post last week from Dana Blankenhorn,
questioning the preponderance of political pontificating in the blogosphere. He
points out that the majority of Blogstreet’s 100 Most Influential Blogs
are about – Politics. Dana makes a number of astute points (including
with the Dowbrigade in hailing Thomas
Paine as a Natural Born
Blogger). He also points out a number of similarities between blogging
and talk radio, mainly that they are both the voice of authentic individuals,
real live people with private lives they mention from time to time, and
who make no pretense of presenting an "objective" take on the issues
of the day.
Now, obviously a lot depends on which end of the blogosphere one inhabits.
True, most of the most-linked-to blogs that people like US read revolve
But what about the hundreds of thousands of hypothetical (or are they
apocalyptical) 13-year-old girls blogging crazes and crushes in their
6th grade homerooms? They may not have as many inleading links as Glen
Reynolds, but they are part
of the phenomena, and behind them are many thousands of other blogs which
serve personal, family, business or academic purposes and which have
nothing at all to do with politics.
Now, I am interested in politics myself, and although I wouldn’t call
myself a Junkie in that department, I do blog about politics, especially
when it turns twisted and depraved and the tawdry threads of unraveling
conspiracy stick out between chinks in the armor of empire. But I am
interested in a LOT of things, many of which I truly believe are more
important and rewarding than what passes for contemporary politics.
If I were a Platonic idealist and could actually live in the Blogosphere
full time, if the virtual world we are creating had a physical, or visible
metaphysical, form, my Blog would look something like a cross between
Sherlock Holmes’ library and the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise. The
decor would be all overstuffed, high-backed armchairs of mahogany and
burgundy leather, polished brass fittings on the wood-paneled walls,
lined floor to ceiling with bookcases interspersed with ornate frames
containing a constantly rotating eclectic collection of my favorite images.
Tuxedoed robot waiters would offer all known varieties of refreshment
and recreational substances.
It would be a perfect little virtual Athenaeum, and its purpose would
be as a place where I could comfortably gather with my friends and fellow
travelers, with interesting minds I come across in my virtual travels,
and basically, shoot the shit. Discuss the issues of the day. Tell
stories, jokes and share secrets. Talk about our families and our problems
if we feel like it, our pride and our prejudices. Sketch out
a work in progress, run ideas up a flagpole, get another opinion on something
you can’t trust your own on. This is the kind of conversation I find
the most satisfying and stimulating, as well as being the most fun
you can have with your clothes on, and even that is not a requirement.
Every time one of the gang in my Blogtheneum comes up with an
interesting story they heard, or an article they read, they can instantly
call it up on the wall-sized screen in front of our armchairs (this is
where the Enterprise’s underlying infrastructure comes into play).
We would talk about EVERYTHING. Politic’s, sure, but also the
rest of the news, as well as music, work, people we know and don’t know,
things we feel about things we do,
travel, God, sickness and health, and what the fuck it all means. Most
of all I would want to laugh a lot, and make other people laugh, too.
Which is pretty much what I end up posting in my Blog.
Coming back to what
Dana wrote, I think that that this kind of real human stuff is
really what people want to listen to. They are sick of the increasingly
transparent sham of "objectivity" offered up by Major Media. The nature
of the human experience is innately subjective. Everything that can
be perceived or conceived can only be perceived or conceived in relation
to a perceiver. The standard media feed is inherently dishonest and
even dangerous in its pretense at objectivity, because science-worshiping
Americans believe that that somehow invests it with a patina of Superior
The Real Truth, quite frankly, is that I prefer to get (and discuss)
my news with real people – people like me, who have points of view, and
axes to grind, and insights and inputs and make no pretenses about being "unbiased".
And I imagine that most people feel the same.
I am willing to read and discuss
with people who disagree with me; in fact I enjoy it, even on fundamental
issues. But please, a steady diet of politics makes for a deadly dull
intellectual landscape. Please let there be more to Blogs than
that. As Eugene McCarthy said, "Being in politics is like being a football
coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough
to think it’s important."