Enough with the whining

Freddie DeBoer, late of the League, has a long, griping piece on his blog about the dearth of truly liberal voices in the blogosphere (via Plain Blog.) It's difficult to find a paragraph that is truly indicative of the whole piece, but here's as close as I can find:
That the blogosphere is a flagrantly anti-leftist space should be clear to anyone who has paid a remote amount of attention. Who, exactly, represents the left extreme in the establishment blogosphere? You'd likely hear names like Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald. But these examples are instructive. Is Hamsher a socialist? A revolutionary anti-capitalist? In any historical or international context-- in the context of a country that once had a robust socialist left, and in a world where there are straightforwardly socialist parties in almost every other democracy-- is Hamsher particularly left-wing? Not at all. It's only because her rhetoric is rather inflamed that she is seen as particularly far to the left. This is what makes this whole discourse/extremism conversation such a failure; there is a meticulous sorting of far right-wing rhetoric from far right-wing politics, but no similar sorting on the left. Hamsher says bad words and is mean in print, so she is a far leftist. That her politics are largely mainstream American liberalism that would have been considered moderate for much of the 20th century is immaterial.
The first thought that springs to mind is how very, very picayune this complaint is. "Insufficient leftist voices in the Blogosphere" has got to be one of the least pressing of humanity's ills, ever.

Here's the deal. I have my wee little blog, and I enjoy spending (a probably unhealthy amount of) my time reading political blogs and news sites and such, and then writing this one. And those of us who spend our time this way tend to forget how eensy, weensy is the importance of what is said by the Internet's chatterers, paid or otherwise. I was over the moon when Andrew Sullivan linked to a post I wrote for the League ages ago, as he is as big a fish as exists in the blogging pond. But have you ever stopped to think how very, very few people know who the hell he is? Much less all the "neo-liberal" and other bloggers DeBoer finds so very disappointing? The relative lack representation of a viewpoint he finds in keeping with his own in a tiny part of the American discourse is hardly worth the time it took him to complain about it.

The Internet offers vast space for anyone to share any viewpoint they wish. DeBoer already has enough people interested in what he has to say that he had to update his post over and over again to respond to the various criticisms that sprang forth. He already has a fantastic platform to share the very particular viewpoint he feels is underrepresented, as he concedes in one of those updates. Why doesn't he?
It's worth saying that I once had the opportunity, not too long ago, to blog for money-- not a lot of money-- for a fairly mainstream progressive enterprise. I turned it down for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is my continuing fear that my blogging will come back to ruin my career in the academy, as it may even without professionalization. In fact, I stopped blogging because my personality is a poor fit with the prerequisites of being a good blogger. That's my fault, not blogging's fault, but there is it. And this is my larger point to Erik and to others: I reserve the right to want more from left-wing blogging and punditry than I am capable of providing myself.
First of all, I think his first reason for not blogging is hogwash. If something you write in your blog is going to demolish your career, whether or not you were paid for it will make no difference. Please. No, the only reason he doesn't blog is his "personality," which apparently did not prevent him from writing paragraph upon paragraph of complaint.

I suppose he has the right to want whatever the hell he wants. But there's something profoundly unconvincing about someone who goes to such great lengths to complain about a lack he could very well correct himself, if only he were so inclined. The Internet is vast and free. DeBoer enjoys an enviable amount of attention, so there's really nothing stopping him besides himself. But he wants someone else to do it.

Poo. As much as I joke about my very small readership, I've decided it's important enough to me to share my opinions about whatever varia float through my mind that I'll write this blog no matter who does or doesn't read it. As delighted as I would be to suddenly enjoy links a-go-go across the (very small pond of the) Blogosphere, writing this has never struck me as being all that Important.

DeBoer clearly thinks having a truly leftist voice in the Blogosphere is Important. He has the eyeballs to disseminate that viewpoint with relative success. He apparently doesn't feel up to it. Fine. But he should also spare himself the effort of whining so very much about it.

1 comment:

  1. Be the change to want to see happen.

    Vinz Klortho