Monday, December 06, 2004

Epstein Dislikes Blagues

Joseph Epstein is skeptical about blogs. The best line in his piece for the WSJ when he notes the similarity between the word 'blog' and the French word 'blague':

After admitting all the successes of bloggers in politics and journalism in recent years, I myself remain a bit of a blogophobe. My problem with blogs is, to stay within computerese, a RAM problem. RAM is, of course, random access memory, denoting how much information one can store in one's computer, or, in human terms, in one's brain. Those little gray cells, as Inspector Poirot likes to call them, are dying off in impressive numbers in all of us; and do we wish to spend many of them reading blogs, in which a large percentage of the material cannot be relied upon, and lots more of which is beside any possible point? Well to remember that the French word blague, pronounced the same as blog, means to talk chaff, to hoax, to humbug.

The RAM issue he mentions is a real one, as is the chaff-humbug problem. But I wonder if the limits of how much information a person can take in might be altered by conditioning? I also think things like RSS can help us scan quite a broad range of material, while the text we actually read with some measure of attentiveness remains somewhat limited.


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