By Quin Hillyer
On blogs, anything and everything goes, including on the blog names themselves: What the heck, for instance, is "Echidne of the Snakes" or "Nyarlathotep's Miscellany"? Then there is Fafblog, which quotes an apparent admirer to this effect: "This is a good blog. This is the best blog. It is about god and the universe and those horrible screaming monkeys and that time I made a pizza out of an old tire and a can of whip cream. It is the Fafblog."Ah, what ARE they teaching Young Republicans these days? If they'd just had a good, Old-fashioned LIBERAL education, they'd know that Echidne of the Snakes is a Minor Greek Goddess and that Nyarlathotep refers to a story by HP Lovecraft. A "miscellany," of course, is a collection of Odds and Ends, like disconnected thought particles, or my Blogroll.
YOU SEE THE PROBLEM, don't you? Blogs can be fun, entertaining, and informative, but they don't lend themselves to disciplined thought, much less disciplined writing. There's nothing wrong with the blogs in and of themselves, but when they are a young person's only or next-to-only exposure to the written word, they certainly don't boost reasoning or writing skills.
Well, I suppose Free Republic, or Little Green Footballs might lead you to that conclusion. You might wish to visit a wider variety of blogs, and read past the masthead. Echidene of the Snakes, for instance, has been known to make some very cogent arguments... feminist ones, of course, but quite accurately reasoned and supported by actual evidence.
AGAIN, THERE IS A LOT TO LIKE about the blog world. It can ennoble and inform and provide great tools for discourse and for meeting like-minded people. But what it doesn't encourage is reflection, patience or, to stress again, discipline. And its wild informality, including the use and misuse of the written world, does not lend itself to careful persuasiveness.Discipline. Ah yes, we in the blogosphere suffer from a lack of disciplined and formal argument, buttressed by observable fact.
Dare I compare myself to Established Broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and noted syndicated columnist Ann Coulter?
I dare. Moreover, I dare compare either to Wonkette or The Rude Pundit. Unfavorably. But in selecting such obvious and farcical targets, I am essentially knocking over straw whores.
But the still somewhat legitimate Mainstream Media has not done such a stellar job of persuasion themselves. Rather, they have simply ignored or suppressed competing voices, while mindlessly droning the talking points issued from the White House.
Menwhile, real journalists blog. And they are as loud, argumentative and contrary as any blogger - or journalists were before conservative media moguls required them to be neutered as a condition of continued employment.