Monday, June 30, 2008

A defence of blogging

In early times, learning was only to be had by digging and mining; it is now the circulating medium. Men may become learned in many ways besides the means of erudite courses of instruction: that is learning which enables a writer to inform his readers of matters applicable to the purposes of either profit or pleasure, of which they were not previously aware. In this sense, many are learned who do not suspect themselves in possession of this envied distinction. A prejudice lingers, however, in favour of that description of learning gained by hard study over tall books, and under the dim light of the lamp. But this is only the theory: in practice, men appreciate the living learning only which cheers the evening of leisure, or guides the daily labour - enlightens the professions, or instructs the statesman.

From "The Spectator" magazine, inaugural issue, July 5, 1828.

Yet how swiftly do some other publications forget their humble origins, which have subsequently attained eminent status. "Private Eye" lampoons the "online community" in its column "From The Message Boards"; but in 1961, there were its founders Christopher Booker and Willie Rushton, using typewriter, Letraset, hand-drawn cartoons, scissors and glue (in Willie's mother's flat, I seem to remember) to compose their witty and scurrilous magazine; and the new technology of photo-litho offset to print it. How is this different from the homeworkers of the blogosphere, and the use of the new capabilities of the Internet? Was not Private Eye the original blogpaper?


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Good point. You do well to remind us of this.


Thanks, Welshcakes!