Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Morning Ramblings

Sunday mornings are usually quiet around here, so I thought I would just sort of ramble on about anything that comes to mind.

I am beginning to wonder how blogging has affected discourse. If one is an avid internet surfer, one knows about almost every major political event within minutes of its happening. Within hours, these events have entered the blogsphere and have received attention in the body of numerous blogs. How those blogs pick any single event to focus on is a mystery to me. One hypothesis is that emphasis carries over from the mainstream press, i.e. the NYT or the WaPo, or AP and Reuters (as they appear on, say, Yahoo News.) But this may not be so. The story of a lost teenager in Aruba received many inches in the mainstream but was largely ignored in the blogsphere except to comment on the mainstream's obsessive attention to the story of 'another missing white female.' (That is a another ball of wax, comments in the mainstream on the blogs and comments in blogs on the mainstream.)

After an issue or story surfaces on the blogs, there are blog comments, which spawn additional comments, or even raise different issues. It is all very complex and it is like the footnote to the footnote to the footnote that Barth parodied in Giles Goatboy, or a fractal. Does all of this discussion, and all of this ranting, since one can rant in a blog without consequences, lead to a greater understanding of events? I think so. I would present as exhibit A in this argument the attention given to the Downing Street Memo as a result of blog activity. That attention set the stage for Cindy Sheehan and together they may effect the course of the War in Iraq.

There is no doubt in my mind that writing in a blog will help a person organize his or her thoughts and come to a better understanding of events. Having spellcheck also removes one of the more odious tasks of writing, thought it doesn't help one's grammar. Some people just write well. As Wolcott says, they "sing like the nightingale." I read some blogs because they are well written but mostly because they are funny (TBogg comes to mind). This type of humor has coined the phrase "snark" which, I see, has generated an entire subgenre on the Web. (I had forgotten that hunting the snark was a line from Lewis Carroll)

Writing in a blog is different than writing in a journal or even writing for the newspapers in many dramatic ways. Blog writing is like fractals, they let you meander out at any point into whatever you want and there is no editor to rein you in, as you can see from this ramble.

One also has to think about why someone wants to put their ideas out there for so many people to read. We want people to read our blogs, and we want people to agree with us (which is only human since it verifies our position), but mostly we want those numbers.

Well, time for another cup of coffee.

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