the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

June 30, 2006

“Fascism With a Microsoft Face”


I’ve been trying not to waste too much time following every twist of the blog war The New Republic (TNR) launched against Jerome Armstrong (founder of MyDD), Markos “Kos” Moulitsas (founder of the Daily Kos), and eventually everyone in the liberal blogosphere. I look at MyDD and the Daily Kos every day or so, and I occasionally post comments (mainly on MyDD since the Daily Kos comments have grown too numerous to handle). But I don’t consider either site essential to my blog reading, and I certainly don’t accept marching orders from Kos or Jerome or agree with everything they write.

Maybe there’s some scandal involving one or both of them that’s somehow different from what happens every day among commentators in the offline media, but I doubt it. If there is, though, my online life won’t be affected much. (Though the relevation that Jerome is into astrology does make it harder for me to take him seriously as a leader in the reality-based community.)

TNR’s attempts to dig up dirt and smear liberals throughout the Internet are so far over the top — culminating in an extensive explanation by Lee Siegel that yes, he really did mean to call us fascists and thugs — that I’m not sure what to make of them. Maybe the people at TNR have an irrational fear of bloggers (even though they themselves blog). Maybe it’s a misguided attempt to defend Joe Lieberman from the netroots Lamont supporters. Maybe they just want to increase web traffic through controversy. Regardless, at this point they deserve every bit of ridicule they get. Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has a ridicule rundown, and piles on more of her own. Tapped is now describing itself as “Non-stop blogofascism from The American Prospect’s staff.”

One of the many bizarre points in Siegel’s original rant was his description of blogs as “hard fascism with a Microsoft face”. The phrase echoes “socialism with a human face” from the 1968 Prague Spring, but in the earlier phrase, making socialism human was supposed to be something new and a bit surprising. Humanity was something far removed from socialism as people viewed it.

In Siegel’s phrase, there’s no equivalent seeming contradiction. Microsoft isn’t inherently fascist, but it’s certainly not the first thing I’d think of when asked for the opposite of fascism. Microsoft worldview is totalitarian, and that’s how it’s gotten where it is, regardless of Bill Gates’s philanthropy. Does Siegel somehow view Microsoft as warm and cuddly?

The other thing I wonder about the phrase is what Microsoft has to do with blogs anyway. Yes, lots of people use Microsoft Windows on the computers they read and write blogs with, but the vast majority of blogs, like the vast majority of websites in general, are running on open-source software that has nothing to do with Microsoft. Is Siegel one of those idiots who think Bill Gates invented the Internet?


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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