Monday, January 26, 2004

2 Blowhards

I can't quite put my finger on what it is that I dislike so much about this site. There is something that lurks just behind its surface, some sort of...I don't know, agenda, or world view, that is not as hidden as the proprietors believe it is. For instance, the post about being a non-political person but, hey, what's so wrong about conservatives? It might have been fine as a throwaway comment, or a chance for a rumination of what makes a conservative versus what makes a liberal, and how much either side is defined by its opposite as well as members declaring themselves to be one thing or another without any clear-cut test to make an objective determination. But the post is almost immediately followed by a three-part series of interviews with a conservative author. Now, I doubt that just putting up the first post naturally led to a three part series, but the interview, having already been conducted, transcribed, edited, and broken into three parts, was in need of some sort of lame transition into the discussion. It seems like a hackneyed way of doing things.

The whole site feels hackneyed. What starts with a gee-whiz, I don't know nothin' about painting/film/literature/biology/advanced mathematics/politics/quantum theory/dance/culinary arts, and then proceeds to deliver a 1,000-word essay on just what's wrong with the accepted wisdom of any of the above topics (among many others) and how, on vacation, one of them just finished reading half-a-dozen 600-page books about the very subject and they're all really worth checking out and, hey!, we just happened to conduct fawning interviews with many of the authors that have miraculously been transcribed and posted within 48 hours of our return from our so-called vacation.

The writing can be smart and provocative, but it feels like a wolf in sheep's clothing or a Trojan horse, that there's something hidden from view that's not quite what it seems. It's like imaging Dick Cheney and Karl Rove sharing a political blog, but insisting, "We just know what we read in the papers."

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