The announcement by uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan in a long and rambling ‘note to my readers’ that he was giving it up soon has caused a lot of reflection by other bloggers as to the future of blogging. Alyssa Rosenberg says that blogging has changed since the early days when Sullivan started, and that the short form of it, an ongoing conversation mostly of links to other blogs with some connecting language, to is no longer viable.
I post somewhat less often than I used to. And while the subjects I choose to write about tend to be a way for me to workshop ongoing intellectual and critical concerns, I no longer write with the expectation that you all are going to read every post and pick up on every twist and turn in my thinking. Instead, each piece feels like it has to stand alone, with a thesis, supporting paragraphs and a clear conclusion.
That happens to be the way I have always blogged. Each post should be able to stand alone even if I link to other work. I feel that I cannot just link to something but feel obliged to explain why I chose it and what I think about it. This takes a lot longer because the more you write, the more you have to edit and check the sources and links.
As for Sullivan, I do not care in the least that he is giving it up and in fact was pleased because I despise him and could never understand his appeal. His tenure as editor of The New Republic was marked by his giving a prominent platform to the racist tract The Bell Curve and to Betsy McCaughey to wage an utterly fraudulent campaign against Hillary Clinton’s attempt at reform of the health care system when Bill Clinton was president. The plan may not have been great but Sullivan said his goal was to preserve the existing private health care system and so he did not care that McCaughey was wrong in some of her key assertions. Thanks to the prominence he gave her, she is still around talking rubbish about the existence of death panels in Obamacare.
Then of course there was Sullivan’s tirades against anyone who opposed the invasion of Iraq, praising the Bush-Cheney regime to the skies, and calling those of us who opposed that criminal war pretty much traitors or fifth columnists.
Sullivan says he has changed his positions somewhat but he always struck me as an opportunist, adopting a pseudo-contrarian stance to gain attention while serving the interests of those who could advance his career. So my attitude towards Sullivan’s pending retirement from blogging is to say good riddance. I don’t care why he is leaving, I am just glad that he is going.