December 9, 2004

My, My, My. Whatever Shall We Do With Andrew?

[He's baaaaack! Having run through any monetary advantage he received from insulting Michelle Malkin last month, Andrew Sullivan is back taking a run today at Glenn Reynolds and Powerline. Sullivan's site meter and revenues must be running lower and lower if this sort of monthly hysteria is any indication. And yet, it must, in the short run be working for him. After all, you can't stay in an excited froth over torture 24/7/365, no matter how much you are fascinated by the details of that rough trade. Below is something from about a month and a half ago on Sullivan's scam. The same thing still holds true today. Just change the names.]

Andrew Sullivan is once again running his well-worn but so-far successful "Look at Me" money scam on the Blogosphere. And, once again, it seems to be working on those that just can't stop themselves from giving ink and link to a serial panderer.

I'm loathe to play along since it only increases the success of Sullivan's smarmy little maneuver. Still, I'll have one last go so nobody who chances to read this can say they didn't get the cluecard.

Andrew's been very successful at mining the blogosphere for adulation, attention, and cash over the years. He's been successful because he understands better than most how to push the buttons and chum the waters. Above all, he understands "online-drama" and how to milk it to the last drop found in the last cow in the last pasture beyond the last bus stop. When it comes to political drama, Andrew's got the full wardrobe and makeup kit ready at hand.

The only person more canny than Sullivan at this is Drudge who, unlike Sullivan, makes no pretensions otherwise. Indeed, Sullivan is Drudge-light without the scoops or handy link lists.

The current Sullivan gambit is to pick a sentence from Michelle Malkin -- a single sentence -- and then tack the word "Award" behind her last name. Stunning creativity, yes?

All right, no.

Even less stunning is Sullivan's immediate compulsion to run his patented "Cut&Paste" blogging macro behind this lame-brained conception, and then run plop in a pile of what he hopes you'll mistake for daily "Posts" or "Content" to fill up his dark and otherwise unreadable page.

This little "Award" gambit worked well for Sullivan after 911 when Susan Sontag drop kicked the

lingering shreds of what passed for her reputation over the twin towers and out to sea. It continued to amuse, somewhat more faintly, with a sheaf of other similar "Awards." That it is now older than Andrew's maiden aunt is beyond question. Still he persists because, well, it is easier than writing anything original. Sullivan by now has little to say that he has not said before ad nauseum, ad infinitum, ad my astra.

Sullivan also persists because he has found, amazingly, a new wrinkle in this tired fleshless corpse of a concept. This time he attaches it to a conservative columnist. Shazam! The myth of Ambiguous Andrew is sustained.

Andrew loves to seem "ambiguous" on many levels. The drama of his Bush/Kerry hysteria is over but the wheezing echoes linger on. In somebody who wasn't phoning his blog in, this might be interesting, but now it has simply become boring.

As to motive? Strictly cash flow for Andrew.

You have to remember that, during his salad days as a blogger, Andrew did very well with his page. Traffic garnered from his unique position as a sort-of conservative, up-front gay writer with essays appearing in all the right papers, yielded a steady steam of donations and more revenue from ad hits. In no-time he came to depend on it to the extent he obsessively slaps up those dubious NPR-esque "fund drives" every time he feels the terrible stress of Cutting&Pasting his daily page has gotten too much and he needs a vacation.

The only problem I have these days with these Sullivan Vacations is that they are not nearly frequent enough, and if something sufficiently revenue enhancing happens in the world, he'll emerge to give us the Sullivan take, along with twelve quick Cut&Pastes from his bottomless stack of email.

I'm willing to bet that for every three emails Sullivan runs he gets at least one donation from the flattered writer.

At this point in the Sullivan saga, it is safe to say that this latest attempt to pull in traffic from Michelle Malkin's friends and enemies will probably still work to his advantage. It certainly has in the last few days. At the same time, I wonder how long and to what extent Sullivan's blog of email and quotes coupled with bad headlines will continue to make his tip-jar runneth over.

At the end of the day, his method -- now well known -- is little better than trolling for your tip jar and I for one think it is more than half empty.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 9, 2004 4:03 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Perhaps we are seeing the final, lazy loops of Mr. Sullivan's intellectual-death spiral?

Posted by: P.A. Breault at December 9, 2004 5:45 PM

Sounds like an interesting site. Do you have an URL?

Posted by: Lileks at December 9, 2004 5:49 PM

I got your URL right here!

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at December 9, 2004 5:59 PM

Tossed that condescending sod's bookmark months ago after one too many cheap shots about churchgoers. Pay the baby no attention, he'll stop whining.

Posted by: slimedog at December 9, 2004 6:05 PM

I stopped reading him way over a year ago. I got tired of him doing all his thinking from below the belt.

Plus, idiotic shots at John Derbyshire did not endear him to me. I love the Derb.

Posted by: mark butterworth at December 9, 2004 7:05 PM

i lost interest in sullivan ages ago, and had become disheartened watching the decline of one my (one-time) favorite blogs.

He used to be a really good read, until he went into a "i-cant-marry-my-boyfriend-and-i-hate-you" temper tantrum.

He has of recent however, returned to good graces when i realized we are wrong, and he is actually an undercover agent of rove, helping the left and tnr believe that we are all a bunch of racist, homophobe, jesusland, dixicrats.

The more the left believes this, the more we win, and they gobble his goop as if its gospel.


Posted by: leesus at December 9, 2004 7:45 PM

I can't find the link, but somebody about a two weeks ago noticed that Andrew was having property tax problems and expected a "band-width fund drive" any day.
Pretty funny.

Posted by: Veeshir at December 10, 2004 3:20 AM

My, there's nothing like a traitor to get the blood boiling, is there?

Tell me, does it hurt more when someone who used to support you admits he, after much agonising soul searching, can no longer abide the intellectual vaccuum that the GOP has become than it does when us liberals say it?

Posted by: McDuff at December 10, 2004 4:20 AM

I think you're being a bit unfair. Heck, even a lot unfair. Sullivan is no more "gimicky" than any number of other blogs that solicit funds from their readers. Sure, the whole award-disguised-as-ad-hominum-attack thing is getting a bit tedious, and I wish he wouldn't spend so much time on gay rights which are of only passing interest to me, but that just makes him less interesting than he was. I don't think it is a reason to impugn his motives. I see him as no more or no less creative in his efforts to build audience and revenue than any number of other for-profit bloggers. Indeed, you could plausibly make the argument that his focus on gay rights and his endorsement of John Kerry cost him a lot of contributions from his original readership. I don't think you've really made a case against Sullivan. You've just heaped scorn. You did it well -- very well -- but I'm not sure you carried the day on your underlying argument.

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2004 6:31 AM

I used to think he'd jumped the shark. Now I realize he never had any shark.

Posted by: Colossus at December 10, 2004 7:33 AM

Sullivan who? I forget he even exists except when periodically reminded by posts such as this. Discovered him while discovering the blog world in general after 9/11. Read him with interest until like Mark, attacks on honest, authentic conservatives like Derbyshire started turning me off. Finally the transparency of his position (no pun intended) became exceedingly clear after defenders of social traditions dared to push back on the social radicals over marriage. Yes Andrew is a well educated, clever talking drag queen. And how in the world does anyone ever consider him a conservative of any flavor? Haven't wasted the key stroke to view his nonsence in many months, and have no intention of visiting it again.

Posted by: phil gilbert at December 10, 2004 8:24 AM

McDuff, the only one calling Sullivan a traitor is you. There's no blood boiling here, just a chorus of yawns. Sullivan has become boring, and we no longer find his blog worthwhile to read. If you're still mesmerized by it, more power to you! Go ahead and send him your money.

As for "the intellectual vaccuum that the GOP has become": whatever. I'm not a Republican, and the GOP has nothing to do with why I gave up on reading Sullivan. Are you sure you aren't just trying to change the subject?

Posted by: Pat at December 10, 2004 9:46 AM

His cheap trick of using Malkin to generate traffic is nothing next to the quote he used in that same post. His dishonest snipping out of only part of the statement makes it look like Bill Donohue (the quotee) was saying one thing, when if you went and read the whole quote on the linked site, you would find that Donohue was talking about a totally different thing, namely explaining why he didn't care what Hollywood types thought of Mel Gibson's move 'The Passion.'

Sulliven has become bankrupt of ideas and continues to look down on anyone who disagrees with him as having some vile and evil mission while he holds one flickering candle that shines the light of truth.

Being boring is bad enough, but being an arrogant bore is intolerable. I just wonder what has happened to him.

Posted by: Scaramonga at December 10, 2004 11:13 AM

Unfortunately, I have to agree with the writers original statment. I used to read Andrew regularly, when he was wrting. Now it is basically a cut and paste blog with no real analysis behind it. I got the impression awhile ago that he was too busy doing something else than to keep the blog up to speed. Also, the over the top ,gay marriage as an election issue, was disheartening. I feel it really hurt his credibility. I was disapointed when he failed to explore this issue post election. He very briefly touched on it ( I beleive it was a c/p of another article) but nothing further.

Posted by: Kent at December 10, 2004 11:52 AM

Oh, boring, I see. Well, as long as you're not upset enough about it to sit around talking about him, hell, I don't see what the problem is. My mistake, I apologise.

I do have one tiny niggle though, with Kent. I'm sorry, but you thought Andrew Sullivan was over the top for making Gay Marriage an election issue, and not, say, President Bush? I'm inclined to think this is a little like blaming the soldiers in Iraq for making the war an election issue.

Posted by: McDuff at December 10, 2004 8:30 PM


Gay marriage was suddenly and very prominently made an issue when it was thrust upon the people of Massachusetts by a narrow majority of un-democratically appointed judges. Bush thereafter reacted to that issue, as did Kerry, by basically rejecting gay marriage, and both tried to ignore it as thoroughly as possible.

Sully, on the other hand, let that one issue shape his entire approach to every bit of political news, to the point where it became his defining issue.

Compare and contrast.

Posted by: Sobek at December 10, 2004 9:47 PM

I guess McDuff missed this paragraph from the Fox story:

"Although Bush said he wanted the Constitution amended to preserve the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, he said that states should be allowed to craft laws that recognize other types of relationships."

So he has no problem with civil partnerships, only with taking the concept of marriage (which is rooted in religion) and using it to apply to homosexual relationships, which most religions find objectionable.

I don't have a problem with that. In fact, states should redefine what all couples -- straight and gay -- do at the courthouse as "civil unions." Let the churches handle the marrying.

That Bush agrees with this never penetrated the liberal BusHitler mindset.

Posted by: Bill Peschel at December 11, 2004 11:26 AM

He's asking for money again??

Please be kind to Andrew, he suffers from Tourettes, & can't help blurting out Goodridge or gay marriage in every other post.

I noticed he had the gall to call Michelle 'hysterical'. From one screaming diva to another, I guess

Posted by: jeff at December 11, 2004 4:28 PM


he got my attention for a while, and i still go back because he's a better writer than most folks. don't always agree with him. i deal.

sort of like dealing with the ever so tiresome 'unelected judge forcing marriage' canard every time someone says 'gay marriage'. zzzzzzzzz

and i don't know you from squat, but this post sounds incredibly bitter to me (wahhh i want money toooooo). every blogger gets boring now and then. and i found you from another blog, and guess what. i hit 'post' and you're forgotten, because guess what: i'm bored!

Posted by: dave at December 14, 2004 10:45 PM

Andrew Sullivan is one of my favorite bloggers and I am hoping he becomes a role-model for gays in the future. He has refused to conform and jump on the bandwagon with the vast majority of GLBT people and I applaud him for that.

As a conservative lesbian living in NYC (yes, we do exist!) Andrew's writings are a breath of fresh air!

Posted by: Kelly at December 20, 2004 8:49 AM