Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Could we please keep the chatter down? Thank you.

As I await my family's return from Kate's singing "gig," hopefully bearing that delicious pizza from the Roadhouse in Riverhead, I have been reading blogs. Actually professional blogs, written by professional journalists, unlike this scribbler. Columns by Con Coughlin, Norman Tebbit, Damian Thompson, Peggy Noonan and Maureen Dowd. These have covered a rainbow of subjects ranging from the possible partition of Libya to the stagnation of the Roman Catholic Ordinariate, with financial crisis, immigration and right wing extremism thrown in between. All excellent and intellectually stimulating subjects. I have enjoyed all these writings, even though I have not agreed with every word that the columnists have written on their electronic pages. But such is the gift of a free press where such arguments and comments may be placed in the public domain in a fair and reasoned way.

Then the scroll down to the ubiquitous "Have Your Say." Page after page of unstructured, unthought, unreasoned reaction (usually full of spelling errers) by people who style themselves something like YouTubePete, TepidCocoa or Darkseid (sic.) And these are not tabloid blogs, but belong to the "quality" pages of the Daily Telegraph, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Yet they are byte after megabyte of pure drivel, often developing into protracted arguments between those who post their opinions.

Surely this ought not to have a place within the pages, electronic or otherwise, of true journalism. And is it not a cheap and cheerful way of enlivening the blog or the column itself? And do people, other than the interested parties who post, read this stuff? I argue not, as life is too short to waste on the meanderings of Phill2Curry when it comes to NATO policy.

Letters to the Editor was a different expression and discipline. Together with millions of others I have, on occasion, spend hours and more composing a reasoned note to the editors of many newspapers. I have had one or two published, but only after much agonized revision with both dictionary and thesaurus standing by.

What do you think? Comments may be left by.....


AvastBehind of Tunbridge Wells said...

Pshaw and fie!

Edward Odell said...

Greetings, Tim!

The comment section of any major news site should, in my opinion, share the inscription of Dante's gates. As you have discovered, to enter online commenting is to wade deeply into raw humanity in all its simultaneous horror and beauty.

I say this as someone who has been participating in (but has formally retired from) internet discussion groups since the early 90s. If you think the comment section of the New York TImes is bad, you should have seen PIPORG-L (a group devoted the pipe organs and related topics) back in 2003 when Trinity decided to get their current "pipeless" organ.

What I find (I want to choose my word carefully here) amusing is the recent push in our Diocese for parishes to get involved in social networking as part of their outreach strategy. I say this as a vested member of the Episcopal community. In some quarters it is even revered as The Solution We Have All Been Waiting For. Don't even get me started on Facebook. Like you, I am an ex-member.

If you detect some irony in my tone, you would be right; I am someone fully at ease with technology and often what they call an 'early adopter', but when it comes to church, I can be a downright Luddite.

Cheers! I enjoy the blog.

Tim Lewis said...

Thanks, Ed. Glad that your are enjoying these columns. Do you ever feel an organ-builder blog is on the cards? It would be educating and entertaining to us who have little clue in that field!

Edward Odell said...

Hmm, I have never given that much thought. I have my own personal blog which I have not used much recently, but there are some organ-specific posts there. Let me see...

This post, made with help from Google maps showing one of my more difficult tuning routes:

This, among some more random posts showing some work in progress from a while back:

And if you are in the mood for something more wordy and introspective, an essay I wrote some time ago about the controversial organist, Cameron Carpenter:

I'll be curious about your feedback, and perhaps it will encourage me to resume posting again.

Tim Lewis said...

A great blog, Ed - I hope that you keep it going!