Monday, 13 April 2009
So what is this 'blogosphere' thing anyway? An analysis of blogging as seen by mainstream media
Readers from the real world may have been perplexed by the attention given to the so-called 'blogosphere' this past weekend, and left wondering why they should care about it.
The short answer is they shouldn't.
The British blogosphere is comprised entirely of frustrated writers bitter about their inability to land jobs at real newspapers, sitting in their mother's basement, stabbing endlessly away at their computer keyboards in the middle of the night writing cretinous, infantile forums of abuse dressed up as argument in the hope that people will read their inconsequential, misinformed diatribe.
Such hopes are miguided and futile. People don't care what these vicious, nihilistic bloggers have to say because all the news and comment worth reading is already published by the mainstream national press. Granted, print journalism is usually several days behind the blogs, and presents an often strangled version of reality, but, ultimately, it is written by real journalists unfettered by the mindless intricacies of the internet - a dying medium if ever there was one. These are the people to trust, not square-eyed internet zombies removed from reality by their 'modems' and 'processors'.
A recent example of this growing dichotomy of reportage between the real newspapers and the blogs is the fine work done by the Evening Standard - the Daily Mail's London edition - which exclusively broke the news that brave police officers tending Ian Tomlinson in the moments before his death had been bombarded with bricks by evil anti-capitalist demonstrators at the G20 protests. It is telling that not a single blog noted this critically important event - presumably because many of the bloggers themselves are evil anti-capitalists desperate to cover up the vile behaviour of their comrades.
Indeed, those who live online are destined to die online, and if you delve deep enough into the 'blogosphere' you find a world that’s very happy to be separated from the real one. So divorced is this new breed of citizen journalist from reality that they even consider Twitter - the boring website beloved of celebrities who want to tell the world what kind of muffin they're eating - to be a useful tool for reporting news and monitoring 'buzz' around particular current affairs. How absurd!
It is around this ridiculous, irrelevant mire of online tittle-tattle and rumour that the events of this Easter weekend spun.
Ironically, the now-defunct, directionless British blogosphere was invented by leading conservative pundit Iain Dale in 1984. His website, Iain Dale's Little Black Book of Westminster was an immediate success and continues to attract nearly 12 billion absolute unique visits every month. It has been hailed as 'compelling and entertaining' by Piers Morgan but it is noteworthy that Dale has attempted to distance himself from the murky waters of the blogosphere through frequent appearances in national newspapers and on television. It is precisely because of his detachment from the reality of blogging that he has been shortlisted for the prestigeous Orwell Prize for blogging.
But it is testament to how low the blogosphere has sunk that Dale was barely involved in the weekend's scandal, despite repeated shouts of 'I want to play!'. Instead, it was former Labour spin-doctor Derek 'Dolly' Draper whose blog, LabourList, caters for 60 million people, at the centre of attention for illiciting those fateful emails from his Number 10 pal, Damian McBride.
However, if it hadn't been for crusading, swivel eyed, right-wing, sleaze-wallowing blogger Guido Fawkes, Draper's foul attempts to smear the Tories would never have come to light and bored the British public to tears in the first place. Fawkes - real name Paul 'Pee' Stains - rose to prominance in 2004 after being declared bankrupt and deciding the best way to claw his way from financial hell was to start a blog. It is still a mystery how this questionable strategy succeeded.
This trinity of bloggers - it is illustrative to think of them in terms of the father, the illegitimate son and the greasy ghost - are followed by a bewildering multitude of smaller, less important internet scribblers who, collectively, form the wider blogosphere. Dale and Stains count amongst their brethren such wits as Donal Blaney, scourge of 20 something Labour candidates, such thinkers as Dizzy, a computer programmer with a taste for pornography, and Letters from a Tory, a man who supports capital punishment for those who smell of alcohol and look at policemen a bit funny.
On the left, the list is even more depressing. Behind the fecal point known chillingly as 'The Liberal Conspiracy', sit a gaggle of naysayers and angry old men determined to destroy the few remaining whisps of tradition and middle-class pride this country clings to. Tim Ireland of The Bloggerhead pursues a ceaseless, brutal agenda against The One True blogger in almost every issue of his online magazine and even dares question the veracity of the national press in using deluded fantasists as authoritive sources. Vicious nihilists such as the unpalatably named Chicken Yoghurt, meanwhile, appear to support no particular brand of British politics, instead criticising the actions of the Tory and Labour parties in a fence-sittingly un-partisan kind of way. Suspiciously foreign sounding bloggers like Hopi Sen peddle the type of meandering lefty drivel that attacks everything but never proposes any decisive, committed plan of action or solution to anything.
For more excrutiating examples from the left-wing piffle-osphere, see the links to the left.
It is plain to see that the interminable fountain of drivel pouring forth from these 'writers' only serves to create a chaotic, screeching, somewhat sticky sphere of blogs, hopelessly inadequate compared to the panoply of well written, increasingly successful national newspapers.
The events of the Easter weekend have led to some discussion of a rebirth of blogging amongst some left-wing commentators. Only in the self-aggrandising world of online punditry could such heretical Messiah-aping be tolerated. Surely it is time for the bloggers to scurry back underneath their moss covered rocks and give up; surely, if Derek Draper has taught anyone anything, it is that blogging is a silly, puerile nonsense to be ignored by anyone with a shred of common sense.