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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Scariest term for harmless bloggers (possibly a continuing series)

Ever since bloggers took down CBS with their '1970's' Microsoft Word documents which were obviously not produced on a typewriter, the mainstream media has resorted to increasingly shrill language to describe people typing their opinions on computers. "Internet brownshirts" by Al Gore is one of my favorites. I used to think that was pretty extreme.

A blogger who humorously critiques the NYT food critic, one might think, is about as harmless as a sea cow. But not according to Times reviewer William Grimes:

"Now, it seems that you're in grave danger of being stalked on the Internet by a philosophical assassin."

"grave danger" "stalked" "philosophical assassin" ???

The mainstream media is far more charitable to those who blow themselves up in crowds of civilians. There is nothing dangerous about a marketplace of ideas except to those who used to run a monopoly.

Some examples of this "gravely dangerous stalking" by the "assassin" in question:

"This blog is predicated on the suggestion that every Wednesday, in the Times Dining Out section, Frank lays a huge Faberge egg of hilarity," Langbein writes. She imagines Bruni as a "Venetian count in a huge ruffled collar," doling out stars from "the inside breast pocket of his brocaded chamber robe."

Bruni holds sway over a vast kingdom of restaurants in a city obsessed with eating. New Yorkers use his critiques to decide whether they should try the latest adventure in dining.

Langbein's 10-month-old blog, "The Bruni Digest," has evolved into a sassy counterpoint to Bruni's dispatches.

Take this acerbic sample from her Nov. 2 posting:

"Usually the Count, trained in the infamously razor-witted journalistico-priestly salons of Berlusconi-era Rome, has a firm grasp on subtle humor. But this week, Frank is taking everything literally, in an autistic Amelia Bedelia way."

Ironically, assassin could be an accurate term if applied to Muslim murderers. The word is derived from a group of Muslims who used to kill after smoking hashish. But that would be unfair to those alienated, impoverished (like Osama Bin Laden, say) militants who are yearning to breathe free (of modern civilization).

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