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Eleanor Digby; or, All the lonely people

By Owen Paine on Sunday June 24, 2007 01:49 PM

I've become that bitter guy mental hygiene enthusiasts scorn -- a cankered, unempathic, self-absorbed turtle, completely beyond reclamation. The inbite of lifelong failure will often do that to a mirror-stage dropout. So who am I then to cast stones when I puddle up some feckless cast-iron prose oddity?

But then arrives Ms Digby's anointing:


... and I can't help it, I cast stones as fast as I can.

Why at her in particular, so recently bronzed as the official hood ornament for all prog-blog leapers across America? Let me put it to you this way: it's like finding your grinless silent fast-departing pimple-sized audience is not laffin' or diggin' it 'cause the fuckers are just stone deaf.

In the land of the deaf and dumb, Digby is queen. She's the beltway pundits' platonic form of a netroots insurgent, and for the best of reasons: she's a fuckin' high-C fool, just the ticket for the corporate party lite's co-opt act.

In Herself's 'umble "I accept this for all of us" speech for the mediocrity-of-the-year award linked to above, our gal reveals -- in a compact sort of way -- much of what lies behind the triple-bolted Green Door. This award exposes by her very selection the internet dirty-tricks detour sign set up to divert the flow of the coming mass rising of the mittelstand jobbler zillions. It's to be staffed by these Digby, Donatello and Stoller types. They and their familiars will be the phalanx of false prophets promoted by the corporate-sponsored MSM guide to the netroots.

But enough of generality – let's dive in. Here's an example of darling Ms Digby's fatuous preening (try to chew this, you melancholy curs):

We [prog-bloggers] are, in short, something of an enigma. I like to call this phenomenon--irrational fear of hippies which has, in my view, become--irrational fear of political passion.
Something of an enigma? To whom, good hearted crusader, are y'all any sort of "enigma"? For fucksake, Lassie could size you up. And exactly in whose evil heart have you sown "fear" of your "passion"?

How Blanche Dubois you are, my dear... passion passion passion! One sniffles in nervous embarrassment at this flowering into divahood. How predictable is it that a closet histrionic might suddenly explode into unbecoming self-display upon the receipt of a statuette.

Our gal points out,

... passion sometimes manifests itself as anger.... how can you not be angry, when [get set for the Sunday punch -O.P.] So many institutions have failed us in the last decade.... [B]eing vitriolic seems the only sane response.

Indeed it is, if you plan on doing nothing about it. And if we need to wax "vitriolic" – then what a venue the internet portal provides! Out there, through its wires, waiting in their cubicles, are all us fellow-travellers aboard Spaceship Myfuckinjobsucks, primed for a political passion movement, and it's wild, baby, wild!

If you have something to say you can say it -- and if it touches a chord, people will return time and again to read what you've written and discuss the issues of the day with others who are reading the same things.
At any rate she's dead right here -- all it takes is a 'net hookup to join one of a jillion digital prog villages out there in Virtualistan, Every village has a special smile all its own, but they all have in common that everybody's dressed anyhow, and largely from anywhere. So come join us and be welcomed! -- at least so long as your head's inside the same rainbow, so to speak.

Just what, according to Digby, is the deep shared structural motive of all these conspicuously bright-colored conspiring conclaves?

All of us who blog in the progressive blogosphere, have a common goal.... We want to... take back America.
Wait! Wait! Stop the march music! “Take back America”? Back from who? (Or do I mean whom?) Why, from Dick Cheney and company -- Darth Amerika as opposed to “our” America.

Okay, swell, let's give it a whirl -- but first, my dear, tell me why all these "institutions" have "failed us" in the first place.

Now I agree, institutions everywhere – publical, civical, academical, foundational, corporational, NPO, NGO, arpeggio -- they've all "failed" us -- but did they fail themselves? Was it a case of mass institutional capture by black-hat Darths, cheered on by the likes of Bill Bennett and Martin Feldstein? Or was it something... much worse?

Advice to you, my queen, before you ride out agin' 'em with your posse of well-intended white-bonneted ronin -- first uncover the full dimensions of this Darth Amerika you are fixin' to wrest institutional power from.

And start by checking right there inside your own headgear. Imagine we are all Darth Amerika's pod people. It's kinda like the total depravity doctrine of classical Calvinism. You gotta figure, since we're all infected, Darth Amerika's agents, aware or unaware, are already inside every big or little tent, behind every curtain -- not just up there in every tower office, but down below, too, in every cellar hideout, waiting, and watching, and ready to talk up a gibberish storm.

To be specific: check out this plague-carrying meme emerging from your own mellifluous throat:

We all agree that Islamic terrorism is a threat, but one which we cannot meet with military power alone.
Now that right there, all by itself, will send you on a permanent set of bummer head trips. There's something called “terrorism”? Islamic terrorism? A "threat"? Military power -- alone?! Yikes! Kill the pig! Kill the pig!

If you buy that crap, then you are a Darth bot, an agent in good standing of black-hat Amerika. Say this to yourself over and over: "Digby! There is no terrorist threat to nice decent America -- only to Darth Amerika! Digby! The use of the Darth empire's military power is never justified!"

Do it, gal! You gotta purge, baby, purge! Free your mind of corporate gremlins! Exorcise yourself -- the unexorcised life is not worth living. Go vomit up all this corporate bile, all this satanic alphabet soup, you've swallowed over the years, just like all the rest of us. Then go ahead, be fuckin' "passionate".

Comments (17)


Yeah, but, like, what are your policy propsals, man? What are you doing to take back America?

That's what they keep asking me, anyway, and I keep tellin' 'em that I'm not trying to take it back. I'm trying to give it away.


Yep. My friends tell me I need to like "Call the officer of your local Congresscritter. Insist on speaking with her." THAT will make a difference (Given that it's Ellen Tauscher, I remain skeptical).

Chalmers Johnson is right. The Machine cannot be "reformed." Oh well. I have no children and will be gone within a decade or two (if not sooner). Aprez moi le deluge.


I've suggested policies when I've been asked. They're not serious people. Suggest ten policies and they demand a vision. Offer a vision and they demand more policies. Explain why their policy proposal du jour is way too hard to make work in the real world and you're being too negative. The goal, really, appears to be some kind of moral conquest by attrition.

It's not policies or visions the average Digby-style pwoggie-bloggie is looking for. What she wants is a nice sounding excuse to sit on her bony ass and do nothing. What she wants is a pet on the head for pecking at her keyboard and some ad income.


the evil headmaster at my boarding school
often practiced apon us his versions of
"moral conquest by attrition"

alan u may be right about the digger

but others don't even have that material base


give it away ...how bout give a lot back
to the tribal nations
and formerly northern mexico
to the new majority in the southwest
the chicano nation
and give the south as comp to
the black nation

and we palefaces that don't like it no more
can all move back to europe
to canada new zealand or australia
we paine's will gladly do our part
and return to wales


brian i took you for a mere lad of 23


Nope. Double that, Mr. Paine. I guess that demonstrates how immature I remain in many ways. I can't join in Allan Smithee's campaign against Digby (who at least writes well), as I am pretty useless myself. .


Though I'm not a regular reader of Digby, I generally approve of her stuff when I get those regular "what-Digby-said" links. But I couldn't get through three minutes of that speech. What sanctimonious sop. This is an intelligent person spouting that nonsense. Perhaps it is the televised media that turns the best and brightest into idiots.


Owen, I forgive all your obscure vers libre for that brilliant opening paragraph above. And all the regulars who chimed in here reveal what I've always thought we all are, cranky outsiders.

Last night I listened to John Perkins speak in Marin county, to an audience of what I would have to call our local "left". Take all the county's environmentalists, pesticide and geneticially engineered food free advocates, Kucinich campaign workers (including me), and the generally disaffected and clueless, and you'd have a good cross-section of that Perkins audience. And I thought, shit I'm glad we don't have real democracy yet!

My SO, who is undeniably an artist and a bohemian, has recently admitted that she's actually an "elitist" bohemian. And under pressure I would have to admit that I'm an elitist socialist. I think we should do a class analysis of this most charming and intellectual site, and see if it's not performing the same distracting, co-opting function that Digby is.


bobw, being on the receiving end of your Munchausen's By Proxy wheeze has limited appeal. You'd have better luck at whatever prog version of the Harper Valley PTA enjoys your loyalty.

John Gillnitz:

This post is completely pointless. There is no argument or debate. Just a bunch of fleck spital.


gillnitz esq

"fleck spital".....i kinda like that label

not sure what it might be

a looooey blown
by a turbulent context
into lapel suitable
smallish sticky gobs ???

i'm often enough keen on debate
when my throat's clear
but hoik i must
if its not

needn't stand away ...i'm far from contagious


I'll volunteer for bobw's census. I'm a working class boy from a family with a failed insurance agent father and a hard-driving mother who did menial jobs that put food on the table and got us through school and college somehow. Now, I am a low level local government planning bureaucrat ensuring that your neighbor doesn't build his shed too close to your property line.

Where does that fit in your scema, Mr. W?


Brian, among other rhetorical slitherings bobw is inviting us to prove that we are not a representative sample of the people we claim to loathe. It's pulled off better than the wingnuts' much less sophisticated insistence that someone prove a negative to establish their bona fides. Both remain an attempt to elide the loathsome activity. The progressive version adds an invitation to join in an orgy of aesthetic self-loathing.

My main issue with the Digby column is that she can't admit that "passion" is only admirable when it issues forth from her own camp. From this camp, or collection of camps, it's simply dismissed as "madness" or "arguing just like a Right-winger," etc.

"Passion" is just a tool, in a whole warehouse full of tools. Hell, her fans think Marcotte is full of "Passion." Coulter's fans think she's full of "Passion." It's the packaging of the material, not the material itself.

I would rather have read a column explaining why America is worth taking back, rather than giving away. I doubt that IOZ and I agree on all that much, but in this case, I have to plant myself in his camp rather than Digby's. If folks want to save their color TVs and nice espresso shops, they should be forthright enough to say that that's what they are fighting to save-- or disseminate around the world come wartime. I love color TV, and good coffee. But those things are no substitute for explaining what we've done in this country that's so all-fired wonderful that we should get to blast the fuck out of whoever we want just because we don't like their looks. Or because their leader said something mean about Israel, or... or...


why is digby a person? nobody should ever be a person. you should only ever be the sum of your output and the senseless immoral criticism it generates.

BREAKING NEWS! : “anonymous” was a woman.

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