Whereupon Pundita grouses to the Riehl World View blogger. (For an introduction to Dan Riehl's highly independent views about the blogosphere, read the Sigmund, Carl and Alfred interview.)
Subj: Bringing the US Department of State in line with today's world
Date: 12/17/05 5:28:10 AM Eastern Standard Time
Dan, this long essay, which ranges over several issues connected with State, is prefaced by a long letter from a loyal reader (cybersecurity expert Annlee Hines) ...
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In a message dated 12/17/05 5:34:02 AM Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
"what happened to your retirement???"
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Date: 12/17/05 5:36:22 AM Eastern Standard Time
what are you doing up at this ungodly hour? I am going to sleep before I crash face forward onto the keyboard. will write tomorrow.
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Date: 12/17/05 6:10:53 AM Eastern Standard Time
"Pundita always says this. LOLOL nite"
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It's a forced retirement, Dan. In a few days I will have no choice but to leave the blogosphere and concentrate completely on personal matters. But after taking a short break about a month ago (or whenever I announced my long vacation) I decided to battle on as long as I possibly could, right down to the wire. Not a smart decision if you knew my circumstances, simply a tenacious one.
I want to show you something, so you understand the road ahead for the Bush democracy doctrine:
Do you remember the essay I sent you by the US vet about his adventures helping the stranded in New Orleans after Katrina? "The Deuce." My site meter showed that no sooner did you link to it than hundreds of your readers began showed up to read it, and it went on like that until I gave up trying to count. But over the course of a few days thousands read the essay. (I am very glad they did; it is a wonderful story.)
Now, I will tell you how many of your readers came calling today after you published a link to my essay about the US Department of State: As of 10:30 AM, two. One of them in Europe.
Yes, it's a Saturday, and it's still early, and this is a weekend when many people are doing Christmas shopping, so I'm sure there will be more readers from your site as the week wears on. And Pundita's blog, which probably sees fewer readers in a day than yours sees in an hour, will stay up after I leave, so a few thousand readers here and abroad will eventually read the essay and maybe a hundred of those will find the time to ponder about it.
However, a few thousand are not enough to turn the tide, you understand. What about John Batchelor's audience, which numbers I don't know but maybe as many as 10-20 million listeners a night? I can tell you this much: whatever knowledge his audience has gained about the doings at State, after listening four years to his show, it has not made a dent in the Democrat and Republican political machines. Not even the smallest dent.
In the end, US foreign policy will be set by battles between the most aggressive and ruthless partisans and lobbyists and by the machinations of civil servants at State. In short, about 50 people will shape how the US interacts with the world. And if it all falls down again, as it did on September 11, there will always be the US military to pick up the pieces.
I don't see all this as a cause for pessimism; one cannot fight to win because many times in the battle to inform and explain, all seems lost. One simply does what one can, and keeps doing it, until one can't battle longer. In this way, civilization lurches onward.
But I will tell you that at times I fall prey to a dark mood. This happened when I published the essay about State that I sent you early this morning. Before tumbling into bed I thought that I should be happy if only 100 people took the time to read the essay, which admittedly was overly long.
After crashing for a few hours I checked the site meter then glumly observed, "Bah. My fellow Americans would rather watch paint dry than read about State."
With a sigh I clicked to your site, to see your comment about the essay. At first I missed it. On the second scroll-through I found it, but could not believe my eyes at first. You'd published your comment under the title, Are you ready for some football? and the first sentence was clearly about football.
For a moment I sat there staring, then burst into laughter. I laughed until tears streamed down my face. If anyone can lead a horse to water, it's a smart marketing professional. (Are there any other kind but smart?) So the Pajamas Media people should listen carefully to your critiques and take notes because you know what you're talking about.
Yet not with all your smarts, Dan Riehl, not with all your smarts and marketing experience, can you squeeze out a higher percentage of interest among the American electorate about the doings at Foggy Bottom. But you sure gave it one hell of a try, which I find to be of great cheer.