Writing in Ambassador Youth, a publication of The Restored Church of God, a certain Kevin D. Denee concludes that blogs are a Bad Thing. For, he says, “Perhaps the largest problem with blogs is they cater to one’s vanity” and encourage “idle words”. Just in case you were not convinced, the writer goes on to catalgue a whole series of Bad Things associated with blogs and their tendency to corrupt youth into frivolous and not so frivolous pastimes. Or if you were thinking of justifying blogs by citing their claimed therapeutic properties, forget it: Mr Denee has seen through this one and stamps on it with an appropriate quote from a real life blog.
Mr Denee recognises that there are some legitimate blogs, but “While many were originally created for professional duties and jobs (for example, some journalists log their work for other professionals to read), blogs have morphed into something far different”. (“Morphed”? Wouldn’t a simple “become” be enough?)
Kevin D. is primarily concerned with youth so maybe blogs should carry a statutory warning like porn sites, allowing entry only to persons over 18. But are adults any more immune to the baleful effects of blogs than tender children? Might it not be that at any age we are at risk of succumbing? Can any of us lay hand upon heart and honestly assert that our blog does not “cater to [our] vanity”? I’m pretty sure my blog caters most marvellously to my vanity and that is one of the things about it that I most enjoy. I am no doubt headed straight for Perdition.
What about the “frivolous words” accusation? There again I must acknowledge my culpability. Instead of indulging my idle word processor, I should be out there doing…well… doing lots of serious things, I suppose. Give me five minutes and I’ll think of something.
Of course, it’s easy to make fun of this sort of thing. Stern would-be authoritarians have condemned as frivolous and worse all the toys, hobbies and pastimes invented by mankind since the beginning of the species. They would see themselves as tireless crusaders in the holy war against Satan whereas most of the rest of us would see them as busybodies wasting their time, and occasionally ours, on trivia. But Kevin D. just possibly has a point or two when he says “Bullying even takes place between blogs, with some using them to defame or attack other people, or spread other forms of hatred” or, again, “Then there is the danger of addiction. Literally some become so addicted to blogging, posting and instant messaging that other parts of their lives are neglected”.
He has a point, but I would suggest that blogs are not the reason why the young (and not so young) “defame or attack other people” but merely one of the channels they use for this purpose. It is the tendency to bully and defame that needs dealing with, not the institution of blogs. In fact, blogs do us the service of alerting us to how the young (and not so young) around the world are thinking and reacting to events. If we are shocked at some of the things young people say, then we whould be investigating the reasons and seeking to redress the problems, not discouraging blogging which would simply be to sweep the problem under the carpet.
And finally, I have to wonder how it comes about that Kevin D. is so knowledgeable about blogs. After all, he makes a series of sweeping claims that can only be justified by extensive research into real blogs. How many hours has Kevin spent conscientiously surfing the Web and reading blogs? On the face of it, he puts the rest of us to shame with his tireless dedication. Or could it be – oh, surely not! – that he hasn’t actually read any blogs at all and has simply garnered his information from biased secondary sources? Were that the case, it would deflate his rantings wonderfully and open him to the criticism that he knows not whereof he speaks.
I suppose that if Kevin does spend enormous amounts of time researching blogs, it is just possible that he might chance upon this one and leave us an illuminating comment. He is welcome to do so but I won’t be holding my breath.