Here is a staggeringly horrifying thought: The Anchoress as Public Figure.
Dear God, what a nightmare. Your loyal hostess is way too shy, and you would not appreciate her stammer. All of your illusions would be shattered and you’d think…why she sounds just like Minnie Mouse…on helium.
Very bad idea.
So when my email contained a very nice note from someone at the BBC asking me if I’d be interested in sharing my thoughts on the Eason Jordan story and the new-found power of the blogs, I politely declined and directed the gent to more articulate and more media-friendly voices than my own, any of whom could do the job with grace and dignity, which I lack.
To which my husband responded, “you did WHAT? Don’t you think it would be exciting?”
To which my best friend responded, “are you nuts?”
Um. No…at least not any more than usual.
I know Andy Warhol said everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, and I know the thrust and tenor of the times is for people to get up in public, either on radio or television, and make utter and complete asses of themselves (which I undoubtedly would) for public consumption. I know the trend of the age is for revolting self-revelation and the complete dissolution of one’s privacy…but that’s just not me. I have no wish to conform to the age.
I did make a few comments within the body of my response, though, that I think are worth posting here, because I think they are true, as regards blogs and bloggers:
While I love the blogs – and the opportunity they give us for self-_expression and the transmission of information “outside” the realm of the mainstream monopolies – I do have some concerns about how this new-found power will be managed and controlled. I think most thoughtful bloggers have those same concerns; we understand that the blogs have the ability to put tremendous momentum behind a story – momentum that can cause a great deal of damage should the facts become muddied, or if information moves too quickly for verification. Most bloggers who take the medium seriously are protective enough of it to want to insure its credibility, and don’t wish to see it become merely a means of taking down another.
For that reason, most bloggers will quite truthfully tell you they weren’t looking for “the head of Eason Jordan.” What they went looking for were simple answers to simple questions: Did Jordan really say this? These charges, if true, are staggering and important – so why did he backpedal? What his backpedaling sincere? What about these things he has said in the past? What is this man really about? Those are not irresponsible questions, but they were questions the mainstream media took no interest in asking, and so the blogs asked, instead. And asked, and asked, until they seemed obsessed. But truly, had Jordan simply answered the questions and perhaps made a self-effacing quip about talking out-of-turn and foolishly, things would not have played out as they did.
I am very much a peripheral blog on this story. I did none of the investigative work, spoke to no one. All I ever did was respond to the remarks of others after Jordan’s resignation became news, and write a cautionary piece on blogging means and methods. Any [other prominent blogger] would be more knowledgable – and likely more articulate and interesting for your program – than I.
All very true. But still…it was kind of nice to be asked.
UPDATE: Speaking of being asked, LaShawn Barber got contacted by the WSJ – clearly blogs and bloggers will be the big story for the week. LaShawn has a really good, and generous idea: she’ll be the go-to blogger who can direct traffic to smaller blogs and basically have the ‘hand on the pulse’ of who is doing and saying what, where, etc, who has particular expertise. This is a very shrewd move, it puts her right into the thick of what is going to be a growing story, and there is nothing wrong with that! But it also extends a helping hand to smaller blogs with aspirations of their own but lacking readership and a few valuable links. I think it’s a win/win all the way around for both LaShawn and the bloggers and I applaud her for it!