Friday, October 23, 2009

A Case Against Blogging

Well, great. Stefan McDaniel writes in First Things' On the Square:

Someone recently encouraged me to write more, because “words aren’t lifeblood. Words are cheap.” Words are certainly held cheap, and the blogosphere has drastically lowered the going rate....

The blogpost is biased toward speed, brevity, and cleverness. It thus hands the public square over to bullies, sophists, and clowns....

Furthermore, even good blogging threatens to worsen our already bad relation with the written word. Several excellent bloggers have told me that they find it much harder than they once did either to follow sustained written arguments (especially when not tricked out with flashy rhetoric) or to make such arguments themselves; they have grown impatient with writing that does not meet bloggy criteria.

The scary thing is, I think there's something to this. I've noticed that even when I have all sorts of good books I could be reading, and even though on the web there are plenty of thoughtful, informative, interesting articles.... I somehow end up cruising around the same silly sites again and again, hoping they're updated. icanhazcheezburger and Cake Wrecks and Photoshop Disasters and such are pretty entertaining, but I don't want to be spending so much time on them. And at the same time I'm so impatient about following a sustained line of thought, even if it's, say, a trenchant and beautifully written sermon by John Henry Newman.

Eh, I'm bored with this subject. Check out these stormtroopers on the anniversary of the Death Star explosion!


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Do both, moderation is the key :)...I'm usually reading something and blogging at the same time :)

Warren said...

I think that a certain distaste for whatever is the "going fashion" is just what the doctor ordered.

I like blogs when they are not about being a bully, a sophist, or a clown.

I disagree that all blogs are any such thing, but I know that most political and most of the doctrinaire-subgenre of religious blogs tend towards that smash-and-grab prose style.

American political bloggers, and "tier-one" bloggers of any stripe, are THE WORST.

Little insignificant nobodies of the blogosphere, are 10x more worth reading than the Big Boys or the Big Girls.


Mary Rose said...

Your post convicted me! I also have tons of great books on my shelf but my attention span has been shortened by net usage. However, I'm aware and am trying to "train" myself again to read books. :-)

Now, off to surf!

Rachel Gray said...

Joe, I wish I had your talent!
Warren, I've noticed the same thing. I think the big boys of blogging know they have to have strong wording and controversial topics to get attention, while little bloggers know that only their family and friends will read, and so conduct themselves more politely, as in real life.
Mary Rose, I'm trying to train myself too. Baby steps. I've given up surfing in the morning and now at breakfast I read a book instead.