Andrew Sullivan can still write well; he can even be thoughtful and interesting; A&L links to “Why I Blog,” in the November Atlantic. The essay makes several points about the difference between writing an essay, writing for a newspaper and blog writing. He remarks
Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.
Narrating the etymology, he notes continuity as “log” becomes incorporated in “blog.”
A blog, therefore, bobs on the surface of the ocean but has its anchorage in waters deeper than those print media is technologically able to exploit. It disempowers the writer to that extent, of course. The blogger can get away with less and afford fewer pretensions of authority. He is—more than any writer of the past—a node among other nodes, connected but unfinished without the links and the comments and the track-backs that make the blogosphere, at its best, a conversation, rather than a production.
That conversation, he contends, constructs a “faux intimacy.” As narrow & partial as that intimacy is, however, it eliminates some of the subterfuges with which we shield ourselves. He has a point:
You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can try to hide yourself from real scrutiny, and the exposure it demands, but it’s hard. And that’s what makes blogging as a form stand out: it is rich in personality.
And, in the end, he sees blogs as the logical product of our time, of post-modernism.
If all this sounds postmodern, that’s because it is. And blogging suffers from the same flaws as postmodernism: a failure to provide stable truth or a permanent perspective. A traditional writer is valued by readers precisely because they trust him to have thought long and hard about a subject, given it time to evolve in his head, and composed a piece of writing that is worth their time to read at length and to ponder.
So, the Chicagoboyz meet up in Chicago. Wasn’t this a new adventure for some? I’m thousands of miles out-of-the-Loop. But for how many is the voice you have known and the voice you now know dramatically different? Or does the immediacy of blogs, the impatience and openness with which we write, make us quite similar in the flesh to that unmediated voice we have created?