Thursday, December 09, 2004

Blogs, Bloggers, and Pajamas

Before I started writing one, all I knew about blogs was what I heard from the media. This was mostly reporters and pundits with their noses in the air making snide comments about ignorant people at home in their pajamas writing about things they don't understand. Then I began to notice that serious bloggers often beat the media to stories or correct their mistakes. What really got my attention was bloggers catching Dan Rather in the act of peddling forged documents.

So, I did the research. I looked at a lot of blogs and concluded I could do it about as well as most folks. I was worried about the pajamas part because I never wear them, and I'm not about to start. So sometimes I write in a robe or in my underwear, with Cat snoozing on the sofa nearby, but neither of us is ever in pajamas. Who'll know, unless I tell?

And let's be realistic. Everybody knows that many columnists and some reporters write their stuff at home and send it in to their editors. Who's to say they don't write in their pajamas, their underwear, or less? George Will, of course, would be in freshly laundered and starched pajamas buttoned all the way to the neck. Others, undoubtedly, are less formally attired and less hygienic. And perhaps some, like Jayson Blair, are hidden in a cluttered apartment with a nose full of coke filing stolen stories datelined a thousand miles away.

I'm sure the professionals would say they should be judged by the quality of their product, not by where they do it or how they dress. I would say, in response, touché!

Having defended us bloggers against the cruel criticisms of outsiders, I feel obligated to make a few observations about the many blogs I've perused.

I have to say that a lot of blogs are marvels of excellent writing, critical thinking, and fresh humor. A few, in fact, are absolutely delightful. Some of the good ones are about serious subjects like politics and religion, and others are about nothing more than the pitfalls and pratfalls of daily life. I try to leave an encouraging comment when I find one I especially like, and if I want to recommend it to others I link to it. That's why some of my links lead to heavy duty thinkers writing heavy duty stuff, and others go to blogs written exceptionally well by normal folks.

Having said that, let me say that there are people who shouldn't write blogs. Some write atrociously, some aren't very bright, and often those shortcomings occur in tandem. Extremists of all stripes are usually somewhere in this group, and all they're doing is embarrassing themselves. And sometimes me and Cat.

I have to admit, I sometimes feel a bit uncertain about this. We hang ourselves out in front of the whole world (or, in front of a few people who read us) when we publish our blogs. At first, I thought I would hide behind a creative blog name, maybe a highly literate combination of history and mythology. (Of course, I would have had to look it up because I don't really know that stuff.) But then I decided to just do it and put my name on it. Maybe that was a mistake.


Blogger Robbie said...

I ran across your blog through BE. I especially enjoyed the rant on Blogging Pet Peeves. You've picked up another return visitor here.

6:08 PM, December 09, 2004  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

Tom, another nicely written, thoughtful and humorous post, so I suppose we'll have to forgive you for the lack of jammies.

In an ideal world, the "professional" reporters would be talking to the Tom Carters to get their perspectives and knowledge and then collating all that with the appropriate research for people like me. Our world is less than ideal, so I, for one, am very glad you are blogging. Keep on!

As for you and Cat, you are writing on the one-cat system. That's a very honorable journalistic tradition. Dave Barry claims he writes on the two-dog system. And wasn't there something about Benjamin Franklin and gray cats? Oops. Never mind.

6:29 PM, December 09, 2004  
Blogger Robbie said...

Thank you for your kind comments, Tom. I'm a bit humbled that you like my blog. It isn't nearly as well-thought and witty as what you've got going here. I'm glad to have a mutual fan.

8:39 PM, December 09, 2004  
Blogger Kevin said...


I like your writing and I check back often. Don't feel bad about the PJs and the cat. I'm writing with two dogs, two kids, and about a gazillion boxes (I'm packing out to Hawaii).


9:32 PM, December 09, 2004  
Blogger Liberty said...

Nice Blog, I want to keep my eye on this one. I differ with you about people who shouldn't blog. Most of us find it theraputic, and enjoy eexpressing ourselves. The reward is that if we do it well, it can shows in our statistics. I personally don't wish to read personal blogs, and I find it painful to slosh through poorly thought out ideas. Yet, if one wishes to write to an audience of just themselves, why shouldn't they. I think your point should be, "We shouldn't be wasting our time on crappy blogs" not "Crappy bloggers shoud cut it out"
Thanks, Keep up the good work!

5:15 PM, December 12, 2004  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I like your "Notes". And I have to agree with the way some people write. It takes every thing I have in me to not post a comment correcting them on their grammar or spelling mistakes. I guess I am an English teacher at heart. Keep up the good work.

9:55 PM, December 22, 2005  
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