Saturday, January 01, 2005

Nick Coleman: Super-Genius

Nick Coleman's hatchet job on Powerline is reverberating through the political blogosphere, and I'll add my echo.

Nick Coleman is a genius.

Groucho Marx's autobiography, Groucho and Me, mentions how his grandfather made a lifetime score in the publishing industry. According to Groucho, it occurred to the elder Mr. Marx that when movie studios bought up the rights to a novel in order to make a film about it, there would be money in issuing a special reprint of the novel with still images from the film stuck in the middle.

Such simple inspiration has led to nearly a century of irritation, torn binding, and steady profits. Elegant. A classic medium is perverted and contorted with the sex appeal of the new medium, to produce a new hybrid cash cow.

Witnessing Mr. Coleman's opus, I feel as if a time machine let me witness the first tabloid editor accusing a movie star of being pregnant and/or gay. It is history in the making.

All Mr. Coleman had to do was skim Powerline for the names of the authors, and write a column making fun of their nicknames and accusing them of being in the pay of shadowy forces of a Republican bent. That was the only real work involved. For the rest, he simply picked over their outraged retorts, and the irate reader letters, for more sarcastic banter. He need do nothing more than wait for them to seek him out. They will write his next column for him. And the next. For free!

We can't help ourselves. It's in our nature as conservatives to critically reveiw the media. It's in our nature as bloggers to post our conclusions.

For a minimal investment in time and preparation, Mr. Coleman has tapped into a free, undying force of nature to propel him to El Dorado.

I feel like a Bronze Age oarsman watching the first crude sailboat float past.

Sure, there are a few fellow liberals trying to get in on the action. There's a Henry Farell, and a Marxist who calls himself "Ben Franklin". But there's plenty of conservative blogger outrage to go around. In fact, the more seeds of justified anger are sown, the greater the potential harvest of smarmy rebuttal.

Now we can see if Nick Coleman has the cunning to match his invention. With perserverance, initiative, and a dedicated search for forward-looking newpaper management, Mr. Coleman can found the bold new art of "blog review". Every week, sow insult and rebut angry replies.

The formula, once perfected, need not be limited to political blogs. Any form of human endeavor may be a subject for a blog, and therefore open to slander. Chihuahua breeding. Home preserves. Hummel. And not just in the United States! With the wonder of the global internet, potential victims in Europe and Asia are just a Google-search away.

Douglas Adams once described an immortal whose chosen quest was to insult every being in the universe. There are tasks that will take many lifetimes to fulfill; those that undertake them are assured job security.

And wealth. Such a broad-based column could be syndicated in a hundred papers. A thousand! And then the hard-bound anthologies of syndicated columns! The mind boggles.

And all of it due to a single moment of introspection, shared by his editors: Y'know, we're not above that.

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