Tuesday, November 22, 2005

[Previous: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

NB: This was written, the day after the launch, before the recent (and welcome) change back to PJMedia.

What Were They Thinking?

Okay it’s easy to make fun of the MSM, what about OSM?

As Roger Simon put it, “what a day of juitjisui – we invite them, give them a place, and they illustrate what we’ve been saying along.”

Is this read a brave face on a miscalculation? Or triumph of the Art of War?

Inviting them seems more like a positioning move than a trick to get themselves to reveal what idiotarians they are. This was, a number of people sagely explained to me, “reaching out to the MSM” by giving them a place in the process whereby PJ Media sheds its maverick garb and attempts to establish itself as a portal from the blogosphere to the MSM.

Okay… but who is inviting whom? The MSMers clearly don’t get what’s going on; and hopefully the people driving OSM won’t forget what’s going on.

“Don’t forget who gave you your prominence,” I said to one of the suited young Turks in OSM at the cocktail party, “don’t forget it is independent thinkers who form your most precious audience and took these blogger stars from obscurity to celebrity.”

“No one is forgetting that,” he replied. (Was that a defensive response? Working hypothesis…)

“Well the opening round, with all the MSM people showing us how little they understood, rather than featuring the bloggers and exploring the future, wasn’t very promising.” I said, choosing the role of gadfly rather than pressing the flesh and looking for a way in with this gatekeeper of OSM.

“We put a lot of effort into this event,” he replied (firming up the working hypothesis).

“That doesn’t mean you necessarily made the right choices.”

“You’re freaking me out here,” he said, leaving me. (Maybe one shouldn’t criticize people on their launch day.)

I guess I can’t count on a call from him to join in planning new projects.

Fortunately, Charles, in a similar conversation, was far less thin-skinned.

Pedro on the other hand spent most of the time talking to the two other Europeans (“united against Eurabia?”) at the party: Paul Berger Englishman in New York (who, after discussing Israel and Palestine for almost an hour, said to Pedro “you’ve exhausted me!”) and Pieter Dorsman from PeakTalk (who, like Pedro, will probably apply for ‘political refugee status’ in the US).

Pedro, Pieter, Richard

Late night conversation around a fire with Pedro, Glenn Reynolds, Mary Madigan, and Judith Weiss. Very smart, informed, opinionated people, unencumbered by the PCP baggage that normally chokes conversation. These are people who would not, as the French and Europeans do, choose slow strangulation rather than risk the embarrassment of saying something that might be considered racist.

It occurred to me, as I heard a number of people mention that they used to be on the left (Charles, Roger, Neo), that the blogosphere represents an interesting refuge from the increasingly self-ghettoized “left” that has, both in academia and in the MSM, isolated anyone who brings up politically incorrect attitudes. This process, of long standing, took a sharp turn to the insane with the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000, and showed its full and astonishing lack of understanding, with the response of many on the left to 9-11 – “it’s all our fault; we’re the real terrorists; and if only we could change, they wouldn’t hate us so.” The more idiotarian they get, the less they can tolerate serious criticism, the more isolated they must become, driving out anyone who has the nerve to suggest they’re getting it wrong.

As a result, they shun, as Jill Hunter, in a variant on Neo’s experience, put it in the title of her self-published book, How I read the Quran and Lost all my Friends. So you get a left that is literally incapable of reality testing, so intent is it on avoiding any criticism. Some of the people thus shunned, end up on the right, neo-cons and beyond. But some of us refuse to be driven out of the left (if by left one means progressive thinking about freedom, decency and fairness), by people who have hijacked it (again) for loopy utopian projects laced with a not so secret admiration for vicious aggressors. As the conference continued it occurred to me, now I know where at least some of us go – the blogosphere.

Next: Part 6 (Final)

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Richard Landes: Fashion Advice for the Ugly: I'd Rather be in my Pajamas Part 5.

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1 Comment

"... and hopefully the people driving OSM won't forget what's going on.

"'Don't forget who gave you your prominence,' I said to one of the suited young Turks in OSM at the cocktail party, 'don't forget it is independent thinkers who form your most precious audience and took these blogger stars from obscurity to celebrity.'"

Imo, at least some of that has already been forgotten. Won't say, at least not at this initial stage, I'm hugely disappointed, but I am appreciably disappointed in more than merely one or two areas which are significant, not merely peripheral. Time will tell, but I certainly wouldn't give PJM at this point any more than a D+ grade and honestly feel even that is being somewhat generous.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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