The author is an Assistant Editorial Features Editor at the WSJ. Not being a journalist, I’m not sure if that is an impressive title, but he seems quite eager to be impressive. He used the words “vastation” and “logorrheic,” which I had to look up. Good words, both.
But his opinion reveals someone whose ideas will go gentle into that good night. He does not get it, and his access to print in the WSJ does not make him a visionary. He does not understand the internet, nor its current stage of growth. He says this about it:
“Every conceivable belief is on the scene, but the collective prose, by and large, is homogeneous: A tone of careless informality prevails; posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion . . .”
The author’s implication is that the mainstream media is better. Yet the lack of complexity and complication in blogs is largely due to the lack of same spoon-fed to us by the mainstream media over the past 150 years. We have you to thank, Mr. Rago.
We, however, are just getting started.
I could say this and find lots of facts to back it up: “When newspapers first started, they were abysmal, short-sighted, lying rags with little or no dedication to fact, and a great deal of dedication to greed and self-service.” Although if I did that, it would mean I read only certain journalists. Likewise, it is apparent that Roge only reads certain blogs–blogs that ratify his theory that we’re a bunch of blithering morons. But the fact is, early journalism was not what it is today. Nor is today’s internet what it will be tomorrow. And while journalism had a painfully slow, generations-long method of maturation, the internet grows with quantum computing speed. It took years for Edward R. Murrow to stand up to McCarthyism. Today, the ideas ultimately expressed by Murrow would happen instantly on the internet. So the immediacy and impudence he dismisses in the internet is also its very nugget of value. Sure, 99.9% of blogs are crap, but at any given moment, the very thing that needs to be said, is being said–and it’s being said in a blog.
And … we’re just getting started.
“This cross-referential and interactive arrangement, in theory, should allow for some resolution to divisive issues, with the market sorting out the vagaries of individual analysis. Not in practice. The Internet is very good at connecting and isolating people who are in agreement, not so good at engaging those who aren’t. ”
This is very correct, but how does this differ from mainstream media? Furthermore, I find it inspiring that a lot of bloggers are coming to this conclusion (I could list several within my tiny blog circle alone.) And finally, our ability to solve this problem is vast. We have not even started to find ways of encouraging synthesis–mostly because we are still too new to even recognize that the problem existed. But we do now. Give us some time Mr. Rago, and that whooshing sound you hear will be us passing you by.
“Because political blogs are predictable, they are excruciatingly boring. More acutely, they promote intellectual disingenuousness, with every constituency hostage to its assumptions and the party line.”
And this differs from MSM how?
“Of course, once a technosocial force like the blog is loosed on the world, it does not go away because some find it undesirable. So grieving over the lost establishment is pointless, and kind of sad. But democracy does not work well, so to speak, without checks and balances. And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we’ve allowed decay to pass for progress.”
The only thing decaying is the old paradigm, Mr. Rago. I can understand why you mourn its loss. But I will follow the words of Christ in this case, and let the dead bury their dead.
Rest In Peace.