At The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, N.Y., Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges spoke about how his new book, “Wages of Rebellion,” differs from his previous works. In this speech, Hedges gets specific about the nature of the rebellion/revolution he is calling for. It’ll take a while to watch it all, but it is well worth your time. You can find it here on YouTube:
During the Q&A following the speech, toward the end of the video, a young woman asks Hedges whether the person-to-person communication of phones/Internet is not somehow detrimental to the systemic change needed. His response blew this blogger away. He suggests that so long as we sit here in front of our computer screens or exchanging selfies, we are avoiding the face-to-face encounters that can foster movements that will lead to real change.
I recently posted to the effect that, as Pogo once so wisely opined, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” In that post, I allowed as how we are too comfortable to really want basic change. Now, having listened to Hedges, I have real questions about what I’m sitting here doing.
Yes, I know that there are a couple of dozen of you who read these posts, but is the writing and reading of blogs playing into the hands of the cabal we think we are protesting? They certainly prefer our prattle to having to deal with the real issues we raise. What purpose does blogging really serve? Yes, it gives us bloggers the sense that we are contributing to the dialogue. But are we really? Of course, were my ‘audience,’ my ‘platform’ much larger, what I say might be ‘heard’ by more, but what difference would it make, were I to reach tens of thousands?
I was once a pastor and spent countless hours in meetings of boards and committees. What I long ago realized was that these discussions in such meetings amounted to nothing, even if actions were adopted, unless the deliberated actions were actually taken. The problem was that those participating in such meetings seemed satisfied with talking about stuff. Then the next time the session assembled, more talk about actions, which actions were seldom really acted upon. Talk became a substitute for doing anything really significant.
HHmmm, rather like blogging and reading blogs, isn’t it. If we participate in virtual reality, we needn’t really do anything. It is enough to satisfy ourselves that what we’ve read or written or thought is enough.
The real world knows that our idle blather is not enough.
6 responses to “Is Blogging Blather?”
Ron, listened to and watched the entire 1.22.47 of Professor Harris’s talk, and was both informed and instructed thereby, and have some comments on both his talk and your blog.
1. There is no substitute for the congruity of ‘talking the talk’ but ‘walking the walk.’
2. Care is needed to avoid the false dichotomy in the premise that actions speak louder than words. Effective truth-telling (by the use of words) is, simultaneously, a form of ‘direct action’ . . . just as ‘direction action’ is, simultaneously, a form of ‘making a statement.’
3. I confess that I am new to Harris’s work; my impression from this talk is that he is ‘long on’ compelling problem analysis and description. In the spirit of “without a vision, the people perish,” I would be interested in knowing if he has any similarly compelling material on ‘the vision thing.’
While I’ll remain eternally grateful that you ushered me into the electronic age, however tardy I obviously was, and cannot imagine functioning without this keyboard and the worlds it opens, I fully concur with you and Hedges. Part of my church and COB malaise is rooted in their much talk and little doing. Further, despite my sustained activism across the years, a large portion of my self-disavowal is found where you point. Yet, words do open doors and point directions to go, if we would.
An anonymous quote usually associated with St. Franicis would apply to this blather:
“Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words.”
He’s kind of lost me with that speech, although he has read some great books and met some interesting people. In the past our only information came from media, now if you search for info on a topic you are just as likely to get bloggers’ opinions as you are to get media articles. This is good if we are interested in the truth.
Real interactions are necessary. Action itself is also necessary if change is required. Not everyone automatically knows what is the right action to take. Being informed, consensus of opinion, a sense of community and shared vision, etc it’s part of an important process.
Hedges makes a valid point. Although, I would counter with the adage:
“Everything in moderation.”
Is blogging blather? Certainly. Does it also broaden public discourse and occasionally bring important and neglected issues to the forefront? Yes, I think it does. Does that mean bloggers, and other virtual world denizens, should be locking themselves up in seclusion rarely or never seeing the light of day? No, of course not.
Everything in moderation.
So, this reply, by extension is a waste of time…. :>) Having said that, I promise to smack you right in the face (that’s right, actually face-to-face) with the most peaty elixir you have ever imagined. Soon…. Unless US Customs takes it away from me…