Thursday, June 07, 2007
Now I Get It
I have often wondered why Time contributor Joe Klein is such a special target of left-wing blogger wrath. He's a capable journalist and the author of one truly fine novel, Primary Colors. I don't much like it that he falsely denied that authorship - but Kos contributors who crouch in the cowardice of anonymity do not have much standing to criticize him on that score.
My own working theory till now has been that the anti-Klein sentiment exposes the tyrannical impulses of the American Left. Being a left-leaning journalist is not sufficient, comrade! We demand total unquestioning obedience! You are guilty of deviationism and individualism: Go practice self-criticism until you are prepared to submit to the perfect correctness of the thoughts of Chairman Kos!
I still believe that there is much truth to my working theory. Today's Klein post , however, compels a revision. Here's the key sentence:
[T]he smart stuff [in the left-wing blogs] is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn't move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed—especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable.
Sorry Joe: that's whining. In a media age, we who write make public figures of ourselves. We seek a public platform, but the prominence of our platforms carries a price. There will be criticism, and not all of it will be fair. Words will be misconstrued, false stories will be circulated. We've all experienced it. It comes with the territory.
Yes, you get targeted because of your not-left-enough politics. Yes, no doubt many of your critics resent and envy your platinum membership in the DC Media Club.
But I am now wondering whether your critics did not also sniff out the self-regard, self-importance, and - yes - vulnerability exposed in the post quoted above. Just as you say, the left-wing bloggers are fierce, intolerant, and often witless bullies. But remember: bullies prey on weakness. Your quavering, pitiful, "hey cmon you guys, quit it" pleas only invite more pummelling. Be a man! Stop complaining. Stop paying the Danegeld of false compliments to people who don't deserve them. Hit back when you must; otherwise suck it up and keep working.
Update: Eli Lake adds a comment.
I bet at least half of the netleft are failed professors, over-educated literary theory PHDs, who make themselves appear more numerous than they arethrough their anonymity and deliberate manipulation of google. Their real audience are the technocrat staffers for Dems on the Hill, who agreed with them that their bosses were pushovers during the Bush presidency.
What if the netleft, that has created the impression that there is a rising plurality that would like to abandon Iraqis to Qaeda, Quds and the Ba'ath, are just a few thousand committed Marxists in their pajamas? What if the Dems have strategically miscalculated? What if their over-compensation is to appease a vocal 1 percent of the electorate that actually draws contempt from the rest of the country?
06/07 10:07 AM