Blog Elitism

The Jaded JD chimes in on yesterdays RTD blogging article and takes a different view than many:

After yesterday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch story, I’ve noticed a rise in the level of blog elitism on many of the political blogs I read. It’s as though, because the story shunned the political blogs, it simply didn’t do blogs justice. Rather than visit the James River plantations of blogs, the political blogs, the story focused on trailer park blogs, the personal web log qua e-diary or journal. It’s the same phenomenon underlying the claim that bloggers should have just as much “journalistic privilege” (whatever that is) about their sources as print, television, and radio reporters–because bloggers are a “force.”

I am not some anti-elitism anarchist; my “blue-blood” credentials can compete with the best of them, a fact I’m alternatively proud and ashamed of, flaunt and supress, cherish and loath. It’s unique, because relatively few [non-indigenous] people [in America] can say their family has lived continuously for 380 years within 50 miles of where it lives now. But the point here is this: Christ on the cross! Blogging isn’t about forming some high school clique of political nerds who go around and pat each other on the back for being political nerds. It’s not about forming some clique of law nerds who go around and pat each other on the back for being law nerds. The quality of a blog doesn’t come from its subject or how many people read it. The quality of a blog, in my opinion, comes from the literacy with which it is written and the value it holds for its author.

There are many blogs, and I read and blogroll the best of them, that deal with specific areas. But I believe those specific areas are important to the authors of those blogs. And I read them because I have an overlapping interest in those areas. But to say that someone else’s blog isn’t as good as one’s own because of the subject matter it addresses–especially where the subject matter it addresses is determined by the author’s interests and not some artificially fabricated content designed to impress others–is the worst kind of elitism. It says, “I’m better than you because I like better things than you do.” How very puerile.

It’s time, I think, to remember that not all blogs are intended by their authors to “break the hot story” or “debunk the latest myth” or “spout the latest spin.” Some blog are intended by their authors to be representations of themselves. And if that intention has any effect on their value at all, it is to increase it, not diminish it.

And Will from Bacon’s Rebellion responds in the comments:

I think the article was flawed because it tossed political blogs in with personal weblogs without doing justice to either. Putting such a cursory overview on the front page, above the fold, was a bad decision in my view, even on a slow news day.

It’s probably natural for the Virginia bloggers who spend a lot of time reading and researching their subject matter to feel “superior” to a blogger who chronicles the life of his cat, but the catblogger probably feels superior to the dogblogger, and so on. It’s “UVA is better than VT” kind of pride, not malice or elitism.

Eh, honestly, I don’t think the UVA/VT comparrison holds up because, well, that is elitism. A UVA education is not, by default, leagues better than what you could get at VT or VCU for that matter. It’s the clique you’re automatically in by attending such a school that makes you “better”. And that’s elitism. Says the guy who tried to get into UVA twice to no avail.

With that said, I think that folks were right to criticize the article as not being as thorough as it could have been, but it was good for what it ended up being, a story about personal blogs that happened to touch on the news a bit. And, really, it provided what I think is the view of a vocal minority of bloggers in that blogging IS NOT replacing the MSM.

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