Monday, November 03, 2008

Why I blog

Some answers to the question are contained in Andrew Sullivan's wonderful essay in The Atlantic.
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.

4 comments:

Krishnan said...

Wow Hari ! that was nice of you to point out that article. es, blogging is proving be a great form of articulating one thoughts and feelings without fear or favor and in a manner one wants to.

At last the D-Day has arrived. We in India are waiting with bated breath to see if Obama triumphs at the hustings.

Kartikeya said...

On of Sullivan's interesting insights is his claim that blogging somehow occupies a position between writing and speaking. This seems to point to a significantly more present association with reading and listening inherent in the act of blogging, than it might be say in the act of writing an essay.

Consider this in the context of Sullivan's own blog - as a repository of ideas, The Daily Dish has been ordinary in the past year - Sullivan has spent most of his time validating and shilling passionately for Barack Obama's candidacy.

Sullivan's long form essay, as he points out, indicates the limitations of blogging as a form of writing.

This for me was the most sobering insight of Sullivan's essay - that a blog is probably more suited to performing as a repository for verified facts, rather than getting at any deeper truths through a meaningful discussion of ideas.

It is a great format for saying what you think about something, but isn't so great when you want to really think of something new - it is at the end of the day, a log.

Yours Hari, is probably one of the most interesting weblogs i know of.

Hari said...

Kartikeya,

What you're saying is right to some extent. But I am not sure whether blogs don't help in discovering deeper truths. Some of the blogs I follow over the last 3 yeas have helped me think of things very differently. A single post may not make a difference, but the accumulated log of a "good" blog, or even a set of blogs on the same theme, may indeed unearth something substantial.

As an example, consider Hash's The Middle State, or Jai Arjun's Jabberwocky - I wouldn't know of ways of interpreting literature, and what good books mean but for these blogs.

And why that's true of your blog too. The statistics you use often throw light on aspects of cricket that I hadn't previously thought of.

So yes, I do feel blogs are generally a repository of "verified facts" but that special sensibility of the author - which is what writing in any form is about - still helps us see things differently.

I do agree though that Sullivan's blog is rather disappointing. Generally, I don't prefer one line posts, especially if that's mostly what a blog has. I like to see interpretation and essays, and both can be done with blogs.

Hari said...

Krishnan,

Yes, it's been a long wait - the results should be in tonight. Wish I was in Chicago...