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The Mudville Gazette is pleased to present a new series from cub reporter Howell Raines. "Howell Raines' America" will focus on under-reported segments of American society, with a focus on those things that make America great. Today Raines investigates the world of Web Loggers; ironically a segment of society that some would suggest helped hasten his ouster from a previous job.
Web Logging, or "Blogging" as it's commonly called by its' practitioners, is a fast growing method of internet-based communication. And Web Loggers, or "Bloggers" as they call themselves, represent a growing and vocal segment of society. By some estimates there are 3 million Blogs in the world (or "Blogosphere") today. However, sites that track number and popularity of Web Logs (or "Blogs") rarely list more then 2 to 3 thousand.
After some little research, I discovered these blogs to be fairly evenly split, with approximately half being right wing extremist hate sites and the remainder being more moderate, mainstream pro-Al Gore sites dedicating to righting the wrongs perpetrated on this country in the wake of the 2000 election and the subsequent "war on terror". Although we were able to track down thousands of the right wing conservative neocon pro-war bloggers, we could locate very few moderates. Presumably this is due to the fact that they must remain anonymous due to fear of retribution.
After some effort and a payoff to AOL, I was finally able to set aside some time to visit with a group of these middle-of-the-road Bloggers. This past Sunday morning I found myself in the basement of a nice suburban Boston area home, being entertained by "Bill" as we awaited the arrival of his fellow internet "columnists."
HR: "Bill", you run a highly successful weblog...
Bill: Which one?
HR: Oh, you have several? I was referring to "I Hate Bush"
Bill: Yea, that one. It gets a lot of hits from people who think it's a gay porn site though. I mean, a hit is a hit, so whatever works.
HR: So you have other sites?
Bill: Oh, several. "Bushaterz," "Bushwakkerz," "Bushnazi," "Suzy Cataloni for Homecoming Queen"... A lot of people visit 'Bushaterz' because they think its anti-bus though.
HR: Suzy Cataloni for Homecoming Queen?
Bill: What? Who said that? I never heard of that.
HR: Well you sure are busy. How many Blogs do you produce?
Bill: Well...I'm not really sure. I've forgotten a few. And also it's not all about the blogging. I also go out and comment on the right wing hate Blogs. This lets the wackos know they aren't in control and also brings traffic to my Blogs.
HR: This is why you have to use a false name then, for fear of being targeted by these hate groups?
Bill: Yeah! False names, actually. If I was the only one commenting on the Nazi sites I'd look foolish, I think. So I use several different names throughout the thread.
HR: Ahhh... good tactic. Kinda like what The Party does on voting day. You'll go far. Say, when are your fellow Bloggers going to arrive?
Bill: Oh, any minute, I'm sure. Hopefully soon. My folks are due home from Church here soon...
HR: Oh, this isn't your place? I assumed you were making money with all these Blogs...
Bill: Oh no! I mean, I've got the PayPal things and all...and once someone got me an "Adult Books Online Gift Certificate" from my wish list...
HR: So how did you get started Blogging?
Bill: Mrs. Yablonski's Computer 203 class at Kerry-Heinz High. The whole class does Blogs as a graded project.
HR: Ahhhh... sounds like an excellent teacher...
Bill: She's cool. She taught us a lot about what's wrong with America today. And this one time we each entered all our Blogs in a contest, then voted for each other and ourselves in our other Blogs. It was cool. I won.
HR: Wow! With that integrity level you could go far in the newspaper business too...say, are there really any other Bloggers?
Bill: Naah. I'm the only one. Sorry.
HR: That's okay kid. You remind me of me. Hey, are there any other moderate bloggers at all?
Bill: I met one in a chat room once. But you can't believe everything people tell you on line...
HR: Wow. You really work hard at this. Do you have time for a girl friend? Or whatever?
Bill: Yea! I got a girl friend! You don't know her 'cause she goes to another school across town...
Well, Bill's folks came home and he made me sneak out because he wasn't allowed to have people over when they weren't there. But I'll always remember that I was the first to interview a possible future President of this great land of ours.
I'm Howell Raines, and that's Howell Raines' America. Good day.
Instant classic from the underground blog hero! Well done, LMAO!Posted by "D" at June 11, 2003 08:37 PM
I don't understand. If this was written by Raines, where's the lament for a dying way of life? Where's the anthropoligical study of 'average americans' in their natural habitat? Me thinks Mr. Raines didn't actually bother to visit any of these so called 'bloggers'. Has anyone checked his ticket stubs or expense account? :)Posted by Sean Kirby at June 11, 2003 10:20 PM
I paid him with a rubber check anyway.Posted by Greyhawk at June 12, 2003 08:37 PM
We Rains/Raines researchers are participating in a DNA Project and need an email address or US Mail for Howell Raines . Can you help by forwarding my phone or Email address to him