Sunday, April 08, 2007

Move over, George Packer

I’ve been examining my need to visit quite a few blogs each day. What is going on? Are there others out there who are spending an inordinate amount of time reading blogs?

Then I remembered that several years ago, George Packer, author of the best-selling book, Assassins’ Gate and a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, admitted that he was addicted to blogs.

Packer's confession appeared in the May-June 2004 issue of Mother Jones magazine, The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged: “ I hate blogs. I'm also addicted to them. Hours dissolve into nothing when I suit up and dematerialize into the political blogosphere, first visiting one of the larger, nearer online opinion diaries … then beaming myself outward along rays of pixelated light to dozens of satellites and lesser stars, …each one radiant with links to other galaxies — online newspapers and magazines with deep, deep archives, think-tank websites, hundred-page electronic reports in PDF — until I'm light-years from the point of departure and can rescue myself only by summoning the will to disconnect from the whole artificial universe. With a jolt, I land in front of my computer. Before long I'll venture forth again to see what's new out there — because the blogosphere changes from instant to instant.”

That sounds so familiar. What I’ve been able to discern about my blog reading:

1. It started about five years ago by checking TalkingPointsMemo every afternoon. This was my first experience reading commentary on the news, i.e., someone to search through the news, analyze it, and render an opinion about what it means.

2. I now read 5-10 blogs a day; several are linked at my blog.

3. The best bloggers provide an invaluable service. For instance, yesterday Juan Cole, Informed Comment, linked to his article in The Nation, How to Get Out of Iraq. If I hadn’t read his article, this morning's Washington Post article, Politics Collide with Iraq Realities - Commanders Seek Longer-Term Focus might have been persuasive.

George Packer opens The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged with this statement: “To see beyond their own little world and get a sense of what’s really going on, journalists and readers need to get out of their pajamas.”

Ah, George, I agree with you, but I need the best bloggers to help me make sense of the world, i.e., to figure out what’s “really going on.” Then I can get out of my pajamas and take on the world in my own small way.

(Cartoon from

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