Blogging may have changed but I haven’t

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.


  1. hyphenman says


    I agree. I stopped reading Sullivan years ago in favor of other voices. I won’t miss him.

    As I passed the 10th anniversary of Have Coffee Will Write and approach the 10th for The Writing On The Wal, I thought a great deal as to whether or not I wanted to continue devoting the time and effort.

    My conclusion was that I never set out in search of fame and fortune, but rather, as I formulated at my first Blogger MeetUp back in 2004, to engage in dinner conversation with a few good friends, in the former instance and to be readers’ Wal Mart news and information source—dedicated to rolling back the curtain on the Bentonvile Behemoth’s corporate disinformation and other flackery in the later.

    I’ve done that and, for the future I perceive, will continue on those paths.


  2. atheistblog says

    He is a Christian apologist. He publicly proclaim without shame that all the morality and ethics we adopted in the modern era came from the supposed never existing one guy called jesus.

  3. Sunday Afternoon says


    I read Sullivan *years* ago when he was writing for The (Sunday) Times (the London one), and then happened upon him again at The Daily Beast. I therefore missed the whole real-time stuff on the Iraq war from him. Others such as yourself do remember:

    I do think Sullivan’s retraction on that topic is sincere:

    There is of course value in exploring contrary positions. We do it all the time in the sciences. However, writers seem to take forever to fully explore the implications during such an exercise and infuriate the heck out of me in the process. Hitchens is the other name that immediately comes to mind, though there is a whole host of others from the intellectual tradition in the UK that fit the bill.

    It is for this reason that I value Sullivan’s blog 6 days out of the 7. Today is “Oh, for *#^@’’s sake” Sunday:

  4. sigurd jorsalfar says

    As for Sullivan, I do not care in the least that he was giving it up and in fact was pleased because I despise him and could never understand his appeal.

    Agreed. I’ve never understood this attitude, which I see on the left a lot, which boils down to ‘you may not agree with everything (or anything) Sullivan says but you need to read him and take him seriously’. No, just no.

  5. lorn says

    Sullivan always struck me as entirely too equivocal and willing to apologize for people who would delight in watching him have a stroke. It reminds me of the reflexive enabling and equivocation, verging on open apologetics, for the abuser common to deeply abused children.

  6. John Morales says

    Mano, I too appreciate it that for you it is more like a hobby than like work, and hope your blogging remains more pleasure than irritation into the future.

    Thank you.

  7. badgersdaughter says

    Sullivan was hyped heavily by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, back in the very early days, along with James Lileks and the Volokh Conspiracy and others who caught the mega-blogger’s attention. A lot of people owe their popularity to Reynolds and the small playing field back then. It doesn’t mean they were any better or worse than any blogger starting to post today.

  8. sailor1031 says

    I do think Sullivan’s retraction on that topic is sincere

    I don’t. Unless I completely misunderstood his apologia he’s only sorry because it turned out so badly for so many people. If it had been the nice quick little war that paid for itself as promised he’d have no problem with it. He gives no indication that he’s realized that making up a pack of lies, which are then demonstrated to be lies, and using them to invade a country that has not harmed or threatened the US, and is not a threat, might just be an illegal and highly immoral act. As one who was against that war before it began, and took a lot of heat on that account, I’m mightily unimpressed by those who come twelve years later to say It was a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a deliberate act of aggression and it was supported and enabled by Sullivan and his ilk who now want us to believe that they were too stupid to see through the neocon lies and only acted out of passionate patriotism? Sorry -- don’t believe it.

  9. Mano Singham says


    You comment reminded me that I have not heard about Reynolds for quite awhile. He was never on my reading list but there was a time when others used to mock him often and so I would hear about him. But even they have stopped doing that and the satirical site Instaputz, that ruthlessly catalogued Reynolds’s hackery about the Iraq war, has closed shop.

    The increasing irrelevancy of Reynolds and the departure of Sullivan are positive signs for the blogosphere.

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