Friday, February 02, 2007

All the Lonely Bloggers: Where Do They All Come From?

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working. Darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?


According to the latest academic twaddle, bloggers are all like Father McKenzie.

Either that, or we’re Eleanor Rigby perhaps --

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved


Thus sayeth Michael Keren, a professor at the University of Calgary - a teacher of “communications and culture” (Canadian alert: these are your tax dollars at work). You remember those gut courses designed to allow colleges to collect tuition from the intellectually impaired? Who in his right mind takes those commuciation classes from “professors” like Keren? Jocks, perhaps? Or the “special” admissions the schools let in for their diversity photo ops?

“Was Eleanor Rigby a blogger?” asked an accompanying press release [to his new book], referring to the 1966 Beatles song in which the eponymous character picks rice off the floor after a wedding, stares wistfully out a church window and eventually dies.

Eleanor probably would’ve blogged about cats and had a rare old time. But the professor knows better; he sees through this blogging phenomenon to its true root:

Lonely Bloggers [In] “Blogosphere: The New Political Arena,” [Keren] suggests individuals who bare their souls in blogs are isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships or helping to change the world.

“Bloggers think of themselves as rebels against mainstream society, but that rebellion is mostly confined to cyberspace, which makes blogging as melancholic and illusionary as Don Quixote tilting at windmills,” the author says.

I’d like to tilt his windmill for him; make it list about ninety degrees starboard. What arrogant ignorance flows from the swilling pens of these academons! (as One Cosmos has christened such charlatans).

Want to hear some more about your pitiful self, as described in this book?
- - - - - - - - - -
Keren praises the Internet as a great place for self-expression, but he also suggests that blogs often have the opposite effect by creating feelings of loneliness for those who aren’t lucky enough to reach “celebrity” status.

“Many of us end up like Father McKenzie in the ‘Eleanor Rigby’ Beatles song, who is writing a sermon that no one is going to hear,” he suggests. “Some of us are going to be embraced by the mainstream media, but the majority of us remain [sic] in the dark, remain in the loneliness.”

“Celebrity status?” Not exactly. But on the other hand, about four thousand people a day wander through the Gates of Vienna (fewer on weekends, since people aren’t at the office trying to look busy).

Our readers come from all over the world, though the Spanish speakers are a bit spotty, as are the Asians. Thus, I was glad to see Babalu link to us recently[they describe themselves as “an island on the net without a bearded dictator”]. Meanwhile, the Baron’s long-term goal is to build a readership in the Indian blogosphere, one of his special interests.

Admittedly, when we first started I was skeptical that we’d gain enough audience to make it worthwhile. Back then, I laughed out loud when Wretchard mentioned in passing that we’d soon be seeing a thousand hits a day. Now, the links alone number well over a thousand, and they are myriad indeed. Now, other blogs link to us in languages I can’t read, in alphabets I don’t understand.

How many students do you think flock to “Dr.” Kener’s classes? And how many stay to argue with him and/or each other? How many are willing to tell him when he hasn’t got his facts straight? Our readers do so frequently - and so we learn. In fact, I've learned more history since starting this blog than I could have imagined. Every day, I suspect a bit more that what I don't know that I don't know is a rather large territory indeed.

Bloggers are “lonely”?? This poor sod lives in the echoing ivory towers of mediocrity, teaching “communnication and culture.” If he’d pop over to the Psychology Department, they could explain the theory of projection to him.

Need I say it?

Don’t buy the book.

15 comments:

Thunder Pig said...

I was lonely when I started.

As a result of my blogging, I have been plugged into the local conservative community, and have had some interesting email conversations that have been in progress for nearly two years.

The established institutions are threatened by the free flow of info in the blogosphere, and react accordingly.

I think their main problem is they already know everything worth knowing, and most bloggers know they don't know everything, enjoy learning, and aren't afraid to send their audience somewhere else to listen to some one else.

"The Revolution won't be televised, it will be blogged!"

Most days I feel like the rodeo clown.

Wally Ballou said...

Actually, GOV is hardly a typical blog. You folks work harder than the average 10 bloggers put together to produce quality content.

This Dr Keren isn't so easy to pigeonhole. Did you know he is Israeli by birth, and was Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Tel-Aviv University?

He is from the "progressive" side of Israeli politics, il va sans dire. He has written many books on journalism and public policy.

He should be a natural ally of blogging in principle, since one of his bugaboos has been the concentration of media ownership. of course, his current book is making a splash becuase it promotes an idea that the MSM just loves - blogs don't matter.

Of course, most blogs don't. For every Instapundit or GOV, there are probably many dozens of the "my BF and I got so wasted last nite lol" or "Bush is a natzi rat basturd" variety with an infintesimal readership. But most of those fade away quickly, and now they are switching to the easier "social" sites like Myspace.

Why don't you try interviewing him directly?
CV

Wally Ballou said...

In retrospect, shoudl have said "facsist", not "natzi".

More info on Keren. I think he sounds like an interesting person. Set him straight.

2000 CV

Dymphna said...

Wally B--

According to the CV he was born in 1944 in Jerusalem, before the Jewish state even existed. And the CV is out of date by 7 years, so he hasn't been in Canada long, considering he'd been teaching in Tel Aviv since 1975.

Here's one of his publications, a monograph:

(With Gad Barzilai) "The Integration of 'Peripheral' Groups in Israeli Society in an Era
of Peace". Israel Institute of Democracy, 1998. (In Hebrew).


Which "era of peace" in Israel was he talking about? I suppose the era before the suicidal murderers started going off. Relatively speaking that must have looked like "peace."

Not peaceful enough to stay in Tel Aviv, though: there he is in Calgary, spouting nonsense.

BTW, one of the reports on this story says he followed SEVEN bloggers to write his book. Wow.

What diligence. What a wide perspective.

In all good conscience, in order to interview him I would have to read his book. Both buying the book and actually trying to find unhostile questions for him might further encourage this kind of twaddle.

Papa Bear said...

Wally Ballou points out that both sides are right. Yes, the majority of blogs are a waste of bandwidth. But not all of them.

What most upsets the Left about the blogosphere and talk radio is that it's a free market of ideas. You put out your ideas, and if the public decides that they are worthwhile, then you get an audience (like LittleGreenFootballs, GoV, or Rush). If they decide you are not worth visiting, then you don't get an audience (eg, Air America).

The Left prefers an arena where their strengths can prevail, where organized pressure against major advertisers can silence voices that the Left finds objectionable, and where they can apply pressure and networking skills to get their people into key positions

Dymphna said...

Thunder Pig--

You're right: we, too, are much more aware of and connected to the local community. In fact, blogging so much led to my free lancing for a local monthly paper.

Not that they know my politics! It's just that writing a lot brings back an old skill and I find it easier to interview people. Won a prize for it a few months back.

Besides, some of the stuff we've uncovered in the only town of any size near us -- so blue it's indigo -- is quite interesting. We'll be posting more on it in the future.

But the cat blogs and family pictures have their place. And just because their audience is infinitesimal doesn't mean they're not having fun -- or, that as he claims, they're lonely. For once, a medium doesn't have to be about getting your share of the ratings or you're cancelled. And who knows, maybe Atrios is one lonely s.o.b.?

The odd thing about the leftie blogs is the extent to which the commenters must be in lock-step with the blogger. Zionist Youngster (sorry, don't have the link to hand) finally gave up trying to comment on those places because they delete him

This prof teaches future "journalists" so of course he's got his axe to grind. And he grinds it on the millstone of seven bloggers. Nor does he seem to have a "before" and "after" shot of their personal lives so one could compare characterological changes brought about by blogging -- if there were any.

When it stops being fun, people don't continue.

This guy's attitude is specifically designed to sell books to his niche audience.

gun-totin-wacko said...

I dunno. I think he's got a bit of a point: few bloggers "make it", and the rest are writing for an audience of... what? 3-4 people, perhaps not even that. I can see Father McKenzie in the same boat, and yes, I even see old Eleanor blogging about her cats. So I actually give kudos to him for the imagery, at least.

That being said, I think that classifying us as some type of lonely shut-in is a bit off-center. But of course bloggers (i.e. ordinary working people) can't be as well-adjusted as, say, an academic.

Wally Ballou said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wally Ballou said...

At least we know he's smart. His previous book sales have probably been in the dozens of copies. His current book doesn't yet have a single comment on Amazon. And yet, search his name at technorati and you will get 1923 hits (probably more by now). His Amazon sales are bound to zoom now. Now what can I do to honk off the entire blogverse and make money off of the experience?

Nevsky said...

"What arrogant ignorance flows from the swilling pens of these academons!"
No, wishful thinking and cluelessness flow from those "swilling pens".

"(fewer on weekends, since people aren’t at the office trying to look busy)"
LOL

"How many students do you think flock to 'Dr.' Kener’s classes?"
Exactly. Jealousy.

"How many are willing to tell him when he hasn’t got his facts straight? Our readers do so frequently - and so we learn."
And that's why the "Barons" and "Dymphnas" will win, and the "Drs. Kener" will lose; that's why liberty will prevail, and Islamism will go down the toilet to the Hell from which it came.

Baron and Dymphna, and all the rest: You have friends whose names you don't even know, including many in High Places.

God bless you!

Uncle Pavian said...

So,[In] “Blogosphere: The New Political Arena,” [Keren] suggests individuals who bare their souls in blogs are isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships or helping to change the world."
Geez, they make it sound like a Bad Thing.
Ted Bundy had lots of relationships, and Hitler helped to change the world.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton said...

Well, this is one blogger who has founded and run three successful companies, trekked over several countries and most of the US, written books, sat on committees and panels and has had her 15 minutes of fame. I've climbed in caves, hiked in forests, fished and hunted with the best and run rapids. I've been married to exactly one man for many years and am damned proud of it and I have three children who are all gifted. My business spans the globe and blogging highlights and enhances my friendships all over the world. That individual knows nothing of bloggers in general...

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
NoisyRoom.net

ZionistYoungster said...

Wally Ballou wrote:

"He is from the 'progressive' side of Israeli politics, il va sans dire."

Yep. Our very own fifth column giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The blindest people on earth, clinging to their delusions even after the evacuation of the entire Jewish presence from Gaza has been welcomed by a shower of Kassam rockets, to this very day. Steven Plaut makes it his full-time job to expose those moonbats.

Dymphna wrote:

"Which 'era of peace' in Israel was he talking about? I suppose the era before the suicidal murderers started going off. Relatively speaking that must have looked like 'peace'."

In 1998 yours truly was still a left-wing peacenik. The suicide bombings started in 1994, but were blamed on Hamas, while Arafat (spit) was still considered the "good guy" (nothing new here, except that almost nobody in Israel believes the same about Abu Mazen). It took the eruption of the Second Intifada in October 2000 to shake the confidence of most Israeli Jews that everything would somehow be all right.

My blog is at zionistyoungster.blogspot.com. I don't really care why the Kos Kids deleted my posts; the moment they did that, I realized I was wasting my time there. I see no point in writing something if it could later get the 1984 treatment.

Wally, Gates of Vienna is exceptional in another way: as far as I know, it's the pioneer of the intellectual political blog genre. Up 'til then, all the political blogs I'd known were just newsfeeds with maybe a little commentary. When I first read GoV I was amazed to something that was quite the other way round: a short abstract of a current event, followed by lengthy commentary. Except for occasional announcements, my blog follows this model to a T.

Dymphna said...

ZY--

If you don't already read him every day, do check out The Belmont Club (on our blogroll). We really got started as GoV because our commenting on Belmont was getting too long...

We consider Gates a progeny of Belmont. For analysis, he can't be beat. Must be that mathematician's mind, plus his experience of some kind in anti-Marcos politics in the Philippines.

He applied to Harvard on a whim, just because the American consulate offered applications. When he was accepted, his family gathered together the money for his trip.

I really admire Wretchard. Not only his intelligent beam of light that illuminates situations in ways you wouldn't have considered before, but his kindness and compassion. He has a very mild persona.

Compared to him, we're a notch down.

ZionistYoungster said...

Dymphna,

The Belmont Club has been on my blogroll for about two months. :-)

As the Jewish sages of blessed memory say: "Jealousy of writers [toward one another] will multiply wisdom". Or, in other words: competition breeds excellence.

I try to be as mild-mannered as possible, but the things I read on the lefty blogs often have me reach for the punching bag. Fortunately, even if I'm immersed in those things, there's always a time-out--the end of the break, one of the daily prayers, and so on.

G-d bless.
ZY