Saturday, December 06, 2008

Come Right In, Mr. Brooks.


Your table is ready.

Anonymous Asks
Well...as someone who spends a good deal of time on the intertubes...I just have to ask: Why are you the only one pointing this shit out on a regular basis?
Andrew is nothing more than Cokie Roberts with an accent and testicles...and yet Bill Maher still invites him back to dominate whatever panel of woosies he sees fit to put up with him.
The vast amazing bankruptcy of the conservative movenment remains a bigfoot on the MSM screen for the immediate future...despite their recent extreme public repudiation. What will it take to get this story some real traction?
Global economic collapse doesnt seem to have done the trick.
Just askin......?


Well, by way of an answer, let us remember what Jebus Himself said:
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name,
there will be a velvet rope to keep the rabble away from the cool kids.”
In all human activities, there is a velvet rope; those on the sunny side of it sometimes relish it, sometimes try to kick it down, and sometimes believe it is porous or even imaginary; those on the cold side of it know that it is as real and high and hard and topped with broken glass as any security wall girding a Mexican estate.

Sometimes the velvet rope has a sign hanging from it advising those who seek admittance that they need only work a little bit harder. A little bit longer. A little better.

A little smarter.

A little sexier.

Shinier. Sparklier.

A little more topical.

A little more scholarly.

A little less snooty.

A little to the left and a skosh to the right.

Those on the cold side of it know that this ain’t exactly 100% true.

“Better, smarter, abler” is awesome -- it can get you a guest pass to the bar and once in a great while a key to the kingdom -- but there are way, waaaay too many mopes and nitwits waved right on in as their betters dance their asses off in the foyer, year after year, to pretend that competence in any way correlates to success.

It took toxic decades of Hate Radio and Fox Network junk food to create a public desperately hungry enough for honesty and intelligence to allow a “Daily Show” or “Colbert Report” to flourish not merely as great comedy, but as the Reality Based Community’s de facto teevee news and opinion HQs.

It took the collapse of the global economy, the shredding of the Constitution and a failure in Two!Count!Em!Two! wars after eight, solid years of unrelenting, daily, epic fuckuppery by an Administration of openly sneering idiots and traitors, before Americans reluctantly sent the Party of “I Wanna Haz A Beer With You!” packing and took a hopeful flier on the Smart Guys.

As Glenn Greenwald eloquently notes here, it is a trait that runs through every institution that traffics in influence and power:

...

Leading candidates for [Hillary Clinton's Senate seat] seat still include John F. Kennedy's daughter (Caroline), Robert Kennedy's son (RFK, Jr.), and Mario Cuomo's son (Andrew). In Illinois, a leading contender to replace Barack Obama in the Senate is Jesse Jackson's son (Jesse, Jr.). In Delaware, it was widely speculated that Joe Biden would be replaced by his son, Beau, and after Beau took his name out of the running because he's now serving in Iraq, the naming of the actual replacement -- lone-time (Joe) Biden aide Ted Kaufmann -- "upset local Democrats who believe the move was a ham-handed attempt to engineer the election of Biden’s son, Beau, to the Senate in 2010."

Meanwhile, in Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, who was appointed by her father to take his seat in the U.S. Senate when he became Governor, yesterday warned Sarah Palin not to challenge her in a 2010 primary, a by-product of tension between those two as a result of Palin's defeat of Lisa's dad for Governor. In Florida, Mel Martinez's announcement that he won't seek re-election in 2010 immediately led to reports that the current President's brother, Jeb, might run for that seat. And all of that's just from the last couple of weeks.

The Senate alone -- to say nothing of the House -- is literally filled with people whose fathers or other close relatives previously held their seat or similar high office (those links identify at least 15 current U.S. Senators -- 15 -- with immediate family members who previously occupied high elected office). And, of course, the current President on his way out was the son of a former President and grandson of a former U.S. Senator.

Isn't this all a bit much? It's true that our political/media class in general is intensely incestuous and nepotistic. Virtually the entire neoconservative "intelligentsia" (using that term as loosely as it can possibly be used) is one big paean to nepotistic succession -- the Kristols, the Kagans, the Podhoretzes, Lucinanne Goldberg and her boy. Upon Tim Russert's death, NBC News excitedly hired his son, Luke. Mike Wallace's son hosts Fox's Sunday show. The most influential political opinion space in the country, The New York Times Op-Ed page, is, like the Times itself, teeming with family successions and connections. Inter-marriages between and among media stars and political figures -- and lobbyists, operatives and powerful political officials -- are now more common than arranged royal marriages were among 16th Century European monarchs.
...


Because at the heart of any human enterprise, there is a club, and “better, smarter, abler” alone rarely gets you in it.

In a propitious bit of timing, I was, in fact, at the very minute I was writing this, watching Arianna Huffington on the Charlie Rose show, pushing her new book (which I believe is entitled “Can I Haz Blogging Too?”) and explaining to Charlie how "blogging" and "linking" works such as, for example, how she linked to Andrew Sullivan's excellent article on "Why I Blog".

(The very next day Andrew Sullivan completes the Circle of Blogging Life:)

Arianna Approves

The doyenne of the blogosphere liked my essay on blogging, "Why I Blog". It got lost a little in the election hoopla. But going through my emails today - and finding so many of you venting, explaining, thinking - I was reminded of this wonderful truth...


Ms. Huffington explained how "magical" linking is (And here I always thought it was pronounced "magical thinking") How awesome it all is. How any citizen can be a Thomas Paine!

Rose: Name the top ten most important people in blogging?

Huffington: Well, most of them are the Huffington Post bloggers.

Rose: OK, yeah, but...

Huffington: Well, Mickey Kaus is one of the best blogging voices. John Amato and his video site. Jane Hamsher (Firedoglake). Josh Marshall. Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic.

Sigh.

Now I love “Crooks and Liars” from top to bottom and occasionally blog there. And FDL is terrific. And the first blog I ever read was “Talking Points Memo”, but however good or bad they are, one minute after celebrating blogging as a non-hierarchical universe where “any citizen can be a Thomas Paine”, the “doyenne of the blogosphere” couldn’t scare up a single “Pick to Click” that wasn’t already part of the Great A-List Blogger Keiretsu.
A keiretsu (lit. system or series) is a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings. It is a type of business group.
As to Ms. Huffington herself, however one might feel about the content of her blog, given that her business model was:
A) Take goo-gobs of money and buy a media empire.
B) Have celebrity friends write columns for it, and media friends link to it.


to now be making the rounds of the talk shows to push a blogging “How To” would seem to run perilously close to being a bad parody of Steve Martin’s “How To Never Pay Taxes” sketch on Saturday Night Live from 30 years ago:

You…can be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes!
You can be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes!
You say.. "Steve.. how can I be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes?"

First.. get a million dollars…



So, Anonymous, in answer to your question,

There is a club.

"The occasion? Celebrating the taping of an upcoming episode of Charlie Rose featuring writer and semi-retired blogger Andrew Sullivan (left), our own foul-mouthed sister, Ana Marie Cox (center), and conservative blog phenom Glenn Reynolds (right, and yes, they're not standing in order of political inclination)."


Some people are in it.

Arianna Huffington and Andrew Sullivan, venue and date unknown.


We’re not in it.

Photo by Earl E. Gibson III
David Mamet, Arianna, Rebecca Pidgeon



And we’re probably never

Photo by Earl E. Gibson III
John Amato, Arianna, Marc Cooper, Ron Silver


gonna be in it.

Arianna Huffington and Bill Maher, venue and date unknown.


That is the way we humans are wired.

Sometimes, however,

there are compensations.



(For way more than you'd ever want to hear on the subject, the "Not Of The Body" three-part series is available in the Castle Archives.)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, you know, some bloggers have influence disproportionate to their readership and number of links from others. Bloggers with the insight and writing chops of a Driftglass, for instance. As far as I'm concerned, only Fafblog gives you a run for your money.

Fran / Blue Gal said...

Mahakal that would be true if Fafnir would get off his ass and post every once in a while. To think he make Driftglass look prolific.

Those of us who post every goddamn day, sometimes at more than one blog, have a heigh ho and hearty fuck you for the disproportionate influence of the talented.

xo bg

darkblack said...

Ah, the Huffington Agenda, er, Post. Such a special club of poli-sci picnickers daytripping through the blogosphere for cash,prizes, and credibility.

While I bear AH no ill will personally, the same might not be said for her retinue, engaged as they are in subtle manipulations of the trade in information and perception to be found on the Internet.

Kathy said...

I think the celebrity bloggers at HuffPo may attract a lot of otherwise uninterested-in-politics types. After waiting 5 minutes for the chaotic page to load, struggling to find the celebrity he/she is interested in, a few of them may click on the links and discover KOS or C&L...or you!

I can't stand that site, though. Sloppy and not much real information.

On the other hand I very much enjoy Driftglass. Just the name appeals to me, I imagine walking along the beach & finding seaglass. Well. Anyway.

darkblack said...

Additionally, how nice that the pictorial content of this article leads off with a candid snap of three prominent devotees of anal friction as a pleasure stratagem, although the member on the 'right' may have ascended to the perch by dint of a tipple from Pappy's corn squeezin's and a convenient knothole in his festive office decor.

;>)

Anonymous said...

HuffPost is a very messy site, difficult to read, hurts the eyes.

Cirze said...

I always thought that anyone who admitted to reading HuffPo was giving away their lack of intellectual preparation and blogsense - and love of mindless gossip.

It's just another crap-laden site for illiterates to waste their precious time at (if they have enough patience to wait for the poorly-designed pages to load).

She (and Charlie Rose) wish they had finely-written, unique blogs (like Dg). And, yes, I sat through the tedious, self-congratulatory lovefest wondering exactly why he was interviewing her too - seems like attracts like.

Suzan

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

A keiretsu (lit. system or series) is a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings. It is a type of business group.

That's what the desperately missed Kurt Vonnegut called a "Grand Falloon", innit? Or a "karrass?"

"A granfalloon is a recognized grouping of people that, underneath it all, has no real meaning. The prototypical granfaloon in Vonnegut's book is Hoosiers: the main character of the book finds himself journeying to an island nation in the company of fellow Indianans, but other than the fact that they hail from the same state they have no
significance in each other's lives."

"The opposite of a granfalloon, or at least one alternative, is the
karass. These are the people whose lives are entwined in yours in
mysterious yet profound ways. Often they are not part of any of your more obvious granfalloons, but in the end it is their presence on this earth that has great influence of the direction of your own life.
Recognizing members of your karass is not an easy thing and some you
may never identify, but part of the spiritual mission of Bokononists is to celebrate their karass."

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Arianna Huffington and Andrew Sullivan, venue and date unknown.

which one is the one in the beard?

Anonymous said...

"It's just another crap-laden site for illiterates to waste their precious time at (if they have enough patience to wait for the poorly-designed pages to load)."

thank you, suzan. you said it better than i could.

Cirze said...

You're welcome, KM. Glad to oblige.

Did you see her schmoozing over how wonderful her blog was with the slobbering Tavis Smiley last night?

Yeeeeeeeech! I had to put on latex gloves to change the channel.

S

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