Thursday, November 16, 2006

What about the political blogosphere? Part III

When camcorders became popular, in the mid- to late-1980s, it was said that putting a cheap movie camera in every willing set of hands would spawn a revolution, not unlike the French New Wave. Oh yes, we would see wonderful new films coming out of the woodwork. Documentaries, art house films, etc., would tumble back into style, because the new accessibility to filmmaking technology would be available to so many people who would never have had the chance before. Kids would grow up making movies and become the next François Truffauts and Luis Buñuels.

And, the same breakthrough would simultaneously develop a more film-savvy audience to appreciate those new and better movies.

Well, that prediction has hardly panned out. Not yet, anyway. If anything, the trend has gone in the opposite direction, at least as far as the public’s taste in movies goes.

Since then, some of the same sort of predictions have been made about the so-called “citizen journalism” of blogging-made-easy. And, so far, at least in the political blogosphere, I can’t see how it is doing much to develop a bunch of new top-shelf opinion writers the likes of the insightful Georgie Anne Geyer, or the late Mike Royko.

So, when copycat bloggers write mostly about politicians as celebrities, to relentlessly demonize or glorify them, I don’t spend much time reading their work. A lot of the same bloggers like to pick fights with other bloggers, to spin their hits counters. Usually, I do my best to ignore such drivel.

Fortunately, that doesn’t describe all the bloggers, so there are a few I do enjoy reading regularly. Mostly, it is because they a good writers.

With my own writing here at SLANTblog, I am trying to continue to serve the audience that I have built for my work over the years, and to connect with new readers who like to think for themselves, maybe even consider a new angle.

Unlike my work that has been published in various periodicals, my posts here have not been approved by an editor or publisher perhaps worrying about offending one of his/her advertisers. While I enjoy that freedom it doesn’t make me want to act irresponsibly, because I still hope to be persuasive, not overbearing or outrageous.

Over the last few months Virginia’s political blogosphere has been inundated with the work of amateur propagandists convinced that screaming accusations at their opposites would win an election for the candidates they admire. Now that the election is over, my hope is that we will see much less of it. But I’m not holding my breath.

Accordingly, I’m glad that writers/bloggers such as Waldo Jaquith, Conaway Haskins, and other notables, have been taking stock of the political blogosphere in recent posts. This is a good time for it. And, I’m looking forward to seeing where this worthwhile discussion goes. After all, the potential of this medium is truly awesome. So much so that I expect we will see plenty more efforts to curb bloggers coming from those who fear that potential the most.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. on Friday

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