Saturday, April 30, 2005

Genghis Glenn 

In his latest "Opinion Journal" piece, Daniel Henninger described the "conservative-to-libertarian bloggers" who "swept across the Internet" as "a virtual Mongol horde."

Glenn Reynolds writes that some of his readers are objecting to this label, but he essentially agrees with Daniel: "Mongols drove all their enemies before them, feared nothing but lightning, and were so much faster than their opponents that they could ride around the outside of a besieged fortress faster than the defenders could redeploy on the inside. Sound familiar?"

As probably one of only a few bloggers with any Mongol blood in them, I feel eminently qualified to comment. Well, not really eminently, and my Mongol heritage reaches back to the 16th century, when my Polish family intermarried with some Tartars who were much sought after by the noble families of what was then the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on account of being very good with horses and hunting dogs, but that's the beautiful thing about our "Mongol horde" of the blogosphere - everyone can fire their arrow into the fray.

Mongols might have indeed been, as Glenn says, fearless warriors who drove circles around their enemies (often literally), which does remind one of a blogswarm sweeping upon a fortress of the mainstream media, but regardless of this "shock and awe" image, the MSM might actually wish that bloggers were Mongols.

Why, you might ask? Because Mongols proved to be a flash in the pan. They came seemingly out of nowhere, spread panic for a hundred or so years, built the world's largest empire - and then disappeared. Or rather, they got absorbed by their conquered. At the risk of sounding patronizing, Mongol culture (both material and intangible) and religion were pretty simple affairs with nothing much to offer the settled civilizations that fell under their domination from China to Russia and the Middle East. But Mongols, in turn, became increasingly fascinated by their new subjects. The nomad conquered the settled, but the settled eventually conquered the nomad - Mongols "sold out" and went native - some became Buddhists, some became Muslims, but virtually all got absorbed by their host societies.

Now, wouldn't the mainstream media just love to know that the current blog assault on its news and ideas monopoly is just a momentary heartache and nothing really to worry about - the blogs will swarm, they will terrorize and pile up a few media skulls, but soon enough the best ones will be absorbed into the mainstream and the rest will disappear back into the depths of Internet from where they came.


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