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January 29, 2013

Breitbart.com's "The Conversation" Launches Tomorrow

I'll be participating in the launch. A bunch of other good people are involved:

Iowahawk, David Webb, Javier Manjarres of Shark Tank, DocZero, Nice Deb, Jerome Hudson, Lisa De Pasquale, William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, and Adam Baldwin, along with John Nolte, Ben Shapiro, Larry O'Connor, Sonnie Johnson, Liberty Chick, Jon David Kahn, as well as other writers and contributors from Breitbart News.

The idea (which I was interested in for years, and still am) is trying something a bit more conversational, like the old Corner. Less a blog and more an interaction.

I had an observation about this. The observation begins with the question: Why do people like debates? After all, as far as an information-per-second delivery mechanism, print essays provide much more data. Also, essays present the argument it its best, most-polished form -- which may or may not happen in a debate, depending on the debater's skill at rhetoric.

So why watch them? Well, I think because real-time interactions present something absent in controlled-environment carefully-vetted essays: drama. Someone could score a point, someone could be humiliated. A real-time interaction adds a human interest to the strictly logical/intellectual interest of an essay.

I know we, as conservatives, like to knock drama, as something that The Other Team goes for, but human beings are natural, intuitive storytellers (and story-consumers) and respond to drama no matter what our intellectual aversions to it might be.

If we weren't story-centered creatures, we wouldn't bother with NASCAR races or track and field competitions -- we'd just have everyone singly run and record their best possible time, at at time most convenient to them, and then dryly compare race results when they all came in.

Boring, huh? And you can say that's because "the ability to directly compete/muscle out other racers is part of the skill we call racing," and that's true, but it's something else, too: It's because one human being directly contending with another, with a clear and obvious stake at risk (money, fame... survival) is inherently compelling.

Now that I've nattered on about this, no, I don't think people yapping at each other in a forum is as exciting as a race; and it won't even be a debate, most of the time. (But it will still be a competition; life always is.)

I'm just noting that it's the presence of that human factor that tends to make a debate a public spectacle, with cheering and harumphs, whereas reading an essay is something you do alone, with much less cheering (though there may be the occasional soft harumph). And the real-time thing adds something -- something that seems to be spur-of-the-moment is always more impressive than something planned and written.

David Letterman used to pre-script jokes but deliver them as if he was just thinking of them -- he got more laughs that way. People appreciated he'd "just thought of that" -- even though he hadn't.

What the bloody hell am I talking about? Man I just do go on and on and on. Someone should say something to me about that.

So, anyway, I'm glad that Breitbart's trying it.

In case you're worried I'm going to be on Breitbart all day: Nope, I'll be here most of the time. It's a side-thing. I like talking to you guys.

To the extent it reduces my online presence in other ways -- it will reduce my use of Twitter. Rather than posting something on Twitter during the ONT hours, I'd just post it at The Conversation. Twitter's fun and all but it really does me no personal good to spread my pearls of wisdom and hate (but mostly hate) on someone else's platform. I don't really interact much on twitter anyway (I'm wary of inventing additional time-sucks for myself), so I won't be disappointing too many people who follow me there.

There's one additional advantage about being on Breitbart's official comments site: That I will be reading Breitbart's comments section, but not the actual posts.



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posted by Ace at 04:57 PM

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