THE BLOG

Hello. By the Way. Whatever.

I don't really have anything much to say today, but I thought I'd write anyway because last Sunday I opened up the New York Times Magazine and discovered that Daily Kos had taken a pop at me in an interview with Deborah Solomon:

Q: Do you read your fellow liberal bloggers, like those who write for Huffington Post?

A: To me, Huffington Post gives voice to the voice. They're celebrities who don't need a platform.

Q: That's not fair. You can't discredit bloggers like Jane Smiley or Nora Ephron just because they have a reputation outside politics.

A: These people don't have trouble being heard if they want to be heard.

Well, excuse me but my feelings were a little hurt. I like Daily Kos, even though he is under a major delusion about the political future of Mark Warner. And I thought the whole point of the blogosphere was that it was a big wide open place like the world itself where everyone was welcome. Only a few days ago, someone in the Internet world told me there were 62,000 new blogs a day. Isn't that amazing? (I'm pretty sure that's what he said. I wrote the number down on a piece of paper and promptly lost it.) It's clear that at this rate, everyone in the world will have a blog. It's what we'll give babies when they're born, instead of rattles.

It has not beena good week for bloggers, so I don't want to make it seem as if it was any worse for me just because I was attacked by a blogger. Judy Miller was back in an article in Vanity Fair, blaming the bloggers, and Donald Rumsfeld was on CBS, blaming the bloggers, and Joe Lieberman is quoted (in Daily Kos, by Kos himself) blaming the bloggers. And of course, there was what is now called Clooneygate, about which may I say if there was ever a celebrity who didn't need a platform to be heard it's George Clooney, and I was still happy to see him blogging, and sad to discover that he didn't actually mean to be doing it.

Bloggers - a.k.a. the pajama people - are now the class everyone loves to beat up on, the bottom of the barrel, the writers even journalists can look down on, and now bloggers are even bashing other bloggers just for blogging.

But it seems to me that Kos is missing the point of blogs. Not that there's only one point about blogs, there are thousands. But there are two I'd like to make. One is that, yes, it's true that some people who blog can probably get their blogs printed elsewhere. But where? First you have to send the blog elsewhere. Then you have to get someone elsewhere to read it. That person is what's known as an editor, who might or might not like what you have sent in. If he likes it, he probably has to show it to another person. Then they have to get back to you. (They might even have "suggestions" or "changes," God forbid.) Days and weeks can pass in this manner. If you have sent your writing to a place that publishes only occasionally, weeks or months might pass before your words are printed anywhere, by which time you stand a good chance of being even less relevant and truthful than you were in the first place. I mean, time is of the essence, and not just when it comes to things to this sort.

But the other point I want to make is that getting heard outside the world of blogs occasionally requires that you have something to say. And one of the most delicious things about the profoundly parasitical world of blogs is that you don't have to have anything much to say. Or you just have to have a little tiny thing to say. You just might want to say hello. I'm here. And by the way. On the other hand. Nevertheless. Did you see this? Whatever. A blog is sort of like an exhale. What you hope is that whatever you're saying is true for about as long as you're saying it. Even if it's not much.