Archive for March 22nd, 2009

March 22, 2009

How to Get a Million Hits: Menu-ized

Introduction
1. Shameless Blogwhoring
2. The Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around
3. Memeorandum
4. Make Some Enemies
5. Christina Hendricks
Updates & Addendum
(Originally published 2/15/08; this menu-ized version created by Frequent Commenter Smitty.)

Introduction
Having promised an appropriate celebration of passing the 1-million-visitors Site Meter threshold Friday (Feb. 13, 2008), I will do so by sharing the secret of my success. It’s the Underpants Gnome Theory of Blogging:

  • Phase 1: Get a Blogspot account.
  • Phase 2: ?
  • Phase 3: One million visitors!

Obviously, the key here is Phase 2, which has been exceptionally disorganized. Some guys work smart. Some guys work hard. Some guys are just incredibly lucky.

The perceptive blog consumer will notice that posts here don’t have all those little thingies (Digg, etc.) the way some other blogs do. This is not because I disdain such methods of traffic enhancement, but because I’m such a primitive Unfrozen Caveman Blogger I can’t figure that stuff out. It’s the same reason I’m still on a Blogspot platform, rather than switching to a custom-designed WordPress format. Blogspot is so simple that even I can figure it out, and if they’d just offer a few more templates — hey, guys, how about a template with variable-width sidebars on both sides? — I might be able to fake that custom-designed elegance, too. I understand basic HTML, but Javascript no can do, and I’m too cheap to shell out the bucks for geek services.

Lacking advanced, sophisticated technological gee-whizzery, I have been forced to employ astonishingly crude Web 0.1 methods of traffic-enhancement, namely:

  • Write stuff people might want to read; and
  • Compulsively e-mail my posts to bloggers who might possibly consider linking me.

Astonishingly crude, but also surprisingly effective. And so we come to Rule 1, the Prime Directive so to speak:

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I’m amazed that Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Ace of Spades and the Hot Air crew haven’t declared a fatwa against me for the way I relentlessly fill their inboxes with blogwhoring e-mails like Arnold Horshack trying to get Mr. Kotter’s attention: “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!”

However, the smart newcomer to the ‘sphere doesn’t just suck up to big-traffic bloggers who can throw him major traffic (although he does that with a single-minded fanaticism), he also sucks up sideways and downward, to bloggers who might not be able to throw 10,000 hits a day, but who are nonetheless valued contributors to the blogging community.

Little Miss Attila is my favorite example of the “valued contributors” category. Her best recent month was 24K visits in October, but she’s been around the ‘sphere a long time, is much beloved, and it is bad kharma not to link her. Every so often, while on the hunt for good stuff to blog about, I’ll go over to LMA, find something good she’s blogging about and link it. Why? Because, among various non-kharmic reasons, she has done the same for me, which brings me to Rule 2:

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Maybe you’re not a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, and I’m not saying you should be. But the psychotic drill sergeant gives a notorious rant in which he colorfully expresses an important life principle: When someone does you a favor, find an opportunity to return the kindness.

Reciprocal linkage is the essential lubricant that makes the blogosphere purr with contentment. If somebody’s throwing you traffic, you should either (a) give them a link-back update, or at a minimum (b) keep them in mind for future linkage. Because you don’t want to end up on the wrong end of a kharmic unbalance in the ‘sphere, where you’re always taking and never giving.

Every beginning blogger confronts the Zero Hour. You’ve been blogging steadily for a week or two, sending around e-mails, trackbacking where you can, trying to develop some kind of regular traffic. And then, late one night, you think you might have finally composed your first Instalanche-worthy post and you e-mail it to Glenn Reynolds. You go to bed like a 7-year-old kid on Christmas Eve, then wake up at 4 a.m. and check your Site Meter to discover that your latest hourly traffic is . . . ZERO.

At which point, you want to swallow a handful of sedatives, wash it down with a quart of bleach, slit your wrists and stick your head in the oven. You are a complete and utter failure.

I’ve never forgotten the Zero Hour, and if I’ve become slightly less conscientious about reciprocal linkage since then, God forgive me, but I do try. In the midst of a traffic upswing, not all linkage is noticeable on Site Meter, so I check Technorati, which shows linkage regardless of traffic level. And thank you Dad29, thank you Joe Kristan, thank you, Andrea Shea King, thank you Jimmie Bise, thank you William Teach. Damn my lazy thoughtlessness, but please don’t doubt my gratitude.

Now that we’ve scratched the surface of technique, let’s address the tricky little subject of content with Rule 3:

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Did somebody say “lazy thoughtlessness”? The easiest place to find blog fodder is Memeorandum, which has an algorithmic formula that automatically updates to tell you what the hot topics are in the ‘sphere.

I especially like their “Featured Posts,” sort of a random grab-bag of stuff that will occasionally feature some lefty shooting off his mouth in pure idiotic moonbat mode. Grab that sucker by the neck and give him the Mother Of All Fiskings, with enough vitriolic ad hominem to make sure he never forgets it. Because buddy, the lefties will turn right around and do it to you if you ever rate “Featured Post” status, and there’s nothing like a vicious flame war to earn your spurs in the ‘sphere. Which brings me to Rule 4:

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We’ll have none of your “bipartian civility” around here, you sissy weaklings. This here is the Intertoobs, and we’re As Nasty As We Wanna Be. The fact that The Moderate Voice has turned into a reliable vessel for DNC talking points should tell you all you need to know about the fate of bipartisanship in the blogosphere.

At the same time, however, don’t confuse cyber-venom with real-world hate. Maybe Ace of Spades really would like to go upside Andrew Sullivan’s head with a baseball bat, I don’t know. But at some point you understand it’s just blogging about politics, and you start wondering if maybe it shares a certain spectator-friendly quality with pro wrestling. For all we know, Ace is spending weekends at Sully’s beach shack in Provincetown. (Next on Blogging Heads TV: Can “Bears” and Ewoks Be “Just Friends”?)

Some readers might remember when I first kicked Conor Friedersdorf in the knee for “insufficient cynicism.” Conor is, in real life, a nice guy. But he’s also (a) young, and (b) as earnest as John Boy Walton. So I got into a habit, when he was at Culture11, of kicking him in the knee with some regularity. It’s the Fraternity Initiation Principle: Pledges must be abused by their elders, and learn to be properly respectful, or else one day the ambitious little monsters will strangle us in our sleep. (Cf., my suggestion that George Freaking Will should be air-dropped on Jalalabad from a C-130.)

A couple days ago, hunting around for a reason to link my friend Russ Smith’s SpliceToday, I happened upon a column by Russ’s young minion, Andrew Sargus Klein, offering a particularly insipid argument for federal arts funding. Now, having been born and raised a Democrat, and arguably having never outgrown my obnoxious youthful arrogance, I can actually relate to Klein’s insipid argument. Stupid is as stupid does, and when I was 25, I might well have written something equally stupid. But the boy will never outgrow his stupidity unless he gets whomped on the head some.

Easy as it would have been to ignore Klein, I hit upon the delightfully fun idea of laying into him in Arkansas knife-fight mode: If you’re going to cut a man, eviscerate him. So I quickly composed a hyperbolic ad hominem rant, with the thoughtfully civil title, “Andrew Sargus Klein is an arrogant elitist douchebag.” I forward-dated the post for Friday morning, and sent Russ an e-mail to the effect of, “Hey, hope you don’t mind me abusing your office help a little bit. Nothing like a flame-war to build traffic. Don’t let on to Klein that I’m just funnin’ around with him.”

I’d hoped to bait Klein himself into a response. However, before that could happen — as if intent on illustrating how to make a fool out of yourself by taking this stuff too seriously — one of Klein’s friends offered up a comment:

Andrew Klein may be arrogant and elitist but he could craft logical arguments around your bumbling hypocrisy all day and night.

Of course I never bother “craft[ing] logical arguments,” sweetheart. It’s a freaking blog. If you want logic, subscribe to a magazine or buy a book. Pardon my double-entendre, Lola Wakefield, but people come here for the cheesecake. Logical arguments are a dime a dozen on the Internet, but sexy hotness . . . well, that reminds me of Rule 5:

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Or Anne Hathaway or Natalie Portman or Sarah Palin bikini pics. Rule 5 actually combines four separate principles of blogospheric success:

  • A. Everybody loves a pretty girl — It’s not just guys who enjoy staring at pictures of hotties. If you’ve ever picked up Cosmo or Glamour, you realize that chicks enjoy looking at pretty girls, too. (NTTAWWT.) Maybe it’s the vicious catty she-thinks-she’s-all-that factor, or the schadenfreude of watching a human trainwreck like Britney Spears, but no one can argue that celebrity babes generate traffic. Over at Conservative Grapevine, the most popular links are always the bikini pictures. And try as I might to make “logical arguments” for tax cuts, wouldn’t you rather watch Michelle Lee Muccio make those arguments?
  • B. Mind the MEGO factor — All politics all the time gets boring after a while. Observant readers will notice that the headlines at Hot Air often feature silly celebrity tabloid stuff and News Of The Weird. Even a stone political junkie cannot subsist on a 24/7 diet of politics. The occasional joke, the occasional hot babe, the occasional joke about a hot babe — it’s a safety valve to make sure we don’t become humorless right-wing clones of those Democratic Underground moonbats.
  • C. Sex sells — Back when I was blogging to promote Donkey Cons (BUY TWO!), I accidentally discovered something via SiteMeter: Because the subtitle of the book is “Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party,” we were getting traffic from people Googling “donkey+sex.” You’d be surprised at the keyword combinations that bring traffic to a political blogger who understands this. Human nature being what it is, the lowest common denominator is always there, even if it’s sublimated or reverse-projected as puritanical indignation, which brings us to . . .
  • D. Feminism sucks — You can never go wrong in the blogosphere by having a laugh at the expense of feminists. All sane people hate feminism, and no one hates feminism more than smart, successful, independent women who’ve made it on their own without all that idiotic “Sisterhood Is Powerful” groupthink crap. And if you are one of those fanatical weirdos who takes that Women’s Studies stuff so seriously that you’re offended by Stephen Green’s sexist objectification of Christina Hendricks and her mighty bosom — well, sweetheart, to paraphrase Rhett Butler: “You should be offended, and often, and by someone who knows how.”

So, there you have it: Five Rules For Getting a Million Hits On Your Blog. There are probably another two dozen rules, but I’m too lazy to think of what they are right now. And to be honest, if it weren’t for that old picture of me in a Speedo, I’d probably still be 20,000 hits shy of the million mark. Some of us are just . . . blessed with exceptional modesty. And some guys get the steak knives.

Updates:
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Probably special mention should be made of Kathy “Five Feet of Fury” Shaidle, who never heard of a fair fight. She’s one of those people you don’t want angry at you. A ninja blackbelt in Rule 4, when she goes at an antagonist, it’s a knee in your groin and an elbow in your eye. However, she also keeps the customers satisfied with some naughty pinup hotness. (Rule 5!) That rare creature: A Canadian we like.

UPDATE II: Linked at Conservative Grapevine.

ADDENDUM 3/22: Maybe Rule 6 should be: “Get a cool co-blogger like Frequent Commenter Smitty,” who created this menu-ized version of the The Rules (originally published 2/15/09).

I would also advise newbies to contemplate “The Parable of the Doubting Padwan of Fu.” This is a reference to blog-fu, a term I first saw employed by Moe Lane to describe superior blogging ability. If you are someone who is new to the blogosphere, it is important to strive to emulate the acknowledged masters of blog-fu, people who started blogging waaaaay back when.

UPDATE 3/23: Linked by VodkaPundit, acknowledged master of drunkblogging.

Also see: Blog habits and the need for speed.

March 22, 2009

An Olbermann Quiz

by Smitty

Clip A:

Clip B:
Without inspecting the URL, which one was a Saturday Night Live parody, and which was the real McJackass? I know, you said the parody was B. SNL really has gone downhill in the last few years, no? Can’t even tell the difference between a website and a human being. Lorne Michaels may need to retire.
via HuffPo.

March 22, 2009

Baghdad Bob: Timeless Classic

by Smitty

Props to Instapundit reader Dark Eden.
If we can’t have a King Arthur revival to restore chivalry, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf will have to suffice.
This is a handy pretext to link a classic site.
There may be something more to all this, however. Consider the recent Debt Star sightings:
And now ponder this tidbit:Coincidence?

March 22, 2009

Oh, this is good . . .

Red Eye‘s Andy Levy on David Frum:

I’d seen the Kathy Shaidle post, but hadn’t actually played the video until I saw it linked by Paco.

Perhaps this would be a good occasion to explain why I have been reluctant to go all Rule 4 on David Frum, despite his anti-Rush cover story in Newsweek and his infamous “Unpatriotic ConservativesNational Review cover, which included Robert Novak, Pat Buchanan and other worthies in a vicious “anti-Semite” smear worthy of Ezra Klein.

When Frum first published How We Got Here, the best history of the 1970s ever written, I attended an American Enterprise Institute book event where Frum spoke, did a feature story about him and his book in The Washington Times. I’d already read his 1995 book, Dead Right, and so was familiar with him. I was also familiar with his wife, Danielle Crittenden, whose 1998 book, What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us, is a fascinating and eminently readable indictment of the feminist/careerist worldview.

Which is to say, my acquaintance with Frum goes back to the days before he became a Bush administration speechwriter. I know him to be capable of good work, and his subsequent excursions into RINO-land have been a disappointment.

However, I would contrast Frum’s errors to the case of David Brooks, who has in recent years only confirmed what shrewd observers have known ever since his 1997 “National Greatness” cover story in The Weekly Standard: That Brooks is an un-conservative, or better yet, an anti-conservative, whose every instinct and impulse is in opposition to the philosophical tradition of Edmund Burke, Richard Weaver, Friedrich Hayek, Russell Kirk, et al.

Furthermore, from Matthew Scully’s 2007 Atlantic Monthly article about the inner workings of the Bush speechwriting shop, I have deep sympathy for Frum — a successful journalist and author long before he signed up with the Bushies — having had to toil anonymously in an operation run by that towering monument of uselessness, Michael Gerson. (See, “Separated at birth?“)

Like Luke Skywalker insisting that there is still some spark of good in Darth Vader, I choose to believe that Frum’s grievous errors do not mean that he is as evil as Brooks or as useless as Gerson. Indeed, his New Majority Web site has offered publishing opportunities for some young conservatives of my acquaintance, including Tom Qualtere and Joe Marier. Thus it cannot be said that Frum does not continue to do good, despite his manifestations of RINOcity.

What I wish Frum would consider is that, by so assiduously aligning himself with the elite Establishment — “The Republicans Who Really Matter,” as one of our guestbloggers dubbed them — he undermines his potential for influence among the grassroots conservative activists who remain the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

When you’re a jet, you’re a jet all the way. Allying yourself with the grassroots won’t get you funding from foundations and deep-pocket RINO donors, it won’t get your a cover story in Newsweek, but being a well-paid backstabbing Brooksian crapweasel is really not the kind of thing you want in the first paragraph of your obituary.

A wise man lives as if life is short and tomorrow is not promised. Thus, I would do a dishonor to my children if I accursed the family name by becoming a vile creature like David Gergen who, if he were run over by a bus today, would deserve no notice from conservatives except, “Good riddance.” Let us pray that David Frum grows wise, considers his errors, and amends his ways.

March 22, 2009

Louis C. K. on Conan

by Smitty

Comedian Lous C. K. on Conan O’brien. I’d never heard of the fellow, but he does the “modern people are decadent” shtick nicely.

Quite an old riff. Do a search on “I mean such things as these” in that Plato dialogue.

Hat Tip: Mac Beach

March 22, 2009

MSNBC omits facts on AIG protests

Turned on MSNBC this morning and watched Alex Witt anchor a story about the protests at the homes of AIG executives (which turned out to be a pathetic farce, with more media than protesters).

What struck me was that Witt never mentioned who organized the protests. In fact, the organizers were The Connecticut Working Families Party, an ACORN front group. An uniformed MSNBC viewer would not have learned that from Alex Witt, who said nothing — zero, zilch, nada — about who organized the protests.

How many other news organizations reported the anti-AIG protests without reporting who the organizers were? And how many people understand the propaganda purpose of this omission? To explain briefly: The point of the protests is to make AIG execs the scapegoats for the idiocies of the bailout bill that ACORN’s Democratic allies supported. Blaming the AIG execs takes the heat off the politicians. But in order to convey that propaganda message effectively, media must pretend that there is no political ulterior motive to the protest, and thus no politically-connected organizing force behind it. To have mentioned CWFP or ACORN — and especially to have identifed those as left-wing groups allied with Democrats — would have destroyed the propaganda value of the story.

Meanhile, as scads of media turned out to cover one busload of anti-AIG protesters in Connecticut, some 300 turned out for a Tea Party demonstration in Ridgefield, Conn., that the major media ignored, just as they are trying to ignore the Tea Party movement nationwide. Try this: Switch off Fox News sometime and turn on NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN to see how much coverage they’re devoting to the Tea Party protests. The answer is, almost zero.

It’s almost as if there were a list or something . . .

UPDATE: Gahrie’s Grumbles also notes the glaring disparity of coverage between the AIG protests and the Tea Party movement. (Full disclosure: Gahrie is a first-time Rule 5 Sunday participant, which is a different kind of list.)

March 22, 2009

MOS V

By Smitty
Rule 5 Sunday, is all about finding that intersection of erudition and loveliness. MOS V in the title is not “Method Of Service,” you ground pounders. We’ll kick off this week’s festivities (being careful with the “ities,” lest an extra “t” creep in there subliminally) with a lesson from Hot For Words.

Blow up my inbox with “Rule 5” in the title somewhere, for easy management.

March 22, 2009

Obama Ethics Rules: Bug or Feature?

by Smitty

Newsweak, by way of the Puffington Host, is aflutter because the Obama Administration has

hundreds of top government posts stand empty. One reason: over-the-top ethics rules are disqualifying or driving away some of the best and the brightest

Are we allowed to float the question of whether setting over-the-top ethics rules might, itself, be unethical because it leaves positions unstaffed, and could lead to impropriety?

It’s the old law of unintended consequences: in order to satisfy a public desire for squeaky-clean government, elected officials have put at risk a more critical goal: dealing expeditiously with the financial crisis.

Couple of questions for the poor, victimized Administration:

  1. Does anyone, anyone, think that government is, was or will ever be “squeaky clean”?
  2. Does the person in the vegetative state you found in the previous question think that the 111th Congress or the Treasury has been dealing ethically with any of this?

Towards the end of the article we get another taste of “That Darn Technology Done Me Wrong Blues”:

Times have changed, of course. There was no cable TV in the 1930s, and government is much more transparent today—not a bad thing. The Obama team has become more than a little sensitive to criticism. “The idea that government is at a total standstill is just ridiculous,” says a White House aid speaking under the usual rules of anonymity. “We deserve some credit for what we’ve gotten done in the little time we’ve been here, especially considering the environment we’re in.”

Deserve? Only the Almighty knows what you or the Administration’s members deserve, buddy. That the scope of my judgement is limited to the ballot box is surely a feature.

March 22, 2009

Zobama on PJTV

by Smitty

Little Miss Attila points to Big Mister Zo who will apparently be doing some kind of presidential spoof for PJTV.
You may be familiar with His Zo-ness from YouTube, where his street-wise packaging of common sense is as refreshing as it is offensive to the Republicans Who Really Matter.
What you don’t know is that I met the Zo at CPAC and have his autograph on the cover page of my copy of Hayek. So that means I’m kind of a big deal.

March 22, 2009

Hartford / New Orleans Paint Swap

You’ve no doubt heard of the collision.

The collision resulted in minor injuries of 15 USS Hartford sailors and a ruptured fuel tank from the New Orleans which resulted in the loss of 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the ocean’s waters. Fortunately no damage was done to the submarine’s nuclear propulsion system.

Beyond the press release, some photos of the USS Hartford making way do a lot to assuage fears.
Thankfully, there was no loss of life as in the USS Greenville collision.