Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Modern Day I.F. Stone


Atrios is celebrating his tenth anniversary of blogging today. This, I think, is a somewhat important event, as he almost singlehandedly raised the bar of blogging—i.e., essentially making it a full-time pursuit.

More importantly, though, I think Atrios was among the vanguard in raising the consciousness of many readers. For a while, the Internets were good for some gaming, e-mailing, and reading the New York Times, but Atrios and his fellow early pioneers (and I include Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum among them) showed millions that, via the relatively new phenomenon of blogging, the medium could be used to delineate the foolishness of our leaders and the concomitant subservience of mainstream media. (To be sure, the Bushies and their inanities may have created a perfect storm.) In this regard, Atrios's value to the nation and the Web as it's come to be cannot be overestimated.

In the 1950s, I.F. Stone needed a clipping service to follow the duplicities of politicians. Atrios' gift was to see early that the Web was one big clipping service, and he had the insight to use it with wisdom and acumen.

The medium has moved on to Twitter and Facebook, but Duncan Black continues the Eschaton blog, pointing out contemporary wankers in his tweet-like posts. I don't think it's too hyperbolic to say that he's inspired not a few people to be more aware of contemporary American follies and, indeed (speaking for myself), to comment upon them.

Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Black. It'd be nice to think that wankerism will desist and he won't have to point it out much longer, but since that's unlikely to occur, may he have many more decades of identifying the fools in our midst.