Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bit of a Blogaround

As promised, and to get myself through a morning when the building's boilers have shut off:

• Bob Harris manages to tie in the Moominites-in-Boston scare story with recent political propaganda. Bemoaning the fact that the phrase "bomb hoax" is still being used by the press and prosecutors despite the fact that neither hoax nor bomb were ever involved, Harris observes,
Consider: this is what happens when local officials briefly utter nonsense about a single, simple, and domestic issue that is immediately debunked. The horseshit still takes weeks to filter out.

Now imagine the case when powerful national officials repeatedly utter manipulated half-truths about multiple, complex, overseas concerns that are later debunked....And then, years later, the reality-based community wonders why millions of Americans still don’t understand basic stuff like Iraq’s lack of connection to 9-11. We wonder how Bush can get away with blurring Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda in the recent State of the Union address. But maybe it’s no wonder at all.
Something to remember amidst all the current propaganda about Iran.

• A couple good posts from Cheryl Lynn, A tip for artists about how to draw clothing on women and a Warning about some salty/peppery language in a realization that, if something's not being created to your satisfaction, you may just need to create it yourself.

• Some cherce navel-gazing going on of late; I think we go inside because it's too cold to go outside. Kevin Church has a good blogging tutorial up, and Pen-Elayne techie friend Laura Gjovaag (who again strongly advised on the phone last night that I make the darn switch to "new Blogger" already, which I'll probably do this weekend) adds in some advice of her own.

• Meanwhile in the political 'sphere, two big stories are consuming bloggers who enjoy talking about themselves and each other. The first involves the reactionary smear machine against beloved blogger Amanda Marcotte (now being expanded to include Melissa McEwen) for daring to be interesting and forthright and not an echo chamber automoton, all valuable qualities that the John Edwards for President campaign obviously admired enough to hire her to oversee their blog. Seems like what we have here are some very jealous folks desirous of publicity seeking to pump themselves up (as their influence decreases commensurate with the power of the current administration) by putting someone else down and offering unnecessary advice to a politician they don't like anyway. (Chicago Dyke at CorrenteWire has some good advice to Edwards, and Sheelzebub speaks to the reactionaries.) And since they can't dispute factual (and actual) citizen journalism, they resort to semantic nitpicking and accusations of incivility. I think the best commentary on this is by Glenn Greenwald's Angry, uncivil liberal bloggers. "Somewhere along the way it was decided that the most egregious act of 'incivility' is not spewing vile ideas or violence-inciting rhetoric, but instead, the absolute worst injury to our body politic, the most disturbing sign of 'anger,' is the use of naughty words."

• The other internal, and perhaps eternal, dilemma among those who care about such things concerns the reaction to Atrios' Blogroll Amnesty Day, with his misuse of the word "amnesty" the way others misuse "meme." It seems Jon Swift got the ball rolling with an uncharacteristically non-satirical statement of his blogrolling policy (basically reciprocal, same as most of us). Then skippy got in on the act, here and here and here (skippy has always had the most open and welcoming blogrolling policy of anyone I've seen in "our" side of blogtopia, a word which, yes, he coined) and PZ clarified his position and yadda yadda. (CE Petro has a nice roundup.) Now, as mentioned before I've dropped from mammal to marsupial on NZ Bear's ecosystem, but them's the breaks. This is my personal blog, not the money-making one. The blogging goals I set for myself were long since met, and have nothing to do with comparative popularity. If I don't post enough, or have enough focused posts, to stay on Atrios' blogroll or be noticed by Markos or any of the other male A-list bloggers, that's the way it goes. As for my blogroll, I update it regularly when I know an URL has changed or someone's stopped blogging; it takes maybe an hour to do a fairly thorough maintenance update, so I'm not sure what the whining is about, except the elitist angle. If you're going to broadcast that you're dropping folks for no other reason than you've decided not to read them, that just doesn't look good. I read everyone on my blogroll via Bloglines, so if I chose not to read someone who's still posting regularly I'd take them off Bloglines, not my sidebar. Having an outdated sidebar is sloppy; having one that doesn't necessarily jibe with one's regular reading habits, particularly after four years, is par for the course.

• There's also a little fallout from last Sunday's Superbowl ads. I'm not going to talk about the Snickers controversy, as that's already been dealt with by far better bloggers. No, what intrigued me was this chart by Quiddity on the level of cartoony violence in the ads. He asks, "Is it just a random phenomenon, or is it an indicator, however weak, of a change in the modes of thought in this nation? You could get political and argue that ever since the Iraq war got started, this nation, or at least a significant portion, has moved towards a more confrontational attitude in all things. Or maybe it's less the war, and simply a derivitave of the fierce competition that's been on display in television shows like Survivor, Big Brother, Fear Factor, et al. Or maybe it doesn't mean anything at all." And Bernie at PopPolitics remains skeptical about the "absent presence" of women in many of the ads.

• The atrocities continue. Your Must-Ready Digby for the week is about Dick Cheney setting himself up as a fourth (and superior) branch of government; all the more reason to work for his impeachment/resignation before Bush's. Melanie spots a new ballot initiative proposal in WA regarding a certificate of marital procreation; say what? And Kathy Flake takes a local gander at the Bernard Matthews factory farm.

Oh, thank goodness, it's finally warmed up again. Of such things are winter colds born.