Monday, January 28, 2008


Recently Sarah Boxer of the New York Times has edited a blog anthology titled "Ultimate Blogs; Masterworks From the Wild Web", where she offers a snapshot of the sublime, the absurd and everything else in between that the blogosphere has to offer. In the recent edition of the New York Times Review of Books she notes;

While I began to contemplate my own minuscule participation in all of this I stumbled upon the latest issue of Paste Magazine , where Charles McNair reviews Boxer's anthology (actually he spends most of his time ruminating on his own ambivalence towards blogging). He closes his review with the following fodder for further contemplation;

"Aldous Huxley wrote in Brave New World of a drug called soma that made society self-satisfied, internalized, indifferent to all cares. I think a case may be made that soma isn't Prozac or some other mood pharmaceutical, but modern technology - TV, iPods, the web all of it ... a symptom of some ailment that separates our 21st century souls instead of connecting them?"

Another way of framing McNair's view of blogging is as follows;

He actually makes a reasonable point on some levels about the role of technology to potentially numb the masses. Having said that, I have read lots of really engaged blog postings now that the U.S. election is gearing up and don't necessarily believe that the vast majority of bloggers are "indifferent to all cares".

If anything, there is some refreshing, playful and dynamic discourse taking place in the blogosphere, the type that is sadly missing from the mainstream media. Perhaps their is a reason why many people are turning off their TVs? And yes, there is some wonderfully inane blogging as well!

As for me, blogging has simply been a vehicle to explore my muse, to develop my writing and expand upon the passing thoughts that cross my mental landscape from time to time. It is actually quite therapeutic on some levels, a logical extension of the traditional journaling I have done from time to time in the past.

One of the pleasing bi-products of this is that I have come across a few fellow bloggers recently who appear to be anything other than "switched off", folks who have inspired me with their words and ideas and have left their mark on me, and have perhaps broadened my perspective a little bit.

It is a dynamic and rapidly changing world, and at times writing or blogging helps me get a small handle on it. There are times at night when accompanied by some good music, I write my ideas and scour for some inspiring words from others who are also trying to make sense of it all. A brave new world indeed.


Dr. Zaius said...

What a great post! Blogs do not numb the masses. Charles McNair seems to be yet another stuffy moron that sees blogs as a threat to his legitimacy, and indeed they are. Blogs are reshaping written communication as we know it, and "legitimate" reviewers and journalists find it increasingly difficult to yawn the way through their message.

He comletely misses the point of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World", as well. Huxley spoke of the danger of blindly listening to authority. Blogs diffuse the authority of top-down communication. Soma was an expression of the government's control, unlike blogs.

Dean Wormer said...

Another great post!

Personally I find blogs to be about community. I don't find myself disengaged because I read blogs at all. In fact it's the opposite- the marches against the war I've attended or local political events I've found from blogs.

I donate money to elect politicians to change policy through blogs. I keep in touch with family and friends through blogs.

Also - what Zaius said. Blogs are democratizing (sp)

Comrade Kevin said...

I tend to believe that since blogs are written by people, thus that their nature would reflect the humanity behind them as well.

Some people have something to say and most people babble about inanities.

The horrible blogs don't matter to me. The good ones who I often don't have time to devote to as I would like, do.

dguzman said...

I love being able to tune in to the lives and opinions and experiences of so many intelligent people whom I'd otherwise never know existed. Blogs have opened up the world to me, not made me disengage.