Starting this next Sunday, I’ll be writing a weekly essay at The American Street–my first time as contributor to a group weblog. Each essay is a longer writing, and may or may not include links. Though the topic will vary from week to week, I hope to bring a unique perspective to each that reflects, among other things, being a woman living in Missouri. Since it’s been said by those who say such things that women prefer facts over theory, you might say I’m providing the show me sex in the show me state viewpoint.
(Speaking of which, Missouri, an important swing state in the upcoming election, is also the site of one of four presidential debates scheduled for this Fall. It’s also a popular campaign stop for both parties, as witness President Bush’s visit today.)
I’ve resisted group weblogs in the past, preferring to keep all my writing here in my own space. What changed my mind in this case–aside from the other excellent writers at The American Street, not to mention my respect for Kevin Hayden–is that I want the discipline that comes with writing in another’s space, and at specific times in the week.
I’m writing on impulse too much lately. Writing impulsivly is not the same as being fresh and spontaneous. There is an element of ‘knee jerk’ reaction to impulsive writing, and I end up regretting such writing, more often than not.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of material lately that leads to reactive behavior, much of it political in nature. I’ve been reading the top linked stories the last few week and I’m seeing a new element entering into weblogging; we’ll call it the “Fox” element for want of another classification. You can see it with the relatively new weblog written by Michelle Malkin, who happens to be, among other things, a Fox News Contributor.
Malkin has looked at weblogging and seen what it’s done for Wonkette and others, and has enthusiastically jumped in. She’s a real pro, too, having written for the New York Post and National Review Online, as well as being trained by that media maw that is known as Fox. Though we can laugh and sneer at Fox’s lack of credibility, make no mistake–it is the highest rated news station in the country now. Fox sells here in Missouri. Fox sells in a lot of places.
Malkin has, quickly and efficiently, demonstrated how to push the right buttons with her writing. Though I am pleased to see a woman gain such immediate attention, I am less than sanguine when I read her form of journalism.
Malkin succeeds by generating impulsive reactions. Whether they are reactions for or against (primarily for, at this time), there is something about her writing that makes me, at least, want to sit down in a heat of anger and write a blistering refutation.
However, the problem with this kind of reaction is all we’re doing is responding to having our buttons pushed; instead of providing a counter-point, we’re providing a chorus. It’s somewhat comparable to Fox News and that new documentary, Outfoxed. Is Outfoxed outfoxing Fox? Or will it be outfoxed itself as Fox’s audience increases rather than decreases over the next several months, thanks in part to this documentary. The documentary and that foolish MoveOn challenge of Fox’s slogan, “Fair and Balanced”, I should add.
Rather than immediately respond to Maltin’s writings, or other events just as heated and reactive, with many postings barely controlled, I’m hoping that by picking one specific topic, thinking about it carefully and calmly and then writing about it on a specific day, to a weblog shared with other people, my writing will not only be more disciplined, but more effective. The writing can still be as passionate; hopefully, though, it will also be thoughtful, cohesive, and coherent.
(Not to mention spell checked, and carefully edited for grammar. Not, toomany, comma’s or other punctuation an grammar errors other other typos in the writing of it.)
My appreciations to The American Street folks for inviting me in.
Now, I may be more thoughtful with my political writing at The American Street, but I’ll still blather incoherently about everything else here, or in Practical RDF. Just in case you were worried.
Unfortunately, reading popular political weblogs from all sides of the fence, I have a feeling my approach is not going to gain The American Street any fans.