The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Sunday, January 16, 2005  

Blogging Isn’t For Everyone and . . .
Not Everyone is a Blogger Waiting to Happen

Oh my God. I’m not sure what’s appropriate here: pity or mockery. I’ll go with the latter.

James Howard Gibbons, who fortunately for all Houstonians carries around the rather humiliating title of “interim editor” of the Houston Chronicle’s opinion pages, today had published a little piece entitled “Notes on Blogs,” in which he scribbled, among almost nothing else, the following:

Web logs [sic], or blogs, are the hot new medium for commentary. So many have sprung up that one can only tend to a narrow selection or a digest of highlights.

I have sampled a few blogs, but enjoyed fewer. Though reluctant to do anyone an injustice, I find that most blogs lack the elegance, wit[,] and insight one looks for in magazine commentary and editorial pages in their ideal state.

“Ideal state.” That’s a nice touch. Where does the “ideal state” exist, if anywhere at all? And in which American newspaper’s editorial pages does one consistently, or even occasionally, find elegance, wit, and insight? The Chronicle? Please.

Gibbons surely is looking for good blogging in all the wrong places. Why do I feel justified in suspecting the interim editor limited his blog skimming to such overrated sites as the Daily Dish, Instapundit, and Kausfiles, the persistently dull and self-referential triumvirate that constitutes the “research” of every lazy, oblivious newspaper or magazine reporter who attempts to explain the blogosphere, a space in which they are neither welcome nor particularly well suited.

To make matters worse -- for himself -- Gibbons, having disdainfully dished the weblog genre writ large, then had the audacity to try his hand at blogging.

How clever of Gibbons to “prove” weblogs aren’t worth anyone’s time by offering as an allegedly prototypical example of blogging three trite and thoroughly uninteresting items (Halliburton, the Bible and the Harris County Courthouse, and something about the state budget), with not a single link embedded therein, nor even a whiff of the highly valued traits of elegance, wit, or insight.

Go take a look if you must, but let me assure you, it’s a veritable tragedy, and Gibbons is a miserable failure.

[Post-publication addendum: Charles Kuffner of Off the Kuff is at least equally shocked by the Chronicle’s stunning lapse in interim editorial judgment, and offers links to other bloggers’ comments on Gibbons’s embarrassing slobber.]

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