Pissonu Alert

Other Alerts

dhs advisory
Terror Alert Level


Why Chris Floyd writes

I'll never achieve the ranks of popularity enjoyed by the big time bloggers, and that's fine, I wouldn't want it. I take solace in something I once heard Harper's editor extraordinaire Lewis Lapham say (this is a paraphrase — my memory is not exact): "Harper's is not meant for a wide readership, but a discerning one. I would wonder what we were doing wrong if we became very popular."

I don't follow the trends in the blogosphere, I don't know who's popular, I don't try to curry favor. I know of DailyKos and Instapundit only by reputation. I seem to have found a tiny little corner of the blogosphere that I am nervously comfortable in, and that's ok. I treasure my ability to say what I want without fear of censure or to curry favor with some "in" group. I feel that in many ways I have found my peers at last, and that alone is treasure enough.

But some in this little blogorhood I call home follow the trends, know the names, see who's in and who's out...you know, read the society pages, as it were, to follow the politics and gossip (which has a decidedly weird virtual cast to it, I must say).

All this is a roundabout way of coming to this quote from Chris Floyd, who I guess is a big name in blogdom. And I hear there's a controversy in blogdom about his banishment from one of the big boys for not towing the party line. (I guess they seriously believe the democrats can or should take back the country, or some such nonsense, and Mr. Floyd, it seems, wouldn't drink enough of their Kool Aid.)

Within his thoughtfully considered and nicely written defense (which wasn't permitted to be posted there, which is embarrassingly High School for a supposedly high-end political blog), he captured the way I feel about why I write in general, and why I blog in specific:

I write when something moves me -- often to outrage, but sometimes to hope or inspiration. I write to try to figure out what's going on in the world, to articulate my understanding of the world for myself and then convey this articulation to others, if I feel it might have some resonance, make some connection, be of some benefit by adding to the weight of dissent against political crime and folly. To borrow Eliot's phraseology, I write to contribute my fragment to shore up against the ruins. That's it.

I imagine this is a sentiment shared by many of us. I find the Eliot reference especially powerful, a fortifying reminder of what we're doing and why.

Well said, Mr. Floyd. It's why I write too.

Mr. Floyd's comment about why he writes reminds me of another that is perhaps my favorite, from one of my favorite authors, William Gaddis:

Since all writing worth reading comes, like suicide, from outrage or revenge, there must still be a way to deal with some serious ideas here without risking this seal of Tolstoy edifying the masses...

This quote is practically a venn diagram of how the sentiments of Mr. Floyd and Mr. Lapham overlap to produce that of Mr. Gaddis himself, and it's one that I believe I understand all too well.

Though obviously this topic deserves much greater attention, I figure that while I've broached it, if ever so briefly, I might as well quickly share a reflection a certain Happy Tutor shared with me when I was starting out:

We live in truth as best we can on our blogs, but we have to make a living too, within a world inhospitable to our reflections.

Well, the world may be inhospitable to our reflections — any humanistic thinker will tell you that — but we can at least imbibe a taste of intellectual freedom in an (surveilled but nonetheless) open virtual commons — at least until "the market" and their political henchmen close it down and compel us to go back into our real world dumpsters and secret meeting halls for our unwelcome chats.