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July 17, 2005
Left, Right, PostBy Greyhawk
The Washington Post profiles two bloggers from opposite sides of the political spectrum. The article includes a great section on the heritage of the modern political blog. It's a must read. It's a good read.
Likewise see the responses from the individual bloggers, Left and Right. To confess my own bias, I've enjoyed Betsy's Page for quite a while. Mahablog is another predictable "Chimpy McHitlerburton" site. Today's left subscribes to a rigid orthodoxy from which they can't veer. This may be the reason there is one big lefty blog and a few smaller ones scattered over the net. Read one and you've read them all.
You might notice I don't use the terms "liberal" or "progressive" when addressing the Left here. They have been neither for quite some time. (See "rigid orthodoxy" above.) They still refer to themselves in such terms, of course. I blame Rush Limbaugh for maintaining their delusion.
Individuals on the Right also often shut down opposing views, of course, but the spectrum of opinion on virtually every topic I can name seems broader across the Right. Perhaps that's because it's currently defined as anyone who doesn't adhere to the left's strict orthodoxy on every conceivable point.
There are liberals who are left of center, of course, but the signal to noise ratio is falling fast.
By all means, if someone can offer a legitimate example of a substantive issue on which the Left embraces a spectrum of opinions please do.
Update: Another illustration of Left/Right world view. Check out this video from CNN. Lou Dobbs introduces a segment on the "Plamegate" story - a report that Karl Rove learned of Plame's employment from a reporter, not vice versa. After the intro and before the video of the report a female voice on air says "that's bullshit".
At first listen you might think it's a rather obvious and unfortunate example of newsroom bias inadvertantly exposed. But on a few seconds reflection the thought that it's fake comes to mind, along with the even more likely idea that the individual could have been responding to something else entirely - maybe someone else ate all the pizza.
Likewise at first I was surprised that a left-leaning blog would carry the video. Then I read the comments:
THAT is great. It restores your faith...And the topper:
Look for some rightie blog to link to this and cite it as an example of liberal media bias. Screw them!Actually, it's an example of an extremely unliberal media bias. But only a liberal could see that.
Update 2 Read the whole thing, but don't miss the bottom line at Lex's. I missed the gimme putt.
Posted by Greyhawk / July 17, 2005 5:59 PM | Permalink
The WaPo's David Von Drehle brings forth an article outlining the extremes of the blogosphere, using hyper-liberal scold Barbara O'Bryan of the "Mahablog " as a foil against high school teacher Betsy Newmark of "Betsy's Page " to illuminate the separ... Read More
First, Greyhawk takes a look at a recent Washington Post article that examined a lefty blog and a righty blog. Greyhawk is one of the best writers around. Here's a bit of his take on the lefty blogs' self-destruction:...You might Read More
You may have heard educational concerns such as "No student left behind" or "Why Johnny can't read." I have a similar concern for the Left and express that as "Why the Left can't learn". I am trying to understand why many, if not most, people on the le... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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