Thursday, June 15, 2006

The blogosphere and Phish vs netroots and politics

I have been meaning to put this diary together for a long time, and with all of the recent "Go Blogs, Go" cheerleading, I thought that this would be the best time to do so.

Many of you have asked me why I spell my handle with a "ph" as opposed to an "f."  I know some of you probably thought I was stuck in the 90s on the "phat not fat" bandwagon, and maybe some of you just thought I couldn't spell.  Some pholks knew right away what the ph was for, and I give them credit for it.  Extra props to Kathy Gerber for guessing some song lyrics back in this thread on RaisingKaine.  And Lowell-you asked me about my bumper sticker at Shad Planking which states Save Gamehendge.  So, why DO I do it, and what the hell does it have to do with politics?

Stiiiiiiiilll waiting.........Stiiiiiiilll waiting......

I am, and always will be, a Phishhead.  I know, it's my dirty little secret.  I followed the band throughout their later years, and I had a great time.  I met so many great "pholks," and I saw some of the most beautiful parts of America one can imagine.  I sat in traffic jams for over 28 hours to move a mile, and I have gone days without showering or using an actual toilet that wasn't portable.  I have laughed, cried, screamed, danced, and spun through the night and the day, and I have mastered the art of actually fitting an air mattress in a 2 person tent.  I have braved 104 degree weather in the blazing sun, and sat through hours of music wearing a soaked tank top, a wet skirt, and flip flops while torrential downpours prevented me from moving without sinking.  It has always been an event, and I would not give up my memories for anything.  It's not everyone's scene, but hey; nothing is.  I miss the band, but I don't cry for the loss.  It's better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all, as they say...

So, yeah, politics.  What the hell does this have to do with it?  And I was supposed to talk about the internet, wasn't I?  Well, phollow me....

If you didn't know, Phish, their music, and their phans were largely influenced by the internet.  Like the trading of tapes of dead shows, Phish phans got into downloading and streaming right at the peak of Phish's career, and it played a major part of the growth of the fanbase.  Messageboards were created, and people phlocked to them to do anything from dissecting a show with 500 other people, to looking for extra tickets or a ride to a show.  Setlists were predicted, the band mates were lauded and trashed, and pictures were passed between strangers.  Simply, the net and Phish meshed.

While I cannot be sure whether or not Marc Fisher is right in his assessment that the netroots did the most to get Jim Webb elected as Virginia's Democratic candidate for the United States Senate, I cannot help but feel we tipped the scale a bit.  The internet is increasingly popular, and like their music was changing at the mid point career of Phish, the political tide is also turning.  Just like the emotional roller coaster a great show can provide, politics can do the same.  Elections have left me both celebrating and sobbing for weeks, and inspiring speeches have left me in awe and in tears.  I have never crossed the country for a politician, but even Jim Webb noticed that I followed him this week from Richmond to Arlington the day before an important election; no easy feat, I tell you.  But I did it out of love, and again, I have no regrets.

Blogging will continue to replace the MSM, and it is no secret that the liberal progressive side of the political sphere has taken control of the political blogosphere.  Is there any question that blogs like dailyKos and MyDD have blown redstate and the freepers out of the water?  I think not.  How far will we go?  I have no idea.  I would like to find out, and I don't plan on quitting anytime soon.  I hope you'll stay with me for the journey.

Like musicians, we all must stay open and creative, and keep our ideas phlowing.  We are a voice, and we are a LOUD voice; people cannot help but notice us.  The Phish fanbase became huge, and has (believe it or not) continued to grow even after the band's dismantle.  I think we should push forward.  I think we WILL. 

And I don't doubt that we will win this battle.

So, boogie on, reggae women and men.  Let's make it happen.  Keep on truckin, bc what a long, strange trip it's been.