March 27, 2006


Filed under: Blogging,Democrat and Chronicle — seth @ 1:51 pm

 William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (Library of America) The Sound and the Fury (Vintage International) The Catcher in the Rye Howl and Other Poems :   (City Lights Pocket Poets Series) In Cold Blood Stream of Consciousness in the Modern Novel The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Michael Saffran, of RIT, had a Speaking Out essay in the D&C today.  I worry that his viewpoint, taken to an extreme would tend to limit the diversity of blogging.  Saffron writes that he is “perplexed when some blogging is equated with writing – because the two are frequently very different.”   Not so.  Blogging is always writing.  One may disagree that blogging is good or that it is bad, but it is still writing.  One can put ”brain dump” or “or stream of consciousness” (terms that Saffran does not believe to be writing) on a notebook page in crayon or type it on a webpage, but it doesn’t change what it is.  The line of reasoning in this piece is troubling because blogs are treated as different from other writing technologies in terms of the relationships between the writer, the reader, and the text.  Mr. Saffran has a problem with the quality of many blogs.  So do I.  But the way he frames his argument suggests that there is something inherently flawed in the technology that causes bad writing.  I would argue that the flaw exists in the writer, not the technology.

In the end I think Saffran’s argument is the same argument made about non-traditional writing styles before computers and the internet.  Many works (Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Ginsburg’s Howl to name a few) were labeled by some as “not writing” when they were published.

On a side note, Saffran’s article mentions one of the D&C’s new community blogs.  I think the community blogs are an excellent idea allowing for some real local color.  While some of the bloggers are better than others, overall I enjoyed some of the posts.  They may lose the interest of some readers as the disclaimer at the top lets you know that controversy will be guarded against.  The only problem is that sanitizing to avoid offense usually leads to a washing away of much truth as well.  On a related note, I do not like that one must sign up with in order to post a comment.  I wanted to comment on the Pittsford blog about something I am writing for this blog later in the week, but didn’t as I don’t want another online entity sending me junk mail and selling my address.


  1. so apparently, virginia woolf and james joyce were not real writers either. hmm. i’ll be damned. do you suppose saffran considers himself a blogger or a wrogger?

    Comment by jane — March 28, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

  2. [...] Fretful Porpentine, the rebranded smokerblog, has also been a good friend of this blog. I encourage my readers to check out both blogs. By the way guys, I agree with both of you (here and here) on Michael Saffran’s Speaking Out article on blog writing. While I admit I don’t write this blog the same way I would write a legal brief (I am a recovering lawyer), a person’s life or money is not at stake. They’re blogs, dude! Perhaps Mr. Saffran’s concern is not as much with the writing on blogs but with the writing on the wall that this technology represents? Comments » [...]

    Pingback by Jazz@Rochester :: Why I created a link category “Friends of Jazz@Rochester” :: April :: 2006 — April 5, 2006 @ 8:26 pm

  3. [...] jane, responding to a post by Seth Hopkins, at Cup O’ Books, queries: [...]

    Pingback by An open letter to bloggers (and wroggers) everywhere — April 25, 2007 @ 8:41 am

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