Father Tony

Why Andrew Sullivan Blogs

Filed By Father Tony | December 10, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: ADD, Andrew Sullivan, Attention Deficit Disorder, blogging, writing a book

This essay on blogging by Andrew Sullivan is almost flawless.

There is but one question begged but not raised: Given the ephemeral, immediate and rapid nature of blogging, is it not performed more often than not by those afflicted with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)?

This colors not only the style of presentation, but the level of thought and discernment. A swarm of locusts descends upon and devours the whole farm in seconds before moving on. A horde of impatient shoppers breaks down the Wal-mart door and tramples the staff. The swarm, the horde, the blogger and the commenter. Far away, in deep woods, alone lives the writer, listening to snow fall.

Because of this, you probably won't take the time to read all four pages of Mr. Sullivan's essay, as did I, but I seriously recommend doing so because each new section opens a door to yet another perfectly stated truth about what we are doing here, and why this is not the same as - and will never replace - writing.

I have always thought of this as a place to practice or prepare for writing, like stretching before a run.

Mr. Sullivan tells us why he blogs. Why do you? Are you satisfied with this?

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I'm not a big fan of Andrew Sullivan generally speaking, but that was an interesting piece.

One thing that jumps out at me though is that Sullivan seems to have defined blogging as a very specific style, one that doesn't really completely reflect what a lot of us do. He seems to be presuming that the way he blogs is the way everyone blogs, and anyone who's a regular blog reader knows that just isn't so.

I dunno...on the one hand, I thought the piece was very insightful in some ways, but on the other it's married to what seems Sullivan's rather narrow overall view of what blogging is and how it's done.

Like most educated Brits in America, Sullivan is intoxicated with his own words and he is the darling of dumbed down conservatives. I start yawning half way through is writing as I did with William Buckley's arrogant essays.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 10, 2008 8:15 PM

I admit to having a secret fascination with Andrew Sullivan. There are moments when I vehemently disagree with him, for example, when he goes on another lame rant accusing African-Americans of being more homophobic than whites.

Still I find him an interesting writer who is not shy about stating his opinions.

True. African Americans love homosexuals. This is substantiated by the number of A-list black African Americans who are out as well as black/black married couples. Can you name one ?

Well, I read all of Sullivan's article. It's well written, but I think there's some other points that are missing.

What troubles me most about the blogs, taken collectively, is the "echo chamber" phenomenon where people seem isolate themselves in niches of like opinion. Sullivan does mention that opinion-oriented blogs link to those they oppose, but generally it's done as a form of ridicule, not as dialogue. Instead of discourse, we have repeated bouts of a virtual shouting match.

And that immediacy and ADD? Increasingly it causes opinion to replace information and fad to replace fact.

Maybe bloggers -- and commenters -- should have an equivalent of the Google "drunk email test." If only we all could through a few iterations of "Do you really mean to say that?" :-) And maybe a couple rounds of "Will this matter tomorrow? And next week?"

Sometimes I wish Andrew Sullivan could honestly present his views. Someone who runs a blog with no comments shouldn't be praising the immediacy of feedback of the medium. Comments are faster than other blog posts, and generally a better way to stay informed and be critiqued since commenters are generally already invested in keeping the blogger smart and informed, not tearing her down.

Also, what's up with him praising the instability of the text in blogging and the decentralization of the subject? I thought he hated post-modernism. Or is it like Matthew Yglesias once said of him: "He loathes academic postmodernists but doesn't seem to actually know anything about them."

Oh, man, that was such a good review of Sullivan's book I have to link it:


Sully seems like a good guy, but until he allows comments on his blog, he really can't chide other writers for having thin skins.

Oh, and I blog because it's better than yelling at the teevee. And because it helps give others a forum to say crazy stuff.

Blogging is an ego sport. You do it because you think you have something to say that a) other people will find interesting or b) other people should listen to you because you're smart.

I'm both, of course; my ego is huge. *laughs*