The Rittenhouse Review

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

Saturday, November 15, 2003  

Instalinker Falls Afoul of the Blogosphere

Unlike many political bloggers on both the right and left, to say nothing of the mainstream media, I was never impressed by Professor Instalinker. I saw through his shtick from day one. It went, or goes -- and goes and goes and goes and goes and goes -- like this: Spot something on the web, link to it without reading the item through, say it’s interesting, important, or must reading, or if there’s an axe to grind, call it evidence of liberal antagonism, hypocrisy, or malfeasance. If said item turns out to be false or misleading, or should it turn out not to have said or implied what P.I. said it did, well, what the hell, just keep mindlessly blogging.

Like any shtick, it’s cute and humorous . . . for a while. Then, like Henny Youngman’s act, suddenly (ahem) it’s nothing but tired.

Among experienced editors like, well, me, such tripe as this is frowned upon, discouraged, and, ultimately, disregarded and discarded, considered evidence of a complete and utter lack of creativity. Any reasonably thoughtful editor would recognize Professor Instalinker’s game as formulaic. In the print world, it may get you published once or twice, but after that, forget it. But as an almost equally inept blogger recently asked, who needs editors anyway?

Never mind, though. Blogger after blogger sucked up to P.I. in the hopes of getting a little of his traffic overflow. Speaking for myself, I’ve mentioned P.I. here at Rittenhouse only a handful of times over the past 19 months, a courtesy he has extended me as well, though, interestingly, neither of us ever provided a link to the other’s site, and that’s a trick I picked up, so to speak, from none other than Andrew Sullivan. I was, and am, fine with that. I have all the visitors I need.

And frankly, I have enough going on this weekend that I’m insufficiently bored to trek over to P.I.’s site to get the full details of his latest self-immolation, but I’ve seen the fallout at other blogs. Better yet, I’m pleased to see that others, several others, in fact, including some that surprise me, have wizened up or are otherwise declaring what really should have been plain to all from the beginning: the professor has no clothes.

[Ed.: The final sentence of this post was minutely altered, post-publication, for clarity.]

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