Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Saturday, June 24, 2006

  Why I'm not a mainline leftist blogger

After visiting my new blog, several dear friends and one lifelong enemy have commented on this topic. In different ways, they've all expressed the view that I am not and probably never will be considered a significant voice in left blogtopia.

They had things to say about `quality' and `integrity', which I won't pass on. I agreed with their conclusions but not their premises. For reasons that I can no longer quite remember now, I thought this would make a good topic to discuss here.

My basic point to them is that I'll remain outside of the mainstream because I don't have the patience required to state the obvious over and over again. I've barely even tried my hand at it; just can't bring myself to do what needs to be done. It's a personal failing which I can admit to, but not correct. And this is why, more than most other bloggers on the left, my own writing resembles the work of professional journalists.

Heaven knows the obvious needs to be said.

Don't invade that country, it's not ours.

When I first began poking around left-leaning blogs a few years ago, I was struck by the persistence of bloggers in stating the obvious. What I kept seeing were plain, unexceptional observations repeated at site after site. In school, I'd been taught to avoid stating the obvious.

We can't afford a tax break, there's a war on.

So I was struck immediately by the ubiquitous and endlessly repeated truisms in left-wing blogs. They were reading each other, you could tell that by the links, so why were they restating each other's basic points all the time?

They can't torture people, it's illegal.

This kind of thing did not happen on right-wing blogs. In my limited experience, right-wingers eschewed the most obvious questions to concentrate instead upon arcane and trivial details. I get the impression they hold themselves to be great stylists, and the really big names on the right wouldn't be caught dead addressing the obvious.

Don't trust him, he's a proven liar.

But on the left, the big names seem to make a point of gravitating toward manifest truths. They also devote a remarkable amount of attention to the most basic questions. Anyway, I thought it curious; it made the strongest impression on me.

What happened to those 8 billion dollars, anyway?

I say this with no malice. In fact, the more I've thought about it over the years, the more it seems that there really is some value in stating the obvious. It might as well take place in this part of the blogosphere.

Who died and made him king?

Certainly in the last few years, it's become much clearer to me that some things just don't take on the first or second repetition.

No, you can't just arrest millions of people.

And part of the problem, as it turns out, is that many Americans have never once been told these things.

Actually, the U.S. is a secular state.

Or if they were told, then they just weren't listening.

Wait, you can't force your religious views on others.

Anyway, this is where journalists come in.

What happened to that Congressional investigation?

Because journalists, the real professionals I mean, not the on-line activisty types or the folks at the Center for Government Integrity, pretty much stear clear of the big questions and the obvious truths.

But Republicans made this mess in the first place.

Instead, except for a few oddballs like the reporters at Knight Ridder, professional journalists explore stories in the margins, far on the periphery of the larger political and social issues of the day.

Send some boats, those people are drowning!

Few are anxious to be seen asking the obvious question at a press conference, or posing the follow-up question that would take them too close to the heart of the matter.

What happened to bin Laden?

And that is very similar to the way I approach my own blogging. I prefer the offbeat to the obvious story. I look for the kinds of things few others write about, or would ever care to write about. Once in a while, just for kicks, I dig into minutia. But I almost always turn my back on the really big issues. I leave that to the mainstream leftist bloggers. They seem to be the ones handling that area of the news, nowadays.

Crossposted at Daily Kos


  • Whew! I'm glad you posted at my blog because now I've been able to discover yours!

    Very good indeed and with the best of attitudes firmly in place. Nice design as well. To add that it's not mainstream blogging fare is meant as a serious compliment.

    By Anonymous prairiew, at 1:43 PM  

  • PrairieView, Thanks for your comment, glad to welcome you to my blog. I've been reading yours for a while, though I don't believe I'd ever paused to comment...more's the shame.

    I enjoy your work, it's original and insightful. I've been planning to add you to my blogroll, the next time I open up the guts and tinker.

    By Blogger : smintheus ::, at 2:45 PM  

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