Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Blogger reactions 

Atrios' item on Mainstream Bloggers makes some very good points about the media reaction to blogs and bloggers. As the media bloggers like Hardblogger are likely discovering, its harder than it looks.
This reminded me of some rumour I read of or heard of recently, something about how the RNC was going to start a bunch of left-wing blogs, and then just before the election they were going to start trashing Kerry, all with the idea that this would bring the pro-Kerry blogging universe crashing down.
Of course, anyone who actually reads bloggers knows how stupid this idea is. They just don't get it.
The thing about the great left-wing bloggers, and the right-wing bloggers too, is this -- its personal.
It takes an interesting, informed, somewhat unique personality to write a widely-read blog. It cannot be faked or spun or manipulated. The blogs I usually read -- Josh Marshall, Atrios, Kevin Drum, Bill Sher, Billmon, Buzzflash, Penguin, POGGE, Mike, and the others listed on the left -- they let it all hang out.
When my daughter was studying acting, I found out that one of acting's most important and difficult requirements was the demand that people who intend to perform first have to be able to reveal their own vulnerabilities to an audience -- their own stories, their hopes, fears, likes, dislikes, etc. etc. Now, I had always thought that actors concealed their own personalities in their roles, but actually great actors must know and accept their own personalities before they can adopt another personality. They must be able to expose themselves, psychologically speaking, to the audience - if they cannot do this, then their acting comes across as fake, shallow.
And I think its the same with great bloggers -- they do try to keep their blogs up-to-date and interesting, yes, but through their choice of items and their comments, they also reveal their own personalities and their unique "takes" on the world, and it is this revelation that makes their blogs interesting to read, that creates loyal readers. They could no more be right-wing moles than Kerry himself could be a secret Klu Klux Klansman.
And as I have found out myself doing this blog, its a challenge to remain true to yourself day after day in print, to make sure I have said what I meant to say, to continue to talk about things that I think are important, or even trivial things that matter to me.

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