Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blogging about Andrew Sullivan's blog...

If you click on the link above, it will take you to view the thoughts of a Mr. Andrew Sullivan. The article, published in the November 2008 edition of The Atlantic, is Sullivan's personal defense of the blog as a valid and innovative literary form.

Sullivan argues that, "[the blog] 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". 

Now that I sound smart for quoting him, I'll tell you what he means. First, describing something as quintessential is to say that it is the, "pure and essential essence of something" and an idiom is simply, "a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to people."(I got the definitions from in case you were wondering). Sullivan believes that the blog is a new and more pure form of communication, unique to our generation, that has never been seen before. In a sense, I would agree with him. While his description of the blog is a bit romanticized...he spends about three paragraphs comparing blogs to the ships logs of old...don't get me wrong, its an excellent comparison that illustrates his point beautifully and I have nothing but the upmost respect for his literary talent...but it was a little romantic for my taste. 

In all, Sullivan admires the blog for its honest transparency. He recognizes it's tendency for inaccuracies and biases but embraces those flaws, praising them for their "humanness".

Sullivan writes, "Alone in front of a computer, at any moment, are two people: a blogger and a reader. The proximity is palpable, the moment human—whatever authority a blogger has is derived not from the institution he works for but from the humanness he conveys. This is writing with emotion not just under but always breaking through the surface. It renders a writer and a reader not just connected but linked in a visceral, personal way. The only term that really describes this is friendship. And it is a relatively new thing to write for thousands and thousands of friends." (bold emphasis is my own).

I agree, blogs are most definitely human and their creation is not surprising. I believe that people are longing for a greater connection to one another. The trend is obvious - people are turning away from the cold, distant, and calculatingly precise voice of the traditional media. People don't relate to the objective observer. We just aren't wired that way. The blog allows us to express ourselves honestly and openly and hear (read) the opinions of others (usually complete strangers).  Blogs may be clumsy, inaccurate, emotional, sentimental, biased and superficial but, if nothing else, they are the real and honest portrait of ourselves.  And that is why Mr. Andrew Sullivan blogs.

Side note: If 2012 doesn't get us first, I think historians thousands of years from now will LOVE our blogging and social networking habits. 

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