Wednesday, November 12, 2008












"Frustrated Idealists?": 2 New Political Blog Links.

"Coyote" at Coyote Blue-Jay weighs in on what that blogger cites early on from the late George Carlin: dissenters as "frustrated idealists." These reasonable musings-- on culture, politics, and how the candidates have been portrayed by and manipulated within the press-- I have only been alerted to recently, as they began at CBJ only a couple of months ago. In my own efforts to articulate my own positions, varied and unpredictable and contradictory though they may be, that blog's stubbornly independent direction has intersected and guided my own bull-headed thinking.

Not that I agree with every transmission there or at the neighboring frequencies over at Liberal Rapture, but both plug me in to a charged galaxy of the blogosphere that appears to be signalling (mostly) reasonable alerts from those stranded amidst red-blue segregation. This moderation proves essential, now that the Democrats consolidate executive, legislative, and judicial control. I sense a tightening of the media's own grip on groupthink. Who will Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert satirize now? Can Pelosi, Biden, and Obama grant us the groans that Rove, Cheney, and Bush elicited? Perhaps it may be better not to have an triumvirate so transparent (or opaque) to ridicule.

Still, the fawning postures assumed by the Fourth Estate do make me cringe. My wife even recoiled a bit at the New Yorker's "Reflection" cover in tonight's mail. Above the Lincoln Memorial, a "O" in the logo shines like the moon above a dark pool, lit only by those handsome pillars. Does O eclipse now the lunar orb? (It was a full moon that night the magazine arrived-- the dogs were frenzied.) An evocative image, but too hagiographical for me. I wondered if the 44th had replaced the 16th president as a statue framed by the elegant columns. Even if I mumble along with some of the resurgent hosannas, it's still dangerous to proclaim with such slavish devotion, I yammer.

I've added these two links as the best of a small group of similar blogs that I highlighted earlier in my "Intellectuals" post this month. Since my family's weary of my rants, and my few friends remain mystified by my crankiness, I suppose this blog's a safer medium for the message within my madness. The Second Coming dawns January 20, 2009, so we're promised, but I predict a chance of showers on any parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. I do enjoy challenging my students, as under previous administrations, with getting them to think against whatever's the received wisdom. My own contrariness may be one reason I like to teach, and why I've stuck with it for, indeed, twenty-four years this fall.

Although much of what I wished for in 2000 has been delayed-- such as ecological solutions or the family planning programs we need, worsened by the continued aggression overseas and the capitulation to a security state at home-- am I happy with the Democratic hegemony? Yes, if it ends the War on Terror, develops clean energy, and hushes bible thumpers. Now, I agree with many of the Democratic majority's plans for decriminalizing drugs, legalizing gay marriage, assisting college students with financial aid, or cleaning up the environment.

So, why am I not a fervent Obamabot? Well, I disagree with his party over its refusal to enforce serious limits on legal or illegal immigration, their generosity towards spendthrift and duplicitous debtors, their bailouts of GMC and AIG, and their corporate ties to the oligarchy (or the market-funded economy run by the military-industrial-media-financial complex, to update and extend Ike's phrase). I don't fit in with lock-step blue-staters.

Neither does my tolerance of reproductive rights, my distrust of the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment, nor my dislike for intervention abroad shorten my inbred distance from the GOP. My weariness with the coddling of able-bodied or dubiously "disabled" recipients by the bureaucrats, my refusal to ennoble people of color or class over any other moral, melanin-challenged individual, and my disdain for the PC-riddled teach-to-the-test school system repel me from the unctuous big hug of third-party trustafarians. My leaving the Greens to register as "Decline to State" after their futile nomination of anti-Semite Cynthia McKinney demonstrated my disgust last summer.

I will end with appropriate links. Camille Paglia opines in typically splendid fashion in "Obama Surfs Through" about abuse heaped on Sarah Palin, the passivity of the press towards Obama, his equivocation on the relationship of him and Michelle with Ayers & Dohrn, and Paglia's own memories of Yma Sumac. If the professor wasn't bisexually already busily engaged, and I happily married, I'd probably stalk her. And, she has tenure! Although when she began "Sexual Personae," it's heartening for me to remember how she labored in academic obscurity. Too bad I can't sashay through the gender roles she so wittily dons and doffs. Still, anyone who remarks how ridiculous Sade (the libertine, not the smooth operator) can be-- well, she's a kindred spirit.

["Coyote"'s comment below links to Paglia's "Fresh Blood for the Vampire" from Sept. 10, 2008, on Palin's selection, women's ascent to power, and pro-choice vs pro-life feminism.]


As for another pundit whom I admire, Christopher Hitchens? As one of my dissenting correspondents craftily observes:
"An irony has to be lurking somewhere that the man who debunked Marxist behavior so thoroughly as to end up supporting Bush is now finding himself at the point where he has debunked religion so thoroughly he is ending up supporting the Marxistly tended Obama."

Proof of such: Slate: "Barack to Reality". I confess I lean closer to Hitch (at least in this article) than the other dissenter may! This twist in Hitchens' direction also is, I am assured by the same informant, "explored much better in this" "Letter to Christopher Hitchens from a longtime Iraqi friend," Ayad Rahim, at "The American Thinker."

I admit I'm intrigued Hitch resides at the Hoover Institute along with Shelby Steele, whose column "Obama's Post-Racial Promise", in post-Election Day's Los Angeles Times impressed me. The two letters to the editor the LAT printed both excoriated Steele, predictably. Steele's publication can be credited to morning-after guilt or a giddy lapse into editorial balance at the lurching Times.

For a parallel set of observations to those I (and I suppose thousands of other bloggers less PC than those toiling and tippling at the Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Slate, or Politico) muttered last week, Andrew Keen in the Belfast Telegraph limns the shift when the blogging protesters become His Majesty's Loyal Lack of Opposition:

Andrew Keen: Obama’s landslide will throw up conservative bloggers belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Monday, 10 November 2008

For the past few months my pre-breakfast morning ritual has been determined by American opinion polls. As a political junkie, the first thing I’ve done every morning over the last six months has been to check out the latest opinion polls at RealClearPolitics.com.

Then I’ve gone to Politico.com, FiveThirtyEight.com, CNN.com, News.Yahoo.com, and blogs like the HuffingtonPost.com, TheDailyDish.com and DrudgeReport.com that have done such an addictive job commenting on this most remarkable of elections.

So what now? What am I and the tens of millions of other politicos supposed to do before breakfast now that the election is finally over? With Obama’s landslide victory, American politics is supposed to change dramatically. But what about change on the blogosphere? What becomes of online political opinion when, on 20 January of next year, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America?

The polls might have temporarily shut, but I suspect that the blogosphere is about to get really provocative. The internet is a natural medium of opposition, so expect American conservatives to embrace online media with much more gusto and creativity after 20 January. Whereas the blogosphere has been dominated in George W. Bush’s age by left-liberal blogs such as Arianna Huffington’s HuffingtonPost.com, Josh Marshall’s TalkingPointsMemo.com, Andrew Sullivan’s TheDailyDish.com and Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga’s Daily Kos, an Obama presidency will throw up new online conservative opinionators who will radically redefine American political discourse.

Just as the current doyen of conservative muckrakers, Matt Drudge of the DrudgeReport.com, made his name exposing the stain-filled scandals of the Clinton presidency, so a new ecosystem of online Obama-critics are about seize control of the conservative movement in America. On the internet, insurrection leads to insurrection to insurrection. It’s a broadband version of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution. These conservative insurrectionists might be yet to be identified, but I’m confident that their online opinion will replace the polls as my not always edifying pre-breakfast nourishment over the next four years.

I was in Frankfurt last week to keynote the annual ZukunftsForum Medien event about the future of media, held at Lufthansa’s Flight Training Center at the airport. After my speech, a panel of four new and old media experts discussed the crisis of declining newspaper readers in Germany. I was particularly struck by a singularly dark comment by Hans-Juergen Jakobs, the online editor-in-chief of the Munich based Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest quality newspaper. Unless self-promoting journalists can make themselves more relevant to a German public more interested in social networking than in serious news analysis, “It will be over,” Jakobs predicted, starkly, about the end of the high-end newspaper business.

Andrew Keen is the author of ‘The Cult of the Amateur’


Images: Obama Diversity Logo c/o "The People's Cube.com: Correct Opinions for Progressive Liberals." New Yorker: Bob Staake, "Reflection," November 17, 2008.

1 comment:

Coyote said...

Here's another, earlier piece (circa Sept) from Paglia about Sarah Palin and muscular American feminism that's worth the read.