Friday, October 06, 2006


One of the many reasons that I stopped blogging and nearly abandoned the blogosphere over a year ago was that I was reading too many posts like this one:

Hard on the heels of last week's news that Status of Women Canada (SWC) has lost 40 per cent of its operational budget comes word of a new diktat from the department run by one of cabinet's biggest losers, the sad and ineffectual and utterly pathetic Bev Oda.
A few notes to certain bloggers:

1. Coming up with several words that all mean the same thing is not an example of good writing.

2. Coming up with several words that all mean the same thing does not constitute 'analysis' of any kind.

3. Ad hominem attacks on our nation's elected representatives does not constitute reasoned debate, it has no place in any discourse that seeks to appeal to reasonable citizens.

4. Ad hominem attacks and the attitude cited above in fact undermines the principles of the public sphere and deliberative democracy upon which our constitution rests.

I'm singling out a particular example here, but this problem is widespread through the political blogosphere on both the 'left' and the 'right.'

This type of discourse stultifies and polarizes political debate. It should not be welcomed any where reasonable people wish to effectively govern themselves.

With specific reference to the post in question, I went on to read the rest, only for the purposes of writing this post, and found that the author, in a rambling way, attempted several legitimate arguments, even if the overal tone was still grounded in a preconcieved ideology. However, in most cases I never would have gotten that far due to the illegitimacy of the first paragraph. That first pargraph indicates to me that the author has made up his/her mind about the people who run the government and need no longer resort to reason to confront them, and that the author expects the same from me as the reader.

That type of writing is all too common and is one of the reasons I needed a year-long break from the blogosphere, and why in the interrugnum I read only these three blogs where the writing, and debate in the comments, is always civilized and premised on evaluating the merits of ideas (or discussing the merits cheese).

Posted by Matthew @ 2:38 p.m.

Read or Post a Comment

You have point. But people don't necessarily blog to have reasoned debate. Some people blog to vent or simply push their point of view.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ October 06, 2006 6:34 p.m. #

I find when reading, and when posting (lately rarely) that I can see where these fluff posts come from.
People feel that their posts need to be 'blog worthy' in order for people to read them. I think many bloggers take perfectly good thoughts or ideas, and pump them up too much to make them more 'attractive'.

Perfectly reasonable ideas become extreme ideas, one descriptor becomes five, etc.

I may be coining a term here: I'll call it the "Eszterhas Effect": a phenomenon in which a person takes an idea or Saved By the Bell actress to the extreme of every characteristic in an attempt to make an improvement, but through overkill, ruins the original object.

Posted by Blogger Cam Smith @ October 09, 2006 8:53 p.m. #
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