BLOGGING AND COMMENTING September 30, 2004Posted by wmmbb in Blogging in general.
The lack of comments on this blog is not so significant as the lack of readers, although, despite my promotion, I am continually astonished that there are any. Then again, I do not have to do much to make the figures look better. After all why should not the virtual duckpond emulate its actual inspiration. You have to walk through the bush and up the escarpment to find it. If I look at google to find this site, it is like looking on a map for the duck ponds on the escarpment.
My purpose is quality (doh!) rather than quantity. As you will appreciate that in itself is a challenge, and doubtless will ever be so, which I think is a good state. By its very nature, the duckpond abhors the vacuum of quacking, other than by ducks. I cannot see any point in flaming, ranting and personal abuse. However, it is appropriate to attack political leaders, without regard to political persuasion who unconscionably lie and mislead the electorates. As I have mentioned before, we might expect politicians to lie, and at times it may be justified. For example, Winston Churchill had to be careful in what he said when Britain was in “her darkest hour”, but we can also appreciate that he maintained trust, in that when he good news to report he would be believed. There is no comparison with the would be Churchills – Bush and Howard.
John Howard copes a lot of abuse here, not because of vindictive of him as a person, but because of anger and concern at the implications of his actions. Still I have never believed that removing Howard will wholly remove the problem. Modern governments have their army of spin doctors, media managers and content producers who operate as quasi-public servants and political operators. Spin is as old as rhetoric and rhetoric has always been part of representative democracy, which sets up systems of government.
To suggest as Karl Rove has that politics is television with the sound turned off is anti-democratic. The blogsphere opens the possibility for direct democracy, that component of the democratic process, the discipline of dialogue implying the faith that all can participate, with the individual possibility of value, but not the assumption that it will be inevitably be so. The town hall meetings in New England were closed down by the British before the Revolution, a source of grievance for some but not for all of the American colonies, and so did not find its way into Jefferson’s list.
As I understand the forums of direct democracy must co-exist and interact with the mass media and the institutions an processes of representative democracy, which are in constant need of reform and revitalization, but can never be made perfect. To me, as I write, this reinforces the personal standards of our representatives in regard to trust and truth, and given the power of the office, albeit a function of political skill of the office holder, the particular responsibility of the Prime Minister.
The comment opinion is important, even as in this case it is almost never employed. Comments seem to be a function of the number of readers. John Quiggin and Chris Sheil, to use two examples, have a high rate of hits, although there are relatively few commentors. Why so? The assumption of anonymity helps overcome the fear of commenting is a fear of seeming stupid or misinformed. Most of my comments are passed by, and I expect that to happen. The opposite is also seen of brazen affrontedness, wrapped in prejudice. I think my comments tend to a predictable course.
The interactive nature of the comments are a distinguishing feature of blogs, and potential superior to the edited letters to the editor. Individual insight is rarer than I, for one, give it credit. We will probably see more and better by engaging with others, and in fact, that is the way we mostly learn. This point has been suggested again to me by Arthur Herman’s The Scottish Enlightenment (Harper Collins, 2001), in which a history which I have a very general knowledge is from what I can judge so far written by a new perspective, including mention of MacArthur and Macquarie and influencing Australia.
The blogsphere is a diverse territory. There is I hope a place for a backwater.
Since I have to rewrite this again starting from scratch, because for some reason blogger went down, I cannot think of anything more to say. But over to you . . .