August 04, 2005

Tit for Tat

Inspired by this, I thought I'd try my hand at a liberal Blog Taxonomy:

1. Daily Kos - Considered a "must read" for the Left, Kos enjoys a substantial Web following that, judging by the comment threads, consists of some of the most tinfoil-hat-wearing feces throwers ever to plug into the Internet. Kos content itself basically consists of "conservatives are EVIL," "Republicans are LIARS," "how can chickenhawks sleep at NIGHT," and pretty much every other standard boilerplate lefty meme that's catnip for the fringe left but basically ignored by anyone toward the center. Oh, and he uses expletives a lot, which I personally admire, but which doesn't do a damned thing to augment any of his points.

2. Atrios - Apparently rapidly running out of unique thoughts of his own, Duncan Black now subsists almost entirely on "Open Threads," wherein he relies upon his slightly less lazy commenting followers to provide him with some topic, ANY topic.

3. Oliver Willis - If it weren't for Kos and Atrios, Oliver Willis could not exist. Just as Darth Vader required the Dark Side powers of Palpatine to keep him wheezing, so too does Willis require his inspiration from Kos and Atrios. If you've read Kos or Atrios, chances are pretty good (99.99 percent) that you've already read Willis. He may be "Like Kryptonite to Stupid," but what he really needs is Miracle Grow For Original Thoughts.

4. Talking Points Memo - If you think THAT blog title is pretentious and boring as hell, consider the author's name, Joshua Micah Marshall. Dude, my middle name is "Carroll," something I try not to advertise too much, but I still think it's better than "Micah." Jeez, even the picture of J.M.M. in the upper left corner looks like he's dozing off. He bores HIMSELF to sleep. His content is less expletive-laden than Kos, and generally more intelligent-sounding, but if you read Kos at all, you realize that that's not that much of a feat.

5. America Blog - Best part of this blog (for now) is the advertisement to the left featuring Xena and Gabrielle in a spa. Too hawt! I can't comment too much on this blog, as I only started perusing it about a month ago. Seems like standard-issue regurgitation. After awhile, having visited Kos, Atrios and the like, you start to wonder if you keep warping to the same damned blog, thanks to the continuity of the Blogads. The soccer chick was hot, at first, but now. . . And I don't want to Expose Santorum, for crying out loud! Think of the children!

Yeah, I could only do a top five list because, honestly, that's about all the lefty blogs I read with any degree of regularity and feel I can critique. They're basically echo chambers for themselves and, sadly for the Left, they're the most popular and well-regarded.

Which is a crying shame, really, because it means quality alternative blogs that actually make you stop and think, like Strip Mining for Whimsy and Man, Robot, MONSTER! and Flaming Text, are relegated to mediocrity. Those are blogs that make Kos and the rest read like the mewling brain drool of retarded kittens.

Posted by Ryan at August 4, 2005 11:18 AM | TrackBack

Ryan, the voice of the whiny right, has probably linked to his own comment here in half the rightie blogs out there.

Posted by: zak822 at August 4, 2005 01:53 PM

That comment looks like English, and it sounds like English when I read it out loud; so how come it doesn't make any sense?

Posted by: Ryan at August 4, 2005 01:58 PM

Aw, thanks! Not surprisingly, I've never read a one of them lefty blogs you mention. Maybe I should start. I've been wondering what opinions I should hold.

Posted by: flamingbanjo at August 4, 2005 02:16 PM

I don't read any of them with any regularity but I did read Oliver Willis alot during the election season. I think you do him a disservice by basically calling him a parrot. But that's alright, you're entitled to your opinion, for now.

Talking Points is a good source for information. Your criticisms of his blog revolve around his middle name? And Micah is short for MacKenzie usually, I have a cousin named Micah. Come on, Ryan, you can do better than that.

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at August 4, 2005 03:02 PM

Johnny, Talking Points Memo is actually one of the most pretentious, self-important liberal blogs of the bunch I listed. His posts just drip with "better than you" nonsense that is incredibly difficult to take seriously when you basically feel as if you're being insulted all the while. And then he puts you to sleep to boot. So, I end up feeling insulted AND tired. Not a particularly good combo. I guess I could have posted all of this rather than rip on his middle name, but his inclusion of his middle name and the pretentious title of the blog are both pretty indicative of the content he produces, so it seemed appropriate.

Posted by: Ryan at August 4, 2005 03:08 PM

Johnny Huh?: Micah is not short for MacKenzie... are you serious? Micah is a biblical name, MacKenzie is a scottish clan. I can't fathom how you could even try to make that claim, especially since people generally don't use shortened nicknames for their middle name.

On a different note, flamingbanjo, have you ever heard of the directive, "if the shoe fits, wear it"? I think we're all happy you don't read Kos, but the fact remains that it is by far the most well-known and -visited liberal blog in the world. Please, continue to not read it, as I assure you that there is nothing of value there. Seriously.

I'm actually a bit heartened that you don't visit it... it shows that SOME liberals try to avoid the echo chamber. In fact, after looking at your blog, I think you seem like a pretty cool guy. Good stuff, keep blogging, but don't expect that everything you read on another blog is a personal affront to you. You'll lose more hair that way. ;)

Posted by: Sean Savage at August 4, 2005 03:16 PM

Sean, I made that statement because I do, in fact, have a cousin who's called Micah when his full name is MacKenzie.

So, it may be a biblical name but its also my cousin's nickname. It is possible for us to both be right since I'm absolutely positive that I am.

I did read Talking Points a long time ago and thought it was pretty well written but I've not been back in well over a year so I have no recent experience.

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at August 4, 2005 06:57 PM

>>>I don't read any of them with any regularity but I did read Oliver Willis alot during the election season. I think you do him a disservice by basically calling him a parrot.

How can u tell he's not a parrot if u don't read the other blogs?

Posted by: Sean P at August 4, 2005 07:27 PM

Yeah, my blog has been around in various incarnations since 1999, and it used to be much farther to the left than it is today. Yet the entire time I would hear people whine that "there are no leftist/progressive blogs".

What they meant, and what Ryan has bought into, is that Leftist/Progressive means focusing soley on electoral politics and cheerleading the Dems while making up bullshit scandals and trying to whip people up into a frenzy over nothing.

You know, pretty much what all of the "right-wing" blogs do but for the Republicans, or Repugnicians, or Repuklicans, or whatever the fuck "clever" name the Atrios types have come up with.

The worst thing is watching two people immersed in this blog culture have an argument. Neither of them makes a point, they just reiterate stupid catchphrases and insults they think are clever. "drink the kool-aid" "tin-foil hat" etc etc.

Anyway, I really wouldn't call any of the sites you listed "leftist" by any stretch of the imagination. None of those folks were in Seattle in 99, or on the streets of DC on April 16th, 2000. None of those folks protested outside the DNC in 2000. None of those folks have been to the World Social Forum, or are involved in grassroots community organizing. Fuck I don't think any of those folks have ever walked a picket line. Folks can disagree with those of us on the left, but please don't lump us in with whiny-assed liberal democrats.

The only "political" blog I ever read is Nathan Newman ( I can't stand any of the ones you mentioned, and don't think I've ready any of them more than twice in my life.

Posted by: Man Robot MONSTER! at August 5, 2005 09:03 AM

Anyway, I really wouldn't call any of the sites you listed "leftist" by any stretch of the imagination.

Nevertheless, they're the major spokesblogs for those who perceive themselves to be Democrats, at least the mainstream understanding of what Democrats are, i.e. those who watch Jon Stewart and think it's an actual news program.

Posted by: Ryan at August 5, 2005 09:21 AM

This blog can't be serious... right? Please tell me I didn't just see Zak822 say the "Whiny Right". The Left has been whining since I can remember. As presented in this, and many other equally inane and asinine blog, the Left has concluded that "If you can't beat 'em, make fun of 'em". The Blogger formerly known as Mar"Kos" is now 0-16 in backing political candidates, The Democratic Underground hasn't vomited up one original thing (except for some outstanding "conspiracy" theories) since it's inception, and let's not even begin on Air(head) Americ-uhhhhhh.

The Left is pathetic. As shown this past Tuesday, and by Hilary Rodham Clinton with Lime, the ONLY way the Left can even BEGIN to think about getting ahead in a poll, let alone an election, is to put on their blinkers and begin to slowly merge into the right-hand lane.

And no, Karl Rove didn't put me up to this.

McCain in '08!
Giuliani in '16!
Romney in '24!

Posted by: jayaivaz at August 5, 2005 04:57 PM

Heh. I still get a kick out of "Carroll." WTF were your parents thinking?

Posted by: Doug at August 5, 2005 08:32 PM

Romney in '24? What's he going to do between the end of his current term and then? He certainly can't get reelected as governor of MA.

I'm confused as to why Ryan reads blogs that he claims have no worthwhile content. I think that Atrios sometimes manages good work on economics, which I believe is his area of knowledge, whereas part of the weakness of many of the blogs criticized in the original taxonomy is that they do what most blogs (including mine) do: talk too much about things they know little about. The Volokh Conspiracy generally is an exception, as the contributors write mostly about law and can claim to be experts in that topic.

And why no criticism of Washington Monthly/ fka CalPundit? Surely Kevin Drum has more of a name among liberals, particularly now that he's being sponsored by a print magazine, than Oliver Willis does. Ditto Matthew Yglesias and Crooked Timber (or would CT also be too "pretentious and boring"?).

Posted by: PG at August 7, 2005 06:05 PM


Nice one. But...

The reason Josh Marshall's site has a "better than you" vibe about it is that he's a journalist. His posts sound unlike most other blogs because they are often the outcome of phone calling or having lunch meetings with significant sources. His forums are full of guest writings by public officials and authors. He's not just a kid with a blog.

Or in other words, he is better than you, hence that vibe you so rightfully describe. But you got him on that middle name thing. He can't defend that. You told him.

But touche on the others. While I don't think you're actually right about any of them - except perhaps Atrios, somewhat; he has been doing this a really long time and might be slightly on auto-pilot these days - it is apparent you can read and form numbered lists.

So nice work, taking someone else's idea and replicating it in a post a third as witty and at least 7% as accurate.

If you want to respond, you'll have to write to me. I'm sure the minute I leave this site I'll forget I was ever here and won't have the chance to see your clever response. It's apparent from all the responses you made in your own comments above how defensive and ego driven this whole thing is.

Keep on truckin....

Posted by: Joe B. at August 7, 2005 09:03 PM

So, Ryan, not to make myself the victim of your witty repartee, because god knows, you certainly have some pointy arrows in your rubber arsenal...but if I may ask a question of you...

Why aren't you enlisted and serving in Iraq?

For thirty years we listened to the whiny Right whine on about how they were 'strong on defense'. And now look, you all display a yellow streak a mile wide...tapping away on your camo keyboards. Have you got a plastic gun and plastic Jesus next to your computer too?

Semper Fi, there, proud member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists...

Posted by: Sticker at August 8, 2005 01:54 AM

America Blog saved the world by exposing Jeff Gannon. That's all you need to know.

Posted by: Dandon at August 8, 2005 02:02 AM

Thanks for the tip on America Blog.

"Join the Fantasy"

If only!

Posted by: byrd at August 8, 2005 01:06 PM

Ha! I can't believe the whiny kids we used to pick on think they are the shit because the man they like is in the whitehouse. Give me a f*ckin break. You're a bunch of freakin lemmings. In between giving your man a BJ, check out these sites and then pucker up before I whoop ya again!

1) Billmon
2) The PoorMan
3) Jesus' General

And yes, you're right, you should never feel insulted for being the dumbass you can't help being. It's just your nature. You're lucky the liberals are liberals cause the day is coming when the right is gonna have to trim the fat and believe me, you're not even chopped liver. But don't worry kids, we won't let daddy take you behind the woodshed. But damn, you sure ain't gettin no sugar!

Posted by: Bush's Bastard Baby at August 8, 2005 09:21 PM

Uh... hey Sticker...

So what you're saying with the enlisting thing is that because he's not a soldier he has no authority to speak about Iraq. Aha.

So, if you're not a minority, you have no right to speak or hold an opinion on race.

If you've never lived below the poverty level, you have no knowledge whatsoever about poverty (hey, we just eliminated Congress in its entirety!).

Unless you're a doctor (or maybe an insurance broker) you have jack shit to say about the health care industry.

Have you ever _been_ an abortion? No? Then you have no right to speak about abortion. Judging from _what_ you write, however, it's not too hard to imagine that your brains have in fact been sucked out the back of your skull.

And again... did a leftist just accuse the right of being "whiney"??? Whining about things has been the ENTIRETY OF THE DEMOCRAT PLATFORM FOR THE PAST FORTY YEARS!!!! How blitheringly ignorant can you possibly be???? (See last sentence of previous paragraph.)

In case you didn't notice... politics is violence. "Mere" words are the first line of assault, literally pulling a trigger is the last; but in the end it's all much the same thing.

Having taken a peek at your website, I see that you're one of those who prefers the type of political philosophy that fits on a bumper sticker. Figures. Try actual complex thought some time.

Posted by: Strider at August 11, 2005 09:22 AM

Strider, you're my hero.

And, yes, I mostly commented just now so the number of comments = 20.

Posted by: Ryan at August 11, 2005 09:42 AM

"Having taken a peek at your website, I see that you're one of those who prefers the type of political philosophy that fits on a bumper sticker. Figures. Try actual complex thought some time."

When I figure out how to put the contents of a manifesto on the back of a moving car for everyone to read, you'll be the first to know.

In the meantime, I've got stickers in 41 states, so I get the message out as best I can using the means availiable.

Besides, all I'm doing is what conservatives taught me...using short, memorable phrases: "Family values", "Strong on Defense", "Fiscal Responsibility", "Small Government", Prayer in Schools", Defense of Marriage".

You see, it doesn't matter if all that stuff Republicans say isn't actually true or applicable to them. They are liars, but they repeat it again and again, in every medium they can, and millions of people believe what is in fact, utter bullshit.

So I'm taking a page from their playbook, but using a little bit more truth than they usually do. Forty-one states and counting...

At least I'm doing something to stand up for what I believe in.

But send me a postcard when you get to Baghdad, and try not to breathe in too much of that depleted uranium our military is using.



Posted by: Sticker at August 17, 2005 01:29 AM

Seven (short) paragraphs to refute the tossed-off cheap shot at the tail end of my comment, and then repeating the idiotic statement that was pretty thoroughly shot down in the bulk of my comment. Of course.

How silly of me. What a waste of breath.

Posted by: Strider at August 21, 2005 01:32 AM

You "pretty thoroughly shot down" his statement?

That's the problem with you people. You're so fucking stupid you can't even understand when you've won or lost an argument. Arguing with you is like punching someone who can't feel pain. You spout off a stream of incoherent nonsense and then pat yourself on your bitter, angry little back and say "Man, I showed him!"

Ryan, I always enjoy this site. Thank god all conservatives aren't as retarded as "Strider".

Posted by: Ed at September 3, 2005 02:00 PM
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