"Big Public" and the Blogs
The Democratic Convention begins today in Boston, and somewhat to my own surprise I really couldn't care less. I'll probably watch Kerry's speech out of a sense of curiosity, and maybe Barack Obama's keynote tomorrow night if I'm home and the Phils game isn't super-compelling, but otherwise, I don't see much of interest. And I find the ubiquitous, somewhat breathless mini-stories popping up all over the internet about "convention bloggers" somewhere between silly and flat-out self-indulgent and annoying. What will these intrepid knights of the keyboard really have to tell us? Probably a lot of star-fucking trivia and notes on the human foibles of the self-important assembled.
More interesting to me is the question of whether this still-amorphous "virtual constituency" can eventually play a role in pushing for enlightened public policy, if/when some of its champions come to power. A year from now, when President Kerry is trying to push his health care package through a Congress still likely to be controlled by Republicans, will we be able to rebut whatever crap the insurance agency throws at his proposals? Or will we be so fatigued from endless requests for online donations--the inevitable next step after the flood of liberal junk mail I receive and discard on a daily basis--that we won't recognize the opportunity to counter the dedicated direct-mail jihadists of the right and Grover Norquist's K Street minions?