This week our sister paper, the Village Voice, published a hilarious guide to rightwing bloggers, and the list includes several notable Minnesotans.
First up is James Lileks, the Strib's wunderkind-turned-scaremonger:
JAMES LILEKS (The Bleat; lileks.com)
FUN FACT: Briefly lived in Washington, D.C. (“where I heard every voice on the globe,” and also “the world’s crossroads of disease”), in a “blaring trash-strewn enclave” where he “lived in a constant state of nervous dread.” Currently resides in a house he calls “Jasperwood,” complete with “water feature” (i.e., fountain), in a Minneapolis neighborhood that he describes as “urban.”
CANDIDATE: Undeclared, leaning toward George Wallace
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 60/40HISTORY: Writer for various papers, including The Washington Post; longtime employee of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, for whom he blogs and supplies columns. Books include humorous, affectionate tweakings of ads, recipes, and photographs from the mid-20th century, which also comprised the centerpiece of The Bleat when it started in 1997, along with scrupulous coverage of Lileks’s daily routine (dog-walking, conversations with daughter, unsatisfying encounters with store clerks). Conservative themes emerged tentatively at first, with grumpy-old-man swipes at graffiti (“When I see that thicket of cryptic squibbles plastered on a sign, I want to bring back the chain gang”) and Monica Lewinsky (“I no more care how she feels about Ken Starr than I care how Al Capone felt about Eliot Ness”). September 11 exacerbated these tendencies to an hallucinogenic degree. Predicted New York would be “nuked,” compared a Chock Full O’Nuts Coffee can to “an urn from Atlantis,” and imagined his daughter attacked by Osama bin Laden (“Give me a gun; show me the cave”) and feminists (“I cannot possibly think of any good reason to ever strike a woman, unless it’s the one in the uniform who wants to pry my daughter’s arms from my neck because the state has decided all men must leave the household for the good of the People”).
MODUS OPERANDI: The Bleat remained thick with such fist-shakings until the 2006 elections, which seem to have thrown Lileks for a loop. Now, he mainly weaves weird culture-war demurrers into his ripely worded chronicles of shopping and child-rearing. So far he’s been quiet about McCain and even Hillary, but he refers to Obama as “Cool Brother,” which, given his longstanding antipathy to The Boondocks, is dispositive. Also: “Hillary and Obama; put them together, and what do you have? White. Male.”
WHAT TO EXPECT: Long, maudlin reminiscences of Ye Olden Tymes (croquets lawns, village greens) contrasted with fantasies of the Brave New Worlds affected by Hillary (forced repatriations of girlchilds and slut-servicings of Bill) or Obama (forced integration of Target, Wal-Mart).
Then in a threefer, we get the gang from Powerline:
HINDROCKET, THE BIG TRUNK, THE DEACON (Power Line; powerlineblog.com)
ORIENTATION: Grassroots Establishmentarian
TONE: First-draft-of-right-wing-history important
FUN FACT: Named “Blog of the Year” in 2004 by Time. (“I don’t put much faith in anything that comes from Time magazine.”—Hindrocket, 2003)
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 30/70HISTORY: Powerline was founded in 2002 by lawyers John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, and Paul Mirengoff, all fellows of the right-wing Claremont Institute and contributors to conservative publications. The genesis of their cognomens is unknown, but they’ve been widely mocked (“Assrocket”) and were eventually soft-pedaled by the authors, who favor lengthy dissertations on moral and political topics (“the Clinton-Gore lack of seriousness about issues”), personal essays (“Being a child of the ’50s, I don’t recall a time when Sammy Davis was not a celebrity . . .”), and the occasional attempt at investigative journalism, some of which were howlingly unsuccessful (“Bin Laden is dead. More leaks are starting to come out . . .”—July 27, 2002). Sometimes they struck pay-dirt, however, including the “Rathergate” controversy over George W. Bush’s alleged military service, which figured in the blog’s 2004 Time award. Thereafter, Powerline sometimes attempted to recapture the old magic, most notably by unsuccessfully debunking the damning “Schiavo memo” from Senator Mel Martinez’s office, which was laid to rest with the admission “Real Memo, Fake Story” (“While [it] . . . didn’t turn out to be a Democratic dirty trick, the media’s treatment of the memo was misleading at best”). Mostly covered other people’s reporting from a right-wing Republican perspective, like Fox News with a scroll bar.
MODUS OPERANDI: Having built their reputation and traffic sufficiently, the authors appear to be coasting (“Will Bush Rebound in 2008?”). They do sometimes attempt to hold John McCain’s feet to the fire (“Those of us who want to preserve the interrogation device that apparently caused Khalid Sheikh Muhammad to break down in minutes . . . remain free to punish McCain and/or Graham at the polls for their underlying efforts to ban waterboarding categorically”), but their heart obviously isn’t in it (“Stop attacking McCain for his ‘impurities’ ”).
WHAT TO EXPECT: Pro forma boosterism, with frequent breathless dispatches on whatever scandal the GOP is pushing in October.
As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds would say: Read the whole thing.