Thursday, June 26, 2008

Your Blog Is a Budgie On a Skateboard


See the budgie?

Look at the budgie. Look at it - it's on a skateboard, isn't it? Isn't that brilliant? How did they get that budgie to sit on that skateboard? Boy, that's cheered me up, and entertained me just as effectively as any blog post I've ever read, including my own.

Sorry for the left-field intro, but there's this idea abroad that blogs are going to be the saviour of modern politics. Well, let me pop that big pink prideful balloon with the lit cigarette of dissent and let's you and I sift through the detritus, preferably while ignoring the tears and the temper tantrums.

Remember the last time you were in a doctor's waiting room, and there was a kid in the corner making merry with the tub full of Tonka trucks and toy airplanes? Well, that's blogs, that is - a furious game of Hungry Hippos for politics geeks like ourselves, played on lunch breaks while eating a Pret-a-Manger chicken wrap and a packet of salt 'n' vinegar crisps.

Your blog is a budgie on a skateboard, and that's if you're lucky.

Now, I realise that's not a popular opinion in these circles, but it's the first thing that sprang to mind after reading this.

Let me summarise for brevity - left wing bloggers are too fractious and silly to withstand the unified might of the titans of right wing interbabble, and we're now staring defeat in the face. Don't believe me? Here's an allusion to that scene in Life of Brian. Splitters!

Ha ha!

I get the feeling I'm not the target audience here, but given the fulsome circle-jerk that ensues in the comments thread I think it's worth picking up the magnifying glass and picking through the many layers of Wrong on display. Let's start with the obvious...

If I'm going to admit defeat here, I'd really like to know precisely what I'm supposed to have been competing in. An apocalyptic battle for political domination? Audience share? Artistic merit?

Well, wonder no longer - it's audience share, and bums on seats = victory.

Guido Fawkes and his wicked Right-wing pals are far more entertaining and they know how to write for an online audience: scurrilously, succinctly, directly. They are much more committed and actually contribute facts, stories and vitriol into the debate.

This, Charlie Beckett believes, explains why right wing sites attract far more visitors than left wing ones.

You might quibble that that means that Titanic is the best film ever made, but that's what you lot do, isn't it? Quibble and bicker.

Me, I barely know where to start. It never occurred to me that the ultimate aspiration of the blogger was to attract a horde of angry Thatcherites, cram them all into some miniature online Death Star and then blast off into cyberspace to zap Polly Toynbee columns.

See, this is and should be the nature of blogs - you'll find a wide diversity of opinion, because they reflect their authors and readership, and that's the way people are. Pick two random Britons and you'll be lucky to get them to agree what day of the week it is, let alone construct a seventeen-point action plan for the restoration of representative democracy.

Hell, I look back through my archives and disagree with half of what's written there. That's just human nature.

Of course, there are certain sections of the populace where you'll find broad agreement on a range of issues. Religious groups spring to mind, or maybe certain clans of committed Marxists... Which of course brings me to the big beasts of the online right wing.

You've got to admire the way that right wingers world wide are capable of keeping their eyes on the prize - money and power comes first, always, and they'll sweat the small stuff once it's their scaly hands clutching the purse strings. It's really impressive, in a slightly chilling, antlike, hive-mind fashion.

I mean, pick a given day and each of the big right wing blogs will teem with promiscous links to each others' pages, accompanied by fellatial praise and inoffensive, constructive criticism. You don't need to be a deep thinker to realise that one thousand guys jerking each other off is going to generate a lot more heat than a thousand guys going solo.

Because there's a unified vision here - a longed-for political nirvana in which the Haves have more and the Have Nots will be magically transformed into eager small businessmen, thus showering themselves in liquid assets. Crush the state, and it'll rain tits and champagne for ever more as humanity strives towards to its true potential, potential so long crudely obstructed by the socialistic paternalism of the Labour Party.

Try telling them that we tried this in the nineteenth century, and you'll get blank looks and exhortations to believe it'll be different this time. Let's not mention that the Blair/Brown administrations have enacted communist-inspired policies so radical they've been heartily endorsed by the City of London and Rupert Murdoch. Let's sweep the 1980s and early '90s under the rug, since they're probably irrelevant and anyway, they're cluttering the place up.

This is the politics of faith, something lefties should be familiar with and well wary of. Comparing this lot to the popular left wing sites - many of whom can't even bring themselves to support the country's largest left wing party - is like comparing an orange to an octopus.

You want an apt comparison for Uncle Milty's boys, I suggest you start here.

Which leaves us with the sentence that began this sorry rant - the one about how Guido and his wicked right wing pals are far more entertaining. Guido the fearless exposer of political wrongdoing, whose incisive commentary and insight bring us the astounding revelations that large public organisations are - gasp! - wasteful, and that politicians are - swoon! - liars.

This Private Eye without the gags, this Drudge Report without the celebrity nipples, this LA Confidential Sid Hudgens without the wit or charm.

Hell, let me rewrite that passage at the so it makes sense.

...Guido Fawkes and his (barking) Right-wing pals are far more (monomaniacal) and they know how to write for (bitter, angry Thatcherites): (artlessly, disingenuously and repetitively). They are much more (ideologically fixated) and actually contribute (dubious anecdotes, political dogma and puce-faced rage) to the debate.

Well, that ain't gonna fly on the left, not on the same scale at any rate. If someone emailed me tomorrow to say Hi, I'm starting a J.K. Galbraith blog about how right J.K. Galbraith was about everything, and how everyone who disagrees with J.K. Galbraith is bloodsucking vermin, fancy contributing? they'd be punted into Junk Mail quicker than you could say fuckstick.

Guido Fawkes? A budgie on a skateboard beats him every time for entertainment, intellectual rigour and practicality. The budgie might not attract thousands of bilious reactionaries or four hundred commented variations on smash government, fuck Gordon Brown, but hell, look at those little feet. And that precious wee board!

Awww...

Who were we talking about again?

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. - The Second Coming, WB Yeats
"Some shit hanging on a stick in a New York art gallery could come across as a work of art." - Jorge Valdano

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