Since I’m filling in this afternoon as the FDL crew recuperates or heads off to yet another blogfest, I thought I’d take the opportunity to dish about Jane and Pach and Christy behind their backs a little. And you too.
I think we can all agree that FDL made quite a splash at YKOS, can’t we? I was watching from afar, as most of you probably were, and people came over to my blog drooling over Jane and Christy. (I’m sure they would have drooled over Pach too, if they’d seen him.) The blogosphere was proud as a peacock to have such smart hot women representing them. Not that physical attractiveness is the most important thing, by far, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Plame panel was a huge hit, fascinating and insightful — and regardless of the snooty pooh-poohing of the mainstream bozos, when Joseph Wilson and Murray Waas were given standing ovations, it choked me up, and I’ll bet it choked up a lot of people in that room too. I’ve been following Waas since the 90′s when he was one of the few who kept his head and exposed the fetid underbelly of the anti-Clinton movement in Salon Magazine. And any man who was willing to take on both Saddam Hussein in 1991 and the Bush Administration in the spring of 2003 cannot be considered anything but a hero. How proud I was to be a member of this tribe at that moment.
I believe this event represents the beginning of the next phase of the blogosphere. It’s still a nascent medium, to be sure, but it’s changing so fast it’s hard to see down the road even a few months. As I watched and read about the convention I was struck by the fact that FDL may represent the next phase of blogospheric political action. With the Roots project, political theatre like the Rubber Stamp campaign, and Jane and Christy and Pach’s public involvement. I think this community is developing into a new blog paradigm — focused, direct action, not just on campaigns, although that’s important, but on long term local development and immediate concentrated effort toward specific issues and causes that feed into the long term progressive strategy. Others are doing similar things, of course, and there will be more. But I think that Jane’s vision of internet community action is a little different thing than we’ve seen before — starting with her direct campaigns to mau-mau the media and now building a local internet infrastructure by listening closely to her readership and fostering a sense of mission among them.
This is a point that I think the media missed entirely in their coverage of the event. They focused, as the media always does, on the "leadership" talking about blogospheric hierarchy and inner circles and ministries. Very few bothered to focus on the attendees who were there as members of blogging communities rather than as bloggers. And that’s where the action is. Instead we get "observations" from such ex-blogging luminaries as Ana Marie Cox in which average blog readers are quoted on their preference for dropping bombs from 30,000 feet above rather than sticking a "bayonet in the enemy’s eye." She later brought up "militancy" and "lynching" (apparently because someone asked her to shut her piehole during a presentation.) I think you can see what she was getting at.
As far as I can tell, other than a few observations from reporters about how geeky or how old the participants were, nobody so far has seemed much interested in why people from all over the country, people who are not bloggers and who don’t have a profile, spent their hard earned money to come and meet others who participate in this thing of ours. And I think that’s the interesting story. Indeed, it’s the most important story. People are getting involved. They are personally putting their energy and their time and their money into politics on both the grassroots and the national level because of big communities like Kos, Atrios and FDL and smaller political spaces where the ideas and the dialog get refined. The political conversation is changing. Why, even Tim Russert finally understands that the left blogosphere is becoming a media voice for the Democratic party. (Of course he compared it to talk radio which was a big money, top-down wingnut project — the opposite of the bottom up left blogosphere. Baby steps.)
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed hearing questioners at the panels asking bright informed questions and adding erudite, well reasoned comments, many of which have developed in our ongoing blogospheric gabfest. These same people (you) are taking those questions and comments to water coolers and dinner tables all over the country and passing them along to the real world. And you are going out and making change based upon what we’ve learned and how we see politics. This is how movements are made.
The blogosphere has many wonderful leaders and writers, some of them on this very blog. But it’s really the blog readers like the Firedoglake brigade who are on the cutting edge of the new American politics. Take a bow.
Thanks to Neutron at Daily Kos for the great pic.