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  • Sunday, May 15, 2005


    Critique of Impure Blogging

    I am currently on a round of attempting to explain to myself why I blog. This kind of self-absorbed reflection is probably not too interesting to the outsider (i.e., you, dear reader) but I’m afraid you’re stuck with it. Just skip to the next post if I bore you.

    I have many tics and faults in my blog writing. One exceptional annoyance to me, and undoubtedly to the reader, is when I overstate an “inspirational” theme: The people united will never be defeated, nurture hope, shout “freedom!” and storm the gates of tyranny, blah, blah, woof, woof, jump now. (Greetings, Antiochians.) The cynic in me doesn't believe this stuff for a second but obviously I still have a soft idealistic underbelly still yearning for it. I'm a frustrated manifesto writer in search of a Cause to dedicate my rhetoric to. Failing that, these simpering and treacly phrases drip from my pen/keyboard. I'm trying to rein them in but I admit they seem to have a certain immunity from my generally well-developed editorial skills.

    I've been writing for pleasure and for print publication for over thirty years. There is a level on which I really get blogging, the immediacy, the informal tone, the ability to reference web sources as hyperlinks. There's another level that I still feel tied to the limits and cycles of printed medium. In print when I finish an article, it could be weeks or months before it is actually seen by an audience and before I get feedback from it. I find blogging encourages me to conceive, develop and publish at a much faster pace. In some ways, too fast. I rarely work on a post for more than a couple of hours. The medium encourages the expression of emotion and opinion. That's good but I remain wary of emotional arguments and opinionated appeals. See previous paragraph.

    I love and distrust being able to include quotes from other places on the web with more or less proper reference and linkage to the original source. It's like footnoting on the fly. The downside is continually evaluating the veracity and accuracy of these references. If I'm just drawing attention to other blogs or a very mainstream story, this isn't important. If I'm trying to do extensive research on a more obscure subject for a particular piece, then, in the immortal words of Bender on Futurama, "I'm boned." Not everything is on the web. If I want to bring in such sources, I have to type it in. I'm lazy and blogging does not encourage taking such effort. And if I'm researching something on the web, there's a distinct possibility that I don't know enough to properly evaluate the source material. I like research. I think it's fun. I don't like finding out a source is bullsh*t. Of course I try to check various sources and cross-reference them like a proper researcher instead of a half-assed one but I do come up against the immediacy factor.

    No real end to this post, just the awareness there is plenty of room for improvement here.
    (I really need to get clear on who I'm writing for. I'm quite erratic at inserting pop references in my posts. The title of this post is a take-off of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason yet there's also a quote from a cartoon. I gotta standardize... (shakes head sadly.))

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