Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blogosphere Woes

I have just been on a journey across the blogosphere tonight, one that in some ways I wish I had never started, that left me feeling blogged out.

Normally I focus on a small number of blogs that I like, using the blog search engines from time to time to check particular topics for both personal and professional interest. I also follow particular links through finding many new things of interest.

For some reason tonight I ended up in a series of blog streams linked to the war on terror, to Islam and to Islam vs Christianity. Some were interesting, but boy oh boy some were awful.

I found blogs that satirised anti-semitism but in such a heavy handed way that at least some of their readers would have taken them seriously, blogs that were in fact anti-semitic but were really more satirical than the satirical. I found blogs that presented a Muslim view, blogs that presented a Christian view, in both cases in terms of opposing absolutes. I found right wing blogs and left wing blogs, individual and group, that made me blink at the distortions presented.

I read news reports about Australia that represented significant distortions. Not conscious distortions, or at least I don't think so, but distortions because the facts were forced into a different world view frame.

With one exception, I ended the whole process wishing that I had never started, blogged out.

The exception? Australia really is culturally different from most other countries, quite remarkably different. We don't see it unless forced to by the type of journey I have just taken. I will try to capture this in a post once I have recovered.


Anonymous said...

I really think you are onto something here. I find much in the US blog scene, particularly some religious and political sites, quite alien, although there are also very many good blogs and sites there too. In particular I find the US right, and not even always the extreme right, quite "unAustralian" (for want of a better word) and amazingly parochial... Still, we have definitely benefited from the ability to engage in such reading, don't you think?

Jim Belshaw said...

It's not just the US sites Neil, although I agree that much in the US blog scene is quite alien because the inbuilt perspectives are so very different.

While I ended very depressed indeed, I would agree with you that we all have benefited from the ability to engage in such reading. I think that part of the enormous power of blogging is the way it enables us to explore and to some degree understand differences.

I will write some things on all this, although I have to be careful in that I don't want to identify specific blog examples, in part because I think that those blogs would themselves be misinterpreted through my remarks.

My interest lies in what it tells us about ourselves, why it is important that we actually recognise this and do not allow other constructs to be imposed on our thinking when we do not properly understand the model being used.