Jay Rosen blogs about Nick Coleman's "classic" anti-blog piece Blogged down in Web fantasy. Both are worth reading, Coleman's piece just for yuks.

Jay Rosen
For me the funniest part of Coleman's column was the way he wrote it knowing he was to get ripped by the bloggers he was ridiculing. It's the Struck a Nerve Fantasy in opinion writing. I'm sure some of you recognize it.

X publishes something graceless and unconvincing, but extremely polemical. Everyone hates it because it's bad writing. Friends of the argument are not friends of the piece. So X has almost no defenders. The reactions come in. X's piece gets ripped because it's aggressive, mean and wrong.

But X walks away satisfied: looks like I struck a nerve, says X to self. And the greater the hostility back, the bigger the nerve struck!

This is exactly what Dvorak does, except he usually does a 180 at the end. Strike a nerve to get attention and dive right in. For instance, he slams blogging, then starts merrily blogging himself.

I think crumudgening is used in politics to create diversions. Some authors like Dvorak use it to get attention. Sometimes it's not crumudgening, but sincere stupidity. The problem is that it is sometimes hard to tell which unless you know the person. On the other hand...

Robert J. Hanlon
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

UPDATE: Weird... the Coleman piece just went behind a registration wall. I was able to read it just a few minutes ago without registration.

3 Comments

The reference you cited on Dvorak doesn't go back far enough. He panned weblogs in his Feb. '02 article "The Blog Phenomenon", then came back in the following weeks to kick it again. You call it curmudgeonly, I call it being a troll. He used to write about technology, but now his appeal is more akin to the rubbernecking that takes place at a bad accident.


That said, I look forward to Dvorak's weblog; It will make me feel like I've accomplished something worthwhile every day, simply by not reading it.


You can read the Coleman piece once without registration but if you go back or reload it reverts to registration only. This is a policy used by a lot of reg-only news sites to accomodate Google News links and other referrals. Most people clicking on your link should be able to read the story but I'd suggest saving a copy if they want to refer to it again.

Hit the comments to make the same point as Staci, but as long as I'm here I'd like to say that Coleman might have been a bit fatuous, but his war was with some local wingnut bloggers who have savaged not just his column, but his personal life as well.

If you want to read the Minnesota-based blogs who set Coleman's teeth on edge, go to:

http://www.fraterslibertas.com/

http://www.powerlineblog.com/

http://www.shotinthedark.info/

Ask yourself what your opinion of the blogosphere would be if the only people linking to you were these guys.

Coleman got fisked once too often and retaliated with an overly broad brush. Truth is he's a well respected political reporter who knows the Minnesota political scene about as anyone around here. And that has earned him the emnity of some rightwing hacks who love to tweak every slip of the pen like it was the coming of armageddon. This same crowd is calling on Coleman's paper to stop all polling because they're allegedly biased against Bush.

There's a lot more to this story than just one column written by a guy you've never heard of before.

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