The Age of Blogs?


My favorite blogger, Atlantic Monthly writer Andrew Sullivan, of
The Daily Dish published a manifesto last November in the magazine he helps to edit. Simply entitled Why I Blog the article grapples with the hassles, advantages, and demands of blogging.

Here was my favorite part:

For centuries, writers have experimented with forms that evoke the imperfection of thought, the inconstancy of human affairs, and the chastening passage of time. But as blogging evolves as a literary form, it is generating a new and quintessentially postmodern idiom that’s enabling writers to express themselves in ways that have never been seen or understood before. Its truths are provisional, and its ethos collective and messy. Yet the interaction it enables between writer and reader is unprecedented, visceral, and sometimes brutal. And make no mistake: it heralds a golden era for journalism.

For Sullivan, the blog is truly a window into his thinking. He treats his blog like a public stream of consciousness. His emotions and opinions ebb and flow, he loses focuses, then re-finds, becomes entranced by a certain topic, then loses interest.

They say that a good writer has an interesting mind, that people read certain writers because of their particular perspective on things. In this sense, Sullivan’s blogging is skillful and entertaining writing – his mind is naked to the world, publicly spilling out thoughts several times an hour, directly into the thinking of the reader.

His is the pinnacle of modern information sharing: fast, unpolished, INSTANT.

But there is also something to be said, I believe, for private reflection, for rumination on a topic, digesting its complexities, and then producing something well-thought out.

This was the pinnacle of old information sharing: restrained, piecemeal, MEASURED.

The Stanford Review blog will strike a balance. We will post as ideas come, but only after a period of reflection and, most of all, mental editing. Hopefully our posts will have the “visceral” impact that Sullivan strives for without the frenetic pacing.

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