June 23, 2006

Who's In The House






Besides a recent take on the visual coverage of YearlyKos, The BAG hasn’t had much opportunity to actually look at the liberal blogosphere.  For this reason, I was thrilled to see this recent Ned Lamont ad featuring Markos.  (You can find it in this “Video Dog” post on Salon.)

The ad is groundbreaking as much for its narrative as for the “first time” convergence of cyber- and traditional politics.

By analyzing and comparing different stills, I believe you can read quite a lot about the impact and the morphing of the ‘sphere, and it’s growing effect on MSP (“mainstream politics”).  I thought I’d discuss and compare “a few letters” (and I invite you to do the same).

B: Depicts what has (had?) been the recognized role of the ‘sphere — with the blogger on the outside peering in, checking up on and looking over the shoulder of the largely unwitting pol.

C: Captures the abandonment and vigor of the blogging space.  Also, reclaims the role of emotion in progressive politics.  Whereas Repugs frame Dems as emotionally reactive, angry, unstable (see: the Dean scream), the blogosphere offers a healthy reframe, in which emotion — characterized by components such as: commitment, care, concern, passion, boldness and confidence — is a good, powerful and essential characteristic for the party —and the debate.

A vs D:  Demonstrates how the blogosphere — through “cultural transfer” — can shake up the deadening ritual of political behavior — in this case, transforming a prescribed candidate into a more spontaneous and innervated one.  (A growing “beware” to the pol, however, who — like Lieberman — tries to boycott or resist the new ‘tude.)

E1:  Is this the natural evolution of the ‘sphere? As unpredictable as it is revolutionary, we’ve “entered the room.”  For the first time, there is an expectation to engage the politician not just from “virtual space,” but in the physical world and in common space.  (It’s interesting this was set in a home environment, however.  Somehow, I can’t see the roots stretching — or, having to — so far as to meet the politician on his/her work-a-day turf.)

Lastly, I can’t help noticing (E2) how Markos is more charismatic, forward and engaged with the camera than Lamont, and how the supporters line up more with Markos, as well.  It raises the question of how the ‘sphere (or the heavyweights of the sphere) are going to manage the power, notoriety and success.  All good problems, to be sure.  But tricky issues, nonetheless.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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