Monday, April 17, 2006

The Calm Blogger of the Right

One interesting response to the David Finkel's Washington Post piece about the angry bloggers of the left was this one by Ann Altmouse, a nonangry blogger of the right:

Actually, I have to admit that I blog for self-expression, not with any expectation of affecting anything. In fact, I strongly favor blogging for the sake of blogging and mistrust bloggers who are tapping the medium because they have a goal that they want to accomplish. I have to think that the monumental talkfest that is blogdom has got to be having some effect. But I quite love the fact that the effect is far beyond the control of the individuals who take up blogging because they want to make something specific happen.

So cool, calm and collected! I envy her the necessary detachment, though it is a little odd to say that one blogs for self-expression and also to mistrust those bloggers who have a goal they want to accomplish. Isn't self-expression a goal in itself?

I don't believe her. Self-expression is something I do a lot, and a blog is not necessary for it. I have piles and piles of hand-lettered books in my house, all filled in the process of self-expression, and many, many embroideries created with the same goal in mind. Outside the walls of the Snakepit Inc. is a vast and interesting garden, also a result of self-expression (and some toilet-going by Henrietta the Hound). None of these necessarily require an observer other than myself.

But the blog is different. It is something that exists not only because I write but because other people write back to me, either in the comments or on other blogs, it is a dance, a conversation, a piece of art (?) in the making, a daily happening, and definitely something that has a political purpose. It would be a complete waste of my time to pretend that there isn't a goal to all this activity, or, rather that there aren't many goals, some of which are less realistic than others. But it's all ultimately geared towards making this world a tiny bit more bearable for me and for anyone else who likes what we do here.

How do you blog "for the sake of blogging"? What does it MEAN? Does Althouse write for the sake of writing, eat for the sake of eating, sleep for the sake of sleeping? And if the answer is "yes", is she being vacuous for the sake of vacuousness?

Enough with my pretending not to see the real point of her statement, which is that bloggers like her have no axe to grind, are articulate and neutral and charmingly objective, are, indeed, incapable of wanting anything whatsoever to happen as a consequence of all their blogging. Now who wouldn't love to read such wise bloggers? Who wouldn't take their posts as serious and refreshingly modest?