Autonomous Source

April 07, 2005

Not heroes, but still right

The post reprints a snarky post from the blog Tart Cider today that digs up a few quotes from Canadian bloggers breaking the publication ban in order to mock them as a whole. Now, there is a rich tradition in blogging (one I'm sure I've indulged in) of taking the words of a minority, or even of an individual, as the sentiments of the broader target of the writer's wrath, so I can't fault him for his tactics.

But from what I've seen, most of the blogs are linking to and discussing the story because it interests them and they don't feel the government should be holding them back. No one sees themselves as the Canadian heirs to Woodward & Bernstein. Canadian bloggers are doing what they've always done -- just with a larger audience.

The hand flapping and vague threats by the attorney general's office the other day assured me that nothing will happen to bloggers that break the ban. If the desire was to stop the leak, holding a press conference to say what they could do probably wasn't the best way to go about it. So there's no heroics involved in linking to Captain's Quarters.

He also claims that we're doing this just for hits, noting that some lamos have actually posted graphs of their traffic! True, that's pretty pathetic; but after toiling in obscurity for such a long time, it's natural for people to want to blow their own horn. I think most bloggers would still be linking to the story and covering just as they are now even if it was just for the benefit of their few 'regulars'.

I'm not sure why the Post chose this particular commentary to print. There's plenty of good 'meta-commentary' of how this publication ban has affected the Canadian blogosphere. But the entire tone of this piece was a sneering, 'Ghod, those bloggers are just soooo lame', with which the editors of the Post seem to agree. I see this attitude often when the mainstream press mentions blogs, but other groups of enthusiastic amateurs are never covered in a similar light. You will never see mockery of customized car buffs, or amateur musicians, artists, film makers, and actors. But amateur political writers? Beneath contempt.

Posted by Bruce Gottfred at April 7, 2005 10:35 AM | TrackBack

I take your point that it was a tad harsh, Bruce, but I read it more as "simmer down" than "just soooo lame". Exactly what did Canadian bloggers accomplish? The answer appears to be, "might have made it slightly easier for Googlers to find Captain Ed". (The other answer, I suppose, would be "demonstrating the ineffectiveness of publication bans in the age of TEH INTARWEB".)

I think there's plenty for bloggers to be happy about right now, in a meta- sense. Namely, that many many Canadians are newly aware that there are these "weblogs" out there, where (occasionally) matters of substance are dissected and discussed, in a manner that's much different, and frequently better, than reading the G&M Online.

Where Selley is absolutely right is in saying that "pointing a finger toward Captain Ed", however explicitly, seems to be rather weak cause for triumphalism.

Posted by: Matt at April 7, 2005 05:04 PM

Well, what I was saying was that there wasn't triumphalism. It was more like business as usual -- with a few exceptions. I really dislike the argument:

Person X said this and it's dumb
Person X belongs to category Y
Therefore, everyone in category Y is dumb

And that was how he made his point. Everyone who argues like that is dumb. :)

I've defended against these types of snarky articles in the Post before, and I will again -- unless I cancel my subscription...

Posted by: Bruce Gottfred at April 7, 2005 06:47 PM
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