The Other McCain

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

Unwatchable BloggingHeadsTV Episode in Which I’m Mentioned

Posted on | December 27, 2010 | 6 Comments

Amanda Marcotte and Maureen “Moe” Tkacik discuss the rape accusations against Julian Assange — including the feminist rage over “rape apologism” — and one of my posts is allegedly discussed but (a) like most episodes of BloggingHeadsTV, this is quite nearly unwatchable; and (b) even if it were watchable, my house is too doggone noisy today for me to listen and transcribe it. So if anyone wants to watch this and try to transcribe it, please be my guest. But I warn you: That’s an hour and 22 minutes of your life you can never get back.

Why are BloggingHeadsTV episodes generally so unwatchable? Well, first off, if we wanted to watch TV, we’d be watching TV, not reading blogs. People who read blogs do so because they prefer reading to watching TV. The spoken word is seldom more than 150 words per minute, and fluent readers can read much faster than that, so that the experience of watching writers talk is much less satisfactory than reading what they write.

The second factor which makes BloggingHeadsTV so unwatchable is that, if bloggers were telegenic, they’d be TV stars instead of bloggers. And I don’t mean this purely in terms of physical attractiveness. Being good on TV is a skill, a skill that most people have had neither motive nor opportunity to develop. Most writers aren’t good at TV because we spend so much time alone with our thoughts and our computers that our ability to communicate via the spoken word atrophies.

So it’s painful to watch this BloggingHeadsTV show and see Mo Tkacik — a very witty and articulate writer — go “mmm” and “uhhh” while she searches helplessly for the right words to say what she wants to say.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas managed to watch 25 minutes of it, and says: “The discussion devolved into gratuitous and surprisingly prurient sex talk, with an extremely selective commentary on the Julian Assange allegations.”

Also, according to Donald, Moe Tkacik describes me as a writer for The Washington Times, which I haven’t been since January 2008. The weird thing about that is, when I resigned, I went out of my way to leave on good terms, but I’ve nonetheless been treated like persona non grata by the subsequent parade of editors.

Seriously: If I scored an exclusive interview with the Pope in which the pontiff revealed that he’s a huge fan of Sarah Palin, my scoop could not be mentioned in the pages of The Washington Times. And yet, despite three years of such ostracism, there are still people who — knowing of me only what they read on the Internet — continue to describe me as a writer for The Washington Times.



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