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August 29, 2004
The Vicious Circle Of The 21st Century

Normally on the day before I travel, I do my best to get to bed early, sometimes start to pack the night before, and get plenty of rest for the upcoming day. However, last night I had an opportunity to spend an evening with a group of tremendously intelligent and opinionated gentlemen at James Lileks' Jasperwood estate, with Hugh Hewitt as the honored guest. A dozen bloggers had a smoker and debated politics, blogs, pop culture, and just about every topic imaginable (including the ethics of trivia contests) under the cool skies of south Minneapolis with as much passion and humor as any round-table I've ever experienced.

In fact, it's easy to feel outclassed when you're surrounded by this all-star lineup of bloggers and pundits: Hugh, James, Generalissimo Duane, Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson, Mitch Berg, King Banaian, The Elder and Saint Paul from Fraters Libertas, The One Big Swede, The Crazy Uke, Chumley Wonderbar, David Strom, and Long Suffering Jay Larson. Instead of putting in an appearance for an hour or so and begging off, as was my original plan, we all stayed past midnight, scaring the neighbors of Jasperwood with our conservative debate and the heaping of scorn on the likes of Jm Boyd, John Kerry, Chris Matthews, and so on.

It seems to me that just as the nascent print media in the 20's produced the Algonquin Round Table, made famous primarily by the writings of Dorothy Parker, so has the new media of the new century produced loose associations such as the Northern Alliance and evenings like last night. This evening covered much more than just the mechanics of blogging and intramural gossip; we debated national and international issues, always with a sense of humor, but using arguments that I'm sure will find their way into our blogs over the next few weeks.

And what struck me was the egalitarian nature of the entire discussion. The group split into two or three ever-changing discussions, with people migrating from one to the other with an ease that struck me as very telling about either the breadth of knowledge each member had or their ability to fake it, either one of which (or both) was impressive. Once in a while I thought to myself that the conversation was surely scaling down, and someone would toss in a completely unrelated question, and the energy would flood back into the debate as everyone weighed it with responses and supporting arguments.

It was one hell of a good time, and when I finally dragged myself out of Jasperwood, drunk on the chance of spending an evening with intellectual heavyweights but otherwise stone-cold sober, I could not believe that four hours had passed. Unfortunately, it ate up the rest of my blogging time last night and this morning -- and I have to get ready for my early-afternoon flight. I will try to post a few pictures from our live show at the Minnesota State Fair yesterday, and then I'll be back late tonight to catch up on the news.

Thanks, James and Hugh, for a wonderful evening.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 29, 2004 9:04 AM

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» http://WWW.JESSICASWELL.COM/MT/archives/001621.html from Jessica's Well
From Powerline: "However, last night I had an opportunity to spend an evening with a group of tremendously intelligent and opinionated gentlemen at James Lileks' Jasperwood estate, with Hugh Hewitt as the honored guest. A dozen bloggers had a smoker... [Read More]

Tracked on August 29, 2004 12:23 PM

» Sunday on a Stick from Our House
On Saturday night there was a Party at Lileks' fabled South Minneapolis Manse, Jasperwood. David went. It was "boys only" by stipulation. You can read about it here, here, here, here and here. It was amusing reading the reactions of the different att... [Read More]

Tracked on August 30, 2004 10:59 AM

» We forgot Julie from SCSU Scholars
At the Jasperwood convention discussion turned to the most beautiful actress ever. This is the sort of thing they discuss at the Algonquin roundtables, right? Longevity was a key factor, and much of the discussion turned on Audrey Hepburn versus Soph... [Read More]

Tracked on August 31, 2004 8:20 PM

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