INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Monday, May 13, 2002

Where The Life Is

Three cheers for Tom Matrullo, who has injected a welcome and--as always, articulate--note of reason into the distressing polarization over the Middle East that's infected bloggerdom of late. I don't usually like to run lengthy quotes, but this is such a breath of fresh air, I feel compelled to do so in this instance:

Tom decries attempts to "transform a loose set of Web acquaintances into a political party" as, " at best, ill-advised. It is the interjection of a very powerful absolutism into the stream of ordinary and conflicted everyday life."

He continues: "Decreeing someone to be a friend or foe based upon their position upon one specific geopolitical issue can strike those so decreed as an arbitrary and usurpatory imposition of power. One had thought that a rich variety of threads - strands of the tapestry of relationship, if you will - mattered. Suddenly one learns that only one thread matters - everything else is meaningless. To those being assigned to one or another narrow cell, this obliteration of relational (and conversational) complexity descends like an act of violence.

Frankly, the whole blogrolling thing will always be suspect, since it implies an act of judgment without expressing its criteria. Often we link to people whom we find interesting; only, undoubtedly each of us has her or his own virtually unique notion of "interesting."

I for one am troubled by bloggers who link to others who, upon analysis, turn out to all share certain traits of an easily identifiable class - i.e., they're all 14-year-olds who rollerblade, have tattoos covering 80% of their epidermis, and drink Mountain Dew. Or, they're all lawyers, or Unitarian Ministers, or BigMedia Columnists Blogging on the Side. Where is the random, the delight, the enriching pleasure of being diverted by someone whom you don't really understand, or agree with? Where, in short, is the life?"

Well, Tom, the delight and the enriching pleasure and the life lies in great part with bloggers like you. Thanks for your sane voice--not that a little insanity isn't part of the pleasure of the blogging scene--but in this instance--the unpleasant, unkind war of words swirling around the Israel-Palestine mess--yours is the kind of voice to which I'll pay attention.


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