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Blogging is instrumental

vastleft's picture

Somerby has an interesting question:

Can anyone tell us why we race to adopt the techniques of a guy like Sean Hannnity? Why we should think it’s a good idea to treat liberal readers like fools?

Anyone want to tackle that one?

Here's a hint — "Instrumentalism: a doctrine that ideas are instruments of action and that their usefulness determines their truth"

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herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

VL, I'm a little bummed you posted on Somerby since I was just going to!

But I was going to talk about what he first addresses: the obsequiousness of Herbert. It is truly a pleasure to watch Bob work. Especially regarding the fickleness of Versailles that has lead us to so much disaster. Apparently Gore wasn't Herbert's preferred flavor of ice cream (wrong color of suits?), so we get total disaster, war crimes, bankruptcy, and death instead. I know this is an old topic, but it just never seems to GET old.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

I just keep forgetting to forget! Must not forget to forget. Doh!

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Going back on topic.

So yeah, this is "any stick to beat a dog", but what dog is Black trying to beat? The "media"? Please. If he was trying to do that, he would have needed something less easy to debunk.

What Somerby does so brilliantly here (and it his common theme) is explain just who is getting beaten. Dear Reader, please don't ask, because you may not like the answer.

The real question is why? Why would Black, and WKJM, and all the other A-listers want to beat their readers with a stupid stick? It must be easier?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The reflexive fauxtrage is a diversion from facing up to the likelihood that, as Paul McCartney once put it, "we all chipped in for a bag of cement."

Submitted by lambert on

... it's a riff -- that is, a condensed narrative -- that he's been running for what, 5 years?

Not surprising he ran it again, in quick hit mode. The "reality critique" would be that the world changed out from under the riff (why). And then, there would be the critique of the mentalite of the commenters, its formation, and so on.

"Instrumental," then, but perhaps in a way that's more subtle, and also more systemic, even dangerous, than "any stick to beat a dog."

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

We've seen a lot of warped tools (think: Cronenberg's "Dead Ringers") fashioned from the sticks formerly used to beat the Bush Dogs.

And we've only just begun!

Submitted by lambert on

I had the word rattling around in my head, so I looked it up:

A set of thought processes, values, and beliefs shared by members of a community

I wanted something neutral...

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

A canned riff: a once useful tool, past expiration date with no replacement.

Kind of like being stuck with a drawer full of standard sockets when everything has gone metric. You can still use them, but they don't work quite right and often cause damage....

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Might also be that with no GWB to kick around, and no Republican senate or Congress to kick around, they are "lashing out to boost their appeal".

Since a reliable bugaboo is the MCM (and with Obama and congress Dems off limits), if they can't find a real offense there, they can just imagine one and keep the rubes readers entertained and the hits coming for a little longer.

Kind of the blogging equivalent of a Ponzi-scheme?

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

but the funny thing about dogs is they like red meat. The hands here are only idle by choice, not because there aren't lots of things to blog about. The problem is that for some blogs the targets aren't red meat (with cannibalism off the table).

The beasts must still be fed.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

I just read part of that Sunday Bobblehead thread. Didn't recognize the first two commenters' names (as regulars anyway). Nor did they show up after that on that thread. As usual, the comments veered off and on topic, but I didn't see too much stupidity (especially with Wombat commenting). The last three comments were, um, interesting though. Whoever could have written them?

6 Democrats and 4 Republicans composed the list of Sunday guests, but Atrios suggests that somehow there were too many Republicans.

Does Atrios think? Or is he playing dumb?
Andrew | 02.16.09 - 9:38 pm | #

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good question, Andrew.

But it is what his own Village requires of him, to whip them into a frenzy.

Misleading, at best. But it gets him more traffic in doing so. Digby does the same thing.
Mary | 02.17.09 - 9:53 am | #

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh021.../ dh021709.shtml
kazheel | 02.17.09 - 1:20 pm | #

Sockpuppetry at its finest?

Atrios can be very tricksie when he writes a post. That tongue is so firmly planted it must be growing fruits and vegetables by now.

I wonder if someone else wants to generate traffic, too? ;)

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

Not at all. I don't know who wrote those comments. I just think it's interesting that Somerby went after that post for the same reason that one (or more) poster did.

Frankly, liberal posters aren't any brighter (I include myself) than the freepers at times, as I've come to learn the hard way after this election season. To add fuel to my point, you know what's really depressing? The way some of our liberal brethren are going after Bristol Palin after her recent interview. What a bunch of jerks.

Anyway, Somerby is wasting time defending liberals on blogs. They can be very stupid.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"Somerby is wasting time defending liberals on blogs"

Somerby is telling liberal bloggers to elevate their games. There's something wrong with that?

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

Elevate their games by doing what? Being honest?

Each blog has its own unique features. Atrios does his share of serious, especially when it comes to economic themes or media crit. I imagine it's going to be hard for some liberal bloggers to be too critical of the Obama administration when warranted because of past behavior. George Bush made the bloggers who they are and rallied us around them. Now that he's not there to kick around, we find ourseves in a different, slightly more uncomfortable place. Yes, we can still kick republicans, but the dems also make good targets. What to do?

Yes, Somerby does good stuff, but he's been wrong, too. Right more than wrong though.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

I'm obviously missing the point of the scolding. To me, it's overblown.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

everybody slips up in that regard occasionally. (Well, almost everyone, but the year's still young.) I just don't think that particular post of Atrios's was a glaring example. I thought it was more of a joke.

I do remember Atrios's post when Obama voted to renew FISA. No truthiness that time. Hard, cold reality.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... record and don't presume to judge it.

I do think the one post Somerby criticizes was shoddy, if not especially consequential. Somerby's broader point, which is what I cited, has been well established (for those who will see it) -- that lefty media and new media do not reliably hold themselves to the standards of intellectual and factual honesty that one might wish or imagine.

See here for a previous example of Somerby arguing that Atrios was waxing truthy. The really interesting part is his diagnosis -- shades of Arthur's tribalism theme -- a "Shirts vs. Skins" mentality. I don't think it's a stretch to see that, in a small way, that was evinced by Atrios's Sunday lineup post.

Again, I'm not looking to slam Atrios here -- I just don't know the dude's work that well. Some say he does a pretty good job, and I've certainly adopted, third-hand, several of his handy tropes. But tribal/truthy posts, even inconsequential ones, are teachable moments, if we want a blogosphere that is dependably more scrupulous than the shitty media it's set itself up as an alternative to.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

and I applaud you for it. Atrios has been pretty good/honest over the years, and I hope that continues. What I'm noticing over there is a lot of silence on some pressing concerns lately, but truthfully, although some of Obama's recent decisions and remarks are worrisome, none of us really knows for sure how it will all end up. Atrios has thrown down the gauntlet regarding negative changes to Social Security, and I fully expect him to do just that if necessary. His affiliation with Media Matters also puts him a step above many bloggers, too.

But you're right, of course. Less slobbering adulation, less truthiness, and more constructive criticisms are in order. The last thing I expected from dems was the kind of blind allegiance that we so railed against during the Bush years. And now Obama says he hopes the internet will keep everyone honest. Hmmm.

Nice little sentiment. Trust. but verify. Right, lambert? :)

Submitted by lambert on

You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends.

Submitted by lambert on

No way to show that without the IP addresses, eh?

And they don't call it the crack den for nothing...

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

I really don't care. That place has had some of the most unusual trolls I've ever seen. Someone should write a book. :)

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

My dwindling patience.

I'm hearing a lot of right-wing jabs at Obama and the Dem Congress that really annoy me. (Sorry, but 60 year old "socialist" scare tactics try my patience.) I'm used to that, but to see the left treating me like I'm an idiot as well ("look, Obama is the Awesome no matter what, oops I just creamed my pants like Sirota") makes it worse.

I do believe there is an anti-village Village amongst progressives. But I also believe there are many proggers who bought an unrefundable lemon and are rationalizing it rather than owning up to their getting pwn'd.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

On even-numbered days (or is it odd?), he doesn't think Obama is teh awesum. But only he is permitted to have such doubts.

Submitted by jawbone on

taken the lefty side to task, esp'ly when he can demonstrate logical inconsistencies or lack of factual basis for postings. Then, he gets flamed on other blogs, since he can't be flamed on his own, there being no comments. Or, if the MCM* has written something the left blogistan likes and then Somerby points out the factual inconsistencies, again he goes thru a period of not being appreciated.

I can't recall all the instances, but there was one time when Somerby was taking a lefty hero du jour to task on a rather small mistake; he did go on rather at length, but, then, he's found it takes repetition to break through the fog created either by the MCMers or favored blogger themes. It may have been some cirtique of something Joe Wilson said, but I never quite fully followed his criticism of that. He usually is able to make his points very clearly.

His style can also take some getting used to, to put it one way.

Instrumentalism seems to cover this . Lambert, how do you know all this stuff --reading, general curiosity, formal training, fookin' brilliance??

But, damn, he nails so much. He pricks inflated egos and demolishes castles built on imagined facts. A great founding member of the online media criticism crew and a proud member of the reality-based community.

*MCM--Mainstream Corporate Media