Updated: On Bloggerel

Barely A Blog,IlanaMercer.com,Internet,Pop-Culture,The Zeitgeist

I resisted blogging with all my might. In August 2002, I wrote this in “The Importance of Boundaries”:

“Virginia Postrel appears to confer the web-diary with a mystic, cosmic rhythm, calling it ‘one of the most interesting new spontaneous orders in the world of the Web.’ … The fact that millions of people are moved to mouth daily on the web is no more significant than the fact that billions of humans have a bowel movement every day.”

“Chances are that if you are blogging, a part of you believes that your impromptu daily thoughts ought to be public. Chances are you are not terribly concerned that, of the cyberspace ejaculate you emit, stuff will come back to haunt you like a nasty paternity suit.”

Unfortunately, I was in no position to let this expression of spontaneous disorder pass me by. Ann Coulter is in that position; I’m not. Probably never will be. So here I am. (Still, this blogger “speaks” only “when she has something to say,” to comport with my daughter’s description of her mom years back. Which is why this is Barely a Blog.)

Thomas Fleming has had a similar experience. Here are his impressions of the blogosphere and its intellectually disemboweling effects:

“… answering the blog-responders is like arguing with a retarded child who thinks breaking wind is a witty response.”

“I described the blogger mentality as a form of Narcissism, but even that is a compliment. Narcissus was so handsome that he fell in love with his own reflection. The proper parallel would be the writers and political intellectuals who are so brilliant and clever that they have fallen in love with their own voices, but bloggers are like a hideously ugly person who looks in the mirror and says: ‘The rat’s looking good.’ [Note, I have to check the quotation from the recent film of Charlotte’s Web, which I watched on a flight to Rome.]”

“… if we took the trouble to start a conversation, the blogospheroids would jump in, agreeing or disagreeing–it hardly matters–with opinions by the truckload. This might not be so bad, if the truck were not a garbage truck.”

The post is “Silly Chickens and Rotten Eggs.” As with all Dr. Fleming’s writing, it’s well-worth the read.

Update (March 22): This is not to say that there aren’t good blogs; I’d hope BAB is one. Rather, the objection here is to the meta-process the web diary stands for–the loose, let-it-all-hang out, diarrheic process of diarizing in public, as I said in the essay, has broken down boundaries between the private and public:

“The upshot of populism in punditry, at least, is that bad commentary is promiscuously outed. Few and far between are the commentators and conversationalists who have honed their craft.”

2 thoughts on “Updated: On Bloggerel

  1. EN

    Blogs are certainly better than TV and more than once my mind has been changed by a post, or just as likely, by the comments. I can take it or leave it. Depends on workload and attitude. It’s a matter of choice. In the case of blogs there’s something for everyone. Is there any other medium as good as that?

  2. JamesPaty

    Dear Ilana,
    Although I often think that your writing is outstanding, daily events and probably my aging and dimming focus distract me from every now and then saying thank you. Thank you| I follow your thinking as best I can and appreciate your well-ordered mind both on your blog and in your WND columns, even following the links to sources you use that further flesh out your reasoning. I’m not sure that I agree on all issues – actually I do mostly, but I don’t think you ask that of us; however, you do have a way of requiring the gears and cogs rattling in our skulls to at least turn a little. I appreciate that and consider it one of your gifts.

    God bless you and your family,

    James P.

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