Saturday, July 19, 2003

Bon Dieu de bordel de merde-- ANOTHER EMAIL!

A real live email from someone I don't know!

(Note to everyone: Yes, please assume that your emails, once sent to me, may see the light of day. They may be printed unedited and in their entirety, or they may be edited for space, for content, or for any other reason. I will never add a pornographic coda to your email, however much it deserves one.)

Soooo.... a friend of a friend of a friend appears to have gotten around Satan, my spam filter, and sent me an actual, substantive letter! I quote in full:

Howdy Big-H from NY,
The ImpQueen linked a bunch of us in a spam-a-thon to your blog. I was reading through your repost of's headliner for the 16'th and considering the parallels between Watergate and Cheney's current line that Saddam has WMD. Wondering how much Bush jr (like Nixon in the past) knew of the 'issue' and encouraged, in one form or another, the VP to pursue, thereby getting results he (jr) desires while still maintaining plausible deniability.
Just the thinks me thinks without really thinking

I've seen "BLOG's" popping up more and more, does the term blog stand for something in particular?


Well, if the supertalented ImpQueen wants me to link her back, I will, but since most of her lovely works are on AOL, I don't think I can link to those from the cyber-Outback where I am. Unfortunately, I've also chosen a blog template that doesn't include permanent links displayed as a column on the right or left margin, so I'm periodically obliged to re-link, just to remind people of who my friends are.

To answer your last question first--

You want to know what a "blog" is. It's short for "weblog" or "web log." Though I'm a drooling, crapping-in-my-already-soggy-diapers Internet retard, I think I'm correct to say a blog is a subset of a larger category called websites, cyberentities that have been around for ages. Blogs, at least originally, distinguished themselves from typical websites by (1) being way easier to set up and maintain, (2) being text-only, and (3) featuring content that amounted to little more than what you might find in someone's diary. So, at least originally, a blog was a wussified website, a patch of cyber-earth where you, Joe Nothing, set up your tent and started spouting Joe's Musings to anyone who'd listen, and maybe, if enough people read your blog, you could become a Joe Something.

There are now tons of blogs (probably no exaggeration to guess they number in the millions), and they've evolved in form and content. The champion bloggers are people like Andrew Sullivan (gay conservative) and Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.

Many folks are beginning to view blogs as a bona fide cultural phenomenon. Astute bloggers (of whom I am not one; I'm still way behind the curve) have been credited with breaking (and staying with) news stories faster and better than the mainstream newspapers (cf., for example, The Drudge Report, another flagship blog). Quite a few "big" bloggers are actual journalists or professionals themselves. Some, like Stephen den Beste, seem to be intermittently employed but voluminous of brain.

What blogs do is take advantage of the democratizing nature of knowledge on the Internet. The fact that people from all over can link to their online research, or link to each other, simply increases the rate of overall democratization. But since this "blogosphere" is simultaneously collaborative and competitive-- as you'd expect in a democratic milieu-- some blogs do rise above the mundane.

Personally, I doubt mine will. The flagship blogs are very focused, and you'll have noticed that they include a ton of bells and whistles-- an indication of how blogs are evolving back into good ole websites. Advanced bloggers post photos, take reader comments through automatic comment-thingies, and do everything you'd expect to find on a typical website. So blogs are, in a sense, losing some of their distinctive blogosity.

[NB: One should perhaps strive not to include the word "blog" in too many sentences, as I am doing; such overinclusion produces a lexical nightmare I hereby dub the "Smurf Effect," in which one word, conjugated and declined a hundred ways, comes to dominate your vocabulary, and therefore your thought process... sort of like the ever-shrinking dictionary in Orwell's 1984.]

But not all bloggers consider themselves contributors to the New Wave. Some, like yours truly, simply like the idea of mentally masturbating in public, which is why you'll find my blog to be a mixed bag of unfocused musings on politics, religion (my pet subject), culture, Koreana, etc.

I've heard that the blogosphere tends to skew libertarian, but I have to say that I've found the conservative bloggers to be quite the online force. Liberal blogs do exist, but from what I hear, they're a small slice of the pie. That may change with time.

If you want to start your own blog, adding your lone voice to the babble of millions, I'd suggest going to the Blogger site, where, within about 20 minutes (if you're on a fast connection), you'll have your very own functioning blog. Don't be discouraged by the thought that you're jumping into this kind of late, that there's a sea of voices already out there. Think of it this way: whether blogs exist or not, you're ALREADY a tiny speck on an overcrowded planet surrounded by a sea of voices. But should you take the plunge and start up a blog, you elevate your status from "puny dingleberry" to "puny dingleberry WITH BLOG"-- and instant access to the disparate thoughts of bloggers in Iran, South Korea, and even that awful den of intellectual inbreeding known as Peoria, Illinois.

So that was a long-ass answer to a short-ass question (and not your most important-ass one, either). Such prolixity is called "blogorrhea," derived from "logorrhea," itself from the Greek "logos," meaning "word" or more generally, "ordered discourse." (Search around for an online glossary of blog-related terms.)

OK, shut up, Kevin.

As for the Bush issue, and whether there are legitimate Watergate parallels...

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have the political astuteness of a yak. As my closest friends can vouch, I'm a flaming religious liberal (being Christian and not believing in a literal God, literal resurrection, etc.,and being partial to Zen and philosophical Taoism), but politically, I'm not much of anything. I see merits and demerits in both the liberal Democrat and conservative Republican worldviews.

I agree with mainstream Republicans, for example, that big government is a bad thing, and localization of responsibility is better than centralization of it. Local action is always best. I disagree, however (and maybe paradoxically), with the idea that lowering taxes is necessarily the best way to go. I also disagree with the Bush Administration's ironic moves to increase the power of the government as it prosecutes its war on terror (and will always disagree with the religious Right's attempts to fuck with personal morality through legislation), and with its profligate spending. However, I agree in large measure with a conservative thinker like Bill Whittle (read his lengthy "Trinity" essay on his blog) when he describes how wealth is generated and should distribute itself. I disagree, however, with Whittle's triumphalistic tone, and question the implications of some of his points.

Confused? Me, too. And I haven't provided a single substantive response to your very intelligent email.

I think that, if you flip through the e-pages of a liberal site like, you'll end up feeling that Bush is the cause of everything from current administration scandals to the strange new blisters on your girlfriend's labia majora (and, curiously, her pet dachshund's tongue). If you head over to a website like National Review Online, however, Bush will appear just one fatal pretzel-choke away from sainthood, knighthood, and Frat Boyz N' Da Hood.

All of which is my way of dodging your question.

If I were you, and I wanted real info, I'd start with the Drudge Report. Drudge gets lumped with conservatives, but FOLLOW HIS LINKS to various blogs and news sources, many of which have a non-conservative slant. Strive for BALANCE by viewing stuff that pisses you off along with stuff you agree with.

Anyway, thanks for writing, sorry to be a weasely buttwipe about politics (I simply don't know enough to provide intelligent commentary), and enjoy the blog.


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