The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, May 21, 2002  

Eric Alterman Launching Weblog at

"Blog; Blogorrhea. Blogosphere. Blogistan. Blogdex. Blogrolling. Warblogging; Where it will all end, knows God! I wish someone had gotten to the naming committee before this whole movement got rolling," writes Eric Alterman in the introduction to Altercation, the weblog he is launching with the support of

Alterman appears to be moving to the new medium with a mixture of eagerness and trepidation, a combination of sentiments with which we emphathize.

The endeavor is, in some respects, surprising, given Alterman's past criticism of weblogs. In self-defense, however, he writes:

"[M]y alleged anti-blog comments have gotten a bad rap. Norah Vincent, writing in the LA Times, and my friend Judith Shulevitz, writing in the New York Times Book Review, along with approximately a zillion other people, have seized on my criticism of the 'narcissistic egocentricity' of as a knock on all blogs. It is not.

"It is a knock on the kind of blogs where the blogger tells you how things are going in his bathroom, on his dinner dates with 'Hitch' and his car-ride dates with Drudge....I’ve learned a great deal from my now-colleagues, Mickey Kaus, Josh Marshall and the folks at Spinsanity, Instapundit (despite the nasty attacks on me to which it links), and even Virginia Postrel, with whom I disagree on just about everything. [Ed.: We decline to add the links to the latter two sites, just as we have declined to provide a link to the Daniel Pearl video, all three being pretty much equally represensible.]

"I’ve also learned a lot from Andrew, but most of it concerns what I don’t want to do on my blog."

What to expect from Altercation:

"[A]ll I can promise you is that it will reflect my obsessions: with the actually conservative leanings of the so-called 'liberal media'; with the self-satisfied stupidity of the so much of the punditocracy; with the appalling lack of historical, economic, and sociological context of even the best U.S. reporting; with the never-ending wimpiness of the Democrats, with the perennially self-defeating obsession with holier-than-thou moral purity of so much of the Left; with the amazingly insane views regularly put forth by the Congressional Republican leadership and certain members of the Bush Administration (Thanks, Ralph); with the musical greatness of Bruce Springsteen; and with lots of movies, music, plays, etc, so I can keep up the flow of free stuff."

What not to expect from Altercation:

"As God is my witness, however, I promise never to write about anything that happens my bathroom, my dinners with 'Hitch,' and in the extremely unlikely event they ever happen, my car dates with Drudge."

And with that vow not to mime the onanistic discharges for which Andrew Sullivan has become notorious, we eagerly anticipate the full roll-out of Altercation. Alterman's is a much needed voice on the web.

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