The Bad Old Days

February 7, 2008

Take a trip back in time with Duncan Black, aka Atrios:

Without taking anything away from the activities of other left wing media and interest groups,I think the lefty blogosphere has managed to create something which previously did not exist, a sustained and consistent liberal perspective on and critique of American politics and media.

It’s weird imagining the history of the last few years without blogs. I’m not sure how different events would actually be, but it certainly would’ve been a lot more lonely. During the runup to the Iraq war, blogs and other Internet news sources were practically the only places where most people could people saying, basically, that this was bullshit, that saddam was not athreat to the U.S., that Colin Powell’s vial was filled with talcum power, etc. The only Village-approved critique of theIraq war was abiout how we went — ith UN approval, with enough allies — not whether we went.

Back when the rumpus room warriors of the right were looking forward to a nice quick war that would let them blow up a lot of brown-skinned people and then hold a parade, it was hard not to feel like Kevin McCarthy at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, yelling “They’re coming! They’re coming!” to an oblivious public while trucks full of pods rumbled past on either side. 

Quite a bit has changed since then, though not nearly enough. The public has pretty much figured out that Bush bum-rushed us into a filthy war based on filthy lies. The awareness is also growing that Milton Friedman, Arthur Laffer and the other warlocks of the Hogwarts School of Economics have left us drowning in debt, with no magic marketplace fairies to flit in and help us out.

On the other hand, mass-market media continue to circle the drain. Opinion pages, television shows and radio airwaves are an intellectual wasteland in which progressive or even moderately left-leaning views are frozen out while airtime and copy-inches are lavished on any two-bit wingnut who can complete a sentence or stand upright for five minutes without drooling into his microphone.

But it all feels different now, and the blogs are the reason why. And Atrios is a big part of the reason blogs have developed into this wonderful digital samizdat network that circulates good information and offers an alternative to vapid mass-market punditry.

Whenever I fire up the computer, Eschaton is my first stop, nine times out of ten. Atrios is having a fundraiser. Knock him a few nickels, just to show your appreciation.        


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