Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Squatters Libertas

I should have seen it coming. And I blame Hugh Hewitt.

Once upon a time there was a collegial group called the Northern Alliance Radio Network. They shared center-right conservative views, Saturday airtime, and a would-be benefactor named Hewitt who promoted their websites and let them guest host his radio show. Hugh generously chronicled the NARNians in his recent book, Blog. Sometimes, though, he wields a poison pen.

Nobody ever says, "When I grow up, I want to be one of the Pips." Everyone wants to be Gladys Knight, including the NARNians. A few of them have been singled out for their own special spotlight. One carved out a kitschy niche in the publishing world. Some earned international notoriety by taking down old media elites whilst typing in their Fruit-of-the-Looms (hence the phrase legal briefs).

In the background, the remaining NARNians keep singing and swinging loyally in synchronized syncopation, for which they deserve our appreciation and, yes, applause. Yet Hugh mocks them, calling them names when they already have so many. For Chad, a.k.a. The Elder, he coined a new nickname, Peeps, obviously Hugh’s misheard reference to the Pips.

So what do Peeps and his peeps do to cope with Hewitt’s demeaning taunts? They drink to forget. They go looking for a fight. They try to prove that they’re good enough, they’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like them a whole lot better than Al Franken.

This month the fun boys four of Fraters Libertas (which is Latin for the Marx Brothers) looked out into the invisible blogosphere, saw nothing, and claimed it as their own. According to St. Paul, the Fraters’ visionary not the city, the virtual state of Minnesota is now their domain to parcel out like some kind of high tech star registry. I think they call it FLAB, which stands for Fraters Libertas Annoyance of Blogs. Or maybe it is FLUB for Fraters Libertas Underwear Bloggers. You know, one of those catchy acronyms that no doubt will inspire logos and merchandise. And, in this case, interstate rivalries.

What’s to keep me from launching my own CLUB (California Library Union of Blogs)? Or picking my own SCAB (Southern California Academy of Bloggers)? Heck, I could even recruit Hugh Hewitt, Roger L. Simon and Generalissimo Duane. I might proclaim myself the Queen of SHEBA (She who Blogs Anonymously) or the Baroness of my WOMB (Women’s Order of Maternal Bloggers, i.e. Maters Libertas). Every blogger is potentially a squatter.

National Review Online already staked out its territory. Once Kathryn Jean Lopez and her homeboys learn that the boundaries have changed, do you think they will be satisfied with a measly corner? Naturally the government will want to reap a financial benefit. Rand McNally will rush to print maps of the Ethernet. The nightmare scenarios are limitless.

Come on, guys, please stop the madness. Think about the consequences. Do you really want to lead any organization that would accept you as members?

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