Computers — wow! What will they think of next? In this week's New Republic (the in-flight magazine of Air Force One, Chloë Sevigny told me once) Jonathan Chait joins the increasing buzz about the "internet" phenomenon by revealing the existence of exciting new things called netroots:
Their newness makes them outsiders to the game...They see the Washington establishment, by contrast, as a kind of clique, filled with mediocrities who attended the best schools or know the right people. The netroots short hand for this phenomenon is "Washington cocktail parties"—where, it is believed, the elite share their wrongheaded ideas, inoculated from accountability.
[NOTE THE IMAGE: Keyboards with two X's and no Y's are a key tool in struggle against patriarchy.]
As opposed to traditional blogging, discovered to be controlled by academics far too focused on ideas, the netroots are on (under) the ground, fighting the fight with "distinctive linguistic tics" totally alien to university discussions such as meme and frame. Weird, eh? "This wording 'reflects the strange belief that politics is all about 'noise' and 'narratives'; whoever makes the most noise or gets the most Google hits is going to win, regardless of objective reality."
Also, "The worst thing that can happen to a liberal is to be seen as 'in the tank.'"
How come they're so weird!? Counter-intuitively, the compu-hippies aren't controlled by an "artificial, Stalinist imposition. The close ties that exist among the netroots and its allies grow out of the technology they use so naturally." For the rest of we normals (as they call us) who do doodling, not typing, here is an easy-to-use Venn diagram summarizing Chait's anthropological work.
See, now you too understand Politics 3.1.
The Left's New Machine [TNR]