They congregate at the most exclusive country clubs across the nation.
They live in new houses, drive new cars, and send their children to the best schools
They are for capitalism, rationalism, objectivism, and a host of other "isms" you've never heard of.
You never heard of them before September 11.
You may not want to hear their opinion, but you have no choice in the matter.
They sit in front of their computers all day.
Now, they want to send your sons to die in far away lands.
They are the warbloggers, and they form America's new power elite.
Meet Garland Renault. Six months ago, he was a law school professor who dabbled in Internet publishing as a hobby. Today, his estimated net worth exceeds that of Bill Gates, and he's firmly in control of an information empire that unabashedly tells you what to think.
"I think the high point for me was at a blogger party a few weeks ago, when I got hammered and admitted that I was a paid flak for the Republican party. As it turns out, so was everybody else. Boy, did we get a big laugh out of that one."
There may have been laughter that night, but the game Renault plays is deadly serious.
"You toe the party line or you don't get the links. Without the links, no hits. No hits, no tips; you're living off your Republican party flak stipend, but then you're driving a Mercedes, not a Rolls. You badmouth me or any of my homeys, all the sudden your web host can't handle Moveable Type, or your domain name expires, or your ISP suddenly wants to hit you with traffic charges. Some of the guys had to learn the hard way, but learn they did, and they're all on-side now." He motions to one of his younger proteges. "Grief there got a bit uppity a last week. He's a good kid, just needed a little reminder of who runs the show."
"Grief" is Grievin Steen, host of the PerignonPundit warblog, which fell silent last week after Steen commented that Renault might be being "too soft" on Palestinians. The two day outage drove his PerignonPundit stock down 45%, a loss about which Steen is philosophical.
"Garland did the right thing. If everybody just went around speaking their minds like I did, we'd lose control of the debate." Asked if he felt that he controlled the debate, Steen demurred. "Not me personally
... there's a tallish guy with a beard around, I saw him here somewhere... anyhow, that's Len Cain. He
controls the debate."
Cain has also run afoul of Renault recently, but was unable to comment due to a broken jaw. His close friend, Watt Milch, said that a misunderstanding between Cain and Renault on the meaning of the word "is" caused the rift, which has now been repaired.
that Garland did this, it's real good
." Asked about his role in the blog game, Milch proudly identifies himself as "the token liberal". "I set up the straw men for the others to knock down. That's why I wear this straw hat." Liberal or not, warblogging has been very very good to Milch, who recently bought the country of Luxembourg for his wife.
However, not everyone is so sanguine about the rise of Blogger power. One dissenting voice, the anonymous author of the Blair Bitch Project, rails against Renault and his clique. "Nobody dares to stand up against them. You say the wrong thing once, and a hundred of them come after you. It's the 21st century lynch mob, and they're going to pillory you in print, paragraph after sarcastic paragraph. Screw up a second time, and your disk drive crashes, and you start getting unusual amounts of spam in your email. Mess up a third time, and like as not, you just disappear."
Renault: "Warbloggers don't make anyone
disappear. The CIA handles that for us."
Other critics are motivated less by idealism and more by sour grapes. Canadian bloggers Stan and Dave, who declined to give their last names, are bitter about being excluded from the inner circle. Speaking from his igloo far above the Arctic circle, Stan spoke harshly of the American blogger movement.
"It's so typical of Americans... finding a way to make a mint then keeping a good thing all to themselves. I can't even be a Republican party flak ... they won't let me join 'cause I can't vote in the US." Due in part to lobbying by disgruntled Canucks, the Canadian government has levied a substantial tariff against American blog imports, adding as much as thirty cents to the cost of each byte of American content. The tariff was instituted after Canadian protests about the American government unfairly subsidizing bloggers were made fun of in American blogs. Blogdom's resident militaristic poet, Warrin' Will, mocked Canada in verse:
Canada is stinky
And also very dinky
Their bloggers suck
I'd like to drive over them with a truck.
Another Canadian blogger, Dampening Nickel, gave an interview from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from a heart attack brought on by reading conspiracy theory websites. Nickel swears that he has learned his lesson from this heart attack, his fifteenth since September 11, and will not be returning to the conspiracy theorist boards. Asked about the meteoric ascent of Renault and company, Nickel shrugs.
"The conspiracy weiners were completely right about the whole thing. Who knew?"
What about diversity?
Renault again: "Bloggers are a diverse multicultural bunch. For instance, we let chicks blog." One blogger chick, Reagan Argle-Bargle, agrees.
"Bloggers are a diverse multicultural bunch. Garland says so." After a moment's thought, she adds: "For twenty five dollars you can see my Laffer curve." Other fembloggers like Regina Posthaste, RedCabbaGirl, Randreada Eris, and Readjoan Kabobs, echo the same sentiment.
"A diverse multicultural bunch? Yes, yes, we are."
Another blogger, Pjmnysfzdeh Supercallafragilistic, has not progressed beyond the second tier of blogging despite an extensive email campaign; one highly placed source says that the reason is "he's just a little too ethnic
for the country club, if you know what I mean." Supercallafragilistic, an ethnically Iranian Jew, declined to comment.
In recent days, a new trial balloon has floated across the horizon of the so-called blogosphere: the annexation of Saudi Arabia by the state of Tennessee. The annexation, to be implemented by the mobilization of a new American conscript army, has caused remarkably little outcry. Watt Milch thinks he knows why.
"Because, strictly speaking, it's not a trial balloon. The Renault Act was passed unanimously by both houses yesterday, re-instituting the draft with local bloggers convening as Selective Service Boards." Asked if this was fair, Milch chuckles. "Let's just say that if you picked on any nerdy kids who got good Language Arts marks in grade school, you might want to think about moving to Canada right now."
Bloggers. They're here, they know the difference between "there", "their", and "they're", and they're running the show. Get used to it.
Afterword: Stop me before I meta-blog again... for those of you who are baffled by this post, I apologize --- I try not to engage in too much cultish inside-jokery, but this one was too good to pass up. The short story: some guy started a warbloggerwatch email list and blog, and accused several bloggers of "war profiteering" and being "flaks for the Republican party." (most of the story trees off fromInstapundit's Monday, April 8 entries. It's amazing how anybody has any time to blog, what with all the party meetings and beating up the elderly and gassing the poor and the glaven.
And obviously, anyone who disagrees with my politics must be a paid claque for the Enemy, because no thinking person could reach such a set of ideas honestly.