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He’s Baaaaaaack


Kevin Drum has girded whatever it is that cat-bloggers gird and wandered – gracefully this time – back into the on-line gender war. Drum has written the column he should have written last month and he deserves a lot of credit for doing so.
I still quibble with his world view but that’s just going to be the way things are. It’s not a point worth hashing out here. The man means well.
The larger, more important point Drum makes about how conversations about women’s status become marginalized – we’ve had more than one on-line demonstration of this technique from Jeff Jarvis (patronizing and cavalier), Dave Winer (hostile and condescending) and, earlier Drum himself (dismissive and a bit clueless) — is a good one, generously made. And it’s more than worthy a little discussion.
The problem with women writing on-line isn’t the barrier to entry: Getting a site, getting it up and running is inexpensive and technically easy. The issue is barrier to popularity, which leads to influence and power. That leads, eventually to advertising revenue, freelance gigs and more influence and power, authority even. We do not live in a culture where those at the top of our social and economic pecking order – that’s white men – share these things willingly and happily. There are exceptions, of course, but they are few and far between. And many women have fought very hard to get the small little pieces of real estate we have because so many men think that sharing means there’s less – a lot less – for them. And they don’t like it.

On-line the entry to influence and authority is controlled by a small group of very popular writers, almost all of whom are men who have been at this for a while – in some cases years. I’ve talked about the whys and wherefores and generated, I think, a pretty healthy discussion. And a quick look at my traffic statistics from yesterday demonstrates the validity of my barrier-to-entry theory. A well-chosen link from Glenn Reynolds is worth a great deal and unlike a lot of other folks on the web, Reynolds is both thoughtful and generous. He’s sharing the wealth.
So, if you’re new to this site, returning hopefully from yesterday’s traffic surge: Welcome. You can read about me and what I’ve done here. A glance at the categories on the right will give you an idea of the subjects and trends that I follow regularly. A former newspaper columnist — I like the phrase ink-stained wench — I treat the topics here as “beats” things to think about regularly and I write pretty much every day. If you’d like to load up you RSS reader – and if you need to know how one works you can read this – I’d be more than flattered to be included in your daily digest of commentary, news and other information.
Some of you will notice there are no comments. I may not think that the raucous interplay on the ‘net discourages women from writing and commenting (and I’m scribbling proof that it doesn’t) but I do think that free-for-all trash talk – which has come to characterize our political discourse in non-moderated forums – is a waste of all of our time. You got something to say? Send me an email. I regularly run reader comments and complaints.
Oh, and yeah. I can’t spell. But welcome. Hang around. We’ll have some fun.

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