Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Behold the Power of Blog(s)

This also has nothing to do with all the work I'm supposed to be accomplishing during my current hiatus (question for Jacob: does a couple of months equal "long-term"?), but as I've recently finalized my plans for attending next September's American Political Science Association annual meeting, and as several bloggers are talking about their current blog-related research, I thought I'd mention an event at this year's APSA conference that promises to be interesting. Presumably everyone directly or tangentially involved already knows about it, but just to take official notice: check out this panel. "The Power and Politics of Blogs," featuring Daniel W. Drezner as chair, a paper by Antoinette Pole, comments by Cass Sunstein, and a panel of big names to argue about it all for the viewing audience's entertainment and benefit: Henry Farrell of Crooked Timber, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Mickey Kaus, and Andrew Sullivan. It's an interesting line-up: Kleiman is a passionate but relatively centrist Democrat; Kaus is a cantakerous and unconventional social egalitarian who sounds more like a Republican all the time; Farrell is both a liberal and a social democrat; and Sullivan and Drezner are your classic socially moderate, libertarian-leaning, free trade-supporting, mostly Republican-voting hawks. There might be some real fireworks, depending on how the discussion goes. Of course, one probably won't get any profound insight into why political blog readership skews so overwhelmingly male from this rather heavily XY chromosome-patterned panel, but hey, you can't have everything.

Actually, more than anything which might actually be discussed I'm interested in how this panel will play out in the blogosphere. Obviously all of the participants are likely to mention it on their blogs, as will some of those who may be in attendance. (Chris? Laura? Jacob?) Some may even blog about it at length...which could lead to subsequent blog-replies from the other participants, thus creating an internet simulacrum of the original panel! But really, that's just the post-game show: what about simul-blogging the panel as it happens? How many bloggers with laptops will be present in the audience, blogging these bloggers' comments about blogs on their own blogs as they speak? A few? (The conference is in Chicago; think we could get the Crescat Sententia gang to crash the room?) Personally, I think we should try to get as many as possible--it could be the blogospheric equivalent of a perfect storm!
Update: Looks like Chris plans to be there. And I have been informed that Laura is involved in the panel as well. I should have figured that out. Anyway, that should definitely further reduce any chance of this panel degenerating into an overly masculine "He-Men of the Blogging Universe Smackdown." (Which is a shame, sort of. Sullivan vs. Farrell, for the title? Could have been bloody...)