Richard Fernandez (who went to Harvard and is consequently shaky on his Greek Mythology.*) thinks that Information Technology, the Internet, and the Blogosphere have revived the Muses.
Today most people don’t believe in the Muses any more. Not in the sense that the ancients did. The three — the goddesses of literarture, science and the arts — were at one time supposed to command men to speak. They have largely been replaced by the single all purpose modern deity: the Job. In modern political orthodoxy we do things for one rational reason only, which is to get paid.
We write when the Boss tells us to. We craft a speech of talking points that the committee has approved. But of the muses we heard no more. Until recently.
If any spiritual debt is owed to the informational technology revolution it has been in the resurrection of the Muses. For no one familiar with the programming world will believe for a minute that its best developers write code to be paid. They code because it is cool. They code and you would have to pay them not to code.
They are laboring, not for the chump change offered on Rent-A-Coder, but under the lash of the muse. And because they have been so successful at remolding our world modern, cynical, materialistic culture has once again been forced, at iPod-point to re-acknowledge the impulse of creativity.
We are no more surprised to read of some eminent programmer found dead in a motel room, surrounded by empty boxes of pizza and hundreds of cans of Jolt Cola, expired of heart attack, one bony finger poised to type the final curly bracket of his life than the ancients would have been to find some pilgrim deceased on the path to a seer’s cave, or overcome by the smoke of the Oracle. A victim to the muse and wanderer along the way.
David Petraeus wore regularly a lot more awards than Dwight Eisenhower did many years ago.
Marines have long remarked humorously on the proliferation of awards, badges, and decorations worn by members of the US Army. General Petraeus’s resignation as CIA Director recently even provoked comment from left-wing commentators, like Andrew Sullivan, on the questionable taste of contemporary doggie custom.
The Marines, of course, are a lot better qualified to criticize in areas of this kind than are foreign poofter journalists who make professional careers of Dolchstoß-ing those who protect them from big bad sand monkeys who would do them harm.
I was reminded of the criticism of General Petraeus’s uniform’s collection of shiny hardware by a photo of even more heavily be-medalled Chinese officers that has been floating around on Facebook. The original was sufficiently profuse with badges that it provoked some wag to use Photoshop to multiply them, and even to extend the medals to some Chinamen’s trousers. (see below)
The legitimate, original photo of Chinese officers.
Photoshopped parody. There are medals even on the sleeves and trousers.
The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 – 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 – 45 lead. That’s a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.
Romney’s favorables are above Obama’s now. Yes, you read that right. Romney’s favorables are higher than Obama’s right now. That gender gap that was Obama’s firewall? Over in one night:
Currently, women are evenly divided (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Last month, Obama led Romney by 18 points (56% to 38%) among women likely voters.
Seriously: has that kind of swing ever happened this late in a campaign? Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever? And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying. On every single issue, Obama has instantly plummeted into near-oblivion. He still has some personal advantages over Romney – even though they are all much diminished. Obama still has an edge on Medicare, scores much higher on relating to ordinary people, is ahead on foreign policy, and on being moderate, consistent and honest (only 14 percent of swing voters believe Romney is honest). But on the core issues of the economy and the deficit, Romney is now kicking the president’s ass.
Winner of most un-PC product for the first half of 2012 has to be the sly marketer behind the now-vanished “Hiller Armament Company,” which ran off a batch of silhouette targets referencing the Trayvon Martin shooting controversy featuring a faceless figure wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles and a can of ice tea.
Shooters like novelty targets featuring amusing contemporary news references, and they love black humor items like this one specifically calculated to offend the left. The targets sold out in two days, Hiller Armaments pocketed its money and went away laughing, and lefties generally had a cow.
The silhouette on the paper target is faceless. But the hoodie, the Skittles and the iced tea leave nothing to the imagination. This is meant to be Travyon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old shot to death in February in Sanford, Florida. The unidentified internet merchant told Mike DeForest, a reporter for Orlando television station WKMG, that he sold out the silhouettes in two days. The targets come in packages of 10.
The twisted cretin who had these printed said: “My main motivation was to make money off the controversy.” Just business, man. Nothing personal.
Even Mark O’Mara, the attorney for George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer who has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting, found it disgusting:
“It’s this type of hatred—that’s what this is, it’s hate-mongering—that’s going to make it more difficult to try this case,” said O’Mara.
“I hope there is a crime that we can charge that person who made that with. I’m not sure what it is, but we need to come up with one.”
DeForest conducted an email exchange with the merchant who would not say how many of the targets he had sold, only that the response had been “overwhelming.” ...
It’s not hard to imagine what buyers of the Trayvon targets say to each other when they’re on the firing line. And when they say “fucking coons,” they don’t mumble.
Change.org is running a petition demanding that Hiller Armanents be prosecuted.
The stupid, backward, and sexually inadequate residents of China and Vietnam suffer from a delusion that consuming the horn of the rhinoceros (black or white) will increase, or restore, their potency. The usual associative sympathetic magical thinking is behind all this. Rhino horns are long, impressively stout protuberances, so their consumption is supposed to result in long, impressively stout et ceteras for Chinamen.
Stupid, backward, and ethically-challenged black African poachers kill rhinoceros for their horns which get to East Asia via totally illegal black market smuggling operations.
This is all very regrettable, of course.
So what do noble and idealistic left-wingers do about THE PROBLEM?
They modify popular videos that bourgeois residents of Western democracies watch, deceptively labeling new versions remixed with heart-wrenching images of dying and mutilated rhinos. Pirating somebody else’s content in order to mislead people into watching their own advertisements (they made 60 of these) is left-wingers’ idea of a clever intervention.
Watching their disgusting advertisements is intended to get you to start weeping big salty tears over all those poor dead rhinos and make you sign this petition.
This petition, as far as I can see, includes no specific proposals of any kind. So you would really be signing the equivalent of a kind of political blank check, indicating that you are oh-so-very concerned about poor rhinos and believe that Something Must Be Done.
What that Something might consist of is unknown. But if you are stupid enough to sign, you are indicating agreement with the theory that you (residing almost certainly in a location with no rhinos and being yourself a non-consumer of medications made from rhino-horn) nonetheless subscribe to the theory that you are personally responsible for the foolish and unethical actions of various Africans and Asians totally unknown to you, and believe that the Congress of the United States (despite its complete lack of authority over Africa & Asia) is also obliged to do something about all of this, beyond agreeing to the CITES treaty and all the other things Congress has already done.
That moron Andrew Sullivan and an advertising blogging asshole who calls himself copyranter both thought deceiving Internet video watchers into accessing agitprop crap was clever and worthy of commendation. Personally, I wish Vlad the Impaler were around today to punish Internet fraud, along with its encouragement and support, in his traditional old-fashioned way using some very long rhino horns.
Andrew Sullivan prefaces his recent Newsweek article offering an unusually optimistic assessment of the current president’s prospects and achievements by confessing:
I write this as an unabashed supporter of Obama from early 2007 on. I did so not as a liberal, but as a conservative-minded independent appalled by the Bush administration’s record of war, debt, spending, and torture. I did not expect, or want, a messiah. I have one already, thank you very much.
Barack Obama is, only too obviously, a political figure originating from the most extreme fringe of the radical left remodeled into a merely aggressively Progressive democrat. Barack Obama deliberately chose to break with the New Democrat/New Labour 1990s center leftism model successfully adopted by William Clinton and Tony Blair, in which politicians of the left offered an implicit understanding that their efforts to deliver more benefits to labor and the less well off would be pursued with restraint and never in such a way as to jeopardize economic growth and the general welfare of the country.
How it is, in any way, shape, or form, legitimately possible for a “conservative minded” person to be a supporter of Barack Obama is a mystery to me.
If one were so pacifistically-inclined that George Bush’s wars made one into a democrat, well, it is difficult to fail to notice that Barack Obama has continued the same military efforts.
Pointing to Bush’s war-time debt increases as justification for supporting Obama goes beyond obliviousness, on the other hand, far, far into hypocrisy. Barack Obama presided over a domestic spending spree utterly unprecedented in history in straightened economic times, multiplying dramatically all previous debt and, finding himself faced with a imminent crisis in funding existing entitlement obligations, proceeded, in defiance of an enormous public outcry of protest, to add a new massive entitlement.
Referring to mildly coercive interrogation techniques, carefully limited so as to inflict no real injury or permanent effects, as torture, while indulging in wildly exaggerated rhetoric and striking sanctimonious poses has become one of the principal exercises of Andrew Sullivan’s journalism. Sullivan has thereby become one of the foremost practitioners of the school of moral instruction combining flamboyant and in-your-face sexual latitudinarianism with Pecksniffian priggery applied to defense activities.
So, I start out, even before evaluating Sullivan’s analysis, arguments, and appraisals, confronted with a set of obviously fraudulent credentials. Andrew Sullivan is not “conservative minded.” He is a notoriously unstable and emotionally volatile partisan of the Homintern, who used to be on the right, but who has transferred his political loyalties to the left, partly in order to further the political agenda of his sexual subculture, and partly simply because the opportunities and accommodations are so much better over there.
No wonder that Ann Althouse didn’t even bother reading through the article. She knew perfectly well what she was going to find.
There was a time when Little Green Footballs was probably the most respected blog commenting from the right. Its author, Charles Johnson, essentially cost Dan Rather his job by demonstrating via a simple gif that the National Guard letter CBS was reporting as written in 1973 had been created in Microsoft Word, using the MS Times Roman font.
In 2009, Mr. Johnson broke ranks with the conservative side of the blogosphere, publicly switching sides. He was infuriated, he announced in his “Drop dead, Conservatives” kiss off posting, by a number of prominent conservative blogs having some sort of sinister associations with European nationalist parties; by conservatives being hostile toward statism, being politically incorrect, and skeptical of catastrophist theories of Anthropogenic Global Warming; because conservatives typically oppose the creation of Same-Sex Marriage as a public institution; and because conservative bloggers are too mean to Muslims and Barack Obama.
It was hard to understand reading all that how Mr. Johnson had previously done such an excellent job of opposing statism, exposing Islamic pathologies, and debunking liberal stupidity and mendacity himself.
Now, we can see the transformation has become complete. The formerly brilliant and admirable Charles Johnson has successfully turned himself into another obnoxious, prevaricating and sophicizing leftist idiot.
Johnson clocked in yesterday on the recent alleged Obama Lincoln gaffe:
Here we go again. Don’t these people ever get tired of humiliating themselves?
Practically the entire right wing blogosphere went into vapor-lock this morning, shrieking in unison at the evil librul PBS for “editing” the transcript of the President’s joint session speech on jobs, to cover up his “gaffe” that Abraham Lincoln was a founder of the Republican Party.
At one point Mr. Obama made a major gaffe; he identified Abraham Lincoln as the founder of the Republican Party.
Lincoln did not join the Republicans until 1856, over two years after the party was founded. The first Republican convention was held in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.
Such a gaffe would have brought huge amounts of ridicule and derision on George W. Bush, but in the case of Obama the media yawned.
Actually, they did more than yawn; government-funded PBS has altered the transcript of the President’s speech, removing the offending comment.
So are they right? Did PBS edit the transcript?
Gasp! Yes, they did!
Johnson goes on to justify the PBS emendation on the basis that it was really a White House emendation.
Then, he proceeds to grab, out of the mouth of the opposition itself, a close-enough-for-government-work citation to “prove” that those identifying “Lincoln founded the Republican Party” as a gaffe were wrong.
[L]et’s see what the Republican National Committee website has to say about Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln | RNC: Republican National Committee | GOP
Abraham Lincoln helped establish the Republican Party with a speech denouncing an 1854 law, written by a Democrat Senator, that allowed slavery to expand into the western territories. Two years later, he co-founded the Illinois GOP. Lincoln was runner-up for the 1856 Republican vice presidential nomination and then became a Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.
Charles Johnson then performs the classic happy dance of the demented left-wing troll happily preaching to his own one-sided choir.
Oops! Wingnuts with egg on their faces … again. I guess they must enjoy the embarrassment, because they just keep falling for this crap, over and over and over.
It is simply amazing how blogging for the left can so thoroughly and absolutely transform a one-time astute and dignified voice of reason into a shrill, slangy, repetitiously name-calling partisan hysteric.
I’m a fair-minded guy. I think you could vaguely and imprecisely refer to Lincoln that way. But it is vitally important to bear in mind that the overwhelmingly liberally-biased mainstream media does not grant the same “vaguely and imprecisely is ok” benefit of the doubt to Republicans. If Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, or Rick Perry make any kind of historical statement, each of them had better be dead right, or else.
Proving my point, and demolishing Mr. Johnson’s, Ace quotes Tom Maguire pointing out that “Lincoln founded the Republican Party” has already been established as a gaffe, at least when a Republican says it.
Surprise: Time Magazine Noted Non-Candidate Huckabee’s “Lincoln Founded The Republican Party” Gaffe In 2008; Refuses To Note Obama’s Exact-Same Gaffe In Joint Session
Actually, Huckabee’s error was noted by one Jay Carney. That must explain it, then: The only guy in the media capable of doing a quick Wikipedia search is now in the Obama Administration, so lucky him. ...
It’s pretty easy to appear to be a good student when a doting teacher corrects your errors for you, and gives you nothing but gold stars.
Exactly how incorrect it is to say “Lincoln founded the Republican Party” is a trivial point. But clearly the impact of conversion to the left on someone’s dignity, style, integrity, and stature can be really devastating. Reading LGF these days is like encountering unhappily today someone you knew and admired at college, coming upon them lying in the gutter drunk and homeless. The experience is shocking and painful. “If only there were anything one could do,” one thinks as one shudders and passes on.
I don’t agree much with Andrew Sullivan on politics these days (but, with Andrew’s record of instability, that may simply mean I only need to wait awhile until he becomes conservative again), yet I largely agree with him on blogging.
Of course, Andrew Sullivan blogs on a considerably more prolific and professional scale than I do. He is infuriatingly intellectually dishonest, shamelessly manipulative and propagandistic in his arguments, but he otherwise does a pretty commendable job. (The backing of a major magazine and a budget providing funding for a staff undoubtedly helps.)
If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.
What do you do when you’re supporting a duck as lame as Barack Obama, a failed president with the ugliest record of economic failure and executive maladministration since American voters gave Jimmy Carter the heave-ho back in 1980, and along comes a truly frightening challenger, a good-looking, outspoken Republican governor with a record of creating roughly 40% of all jobs created in the country recently in his one state?
If you are a sanctimonious and mendacious leftist like Andrew Sullivan, you squeal in outrage, lift your skirts in the manner of a 1950s housewife frightened by a mouse, jump to the top of your highest portable moral pedestal, and make a Hail Mary! try at persuading readers that flavorful regional rhetoric is really the same thing as a promise of actual violence, and a metaphorical reference to “ugly treatment” really means lynching.
No one can be altogether surprised when the school of political commentary that proceeds toward the keyboard after rising from its knees on the mens’ room floor stoops to combining grand moral dudgeon with opportunistic melodrama, but when Republicans like Karl Rove and Tony Fratto, motivated by spite stemming from past feuds in Texas politics, are willing to join the left’s attack Chihuahuas in biting at the ankles of the probable next Republican nominee, that is surprising and causes some of us to begin reevaluating our positive opinion of Mr. Rove in particular.
Joining the phony baloney left-wing chorus of “Oh, my gracious! What he said.” is just plain despicable, and it is a grave and serious disservice to the country and to the political process to assist in the emasculation of political speech demanded by the left’s PC inquisitors.
Anders Behring Breivik in the uniform, and wearing the medals and insignia, of a Knight Justiciar of the “Knights Templar Europe.”
The left is, not surprisingly, having a field day recriminating with conservatives for our new association with terrorism.
A number of left-wing sources are pointing out with great pleasure that Anders Behring Breivik in his Manifesto quoted several prominent conservative blogs associated with criticism of Islam and of Islamic immigration to Europe, including Gates of Vienna, Atlas Shrugs (Pam Geller), and most particularly the Fjordman blog (which closed down operations in 2005).
Leftwing JoeBlow delivered a bombshell, quoting sources reporting that Breivik actually is the much-admired Fjordman.
Norwegian bloggers are reporting that Breivik is the author of a blog called Fjordman and that he’s guest blogged for Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch and Gates of Vienna “for years.” As Breivik, he publicly praised one of her posts. Elise Hendrick has translated a passage from Realisten which confirms that Fjordman and Breivik are one and the same:
According to his own statements, Anders Behring Breivik previously operated the blog ‘Fjordman’, and later wrote for many years under the pseudonym Fjordman for the anti-Muslim and Zionist blogs Gates of Vienna and Jihad Watch
Fjordman a terrorist bomber and child-killer? That would be pretty embarrassing to conservatives, especially to the owners of blogs who linked (like me), or who even hosted, his postings!
Pretty to think so, if you are a leftist, but happily for us, not so.
Fjordman answered attacks, on Gates of Vienna, today, assuring readers that he is not Anders Behring Breivik. He never met Anders Behring Breivik. And he does not support terrorism.
Pity the fate of the less-than-top-rank right-wing blogger. Not only did the Age of Obama not create booming traffic for us, we’re actually an endangered species, argues John Hawkins.
[W]hen Barack Obama got into power, you’d have expected that traffic on the Right side of the blogosphere would have surged just as it did on the Left side of the blogosphere in the early Bush years.
That didn’t happen.
Sure, there were a few outliers that took off: Hot Air, Redstate, and the Breitbart empire for example, but most conservative blogs have either grown insignificantly, stayed the same size, or even shrank. Most bloggers on the right side of the blogosphere haven’t increased their traffic significantly in years. Moreover, the right side of the blogosphere as a whole is definitely shrinking in numbers as bloggers that have had trouble getting traction are quitting and fewer and fewer bloggers are starting up new blogs.
The problem is that there are no ecological niches vacant anymore, he contends. Insignificant microbes, to employ NZ Bear’s metaphors, find it harder to evolve. You become a Crunchy Crustacean or even a Flappy Bird, and that’s it. The days of evolving into Higher Beings are over. There is simply too much higher quality competition for almost any blogger to overcome.
The market has also become much more professionalized. When I got started, back in 2001, a lone blogger who did 3-4 posts a day could build an audience. Unless your name is Ann Coulter, you probably couldn’t make that strategy work today.
Instead, most successful blogs today have large staffs, budgets, and usually, the capacity to shoot traffic back and forth with other gigantic websites. Look at Redstate, which is tied into Human Events, Hot Air which connected with Townhall, Instapundit, which is a part of Pajamas Media, Newsbusters which is a subsidiary of the Media Research Center and other monster entities like National Review and all of its blogs, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, and the Breitbart media empire. An independent blogger competing with them is like a mom & pop store going toe-to-toe with Wal-Mart. Some do better than others, but over the long haul, the only question is whether you can survive on the slivers of audience they leave behind. ...
Most bloggers are not very good at marketing, not very good at monetizing, there are no sugar daddies giving us cash, and this isn’t the biggest market in the world to begin with. In other words, this is a time-consuming enterprise, but few people are going to make enough money to go full time. How many people can put in 20-30-40-50 hours a week on something that’s not going to ever be their full time job? Can they do it for 5 years? 10 years? 15? 20? This is the plight that 99.9% of serious, independent conservative bloggers face. This has already created a lot of attrition and over the next few years, as people realize that their traffic is more likely to slowly, but surely significantly deteriorate rather than explode, you’re going to see a lot more people give up.
I think there is more than a small amount of truth in what he says. The top ranking bloggers are very, very talented people who are incredibly hard working, and the successful ones now have staffs. Few people and only the most professional are going to make it to the top.
But Ann Althouse is right in offering the response that not every conservative blogger is really trying to play the game professionally. A number of bloggers, like myself and the talented crew who publish at Maggie’s Farm, think of ourselves as “boutique bloggers,” catering to a smaller, but more sophisticated and discriminating, audience. Our blogging activities reflect our own eccentric and individualistic personalities.
I often think of my own blogging as just an alternative high tech way of forwarding links to my friends.
As to future readership growth, who knows? I do find it is much more difficult to get links from the top blogs anymore, but I also long ago quit emailing links to them seeking their attention. I’m looking forward to seeing what the 2012 election is going to do for blog readership myself.
Yesterday’s later-found-to-be-erroneous reports of JoAnne Kloppenburg’s narrow victory in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race were hailed by HuffPo’s Amanda Terkel as making that election a “nationally watched bellwether on the electorate’s mood” and a “watershed moment for Wisconsin and a Waterloo for Scott Walker” that “should give Republicans… pause.”
But, whoops! it turned out that a computer error by a red-faced County Clerk had misplaced more than 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield. Once the missing votes were added to the tally, Justice David Prosser zoomed into a lead of 7,582 votes over his challenger.
Mary Katherine Hamm observed via Twitter: Small, state-wide election with vital national implications soon to have no national implications whatsoever.
When the American left needs to vent its rage at its reactionary opposition at the loudest volume and in the shrillest tones, when anything resembling rational debate simply will not do, when it’s time for a real old-fashioned over-the-top hair-pulling, fingernail scratching attack, the progressive camp turns to its fattest and flittiest combatants: Frank Rich and Andrew Sullivan.
Alas! America must really be turning to the right. Despite both men’s admirable records at releasing passion and their unequaled capacity for burying their adversaries in billingsgate, we learned yesterday that both would be moving on from their current well-paying and prestigious positions.
Jack Schafer notes that going from the New York Times to New York Magazine is not a step up the ladder of success.
Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Frank Rich is leaving a weekly column at the nation’s most important daily newspaper for a monthly column at the second best weekly in the country.
If Rich’s move is about wanting to spend more time with his family, gain greater distance from Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal, free himself to pursue his HBO projects more aggressively, or to work once again with New York Editor Adam Moss, with whom he has a mind-meld, I understand. But unless the deal came with Bloombergian bags of cash, it makes no sense.
I’m not suggesting that Frank Rich will disappear when he departs the Times for New York magazine, but the switch will transform him from the fat man in the biggest room in the oversized mansion of newspaper journalism to just another high-profile scribbler at a magazine. Oh, the New York press release says Rich will be editing a special “section anchored by his essay,” and be commenting on the magazine’s Web site, but it’s a step down. Today, Rich’s column appears in supersized format in the Sunday edition of the New York Times, which has a print circulation of 1.35 million, and more than 34.5 million unique monthly visitors to its Web site, compared to New York magazine’s 405,000 circulation and 8.5 million uniques.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin-hater-extraordinaire Andrew Sullivan is also moving. His Daily Dish is departing from from the prestigious Atlantic blog-site to become part of a shaky start-up web-site operation involving Tina Brown’s Daily Beast joining up with Newsweek. Newsweek recently was sold reputedly for $1 (and the assumption of a ton of debt) by 92-year-old Sidney Harman.