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O! Irony - Favorite Blogs Collected in New Book

Newsweek online this week has an amusing item about “Ultimate Blogs:

By Jmhershey
Published: February 15, 2008

Newsweek online this week has an amusing item about “Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks From the Wild Web,” a new book edited by Sarah Boxer, the first and now former web critic for the New York Times. Newsweek writer Brian Braiker asks,

“‘W,’ you might ask, ‘TF’? To what end this dead-tree blogroll? Is this a sincere attempt to explain the blogging phenomenon - which some estimate is, in its current form, more than 15 years old - to off-the-grid grandmas across America? Or is this compilation a cynical ploy to cash in on free content?

“Boxer seems sincere in her quixotic quest to find a handful of blogs that she says she loves for ‘the writing, the thinking, the drawing and the photos.’ In her introduction she assures us that in her book ‘everything is bloggy to the core.’

“So why put them in a book and strip them of the very things that make them ‘bloggy’?....”

While the crack about “off-the-grid grandmas” cuts somewhat close for comfort for this poster, Mr. Braiker scores a few pertinent questions about a project he terms “slightly absurd,” insofar as it includes, among other entries, an online serialized version of the Diary of Samuel Pepys, a 17th-century English naval administrator and member of Parliament, whose musings originally were published as a book. “Dizzy yet?,” Braiker asks.

According to Braiker, Boxer’s book raises at least as many questions as it attempts to answer about the nature and workings of the blogosphere:

“[The author] has gone out of her way to seek out content that can make the leap from one medium to another. But the question remains, is it a leap forward, backward or sideways? Sure, she has succeeded in reducing the boiling cauldron of the blogosphere to 27 worthwhile reads. Imagine how much garbage she must have sifted through to find these gems. Imagine the gems she was forced to leave out. In the end, the beauty of the book is that if you discover any bloggers that absolutely thrill you, chances are they're still online doing their thing. Which is exactly where they belong.”

 

Discussion

By Michael Josefowicz on Feb 17, 2008

very nice find. My take is that blogs and on-line are best for hunting and capturing information. But print turns out to be a great way to capture and get the benefits of someone else sifting through the bs to find the good stuff. AS to "“So why put them in a book and strip them of the very things that make them ‘bloggy’?….” Maybe it's the same reason you have to strip the husks off corn to get to soemthing that is a pleasure to eat.?

 

By Michael Josefowicz on Feb 17, 2008

just one more.. Mysteries usually get solved when we clarify what is going on. Consider how medicine gets better. So perhaps blogs can be seen as a very low risk way to bullshit. This is a new ability for humans. In the past the costs of bs could be very high. Using this lens, new knowledge comes from sifting through as much bs as possible as fast as possible. In science that's hyptheses testing, etc,etc. Print remains the best form to present the results of the sifting process. Advertising is sometimes spinning bs. Sometimes its about real information. Print loses in advertising as bs. Probably can wim in advertising as real info. Consider: My impression is that real journalists have found publishing a book a great way to present their considered thoughts and invent a career for themselves separate from "reporting the news."

 

By Patrick Henry on Feb 17, 2008

"Imagine how much garbage she must have sifted through to find these gems. Imagine the gems she was forced to leave out." Indeed. It calls to mind a remark of Benjamin Disraeli's: "Nine-tenths of the existing books are nonsense and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense." His proportion is as true today as it ever was, for books and blogs alike. But good writing is wherever you find it, and thanks to Jean-Marie for the reminder that there can be gold in them thar blogging hills. Besides, as far as friends of printing are concerned, doesn't a Web-based activity that drives the a publication of a blogging anthology or any other kind of traditional printed output have to be worth its weight in gems and gold?

 

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