George Will on Blogs

Will responds to Time magazine’s Person Persons of the Year Award. Read the entire column here.

Richard Stengel, Time’s managing editor, says, “Thomas Paine was in effect the first blogger” and “Ben Franklin was essentially loading his persona into the MySpace of the 18th century, ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack.’ ” Not exactly.

Franklin’s extraordinary persona informed what he wrote but was not the subject of what he wrote. Paine was perhaps history’s most consequential pamphleteer. There are expected to be 100 million bloggers worldwide by the middle of 2007, which is why none will be like Franklin or Paine. Both were geniuses; genius is scarce. Both had a revolutionary civic purpose, which they accomplished by amazing exertions. Most bloggers have the private purpose of expressing themselves for their own satisfaction. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is nothing demanding or especially admirable about it, either. They do it successfully because there is nothing singular about it, and each is the judge of his or her own success.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 76 percent of bloggers say one reason they blog is to document their personal experiences and share them with others. And 37 percent — soon, 37 million — say the primary topic of their blog is “my life and experiences.” George III would have preferred dealing with 100 million bloggers rather than one Paine.

When I started CW a year ago, my wife signed on to the idea with the warning “it better not become just you writing a bunch of self-involved crap” (paraphrased). Interestingly, since then she has made it clear that the baseball and history content on this blog bores her, and she only reads the other stuff.

Now that I have illustrated Will’s point, back to baseball. Rondell White? In left field every day? Really?

It’s also worth mentioning that a pretty good pinch-hitter from the Twins two championship teams is making a name for himself in management.

Its entirely possible that I included that last link only for this quote:

55 days . . . until cubs pitchers and catchers report to spring training.


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