'Borderless & Without Edit' Indeed
This little gem
needs no comment from me. Drudge is a complete ass, a pathetic journalistic-wannabe, and at times a right-wing thug. Or more precisely, a too-willing boy-toy dupe of lots of right-wing thugs. Still, none of that erases the fact that he's helped usher in an era in which most adults have forever put aside their childishly naive and passive habit of depending on big corporate media to serve up everything they need to know to be properly functioning citizens. Now they can easily become educated about public affairs, if only they'll do the modest work to seek out a range of diverse sources and voices, many of which are on the web. Enuf said about that for today. Now back into your dark little hole you go, Matt...
Who Said Internet Forums Aren't Enlightening?
In the mid-'90s, online conversational forums, like the pioneering The Well
(later folded into the online zine Salon
) were supposed to be all the rage, and a killer app. But they've mostly taken a back seat--way, way in the back--to other more interesting, more adaptable conversational tools--like blogs, for instance (please duly note my bias). Sometimes their wishy washiness is a function of the lack of intelligent comments they seem to draw from various posters, others more a product of the clumsiness of the particular tool (which is Cleveland.com's problem, I'd say). But that only means that the effective online forums one comes across too rarely these days tend to stand out that much more. I'd say Steve Fitzgerald's Lakewood Buzz
easily qualifies as one of the better ones. Just check out this
enlightening discussion from his evidently bright, discerning readers on the Fingerhut-Voinovich Senate race. And note how the moderator (presumably Steve himself) gently but firmly butts in to keep the conversation on track. Take a bow, Steve, for a site that I think is simply the leading local example, a Mercedes among misfits, in combining true online journalism with passionate community conversation and empowerment. And as long as you're checking out his Lakewood Buzz site (which I simply insist that you do), why not also take a gander at his equally compelling blog about all things Lakewood, on Cleveland.com. You'll find it here
The Softer Side of Ayatollah Ashcroft.
Jeffrey Rosen is a smart, subtle writer. A lawyer and law professor at George Washington University, the guy for years has still somehow found a way to regularly produce streams of thoughtful, well-written pieces on the law and law-related subjects, mostly for the New Republic
. And so when I noticed that he recently decided to tackle the subject of Attorney General John Ashcroft, this time for the Atlantic Monthly
, I read the piece
closely, since his byline guaranteed that it would be an intellectually honest attempt to take a fresh look at all the evidence about his subject. Unfortunately, I'm afraid to say, I was pretty disappointed. Rosen tries his best to deliver a revisionist critique that John A. has been misunderstood, and that he's actually a more complicated character than has been suggested by his uniformly bad press. I wasn't really persuaded; instead, I think he got spun by a campaign-related mandate to soften the image of a guy whose very name has become something of an automatic invitation for booing by the Kerry campaign, and for good reasons. But I do feel a bit of pity for Ashcroft. I think his hard-right fundamentalist father did a number on him, and now we're all paying the price (though perhaps only for a few more months). But take a look at it yourself and tell me if you think I'm wrong (and as you may remember from my many shots at the domestic Ayatollah, I do have my deep biases about this guy).
Dorothy Does Cleveland
. If you're smart and self-assured enough to be reading this, I would guess that, like me, you also have more than your share of wild, impulsive, partly lost/partly wandelust-struck old pals who alternately delight and disappoint you. But whenever they resurface, as they always do, it's a cause for deep celebration of the soul. And this week I got two such blasts. The first came from my friend Dorothy, who not so long ago was a serious comer in Cleveland, a young powerbroker in the foundation world, running a Cleveland Foundation-connected group called Grantmakers Forum (which, as I used to tease her, entailed regularly convening trust fund folk to hear which ephemeral bleeding-heart cause should be their guilty-conscience flavor of the month).
Anyway, as she hit 40, still single and perhaps not so happy about that, she did the smart thing: got off the career elevator and sought out some serious personal renewal. She went off to Harvard for a graduate program, then moved to Washington, D.C. and did who knows what. I'm not so sure what she's been doing, cause she decided to opt out of staying in touch with most of her friends. But I knew her (and liked her) well enough to guess that if I just kept the door open enough, with the occasional reassuring voicemail or email, she might ultimately take up the offer to renew the conversation (and isn't that what good friendships really come down to?). Which she did in an email out of the blue yesterday, giving a few of us 24 hours notice that she'll be at Nighttown
(the wonderfully sophisticated east side jazz club/watering hole/restaurant on Cedar Hill, a favorite of the literary set, in part because its very name is a literary allusion) this evening around happy hour. And so I've cancelled everything and I'll head off to see my old pal, feeling not unlike that Old Testament farmer who eagerly welcomes back the prodigal son. I can't wait to lay eyes on her, but I'll stifle the urge to try to engage in Kremlinology, and learn in just an hour or two how happy she really is in this new life of hers. I'll do my best to jettison that stifling-dad side of me that tries to get to the bottom of assessing everyone's mental state (at least those I care about), and just enjoy the moment, reveling in her company. The rest will fall away like talcum powder in a strong breeze.