Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Welcome To Tombstone

Genghis Conn, Chris Bigelow of Enfield, recently proposed on his blog site, Connecticut Local politics, the question “Has Dodd’s Moment Passed?”

The Headless Horseman weighed in with this answer: “With Dodd currently polling somewhere in between the guy who fills the soda vending machine at the US Capitol, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s bones, I’d say his time is long passed, if he in fact ever had a shot.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that it took him this long to actually run for president. Look how long it took him to grow up, stop going to Spring Break with Ted Kennedy, and get married and have a child.

“I expect him to have a mid-life crisis when he is 143 years old.”

That’s a “Yes.”

But it’s a “Yes” burbling with what bloggers call snarkiness: a smart answer, deeply layered with irony, a little vitriolic, the sort of response to a reasonable question not likely found on the editorial pages of a respectable hometown paper. Comments in the commentary sections of blogs are anything but stuffy. The idea is to let it all hang out while displaying your understanding of the nitty-gritty of state and local politics.

It is not thought proper for active, partisan politicians to drape themselves in anonymity and use blogs to advance their narrow political ambitions. Though no doubt some do this, there is always rejoicing in blog heaven when such a creature is outted.

The proprietor of CLP is a reference librarian addicted to orderly thought who works in a small Massachusetts’s college. His own thoughts generally run slightly left of center. His is, after all, a popular blue state blog. In Connecticut, just before he dropped the income tax anvil on all our necks, ex-Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker was often and amusingly referred to by the respectable press as a “moderate” Republican. Sometimes Weicker was referred to as a “maverick” Republican; which is to say, an out of the mainstream Republican whose policy preferences paralleled those of Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Dodd, Kennedy’s Connecticut compliment, neither of whom were ever maverick Republicans. In New England, all of us have become used to terminological dissonance. A “moderate” Connecticut Republican probably would be regarded in the conservative corner of the political barracks as a leftwing Democrat.

Every so often, Genghis squishes a boisterous partisan chatting up in his sanctum sanctorum. Other Connecticut blogs, most of them energetically and exotically liberal, are more tolerant of sympathetic anarchic trolls. A troll is a nuisance who scatters frag bombs in the commentary sections of blogs. There are of course friendly trolls, menaces to ordered thought who agree with the ideological slant of the blog, and unfriendly trolls, those who purposely have wandered into hostile blogs hoping to raise Cain. These are mobbed by other blogger, roundly hammered and banished.

Whether or not a blog is more or less an open forum will depend upon the proclivities of the blog’s proprietor. Many blogs are closed systems; controversy is invited but tightly controlled. One of the exceptions, CLP – even allowing for its progressive slant – seems to relish controversy for the best of reasons. Controversy does not always produce smoke; sometimes it produces light.

The Headless Horseman, who has a sprightly sense of humor, is a recent addition to CLP’s stable of front page commentators. For some reason – fatigue, the imperious call of business, the advanced depression that sets in when one realizes one is surrounded by a mob of liberal David’s, slingshots at the ready – CLP has not been able to hang on to its conservative commentators. With the addition of The Headless Horseman to CLP’s front page, the shootouts in Tombstone are bound to be more exciting, authentic and fun.

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