Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: January 2008 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Battle of Lysistrata

I’ve been a political junkie as long as I can remember, and one of the first websites I discovered on the internet that fed my political addiction was Wonkette. When I started my blog many moons ago, it was one of the first links in my sidebar. It’s still one of my regular click-through sites when I can find time to just browse.

Wonkette has been through many changes, growing from a one-woman show into an integral part of the Gawker universe. Editors and writers have come and gone, and come back again. But never before has Wonkette experienced a reader/commenter mutiny like they did this week.

The drama began with the rehiring on Ken Layne as the editor-in-chief. Ken was the “West Coast Bureau Chief” when I started reading the site, and then he left, I presume to go freelance. Upon his return, he promptly fired one of the readers’ favorite writer, along with an intern and staff photographer, apparently because they didn’t “fit” with Layne’s vision of the site’s future. The writer, Megan Carpentier, had a huge following, and her loyal minions promptly organized a boycott of the site.

Wonkette commenters, or “Wonketteers”, are an eclectic bunch. There are gays and straights, college students and professors, patriots and expatriates, liberals and conservatives. The one thing they all have in common is the ability to see the ridiculousness of the political mindset in our nation’s capital and beyond.

And now they’re irate. Megan Carpentier is a smart, funny, and knowledgeable writer. She has worked as a lobbyist on Capital Hill, and used her inside knowledge to explain the sausage-and-lawmaking process in a witty and sarcastic, yet understandable, manner. She also was not afraid to offend sensibilities. Apparently, these are the traits that don't fit into the Gawker mold. By canning her, however, Wonkette has driven its more intelligent constituents away from the site.

The Wonketteers are currently congregating at a blogspot site called Homofascist’s Army (homofascist was a fixture commenter on Wonkette, and became the defacto leader of the insurrection). Meanwhile, Wonkette’s page hits have dropped by a third, and its comment boards have dropped in participation by half.

I for one will be visiting HF’s site to get my fix of witty political repartee, and encourage everyone else to do the same. Eventually, the Wonketteers will either migrate back to Wonkette or find a new site. In the meantime, HFA will be the place to be. See you there!
Update: Megan, along with several ex-Wonk commenters have migrated over to The Cynics' Party. It's a little more highbrow, a little less silly, and very entertaining. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

So Fred Thompson is out of the race for the White House. Once lauded as the next Ronald Reagan, Fred led a sluggish campaign that tried to snare the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party - to little effect.

You may recognize the Fredneck from the Law and Order teevee show, but if you’re not from Tennessee, you may not realize that Fred has been bouncing around the political scene for decades. He was involved in the investigation leading to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. After serving in the Senate, he became a Washington lobbyist, and eventually landed back on television.

So anyway, Fred thought he could land in the White House by wearing cowboy boots and campaigning in a red pickup truck, but apparently that’s been done, so he’ll go back to being an obscure actor.

Goodbye and good riddance, Fred. You were good for some laughs during the debates, so we’ll try remember you as a footnote in the 2008 presidential elections.

So who's next?