Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Who in the Hell D'you Think You Are?

A super star?
Well, right you are!

- John Lennon, "Instant Karma"

While I've only been blogging for a short while, I've been reading and commenting on other peoples blogs for some time now. Many of those blogs are political, and the discussions can become, shall we say, heated. I have noticed one particular attack on bloggers by commenters that seems quite common, and I have even seen a few bloggers resort to it in reference to other bloggers. The attack begins with a question along the lines of, "What makes you think anyone cares what you think?" The essential charge is that bloggers are self-important proles who think their opinion is somehow of value to others.

And the charge is, to some extent, true. If we didn't think our ideas were original enough, important enough, or well expressed enough to pique others' interest, we wouldn't be blogging them -- we could merely save them to our C: drives in a word processing document and be done with it. But this is nothing new. Almost all human endeavor requires at least a modicum of confidence, even arrogance. Bloggers have that in common with everyone who has ever written a letter to the editor, submitted writing for publication, auditioned for a play or a band, held a concert, submitted a resume, or proposed marriage. They all believed that they had something to offer that the audience would find at least acceptable, and hopefully praiseworthy.

This is an essential feature of the human spirit. Call it confidence, arrogance, whatever you like. I call it hope. Proverbs 13:12 says, in part, Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Without hope, without the belief that we have a chance, however slim, of succeeding at something, we don't even bother trying. And what is confidence, if not self-induced hope?

The thing is, in many cases, we're right. Thank God that John Elway was "Arrogant" enough to believe he could play football, or Handel that he could compose music worth listening to. Imagine if Shakespeare hadn't had the self-importance to publish his writings. And the same is true of the Blogosphere. Just take a peek at the TTLB Ecosystem. There are plenty of blogs out there that get read, on a regular basis. The top few have a significant readership. And even a humble blog like mine gets a small but steady stream of hits. Apparently, there are plenty of us who DO have something worth saying.

Now, I'll admit, there are exceptions to this rule, and there are plenty of overrated celebrities, AND overrated bloggers, who don't deserve the attention they get. Humanity is fickle, and this is an inevitable result of that fickleness. And when that happens, it is altogether fitting that we expose the lack of substance supporting the adulation.

But let's not be so hypocritical as to criticize a blogger just for being so presumptuous as to, you know, blog. If that sort of presumption is banned, will be out of business tomorrow.

And you and I will be looking for something more productive to do with our time.

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