by Deck Deckert
(Swans - June 5, 2006) "Think big," Swans' founder Gilles d'Aymery recently asked his contributors.
By that I think he means we should have soaring thoughts about life, the universe, and everything, and to write about it eloquently and poetically in the manner of Thoreau, Scott Nearing, Lenin, Trotsky, Molière, Alma Hromic, and other worthy writers and thinkers.
In contrast, he dismisses nearly all of what appears on the Web, most especially the content of blogs.
It is a wish for heaven on earth -- and it is disingenuous.
Few of the contemporaries of Thoreau, Scott Nearing, Lenin, Trotsky, Molière, etc., could match their eloquence. Very few people had the education, and of those who did, even fewer could speak and write so well. The vast majority of people were concerned only with making enough money to feed and house their families. They had little time or energy to think grand thoughts about the meaning of life. Only a few individuals in any generation have the education, the time and leisure, the money to indulge in such whimsy.
Then as now, people spoke and wrote simply of their needs and desires -- in conversation, letters, diaries. Sometimes, they did speak or write eloquently, but few saw their work.
The only difference today is that technology has made it possible for the multitude to post online in blogs for potentially millions of others to read what would have earlier been written in diaries. Of course, millions do not read their work and most bloggers are writing for themselves and a few friends. Certainly, few blog entries are of any interest to anyone else.
Of the millions of blogs in existence, the largest group is probably teenagers writing about the angst of adolescence and high school life. They are not aspiring to poetry or great literature.
But that doesn't exhaust the blogging community -- and a community it now is.
There are, of course, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of political blogs. And they are changing the face of politics. Most have a few dozen or a few hundred readers, others fewer than that. But they link to each other, they read each other, and most importantly, they link to each other. Cumulatively they are of enormous importance. They are being heard.
There are blogging communities of environmentalists, educators, musicians, artists, writers, journalists, anti-war activists, businessmen. There are bloggers in war zones, whose stories often belie the insipid and lying reporting of corporate media reporters who parrot the official line. There are people who write and worry and argue about global warming. Whatever your passion, you can find a blogging community of like-minded people.
It's become a cliché, but AJ Lieblings sardonic comment that "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one" is no longer exactly true. Blogging has made us all potential publishers.
And that is something to be embraced, not discouraged.
I began my online adventure many years ago in discussion groups. Most were collections of like-minded individuals who gossiped, flirted, argued, and fought. (Messages were sometimes long-winded and boring; I strove to make mine short and occasionally pithy, and deckish became an adjective.) Most individual posts or messages were inconsequential, but occasionally a discussion would rival that of the most learned of professors.
Similarly, blogging communities are often the vehicle for profound discussions among members, discussions that can sometimes have a deep impact in the "real world." Perhaps there is no Tom Paine in the blogging world yet, but there will be.
In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I blog. My intention is not to get hundreds of readers, or to compete with online magazines like Swans. I blog to sharpen my thinking, to keep actively involved in the world. I frequently blog a paragraph or two on something I have written for Swans and then link to it. Sometimes a blog post will give me an idea for a full Swans essay.
I won't burden you long recitation of my blog posts, but a couple might be of interest.
On April 24, I made a sardonic comment about a news story:
President Bush's approval rating has fallen to 32 percent, according to a new CNN poll.
You mean that 32 percent DO approve of the actions of the malicious moron?
And on May 23, I posted:
Zacarias Moussaoui has been likened to the Barney Fife of al Qaeda. In prison at the time of the 911 attacks, he is the only one the government managed to put on trial for it.
Let's repeat, he was in prison at the time of the attack, so it is hard to make a case that he was responsible. But what the hell, the government decided to try him anyhow, and even wanted the death penalty. A bunch of mindless jurors decided to punish him, although they balked at killing him. And now, Osama bin Laden says he had nothing to do with the operation.
Oh, well, at least it's better than invading some country that nothing to do with the operation either. Oh wait, we did that too.
I was going to leave it at that, but there are a couple of other posts that I would like to bring to your attention because they reference my former profession and one of them illustrates the value of links in blogs.
According to Yahoo news, one of today's top stories is "Britney Spears Stumbles, Nearly Drops Baby."
Our disaster in Iraq is still killing thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans, the moron in the White House is threatening to drop nukes on Iran, Congress is a cesspool of corruption, the economy is a wreck, our elections were stolen, we are torturing prisoners and smirking about it, global warming is going to fry the planet...
And a top story of the day is "Britney Spears Stumbles, Nearly Drops Baby"?!!!?
Beam me up, Scotty. There is no intelligent life here.
Regrets, she has a few
Judith Miller -- the reporter who worked as a pipeline for the White House lies about imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction that helped launch an obscene war -- does have one little regret.
She told a couple of Raw Story reporters that she will always regret that she didn't report that a White House source told her shortly before 911 that a NSA intelligence report was predicting a large al Qaeda attack, possibly on the continental United States.
"I think everybody knew that an attack was coming ...," the former New York Times reporter said. "But you know you can only 'cry wolf' within a newspaper... before people start saying ... there she goes -- again!"
Funny, that never bothered her when she was wolfishly reporting on those mythical WMD and other Bush whoppers.
See the original story at: rawstory.com
There is a lot to be said for big thinkers. Thanks to a few of our founding fathers, we have a brilliant democracy -- if we can keep it.
But much can be said for small thinkers too, those who look at details rather than the wide screen, those who focus on life as it is lived rather than as it would be lived if we were omniscient and omnipotent. There are a lot more of us, and cumulatively we can leave a mark on the world, bring about important changes, perhaps even save our democracy.
[ed. Deck Deckert's unedited blog can be accessed at http://www.deckdeckert.com/. As the saying goes, we are not responsible (legally liable) for its contents, etc.]
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