Tuesday May 18, 2004
Yes it's true as Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias points out this week: The chest-thumping, might-is-right chaterati of the blogosphere, the venomous neocon pantheon of online vitriol, toilets of pro-war misinformation, malice and hatred, have fallen silent. What did you expect? A herd of insult-happy web guns whose whole schtick is to mock Maureen Down and Robert Fisk, the warbloggers have stretched their cognitive dissonance so thin it was only a matter of time before they gave up. The obvious can only be denied so long.
Consider some of the atrocious acts and statements pro-war web pundits have been expected to defend over the last year. First you were supposed to cheer as the Jewish-by-proxy war machine laid waste to cities that had existed continously since the birth of civilization. You were supposed to nod in solemn pride as Bush declared the "end of combat", and turn a blind eye to the hard fighting that followed. You were expected to denounce Iraqi resistance fighters as "terrorists" whenever any of their attacks inadvertently failed to kill American war profiteers and struck Iraqi collaberators instead. You were expected to euphemise and defend torture, censorship and random killing of Iraqi civilians, and through all of it, with a straight face, remain standing up on your pathetic little soap box for your audience of five, or ten, and maintain, no insist, that the Iraqi people were still better off now than they were under Saddam. Got to keep things in perspective, right?
And they did it eagerly. For what? A sense of duty? Money? Pure malice? What we're talking about is nothing less than the massive intellectual prostitution of thousands of people all over the world to the cause of the neo-con cabal in Washington. Day by day, driven by some infernal purpose, ever yearning to outdo the lies of yesterday in wickedness and perversity, they have stretched, distorted and invented, mocked and persecuted. Abu Ghraib was only the latest in a row of atrocities to defend and excuse, and apparently a drop too much for many.
Witty most of these warbloggers aren't, as Zerbisias catchingly puts it, but the damage they have done to the cause of peace and intercultural understanding is immeasurable. Consider the power they have over Google, the number one search engine in the world. Not many people know this, but Google actually ranks the pages it scans through not based on the content itself, but on how many people link to it, and how they describe that content. It is for instance perfectly possible for hundreds of websites to gang up and link to the website of, say, well-known Bush skeptic Michael Moore, with the text "miserable failure", like this: miserable failure. Then, whenever anyone searches for miserable failure on Google, Michael Moore comes out near top! But where would you find hundreds of website owners dishonest and angry enough to exploit Google and smear a political opponent in such a way? Why, in the pro-war blogosphere, of course. Such cases of "Google bombing" abound, and complaints to the owners of Google (Americans, of course) have been curtly dismissed.
Or consider the number of blogosphere smear campaigns political dissenters have become targets off. Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky are the best known victims of online vitriol, but the warbloggers have also made a sport out of digging up even minor pundits in small-town newspapers, qualified only by their refusal to prostitute their integrity to the mad world conquest fantasies of the White House neo-cons, and subject them to merciless ridicule. This is known as "fact-checking your ass", which gives you an indication of the intellectual level we're talking about. Above-mentioned Antonia Zerbisias is a good example. Not only has she been called a "fat and stupid" "dumb leftist" and a "Jew hater", some bloggers have even lamely accused her of factual errors, against which she has valiantly but futilely defended herself. Against an army of fourteen-year-old Arab haters whose idea of rational discourse is to look up "sources" that back up their "claims" that a respected Israel and Bush critic is "wrong", what response is a responsible newspaper pundit left with but "why don't you get jobs, or get lives?" You can't argue with a mob, and you shouldn't ever try.
I'm glad to hear that the warbloggers are having second thoughts about their Bush worship, and are taking time off to contemplate their wickedness. I haven't had time to fully research the drop in warblog activity Zerbisias mentions, but a quick scan reveals that Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds, the self-styled Grand Central Station of the blogosphere, who formerly posted about a gazillion entries a day, has at the moment been quiet for more than 12 hours [*]. That's half a day. And my evil twin brother has only written one entry in the last week. Just "fatigue", and "not having much to write about", or has their little cardboard fantasy worlds finally collapsed? Enjoy the real world, my "friends". And we will expect a public apology.
(Update: [*] A reader replies that I should have compensated for different time zones here. Apparently Norway is "ahead" of the US, so Glenn hasn't actually been quiet for a full 12 hours, which he finds "inconceivable". Well, there are different opinions about that, and I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. I do find it conspicous, though, that this reader dishonestly ignores my overall argument, and focuses on a lone "factual error". If he's not a warblogger already, he certainly has the perversity for it.)