Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth!"

Last night on the way home from an emergency diaper run to Sam's Club, I flipped on a local talk station and discovered that Hugh Hewitt's radio show is finally on in our market. Of course, I've been aware of Hugh for quite some time through his blog, but I'd never had the chance to listen to his radio show. Finally, I thought, I can find out what all the fuss is about.

I'm not sure who Hugh was talking to during the time I was listening -- and granted, I was only listening for a short car ride -- but the discussion of the Rathergate Report quickly degenerated into talk about blogs: the reaction of the blogosphere; the perspective of specific bloggers; differences of opinion between bloggers; chit chat about who's got a good blog; and oh, by the way, have you read my book Blog yet? Where's that review of Blog? Blog blog blog bloggity blog! Lovely blog! Wonderful blog!*

"What's your blog?" turns out to be the 21st-century analogue to "What's your sign?"

Today, Joshua Claybourn writes that it seems "incestuous and self-serving" for bloggers to spend so much time and effort blogging about blogging.

I'm usually only interested in analysis, entertainment/humor, and information from websites, not who's doing a better job of rigging link rankings. Besides the uselessness of the activity, I sometimes question the motives behind those who do it. Are they truly interested in blogospheric developments, or are they actually trying to build friendships and aliances in order to increase their own power?

He goes on to level gentle criticism at "metablogs" which he describes as blogs that are "devoted solely to talking about what other blogs are doing," and says that Hugh is slowly turning his own site into a "metablog."

I'm still too much of a newbie (long time reader, short time blogger) to concern myself with "metablogs." This is the first time I've seen the word. Like Josh, I gave Hugh a pass because he's got a book out on the topic, (and Hugh also responded that "the CBS report may have something to do with this, and the arrival of a new power within the powerful media is also the occasion for a lot of commentary") but even so, the part of the show I heard last night was almost embarassingly self-promotional. (You know, . . . like Bill O'Reilly is every day.)

"But it's talk radio!" you say. "What did you expect?"

News and issues analysis with a little entertainment I guess. Furthermore, if blogging about blogging is "incestuous and self-serving," then to steal from a well-worn aphorism, talking about blogging is like dancing about architecture.

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth," indeed. It's only because I wrote an entry for one of Hugh's "Vox Blogoli" (a terribly clumsy phrase that must be replaced immediately, if not yesterday) symposia that I got noticed by some higher-traffic bloggers who, for some odd reason said nice things about me and got me noticed by a wider audience. (I say all this recognizing that I am, in the words of Kathy the Cake Eater, "an attention-seeking whore.")

Well, tonight I tuned in again during another errand-run, and I am happy to report that I didn't hear the word "blog" once.

Congratulations, Hugh. You're on in a new market, and you've just been given a whole new set of listeners, including yours truly.


*I've never mentioned it, but I find the word "blog" to be one of the ugliest words in the English language, with "blogosphere" a close second. (The only reason they're not in reverse order is because at least the latter has the lovely word "sphere" as one of its syllables.) If I ever tell anyone about my online escapades -- and it's very rarely that I do -- I use the phrase "web log."


At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drew, you probably heard Hugh with John Podhoritz of the NY Post.

Dan Cummings


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