Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why?

It beats pestering the Letters editors of the various Toronto and Irish newspapers with my spleen I suppose. Never thought this blog thing would keep going - in fact now I've given in and started one seems like about time it died... back in the days of Mosaic it was so much harder to interest people in Tim Berners-Lee's invention and now you can't pry them off it.

There's just too many things that just bug me - especially during this federal election campaign as I still have taxation without representation, (roll on 2008) but even if I did have a vote, there's just no place for a socially liberal fiscal conservative. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The incumbents are floundering and attempting to buy off all and sundry, forgetting that's what got them in trouble in the first place. Then there's the other crowd who constantly display their schizophrenia, really wanting to be fluffy bunnies but unwilling to forgo their buddies in Big Auto, who then abandon them at the first sign of Reform.

Then there's the few good blogs I've come across, especially the Bouncer, but more recently this firebrand I used to spar with.

To me, however, message boards and now blogs are cathartic - I've been to Speakers' Corner (but only watched) but as I get older I understand the impulse more - to have one's say, even if it won't change the mind of more than one person in the crowd, or even change one's own by the act of verbalising the turmoil inside.

Perhaps we've swapped the mass demos of our predecessors in the 60s and 70s for a more individualistic approach but we still care. Arguably, blogs now are more influential on the political process than protest marches then (and certainly more than protest marches now). Is this a good thing? Probably not for political or sociological purists. It plays into the media's hands, giving them a lazy way of filling column inches in the Star or filching quotes on sensitive subjects from forums clearly labelled speculative. But it sure beats the alternative, where nobody can disrupt the increasing safety-first, damn the individual effect, sclerotic thinking of bureaucracy everywhere.

That thinking is also part of the backlash against Wikipedia. I'm an editor there, and therefore this opinion is probably not strictly NPOV, but the whole is judged by the actions of the linkspammers and the people who get off on anonymous slander. Neither of these can come close to the social good that is a world wide movement of people dedicated (mostly) to expanding the pool of knowledge, the ease of access to that knowledge and most importantly operating by consensus (even if we're all still figuring out what that is). It doesn't replace traditional sources and yes, not enough people keep that in mind but it's a startling achievement none the less.

I still keep in touch with stuff back in Ireland, especially in the field of infrastructure and architecture, two of the many fields I think about a lot with no qualifications of any kind to back it up.

I have no idea where this blog is headed, but hopefully someone will decide to follow anyway. If not, it's still more comfortable than Hyde Park in January.
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