Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I'm getting a little tired of the blogosphere. As a whole, that is. There's still some good individual blogs out there, but the whole scene seems to be getting tired and overly self-congratulatory. That was quick, right?

Don't get me wrong. I find news and stuff as interesting as the next guy. I'm a news junkie. And the best fix comes from political news. It's sordid, it's melodramatic, it's better than watching any soap opera. You've got sex, you've got drugs, you've got heroes and villains, and what makes it all even better is that unlike Hollywood (and more like sports), you're free to choose who your heroes are and who your villains are. I mean, you never watch Star Wars and realistically entertain thoughts that you might be on Darth Vader's side. But in politics, in news, you get to decide who's Luke and who's Darth Vader, and you get to root for your side with all the self-righteousness that comes with representing the forces of good against the forces of evil.

I like that. I like that combination of drama, sports and morality. It's fascinating.

But the blogs have added a new element to the whole thing, and it's an element that I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable with, on the whole. The sheer volume of political opinion put out every day in blog form is fairly mind-boggling. Nobody can hope to read it all. But that's OK, because the blogosphere has fixed that problem in a fairly ingenious way. I'll let you in on the secret, but you have to promise not to tell anyone, OK? All right, here it is. It doesn't matter that you can't possibly read all of the political opinion blogs because ninety-nine percent of them say the same exact thing as somebody else.

And I'm not just talking about the same exact thing in terms of thoughts or opinions. I'm talking about the same exact thing. As in, "Hey, look what I read on another blog! I'm going to copy it onto my blog and give you a link to the blog where I read it!" Once you take that link, you'll notice that the new blog has got quotes from and links to all sorts of other blogs. Eventually you'll go in a circle and get back to where you started, but only after a series of nauseatingly self-important hat-tips and shout-outs.

Aside from that, it's pretty easy (in general) to tell where just about anybody will stand on an issue based simply on what blogs they've got linked in their sidebar. If they're linking, Instapundit and Michelle Malkin, chances are they're gonna side with Bush almost all of the time. If they're linking Daily Kos, Eschaton and Talking Points Memo, then chances are they're going with the Democrats. So if you've got a handle on the issues, in a very real way, there's not really much point in reading past the issue in question, since you know what their take on it is going to be.

Now I would be remiss if I made it seem like this is how all political blogs operate. It's not. It's only how a vastly overwhelming majority of them operate. But there are a few good ones left out there. Blogs which, like mine, link not just to opinions that agree with their own, but opinions that they feel are well-expressed. Chief among these, on my reading list, are Decision '08 and The Bernoulli Effect on the right, and A Straight Shot of Politics and Washington Monthly on the left. They're not the only well-written political blogs out there, but they're ones which have the courage and the intellectual honesty to present resources that hold opinions that differ from their own.

I read a lot of blogs, and what I've been trying to do lately (which has a lot to do with why I've been posting less) is to refrain from posting, at least too much, on the stuff that everybody's already voiced their opinion on. I've stayed pretty much away from the Newsweek kerfuffle not because I don't have an opinion on it, but because I don't have anything substantive and valuable to add to the discourse about it. That makes it diffficult, as the most interesting stories are often the most blogged about. But I'm trying.