The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The New Media Proletariat

Posted on | February 17, 2012 | 43 Comments

It is rather a painful thing to acknowledge that Joy McCann is onto something when she remarks about the advent of a two-tiered blogging hierarchy. And it is even more painful to see my friend Jerry Wilson’s expressions of resentment toward Ed Morrissey about this.

In all honesty, despite what anyone may suspect from certain previous writings here (ahem), I recognize Ed as one of the great selfless souls of conservative New Media.

The growth of blogging, including the ascent of certain sites and individuals to pre-eminence within the ecology of the blogosphere, has fundamentally transformed the online environment. People who were still in high school when Bill Quick named the blogosophere (more than a decade ago) now wield more influence and throw more traffic than does Bill Quick himself. Those who have toiled long years as bloggers obviously have reason to resent the upstarts, who may not recognize how they stand on the shoulders of giants. By the same token, newcomers to the ‘sphere understandably resent the difficulty of carving out a readership in an environment where a certain hierarchy has seemingly become already set in stone.

Is some sort of revolutionary movement necessary to unleash the strength and satisfy the ambitions of the New Media Proletariat? Is the existing online hierarchy an engine of systemic injustice?

I think not.

The world is not fair, nor is there ever likely to be any system in human experience that operates as a pure meritocracy. There will always be those whose hard work is ill-compensated and unrecognized, just as there will inevitably be others who benefit extravagantly from what appears to others as undeserved good fortune.

Sic semper hoc.

What is true in the rest of the world and throughout human history is, alas, true in the online world: Life is not fair.

Yet nobody’s participation in this field is compulsory. I could quit this blog tomorrow and go drive a forklift, and probably make more money doing that than I’ve earned in the past year. There is no one in the blogosphere holding a gun to my head, no one with the authority to issue me any commands that I am obliged to obey. My participation is entirely voluntary, as is true of everyone who decides to create a blog and try to make themselves heard above the incessant online din.

Do I have advantages others do not? Indeed I do, and I exploit every one of these advantages to the fullest extent I can.

Do others in online media have advantages over me? Of course, and they will certainly employ those advantages to obtain for themselves the greatest possible personal benefit. It would be foolish for anyone to expect them to do less.

Nevertheless, it remains true that no blog is an island. There is no site with such a decisive advantage of readership or resources that it can neglect the need to grow and expand, to keep pace with the evolution of the online information system. Even within the seemingly rock-solid “Establishment” hierarchy of the blogosphere, there are still opportunities for those who are willing to embrace the challenges, to think of themselves not as oppressed toilers, but as innovative entrepreneurs.

Hear me, my virtual comrades!

You are not being oppressed by the Blogospheric Bourgeoisie.

There is no “Man” holding you down, no Tsar or imperial bureaucracy impeding your advancement. If you are not being linked, if your e-mails go unanswered, if you are banned or attacked or excluded, let those setbacks inspire you to still greater efforts, to new ideas and new enterprises.

If you feel yourself chained to your laptop, the chains that enslave you are forged by your own mind. You can quit tomorrow, walk away for as long as it suits your fancy, and begin again anew whenever, wherever and however you decide.

You may never be “equal,” my comrades, but never doubt that you are always equally free. And perhaps, indeed, the lowly and neglected among us have far greater liberty than do those who, by merit or mere luck, have succeeded in obtaining an income on which they are dependent, so that they are compelled daily to strive for new successes, to crank out the content like so many factory workers manning an industrial assembly line.

Comrades! I beseech you: Consider for yourself what value you add to whatever cause it is you seek to advance, and ask whether the success of that cause is an end greater than your own personal benefit. Your labors and your sufferings — real or imagined — can only be justified by one or the other, and it doesn’t matter which it is.

If it is your goal to be a New Media professional, you should seek the maximum compensation for your skill. If it is your goal to be a volunteer activist online, you have no measure of your success other than the advancement of whatever cause you embrace. It is certainly true that the larger your readership, the greater your impact either way. Yet it is incumbent upon you to expand your own readership, rather than to think of others as obligated to share their readership with you.

A blogospheric Welfare State can no more be the goal of online friends of liberty than would we wish an Internet dictatorship that would allot online traffic according to some egalitarian formula. Blogospheric free enterprise may not produce “social justice” in the virtual environment, but whatever it produces — for good or for ill — a capitalistic New Media will triumph over any other online equivalent of a planned economy that “experts” could invent or imagine.

Comrades of the New Media Proletariat: YOU ARE FREE!
Go forth and prove yourselves worthy of your freedom.

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Comments

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    I like Ed and Allah too.  They catch a lot of abuse.  But they try to go a very decent job and while I do not always agree on their take on things, Hot Air is a great resource site to go to.   And I like new addition Tina Korbe too.  They are not the be all and end all.  A broad site like that, even with three bloggers is not going to get into the details of things as other sites do.  That is normal.  

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  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    I remember when I first started out, I was wanting to build an audience that I hoped at the time would translate into a ready made base audience for a novel. I wrote the first draft of the novel, but haven’t taken it beyond that, or beyond getting out of the netherworld which is the blogosphere. I’m so insignificant, I can’t even lure the booger-eating Paultards into trolling my blog. So if it seems like I’m unsympathetic when you cry your tales of woe about how nobody loves you enough to invite you to BlogCon, now you know why.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    A bas l’ ISP! Laissez les tumbrils roulez! Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité! Les bandes-broades pour tout le monde, gratis! Tabernac! Montez le firewall!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UNZU74NIXQBSAAC5PR2B36VMWM Edward

     Translation: donuts!

  • Deborah Leigh

    Deborah Leigh said…Hey, this here’s America! We don’t speak no froggy gibberish. So please put your sentiments in the language of the Founders. And keep in mind that there might be kids (really smart kids) reading this thread, so no-no on mounting the firewall.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Blogging is hardly the first area of endeavor where those who experience some success swiftly forget their former colleagues.  And in the realm of popular culture, talent and skill are not only no guarantees of success but often entirely unnecessary.  Madonna and Pet Rocks became fabulously successful.

    For those who allow success to go to their heads, they would do well to mind the old advice:  “Be careful how you treat those you meet on the way up, for you will meet them again on the way down.”  See for reference Johnson, Charles.

    For the record, the later live versions of “Alcohol”  are far more instructive and entertaining, to wit:  http://tinyurl.com/6u8cww4

  • David

    *meh* Blogging is many things to many people, and there are enough niches for whatever one’s purpose for blogging may be. Once upon a time, the TTLB ranking had some cachet in certain circles, and for a brief time, I was enamored of my exhalted ranking in that venue. 

    These things pass, and I returned to my roots: blogging to quell the voices in my head. *heh*I read devour many genres of blogs: political, social/philosophical/theological, humor, downright weird. There’s plenty of room for expression. So, some self-absorbed “New Media” area seems to be dominated by a few Big Voices. Who frickin’ cares, well, except for folks so consumed with self-importance (or weak-egos consumed with projecting their own importance–same-same, IMO) that the attention of others is what defines their very selves.

  • http://faustasblog.com/ Fausta

    Two-tiered, maybe. Fluid, constantly, yes.

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    Why haven’t you posted this famous tome to Amazon?
    My novel is stuck at 35k, with little hope of follow-on attention until after the election.

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  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

    Well, remember that the original concern was with the fact that some were unable to get into the Bloggers’ Lounge this year, and that’s valid–particularly if they had a hard time reaching Bloggers’ Row in the main ballroom (which I’ve heard rumors of, though they are unconfirmed).

    I think there should be a media room for all bloggers, so, yes–there should be an additional New Media working room, so all 500 of us have desk space and internet access when we need it. It doesn’t need to open onto the main area, and in fact it might be the noisier room, so that what we now call Bloggers Lounge could be kept focused, and more quiet.

    After all, there were multiple problems this year with people trying to do interviews with people yelling right behind them, etc.

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    I have it on some authority that the number of applicants for blogger credentials was in the hundreds. The CPAC organizers can’t tell the difference between LMA and LGF–even our own blogroll here is a zoo.

    (a) After a while, CPAC starts to lose money because there are too many zero-cost attendees. Or, maybe, whatever advertising value the bloggers add isn’t enough to cover network costs.

    (b) Someone, thus has to be empowered to be the bastard who, imperfectly, gets to give some the nod and whisks others to the cornfield. I know TLC well, and it sucked to see her get the boot.

    (c) The no-value-added response is to go all tinfoil hat over what amounts to an economics problem. We’re human, we have emotions. I, too, have been kicked. In the face. When I was down. By an iron boot. Not this particular time, but I was sucking it up in Afghanistan for CPAC11, so maybe it’s ‘fair’.

    (d) The value-added response is to come up with a proposal for no-kidding bloggers to do our own vetting. Maybe there is a lottery for the available seats. Maybe there is a rider fee that can be applied to increase availability. Maybe bloggers can sell CPAC registrations in exchange for a free admission. I daresay that a reasonable, adult proposal that maximizes the value that blogs add to CPAC, while minimizing the administrative overhead, may find favor.
    Just some thoughts.

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  • http://www.conservativecommune.com/category/columns/smiling-behind-enemy-lines/ CCR

    Another possible solution, however distasteful it may be, is setting standards for blogging credentials. Your blog must have X number of visitors per month for Y number of months. If not, you must have letters of recommendation from three unaffiliated bloggers who do meet the traffic requirements in order to be placed in a pool from which random names are drawn for the remaining spots, if any.

    Yes, this is an institutionalized two-tier system and entirely contrary to the blogging spirit. But lack of room is lack of room. If I don’t make it because I don’t meet the requirements, so be it.

    And let’s be honest. Given a choice between having an Ed Morrissey in the house or me, Eddie gets the nod every time. That’s just the way it is no matter how much I dislike the deal.

    I do need to correct something Stacy said in regard to my less than enthusiastic opinion of Mr. Morrissey. It has nothing to do with blaming him for anything. It stems from the fact I have emailed him numerous times, starting back in the Captains Quarters days. I’ve never written him in an antagonistic, angry or belligerent manner. Rather, they’ve been simple questions or requests to read something I’ve written. Not once has the man written back or so much as acknowledged my existence. That, and that alone, is what I have against him. I understand busy. I understand taking a while getting back to someone. But never doing so? Sorry, no excuses acceptEed.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     Well, because honestly, its a roughly 800 page mess. It really, really needs a rewrite. Like I said, I just wrote the first draft. It’s good for a first draft, in my opinion, but I’m no Dostoevsky.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     What’s your novel about? Mine is a horror novel. I think part of the problem I’m having is I started out with a simple, basic theme, but it evolved and became more and more convoluted and complicated as it went along. Don’t let the election get in your way, because when that’s over with, there’ll just be something else. Like I should talk.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    You want English!  OK!

    THE RISE OF THE SECOND TIER BLOGGERS!

    http://tinyurl.com/77t4yyb

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Three words: House Cash Bar

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    Mine? “Boy meets girl in Afghanistan.”
    An unrepentantly Christian romance. 
    I daresay your chief uses for such may be inducing vomiting, or emergency heating.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

    I’d read it, it would be nice to read a romance novel that is actually a romance  and not soft-core porn. When I was a teen I wanted to read love stories, but all the ‘romance’ novels were mostly sex, which got boring after a while, not to mention embarrassing if someone went looking over my shoulder.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

     If it has monsters eating people’s faces, I will happily read it.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     No face eating, but there’s some pretty gruesome murders, one involving a guy getting impaled on an Orthodox Church cross. And even that’s pretty tame compared to some of the other shit I have going on. I purposely made it horrific as opposed to some of the light romantic fluff that passes for “horror” these days.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     I’m going to hazard a guess he never does get in that burqa, right? Or is she a fellow American soldier? There’s a lot to work with there, and you having spent time there you have a lot of experience to draw from.

  • Wombat_socho

     Are you ever going to finish any of these videos?

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    Yeah. . .no.
    The plot effort to put the characters together is substantial. Where would you really do a sex scene on a FOB? A porta-potty? A CONEX box?
    Even if I have a shred of interest in writing smut, the details wouldn’t work.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    The clip is open now, yours is already working, and the Rule 5 Rise of the Second Tier Bloggers will be up tomorrow.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Back when I used to attend to American Film Markets in Santa Monica, all the players, the machers, had suites, and lounges and tons of support. 

    To get to them, you had to get through the lobby. which was crowded with novice producers and 1st-film makers and washed-up old lags looking for one last score.  Not unlike the marketplaces in Calcutta and New Delhi with maybe a bit less hygiene and damn sure a lot less good karma.

    Maybe what we need is a LobbyCon for we smaller bloggers, where we can meet each other and learn from each other what’s been working for us before we start worrying about  installing our own server farms and how to get Harry Reid to return our calls.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    CCR, I’ve been an editor, and agent and an author.  I got my own bushels of those requests back in the day. 

    I mean no disrespect to you, amigo, but when Cap’n Ed gets up in the morning, it’s you and 10,000 more just like you.

    Robert A. Heinlein had a firm policy:

    ” Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time—and squawk for more! ” 

  • http://www.conservativecommune.com/category/columns/smiling-behind-enemy-lines/ CCR

    I hear you. I also have a story to tell from back in the day.

    Back in the day, I was a freelance music journalist (as least that’s what I called it), doing record reviews and artist interviews. I specialized in contemporary Christian music, so naturally most of the publications I wrote for were Christian magazines. One of them wasn’t; it was a freebie given away by a record store chain. At this particular magazine I was as bottom rung as it gets, getting an article of any kind in there maybe three times a year. But I did my best.

    Every once in a while, someone at the magazine would remember I existed and would call me to rag on me about whatever (apparently I didn’t use enough profanity for them). However, occasionally during these once in a whiles they’d “suggest” I interview an artist. Sometimes they were on Christian labels, sometimes regular ones. And so off I’d go, marching orders in hand, to contact someone in PR at the label in question to set up an interview.

    Invariably, it’d take multiple phone calls to the Christian labels, with messages left every time, plus a fax or two (shows how long ago this was) before someone would get back to me. Once they did — if they did — they’d go out of their way to make sure they did the bare minimum to set up the interview, never providing the required amount of time to do it right and making sure everything was at my expense. Considering I was trying to help them sell records by promoting their artist, this always struck me as a trifle on the odd side.

    Were it a regular label, no matter its size the head of PR would get back to me no later than the next day, interview details in hand and asking what I needed so it’d be done. And it was done.

    Now, there is no way you can convince me that even with doubtless a larger staff to handle things, the workload at a regular label with an active artist roster ten times that of a Christian label, and far, far more demand for media interaction with those artists, was not vastly greater. Yet they would make sure that yours truly, as noted a small fry among small fry, was taken care of. In fact, they’d invariably spend far more time on the phone with me than the PR people at the Christian labels even though by all definitions we were from two different worlds.

    Long story is yes, I understand busy. I also understand professionalism and meeting the demands of your position. To me, and for me, Mr. Morrissey falls very short in both these regards.

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  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

    I’m a blogger; I prefer to make a list of demands, and stomp my feet if these are not met.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

     If it’s supernatural stuff doing the killing, I may still like it, but if it’s evil human beings doing it, well that kind of stuff creeps me out because there is so much of it in reality already. Horror about people being evil scares me, horror about monsters and other things I am not likely to see in real life is fun. For example, I like just about every cheezy B-movie with bad acting on sci-fi involving monsters, but movies like Saw scare me, and not in the fun way.
    However, there is a market for gory horror with people doing awful things to each other, so even if it isn’t my taste, I am sure you will find a decent audience.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

     I’d think a shindig for us smaller bloggers would be fun!

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     Zilla-It’s got both, evil humans and the supernatural.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Maybe we could put the love scene on the prow of the fake ship’s bow the eccentric CO builds outside his trailer…

    http://tinyurl.com/3h3u8aw 

  • jmheinrichs

    I think the most important factor is the quality of the readers, because you cannot get any better than us.

    Cheers

  • jmheinrichs

    And we’re really good looking.

    Cheers

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