Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Blog?

If you want to understand why I blog - or anyone else for that matter, read this article by Andrew Sullivan titled WHY I BLOG. Class.


Wrinkled Weasel said...

Blogging is more ephemeral than a Higgs boson.

Can anybody remember what you or anybody else wrote yesterday, let alone last week?

I am not aware of any blogger with what you might call a first rate mind. Roger Scruton gave up. Marcus Du Sautoy never did. John Redwood does but is as exciting and controversial as a shopping trip to Primark. Oliver Letwin has a blog of sorts, but it is safely parochial and not "ontological". Tony Wright should do a blog but doesn't. Cranmer is gets to the heart of many politico/religious topics but foams at the mouth over Europe. The Devil has a way of fisking that should pass into anatomical textbooks. There are a few worthies. The list of clever people who do not blog is sizeable, but the list of idiots who blog is infinite and is a tale

“Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

At the top of the list is Guido Fawkes, whose place has become a refuge for tourettes sufferers and who himself should severely limit public live appearances, due to his being a prat.

That leaves you Iain and the fact that I am a regular reader. I read your blog, not because you shed light on the great issues of the day, or because you are an intellectual, but because you are human, warm and very much of the moment and you make me think. And that is probably more than one could expect. You blog by instinct and without fear and you must have a reasonably thick skin. You write half-thoughts waiting to be formed in the crucible of reaction. It can be dangerous and exciting, but will anybody be reading it again next week, let alone in the next century? Probably not, because it is too inchoate, but I have a suspicion that the resultant dialogue and the fragments of heartfelt opinion might be more than pissing in the wind.

lilith said...

Weasel, there you are! *waves*

I blog because my friends would stop talking to me if I didn't ("groan, she's talking politics again"). It gives me somewhere to learn/talk about what is going on, and a place where I feel less isolated with my fear.

Anonymous said...

Iain - bloging is needed more than ever to counter the propaganda that emanates daily from New Labour via their media acolytes. Just look at the following article in today's Scotsman headlined "PM hits out at other countries for ignoring his advice" to see why blogging the truth to counter Brown's delusions, lies and deceptions are so important.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Lilith. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm not prepared to read anything written by Sullivan. It makes me feel that I need to scrub my eyeballs afterwards.

James Higham said...

There are bloggers who blog and try to refine the output all the while but the main thing is to be consistent with their product. Then there are bloggers in the "let it all come pouring out" category who are often more sporadic.

With both blogging and all journo work, consistency is the key. Wat Tyler is an example here.

Another thing is that you occupy a mainstream position and the attendant gravitas comes in handy or you go out on a limb, as I and many others do but then you need to back up what you say more rigorously.

The quest for ratings is a no no. It harms the writing, which is not to say you won't have a few crowd pleasers from time to time.

In the end, are you a one or two issues blogger or just a blogger?

Anonymous said...

WW: "Marcus Du Sautoy never did..."

Otoh, Fields medallists, Terence Tao and Timothy Gowers both do, albeit sporadically. But they think it's a good idea in principle.

Are you opposing the case for blogging by popularisers or by experts? Or something else?

Anonymous said...

Blogging is now essential since MSM act as PR agents for politicians and celebrities. Also time was when a particular media outlet stood for something in particular. Now you read the mail on sunday and you have a conservative message from Hitchens on one page and on the next, you have the ultra liberal Suzanne Moore giving the exact opposite view on the same issue. All media outlets now support Labour, even the Telegraph. Letters to papers can't be trusted to reflect public opinion as parties ask their members to write in. So most blog to get their views heard on various issues.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Kev G. We could have a long exchange of posts on this, but that is the problem. I am writing this in a space the size of a matchbox. (Most of the time I write long posts in Word and then cut and paste them) Blogging does not lend itself to mature or lengthy discussion because, it is not that the goal posts move all the time, which they do, but frequently they are not there at all. In other words as soon as you have established your terms of reference and your point of view, the blogger is on the the next thing. It just isn't cut out to deal with the subtleties of human communication, let alone the semiotics, so that is all I am going to say on that.

Africanmum has summed it up.

The MSM is in thrall to vest interests. Have you noticed that both the Times and the Telegraph have run a James Bond story every single day for the past two weeks? - and that's the benign stuff.

You can no longer trust the BBC. You cannot trust the Government because lying is their default mode.

So why trust bloggers? You can trust them to say what they think within reason, about certain things. Political blogging is a case in point. Political blogging, as I see it, is about rebuttal. It is akin to the passing of notes around the classroom or tapping out morse code on the prison walls.

Political blogging is about defining, or should I say, re-defining the dialectics of discourse - an antidote to lies, mendacity and obfuscation practiced by the ruling elites.

Political Blogging has long been likened to the Samizdat, and like its paper and ink predecessor, it is/was of the moment; something created in the crucible of persecution and oppression. When that oppression ceases,it becomes redundant.

Blogging does not sit well with the official line or the establishment. The best political blogs are those like Devil's Kitchen or Cranmer, for example, who really don't give a toss who they upset, but are clever and articulate about it. As Iain Dale edges ever closer to his other natural medium - TV - it will be interesting to see if he keeps his edge or starts self-censoring to appease his paymasters. He won't agree with me, but in the days when he was dabbling with Parliament he certainly lost his edge.

And now I have to single out Tom Harris. Poor Tom. He couldn't make up his mind whether he was Government lobby fodder or someone with a brain that functioned all of its own. In the end it was probably the blog that contributed to his demise, despite avoiding tricky references to Opus Dei and bogey eating. If anybody got close to being a good Minister and an interesting blogger it was Tom.

Anonymous said...


You talk a lot of sense, as always. I enjoyed this peripherally related article by Nick Cohen - one of the rare dead trees hacks that hasn't entirely sold his soul.

To my shame, I still have John Redwood bookmarked, and know exactly what you mean - it's a case of Lord, make me diligent but not yet.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Mr Brown's excuse of "it's everyone else's fault except mine" is getting even more threadbare:

"The reason that sterling is doing badly is that, in our view, the UK is expected to be the worst performer among the G7 economies over the next 6-12 months because it will contract around 2pc next year," says Mr Mann at Standard Chartered.