There has been some negative reaction in the blogosphere to a piece by David Burchell in The Australian newspaper entitled ‘Huddled Lasses Yearn to be Free’. The title is presumably with reference to the young Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez, whom Burchell suggests with some admiration has played a significant role in the struggle for freedom in Cuba.
But here in Australia, according to David Burcell, the blogosphere is mostly a “vast outpouring of pseudo-expertise and vituperation” serving mainly as “a testament to Western societies’ tendency for producing self-important, opinionated folks far in excess of our capacity to employ them.”
Burcell continues, “in this the blogosphere resembles the so-called literary low-life of the decades before the French Revolution. In those days resentful and under-employed scribblers amused themselves by illegally publishing salacious rumours about Marie Antoinette or the clergy, the better to strip away the sacred veil of monarchical rule. Except that, in those days, publishing even salacious rumours required a certain sort of bravery.”
But then again, on reflection, as I see it, all writing requires a certain amount of bravery.
When it comes to blogging there is always the risk that the writer might get something seriously wrong and with it ruin reputations and any hope of financial security.
Indeed I have never met anyone who wrote primarily for notoriety, or job security, or in the hope of becoming rich.
Many bloggers, like myself, write primarily because we want to communicate, we feel a need to communicate, and in my case to provide an alternative perspective on important environmental issues.
But the real difference between a blog, and an article in The Australian newspaper, is that the blogger lays his thoughts and evidence open to criticism the moment the text is uploaded. There is no retreat and no hiding behind letter editors.
In the ‘mud-wresting’ (as Burchell describes it) that follows the posting of a blog entry there is much potential to have fun, test the strength of your argument, make friends, and even learn something important, new and interesting.
Thanks for reading and often wresting with the evidence and ideas.