Thursday, February 19, 2009

So, Foot...Where Have You Been?

I needed a break. Thanks for asking.

A break from what?

I needed a break from the stupid. Let me back up and explain.

Blogging - when it's at it's best - is primarily about engagement; engagement with ones readers either intellectually or temporally through comment threads; engagement with co-bloggers; engagement with other bloggers. It's no small thing, really. Even in as large and robust of a blogging "community" (I hate using that word, but it will have to suffice) as the one we have here in Minnesota, all us bloggers have at one time or other connected directly or through a series of attenuated links. And even with our nonblogging readers, there have been built many more connections beyond that which we may have foreseen or even intended. For example, KAR - despite regularly eschewing matters of national interest - has readers in places like Florida, Colorado and Los Angeles. These are people that should not expect to be exposed to someone like, say, Nick Coleman, yet for some strange reason like to see us pound on him.

And that's all nice. And I like it that way.

But by far, the most prominent connection - and readership demographic - is that between and amongst other bloggers in our genre. We all read each other's daily scribblings, even those from across the aisle, and sometimes comment on them. For a while there, it was more of a social scene than it was an attempt at amateur punditry by aggregate. And it was fun.

Unfortunately, when Bill and I started KAR way back in 2004, the genre we waded into was the then already overbloated political one. And I have to say that I have grown weary of it. It's no longer about conversation or engagement. Instead, it's become nothing more than two factions shouting at each other. It's become non-stop campaigning and character assassination. It's become a vehicle for messianic wannabes to feed their egos. It's become a never-ending vendetta against people never met, but loathsome all the same, because those other unspeakables voted for a different guy. It's become worthless.

It's no longer fun.

I started down this road a while ago. I think it was sometime last spring. Maybe earlier. I made a vow to myself that I would not write about anything that I didn't know backwards and forwards. I also pulled back on the baseless ad homina (baseful ad homina still being acceptable) as a way to vent or played for cheap laughs. Thus, most content not having to do with certain areas of the law, bacon and bodily functions went out the door, along with a certain amount of traffic. So be it.

But I think what brought it all home for me - the final straw - was this. I don't think I've seen any politician - and very few people for that matter - treated as brutally and unfairly (though they may have been merely doing as they were told) as Norm Coleman was during this past election. The blogs on the deranged left threw every lame-assed thing they could dig up or imagine at this moderate (former Democrat) Republican from the absurd ("he's got an 'unconventional' marriage *wink*wink*) to the meaninglessly absurd ("his wife wasn't in the kitchen when they filmed that ad OMGWTFBBQ!1!!1!!"), to the specious ("he rented a MANSION of $600!1!11!1") to the absurdly specious (some guy tried to funnel him money even though no money ever reached Coleman, or from what we can tell, even changed hands), to the absurdly absurd ("OMG Coleman's campaign totally crashed his own website!1!!1!111"). That link above goes to my post about that last one. Aaron Landry, during one of his vanity googling jags, found it, and left this comment:

Maybe you should read the evidence I posted before calling me a liar.

I did read the "evidence" he presented. The most compelling of it was that the webmaster (or whomever) pointed the IP address to a dead end, shortly after it got a Drudge-o-lanche.

Oh, I'm sorry, that's not exactly the "evidence" he presented. He left out any reference to the Drudge-o-lanche.

He also failed to consider what good crashing a site meant to find witnesses (the site allowed people to look up their absentee ballots to see if they were rejected) in an ongoing court case would do. A case, mind you, not being tried by a jury (so any attempt to create a PR stir by faking the popularity of this site would be useless on top of being counterproductive).

And there it was. Truth - or at least the search for it -is of no importance to these people. They're just selling a product like so much spam. And they do it so well that they won't even take a moment to think about things that tend to undermine (or in this case, completely obliterate) their point. They've got reputations to assault! Onward!

So in much the same way as I delete the spam mail rather than replying to each one with a strongly worded letter to their authors asking them at what point their lives went so horribly, horribly wrong, it's time to drop out. Spam is no fun. Neither are poli-blogs anymore.

There are those who say that such stupidity ought to be countered. As noted anecdotally above, it's a fool's errand. The best part of it all, is that I can make it all go away by just closing my eyes to it. If more people did that, well, the world would be a much better place. And I should also point out here that there are as many offenders on the right side as there are on the left.

The other remaining good part of blogging is that KAR can be anything I want it to be. In a certain way, it always has been. And it will continue to be. But I can no longer be part of the conversation in the so called "poli-blogs". It's futile and stupid.

Not to say there aren't still good blogs out there. But I only read a handful anymore. Among the few I still read daily are Shot, Fraters, the fitting and starting but always brilliant Bogus Doug, Ryan Rhodes, the Nihilist et al. Those guys all can write, and they all to some extent can demonstrate having a life beyond politics. There are others too, and you can still find them on the sidebar.

As for KAR? I will still be here, plugging along, maybe just not as often as I have. But don't expect any deep analysis of the stimulus package (outside of giggling at the use of the word "package").

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