Caped Crusader Drives Blogs Batty

In this illustration released by DC Comics, a revived "Batwoman" is shown as a 5-foot-10 superhero with flowing red hair, knee-high red boots with spiked heels, and a form-fitting black outfit. AP

With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them? Blogophile reads them for you and presents a weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile appears new each Wednesday, and is written by CBSNews.com's Melissa P. McNamara.


Bloggers have a lot to say this week about a socialite from Gotham. Find out why DC Comic's resurrection of Batwoman is making news in the blogosphere. Plus, are rock songs political? When a magazine unveils its conservative top 50 list, bloggers of all political stripes take to their keyboards. And find out why bloggers are talking about the 2004 election this week.


What About Batman?

Kathy Kane's return to the comic book world as a caped crusader is turning more than a few heads. DC Comic is resurrecting the character – originally brought in as Batman's love interest – and bringing her back as a lesbian.

"She's a socialite from Gotham high society," Dan DiDio, vice president and executive editor at DC told the AP. "She has some past connection with Bruce Wayne. And she's also had a past love affair with one of our lead characters, Renee Montoya."

Who knew?

The creator has encouraged people to wait until the character appears in print in July before passing judgment, but that hasn't stopped bloggers from spewing their opinions. The story was one of the most talked about news stories on the blogs this week.

Out.com hailed the news. "Gotham City's sexiest socialite knows more than how to throw a party. Kathy Kane also knows a bit about throwing punches—and she introduces herself to comic book readers by striking her ex-girlfriend right across the jaw," Michael Sherrin wrote in an article for Out.com.

But why is this such a big story, some bloggers questioned. "I really don't see the big deal about it. Homosexuality is becoming such a common thing in the media nowadays and people should just look at it as just another ploy to sell comics at worst," Dorioo blogs. "They are just trying to bring deeper and more realistic stories to legions of nerds, ahem, readers who want to read something other than a rehashed story they read 2,573 times in other books."

The Singing Librarian agrees it's much ado about nothing, and says the media is blowing into a larger than life story. "Why do they care? Comics rarely make the news. Gay and lesbian characters, and indeed heroes, have been around for years," he writes. "Very few people have even heard of Batwoman. And yet, you combine the Bat-prefix and homosexuality, and suddenly, it's a story!"

"Consider 'lesbian Batwoman' as this season's Brokeback Mountain, only on a smaller stage," Kevin Melrose at The Great Curve says.

Some bloggers think it's DC Comic's way to be more politically correct, and they're not happy about it. "Why will there now be a lesbian batwoman? To be more politically correct? What is the world coming too? Why? Makes no sense to me," The Hodgepodger writes.

And speaking of politics, Craig on Red Satellites questions, "Why is it so important for the gay agenda to be constantly shoved down our collective throats?"

And the debate continues on DC Comics' message board, where lots of comic book fans are writing in with their own thoughts about Batwoman's sexual orientation. Check it out.


Rocking To The Right

The National Review released a list of the "top 50 conservative rock songs of all time," complete with reasons why the songs were chosen and notations about their counterrevolutionary lyrics.

And what makes a song conservative, you might ask? Well, the National Review's John J. Miller, offers readers some hints. "The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values," he writes. "And, to be sure, it must be a great rock song."

But the criteria was not so straightforward to many bloggers, who took to their keyboards to question the list, with some even offering their own selections.

John Baker thought the list tilted toward the past. "Probably the most interesting thing about the list is the age of the songs - and the singers - the most recent was recorded in 1991 (fifteen years ago), while the eldest is was written in 1966 (40 years ago) - so it's a fairly easy sum to see where the selectors are coming from," John blogged.

Some bloggers like Tom Watson and Jon Swift offered their own list of carefully selected songs they'd like to see on the top 50 conservative list, including Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

The conservative Swift says many great rock songs are conservative at heart. "You begin to wonder if there really is any such thing as a liberal rock song. I think a lot of liberal critics twist the meanings of some of the lyrics, pull words out of context or just willfully blind themselves to the real meaning of many rock songs," he blogs.

In response to "Who'll Stop the Rain" making the list, Michael Berube blogs, "If being annoyed at mealy-mouthed liberals who won't push harder for progressive goals makes you a conservative, I'm a conservative. Who knew? I want my check from a think tank now."

And Keith O'Brien thinks when it comes to creativity, Democrats are winners hands down. "Look... politics aside, the Democrats have the run of the creative mill. No one should be denying that these days. Perhaps, for the Democrats, there are too many artists and not enough leaders... I covered the RNC for my magazine. The celebrity quotient there was Ron Silver... and Ron Silver," Keith blogged at Merry Swankster.

Other bloggers think the National Review is reading way too much into some of the lyrics of the songs on their list. "I hope everyone else thinks this is as ludicrous as I do," Scottius Maximus blogs. "You could probably take any song and pull out a lyric or two and state the song is proposing a conservative viewpoint. I bet whatever conservative message is in these songs is entirely unintended by almost all of these artists,"


2004 Revisited

While pundits are already on to the 2008 presidential election, bloggers haven't stopped talking about 2004. And, an article in Rolling Stone magazine this week is adding to fuel to some liberals' fire.

"After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004," Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declares in an article in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.

To be sure, it's not the first time this issue has come up. In fact, many have examined 2004's presidential election, especially how the election played out in Ohio. And most people who have studied it probably wouldn't find much new in Kennedy's piece. Robert Kennedy's central premise is that 357,000 voters, "most of them Democratic," were either prevented from voting or their votes went uncounted. So Senator Kerry was likely the real winner of the election, Kennedy concludes.

But not everyone is convinced. "If you do read Kennedy's article, be prepared to machete your way through numerous errors of interpretation and his deliberate omission of key bits of data," Farhard Manjoo writes in his piece on Salon.com, "Was the 2004 Election Stolen? No."

The Left Coaster is curious why the story didn't get more attention from some of the larger blogs. "I find it a little troubling that a half hour after this story is online, not one of the A-list center-left blogs is even posting on it. Has possible election fraud now become taboo with the larger blogs?," he writes.

However, when DailyKos posted an entry about the story, 1006 bloggers wrote in with comments.

"RFK Jr.'s exit polling argument isn't a smoking gun, but it does argue for a broader, better funded, longer term election observation operation in EVERY precinct in Ohio," Democracy Guy blogs.

Conservative bloggers were, predictably, unhappy with the article. Some say they simply ignored it. "I saw mention earlier today of a piece in Rolling Stone by Robert Kennedy, Jr. arguing that the Republicans stole the 2004 election. Given that it was 1) a Kennedy, and a junior at that; 2) in a rock mag; and 3) plainly idiotic, I ignored it," James Joyner of Outside the Beltway writes.

Others lament that the Democrats are just being sore losers. "The idiots questioning the election always focus in on the Exit Polls. But even the Exit Pollsters admit they were flawed. This is Sore Loserman all over again. Get over it, Democrats!," Brainster's Blog writes.

And other conservatives took issue with Kennedy's criticism of Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Kennedy claims as Bush's re-election chair in Ohio, Blackwell had a powerful motivation to rig the rules for his candidate. "Kennedy's article was constructed for on reason, and one reason only; to smear a black fiscal and socially conservative candidate that has charisma, integrity, and cross-cultural appeal--in short, a real chance of winning," Confederate Yankee blogs, referring to Blackwell.

Perhaps these arguments explain why pundits are focusing on an election two years away rather than one two years in the past.

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By Melissa McNamara
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