Tag Archives: blogging

I’m a PROUD left-wing ‘censor’

I love the Internet. I still believe that the Internet is the best way for the average citizen to get his or her voice heard. True, the sheer volume of citizen content on the Internet — and, of course, the huge corporate presence on the Internet — make it incredibly difficult for any one citizen to get a large audience, but the alternative to the Internet is the way that it used to be: mostly corporately owned and controlled mass/mainstream media putting out virtually all media content, most of it in the one-way communication form of television.

If nothing else, citizen media force the mass/mainstream media to address those issues that the citizens — rather than only the mass/mainstream media’s corporate overlords — want addressed.

In their infancy, blogs were mostly ignored by the mass/mainstream media, as blogs weren’t considered a threat, but no more. Anything that grows legs and takes off in the blogosphere is going to make it into the mass/mainstream media, and these days, sooner rather than later.

And once blogs proved to be successful, of course the capitalist swine decided to jump on board and co-opt blogging. Recently at a major chain bookstore I saw a book on blogging for business purposes and I wanted to barf, since I’ve always believed that blogs were meant to topple the man, not to be used by the man in his ongoing conquest of us wage slaves in the capitalist slavery system that so many of us slaves, being thoroughly brainwashed, actually call “freedom.”

But opening up the forum to anyone — anyone — has its problems.

On one hand is the common but misguided belief that a blogger should allow anyone to leave anything on his or her blog’s comments section — and that to do otherwise is “censorship.”

The legal definition of censorship, actually, is when a governmental entity puts controls on speech. There is no right to leave anything on anyone’s blog — indeed, a blogger may turn off the comments function altogether at any time. But few would call that censorship, and those who would are just dipshits.

I have three main types of comments trolls, and the older and crankier that I get, the more I’m just prone to delete their comments, which don’t add whatsoever to the enlightenment of the subject matter at hand. Their predictable protests of “censorship” don’t deter me. I can’t simply hit a button to delete them, but I can simply hit a button to delete their bullshit.

First there is the Common Troll. This person is just miserable and leaves what I call “drive-by” comments on blogs. He or she (it’s almost always a he, though) probably doesn’t have very many people to shit and piss upon in his life, so he shits and pisses upon people online, because it’s anonymous and thus safe. He probably never would have the balls to treat people like this in person. Because in reality he’s just a fucking coward.

The Common Troll usually leaves no more than a sentence or two, and, because the Common Troll is not bright, often his comment doesn’t even make any fucking sense. And usually his comments are rife with misspellings. (Ted Rall had it right when he once commented that the future belongs to those who can spell.)

On Open Salon, strangely, the Common Trolls usually are stupid white men of baby-boomer age or older (you can tell by their avatars, which are photos of themselves, and they virtually never are attractive). These old Common Trolls, having nothing better to do, jump online with the youngsters to “prove” that they’re still “youthful” too, and they leave comments that are in the spirit of “You damned kids get off of my lawn!”

It’s unfortunate that medical science has enabled people to live longer and longer, with an emphasis on the quantity of people’s lifespans instead of on the quality of people.

Seriously — it’s fine if someone doesn’t like a post of mine, but to leave a juvenile personal attack that doesn’t contribute whatsoever to the topic at hand? I don’t get that. I can’t imagine just trolling blogs and leaving personal attacks. I have much better things to do with my time. (If I am going to engage in anything like a personal attack, I at least also am going to address the topic at hand; there will be some substance in my comment.)

Then there are the Proselytizer Trolls. They apparently think that if they go around and around with you just enough, they’re going to convert you to their fucked-up belief system (or, at the very least, “prove” you “wrong”). Either they’re going to convert you to their wingnuttery or they’re going to convert you to their “Christo”fascism (or both, since the two are so intertwined).

The Proselytizer Trolls are “nice” at first, but gradually, when it’s clear to them that what they believe are just brilliant “arguments” in support of their “cause” aren’t going to move you an inch, then they usually get verbally abusive, showing their true colors.

For whatever reason(s), I get most of my Proselytizer Trolls on my WordPress and AlterNet blogs. The way I usually handle Proselytizer Trolls is to tell them, after we have gone around and around to no avail, that I am ending the discussion, as it is going nowhere and as they’ve had more than their fair say, and that any further comments of theirs on the post I will delete. And then I follow through on that promise.

If I didn’t do it that way, I can see these losers going pointlessly back and forth with me infuckingdefinitely.

Then there are the Spam Trolls. I refer not to the apparently automatically generated spam that we bloggers get in our comments sections on occasion (hopefully filtered out, such as WordPress does), but to those who leave comments on blogs primarily in order to promote their own gig, usually their own blog. They’ll give a passing mention of the post on which they’re commenting, usually, and then go right into promoting their own gig/blog.

Most bloggers figured out long ago that this is a major breech of “blogiquette,” and so Spam Trolls (as I have defined them) are rare.

There are Combination Trolls.

This dipshit, a Combination Troll, tried to leave this dipshit comment (this is an unaltered copy and paste of his own words) on my post about the bullshit computer-generated images of what the corpse of Jesus Christ supposedly looked like, based upon the fraudulent Shroud of Turin:

Wouldn’t Jesus relates have washed the blood off, you’re an idiot running at the mouth. Abrasion and lacerations, such the extent Jesus suffered would be open wounds that would still secret blood.

This guy calls me an “idiot,” yet writes “Jesus” instead of the possessive “Jesus'”; spells “relatives” as “relates”; uses a run-on sentence right off; misuses the comma in his second sentence; and spells “secrete” as “secret.” Really, if you don’t have a grasp of your mother tongue, how can you have any credibility?

But forgiving his illiteracy, if you look at the photo that I referred to and that he was commenting on —

BIG REVEAL: Information

— that clearly appears to be surface blood that just wasn’t washed off, not blood that would “secret” later. I blame it on the artist/artists just not having paid attention to realistic detail.

So, as is common for a troll, this Combo Troll not only can’t write correct English, but his “argument” is whack.

Now, WordPress is set up so that a first-time comment is not automatically posted. Only after at least one comment has been approved by the blogger can a person leave more comments on a WordPress blog without those comments first having to be screened by the blogger.

Now, I’m at the Internet too much, probably, but I’m not at it 24/7, so it can take some time before I screen a first-time comment on my WordPress blog. But this dipshit Combo Troll apparently believed that I have it set up so that his dipshit first-time comment wouldn’t immediately be posted to my blog, because his second attempted comment was this one:

Awaiting moderation, just like a loud mouth liberal to want to censor opinions.

So here he is, calling (in another run-on sentence, and it’s “loud-mouthed liberal”) what is beyond my control — the fact that the WordPress program automatically subjects all first-time comments to the blogger’s moderation — my “censorship.” Oh, and it’s not just my “censorship.” It’s “liberal” “censorship.” (You know, vast left-wing conspiracy, socialism, tyranny, blah blah blah…)

So of course I approved neither of his comments. I spammed them instead, because spam essentially is what they are (were…).

The first comment I probably would have approved and responded to, had he not then immediately and incorrectly accused me of “censorship” because his ignorant comment didn’t show up on my blog immediately and because he is ignorant of how WordPress works.

I just don’t owe anything to assholes like this Combo Troll, who gives his e-mail address as josephjgates@gmail.com, by the way.

Let’s talk about “liberal” “censorship,” though.

Fact is, the right wing has engaged in censorship, unabashedly, forever. And most of the right wing’s censorship is fucking structural, in that because the corporations own and control most of the mass media outlets, there’s no fucking way that their plutocratic owners and controllers are going to allow anti-corporate messages to get out there. No, it’s quite the status quo, baby, because the status quo has been pretty fucking good for the plutocrats.

Even censorship as it is commonly conceived (structural censorship is quite real, but because it’s structural, most Americans don’t notice it any more than fish notice the water that engulfs them) isn’t a problem when the right-wingers do it, but should the left do anything that has even a whiff of a hint of “censorship,” the wingnuts are the first to cry “censorship” foul.

But the truth is, the more that the left and the right become polarized, and the more hell-bent on Armageddon the wingnuts become — to the point that they seriously would consider handing over the Big Red Button to Sarah Palin-Quayle — the friendlier to the censorship of the right wing I’m getting.

The right wing in the United States of America and its corporately owned and controlled media propaganda machine helped George W. Bush steal the White House in late 2000 and were complicit in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjustified launch of its Vietraq War by acting as cheerleaders for the “shock and awe” instead of as journalists. (Yes, an “embedded” reporter is in bed with someone, and it’s not in bed with us common citizens who need unbiased, critical, accurate information in order to make our democracy — or what we call a democracy, anyway — function.)

FOX “News” and several individuals on the far right, including Sarah “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Palin-Quayle and Glenn Beck, have incited death threats against and the hurling of epithets, spittle and bricks at Democratic lawmakers who voted for a “socialist!” health-care overhaul.

At what point does an individual or group of individuals pass from legally protected free speech to illegal incitement of violence? And cannot free speech meant to promote freedom and democracy be perverted and abused in order to establish right-wing fascism, such as in the case of FOX “News”?*

And a central if not the central idea behind opposition to “censorship” seems to be the woefully misguided belief that all opinions and ideas are of equal merit and quality. Under this thinking, an opinion is an opinion and an idea is an idea, and the opinion or idea of a highly intelligent, educated individual is no better than the opinion or idea of an uneducated dimwit.

That absolutely is untrue.  

Take the recent media coverage of Palin-Quayle’s criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of nuclear arms policy.

OK, first off, Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle doesn’t understand how the system works. She and John McCainosaurus lost the election in November 2008. Lost it. Lost it by seven percentage points — a significant margin.

Fifty-three percent of Americans voting in November 2008 chose Barack Obama to be in charge of the nation’s nuclear arms policy. Fifty-three percent of the popular vote is higher than George W. Bush got in 2000 or in 2004 (election fraud committed by the Repugnicans in both of those presidential elections aside).

Sarah Palin-Quayle is a fucking loser. She fucking lost. But to hear her tell it, she fucking won. Indeed, Emmy-Award-winning Tina Fey’s recent impersonation of Palin-Quayle on “Saturday Night Live” — in which Fey-as-Palin-Quayle identifies herself as having “won the silver medal in last year’s vice-presidential election” — seems to be an accurate statement of how Palin-Quayle views herself.

When Palin-Quayle criticized Obama’s nuclear arms policy — comparing nuclear arms brinkmanship to a schoolyard fight, which is so fucking clever, except, of course, that a schoolyard fight never ends up in the nuclear annihilation of the entire fucking planet (but I guess that we have to forgive the simple-minded Palin-Quayle for having to make complicated things simple for her simple-minded followers) — she remarked that a “community organizer” doesn’t know anything about nuclear arms policy.

Of course, Palin-Quayle conveniently left out the fact that before 53 percent of the American voters elected Obama as president of the United States, more than who ever “elected” George W. Bush, Obama not only was a U.S. senator but he also was a professor of law at the University of Chicago for 12 years (and please tell me what, exactly, is “wrong” with having been a “community organizer,” because I still don’t know) —  and that while Obama was an evil “community organizer,” she was a Miss Alaska beauty pageant contestant. (Um, I am guessing that she didn’t dote on “world peace” during her beauty pageants…)

So let me rephrase the question this way: Would you prefer a former University of Chicago law professor or a former Alaska state beauty pageant contestant to be in charge of the Big Red Button?

Um, yeah…

Not all opinions and ideas — and not all politicians — are equal. Some are superior to others, some are inferior to others.

And it’s the inferior ones that can completely destroy our nation, and if I had to choose between the total ruination of the nation at the hands of the right wing and the “censorship” of the right wing in order to prevent that ruination from coming to fruition, I’d pick the latter, hands down.

As Abraham Lincoln knew during the nation’s first civil war, and as is becoming clearer as the nation’s second civil war approaches, desperate times call for desperate measures.

*This happened in Venezuela in April 2002 — the right-wing media there used the airwaves to lie about President Hugo Chavez having stepped down when, in fact, he had not stepped down but had been the victim of a short-lived right-wing coup — and it can happen here in the United States too, and, as I have written recently, I don’t fully blame President Chavez for having clamped down on the right-wingers in his nation, because they gladly would try another fascistic takeover if they could get away with it.

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Blogiquette 101: When is it OK to delete blog comments?

To delete or not to delete?

That is the fucking question.

My boyfriend has accused me (only half-seriously, I think [I hope…]) of deleting comments on my blog pieces if they are comments written by individuals who simply disagree with me.

Not so.

Thing is, my blog is my baby, and for anyone to just come along and shit and piss upon it — well, again, my blog is my baby, and I’m a fiercely protective mother.

I’m fine if someone disagrees with me. However, I want him or her to put some time and thought into his or her disagreement, as I put some time and thought into my blog piece. I don’t like drive-bys. Drive-by comments on my blog pieces are vulnerable to deletion.

In addition to drive-bys, I hate wingnut trolls who just want to pick a fight instead of have anything like a meaningful discussion. I’ve had more than my share of those.

One wingnut recently started off being somewhat civil when he left a comment, but when it became apparent after a few exchanges that I wasn’t going to convert to his side — the dark side — as a result of what he must have thought was his brilliant fucking rhetoric, it got ugly, with him calling me a “faggot.” (Because those right-wingers are so nice. They have God and Jesus on their side, after all.)

Delete, delete, delete. And he’s banned. Hate speech, directed at me or at someone else, I delete.

Delete, delete, delete.

That’s the only thing to do to an ugly string of exchanges with a wingnut whose only intent is to be destructive, as evidenced by the fact that your comment exchanges no longer have much, if anything, to do with the blog piece that you’re supposed to be discussing.

One old wingnut troll recently left an unsolicited comment on one of my pieces. He disagreed with me. Fine. At least he was sticking to the subject.

But then he and I exchanged several comments until it became clear that it was only destructive, and I told him point-blank at one point in our e-fight that I wasn’t going to keep going around and around with him.

Still he kept leaving malicious comments, which I deleted. I’d told him that I was done with the pointless exchanges. But I left his earlier comments intact, deleting only the later, more ugly and destructive ones.

Later, I decided to leave a thought-out, point-by-point comment on one of his pieces (of shit) — which he promptly deleted.

That is the kind of wrongful deletion that my boyfriend wrongly accused me of. This assbite deleted my comment out of spite, not because my comment wasn’t pertinent to what he’d written. (And, of course, my comment blew him out of the water and made him look like the fucktard that he is. So of course he deleted it. Cockroaches loathe the light.)

It was fine for him to leave an unsolicited comment on my blog, but when I went to his blog for the first time to leave a comment, he deleted it. Winguts can dish it out but they can’t take it. They’re all talk and they cut and run.

After I saw that the old wingnut wouldn’t let me post a comment on his blog after he’d posted on mine, I went back and deleted most of his comments, as they had contributed little to nothing to the discussion. However, because I’m much more of a man than he’ll ever be, I at least left his original comment intact.

However, because he deleted my very first comment from his blog, he’s forevermore banned from posting a comment to mine. Ever. Again. 

This wingnut is old, and so thankfully it shouldn’t be too long before the Universe deletes him.

Anyway, these are my own personal rules of thumb for comments on blogs, mine and others’:

  • You are entitled to only one or two, maybe three comments on any one blog piece, as long as you stick to the subject at hand and don’t use abusive speech or hate speech. The blog’s owner doesn’t have to take your abuse or let it become all about you.
  • If your comment isn’t as thoughtful as the blog piece is, don’t expect your comment to be left standing. Especially if your comment is just a drive-by — especially especially if it’s just a slam or a slur — don’t expect it to stand. (And yes, I prefer even a doting fan to add meaningfully to the discussion, not to just tell me that he or she liked my piece. Surely there was something that I could have said in my piece but didn’t, and so I like the comments section to expand the discussion.)
  • If you get into a drawn-out cat fight with the blogger and the blogger later deletes the ugly chain of comments between the two of you, it’s probably because the ugly chain of back-and-forth backbiting comments grossly detracts from the blogger’s original intent, which was, hopefully, meaningful dialogue, not an opportunity for you to virtually vandalize his blog’s comments section with your venom and bile.
  • If you pitch a fit when others delete your comments that constitute only graffiti that deserves to be removed, but you delete even well-written comments that are germane to the subject at hand, like this old fucking hypocrite does, then you suck and you should go to hell and die, like he should.
  • Just because the blogger is engaging you in his or her comments section does not mean that you are entitled to personal information about the blogger, like this creepy codger thinks he is. You are entitled to discuss only the subject at hand, Dr. Lecter.

Those are the guidelines that come to mind.

You’re free to comment.

Subject to deletion, of course.

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Envy is a blogger without a book deal

I started blogging back in the latter part of 2002 on Salon Blogs. It was a great time to start blogging; in the wake of the destruction wrought by the unelected Bush regime and in the midst of the regime’s impending launch of its bogus Vietraq War, the Internet and its newish “blogosphere” were buzzing with progressives who loved civic engagement (and e-catfights; more on that later…).

I immediately found blogging to be user-friendly — if you can word process, you can blog — and rather addictive. The idea that whenever something pisses me off or whenever there is just something that I want to say, I can post it on the Internet, where anyone in the world can read it — I still like that idea.

I probably would continue to blog no matter how small my audience. Blogging to me is what dancing is to a dancer or painting is to a painter.

Having an audience is great, especially when, like I do, you think that you’re a pretty fucking good writer. But, like any other artist who primarily does it for the love of it and not for the audience, I continue to blog even with a small audience.

But those bloggers who get book dealsarrrggggghhhhhh!

There is Dave Cullen, who, like I did, started out with Salon Blogs. Truthfully, I found Dave’s blog to be rather mediocre. He wrote about the “reality” television show “The Great Race” or whatever in the hell it was called, for fuck’s sake. After each episode, of which I never watched a single one, he’d feverishly let all of us know his every thought and impression of it. Barf bag, please! (If memory serves, Dave’s obsession with the show primarily was because one or more of its cast members he found to be a hottie. [I think it was that one cast member with the Nazi-sounding name… Third Reichen or something like that… Yeah, you know, I just can’t get past a Nazi-sounding name…])

When he wasn’t writing feverishly about his favorite reality TV show, Dave feverishly was writing about his favorite reality TV politician, Howard Dean. I, um, supported John Kerry from the very start, figuring that although Kerry wasn’t my ideological favorite of the Democratic bunch for the 2004 presidential nomination (that wild and wacky Dennis “Snowball’s Chance in Hell” Kucinich was), with his military background Kerry was much more likely to defeat BushCheneyCorp in 2004 than was peacenik Dean. (Unfortunately, 9/11 was still lingering in the national consciousness — endlessly stoked by the BushCheneyCorp, replete with its false color-coded terrorism risk alerts, of course — and I knew that the Repugnicans would make mincemeat of Dean.)

Thankfully, Dean imploded in the snows of Iowa in January 2004 and that was that. But Dave, who had even invaded Iowa with the throngs of other Deaniacs in their tacky bright orange caps, didn’t appreciate my gleeful blogging on Dean’s demise, and if memory serves, that is where it really devolved between Dave and me.    

Dave and I always had fought over Dean vs. Kerry, but after Dean’s demise after the scream heard ’round the world, Dave and I had such serious e-catfights via our blogs’ comments sections that we had to call it quits lest law enforcement officials get involved…

Anyway, if memory serves, I found Dave to be a mediocre writer with waaay too many typos and misspellings, but sometimes compelling, like car accident images on the Internet can be compelling; you know that you probably really shouldn’t look at the spectacle, but you just can’t help yourself. (I seem to remember that I especially enjoyed reading about Dave’s parallel implosion with Dean’s implosion on Dave’s blog. Dave wrote some rather surreal stuff about his Dean-related devastation, if memory serves.)

Anyway, so of course Dave later landed himself a book deal. His book Columbine (a subject that doesn’t interest me; Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” pretty much satisfied that itch for me) as I type this sentence is No. 3,007 on amazon.com, but the book, timed for the 10th anniversary of the suburban teenaged massacre of April 1999, was on amazon.com’s top-100 best-selling books list for at least a little while.

I hate you, Dave. You’re a mediocre writer but you got a book deal. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

No, OK, fine, congratulations, I don’t hate you, really I don’t, in fact, contgratulations, yeah, what-eeever. After all, I just linked to your book on amazon.com and I just might get you another sale or two or three. If I hated you that much would I have done that? No, I think not, Dave.

(If you want to argue about it, Dave, leave a comment on this post, bitch. It would be just like old times. I dare you!)

Even more successful than Dave (ha ha, Dave!) is former Salon blogger Julie Powell. I don’t know her at all — although I was aware of her blog when she and I were fellow Salon bloggers, I never read her blog because I’m not into cooking and her blog was about cooking — but I hate her perhaps even more than I hate Dave because not only did she get a book deal, but she got a fucking movie deal, too. Her book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously is now a frigging movie tie-in paperback with Meryl Fucking Streep on the cover and is No. 54 on amazon.com’s top 100 best-seller list as I type this sentence.

I’m not linking to Powell’s book because once you have Meryl Streep on your resume, you just don’t need any more help, do you?

(Dave, if you get a movie deal, I’m going to find you, and maybe I will massacre you, Columbine-style, and I will use your flesh in one of Julie Powell’s Julia Child-inspired recipes. [Then maybe I could get a book deal…])

Anyway, Salon.com’s editor, Joan Walsh, makes this admission in a rubbing-it-in-my-face blog piece that she posted today about how some Salon bloggers went on to make it big: “The Salon Blogs program was worthy and innovative, but it didn’t get the attention it deserved —  most notably, from Salon.”

Exactly. We Salon bloggers plunked down our $40-a-year fee for our blogs with Salon’s promise that Salon would support us, even promote us, and Salon didn’t. Salon picked a few Salon bloggers, almost seemingly at random, to give some attention to, but the rest of us were ignored.

I guess that in order to have gotten my Salon blog noticed I would have had to have blown former Salon managing editor Scott Rosenberg, who then was in charge of Salon Blogs and whose own Salon blog was lackluster at best (if memory serves, he primarily wrote about technical computer crap, which even I, with my great writing talent, probably couldn’t make interesting — probably).

I did contact Rosenberg a few times to see if he’d promote my blog, but he steadfastly refused. Probably because his own blog sucked. And because he also was one of the Lemmings for Howard Dean and I was one of the few bloggers for Kerry. (OK, so maybe I was the only blogger for Kerry…)

I gleefully note that Rosenberg’s book on — w a i t   f o r   i t — blogging, which was released last month (I won’t help him by even giving you its title), as of right this moment is No. 9,530 on amazon.com.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha, Scott!

Oh, I don’t think that they’ll be making a movie out of your book!

So that’s at least two mediocre bloggers who got book deals, one of them with a book about blogging. 

Anyway, so yeah, as Joan Walsh admitted today, Salon abandoned its bloggers. At one point Salon stopped even mentioning the Salon blogs on Salon’s home page, and then at another point Salon stopped accepting new blogs, and now, at the end of this year, the blogging platform that Salon blogs utilize, Radio UserLand, is going kaput.

At the end of October I switched from Salon Blogs/Radio UserLand to WordPress. I am much, much, much happier with the WordPress blogging platform. Aside from being FREE, WordPress offers a lot more functionality that Radio UserLand ever did. (I can enumerate on one hand what Radio UserLand has that WordPress doesn’t, but I could enumerate on my pubes what WordPress has that Radio UserLand doesn’t.)

Anyway, so I’m happier on WordPress, and I rarely use “I” and “happy” in the same sentence.

But, unfortunately, my readership on WordPress isn’t any larger than it was on Salon Blogs.

And I still don’t have my book deal yet — but I think that I can come up with something for Meryl to do.

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I’m NOT your ho, Mista President

obama-pimp.jpg image by kslaughter_01

A good e-friend of mine of several years asked me in an e-mail yesterday if I’m going to blog in support of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, as Obama has asked bloggers to do.

Um, no, I told my friend.

First of all, I don’t even know what Obama’s health plan is — and I’m not alone. I would need to learn a lot more before I could strongly support or oppose that plan, and that Obama apparently is trying to ram his plan through Congress before September raises a red flag for me. 

Secondly, though, even if I did know what his health plan is, my bachelor of science in journalism instilled in me a strong preclusion from allowing any public official to direct me to write this or write that (or not to write this or that) for his or her political benefit.

When I was earning my print journalism degree, we journalism students used to mock the public relations students (mostly behind their backs) — PR are the first two letters of “prostitute,” after all. We journalism students saw ourselves as guardians of the truth*, and we young idealists were willing to accept the low salary of newspaper journalists. We saw the PR students, who could make a lot more money in PR than they could in journalism, as sellouts willing to mangle the truth for their corporate overlords for cold, hard cash.

My idealism isn’t completely dead even some 20-odd years later, so: Obama won’t be pimping me.

Yes, I’m a blogger, not a journalist in the strict sense of the word.

But blogs have lost all value to democracy and to the free marketplace of ideas when they cease to be independent and critical and start to take marching orders from government officials.

Obama doesn’t get it. Or, more frighteningly, maybe he does.

I get it that political blogs really got their start with the Howard Dean campaign. I was there blogging when that started, in late 2002 and in 2003. The Dean campaign and the Dean campaign’s support throughout the blogosphere (well, I supported John Kerry all along, seeing him as much more likely to defeat George W. Bush in 2004) were a reaction against the damage that the unelected Bush regime had done to the nation, especially its launch of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in March 2003.

But somewhere along the line, the purpose of left-of-center political blogging got lost. Left-of-center political blogs started out being critical of the unelected Bush regime. Now, many if not most LOC political blogs have become mouthpieces for the Obama administration, which rather simply inherited the infrastructure (especially the Internet infrastructure) and the good will of the former Deaniacs.

Blogs are useful only if they can be critical of public officials and of the government when it’s necessary.

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it,” said Mark Twain.

At least where his health care proposal is concerned, I’m not sure whether Obama deserves my support, and he’s not getting it just because he has asked for it — in fact, he’s not getting it especially because he has asked for it and because he has put a tight deadline on it.

P.S. I’ve seen enough to make me skeptical of Obama’s health care proposal, in case you think I’m just being difficult.

P.P.S. My boyfriend thinks that this piece is racist. Meh. I didn’t create the concept of the pimp and the ho, but I am just using that pre-existing cultural material to make my point, which is that I’m pissed off at Obama for trying to pimp me out. My problem with Obama is not that he’s (half-)black; my problem with him is that he shamelessly is trying to pimp me and other bloggers out. 

*Of course, most newspapers are owned by corporations and so there is no true free speech at most newspapers — what newspapers are left, anyway — but that’s another blog post…

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