SPANNING THE WEB - 3/30/2006
1) THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT – Apparently there has been some grumbling recently in the Daily Kos community that some of the new front pagers simply aren’t up to snuff. Specifically, Kossacks are griping over the length of the new front pagers’ posts.
They have a point. Sort of. Past front pagers like Steve Gilliard were also verbose in the extreme. The difference between Gilliard and current front page occupants like Georgia10 is that Gilliard actually wrote, admittedly poorly, about things and events; Georgia10 and the rest of the new front page cohort tend to write, also poorly, only about how THEY FEEL about things and events. Joan Didion can get away with this kind of writing; Georgia10 cannot.
Yesterday Markos responded to the community’s complaints with characteristic diplomacy:
This morning I've scanned some of the going ons of the last few days (I'm completely out of touch when on the road), and I noticed the dustup over long front page posts. Here's my "official" response: tough shit. If 400 words is too much for you to handle, then you've got a couple of options: 1) Read the funnies. Not a lot of words there; 2) learn to scroll down a page; 3) get an RSS reader and set it to read just headlines. No extraneous words in headlines; or 4) find a site that better suits your style. (Ed. Note – That’s four options, not a couple, but who’s counting?)
Some of Markos’ readers, for some reason, found their leader’s attitude somewhat off-putting. “Why not be an ASS about it?”, asked one commenter. “You are nothing without the community. No wonder your traffic is on the decline with an attitude like that.” Queried another Kossack, “Who is this asshole, ‘No Shit?’ He started this thing? flame out mother. This dude don't do rude.”
Apparently the “dude” will be joining the swelling ranks of former Kossacks. The Daily Kos’ traffic is down and the trend line isn’t promising. Could it really be Georgia10’s fault as I’ve been suggesting merely tongue in cheek for the last couple of months?
2) YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS, I’VE GOT ANSWERS – Yesterday I linked to that great essay by the screenwriter who fought cancer. I mentioned that his essay concluded with an enigmatic line that I needed Jonathan Last to explain to me. I was not alone. Here’s the explanation: There’s a movie coming out called “Snakes on a Plane” starring Samuel L. Jackson. This movie has become an object of obsession with cinephiles everywhere. The already infamous tag-line, the “make my day” of the film if you will, is Jackson saying he wants the “motherf****** snakes” off the “mother******” plane.” By concluding his essay on cancer with that line, the screenwriter/author is showing he’s back to normal, ready to re-engage in the hobbies, interests and passions that marked his life before cancer changed it. I think it’s pretty brilliant, but you can decide for yourself.
3) THAT BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN GOT HIM GOOD – Randy Quaid is suing the producers of Brokeback Mountain, claiming that he was induced to perform in the film for peanuts because he thought it was a tiny art house movie about gay cowboys, and he never would have worked for so little if he had known the film had an advertising budget of a gazillion dollars. Quaid is suing for $10 million, which seems like an odd figure because I didn’t realize that Randy Quaid typically received Tom Cruise money.
But I love the language from Quaid’s complaint: “(The producers) have enriched themselves to the tune of approximately $160 million in worldwide gross box office receipts on the back of actors who were convinced to cut their fees purportedly to ensure that the film reached the screen."
Who says lawyers don’t have a sense of humor?
4) THE SUN IS VERY HOT – Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe produces a startlingly original analysis that leads her to the conclusion that Andy Card wouldn’t have a great chance of success if he entered the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. Duh! Card was the chief-of-staff for a President who has something like a 13% rate of approval in the Commonwealth. Card has never won an election of any sort. Massachusetts Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 5-1 margin. Other than those factors, it looks like a very promising situation for Card.
5) DOG BITES MAN, PART I – Peggy Noonan has another column whose general theme is that the country is going to hell in a hand basket; this time it’s because the country is insufficiently populated with patriots who love the land. I find this type of column endlessly tiresome. America-haters have been prominent since the 60’s. There’s nothing new here, and the situation is clearly better now than it was in the 1960’s and other times in the past 40 years.
6) BIG TALIBAN ON CAMPUS, PART 7,863,921 – Someone at the Journal has to do some sort of intervention with John Fund. Yale is debased, Yale is pathetic, Yale is immoral – we’ve got it. Besides, the Taliban thing just puts an exclamation point on the crisis in modern academia; the fact that Harvard and Georgetown have each prostituted themselves to a Salafist Saudi prince to the tune of $10 million is an example of the same thing. (At least Harvard and Georgetown are high-priced street-walkers – Yale apparently humiliated itself for free.)
Fund has to move on. He simply cannot keep writing about this and only this forever. He has shone the light and done an invaluable service in doing so. Now it’s time to write about something else.
7) THE NO FUN LEAGUE – The N.F.L., in its infinite wisdom, has decided to clamp down on excessive celebrating. Excessive celebrating has always been part of the NFL’s appeal. The taunting, the juvenilia – it’s all part of the show. If it were up to me, I would make it mandatory that every sack be punctuated by a Mark Gastineau-like sack-dance. His team’s fans loved it; the opposing fans were enraged. All in all, it was good fun.
8) GOOD NEWS – Jill Carroll has been released. Ms. Carroll said she "was kept in very good small, safe place, safe room, nice furniture, they gave me clothing, plenty of food. I was allowed to take showers, go to the bathroom when I wanted," but she didn't know where she was. "The room had a window, but the glass was ... you know you can't see, and curtains... I couldn't hear any sounds."
Now, pardon me for saying, but Jihadis aren’t well known for either their chivalry or their humane kindness to apostates. This leads me to believe something else quite distinct from Jihad was going on with Carroll’s abduction. It was all about money.
Let’s hope they didn’t get any.
9) INCORRECT, BUT PROVOCATIVE – The New Republic has an interesting take on the Ben Domenech affair:
Domenech deserved to be let go; but in the course of celebrating his demise, liberals have missed the real lesson of this entire episode. Instead of hiring a conservative, the Post hired a caricature of one; Domenech's blog would have been less a product of red America and more a product of what blue America understands red America to be. More than anything else, the sad saga of Ben Domenech reveals just how simplistic blue-state elites have become in their understanding of American conservatism.
It’s true that liberals caricature conservatives as either NASCAR supporting boobs or bow-tie wearing ninnies. But lost in TNR’s analysis is the following fact – the prominent conservative blogosphere is composed largely of grown-ups with grown-up jobs and responsibilities. Few of us would have any interest in being a full-time “blogger” for the Washington Post or any other liberal newspaper. Speaking just for myself, I would rather suck on a ’72 Volkswagen Van’s tailpipe than be the Boston Globe’s in house conservative blogger. (Marty Baron, if you’re reading, don’t take this the wrong way – I would love to be an op-ed columnist. Call me anytime.)
It’s just “full-time blogger” is a job with limited appeal. If the New York Times asked the Baseball Crank to be its full-time blogger, he would nearly die laughing before asking how the hell he would pay his mortgage and support his family on a blogger’s salary.
My point is, take the plagiarism out of the picture and Domenech is about as good as you’re going to do if you want to hire a full time blogger. Full time blogging is a young man’s game, and mostly a weird young man’s game at that.
Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org