George Will hates blogging. Today he writes:
>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.
Perhaps Mr.Will does not know that Blogging, like being, is said in many ways. There’s the being of existence, the being of predication, the being of identity and so on. Just because you say something is x, does not mean that that something exists. And only a sophist would claim the meanings of being are fundamentally the same.
Now blogging. In one way, blogging refers to those who blog for themselves, their friends, neighbors, and strangers. It’s certainly a phenomenon worth analysis, but it’s fundamentally different from the other kind of blogging. The other kind of blogging–the one Stengel was talking about to–refers to those who blog with a civic purpose. So, just as you can’t confuse the various senses of “being”; you shouldn’t also confuse the various senses of blogging. You can’t critique “civic bloggers” who post about politics (or in our case, arguments about politics) because other bloggers post pictures of themselves naked, or worse. That would be like criticizing George Will because some other conservative op-ed writers publish uniformed or weakly reasoned opinions in newspapers. And we know that’s wrong.