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Sunday, October 3, 2004

Mob bloggers.

Inspired by the dictionary of political slang in today's Times, I'd like to coin a phrase — or at least help spread it: mob bloggers. You know who they are — the parrots of spin, the frenzied foxes, the manic Kossacks: bloggers who pounce on whatever red-meat morsel is thrown their way each day. Media gnats.

"Blog mob," a crowd of mob bloggers, isn't a neologism. The phrase showed up a lot last year in the context of "flash mobs" — e.g., look out! — and shows up occasionally as a collective name for the blogetariat's daily fixation. Not having thoroughly researched the history of the phrase, I note that Jody Tresidder and barista used "blog mob" back in July 2003; razib used the phrase "blog-mob" (note the hyphen) in October 2003. Just last month, Mark A. York commented on "blog mob" behavior and offered a definition: "[T]he blog mob is usually wrong on most things and reallly [sic] just repastes and comments on stories reported by the mainstream media."

But I have a more specific idea in mind: The mob blogger willingly joins an on-line possé or mob not so much by commenting on news coverage but especially by responding to political operatives — or shall we call them demagogues? — in what amounts to tar-and-feather operations against political enemies. Using pixels rather than buckets of pitch makes for fewer injuries, but I'm not convinced that there's much difference in the aim or basic mode of conduct, which is a form of bullying.

As for the Times list, I'm all too happy to learn about "belligerati," "barking heads," "red-headed Eskimo," and especially "bomfog" — which concerns political and religious rhetoric:

Bomfog Platitudinous political rhetoric or obfuscation. (From "brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God," closing line of a radio speech by John D. Rockefeller Jr., on July 8, 1941; later used as a slogan by Nelson Rockefeller.)

("Slang Only a Velcroid Would Love," Tom Kuntz, New York Times 10.3.04, reg req'd)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 3 October 2004 at 7:18 PM

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Mark York:

December 10, 2004 11:08 PM | Permalink for this comment

The real pain is being cited with typos that are so common with casual blog posts. Thanks for the quote Chris. Blog mob behavior is the same regardless of the forum. Message boards are the same animal only without the polemical essay as the star attraction.

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