Maybe it's a post-election-driven-intensity hangover. Maybe it's a general victimization/victimized reaction to the political retrenchments of the past few weeks. Maybe it's just one of those collective mood swing that can happen in any society. Maybe I'm just coloring the world with my own unrequited desire for more peace, respect, courtesy and consideration. It just feels like the blogosphere, such as it is, such as I experience it in my own little way in this miniscule corner of the realm, has been under a gray mist of negativity.
Then again, when I read what Jill wrote, I start to wonder ... maybe it's really just a general trend that comes from more people blogging worldwide, which brings more diverse people into what once upon a time were self-selective empagrokking clusters. For myself, I drifted away from the bunch I hung out with on Xanga as recently as a couple of years ago. That was in part by a diverging of interests, experiences and world views, and in part by the closed nature of that system, like LiveJournal, where clusters of "friends" are defined, in part, by membership in the system -- something that has come to feel kind of distasteful to me. I much prefer the open net, and see nothing to be gained by blogging in a gated community.
For me, I suppose one reason this cyber-malaise that has crept into my dim awareness is because of the so-scorned-yet-so-desperately-sought blog awards, which seem to be a combination of politically charged publicity opportunities and desperate pleas for validation, sometimes with an ironic wink wink nudge nudge say no more. "Vote early and vote often" gets 12,100 hits on Google.
Okay, I'm not a Scrooge, so I did my part and went through all the categories and voted for my favorites -- that is, when I recognized anybody -- and was done with it. I can't do anything about ballot-box stuffing and really could not care less. But these pleas coming from otherwise rather insightful, eloquent bloggers have left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I don't hold it against them -- who doesn't want to be popular? -- but I won't mourn when the winners can claim their accolades and post their blogressional medals, for what they're worth, so all these sidebar blocks and sticky posts can fade away to the net archives with the dignity.
The other things that really has hit me harder than I ever would have thought is the eruption of an apparently long-percolating flame war in the self-proclaimed progressive Democrat realm between the purported Al From loyalists at the Democratic Underground and the most visible electronic voting rights activist, Bev Harris.
Having never found much appeal in the abrasive declamatory style of DU (as exhibited in the cited DC thread) -- I feel much more "at home" at places like the Kos, where (it seems to this humble observer) there's more civility and depth of discussion, despite sometimes radically opposing views -- I did not even know about this war going on until it hit Wired yesterday.
Last night I spent some sleepless hours going through the wrap-up discussions in both camps, and it really comes of as a "he said, she said" situation. I admire Bev Harris, and while I have heard some serious questions of her tactics of late, her explanations make sense to me. It's quite clear that I do not have enough information. And as for the fervent claims that many of the DU flame-throwers are really GOP agitators, and the vitriolic accusations that Bev is just in it for self-aggrandizement and money, I leave to the mind-readers.
As for Bev, I confess some empathy and admiration. I don't think anyone can know what it must be like in her shoes, being the face on the entire electronic voting rights movement, facing lawsuit threats, death threats, and catcalls from all sides who are displeased with whatever. Who among us could handle that kind of pressure with grace and emotional calm? Personally I don't give a damn what she did several years ago. I see her fighting a good fight, and if the DU clan wants to give her the boot, well, all's fair in love and politics. Since DU, too, seems to be dermined to advance the voting rights cause, I hope for a future with no net loss. The more powerful entities fighting for this most important right in our society, the better.
But the dissention is painful. I'm sure Karl Rove et al. have been chuckling all week. The ill feelings within allegedly progressive ranks are so unfortunate. After reading all the muck, I wanted to take a shower, and I slept with troubled dreams. Why do I read the net at night?
Tonight I'm going to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas."