Ed Driscoll

In the Beginning was the Word of Buckley, and the Word went Forth...

“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth,” Elizabeth Scalia, aka the Anchoress writes. “And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…:”

Got a wonderful email from a reader who is being received into the Catholic Church in 2015, and it is in many ways thanks to internet web sites, both secular and religious. Writes this reader, whose privacy I am protecting, but who is very excited to be entering the church:

In the beginning was National Review Online, back when Jonah Goldberg was starting it up and the blogosphere was young…NRO named lileks.com as their Site of the Day. I started reading the Daily Bleat, and I noticed two or three blogs listed in the right-hand column of the page. One of them was Instapundit – this was back in the BlogSpot days. Instapundit linked to you at some point and that ultimately brought me to where I am today and where I will be…

So, there you go. In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth. And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…

One of the most under-reported sea changes in media, a huge milestone that we now all take for granted, was when 24-7 broadband replaced by the minute dial-up charges. In the early days of CompuServe, I often had monthly online charges that would cripple the fiscal reserves of many third world nations. So being able to stay online indefinitely each day without worrying about the fee such explorations would incur at the end of the month was just as exciting as the faster speed of the cable modem.

Living in the Bay Area, I think we had our first cable modem installed in late 1998 or early 1999, and I quickly began to hit the Drudge Report early and often, as Drudge had been all over the news for breaking the Clinton’s dalliances with Monica Lewinsky when Newsweek attempted to bury the story as good DNC apparatchiks, and then I very quickly started reading NRO as well. I used to watch William F. Buckley on Firing Line in the 1980s, but was more than a little put off by his Brahmin tone and polysyllabic style. But at the time, with its cable TV ads featuring WFB, Tom Selleck and President Reagan, it seemed like the only conservative publication on the planet.  Then came Rush, Fox News, and the World Wide Web.

Reading Jonah Goldberg’s early G-Files were a revelation in much the same way that listening to Rush was. I had sort of half-seriously assumed in the ’80s, between Firing Line’s classical music, Buckley’s erudition, and perhaps the prominence at the time of Allan Bloom’s best-selling The Closing of the American Mind and its chapter on rock, that to be a proper conservative, I would have to renounce my love of rock music, comedy, modern art, and much of the rest of pop culture of the 20th century. As someone who rather liked those things, I wasn’t prepared to become an aesthetic monk. So hearing Rush begin his daily show with the opening riff of the Pretenders’ “My City was Gone” (I was a big fan of the Pretenders’ early albums; presumably Chrissie Hynde is a big fan of the royalty checks she receives from Rush), and reading Jonah goofing on “chicks in chains” films, Star Trek, and Marvel comic books was a huge sigh of relief.

And discovering Lileks through Glenn Reynolds was a similar confirmation that all was well, as James’ mid-century pop culture influences track mine remarkably well. Not to mention his interests in ’40s movies, Miami Vice, Mad Men, Bauhaus architecture, Mondrian, etc.

As for how I discovered Glenn Reynolds, well, I’ve told that story before. But I think I’m one of the few people that Glenn has linked to, before I had a blog. And before 9/11. And once again, I have NRO to thank for that bit of synchronicity as well