience, have lost many of my illusions and hopes and faith in humanity, so I am not predicting violent social disruption in the US.

Under almost any plausible scenario. Ya know, ya'll shouldn't be so pleased & proud about it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 8:36 PM
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Well apologies to bob then.

I stand by my crazy 100%.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 8:41 PM
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Way up thread, I said I was worried about Klein & Yglesias. Comes the time a million Iranians get dead, and the world doesn't end, and Y & K have a drink and sleep thru the night and go to work the next morning I think those kids are gonna feel a little bit smaller.

I am very sorry to have lived to see this shit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 8:44 PM
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I'd like to agree with Tim Burke re: having a conversation, even if it meant that come the revolution, I'd be up against the wall.

But what B said in 205. And especially this:

I think part of it is that the "reasonable" tone that Burke loves is, itself, anathema to people who feel disenfranchised and resentful of the status quo.

Some people are committed to non-compromise on principle, at least at the level of public utterances, though not always or not necessarily at the level of everyday life as it is actually lived. For such people, a willingness to reach across the divide is often seen as a mark of inauthenticity. Real men don't eat quiche, and real people don't give an inch, or at least not in a debate with a liberal.

I do agree with Burke re: how the cultural left went wrong in the 1970s, even though I don't want to.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 9:18 PM
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Re. the crazy 27%: as I was sort of saying in the thread yesterday where Sifu and I and a couple others were arguing about okies and shit, the thing is, it isn't that hard to reach a certain comity with the crazy 27%.

Fuck--especially--the okies. They can join America or get the fuck out. It's a big world out there, and no one's barring the door. They are a hell of a lot of people we can and should see about a deal before we get to either the Okies or the okies.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 9:33 PM
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Tim B., IA, what does having a conversation mean?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 9:46 PM
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I would certainly prefer an American Civil War to a massive bombing of Iran.

Absolutely agreed, for a list of reasons longer than my arm. That said, there aren't enough of us to kickstart a civil war. Fuck, there aren't enough of us to pressure the Democrats to impeach Dick Cheney.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:15 PM
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That said, there aren't enough of us to kickstart a civil war.

The Weathermen gave it a shot, and there weren't that many of them, were there? Less than a hundred...


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:24 PM
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213:

What does 'having a conversation' mean?:

Q.: Traitor!

A.: I'm not a traitor!

Q.: Why do you want to kill American troops?

A. I don't want to kill American troops.

Q.: Liar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That's what "having a conversation" means.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:27 PM
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Civil war: bad idea jeans. We have the money and the grammar, but they have the guns and the military training, not to mention the military. What I want is a Spanish civil war. How many righties went and joined up with the Nationalists while not under orders? Sure, Franco won, but who wrote the better books?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:37 PM
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Are we seriously debating whether it's a good idea to start a civil war?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:40 PM
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I think 216 is right. My father in law is one of those. Still an Iraq war supporter and all that. Some people just aren't in the same reality.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:46 PM
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On the one hand,

I am very sorry to have lived to see this shit.

I feel this way about more and more things lately, and I don't like it. On the other,

Easy to be easy in academia and the safety of the upper middle class

A significant portion of people constituting "academia" are closer to qualifying as working poor than upper middle class, but it's impressive how academics can manage to be an enemy of left and right all at once.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:49 PM
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Are we seriously debating whether it's a good idea to start a civil war?

This is sort of like asking whether it's a good idea to overthrow the government, or whether the best way for a cow to jump over the moon is by catapult or trebuchet. It's a moot point, because it's not going to happen. But I agree with Bob to the extent that I think it would be better for the world to see an American civil war than to see an American war on Iran.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:51 PM
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A significant portion of people constituting "academia" are closer to qualifying as working poor than upper middle class

We've had the conversation before about how class doesn't track strictly with income, right?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:52 PM
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I would certainly prefer an American Civil War to a massive bombing of Iran.

That's insane.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:53 PM
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That's insane.

Not if you live anywhere but America, it's not.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:55 PM
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218: No, we're not. What were debating, if it can be called that, is the value of desiring a civil war. I find the prospect attractive, if debilitating and ultimately utterly stupid, which is why I want to outsource.

221.last: And which is the more likely?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:56 PM
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224: No, still insane. Which is more important to economic well being: Iran, or the US? Not that I don't sympathise, but many people depend on the US market for their livelihoods.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:59 PM
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Not if you live anywhere but America, it's not.

Canada might not have your back on this one.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 10:59 PM
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And which is the more likely?

Given that Cheney is planning a war with Iran right now, and given that I doubt even a majority of congressional Democrats will have the temerity to call for his impeachment when it happens?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:00 PM
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224: No, it's pretty much insane if you live anywhere on this planet. I wouldn't want any country with our nuclear arsenal to go through a civil war.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:01 PM
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222: If you read the original quote in context, it's pretty easy to see that the implication was that academics are rich.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:05 PM
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Ogged at 213: I'm a fool to even take this bait, but anyway, I'm nothing if not foolish, so.... It has to do with a certain type of exchange, which exchange is not merely verbal but which even rests on a certain ethical principle: the principle of reciprocity, which principle demands adherence to certain tacit assumptions of fairness and good faith. Also, it's about agreeing to separate the merely private from what is more broadly of public import, because, contrary to the popular slogan (which the wingnuts have taken on board and have used against us, as per usual) the personal is not always political.

But Emerson in 216 is absolutely correct, of course. So I give up, and damn, I'm glad I never turned in that Canadian passport....


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:05 PM
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Which is more important to economic well being: Iran, or the US?

I'm assuming here that war with Iran will plunge the Middle East into a regionwide conflagration - which, if you believe Josh Marshall's old Washington Monthly piece, was the idea all along. Now which is more important to global economic stability: the US, or oil? Either scenario involves a global depression, but one of them leaves a nation of monsters running amok to shit on the world at will.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:06 PM
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Not if you live anywhere but America, it's not.

Yes, yes it is. I mean, I know we're not perfect, but you really think the world would be better for a re-roll on Global Hegemon? We're way above the historical, not to mention the hypothetical, average. A massive decline is American influence is not magically replaced by a corresponding increase in the power of Magical Liberal World Government.

It is, at best, probably better for Iran. But then I'm with Tim on the subject of feet, necks, etc. in 196.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:08 PM
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I think we're in agreement, IA. There are several good ways to describe an ideal communicative environment, and none of them have anything to teach us about dealing with a powerful minority of our fellow citizens.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:10 PM
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232: You did me the kindness of replying to my comment, so I will return the favor, but I doubt that I will convince you of anything. The United States, errant as it may be, is essentially a money-making venture. Many have realized this, and T-Bonds have become the investment of last resort. A Middle East conflagration, however widespread, will be limited by its funders. Oil would indeed get pricey, but should Saudi Arabia stand down, Russia would, as they say, stand up. Even if crude prices were to triple, the basic mechanisms of commerce would stand.

On the other hand, if the U.S. economy were to collapse overnight, there would be a credit crisis the likes of which the world has not yet seen. The international financial system would do very well to remain on its knees. Banks everywhere hold T-Bills; if they were to disappear one might expect a global run on every single fucking bank there is. Of course, it might not turn out like this, but the risk is undeniably there.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:19 PM
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yeah, i think it is insane, or at any rate overwrought and over the top, to be comparing the relative desirability of two catastrophes. none of us wants war with iran. none of us wants a civil war in the u.s. (not if we're thinking clearly).

it's particularly nutso to be playing "would i rather catch my dick in a blender or a garbage disposal?" when bob mcmanus' point really requires much less histrionics (and it's a good one):

the lead-up to the iraq war showed that liberals in general place far too much weight on civility, propriety, and not scaring the horses, than is commensurate with the issues at stake.

we could have marched (some of us did), we could have flooded capitol hill with phone calls, we could have called strikes, we could have disrupted life in all sorts of non-violent ways.

and most of us didn't. we were paralyzed, or apathetic, or just (as i said the other day) felt like sitting this one out.

i think this thread's flirtation with civil war rhetoric is immature and irresponsible (i don't mind when bob does it, because we all know how to read bob). lincoln didn't do all that work so that you could throw away the union because bush got some smudges on it.

but for christ sake, there are many many things we can do short of that form of collective suicide, which would be better than what we did last time, which was passively watching the train wreck occur.

that's the sensible core to bob mcmania: the issues at stake in iraq and iran are very important. we must overcome our reluctance to make a fuss.

of course, bob thinks that if we make a small fuss it will accomplish nothing, and if we ramp up the fuss then the right will declare martial law or worse.

i think he's wrong; i think they'll back down if we fight. i also think that the real radicals--the cheneys and boltons--are far fewer than the civil war analogy suggests. it's not a country divided. it's a big country against a small band of wackos.

our situation now is roughly analogous to that of the passengers on flight 93. when the right hijacked the first airplane, in 2000, we were caught completely by surprise. we thought it was more important to keep calm and not panic. so they flew the country into a building. they did it again in 2003, and we were still placing too much value on staying calm.

but by now, we have learned that the value of staying calm is fairly small when right-wing terrorists have hijacked your country and are going to use it as a suicide bomb. we might as well fight back.

and there are lots of ways of doing that which don't require us to think about civil wars.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:24 PM
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230:Jeez, b, in a mood tonight? I do read your blog.

Six figures is an unimaginable income to me and my household, and a house near half a million is inconceivable. What is median American household income, and which quintile is 100+ again?

What I had in mind when connecting academics to the upper middle class was a social & political insulation. Tim Burke, more than likely, meets and engages a different kind of Republican and a different kind of conservative than I do on a daily basis here in Dallas. In a different kind of environment.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:33 PM
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I mean, I know we're not perfect, but you really think the world would be better for a re-roll on Global Hegemon?

Hey, here's a radical idea: how about we don't have a global hegemon anymore? In the past we didn't have unipolar worlds dominated by a single hyperpower; we had multipolar worlds dominated by competing superpowers. Those individual superpowers were also pretty fucking shitty, but at least there existed other superpowers to keep them marginally in check. Today's presidential candidates can blithely discuss the prospect of dropping tac nukes on Iran because there's no one to stop America from doing so. America's unchecked power is a very, very bad thing - if for no other reason than it has made the number one priority in American foreign policy the need to maintain America's status as an unchecked power. In fact, that's the very reason Cheney wants us to bomb Iran in the first place - because they can't be allowed to threaten the "balance of power" in the region, and the balance of power is supposed to be tipped towards America.

This is less about McManus's civil war and more about the fact that the American Empire really is an actively destructive force in the world, and the only thing that will put an end to that destructive streak is that empire's decline. I'd like that decline to come smoothly and peacefully, but I'd also like it to come as quickly as fucking possible, because there's only so much more damage the world can absorb.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:34 PM
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"the only thing that will put an end to that destructive streak is that empire's decline"

i think that is ambiguous between one thing i support and one thing i don't.

i want there to be a decline in the imperialistic behavior of this nation. it was never meant to be an empire, and it is a betrayal of our founders' vision for it to have evolved into one.

but i do not want this nation, which is currently misbehaving as an empire, to suffer a decline. i do not want it to fall on economic hard times or have civil wars. i do not want its major cities to lie unreconstructed after natural disasters, or its infrastructure to crumble through norquistian starve-the-beast insanity.

i want this nation to flourish. and i think it will be even healthier once it kicks this empire habit.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:40 PM
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237: But the reason we have that money is because I'm *not* an academic any more.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:41 PM
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236:The "Civil War" language is mostly about seriousness of intent.

For some confrontations losing is unacceptable. It is not about how you play the game.

Of course I assume a gradual escalation for the opposing forces. I don't presume to know how it would turn out.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:41 PM
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small step towards restoring the founders' vision:
explode this bullshit war-powers habit.
if presidents want wars , congress has to declare them.
it's not just a good idea, it's the constitution.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:42 PM
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241.1--
yup, that seems like the most charitable way to read that language.
i still think it's unnecessarily inflammatory.
there are other ways of signaling sincerity of intent beyond holding a knife to your child's throat.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:44 PM
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237: And there are academics in Dallas, too. And in much poorer and even more Republican places. You're right that education is a major class marker, of course, but I think you underestimate a bit how broad a class spectrum academics come from.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:46 PM
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but I think you underestimate a bit how broad a class spectrum academics come from.

But not so very broad, after all, and all things weighed and measured and considered, remarkably narrow, for all we'd like to believe things were different.

Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:55 PM
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but just consider, ia:
you and b differ on this very point!
there's breadth for you! there's diversity!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:56 PM
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238: Hey, here's a radical idea: how about we don't have a global hegemon anymore?

Stras can always be found talking sense.

In fact, multipolar balancing is in the offing whether the US likes it (or joins it) or not. And the era of the US-backed financial order is basically over. All that's waiting for the last nail to be driven loudly enough to be heard in say... Minnesota. Or some similarly geographical position.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:58 PM
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"similar geographical" position. Drunken Commenting can defeat any kung fu.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 11:59 PM
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Hey, here's a radical idea: how about we don't have a global hegemon anymore?

This is a good goal. Immolating ourselves in a civil war is a counterproductive way of achieving it. That's all I'm trying to say. But nobody really wants a civil war anyway - they just really don't want to bomb Iran. Which is cool. Neither do I.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:08 AM
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I don't consider you rich, b, and I understand very well the differences in costs-of-living based on geography. We own very near, if not better, the house you described on about half the income. Bought in a trough nearly thirty years ago. The neghbourhood? Well, we are about the last of our ethnicity round here, and I like it better that way.

I am too tired to continue the other thread. But I do see politics as brinksmanship, not accomodation.
And brinksmanship is weird. Would we have blown up the world in the 70s and 80s? Did we need to be willing to do so?

Got to sleep.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:15 AM
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In the past we didn't have unipolar worlds dominated by a single hyperpower; we had multipolar worlds dominated by competing superpowers. Those individual superpowers were also pretty fucking shitty, but at least there existed other superpowers to keep them marginally in check.

If you thought the wars America has started recently were bad, you should look at the ones that were regular features of the world when there wasn't one global hegemon, or possibly two. We invade one country, and all of a sudden people forget about oh, WWI, WWII, the Crimean War, the Napoleonic wars, the Russo-Japanese war, various Middle Eastern clusterfucks, etc etc ad nauseam.

Jesus.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:29 AM
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People may find it morally problematic for the US to be able to do whatever it wants, but even to the extent that that's true, claiming that it's in some pragmatic sense the subsequent wars are worse for the rest of the world is delusional.

Oh, let's not forget the Korean war, which fucked Korea worse than we've fucked Iraq. I'm sure I could come up with a few more if I thought about it.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:33 AM
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We invade one country, and all of a sudden people forget about oh, WWI, WWII

No, actually, they haven't forgotten. Try imagining WWII with nukes where the major miltary power is on the side of the Fascists, because that's the particular barrel the rest of the planet is staring down.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:34 AM
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We invade one country, and all of a sudden people forget about oh, WWI, WWII

As DS has already said, people haven't forgotten.

Furthermore, much of the world did learn the lessons of WWII. Perhaps not all at once, but over time. One of the reasons the US faces less rivalry for the position of 'teh hegemon' is that a lot of the world doesn't really want it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:38 AM
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251: Seriously. The injustice dealt out by one hegemon tends to pale in comparison to that dealt out by war among the powers.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:38 AM
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Also, aside from substantive merit, Trevor wins the thread through his use of the verb, "re-roll", as a rhetorical device.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:47 AM
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1,3,4,5 inspired me to check out all the hover text on the links. Doh! True, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 5:09 AM
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Bizarre, bizarre thread. Scattered thoughts: a) don't go to a philosophy professor if you prefer rhetoric to argument, as it's a practically a reflex; b) why on earth anyone would think the target audience of ObWi was the 27% crazification group is not clear to me; c) actually, you don't need to win over the 27% crazification group, you need to win over the 2-3% that hears them and says, 'well, they're extreme, but they have a point....'; d) not everyone is amenable to being persuaded by rational argument, but the money says they're not reading blogs anyway, and it's not as though hilzoy & co's experiment stops anyone from getting off the couch to make their own civil-war-now blog or political movement and finally, e) any distinction about professors being the elite that includes Burke but excludes anyone else who posts here is pretty much wonko.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 7:38 AM
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Conversation with people who see the world in a different way *does* have a value in itself. The problem with the site was a fairly narrow idea about what sort of differences had to exist to have that kind of conversation. "Active supporters of President Bush" aren't the only people who bring a different perspective; as time went on it gets harder and harder to find supporters you have anything in common with. And the idea that one must balance evenly between members of one party and another is silly--I've always thought that the ideological balance of the press is separate from, and matters less than, whether it's good.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 8:22 AM
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251: are France, Germany and England not going to war with each other anymore because of fears of US hegemony? Or is it something else?

Historically, the Western European alliance may have developed because of greater powers: the loss off their colonial empires, alliance with the US, fear of the USSR. But once you get to that point--well, it's pretty good; they have an incentive to keep it. if the US enters a decline, are they going back to invading each other? I don't see it. I don't think most people in those countries especially want their empires back.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 8:34 AM
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In short: those bloody wars aren't caused by the absence of a hegemon. They are caused by a *competition* to be the new hegemon.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 8:35 AM
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The wife is railing about this subject at this very moment. There's a feature story in the local glossy magazine about two of my son's teachers getting married. It's a cute story, and they're a cute couple.

What's got her heated up, though, is that the article refers to their upbringing as "modest" -- the bride's father was an electrical engineer, and mother a school counselor, the groom's father was a dentist, and mother a nurse. That's "modest"? Not solidly middle class?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 8:43 AM
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Hmmph. 'This very subject' isn't that good a description.

I shouldn't say that the ObWi experiment is a failure. It works for me so long as I ignore everyone more than 2 clicks to the right of myself, and more than 2 clicks to the left of Katherine. I don't need delusional semi-autistic right wing nuts to tell me I'm full of crap: Katherine does so with enthusiasm and, pretty often, the better of the argument.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 8:49 AM
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I don't think most people in those countries especially want their empires back.

I think that's right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 8:58 AM
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doom!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 9:01 AM
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(265 was a response to 263)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 9:02 AM
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Katherine is, I'm sure, broadly right at 260, 261, but it's also worth remembering that Europe was also largely war-free from 1815 to 1869 (the Crimea was really an external intervention).

What blew the concert of Europe out of the water was the emergence of Prussia/Germany as an economic great power, and the assumption that they should acquire concommitent imperial status. Arguably likewise with Japan in the 1930s.

But it's wildly unlikely that China or India are going to embark on colonial adventures at this stage, so I don't lose sleep about a multi-hegemonic world from that point of view. Certainly not enough to reconcile me to the American political class' incessant military willy waving.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 9:09 AM
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It looks a pretty bet that France, Germany, and Britain won't be in a war directly against another in the lifetime of anyone now alive. All have now joined Sweden, I think, which was cured of hegemonic desires long ago. I don't think the future of Russia is as easily predicted: in the wake of the McManusian collapse, it's imaginable the Russia might take a shot at the hegemon role.

And when you think about a young country like Nigeria, and where it might be 100 years hence, predictive power fails completely.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 9:30 AM
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RE: the ObWi experiment, at least Katherine and Hilzoy managed to turn me into a frothing lefty, though I haven't quite gone over into McManusitude, which CharleyC manages to prevent on a regular basis.

The U.S. has managed to convince the UK, Germany and Japan that aggressive capitalism is a good thing, which will likely prevent any future wars between/among them. India hopefully will make the transition, and China is finding out now how the lack of a regulatory state isn't exactly and advantage.

Ooops, the Mrs.....


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 9:48 AM
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The U.S. has managed to convince the UK, Germany and Japan that aggressive capitalism is a good thing

But aggressive capitalism isn't a good thing. A world in which India and China have as many cars per person as America has isn't going to last very long.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 10:00 AM
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I think it's also easy to overstate the extent to which 'aggressive' capitalism manifests in the same way in each of these countries.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 10:02 AM
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271: True. It's also easy to overstate the degree to which capitalism and globalization prevent various countries from warring with each other (see half of Thomas Friedman's career).


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 10:06 AM
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re: 272

Yeah.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 10:19 AM
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But aggressive capitalism isn't a good thing.

better than agressive fascism


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:48 PM
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re: 274

Which implies that capitalism and fascism are alternatives. When they aren't. They are quite happy bedfellows.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 12:52 PM
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What does "aggressive capitalism" even mean?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 1:00 PM
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It makes me feel old to know that for the newest blogging generation there has never been a time when Instapundit has never been a right wing hack.


Posted by: bryan | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 1:54 PM
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I think fascism (and neoconservativism, for that matter) involves the marriage of pre-capitalist or un-capitalist values with a war machine paid for out of the proceeds of capitalism. Weimar Germany was capitalism not directed to any higher purpose, and many people found it repugnant. I was reading something recently about Heidegger's cooperation with the Nazis, and it sounded to me that part of the attraction of Nazism was that it promised that higher purpose.

Neoconservatives seem bored with ordinary American life under capitalism. They need war and torture to get their blood racing.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 1:58 PM
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245: I think that depends on how you define "academic." Most of the folks I know with PhDs come from either middle-class or working-class backgrounds (for real); yes, once you have the degree you've got the cultural capital that puts you higher, but there's a lot of weird class dissociation that still haunts most of the people I know.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 2:40 PM
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279--

yup, that's right. most academics are arrivistes, not aristos. you get a phd to do something better than your parents did, less outdoor work, less backstrain. sure, there are also second-generation academics, or academics that grew up in wealth, but i don't know that the socioeconomic profile of families of origin of phds would be hugely different from that of other post-bac holders.

the funny thing is hanging out with old-school brits for whom academics really *was* an aristo game. i know quite a number of oxbridge types who are very proud of the fact that they taught a long and distinguished career *w/out* ever getting a phd.
you see, a phd is the mark of a distasteful, striving, tradesman, the sort of person who needs external validation of their merit.
the true gentleman simply has a b.a. (which in oxbridge used to convert to an m.a. automatically after a few years). you take your first, become a fellow somewhere, and teach in college for life. phds--a vile german innovation.

as with most matters of class, there's always some inner, inner circle, figuring out ways to diss the next circle out.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 3:22 PM
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you see, a phd is the mark of a distasteful, striving, tradesman, the sort of person who needs external validation of their merit.

That's true for some subjects. Philosophy, at least at Oxford, was always structured slightly differently and the standard route into academia was via a two year masters [the B.Phil] was specifically designed for the purpose. It's only been quite recently that it became common to do a D.Phil after the B.Phil, generally in the past the B.Phil itself was sufficient.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 5:33 PM
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re 279: My parents both came from not-always-getting-enough-to-eat level poverty, one each of the urban and rural variety, and for both, transcending their class is the lifelong project, consciously or not. Now that I'm an academic, I mostly hear bitching about how much money I make.

One of the (increasingly few) things I like about biological sciences is the class heterogeneity you find. There are the kids of academics, the smart-but-not-money-motivated kids of rich parents, and the kids of 1st gen immigrants. Being overly concerned about class at those parties is a losing game, which is rare and nice.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 10:17 PM
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I continue to think that the conservation-across-the-divide idea is a good one. It founders in my experience on the simple problem of there not being all that many people on the right side willing to honestly discuss anything, ever, if at some point they perceive one of their vital interests involved. There are are, of course, purely demogogic ranters willing to say anything at all in the pursuit of argumentative advantage in the middle and left, but they're not the norm, not the standard expectation, I don't think.

But take Obsidian Wings. OCSteve will read, think, and ask questions. Bob McManus may well be right about how it turns out, but at least he is making an effort. Sebastian, on the other hand, willfully denies every inconvenient fact and declines every chance to learn something that might require a shift of view. DaveC is just a waste of space on the page, guaranteed to have a stale mixture of vile implication, simple misrepresentation, and dumb gotcha questions. Slartibartifast is either far too naive to really be prepared to discuss politics or affecting the naive as a way to avoid ever having to acknowledge what the Republican Party has actually been like for the last decade. And so forth and so on. At that, ObWi is lucky to have someone like OCSteve, rather than another mouthpiece for Seriousness like poor Ezra Klein's Sanpete.

A willingness to talk does not produce anyone worth talking to, necessarily.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 3:39 AM
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This is mildly weird to me. Did nobody else who comments here start out reading Kottke, Rebecca's Pocket, /usr/bin/girl, etc. in the golden days of pre-warblogger blogging? (I'll assume nobody actually started out reading Jorn Barger.)

Yes.

Actually I think I did start out reading Jorn Barger, having previously spent lots of time arguing with him on alt.religion.kibology (and he used to link to my a.r.k posts all the time).

I still got bamboozled to some degree by post-9/11 warblogger craziness. Googling myself and reading comments I posted in 2002 still gives me unwanted suicidal ideation. The thing that really boggles the mind, and says something about the zeitgeist, is that I think I was actually nominated for the first Koufax Award for Best Commenter on the strength of that lobotomized Broderian milquetoast crap. Fortunately I could never have won because I was competing against Digby.

Fortunately I didn't actually start blogging on my own until the summer of 2003, which limits the embarrassment.


Posted by: Matt McIrvin | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 5:04 PM
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Two more from-the-past blogs that I personally miss:
Respectful of Otters
Body and Soul


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 7:05 PM
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Two more from-the-past blogs that I personally miss:
Respectful of Otters
Body and Soul

Amen.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 8:54 PM
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Respectful of Otters

Thank you for reminding me of Rivka. For a while Respectful of Otters was the first blog I would recommend to non blog reading friends. It was always well written, interesting, personal, and it was updated at a reasonable rate that wouldn't be too much for someone who wasn't used to reading blogs.

When I think back on it I am in awe of the level of quality of Respectful of Otters. I don't remember a single uniteresting post there.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 8:56 PM
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I miss Sue and Not U.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 8:58 PM
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