It's been a while since we looked in at Dennis the Peasant's place, which is why we missed this post from a couple of weeks ago in which he discusses Charles Johnson's mental state and tries to make sense of the Great LGF Switcheroo.
He is, needless to say, not impressed:
When I met Charles, back in 2004, he was fiftyish and driving a somewhat battered Hyundai. According to Raj [Roger Simon, the head honcho of Pajamas Media -ed.], he'd been cleaned out in recent divorce and didn't have much more than that Hyundai, his computer and his bike. That's got to be a tough thing to take at fifty. It is probably fair to say that Little Green Footballs and the blogosphere were about the only things Charles had going for him. Which is, quite frankly, somewhat sad.
Sad, and dangerous.
Dangerous because it gave Charles Johnson, middle-aged mediocrity, the out he needed when it came to dealing with the fact that he was just another average guy. It's something that the vast majority of us have to deal with at some point in our lives. We spend our first forty or so years believing that we are indeed special, that we can indeed do anything we want to (if only we work hard for it). It's what's been drilled into us since birth. And then, one day, we wake up and realize that we aren't special. We cannot do whatever we put minds to. We discover we are mediocre. We are average.
And herein lies the seeds of Charles Johnson's self-destruction: He is not a leader. He's an average guy.
I'd be the last person to claim I know Charles Johnson well. I spent parts of two days around the man back in 2004. But, brief as it was, my contact with him allowed me to size him up in certain respects. What those two days told me, more than anything, was that Charles Johnson was not a leader of men. His bearing did not catch the eye or command respect. Had he been more than average, he might have been able to leverage his Rathergate and LGF success. But as it turned out, cable TV gave him some time and found him wanting. Pajamas Media provided another opportunity, which, if my sources are to be believed, he wasted by playing the disenchanted loner (rather than being a leader).
More important than anything Charles did or did not do, though, was the fact that between 2004 and 2007 we collectively came to understand both the power and the limitations of the political blogosphere. In the heady days of 2003-2004, it was assumed that site traffic conferred, in and of itself, real power to the blogger. That has now been disproved. What we've learned is that it is what the blogger does that confers power. Charles Johnson gained famed not because of his inherent worth as an individual, but because - for one moment in time (Rathergate) - he managed to produce a set of facts that had a material impact on political events. Once Charles stopped producing those sort of facts, his fame (and influence) receeded.
Puzzled commenters often wonder what exactly this blog is for, now that (it appears) Charles Johnson largely agrees with us politically. But that begs the question: what exactly is LGF itself for anymore?