Blogenfreude and Shakespeare's Sister had a fascinating topic going last week. When will bloggers get a little respect?
We need to define our terms here. If "respect" means attention from the world at large, I think we're more than halfway there. We forget how new the blogosphere is. Heck, we forget how new the internet is in historical terms. That is the curse of modern society, that the new is so immediately taken for granted, but we bloggers, also being the techno-stocracy of our culture, are particularly guilty.
Crooks and Liars had their biggest day for hits ever last week. Over half a million f-ing hits.
Without the lefty blogs, MSM (and by the way, folks, nobody even SAID "MSM" before we came along, they were just the "M" and they got away with a lot more than they do now) would never have covered the Kaloogian fake photo of "Baghdad," Bush's fake "interview" with our troops, and, um, don't get me started about you-know-who. And you also know I'm just scratching the surface here. Needless to say Joe Lieberman wishes we would just go away.
We have a place at the table. It may not be the best seat, but we are there, and it is not just because we are talking to each other, though the power and immediacy of our community is one of our greatest strengths.
As I said over at Agitprop:
One thing we lefty bloggers do not have is patience. The blogosphere is so new. We've got so much still to work out. We'll get there, folks. Yeah, yeah, the polar ice caps are melting while I type this. There is a sense of urgency...
Yet everyday I see another blogger give up, delete the blog, stop posting. It takes a huge time commitment not only to keep up your own blog but MORE IMPORTANTLY (sorry for the caps) to visit other blogs regularly and comment, to continue to support the community that is so vital. We can have it all, the respect, the audience, a place at the table, if only find within ourselves the commitment and sorry to say, the maturity to keep going.
(No, I am not running for mayor of Blogospheria.)
But there is another connotation for "respect" and that we may never get. I hate to inform you, lefty blogospherians, but we are also the intellectuals of our society. That may sound snooty, but when Stephen Colbert says that "reality has as well-known liberal bias" and says that he "trusts his gut more than his head" he is talking back at us, directly and specifically. Critics stress that Colbert is pretending to be right-wing a la Bill O'Reilly, but more than knee-jerk conservativism, what Colbert is lambasting is O'Reilly's anti-intellectualism. Anti-intellectualism has a long and cherished history in American politics. Elections are won by being the guy everyone wants to have a beer with, rather than the one with the best ideas. Smart politicians since before Adlai Stevenson have paid the price for being eggheads. This from Wikipedia:
In the 2000 Presidential Election, the media (particularly late night comics) portrayed Candidate Al Gore as boring "brainiac" who spoke in a monotonous voice and jabbered on about numbers and figures that no one could understand... It was the classic stereotype of a pompous, out-of-touch intellectual, and this perception arguably hurt Gore in the election....The word "intellectual" itself has been used as an insult by many on the right.
Both O'Reilly and Limbaugh, as well as other conservative hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough are frequently accused of having anti-intellectual atmospheres on their shows, evidenced by their frequent interruption of guests who try to put forward complex arguments. Scarborough once commented that, "If my guest is allowed to speak uninterrupted for more than 15 seconds, then I'm not doing my job."
The beauty of the internet is that all of us are allowed more than fifteen seconds (that is, if you're still reading this. Thanks.) The challenge of the internet, and particularly the blog, is that you are capable, and I would argue, therefore required, to name your sources and back up your bullshit. The tightness of our community is also its control mechanism. If you lie, if you plagiarize, you will be caught and you will be outed. The internet is no respecter of persons, it respects the truth (panties and snark are also appreciated).
We bloggers as intellectuals will never get any "respect" in that sense. Those who think their vote on American Idol is as valuable as their vote for President will never respect us.
Get over it.
Hopefully we are not mere Cassandras, the public will catch up, I think is catching up, more quickly than the Right can even manage. If you ask me, the race is already won on many levels. Keep fighting, keep blogging. Respect your own selves, and keep the faith.