Saturday, July 16, 2005

Fighting Words

Imagine my delight when I opened my WashPost Sunday Supplement (which comes on Saturday mornings now, for my convenience!) to find that the cover story on the Post Sunday magazine featured my Wednesdays American Street-Mate Barbara O'Brien.

Feather: meet Neddie. Neddie, meet the hot kiss at the end of this wet feather. Down he goes!

Yes, that Barbara, who actually is listed at the American Street's roster of regulars, as opposed to moi, who posts regularly there and gets all the emails and stuff but can't get himself on the actual list of members despite repeated reminders to the Management -- not that I'm egocentrically bitter or anything.

In the piece, Barbara is paired with a Right-globber, one Besty Newmark -- a literal schoolmarm obviously chosen for her uncanny resemblance to Dana Carvey's Church Lady in a very unfortunate wig.

The piece isn't so much a wind-them-up-and-let-them-go-at-each-other kind of gestalt; more it's an isn't-it-wacky-how-much-these-women-share deal. Which is pretty much what you'd expect from a Sunday color supplement.

At any rate, overall I find, in debates of this sort, that the fairer, more enlightened position is invariably held by the Leftist.

[Whisper: Never mind that the article kinda einforces-ray some of the oints-pay I've just been making about the utility-fay of olitical-pay ogging-blay. A gentleman would never point that out.]


Akatabi said...

I had to triple-check the header to make sure this was the Washington Post and not the Washington Times.

"Somewhere, there's sure to be a quotation from Goebbels or Goering to cast a dark tinge over the latest from Bush. And you can count on the left blogosphere to find it. Just as surely, there will be an equally apposite quote from Lincoln or Churchill with which the right bloggers can respond."

Gag me with the moral equivalent of a chainsaw. Not to mention the free passes given out to Powerline, Lucianne and Little Green Footballs.

It was a waste of time trotting them around DC and taking them to The Palm. Why not just put them in a kitchen and solicit their views on whether the echt tollhouse cookie contains nuts?

Neddie, I appreciate your viewpoint on the futility of political blogging and lowering oneself to their level of rhetoric, and it's part of the charm fo your blog that you don't constantly beat on that big bass drum. But lies are lies and propaganda is propaganda. Maybe WaPo readers will compare Betsy's Page and MahaBlog and make sound judgements about the content and presentation therein; more likely they will pick the one more on their side and trash the other.

But Von Drehle is content to leave readers with the perception that right wing excess ("Dick Durbin is an evil subversive enemy of our country and may he rot in hell") is fairly contrasted with left wing excess ("The zombie corpses of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams should have burst into the chamber and ripped the head off the government stooge . . . [then] divided and eaten [his] depraved brain before heading over to the increasingly misnamed Department of Justice to dine on [Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales's intestines.")

Had to do a bit of shoehorning on that last quote, didn't he? Enough to remove anything like, oh, context? Or a suggestion that the latter quote seems to be a tad well, ironic whereas the former needs no context and is to be taken literally? And what about the relative volumes of the respective echo chambers - not excluding talk radio, teevee and print, to which they individually feed back? All in a day's fair and balanced, right Mr. Von Drehle?

My point, if I have to have one, is that Washington Post readers are sadly disserved by what appears on the surface to be a bit of harmless kapok back amid the furniture ads and while critically comparing the two blogs would disabuse an enlightened reader of the spin-baggage heaped on by Mr. Von Drehle, he leaves his reader ill-prepared for the task.

Oh well, it could have been worse, I guess. He oculd have used the sassy, feisty LaShawn Barber.

[H. Rumbold, Master Barber]

Bistroist said...

Heh. That zombie-thing is from the Rude Pundit, where the vivid (or is that necroid?) imagery is, well, part of the act.

If you were to compare, say, 100 random right- and leftleaning blogs, I should think (and hope) there would be a rather clear difference.

I found myself nodding in agreement to your points about political blogs (both about allowing ourselves to sink to their level and the excellent observation that "Blogging provides a tempting illusion of activism") yet I regularly do (rather inept) political posts myself. Try to stay clear of most of the vitriol, though.

Kevin Wolf said...

The really awful thing is this is how they treat every issue: with faux "balance" that reduces everything they touch to tasteless custard. A reader of this article would probably have no idea why they should or should not read either blog. Likewise the coverage of stuff like, say, the lead up to war in Iraq with millions around the world protesting that development. Coverage in the US was pablum for indulged children, not information for adults.