Sunday, October 28, 2007

Swift Reactions 4

Sometimes I wonder if I am letting down the team. I have only written two pieces denouncing Scott Thomas Beauchamp, while Ace of Spades has written about 200. He has pried into every aspect of Beauchamp's life and even got his source fired from her job, which is quite an accomplishment. In comparison I've accomplished nothing. When I wrote Ace as a courtesy to tell him that I mentioned him in my post, I got a taste of the whirlwind that is Ace of Spades, which just made me feel even more inadequate.

In the space of 5 minutes I got three emails back from the prolific blogger, before I could even summon up the energy to reply. "That's terrific, buddy," he wrote in his first, somewhat incoherent, missive. "I'm glad you have better things to do than write about Beauchamp, unlike me. And have better things to do than write about me. I write about me too, alas. I don't write about you though. So that's something." Then 2 minutes later the former-humorist-turned-very-serious-blogger wrote me again: "Since you're above discussing distractions like this, perhaps you can spend some time on the plummeting civilian/coalition casualty rates in Iraq. That seems like a rather large story. No time for that either, though? Ah, well. I guess you're an extraordinarily busy man." Then, while I was still attempting to compose a response to the first two emails, another one, which seemed to be an even more desperate attempt to goad me into responding, arrived in my email box: "Need the links, Sporto?"

I knew I had to respond quickly. At this rate I would have 36 emails in an hour. It's a good thing I happened to be at my computer because if I had taken the day off I would have come back to 864 emails from Ace of Spades alone. Quickly, I dashed off a reply thanking him for his emails and for his suggestion of something to write about, which I really appreciated because it's always difficult to come up with new topics. But I felt I had to be honest with him. "Actually I'm very lazy and easily bored," I told him. "I might write about that [the plummeting civilian/coalition casualty rates in Iraq (wow, I can barely suppress a yawn just writing those words)] if it doesn't seem like I have to do a lot of reporting or research. Maybe you could you could write a bunch of posts about it and then I'll just take the good stuff and use it in one post." I don't know what he thought of my suggestion, but after I responded, the emails stopped. I think he just wanted attention.

As if that weren't enough of a lesson on the rapid-fire nature of the conservative blogosphere, I then discovered that the official conservative narrative on Beauchamp had suddenly turned on a dime and left me behind. Because of a piece Michael Yon wrote, we were no longer trying to drive Beauchamp out of the military and ruin his life. Now, suddenly, he was a hero for not leaving the military despite all of our attempts to make him do so. Why didn't anyone tell me? I left a perplexed and somewhat miffed comment at the blog of Roger Simon, the CEO of Pajamas Media, which is supposed to be the engine for all conservative thought on the Internet. "Now I'm confused," I wrote. "Now Beauchamp is a hero for all but recanting his story? I must not have gotten the email coordinating the new conservative response. I would really appreciate it if in the future when the conservative blogosphere is going to make a 180-degree turn like this that [sic], you make sure we are all up to date on the new position just as a common courtesy." (A question for grammarians: Can I sic myself?)

Simon responded helpfully: "Hi, Jon Swift. In case you hadn't noticed, I don't do ideology... so don't look for a 'conservative' response here.... or a 'liberal' one either. I don't even know what they mean anymore." Well, if he doesn't know what they mean, who does? And does this mean that Pajamas Media is now going to start letting in liberals? I'm not sure that's a very good idea. It could wreck the whole business plan.

Then Michael Totten left an even stranger response, referring to the emails that are sent to coordinate the conservative blogstorms and to make sure no one deviates from the conservative blogosphere's official message of the day. "Who would send such an email?" he wrote. Was he joking or serious? It was as if he had not received any of these emails, which seemed especially odd because he always marches in lock-step with the rest of the conservative blogosphere. Was it possible that he really wasn't on the mailing list and just wrote what everyone else in the conservative blogosphere wrote by sheer coincidence?

What may come naturally to Mr. Totten, however, is very difficult for me. Sometimes I think being a conservative blogger is like being a hobo trying to jump on a moving train. As soon as I manage to climb on board, I notice that all the other conservative hobos have jumped off and gotten on a train going in the opposite direction. One minute we're all supposed to attack Beauchamp and the next minute we're singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." It's enough to make your head spin.

So when my good friends Miss Cellania and Kevin Hayden (whose blogs I hope you are reading regularly) wonder if I am sick or why I am so quiet, it's usually because I'm running up and down the tracks trying to figure out which conservative train to hop on. Every time I'm about to post something, it seems, I get yet another official conservative email telling me that now our position is completely the opposite from what it was an hour ago and I have to scrap the post I've meticulously prepared. Do we respect people's privacy today or are we prying into their finances? Are we for the wildfires in California or against them? Are we attacking homosexuals or attacking Islamo-Fascists for being anti-gay? Are people who attack the President traitors or is Bush a traitor for his stand on immigration? Beauchamp is a coward. No, he's a hero. Are we for or against torture? Well, it depends who does it…. Are we on Larry Craig's side or against him? At this point, I honestly have no idea.


mw said...

Mr. Swift,
I am posting this comment on behalf of the grassroots organization Commenters United For Fair Linkage & Inclusion with Numerical Komparibility in Swift reaction posts (CUFFLINKS).

We note a disturbing trend in the quantity of references to actual JS commenters in the so-called "Swift Reactions" posts.

SR 1 - 9 commenter links
SR 2 - 10 commenter links (inc. C&L)
SR 3 - 13 commenter links
SR 4 - 4 commenter links

Our organization demands that links to commenters outnumber links to old Jon Swift posts. If not, we insist the feature be renamed "Swift Self-abuse".

I was asked to be spokesman as many in the organization feel I am the most aggrieved party by this unfortunate trend. While I was justifiably linked in each of the first three Swift Reaction posts, I was unaccountably ignored in this, your most recent effort. We can only attribute this oversight with your narcissistic fascination with your own work, thereby ignoring the fine commenting efforts of others such as, well - me.

We hope this warning will be sufficient to reverse this trend and put Swift Reactions back on the right path, and we will not be forced to take stronger measures.

We'll be here and counting Jon.

Anonymous said...

"Who would send such an email?"

Ever since Rove and Snow retired, nobody in the White House seems to remember the password to their hotmail account, which could explain why the conservosphere has become as indecisive as a Slinky on an elevator with really bad muzak.

As near as I can tell, only General Petraeus' aide de camp is emailing Glenn Greenwald, but then he denies sending any while calling Alan Colmes a real journalist. Which only fuels further speculation: instead of Kool Ade mixed with Surge™ are they tapping into the Strategic Sterno Reserve at teatime?

Lately, the only sure bet seems to be warning of the dangers to patriots from the sleeper cells in Hillary's vagina and issuing denials that all elected Republicans are Platinum-Spike members of the North American Man Boy Love Association. (Which also confuses me, as I thought the GOP was the party of free trade).

The best I can advise is to go with 'Morning in America' and 'I like Ike' while perfecting yourself as a Jew.

And don't feel left out. Now that Condi's meeting with Jimmy Carter for advice, it's clear nobody's BCCing her either.

Kitty said...

I then discovered that the official conservative narrative on Beauchamp had suddenly turned on a dime and left me behind.

I was equally surprised by Yon's magnanimity. Beauchamp did not make a "mistake." Mistake my arse. The guy lied, and we're supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy because he decided to stick it out in Iraq?

If I didn't know better, I'd say it's all a half-vast left-wing conspiracy. Then again, maybe it is.


Anonymous said...

We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia. That is all you need to know.

Anonymous said...

"We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia. That is all you need to know."

Memorize this. Then eat your laptop.

Anonymous said...

Jon, you raise a very interesting issue. What did patriots like Ace et al. spend their time doing before the Internets? Did they actually have lives? It seems unlikely, but anything is possible. Have the number of Letters to the Editor sent to our newspapers plummeted in recent years?

Anonymous said...

The latest conservative e-mail is that we are all now against Laura Bush! She is a "butt-kisser" for donning a veil in Saudi Arabia. The veil was a gift from a woman she met while promoting breast cancer awareness, but as we all know, it is also a symbol of female subjugation, so now our First Lady has become an inadvertent Islamofascist agent.

Sorry that my link is to Think Progress, an ultraliberal source that is banned to our troops in Iraq (too unhealthy for their patriotic yet sensitive young minds) but it does have a helpful summary of the action in the conservative blogosphere in case you didn't get the original memo.

mw said...

"Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award"

I am so bitter.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Swift,

I have read nearly all of your archived work. (I have 19 pieces to go.) The last two paragraphs of this particular piece are sheer genius. You practice a rare literary specialty with exceptional skill and wit. I marvel that you can stay in character so consistently. Underneath your writing, I detect a bedrock of generosity, humility, and moral sense.

If I may be forgiven an obscure pun, I find your writing cathartic.


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