Thursday, July 13, 2006

Who Gets the Best Cocktail Weenies

I think this Noam Scheiber post really lays out, once again, what's eating the boys at TNR. They're obsessed with who is and who isn't perceived as important, and who's getting the good cocktail weenies. It's strange, really, and it's driving them to constantly troll the blogosphere in a self-refuting fashion. You know, if we're not important just ignore us. I really don't care.

And, for the record, I'm reasonably sure I've never written anything which implied that I thought senators were spending their time reading this blog. Still, having said that, TNR's knee-jerk elitism is coming through again. Very little of politics has anything to do with the rarified world they imagine they preside over. There are a variety of communities and modes of discourse and whatever one might think of them they exist and politicians and political movements will ignore them at their peril. Implying the rabble bloggers should be ignored is no different then thumbing your nose at NASCAR fans or whatever the latest (mostly inappropriate) symbol of anti-elitism is. Democrats long ignored talk radio based on similar impulses and look how well that's worked out. I started this blog and adopted this style in part because I thought it was important to introduce a more combative and caustic discourse on our side. I'd be quite happy and comfortable in a world where politics more closely resembled an academic seminar - that is where I come from, after all - but we don't live in that world and it's a tragic mistake to pretend we do.

TNR's game has always been marginalization, and they've managed to marginalize themselves out of a subscriber base. I don't know why they still consider this to be wise business model. I guess it makes them feel good about themselves. Still, regularly writing "Don't read Atrios! He sucks and uses bad words" is really a rather boring endeavor.

Iny case, this provides me with an opportunity to bring up something which I'd been meaning to since the Zengerle Affair. Recently Noam Scheiber claimed he always thought the Iraq war was a bad idea, citing something he'd written 2 years after the fact to justify that claim. Curious, I checked to see if he'd written anything to that effect in the actual pages of his magazine before the war. I couldn't find anything. I also scanned through much their earlier blog, &c, which was mostly written by him and couldn't find anything there either, though if I missed something I'm happy to be corrected.

I think it's pretty odd that someone would think something as important as a war was a bad idea, have a somewhat influential media outlet in which to express that idea, and never bother to do so. Could it be that there's some sort of kingpin at TNR who controls the financial strings, and has an influence over what the people who work there feel they are able to write about? Is it possible that the people who work for TNR aren't the independent voices we were led to believe they are? Is it possible concerns about finances and employment have an impact on their editorial stances? Shocking, I know.

...slight correction, albert reminded me that Senator Santorum claims to be a reader which I probably acknowledged at some point, though I don't actually believe he is. Just in case, hi Ricky!