I'm here at Blogworld Expo this week and will be posting notes from the sessions I attend. This session was about making the political conversations in the blogosphere more cordial. I took a lot of snarky notes that I deleted halfway through. It just didn't feel right to do that. Instead, I'll just give a summary and analysis.
First off, the people in the room all had unhappy looks on their faces. They also sat away from each other. It looked like a prison yard where no one knew who among them had the bed spring that was sharpened into a knife point. This contrasted with the fun and friendly atmosphere of the marketing sessions I attended.
Michael Medved was the moderator and did a good job of it despite finding out he was going to be the moderator only a few minutes before the session started. The panel included Gateway Pundit, Roger Simon, Jeralyn Merit who runs Talk Left, Natasha from Pacific Views and Captain Ed.
Much of the conversation circled around what was and was not acceptable conversation on their blogs. There were varying levels of moderation. From time to time one side would try to cast the other as the real reason the conversation was so hostile. Gateway Pundit pointed to a blog analysis that showed that lefty blogs have 18 times as much cursing as righty blogs. The lefties didn't deny this fact, but claimed that the Bush administration policies were the real obscenities. Michael Medved asked if obscenities coarsened the tone of the conversation on the blogs, but the lefties weren't bothered by it.
Well, !#^!*&!(&%@#! Me neither.
Actually, I think it does. I am easily the most foul-mouthed person at work and I dislike what it does to my conversations and the way people react to it. It's just a habit that I have failed to take the time and effort to break. ^@*@(! I need to get to work on that.
There was more conversation on how things were moderated. Natasha tried to get Michael to disavow Michelle Malkin and Misha the Rottweiler over their attacks on the Democrats' poster family for S-CHIP. Michael said he did not agree with their methods, but said if you were going to be used as a national prop by a political party, you pretty much had to take what came with it. Just for the record, I dislike both Malkin and Misha for the reasons the lefty bloggers enumerated.
As the session neared it's end, an interesting thing happened. Each of the bloggers talked about how they didn't like to be categorized. Roger Simon said he was socially liberal and a war hawk. Jeralyn Merit from Talk Left was pro-gun. Michael Medved talked about how he was pro-immigration and Captain Ed said he was disappointed in how the Republicans were obsessed with sex. What it showed was that these opinion makers of the blogosphere don't fit into pigeon holes and they are not tools for one party or the other. That is a huge sea change in the political environment. Political parties are watching the populace pixelate into smaller and smaller, semi-disjoint subgroups.
Before I go farther, I want to respond to Captain Ed's assertion that sex should be way down on everyone's list of priorities. I'm a single father. I live with the results of loose morality every day of my life. Society's attitudes towards sex should be #1. It's not even close. Still think it doesn't matter? Live it up, guys. Enjoy.
When immigration came up, Natasha told the audience that if they had eaten food in the United States, they had hired an illegal alien. That's the same kind of illogical reasoning as the whole chickenhawk argument. Statistically speaking, if you're over, say, 40, then you are virtually guaranteed to have executed a financial transaction with a child molester. I guess that makes Natasha a pedophile supporter. She should be ashamed of herself. If not, she can rest assured that I was ashamed for her.
During the Q&A session, one of the lefties in the audience asked why there weren't more working-class families blogging. Hidden question: "Where is the enraged proletariat in all of this?" The panelists all responded that in all likelihood, working-class families didn't have the time to blog. Captain Ed hit it out of the park by mentioning how low the barrier to entry is for blogging. He was the only one who did so. Before I asked the question described below, I responded to this. I told them that there were plenty of working-class bloggers. Most of the momblogs out there and the contributors to the Festival of Frugality were working-class. They just aren't a pack of angry political cranks. They're happy people who share stories and tips with each other. They have fun, they don't spend their time angry and outraged. Try Scribbit if you want to see someone who does it well and then look at all the mombloggers who leave comments in her posts.
As I watched the discussion unfold, I kept being struck by the incongruity of it all. At the end, I finally got to ask them my question. Weren't they struck by the irony of the whole thing? Here they were, living in the greatest nation on God's green Earth (to borrow Michael's tag line), blogging on computers across a sophisticated network in houses and offices unmatched for comfort and luxury in the history of Mankind and they were endlessly carping and whining and being outraged.
After a full hour of discussing how people on their blogs were behaving like distempered wolverines, the collected panel engaged in faster backpedalling than unicycle-riding bears at the circus. Oh, no, they weren't outraged, they were educating and discussing and illustrating and guiding and ...
Oh, get over it. Look at the audience and read the comment streams. There is a constant sense of rage and unhappiness on these blogs. Yep, I engage in it, too and I hate what it does to me after I blast someone over politics.
Michael Medved followed this up with an outstanding observation that there is a huge gratitude deficit in this country and we spend way too much time being outraged. Amen, brother!
The whole thing made me want to eschew politics forever on my blog. I won't, of course, because from time to time I'm moved to blog about it and the posts are just so darned easy to write.
I'm sure I'll think of more on this topic later, but I'm going to go work out now and watch ESPN. If the TV in the gym is set to CNN, I'll change the channel. I can do without all the negativity, thank you very much.
Update: Despite my snarkiness, Captain Ed linked to this! Yay! Thanks, Captain Ed. The Feline Theocracy will soon welcome you into the fold.
Update 2: Gateway Pundit linked, too. Hooray!