Monday, July 02, 2007

That Super-Duper Secret Townhouse List

Via Daniel Schuman at Mother Jones:

Given that the first rule of Townhouse is that there is no Townhouse, it was quite a challenge to get even one person to talk about the list on record (though I spoke to several people about the list who did not want to be quoted, even anonymously). It's my understanding that any list member who speaks about it publicly, or even acknowledges that it exists, risks immediate expulsion from the list. Incidentally, that's precisely what happened to Maryscott O'Connor of My Left Wing, who was unceremoniously dumped from Townhouse after my article came out. O’Connor had this to say about Townhouse: “It's fucking Skull and Bones, man. The very secretive, behind-closed-doors nature of it is anathema to everything that blogging is supposed to be about: accountability. We are supposed to be showing the way, not skulking around behind closed doors, coming up with strategies. Those are the people who we're trying to fight. I know about 'the real world' and all that shit. But we're the idealists, aren't we?"

Yeah, well that's all fine and dandy MSOC, but the fact is that you still chose to stay on the "fucking Skull and Bones, man" list anyway. If this was about blogger ethics, you should have quit long ago. And exactly which ideals were you holding up while you were on that list if you were so damn opposed to it?

Now, onto this tidbit (which I found courtesy of OP&G):

(Fun fact: According to an email I obtained, sent out to Townhouse members by Stoller in March, the list is now a commercial enterprise. Subscriptions * run $60 per year for individual subscribers and up to $1000 for organizations, the proceeds of which will go to pay Stoller’s rent and health care costs, according to his message.)

About these boyz who cry poverty - I recall Bowers doing just that at dkos a while ago (poor him) - like we're supposed to care. If you can't make a living blogging, get another job or support yourself by flipping burgers while you blog in your spare time. It's as simple as that.

I recently had a private conversation with someone who felt I should have "sympathy" for the fact that they were a poor blogger. Yeah. I don't think so. You, poor blogger, are able to actually work out there in the real world (unlike me and others - who don't complain about not enhancing our bank accounts dramatically from blogging, btw). You choose poverty and expect "sympathy" as if you're Dog's gift to the blogging world? Get stuffed.

There's a glass ceiling in the American so-called left-wing blogosphere which you helped create. So if you keep banging your head on it, buy your own bandaids - or at least be extremely grateful to those who do pass on some cash to you to lower those costs instead of expecting "sympathy".

Anyway, if it's true that Stoller is begging for cash for "rent" and "health care costs" then how did he pay for his recent one week vacation in Hawaii? If that's poverty, sign me up.

And, once again, what is so secret about blogging and issues that an exclusive list like Townhouse needs to exist? Whatever talking points they're throwing out through that list make for a very monolithic and boring read throughout the BBBs because they all cover the same damn things. When was the last time you read a FP piece on any of these blogs that was so utterly compelling and unique that it left you in awe wanting more? Or when did you last see a true piece of investigative journalism on any of the big blogs that broke the BBB mold? If Townhouse acts as some sort of Democratic party newswire which its members then rely on for content, it is doing a huge disservice to blog readers who might as well just read the Democratic Party's web site instead.

Then again, for all I know, maybe they just exchange chess game tips and ring tones. Since no one wants to speak up about it - as if they'll be summarily hanged for treason - I guess we just don't know, do we?

As for this:

One of the questions O'Connor raised when we spoke, an interesting one I thought, is what will become of the once independent bloggers, the idealists, now that they’ve worked their way into the inner sanctum of the Democratic machine. Will they change it for the better from the inside, or simply become a new generation of win-at-any-cost political operatives. It’s a question worth asking, but I don’t think anyone has any answer just yet.

Wanna bet, Schulman?

Related: Schulman's prior piece about the blogosphere, Meet the New Bosses. (Note to Schulman: Daily Kos is not a "liberal" blog.)

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