To blog a mockingbird

by Ted on October 21, 2004

I recently read a blogger (can’t remember who) wondering aloud about what would have happened if the blogging phenomenon had been around for earlier periods in our history.

Just what history needs: more Mickey Kaus.

(cue dream sequence)

I’m not sure why I have such a viceral loathing of Atticus Finch. Maybe it’s his perpetually sweaty brow. Maybe it’s his voice- low, slow, and phony. Maybe it’s the pale suits. Maybe it’s his hypocrisy; why is a man only scum if he takes advantage of a poor Negro? What’s so elevated about taking advantage of a poor white man? Can some reader help me out? 12:25 PM

Is Atticus Finch Jewish? This Macomb County Herald colum says that his great-grandfather on his mother’s side was a Jew. It also mentions that Finch never once contacted them to correct them when they said he had English ancestry. Does he know who he is? Father Coughlin has more. Developing… 2:40 PM

The Finch kids rolled their tire right onto the Radley’s property last week. Now they’re bothering the Radleys again. But it’s not as bad as I thought. It’s worse!

The Radleys reported seeing an intruder in their cabbage patch last night. Nathan Radley scared off the intruder with a shotgun blast. Witnesses reported seeing a pair of britches caught on the fence, although no britches were found. No suspects have been announced, although the Finch children were allegedly seen in the vicinity by Mrs. Harris.

Sneaking into the cabbage patch? And these are the Finch children? Just imagine! 10:36 AM

FINCH TO THE DEFENSE! Atticus Finch has been appointed to defend Tom Robinson against the charge of attacking and raping Mayella Ewell. He’s arguing that Tom Robinson couldn’t have attacked Mayella Ewell like Bob and Mayella said (choking her with one hand, hitting her with the other) because he badly damaged his left hand in a cotton gin.

But did Tom Robinson really hurt his hand? Boy, Finch’s case would sure fall apart if it wasn’t true! And how, exactly, did Tom Robinson do all of this chopping one-handed? NEW PRO-FINCH SPIN: This big strong guy? He’s a creampuff. Trust me! 10:13 PM

Why did the AL Today spike Thomas “Too Far” Dixon’s column? If they hired him to cover the Robinson trial, what did they think they were going to get? True, his article, “Savage Negroes and the Threat to Our Women” was pretty strong stuff. But I would have printed it! 9:44 AM

Robinson Panic Watch: Some unnamed veteran journalist friends talked to some of the Ewell Kinfolk for Justice and found them much more credible than they expected. (Sorry, Mrs. Roosevelt!) They claim that Tom Robinson performed as a juggler at the Macomb County fair, six months after the alleged cotton gin incident. 11:20 AM

FINCH: BETTER FED BY REDS? Is Atticus Finch accepting food from the Communist Party of Alabama? All signs point to “yes”! (Ed. Like what? The day after his closing statement, Bob Ewell said that he was looking through Finch’s window, and it was full of food! The Reds have shown a lot of interest in this case…) 12:01 PM

Hello? Does Macomb County want to look at Jean Louise Finch parading around in a ham costume that Josephine Baker would be embarrassed to wear? Sources say that during the pageant, she lost her dress- and her shoes! What kind of a child loses her shoes?… P.S.: Could she be what these pictures suggest—a bit vain, selfish and opportunistic? She is a Finch, after all! … P.P.S.:The Negroes will love it, of course. But Finch already has their support. Maybe he’s energizing his base! 11:35 PM

{ 29 comments }

1

Dirk 10.21.04 at 9:20 pm

Wonderful post!

2

Matt Weiner 10.21.04 at 9:37 pm

Went over to kausfiles and verified that–
Kaus’s prose style is even more annoying than this. More ellipses, more exclamation points. It’s so annoying it’s difficult to hold in your head when you’re not looking.

And he’s still got the link to Ann “Too Far” Coulter up. Jeebus.

3

Rob Humenik 10.21.04 at 9:55 pm

It’s not a sin to mock a mickey kaus.

That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. All month, even.

4

Martin 10.21.04 at 10:11 pm

Your post reminded me of a comment by ABC journalist (and founder of the blog-like The Note) Mark Halperin reported in an extremely interesting profile of him in the current New Yorker magazine:

“Just imagine Deep Throat during the current age. On cable TV every day there’d be guessing games on who it was. Bob Woodward would be staked out, and there would be profiles and journalistic stories about the journalism and was it ethical and how many sources did they have. You’d have a countdown clock on some cable channel of when Nixon’s going to resign. You’d have Web sites with endless speculation about who Deep Throat was, and critiques of the language, and textual analysis of every Woodward and Bernstein story. All of that would serve to dilute and diminish not just the exclusivity of the scoop but the importance of the underlying story.”

(I don’t know how to link but the article is available online. The same issue contains a very interesting, though incomplete, take on prescription drug costs.)

5

Frolic 10.21.04 at 10:11 pm

I always figured that blogging really took off because the technology appeared at a moment when many smart people were woefully underemployed.

6

Alan 10.21.04 at 10:32 pm

I stood up and clapped. Beautiful!

7

Urinated State of America 10.21.04 at 10:32 pm

There was an equivalent of blogging early in the late 19th/early 20th century, called “amateur journalism”; circles of “amateur journalists” circulated essays, newspaper/magazine clippings amongst themselves. H.P Lovecraft was an enthusiastic amateur journalist; see here for more.

More on the history of amateur journalism here.

8

Urinated State of America 10.21.04 at 10:33 pm

There was an equivalent of blogging early in the late 19th/early 20th century, called “amateur journalism”; circles of “amateur journalists” circulated essays, newspaper/magazine clippings amongst themselves. H.P Lovecraft was an enthusiastic amateur journalist; see here for more.

More on the history of amateur journalism here.

9

Barry Freed 10.21.04 at 10:35 pm

That reminds me of one of the funnier fark photoshop contests I’ve seen. It was something like Imagine if Fox News had been around for thousands of years covering the major events of world history.

I always figured that blogging really took off because the technology appeared at a moment when many smart people were woefully underemployed.

Including those with full-time jobs, even.

10

Randy Paul 10.21.04 at 10:36 pm

Why doesn’t Boo Radley act less wooden? It’s like watching Frankenstein without the bolts in the neck! [ed. note: What are those bolts for, anyway] Back to you, Senator Kerry!

11

Scott Lemieux 10.21.04 at 10:39 pm

Perfect.

12

Anderson 10.21.04 at 10:42 pm

I guess it’s petty of me to mention that Atticus Finch and Boo Radley, being fictional characters, were not present at any earlier moment in American history?

Just imagine Kaus’s reasons to vote Hoover in 1932.

13

M. Kaus 10.21.04 at 10:45 pm

Do I really sound like that??

Wow, maybe I *AM* a hack!

14

Ted Barlow 10.21.04 at 10:56 pm

Anderson,

I guess it’s petty of me to mention that Atticus Finch and Boo Radley, being fictional characters, were not present at any earlier moment in American history?

That’s not the way the world really works anymore.

15

G. Svenson 10.21.04 at 11:01 pm

“Musik kommt aus dem Weißen Haus,
Und vor Paris steht Mickey Kaus”…

16

Buddy66 10.21.04 at 11:30 pm

He hates his guts because Finch knows how to spell visceral.

17

Modern Crusader 10.21.04 at 11:32 pm

How did the world survive before blogs? How did the Founding Fathers survive without Socialism and welfare?

18

Petey 10.22.04 at 12:22 am

Kudos. A very funny piece.

19

Doctor Biobrain 10.22.04 at 12:55 am

Job well done. Excellent.

Who in the hell reads Kaus? I don’t get it. There are so many great blogs out there and Kaus doesn’t even come close to being one of the better ones.

And he’s not a hack. He’s an anti-hack, which is even worse. A hack is someone who pretends to be stupid while pimping someone else’s agenda because they don’t know any better. Kaus pretends to be intelligent while pimping his own agenda (his own self-glory) and thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world. A true hack only tries to fool others. Kaus is only fooling himself.

I don’t want anything formal organized, I’d just like it if people stop going to his site.

20

praktike 10.22.04 at 1:09 am

Boffo.

21

Chris in Boston 10.22.04 at 1:33 am

Best parody I’ve read since Thomas Friedman spoof. No, better even. But Matt Weiner’s right: you need way more exclamation marks. If your ideas aren’t exciting, spice them up with punctuation!

22

Saheli 10.22.04 at 2:37 am

Huzzah!

23

Skip 10.22.04 at 2:41 am

This post is an excellent conceit but unfortuantely not funny. The obvious problem is the rather odd comparison. I’ve read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and seen plenty of John Kerry over the last year and he is no Atticus Finch. I read Crooked Timber plenty too and there hasn’t been that many encomiums for the Senator. So Ted, why don’t do you step up and bathe John in all the glowing love I guess you think he deserves. But, if not, I think you should sit back and let those who acknowledge that we only have this canidate becasue people thought he could win carry the day. After all, they’re only speaking the truth and that’s what Atticus would want.

24

Floyd Alvis Cooper 10.22.04 at 6:37 am

LOL

25

Doctor Biobrain 10.22.04 at 8:14 am

Skip – Really. The “obvious problem” making it unfunny was the comparison? Damn, dude. This wasn’t meant to be an essay about Kerry, comparing him to your lord, Atticus Finch. It was about Kaus and what a joke he is, and showing how he’d blog about a famous event in popular culture. Kaus ain’t nothing but a cheap-ass gossip-monger gaining attention by floating upstream, and that’s what this was all about.

Hell, it never even occured to me that this was supposed to make Kerry look like Finch. The truth is that you didn’t think it was funny because you are too in love with Kaus’ ideas, and seeing them mocked was just too much for you.

The funniest part is how you’re so Kausified that you refuse to take a good laugh when one is shown to you and your comments seem solely designed to insult Kerry. This was meant to mock Kaus, yet all you saw was love for Kerry and it upset you that somebody might actually be defending him. No wonder you don’t find it funny. It probably applied to you as much as it did to Kaus.

BTW, I happen to think Kerry is a fine choice for President and he was always my first choice. And it has nothing to do with how much he looks like Gregory Peck (ok, maybe a little bit). There are no “perfect” candidates, but I firmly believe that Kerry is the man we need. He’s a deep-thinker who doesn’t make rash decisions when he doesn’t need to, he’s willing to take a strong stand when he feels it’s necessary, and he’s willing to be pragmatic when that’s the best course of action. Hell, I even like the fact that he’s kind of boring. We’ve already had one activist President with a die-hard following, and witness the rush of history he has thrust on us; we need a boring President who will take the slow and steady course.

Not that I’m trying to convince you that this is true, I’m just tired of know-it-alls trying to speak for everyone and competely dissing this good choice for President. I don’t want Reagan, I don’t want Clinton, and I sure as hell don’t want Bush. I want a low-key background President who gets the job done without polarizing America, and I see Kerry as the best man for that role. And I believe that that’s why the primary voters picked him.

26

Saint Fnordius 10.22.04 at 8:56 am

Are you trolling, skip?

No don’t bother, it’s quite obvious that you’re trolling. I never would have thought that the post was meant to compare Atticus Finch with John Kerry. Looking back after reading your comment, I still don’t see that comparison. It’s not in the focus. You’re overstretching the metaphor.

What is being compared, though, is Kaus’ partisan bias and his horrible, horrible writing style. Mickey’s a “never question authority” writer who never, ever removes his partisan blinders.

Ted,
Kudos for your on-target satire. You get a Laugh Point.

27

AJ 10.22.04 at 4:39 pm

Instapundit, circa 1950

SENATOR McCARTHY: UNDERSTANDS WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST.


Ladies and gentlemen, can there be anyone here tonight who is so blind as to say that the war is not on? Can there be anyone who fails to realize that the Communist world has said, “The time is now”–that this is the time for the show-down between the democratic Christian world and the Communist atheistic world? Unless we face this fact, we shall pay the price that must be paid by those who wait too long.

Indeed.


In my opinion the State Department, which is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with Communists.


I have in my hand fifty-seven cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy.

Breathtaking. Read the whole thing.

28

Skip 10.22.04 at 8:10 pm

Dr. Biobrain,

“He’s a deep-thinker who doesn’t make rash decisions when he doesn’t need to, he’s willing to take a strong stand when he feels it’s necessary, and he’s willing to be pragmatic when that’s the best course of action.”

Is that parody or satire?

Trolling. What’s that? I like Kaus and I like CT. They have their strenghts and weaknesses. Ted’s isn’t humor. So what.

Skip

29

Avedon 10.23.04 at 4:12 pm

You knew I was gonna love that.

And while John Kerry may not be Atticus Finch, he did go after the real bad guys when he investigated BCCI an chased terrorist money before it was fashionable.

Comments on this entry are closed.