September 10, 2006 - September 3, 2006
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Stepping in it.
WHEN MOMS CRY
Since nobody else will say it, I will. This woman is having an ugly
nervous breakdown, and if her family have any sense of dignity or
propriety they will go to Texas and drag her home.
I understand the circumspection that has accompanied most commentary on
the matter of Cindy Sheehan. She's a mother who (gulp) lost her son.
Thus, even those who are deeply offended by her rhetoric express it
indirectly. They blame the leftist hate machine which has obviously
worked hard to exploit her, or they speak on behalf of the military
mindset which is not flattered by the attempt to reduce their
brave sacrifices to victimhood. You can see
this kind of tact well executed by Michelle Malkin
, and others all over the internet. Ms. Malkin and Bill
O'Reilly discussed the matter on television and couldn't begin a single
exchange without reiterating their profound sympathy for Ms. Sheehan. I
appreciate their dilemma, but there are too many important points at
issue here to let it go.
Yes, it is a terrible thing to lose a child. But I'm getting tired of
hearing the rote assertion that it's the worst thing that can ever
happen to you, you never get over it, and no one who hasn't had the
experience can ever understand. It's as if this category of event,
"lose a child," represents some kind of emotional tree-line which, once
passed, automatically elevates a person into a new state of existence
from which ordinary mortals are excluded. It's the Skull & Bones of
parenthood, an elite membership which confers extraordinary privilege
and exemption from all merely human judgment or criticism.
Pardon me, but that's a crock. On several levels. Anyone who has lived
more than a few decades comes to understand that life is largely about
loss. The longer we survive, the more we lose: grandparents, parents,
friends, lovers, wives, husbands, family, pets, and any number of dreams,
possessions, and ideals, including -- for many -- faith, hope, and
love. The whole idea that there is a Publisher's Clearinghouse Jackpot of Loss is
absurd and demeaning to the human spirit.
A relatively recent addition to our psychological jargon is the term
emotional intelligence. Surely it's emotional idiocy to declare all
instances of the generic event "lose a child" equal. The perception of
"worst thing in the world" is easy to appreciate in the case of parents
who lose a small child to abduction, murder, disease, or accident.
There is the awareness that there was never any choice by the child,
that there can be no compensation of any kind for the loss, and that in
addition to the terrible void they must live with, the parents may also
feel guilt for having failed to protect their helpless, innocent
offspring from the twists of fate before they had a chance to live life.
It may seem mean-spirited to suggest, but I will, that even in these
kinds of tragedies not every parent is equal. No matter how many times
we dutifully repeat the mantra, many of us must suspect that there are
parents who do get over their loss and damned quickly at that. We can
also surmise that others learn not to look back with the same degree of
agonizing intensity. Most hurts hurt less over time unless we choose to
make them into a cross or an excuse. That's not bad. It's the source of
human strength. We go on. We live through loss. Otherwise, no culture
would survive earthquakes, floods, famines, epidemics, and wars.
Except for losing a child, of course. How many parents have we taught
to cling tightly to their grief lest they feel less of it and enter a
new purgatory of guilt for not being exquisitely sensitive enough to
remain emotionally ruined for all their days?
For whatever reason, we have exalted grief in this nation to a
supernatural force that must be honored and appeased rather than
overcome. As recently as the Victorian era, infant and child mortality
was so pervasive that few large families did not experience it. Before
the age of modern medicine, sudden, unexpected death was an everyday
companion of the living. They learned to control grief with defined
periods of mourning in prescribed clothes and then to proceed with
life. And they learned not to lose their faith and humility in the
Now we teach even our youngest children that grief is a devouring god
to whom they must genuflect whenever the bad thing happens. Every
incident at school -- fire, death, insect infestation -- is followed by
an invasion of professional grief counselors who carefully implant the
idea that what has happened will resonate through the rest of their
lives like some gong of doom.
We have taught ourselves to view the grief-stricken as secular saints
imbued with the mystery of new age stigmata, and we watch in awe as
they bleed continuously from their invisible wounds. In their actions
we consecrate what we cannot comprehend, and we collectively offer up
to them the key to a kind of free-fire zone, in which they can act out
all they want while we do their penance for them in hushed, admiring
Has it helped? No. Are the eternally bleeding really saints? No. The
evidence indicates that the death of a child tends to destroy marriages
these days, promote substance abuse, vandalize careers, and perpetuate
depression. Appeasing and worshipping grief strengthens the power of
grief and causes people to lapse into self-absorbed obsessions.
But we must not blow the whistle on Cindy Sheehan? She has contrived to
turn her son's death and the whole Iraq War into her own personal soap
opera. This was all something done to her. By the President of the
United States, no less. Let us take all our cameras to Texas and watch
her bleed from her hands and feet. Nonsense. It's time for some plain
Her plight is a very far cry from that of a mother who views the
mutilated body of her six-year old daughter at the morgue. Cindy
Sheehan's son was a man -- more a full-grown man than his mother is a
full-grown woman -- and the sacrifice that was made was his, not hers,
willingly given in return for compensations that made sense to him at
the time he decided to join the military.
She does defame his life and his memory by behaving like a spoiled
adolescent on the national stage, by lying, and by actively seeking to
humiliate her (and our) Commander-in-Chief. We do her son no honor by
pretending that her behavior is anything other than what it is -- a
disgraceful exhibition of self-annihilating selfishness which reveals
the sickness of the conviction that every loss is total, inconsolable,
and license to revert to the infantile fantasy of a universe with
ourselves at the center.
It's also sad and ironic that we entangle her tantrum with the concept
of motherhood. Her accomplices in assaulting the national war effort
are, lest we forget, of the political stripe which views motherhood as
a game of craps, with every player free to plunk her fertilized egg on
the "Pass" or "Don't Pass" line, depending on her whims of the moment.
They believe that she is to feel NO grief for the innocent life she
takes herself while retaining the infinite right to make the whole
world accountable if the life she chooses to perpetuate should somehow
perish before it reaches the age of mandatory commitment to nursing homes and Medicaid-financed euthanasia. How is this
preferable to a short heroic life given freely as a gift for others, in
the name of home and liberty?
This is perversion. And it's time somebody said it out loud. Cindy Sheehan, your son died a hero. Go home now and find some meaning in it that isn't just about you and the politics of those who hate their country.
Now that we know who has the moral authority, it's time
to put the chickenhawks and other offenders in place for good. Here's
In a seemingly unrelated story, Radley Balko reports on
by M.A.D.D. that all parents of teenagers should
be aware of.
When they learned that their son
planned to celebrate the prom with a booze bash at a beach 40 miles
away, William and Patricia Anderson instead threw a supervised party
for him and his friends at their home. They served alcohol, but William
Anderson stationed himself at the party's entrance and collected keys
from every teen who showed. No one who came to the party could leave
until the next morning.
For this the Andersons found themselves arrested and charged with
supplying alcohol to minors. The case ignited a fiery debate that
eventually spilled onto the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The
local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving oddly decided to make an
example of William Anderson, a man who probably did more to keep drunk
teens off the road that night than most Providence-area parents.
Read the whole thing. We'd comment, but we already said something about
this way back in 1999
(NSFW). And to close
the loop, make sure you click on mom's tear
underway. Thanks to La Malkin. Visitors, feel free to shop around for
more outrages and offenses
I pass this
along without proof of its authenticity, but perhaps others can confirm
or disprove that for themselves. Let us know in the Comments section.
A quick look at Michelle Malkin's latest updates
discloses that she is once again receiving the kind of high-minded
progressive communications that presumably demark the moral superiority
referenced by those who are posting their negative comments here at
InstaPunk. To save you all a lot of time, don't expect to receive any
response to your haughty putdowns if you aren't also prepared to
acknowledge that the "right-wing" invective you read here is a far cry
from what has become standard (here
for the enlightened, tolerant, and peace-loving left wing.
for the August 12 InstaPunk entry on the same subject.
Welcome, all you cat fanciers from Obsidian
. Here's a little something
we clawed up just for you.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Sometimes it's fun to take a look at what's happened since we covered a
topic at InstaPunk. Here are a few updates to recent entries.
We liked the cool infrared
photography of the landing.
. Yeah, we criticized the shuttle's aged technology, but we
were as delighted as everyone else that they made it home safely.
Needless to say, but definitely worth saying.
We dared to disagree
when Hugh Hewitt not only condemned Tom Tancredo's saber rattling about
Islam but decreed that no one from the "center-right blogosphere" was
allowed to defend him. Since then, it's been interesting to observe
that so-called moderate muslims have been subjected to more heat and
pressure than ever before to declare their true allegiance. No, it's
not all Tancredo's doing. The U.K.'s recent discovery that terrorists
want to kill people has been a big contributor. But the fatuous pose
that all muslims are peaceful unless they're actually flying airliners
up your ass has begun to slip. We could cite many examples, but a
couple will do for now. The first is an editorial
in Investor's Business Daily
about the supposedly moderate Council on American Islamic Relations.
Here's an excerpt:
We wonder who and what CAIR, which
calls itself a civil-rights defender, is really protecting when it
fights targeted profiling at train stations and airports.
CAIR may talk a good patriotic and moderate game. But it has a secret
agenda to Islamize America.
Before 9-11, its founder and chairman, Omar Ahmad, also a Palestinian
American, told a Muslim audience: "Islam isn't in America to be equal
to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Quran should be the
highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on
Before coming to Washington, Hooper himself is on record stating: "I
wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the
government of the United States to be Islamic"...
It turns out that an anti-Israeli foundation run by the crown prince of
Dubai owns the very deed to CAIR's headquarters located almost in the
shadow of the U.S. Capitol. The foundation has held telethons to
support families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
The whole piece is a must-read. The second item is from a column by
Andrew McCarthy about an unusual confrontation on MSNBC between Monica
Crowley and a muslim "moderate" named Azzan Tamimi. McCarthy provides
plenty of background about Tamimi, including this:
Tamimi, in particular, is a Palestinian
extremist who not only has publicly advocated suicide bombing ("For us
Moslems martyrdom is not the end of things but the beginning of the
most wonderful of things") but has also declared his personal
willingness to commit a suicide bombing (“If I have the opportunity I
would do it.... If I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would
do it. Why not?”).
He is, moreover, a rabid detractor of the United States who has
publicly praised the “courageous” Taliban, observed that "[i]n the Arab
and Muslim countries, everyone jumped for joy” upon seeing the Twin
Towers felled by al Qaeda suicide hijackers, and labeled the U.S. the
“imperialist master” of Iraq...
What role has he played in this country since 9/11?
You’ll be shocked to learn that all
this has resulted in … Tamimi’s being packaged by fawning academic,
media, and even U.S. foreign-service circles as a respectable
intellectual spokesman for Islamic causes. As the invaluable Martin
Kramer has explained, Tamimi’s air of dignified scholarship is indebted
to Professor John Esposito, director of Georgetown University's Center
for Muslim-Christian Understanding, who has sat on Tamimi’s board at
the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, and coedited a
book with him. Naturally, Tamimi has also been feted by the State
Department — invited in 2002 by the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St.
James to the Iftar dinner State now hosts at the conclusion of Ramadan.
With such notches on their belts, the
Tamimis of the world all too often skip with impunity from soapbox to
soapbox, spewing their bile while their oh-so-deferential moderators
nod in studied pensiveness at the seeming profundity of it all. But not
so Ms. Crowley.
Read the rest of the story here
It may be that Mr. Hewitt will have to have a word or two with Ms.
Crowley to set her straight. Unless it's possible that even the Pope
can learn from a good example, as McCarthy suggests people should:
The reason Tamimi and others like him
get away with calling themselves “moderates” while defending mass
murderers is that, too often, they are allowed to breeze through their
talking points without being pushed. This time he got pushed, and we
all got to see how “moderate” he really is. Authentic moderates will
never succeed unless the poseurs are exposed. That means we’ll need a
lot more Monica Crowleys willing to grill them. You can’t win a war
about ideology without engaging the ideology.
Not long ago, we wrote a little essay about Canada that was considered
too harsh in some quarters. For example, we offered the following
But for the miraculous wisdom and
courage of our founding fathers, the United States might be just like
Canada, with a population of 30 million enervated Europeans, an
incompetent socialist government, a social and cultural history lacking
in brilliance or innovation, and a role in world politics as irascible
pawn of the United Kingdom. Indeed, we might be several such nations, 7
to 10 million strong (or weak), quibbling and sniping and sneering at
one another from sea to shining sea.
Overstated, some people said. But yesterday, we saw an item in Drudge
that seemed to undermine their view:
CALGARY (CP) - More than one-third of
western Canadians surveyed this summer thought it was time to consider
separation from Canada, a poll suggests.
In the survey, 35.6 per cent of respondents from Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia agreed with the statement:
Western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of forming their own
As Professor Reynolds
We also committed the mortal secular sin of suggesting that the
volatile subject of Evolution might be less so if we dared to consider
that it might not be necessary to choose between the Truth of the
Creationists and the Truth of the Darwinian Biologists. We suggested
that advances in other sciences might enable us to discover a process
of change among species that wasn't entirely accidental without
requiring us to cite Genesis as our authority. We even suggested that
there might be a kind of intelligence operating at the species level
capable of reprogramming genes when the situation called for it. These
ideas did not come from the Bible. They came from systems theory,
chaos, complexity, quantum mechanics, string theory, Wolfram's ideas
about programming in nature, and (to be candid) various Jungian
We knew we'd be assaulted for proposing such an idea, and we were.
Various blogs and commenters accused us of being creationists (of
course), antiscience, stupid, ignorant, ill-read, or pitifully naive,
and some disallowed us the right to comment at all.
Since then, as if via synchronicity, there has been a public flap about
the President's statement that he thought it worthwhile for public
school students to understand the nature of the debate between the
Darwinian biologists and the Intelligent Design (ID) advocates.
Wearying as it is to repeat it again, we'll state, yet again, before
proceeding that we don't subscribe to the ID position. But we have been
entertained by the nature of the debate that's occurred about the
It was amusing to see the Virginia biology professor who showed up to
discuss the matter with Bill O'Reilly. He took the position that ID
should never be mentioned in the same classroom with Evolution because
ID wasn't a theory. It's quite true that ID is not a theory, but that
shouldn't have ended the discussion It didn't occur to O'Reilly,
of course, to suggest that it's still okay to pose objections to a
theory without having a complete alternative to replace it with. If
there are fatal objections to a theory, it's wrong -- even if you don't
have any idea what to propose instead. What was more interesting than
the verbiage, though, was the professor's body language. No sound was
necessary to comprehend his position and his message. He couldn't even
look at the camera. He heaved and twisted in his chair as if he was
powerless to contain his utter contempt at being asked any questions at
all. In fact, he looked as though he were about to cry. Thank God,
O'Reilly was too ignorant to make the interview really hard on him.
Predictably, the press weighed in quickly against the President. It
would be easy to cite a dozen articles, but we'll make do with one,
from the Boston Globe. The title really says it all -- God
vs. Darwin: no contest
. Here's a sufficient excerpt:
Now, it's quite true that mainstream
scientists vehemently reject the idea of allowing evolution and
''intelligent design" to compete freely in the nation's public school
classrooms. The reason is that ''intelligent design" is not science. A
scientific hypothesis must be testable -- meaning that, if it is wrong,
there should be a way to disprove it. (That's why assertions that there
is no conclusive proof of evolution are basically pointless.)
''Intelligent design" boils down to the claim sarcastically summed up
by aerospace engineer and science consultant Rand Simberg on his blog,
Transterrestrial Musings: ''I'm not smart enough to figure out how this
structure could evolve, therefore there must have been a designer."
Simberg, a political conservative, concludes that this argument
''doesn't belong in a science classroom, except as an example of what's
The notion that the teaching of evolution is some kind of left-wing
plot is, to put it plainly, absurd. In addition to the people mentioned
above, opponents of teaching ''intelligent design" as an alternative
scientific viewpoint include John H. Marburger III, director of the
White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy
Remember the "testable" criterion. It's really the linchpin of the
defense against any kind of challenge to Darwinian theory: even if it
isn't right, it's right because it's more testable in its parts. Now
turn to a surprising dissent written by an actual academic, Peter Wood,
Provost of King's College in New York City. His article is titled Thumbs
Up: President Bush is right about evolution and design
He begins with this bit of heresy:
A good place to start is to distinguish
between the theory of evolution (without the capital E) and Evolution
as a grand and, apart from a few rough edges, supposedly comprehensive
account of speciation and genetic change. Small-e evolution is an
intellectually robust theory that gives coherent order to a huge range
of disparate facts. In contrast, capital E Evolution, is a bit
illusory. Like a lot of scientific theories, on close inspection it is
really a stitched-together fabric of hypotheses. Some of them are
central and well-attested, while others are little more than guesswork.
Some phenomena such as natural selection and genetic drift are on solid
ground; but others like late Stephen Jay Gould's theory of "punctuated
equilibrium," in which evolution proceeds in widely spaced bursts, are
pretty speculative. Evolution (with the capital E) is today far from
being a single comprehensive concept.
Glossing over the difference between "Big E" Evolution and "little e"
evolution is perhaps the greatest achievement of contemporary biology.
That's how they can keep referring to their own theories as fact while
asserting that they are not doing so. (The nonscientific discipline of
sentence diagramming can prove unexpectedly useful in exposing their
inside-out logic.) Wood then cites some problems with neo-Darwinian
descriptions of process we won't go into here, except to note that
biologists scream like schoolgirls at any suggestion that they haven't
completely refuted them. Next, he moves to the question of modern man,
which is where the biologists actually hurl themselves to the floor and
hold their breath if anyone challenges their fragile speculations:
And above all, evolutionary theory hits
a wall in trying to explain what happened with the emergence of fully
modern humans about 150,000 years ago.
Again, he fills in details you can read for yourselves before making
his major points. Note that we are also compressing the argument quoted
below. It's not our intent to mischaracterize him, merely to hit the
highlights. Please do read the entire piece.
We can give a name to what happened:
with the biological emergence of modern humans came both the capacity
for and the realization of "culture." Maybe geneticists will, at some
point, isolate a gene or genes that make complex, symbol-based culture
But to speak of the beginning of culture and the emergence of our
species by way of some genetic mutations from anatomically similar
ancestors does little to explain the profound mystery of the event. Of
course, if we are convinced in advance that genetic mutation is a
random, material event, the results of which are sorted out by the
struggle for survival, the immense mystery dissolves into happenstance
blips in strands of East African DNA, c. 150,000-200,000 years ago.
But at that point, we have moved beyond scientific evolution to
doctrinaire Evolution. The randomness of the mutation cannot be
demonstrated or proved; it is simply an article of belief, no different
in character from a belief that an intelligent Creator nudged the
adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine bases of that DNA strand into
the right order. Or that he took the clay of archaic homo sapiens and
molded Adam in His own image.
At bottom the dispute between Evolutionists and Creationists always
comes down to the question, "What is random?"...
Whether the universe is truly random or whether apparent randomness is
order-not-yet-apprehended seems pretty clearly a philosophical or
But I also don't think science is well served by elevating to the
status of unquestionable truth the image of a material universe
governed solely by random and otherwise inexplicable events. That's a
worldview, not a scientific conclusion, and it has no better claim to
our intellectual assent than views that postulate an underlying
purpose, meaning, or destination for humanity.
Actually, a line of argument that depends on seeing events as random is
in a rather worse position than one that postulates, even if it can't
prove, underlying order. In science, what's
random today is frequently modeled tomorrow. To base a theory of
life on ever-more-emphatic repetition of the idea that, "No, it's
random," is a bit like stamping your foot and saying, "It's so because
I say it's so." [emphasis added].
Can you hear them shouting and denouncing and fulminating? Loud, ain't
it? Now here's a little something extra to make their heads explode.
Think about the discussion of "randomness." Think about the criterion
of "testability." Then read the whole story that is selectively
This Black Box See Into the Future?
DEEP in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a
small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by
side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.
At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in
metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the
ones found in modern pocket calculators.
But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite
extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that
appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world
The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World
Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered mood
of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked
back by sceptics. But last December, it also appeared to forewarn of
the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated
the epic tragedy.
Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with
apparently inexplicable powers.
'It's Earth-shattering stuff,' says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus
researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading
the research project behind the 'black box' phenomenon.
'We're very early on in the process of trying to figure out what's
going on here. At the moment we're stabbing in the dark.' Dr Nelson's
investigations, called the Global Consciousness Project, were
originally hosted by Princeton University and are centred on one of the
most extraordinary experiments of all time. Its aim is to detect
whether all of humanity shares a single subconscious mind that we can
all tap into without realising.
And machines like the Edinburgh black box have thrown up a tantalising
possibility: that scientists may have unwittingly discovered a way of
predicting the future.
Although many would consider the project's aims to be little more than
fools' gold, it has still attracted a roster of 75 respected scientists
from 41 different nations. Researchers from Princeton - where Einstein
spent much of his career - work alongside scientists from universities
in Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. The project is
also the most rigorous and longest-running investigation ever into the
potential powers of the paranormal.
Go ahead. Read it all
It's just a possibility. But it's a damned tantalizing one.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
The Big Dog
good piece in the Christian Science
this morning about
blogging. Columnist Dante Chinni
cuts through some of the mainstream media's paranoia and the
blogosphere's growing self-importance to arrive at some common sense.
He begins by limning the paranoia:
"The latest, and perhaps gravest,
challenge to the journalistic establishment is the blog," Richard
Posner wrote last week in The New York Times Book Review. Actually Mr.
Posner wrote about a lot of challenges the media faced, but gave blogs
a lot of space as he spelled out their advantages. They bring
expertise. They bring flair and opinion. They bring more checks and
balances than the mainstream media.
"It's as if the Associated Press or Reuters had millions of reporters,
many of them experts, all working with no salary for free newspapers
that carried no advertising," he explained.
Ah, yes, in the future news will be bountiful and free with no
advertising. Can't beat that. If they throw in complimentary ice cream
we've really got something here.
It' not just the MSM that views things this way. I suspect a lot of
bloggers are also persuaded that they make up a kind of anarchic
Reuters. Mr. Chinni has some cold water to toss on such delusions:
But if you really look closely, all
this "and in the future ..." talk seems a bit far-fetched for a number
For all the bloggers' victories (like raising questions about memos in
CBS's Bush/National Guard story) there are numerous failures (gossiping
about John Kerry's affair that never happened or how the presidential
election was rigged in Ohio). And most bloggers simply don't have time
or staff to, say, launch an investigation into the internal workings of
the Department of State. Getting leaks and tips is one thing, digging
for the fuller story is quite another.
An excellent if obvious point, as is his conclusion:
For all the fretting, blogging
ultimately is bound to be less a replacement for the traditional media
than a complement. The fact is, journalism's most critical
responsibilities in a democratic society - seeking, reporting, and
analyzing news and holding people accountable - aren't easy to fulfill.
People rightly point out that the media often fail at those tasks. It's
just hard to see how making it a volunteer position or a part-time job
could improve the situation.
But there's more to it than volunteerism versus professionalism. One
important question, it seems to me, is what blogging would look like if
the mainstream media really did slide into the sea, as some seem to
hope for and others confidently predict.
Well, here's an image to chew on. It would most likely bear a strong
resemblance to radical feminist scholarship, in which all the supposed
authorizing footnotes are just links to other dreary screeds written by
other angry drabs relying on the same gossamer and fraudulent sources.
In other words, three-card monte camouflaged as fact-based research.
Analysis cannot occur in any legitimate fashion without a base of
facts. These are provided to the blogosphere by the mainstream media --
the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the
network news organizations and dozens of other media outlets around the
world. The reason the MSM evinces the irrational hostility it does to
the blogosphere is that they correctly understand that bloggers are
parasites. The linking capability on which all bloggers depend is the
means by which the parasite attaches to the host. And without the host
there is no source of nourishment.
I'm not downplaying the importance of the role bloggers can play. Blogs
can be effective at fact-checking the hypothetical facts which have
been gathered by the host. They can improve on the quality of analysis
provided by those who are so close to the story or the actors that
their judgment becomes blurred, biased, or myopic. In short, they can
Still, it is folly to dream of the blogosphere replacing or even
reducing the importance of the mainstream media. They're the big dog
and will remain so. If some of them plunge into oblivion because they
can't abide the new infestation of parasites, that doesn't mean the MSM
is going away. It means that if the New York Times or the L.A. Times
fail, they will be replaced by other mainstream media that do a better
job of accumulating and reporting the facts.
How, then, should bloggers view the blogosphere? To each his own, of
course, but I see it as a gigantic Letters to the Editor department.
There's no shortage of column inches for letter writers, and so our
letters can be a lot harder to ignore, but we still need them more than
they need us, and we would be wise not to forget it.