Saturday, November 19, 2005

Like Watching A Middle-Aged Executive Trying On A Pair Of Nipple-Rings

Sometimes it's the little things. If you want something important, then watch Murtha's press conference on why we have to end the Iraq War now (and how we go about doing it). Then visit Shakespeare's Sister for info about the gonzo-fight in Congress over Murtha's resolution and the Republican response...

So if you're one of us who's allowed blogging to ruin your life, you're probably already aware of the new con-blogger circle jerk calling itself OSM(tm) Open Source Media (formerly "Pajama's Media"). For those who haven't let their lives be so ruined, it's the latest attempt by clueless pseudo-technophiles to challenge the dominant media paradigm and harness the power of the synergistic capabilites of the flow of ideas and information, and the liberating empowerment offered to netizens by the interactive new media zeitgeist in order to uh...disseminate right wing talking points and (maybe) make some money. ** Lest they be accused of being completely ideologically stilted, they managed to convince two of my favorite bloggers (and Nation contributors), David Corn and Marc Cooper, to contribute. Compared with the rest of the roster (including Malkin, Little Green Facist Charles Johnson, Instapundit, some weirdo who actually uses the name "Atlas Shrugged" and writes in the style of a less literate Ayn Rand to boot), I'd say fair and balanced all around!

As noted by a onetime partner, the venture is ill-defined, mismanaged and quite likely destined for financial failure. Proving their adeptness in this brave new world, they failed to use basic internet technology to discover that the name was already taken, and when confronted with this they made up a reason for their mistake. Still, they're on the cutting edge conceptually, unless you ask Tiny Nibbles. Ah well, if the name and concept are a joke, the editorial content won't make for easy laughs. I can't wait for the inevitable fall of old media.

So why does this particular geek have his hackles raised? One could be forgiven for thinking it's the offensive attempt by middle-aged know nothings attempting to claim some tech-credibility and enliven their moribund venture by injecting it with a little slashdot jargon - "Ohhh those scruffy hackers be jammin'!" One would be wrong. Although that in itself is pretty bad, what's ticking me off is in their about section they reference the Free Software Manifesto while at the same time having a copyright policy so restrictive it prevents me from quoting either the about page or the policy. Although they claim fealty to the "open source" philosophy they want nothing to do with it. You want real "Open Source Media"? Publish under the Creative Commons License and be done with it. Otherwise you are missing the point. The point of all of this open source business is that there is a good done for society by placing ideas and artifacts in the public sphere and thus making them available to everyone. This is not what "OSM(tm)" is about. Instead they're misusing and attempting to appropriate a positive term (from our culture, assholes!) to puff up their sense of self-importance (a minor irritant) and engage in standard issue right-wing whining about how the dreaded "MSM" doesn't have virulent enough right wing opinion. And I find that incredibly annoying. Please, guys, don't poison the well and stop with the tech-triumphalism. You're just jerks in front of a computer screen. It doesn't make you special.

*: I stole (maybe paraphrased?) this from a description of the New Republic during Andrew Sullivan's tenure as editor.

**:The center-left version of same, run by the David Bowie of punditry, Arianna Huffington, has been operational for a few months. I prefer the far superior, both technically and topically, Blogtimore, Hon.

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