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Monday
Feb092015

Blogging - Andrew Sullivan Bows Out!

Andrew Sullivan was just about the first recognised and professional political blogger – his blog “The Dish” has won many awards, and he has set the standard that many others aspire to. He was editor of the New Republic in the nineties, and subsequently commenced the blog. He ran it on his own for six years, then under the auspices of time.com, and later theatlantic.com. He subsequently went independent in 2013, and become totally reader supported – a precarious existence if ever there was, but with 1.2m readers he had a base in the US (and world-wide) that even Whale Oil would envy.

Andrew has now dialled out from the blogosphere, and has penned some interesting thoughts about the manner in which blogging has developed – they are as relevant here as they are there. I repeat a few just as a reminder of what it is all about, and as to why it has become as valid a media platform as any other, to the utter disgust of many in the print media in particular who denigrate and look away while at the same time sneak a peek along with those who may be praised, or pilloried.

"There are times when people take this or that post or sentence out of a blog and make it seem as if it is the definitive, fully considered position of the blogger. Or they take two sentences from different moments in time and insist that they are a contradiction. That, it seems to me, misses the essential part of blogging as a genuinely new mode of writing: its provisionality, its conversational essence, its essential errors, its ephemeral core, its nature as the mode in which writing comes as close as it can to speaking extemporaneously.

Blogging is a different animal. It requires letting go; it demands writing something that you may soon revise or regret or be proud of. It’s more like a performance in a broadcast than a writer in a book or newspaper or magazine (which is why, of course, it can also be so exhausting). I have therefore made mistakes along the way that I may not have made in other, more considered forms of writing; I have hurt the feelings of some people I deeply care about; I have said some things I should never have said, as well as things that gain extra force because they were true in the very moment that they happened. All this is part of life – and blogging comes as close to simply living, with all its errors and joys, misunderstandings and emotions, as writing ever will.

I tried, above all, to be honest. And you helped me. Being honest means writing things that will make you look foolish tomorrow; it means revealing yourself in ways that are not always flattering; it means occasionally saying things that prompt mass acclamation but in retrospect look like grandstanding. It means losing friends because you have a duty to criticize what they write. It means not pretending you believe something you don’t – like a tall story from a vice-presidential candidate or a war narrative that was increasingly obsolete. It means writing dangerously with the only assurance – without an editor – that readers will correct you when you’re wrong and encourage you when you are right. It is a terrifying and exhilarating way to write – and also an emotionally, psychologically depleting one. But I loved it nonetheless. I relished it every day. I wouldn’t trade these years for any others."

 And so say all of us!

 


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