NPR tours the "blog-o-sphere"

Via a phone call I just learned that National Public Radio (which I rarely hear) is featuring a program today on blogging. And to show what a total ignoramus I am after a year of blogging, I'm only familiar with two of the guests. Here's the guest list for today's show:

Lev Grossman
*Staff writer for Timemagazine, author of recent article "Meet Joe Blog"

Steve Rubel
*Publishes the blog "Micro Persuasion"
*Vice-president of client services with Cooper-Katz, a public relations firm in New York

Dan Gillmor
*Columnist and blogger at The San Jose Mercury News
*Author of soon to be released book We the Media

Ana Marie Cox
*Writes and edits blog, a political gossip blog on life in Washington

I added the links, so that anyone reading this can at least visit the blogs. Why NPR would feature blogs without links on its web page escapes me.

I'm sure the show will be interesting, but I wonder whether it will give a fair representation of what they call "a guided tour through the blog-o-sphere."

Unfortunately, I won't be able to listen (the blogging segment starts at 6:00 p.m.)....

Speaking of listening, I was intrigued by an essay from longtime favorite P.J. O'Rourke, whose thoughts on conservative talk radio may apply to all talk radio -- or even politics in general:

Arguing, in the sense of attempting to convince others, seems to have gone out of fashion with everyone. I'm reduced to arguing with the radio. The distaste for political argument certainly hasn't made politics friendlier—or quieter, given the amount of shouting being done by people who think one thing at people who think the same thing.

But I believe I know why this shouting is popular. Today's Americans are working harder than ever, trying to balance increasing personal, family, and career demands. We just don't have time to make ourselves obnoxious. We need professional help. (Via Andrew Sullivan.)

I have noticed a growing amount of shouting in the blogosphere; even occasionally in comments left (and right) on my blog. Whether it's a form of therapy or demonstrates a collective need for therapy is beyond my competence!

And Glenn Reynolds' remarks about taking things too seriously are well worth, er, taking seriously!

(Seriously, did I just contradict myself?)

Free speech is not without its costs.

posted by Eric on 06.21.04 at 04:12 PM


Listening to NPR is often like revisiting the first grade and listening to book reports, except that it's not like that at all because now you're all grown up and other people who are supposed to be all grown are talking down to you in a monotonous tone like an overly patient mother correcting her child or a bad modern poet trying to sound heartfealt on a sensitive issue, stretching out the limping stress of English prose until you nod yourself back to sense or sideswipe a guard rail somnagitating from the boredom.

Then there's the playful banter, the endless perspicacity on every subject, soft steps around each issue and the reassurance that at the heart of it all one great (as yet unsung) hero keeps the world chugging along, and not the old fashioned sort, but the every day sort of hero, the sort that makes paper doll houses for runaway hamsters or keeps hope alive by burning candles and singing bad folk songs.

If that's not your bag you can give a big belly laugh over cars or callalilies, or you can call in to discuss whether I've spelled that correctly,--or to debunk the myth of the split infinitive! Golly, what fun.

Of course it's not all bad, but you can take only so much broadly stroked humanism and smug humor before it's time to scan the stations for a little AC/DC.

And in the end I think I'd rather hear Bon Scott sing, "Being a bad boy ain't that bad / I've had me more dirty women than most men ever had," than listen to a round table discussion on blogging punctuated by fake "world" music and the constant breathy reminder that I'm listening to NPR.

And still I listen daily.

Varius Crispinus   ·  June 21, 2004 6:28 PM

I haven't listened to NPR in ages. I wrote it off a while ago. No great loss.

Jim Lynch   ·  June 22, 2004 2:01 AM

Debunking the myth of the split infinitive? Not something I'd want to lightly do. I'd rather be preserving the passive periphrastic!

NPR reminds me of Berkeley, which I loved -- even though I couldn't stand it.

Welcome VARIUS!

Eric Scheie   ·  June 22, 2004 7:58 AM

Welcome VARIUS!

I don't listen to radio much any more and I stopped watching TV altogether years ago. Rush Limbaugh's knee-jerk bellowings and the government-subsidized Communist propaganda on NPR both turn me off. I've been too wrapped up in books and the blogosphere these days.

My brother listens to NPR all the time, though. He has Garrison Keillor going in his car radio whenever we go for a drive somewhere. Sometimes "Car Talk", "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me", "All Things Considered", or something else. He's a Democrat, sort of Center-Left. Our Mama even more so, more to the Left. My whole family, except one of my uncles (who leans Republican) and a couple of my cousins (who lean Libertarian), have always been Democrats. But we agree to disagree. Politics doesn't really matter when you love your family as much as I love mine.

I used to listen to radio all the time when I was living in Portland. They had a 24-hour classical music station that I loved.

They also had a fundamentalist Christian radio station KPDQ, that I listened to because the _style_ of the preaching was interesting. Rev. J. Vernon MacGee was my favorite, I think. I would have loved to have listened to Rev. Dr. Carl MacIntire's broadcasts.

I listened to one program on NPR which was _not_ political but instead featured Celtic music. That's my favorite kind of music. "Thistle and Shamrock" the program was called. I loved that one! Sometimes, interspersed with other broadcasts, NPR plays Celtic music. I think that may be that kind of "world" music Varius Crispinus mentioned.

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