June 12, 2006

YearlyKos: Susan, Mike And The Rest Of Us Oddballs


I can’t say how many NYT articles fail to make it into the on-line edition.  One that didn’t was Sunday’s piece about YearlyKos by Adam Nagourney (“Politicians Embrace Bloggers, Not Personal Attacks”).  Sort of strange, too, since the subject matter was of natural interest to an on-line readership.

The article focused on the participation of leading Democrats in the conference, and how they are learning to embrace the ‘sphere.  I was interested, however, in the article’s lead photo (covering a generous three columns).  The caption read: “Susan Miller and Mike Smith blogged after Howard Dean’s speech yesterday at a Las Vegas hotel.”

Giving The Times the benefit of the doubt, it’s possible the analogy, and frame of reference here is the reporter on deadline, filing a story from whatever nook is available.  Although, it’s just as easy to imagine more backhanded inferences.  (This is especially true if you examine another rinky-dink photo — note the emphasis on the black socks and shorts –  from Nagourney’s write-up on Saturday.)

Having spent the weekend joyfully celebrating my son’s Bar Mitzvah, I was unable to attend — or participate in a YK panel on art and politics.  Still, I have been reading and watching video of YearlyKos.  With the obvious excitement, energy and personal connection that characterized the event, this pic is just plain weird.

Playing the “first word that comes to your mind” game, The BAG finds the shot: dark, cheap, empty, lonely, anonymous, decrepit, alien and adolescent.  Above all, it convey the complete opposite of what the Vegas happening and the ‘blogosphere richly offer.

That’s not to say the photo isn’t instructive, however.  To the extent the ‘sphere is a particularly warm and creative place for us, this pic serves as a reminder that a whole lot more people out there don’t understand it, are threatened and/or envious of it, and see us as oddballs.

(image: Rick Scibelli Jr. for The New York Times.  Las Vegas.  June 11, 2006.  p. A29)

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Michael Shaw
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