“You really should write more.”

I’m not sure why, but today, that remark stuck with me.

My automatic response to this type of comment is usually that I just don’t have time. But that’s not true. When I look at my daily routine, and measure the time it takes to type out some kneejerk reaction to the headline of the day, it’s really not all that time-consuming.

What’s probably more of a factor, I think, is the fact that nothing’s really happening that merits me sitting down for a half-hour each day to try to offer up some unique dissection of the day’s events.

I mean, come on folks. Once the election was over we already knew what was coming next. After all, it’s nothing that those of us who actually read and digest real news haven’t already seen: Yeah, the Democrats lost elections across the board, but it’s the Republicans who are doing the purging. Senators, secretaries, career intelligence personnel…it doesn’t matter. The same folks who equated dissent with disloyalty before the election are now proceeding to queeze out anyone who isn’t practically a wild-eyed idiologue. Moderation will be a foreign term to this new government.

And if you think you’ve seen it all now, just wait until they start making laws.

Want my take on a few other headlines? Okay…

  • Condi Rice is a poor choice for SecState, but you already knew that.
  • Arlen Specter got hung out to dry for telling the truth about the battle awaiting pro-life Supreme Court nominees, but you already knew that.
  • Kerry lost what should’ve been the easiest, most self-evident election since 1980. He is sorely mistaken to interpret the God-Not-Bush-Again vote as a mandate to take a leadership role in the party. You knew that.
  • “Hillary 2008” would only prove that the Democrats have learned nothing from 2004 and deserve to lose again. If you have brains, you already knew that. I’ve talked to a few people who still seem receptive to the idea (usually the Dean ’04 folks), and I’ve been good about not expressing my newly reinforced impression that they’re not too bright.

But I digress.

Like you, I look to the future and see only dark gray clouds rolling this way. There are huge, momentous battles that will occur over the coming term. But right now, both sides are merely putting their pieces into place.

So what’s one to do, then, during this over-reported, over-analyzed post-election period in which nothing significant really gets done? Should I become part of the echo chamber, blogging every topic that comes to mind just for the hell of it, struggling to add just a bit of snark to each blurb so visitors will think it worth their while?

I think not. Don’t get me wrong: I like blogging, and I think it’s a great outlet for people like myself who don’t know many politically knowledgeable people IRL. But more important than just writing, I think, is the need for substance, or at least some unique value that makes that five-second scan of this page worthwhile. You know, like razor blades in soap.

So whether I blog once a day, or once every three days, or once a week, I’ll always do it because I have to say something that’s worth adding to the din of shrill voices in the blogosphere. I’ll never do it just to give you some new text to look at. That wastes your time and, frankly more importantly, it wastes mine. Besides, there areĀ plenty of other places you can go, edited by people who get paid to do that sort of thing.

Well, there goes another hour out of my free time. IM me if you’ve something thought-provoking to say (and no, not “but Hillary could win!!”), because I’m always up for some intelligent convo. ‘Til then, I’m off to play Half-Life 2 or do something equally productive.

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8 Responses to “You really should write more.”

  1. Oliver says:

    For what its worth, I write to satisfy me, and not any masses yearning for snark.

  2. Aaron W. Benson says:

    Maybe not. But your posts skew much more toward partisan cheerleading than critical analysis:

    The Republicans eat babies, Dean and Edwards are the future, Lieberman is a DINO, Glenn Reynolds/LGF/Andrew Sullivan are deluded wingers, Beyonce is hot, etc., etc…I get it.

    Don’t get me wrong: From a tactical perspective, I enjoy these little partisan dandies from time to time as well. And heaven knows I agree more than I disagree. I guess that’s what makes it so easy, preaching to the choir in an echo chamber.

    And if I didn’t have enough to do in RL, I guess I could weigh my blog down with ads and offer popcorn punditry to the masses every day, too.

    But think about it this way: You published about 11 posts yesterday. A link here, a blurb there, a quick retort or two, and some other stuff. But what’s the message? Did you really say anything? Without analysis, doesn’t it all just become noise?

    You say you find that fulfilling. Well then, more power to you, I guess. I’m very familiar with the refrain “If you don’t like it, don’t read it.”

    As for me, I hope my site is one that people will read once a week rather than one they’ll scan every day.

  3. Oliver says:

    But I am a partisan. And I am a cheerleader, in some respects, though on the rare occasion that a Dem needs to be taken out to the woodshed or a GOPer does something right – I’m not above pointing that out. I’m not the “sit on top of the mountain” type. I certainly don’t find myself preaching to a choir, if my emails and comments are any sort of indication. I write long pieces too, but sometimes words get in the way of a point – in my opinion. X = Y often seems like a much better tactic than “let us get into the history of X and explain how it evolved into Y”.

    And I like popcorn.

  4. Aaron W. Benson says:

    X = Y might be more to the point, but it doesn’t change people’s minds the way in-depth analysis does. Partisanship begets partisanship; That you can count on frequent dissent doesn’t really mean you’re being effective in the overall discourse.

    I don’t like popcorn unless it’s slathered in caramel, with peanuts sprinkled throughout. Maybe that’s the crucial difference.

  5. Oliver says:

    I don’t think a blog has ever changed someone’s mind.

  6. Aaron W. Benson says:

    Maybe not someone who’s already dead-set in the opposing viewpoint, but I like to think a well-reasoned argument can persuade reasonable leaners on both sides.

    For example, I never supported gay marriage as strongly as I do now. It took examining both sides of the argument (in and out of the blogosphere) before I ultimately decided there was absolutely nothing to be ambivalent about.

    Yes, I doubt any argument would make me do a “180” on a subject of true importance to me, but some missives have certainly given me pause, and either buttressed and refined my views or caused me to rethink my rationale.

    That kind of effectiveness really depends on the readership you draw, which in turn depends on your track record of contributions to the political discourse. For example, I’m always willing to “listen to” folks like Dan Conley and Matthew Yglesias when I want a second perspective, or Josh Marshall when I want the story behind the story. But when I’m pretty much dead-set in my opinion and merely want an “amen,” then I go to Kos’s site and, well, yours.

  7. Oliver says:

    And I’m glad for all readers. But I think your carefully weighing of the issues is the exception to the vast norm.

  8. Aaron W. Benson says:

    Yes. I knew I’d eventually get you to state my point…

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