Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Good writing - as writing

Arthur Silber, who I have mentioned before, has started a new blog, Once Upon a Time. He commented in a recent post on his personal situation,

Moreover, and an aspect of this that deeply disheartens me, there is almost no appreciation for decent writing as writing anywhere among blogs or among blog readers. (I'm obviously referring to blogs that focus on culture and politics. I'm aware there is another subset of blogs, which deals with literature and literary concerns. Unfortunately, that subset does not regularly address the other issues that so interest me.) A few well-known bloggers write exceptionally well, Billmon for example. But many of the most prominent bloggers seem to have given up even the most basic rules of grammar and punctuation, and correct spelling has become a memory.

It is true. A lot of the writing in the blogosphere is similar to the writing in the mass media; glib, careless, and often ungrammatical. In the political sphere this may be particularly true, although I find good writing at several websites that are not purely political but have a political element (e.g., Making Light, or The Corpuscle), that furnish me with incredibly good writing that is a pleasure to read.

I am myself more of a reader than a writer. I appreciate good writing with a lot more ease than I can produce it. So, I propose to devote a small series, dedicated to Arthur Silber and his ongoing efforts to state, in elegant and correct English, exactly what's wrong with our current political messes and what we should do about it, on "Good Nonfiction Writers that Changed My Worldview."

(If I did a similar series on fiction, I doubt it would ever end. Fiction is mostly what I read.)

This series includes the following 4 names:

Arthur Silber, himself (I will do him last)
Noam Chomsky (his political books, not his linguistic ones, which I sadly did not have occasion to delve into yet)
Richard Mitchell, "The Underground Grammarian"
Idries Shah

I hope I can get it together to start the series in the next couple of days. My full time job and family make my blogging very inconsistent, though. This post is mostly to say that I am very glad to be reading Arthur's blog on a regular basis once again. I missed it.

4 comments:

Zwack said...

There are some other blogs that usually have good writing... They are mostly political in nature and from the political bias shown you can guess that I am left leaning (of course, being British rather than American, but living in America, it seems like politics here is significantly right leaning.)

Bob Harris - Politics, Travel and cute ungulates... Predominantly Pudus.

This Modern World - Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) and friends, politics and the occasional WTF? moment...

Think Progress - Progressive/Liberal/Left Wing politics.

BoingBoing - A directory of wonderful things. Short snippets of anything that interests the multiple authors... Unfortunately that can mean sex and grossness appear, but the main site is safe for work. You may not be able to follow all links safely.

Bruce Schneier - Cryptographer and computer security expert on Security and Society.

BoingBoing is written by Cory Doctorow (a writer), David Pescowitz (a writer), Mark Frauenfelder (an illustrator/writer) and Xeni Jardin (a media pundit and writer). Bob Harris is a writer. So it's probably not surprising that the writing on these blogs is better than average...

Z.

Anna in Portland (was Cairo) said...

I love Bob Harris, also Jon Schwarz at "A Tiny Revolution." I think of them as humor writers though. I have read Tom Tomorrow but dont' visit the site that regularly. Have not really checked out the others. Thanks for the pointers.
there are an awful lot of really good websites. With very good writing. But it is also true that several of the better-known ones don't have a very high level of expression and use a lot of bandwagon style reporting and topic selection that annoys me.

Maryanne said...

I have to agree with you on the writing issue. I don't often find blogs in which the writing is of interest in itself. I have to admit that I enjoy your comments. My sympathy on the difficulty of finding blog time in the midst of trying to live a life.

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