Sunday, January 23


I read this article, Blogger Influence Raises Ethical Questions, and found myself stepping back from it with a smile and a frown, remembering what the ol' Site Meter -- the de facto, Nielsen-equivalent, measurement service for the blogosphere -- keeps reminding me of everytime I click on it. Namely, that I remain fitfully, but ever so firmly ensconced (like fish offal) on the ocean floor of blogging. For all I know the 50+/day average number of hits on my site may just be one of my sons trying to cheer me or the other deluding himself into thinking that his cut of my estate will be worth the effort! Sad, but true, I get fewer hits than a minor-league benchwarmer with a cracked bat. I choke at the plate, not on sunflower seeds.

Fact is, my "influence" in Cyberspace is so hopelessly insufficient that I cannot even get family members to reply to my emails, let alone bring down kings. I'm judged no immediate threat to topple Powerline or Instapundit from their perches. Rather doesn't read me and dribble down his pantlegs in dread of a Higgins' post. Nor is Peggy Noonan heartbroken over my having taken issue with her in recent days over her niggling parsing of the president's speech. She may be familiar, as she's an educated sort, with Emily Dickinson's "A Certain Slant of Light," but she's never stumbled upon B.A. Higgins' blog, A Certain Slant Of Light, or been directed to it by the blogrolls of a couple of dozen polibloggers for whom "influence" may be a verifiable fact, as duly notarized in Hugh Hewitt's opus BLOG. My site, truth be known, gets fewer "links" than Fred Sanford had in his top dresser drawer. And, to be sure, there's no likelihood that Wizbang is about to confer an award upon me anytime soon unless a Whatshisname is being contemplated, but then there's an unlikelihood of that for no other reason than how does one go about sculpting a Whatshisname in bronze?

No, we here in what Hugh Hewitt lovingly calls the tail of the blogosphere (flotsam and jetsam come to mind) -- we many, we precious many (some 4.5 million of us and counting), we band of bloggers, we who live in that gray twilight that knows not trackbacks or hits -- do not threaten any man or institution with our influence. The most power we ever have is when we press Shift-Alt-Delete on our keyboards or flush the toilet. We don't need ethics, we need a motivational speech. We're the Little Engine That Couldn't. We're the Charge of the Light Brigade, but armed with mousepads, not lances.

Oh, I've lifted off, all right, like those rockets that pre-dated the Mercury flights and caused Tom Wolfe to label a test pilot's courage the right stuff. I'm bloodied, but unbowed. I've somehow managed to go from vanquished to semi- vaunted status, as I've scratched and clawed my way up the food chain (i.e., the TTLB Ecosystem), transmogrifying from Insignificant Microbe to Lowly Insect to Slimy Mollusc to Flippery Fish to, host of hosts, a Crawly Amphibian in just a matter of weeks; but such brilliant ascendancy still has me in relative (make that read: deep-rooted) obscurity in the The Truth Laid Bear pecking order. I've thousands and thousands of struggling bloggers ahead of me -- a veritable gauntlet to run if I'm ever to break through the hedgerow country of the blogosphere and achieve Playful Primates status (or above). And even if I do, could I ever pace a blog storm or cause Trent Lott to give up chairing inaugural committees? What influence would I have were I at least a Primate, if not altogether Playful? Could I get O'Reilly to quit making those phone calls, cause Janet Jackson to get breast reduction surgery and a new seamstress, or bully Donald Rumsfeld into rethinking troop strength? Could an obscure blogger like me embarrass Jessie Jackson into working for a living or beat the "Left Angeles Times" editorial board into submission, much as Patterico does? Could the strength of my writing, its concatenation of nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositional phrases, devalue Donald Trump's real estate holdings or eliminate the likelihood of an erection lasting for four hours or more? Let's get real.

Influence? Ethical considerations? Symposiums? Convention blogging? RSS feeds (is that a charity?). Are you kidding me? I'm still learning Spellcheck! Gosh, all I want for now are a few 100-hit days, a dozen or so bloggers to put me in their blogrolls (which sadly I've discovered are not pastries) out of the goodness of their hearts, three fingers of single malt Scotch in a Waterford tumbler over clear ice, and someone to "Comment": Ya know, Pal, your writing has promise -- keep at it.

Finally, one last request from my wishlist, if you'll allow, Dear Reader(s?): could you try to prevail upon Hugh Hewitt, accomplished writer that he is, to craft the equivalent of a St. Crispin's Day speech for those of us being buffeted in the jet wash of Powerline, Instapundit, and that nonpareil incorrigible, Daily Kos? If you write it, Hugh, they will come.