OSM Launch Impressions; or, It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To, and I Don't Want To

Now I know there are a bunch of naysayers out there, even in the blogosphere, doing what naysayers do best and saying nay. Well, suit yourselves. I just went to have a good time, and by golly I had a great time. So there.

Here are my scattered recollections from the event, with my memory bolstered by other bloggers who remember the Open Source Media launch much more clearly than I.

That fashion panel. Am I the only one who thought Elizabeth Hayt was simply divine? (I can hear you groaning. I'll take that as a yes.) No, really. Let me quote Eric at The Young Curmudgeon:
The only thing memorable about it was that Elizabeth Hayt, an NYT fashion journalist, bravely showed up. And I say bravely pointedly, to contrast her dignified bearing with the hooting and hollering that occurred both in the room and on-line for her daring to depart from the blog triumphalist mood of the day.

She stated at the outset that when she was booked she told the guy on the phone that she doesn't blog, she hates blogs, and thinks blogs are absurd so she didn't know why they were booking her. He said "That's why we want you." She was brought in as a sacrificial lamb, an example of evil MSM thinking for the assembled blog horde to devour with their teeth.

Now for my own take: Almost the first words out of Elizabeth's mouth were, "I don't read blogs. They're a waste of time. I think they're absurd. ... Bloggers are mostly rich people with too much time on their hands." This in front of a room full of bloggers. Think about it: How long did it take you to develop that kind of chutzpah? Well, there you go. You see what I mean, right? The woman's already halfway to being a blogger herself. She also admitted she doesn't read blogs. Now, when she goes the other half of the way, and decides she wants to know what she's talking about, we'll all have to watch out.

The Manolo he was there, sort of. This was the kind of gag that must have sounded like a great idea in the boardroom: Have The Manolo appear (so to speak) as a disembodied voice, with a sultry Latin accent. Well, fine. (BTW, I'm almost positive I met Manolo's "voice" after the event, but I digress.) But the ten-second (or however long it was) delay was ridiculous. I'm pretty sure they had somebody e-mailing the questions to Manolo and the "voice" reading his responses. Roger tried to tell us the delay was due to "long distance". Come on, Roger. We're bloggers, dammit, we're not that stupid.

Well, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain but do pay attention to the political panel. Richard Fernandez (Wretchard of The Belmont Club) is as articulate in person as he is on the screen. For the rest of the picture, I'll give you Judith at Kesher Talk:
The political panel was like every other political panel you have ever seen. Kudlow asked the three men most of the questions, Podhoretz and Corn bloviated, Wretchard tried to be thoughtful, and Rossett tried to get a word in edgewise. Since she is one of the few real investigative journalists working in the US today, this was a shame.

Podhoretz and Corn began their own "late twentieth-century history, as seen from the Right and the Left" debate, but Roger thankfully cut them off.

The first person I met at the reception was Robert of Publius Pundit - a very bright and dynamic young individual. He talked about life as an Air Force brat, the opportunities and pitfalls of the ongoing democratic revolutions, and what he hopes to do after college. Go read his blog.

Lisa Ramaci-Vincent was one of those I prevailed upon to sign my laptop during the reception. I had the pleasure of speaking with her for a few minutes, though not as long as Eric apparently did:
Lisa Ramaci is an incredible person, warm, open, unassuming and intellectual, a medieval history expert. She spoke of trips with her husband to Viet Nam before relations were normalized and even to Iran, where it turned out everyone was pro-American. She talked about her husband's memorial service, with representatives from the fetish scene, the downtown arts scene, conservative politics etc. and is going to send me a DVD of it to watch. Like Steven Vincent, she's a true American original and an utterly amazing person. Meeting her and actually getting to talk to her at length made my day and meant a hell of a lot more than meeting some blogger or journalist.

To that, I can only add that she is full of enthusiasm and idealism about Iraq, she is very warm and easy to be with, and an utterly amazing ... oh, wait, that's already been said. Well, consider it said again. FWIW, Lisa is also very big - stupefyingly tall, big-boned, and a very impressive woman physically as well as in every other way.

I blundered into this picture. Thanks, LaShawn - again! - for the link.

Wonderful people I met. I'm almost afraid to begin, because I know I'll leave somebody out. Well, okay. There was Pieter, with whom I had the pleasure of some conversation at the very beginning of the event. Pamela, Judith, Neo, LaShawn, and Fausta it was great meeting you in person!

I never thought I'd hear myself say the words "Excuse me, are you Cliff May?" It was, and I got to talk with him about the times and challenges of FDD.

Tammy, it was a special honor meeting you - and Bruce, good seeing you again!

Susan N., it was great meeting you! If you're reading this, drop me a line.

Okay, well that's enough of this. Here is what I really want to say about Open Source Media: Maybe you think it's a great idea, or maybe you think it's a dumb idea and we're all suckers. All I can say is this: Charles and Roger didn't ask me for a dime, they just asked if I wanted to sign on. I figured anything with all these folks - and Omar and Mohammed - couldn't be a bad thing. The trip to New York was worth it just to meet the people. I don't know where OSM is going, but I'm looking forward to finding out.