Sunday, July 13, 2008

McCain's Steel Curtain

McCain's Steel Curtain

Ah, this gift keeps giving:

The senator's mixup with the Steelers "was an honest mistake," a campaign spokesman said yesterday. "If bloggers want to make fun of John McCain because he forgot which team he used under torture, that is their right."

Oh, that's an open invitation.

The more I think about it, in fact, the more it seems like a minor theme. McCain wants to make "bloggers" into negative shorthand for the left of the Democratic Party.

The question, of course, is not what he said under torture. The question is what he said in 2008 at a radio station. True, this doesn't rise to the Bosnian sniper fire level. But he changed a story he's been telling one way for 35 years to pander for an extremely minor political advantage. Even the Pittsburgh paper acknowledges, "the Steelers of the late 1960s were so unsuccessful, few people outside their immediate families would claim knowing them."

As for Wisconsin, latest polls show Obama winning even before this Packer dis. Anyone in Pennsylvania who changes their vote because of the implication that John McCain is a Steelers fan should probably be considered under the provisions of the Idiot Amendment. Let's put it this way: I'm voting for a Bears fan.

  • For president... and for school board, as Patti Fields announces for re-elect.

  • The Packers have bigger issues than John McCain, anyway:
    During the interview Saturday, (Packer general manager Ted) Thompson made it clear the Packers will not release Favre and gladly would accept him back on the roster if he applies for reinstatement. What he wouldn't say is that Favre, who is currently on the reserve / retired list, would be allowed to come back as the starter.

    The old girlfriend coming back... but are the Packers married to Aaron Rodgers, or just dating? I can't say I saw this coming, but it's exactly what I was afraid of...

  • Lots of GOP traffic yesterday, and a couple grumbles at my brief "scooped the GOP bloggers" remark. Didn't mean much by it, and I certainly wasn't the first with the news; all I meant was that the top tier bloggers in the Iowa rightosphere were mostly tied up with doing, rather than writing. I know how it goes; I barely wrote anything about the Johnson County Dems convention because I was locked away in the credentials room. Participatory journalism has its limits.

    As of this morning, only Sporer has much up on yesterday. The Conservative Reader notes that the GOP wrapped at 5:30. For my Democratic readers, that's p.m., not a.m.

  • Another thought as I liveblogged yeaterday: Wish I could type as fast as Mike Glover. McCain's Luddite streak is based on a stereotype that was dying out just as I was going through high school: Real Men Don't Type. I remember not being allowed to take a typing class, in part because of that and in part because of advice that it might hurt my grade point. Little did we know. I'm still paying the price, with my hunt and peck skills.

  • Speaking of classes I never took and degrees I never finished, Chris Bowers spent a decade battling academia, much as I did, and reaches exactly the same conclusions:
    Instead of asking why blogs suck, and being forced to defend them, I'd like to ask why academia sucks, and why "serious" magazines and journals suck. Articles for those publications are rarely timely, given the length of time it takes to produce and publish an issue. There is very little direct interaction with the authors, only a gatekeeper "letter to the editor" function. Speaking of gatekeepers, a couple of editors dominate the entire content of the magazine, and bring with them all of their cultural biases and predilections. And, in the end, very few people read anything produced in either academia or the "serious" magazines Appell mentions, whatever those might actually be.

    While I struggled to produce a handful of conference papers or publishable articles during that decade, in my four years as a blogger I have published about 4,400 articles that have received about 50,000,000 direct page views, 46,000 incoming links, and over 100 Lexis Nexus mentions. Had I stayed in academia, none of this would have been possible, and I would have continued to receive an endless series of rejections from the gatekeepers. The "experts" that Appell describes did not see the same value in my writing huge numbers of other people clearly have.

    Bowers is an a-lister, while I'm at best a utility infielder, a part-time player but still a professional (at least in the literal sense that I'm paid). My own stats are somewhat slighter -- maybe 200,000 page views in just over four years (I didn't track the stats the first year) and maybe 4,000 posts, though I really didn't get serious until late 2005 or so when I discovered that when I wrote some original content that filled a local or state niche, people actually read it. Even Republicans.

    Some of those have been crap -- remember, this post started with a LOLMcCain --but some have been excellent. 200,000 is roughly a thousand times more than would have read any academic article I would have written.

    Don't get me wrong, my academic friends who have the patience for it are great -- but it's healthy to know that something's just not your thing. Which was the most important lesson I learned in grad school. That, plus it got me here to Iowa City, where I found my niche and my home.
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