Sunday, September 26, 2004

Are money and politics ruining blogs?

A contrarian view, and counterintuitive given the CBS takedown and the fact that money buys things like food and bandwidth that bloggers need...but not a crazy idea.

I have been underwhelmed by some of the season's offerings by leading bloggers (e.g. Instapundit's near-obsessive focus on Kerry's Vietnam service, and the 11.9th hour defense of the CBS memos publicized by Atrios). Bloggers can sound a lot like cable TV shouters. Who needs more mouthpieces for the party establishments?

This isn't the revolution I signed up for.

I've worried about this at my own blog, albeit on a much smaller scale than those big dogs.

In the LA Times (registration required), blogger Billmon worries that blogs are being co-opted by commercial interests: "I say blogging is headed for a kind of commercialized senility...As blogs commercialize, they are tied ever closer to the mainstream media and its increasingly frivolous news agenda."

Kevin Drum comments: "I miss the old blogosphere too, and I hope — perhaps vainly — that when the election is over some of it returns."

I think the key to the lasting relevance of blogs lies in numbers: as the big ones get coopted, new voices will fill the space they vacate. Independent voices will be heard, because we will get bored with the new establishment.

Crunch all you want, we'll make more.

4:35:56 PM    comment []

Ron Rosenbaum in Slate on the nuttiness that overtook Elisabeth Kübler-Ross : "Death, in her new view, was a kind of Lourdes-cum-plastic-surgery spa."

At first I refused to believe this article, then it made me mad. I tried to come to terms with it, and that just brought me down. Finally, I accepted it.

1:10:48 PM    comment []

Republicans behaving badly...

Duncan Black has a picture of the "bible-ban" literature that the RNC doesn't even bother to disavow...

...and Savoy Truffle has a report from just up the road in Madison, NC: "(S)everal houses...were paint balled last week apparently because they had Kerry/Edwards signs in their yards." Tommy Harrington, chairman of the local GOP, responded with an op-ed that called Democrats "treasonous."

Well, then, I guess that makes it all OK.

1:03:08 PM    comment []

Andrew Sullivan is feeling more cheerful about the situation in Afghanistan: "Almost all the reporters or human beings I read who have been there are beginning to say that Afghanistan is a big success story."

12:52:06 PM    comment []

TheShu discovers a bunch of local blogs to add to the Greensboro-area blogroll.

Here's his list, with his comments: (18 years old and blogged her way thru a recent brain surgery…awesome…) (Lots of music and tv from a college student) (Keeps and eye on the movie scene) (Personal blog) (Proud new father) (Just 13 years old) (Note for Billy Jones-leans heavily towards poetry) (Outstanding orgami right here in Greensboro) (22-year-old college graduate looks at life) (College life) (Very political) (Mr. Sun-type blog) (More poetry) (Blogging a brand new company) (Personal blog) (More poetry) (that’s one angry man) (Brand new…show some bloggie love) (Another brand new one…needs some support) (personal blog) (political blog)

11:02:24 AM    comment []

News & Record editor John Robinson promises that his paper will soon upgrade its deplorable online archiving system (in comments section of post): 'We're bringing in a whole new online publishing system before the end of the year that'll fix that."

10:58:45 AM    comment []

After a genial get-to-know-me period, Jeff Thigpen's campaign blog is starting to focus on the actual campaign. "(M)y opponent is attempting to take more credit than is due to her."

10:55:42 AM    comment []

Mike Munger elaborates on his theory of intraparty competition over the NC economy as an election issue. This time, it's Dems, Kerry vs. Easley. Previously, he noted the disconnect between Repubs Burr and Ballantine.

10:52:35 AM    comment []

The Times mag also has an interesting article on astrobiology, which includes a useful definition of "life" from Jeffrey Bada, a geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego:

"I would say that all you need to define life is imperfect replication. That's it. Life. And what that means is that the entity can make copies of itself but not exact copies. A perfectly replicating system isn't alive because it doesn't evolve. Quartz crystals make exact copies of themselves and have done from the beginning of the earth. They don't evolve, however, because they're locked into that particular form. But with imperfect replication you get mutants that develop some sort of selective advantage that will allow them to dominate the system. That whole system then evolves, and you get this cascade of evolution progressing to more complicated entities. But something preceded all that, something that could do this basic thing of replication and mutation, and that's what everyone is trying to figure out.''

10:46:24 AM    comment []

A decent article on political blogging gets cover treatment in this morning's Times mag. A little too much ink spent on Wonkette, although writer Matthew Klam does call her out: "It was as if her sense of what was cool and what was stupid, so unerring on her blog, had abandoned her." Nice profiles of Kos and Josh Marshall, even if the latter is treated with a bit more big-media condescension than he deserves.

Related: Elizabeth Edwards on bloggers: "Even coverage by the NYT won't change 'em." She quotes Mr. Sun and cites this weblog.

10:42:01 AM    comment []

"Etta and Claribel Cone assembled one of the world's great art collections, and then they gave it away for the world to enjoy."

I wrote about my great-grandfather's sisters in this morning's News & Record. The big Raleigh show built around their collection opens in two weeks, and a companion show, Matisse and American Drawing, opens this afternoon at the Weatherspoon.

"I have from my great-great-aunts a lovely but unimportant landscape painting and a now-tattered Bokhara rug they picked up along the Silk Road. What they really left to me, though, they left to everyone: a sense of possibility, a demonstration of the power of idiosyncrasy, and an example of generosity."

Read the whole thing.

Here's a favorite quote of mine that didn't make it into the column only because I was on the road when I wrote it and didn't have the source in front of me:

"There is nothing in the world for you and me to do but have a good time in our own way – and there is nothing in the world for us to be – but be happy – This is my will and testament.” Claribel Cone, in a letter to her sister, Etta, 1924.

Henri Matisse
Etta Cone (V/VI)

Charcoal with stumping and erasing
The Cone Collection
BMA 1950.12.68

Henri Matisse
Dr. Claribel Cone (IV/IV)
Charcoals with stumping and erasing
The Cone Collection
BMA 1950.12.71

8:44:25 AM    comment []