Thursday, July 30, 2009

Those parasite blues

Just glanced at Michael Massing's New York Review piece on the blogosphere, which he appears to defend against its critics. He notes approvingly that some blogs (mostly fairly big operations, often with staffs) actually break news rather than just comment on it in "parasitical" fashion.

This particular blog is, of course, parasitical in the sense that I do not break news or do original reporting (nor would anyone be likely to send me a 'hot tip' since this blog's audience is quite tiny: why send it to me when you can send it to TPM or a zillion other more-read places than here?) On the other hand, as regular readers (all two or three of them) are aware, I don't limit myself to commenting on current events but have been known to throw in the occasional post about a scholarly article, the occasional essay about one subject or another, and even the occasional post on poetry. (And I must nod here in the direction of HC, whose guest commentary on that Longfellow poem has attracted a steady, if modest, stream of interest ever since its publication.)

Being a "parasite" in the Massing sense doesn't bother me too much. In a (very) former existence, I wrote (for pay) pieces about court decisions and other products of the legal-governmental bureaucracy. In that existence or incarnation I was a paid parasite but also a heteronomous (ooh big word!) one: they (my superiors) told me what to write about and I wrote about it. As a blogger, by contrast, I am unpaid and autonomous, but still, much of the time, parasitical. That's how the cookie crumbles.

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