Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Media is not everything

I have to commend Andrew Sullivan's take on Andrew Breitbart, rightroots hero:

Breitbart, like Drudge, gets the web. He understands its subversive and rhetorical power: the sheer thrill of the direct access to millions, the fuel that ideology brings to everything, the traffic that anger summons like a dog whistle to the alienated. This is an angry time, and the web helps tap our anger, monetize it, leverage it in intoxicating ways. I don't begrudge him one bit his fury at some liberals' smugness, or the p.c. nonsense of the 1990s, or the cant of a lot of academia. I never came from liberalism, so I never felt I had to shuck it off.

But Drudge has kept himself sealed off as a human being for a reason, I suspect. He's public only as an avatar. It is because this transparent, raging, brutal world is too destructive to the soul and the psyche to remain so exposed in such a raw fashion for so long without serious damage. Drudge is smart. Andrew, I suspect, will realize how smart eventually.

Yep, death happens because the Internet has replaced life for some but it hasn't abolished the real thing. And Breitbart's vulnerable moment in the piece shows how even the enraged and always offensive are sad and defensive at times, vulnerable often. The web has not banished these truths. Ideology is false. Labels obscure. Rage eventually undoes the enraged, even if the anger is merited. And no, media isn't everything. The battle isn't everything.

I don't follow Breitbart's work, but he's always struck me as a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Sullivan, for his quibbles, is able to put this stuff in perspective. It's a good bit of wisdom that all of us netroots types should heed.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.