...but I must point out that it's not just MSNBC. The online left has seen a steep decline in traffic since the election as well...Digby didn't provide any names regarding which online left sites she's referring to other than her own (its certainly not this one), but a look at her blogroll might give you some idea (hint: there is only one site she includes that is listed here on my "Pragmatic Progressive Blogroll.")
We've been through a number of elections, crises, other ups and downs over the past decade but I've not seen anything like the drop in interest over the past few months. If it was just me I'd attribute it to my little project having run its course but it's happening across the liberal media spectrum.
It would be normal to see a drop in participation on blogs after a general election. But she's saying that what she's seeing is much bigger than that. So whassup? Digby writes it off to a "bored or disillusioned" left reacting to an "ineffectual president." Surprise, surprise.
But I see it differently. The fact of the matter is that listening to most of MSNBC's lineup and reading emo blogs tends to engender one thing after a while...depression. That's what cynicism does to people. Sure, they can ramp up the rage over something like the public option or chained-CPI or drones or (what's coming) the Keystone pipeline. And its great to howl all the time at those lunatic Republicans. But after awhile, where does that leave you?
It reminds me of something Clay Claiborne said a while ago:
Cynicism is a privilege. When practiced by those in a position to do it well, cynicism allows them to criticize the oppressor and sympathize with the oppressed without ever having to move out of their comfort zone. In fact, one of the main objects of this practice of cynicism is to make the cynic more comfortable. He may not, as yet, be wanting for much personally, but he can see the growing misery all around him so he has to think or do something. The cynic solves this dilemma by thinking that nothing can be done!Cynicism doesn't attract eyeballs. But more importantly, it kills any effort to build a movement. Years ago Tim Wise pointed out how people of color (President Obama's REAL base) know better.
Invariably, it seems it is we in the white community who obsess over our own efficacy, and fail to recognize the value of commitment, irrespective of outcome. People of color, on the other hand, never having been burdened with the illusion that the world was their oyster, and thus, anything they touched could and should turn to gold, usually take a more reserved, and I would say healthier view of the world and the prospects for change. They know (as indeed they must) that the thing being fought for, at least if it's worth having, will require more than a part-time effort, and will not likely come in the lifetimes of those presently fighting for it. And it is that knowledge which allows a strength and resolve few members of the dominant majority will ever, can ever, know...In other words, it requires the audacity of hope in the long game. This is something the great Maya Angelou knows in every fiber of her being.
This isn't to say it's impossible to inspire young whites to fight for justice, nor to stick it out. It's just a bit more of a challenge sometimes, for it requires that the person be open to an entirely different way of thinking about the world and their place in it.