The Lesser of Two Evils?

Dan Green takes umbrage with Wendy Lesser’s establishing principles behind The Lesser Blog. I’m a big fan of The Threepenny Review (and Lesser was once interviewed for The Bat Segundo Show; ironically, paired up with a certain poet-litblogger), but I actually agree with Dan that there are already plenty of “self-contained essays” to be found within the litblogging community. Of course, if Lesser really does desire to organize her blog, she can start by offering an RSS feed for those of us who hope to keep up with her thoughts. Lesser may claim to offer content which resembles “a printed article more than most blog entries do,” but I presume she refers to the completely disorganized navigation currently found at the Lesser Blog rather than any elitist qualifier. At least I hope that is the intent.

Nevertheless, Lesser’s stance continues the troubling hard line spouted off by John Updike and those dashing critics who seem to prefer gasconade over civil discourse. The continuing assumption that print is somehow superior to online writing simply because trees are massacred is as disingenuous a claim as Intelligent Design or proving the existence of the Tooth Fairy. Perhaps if these print-to-online greenhorns actually presented convincing arguments rather than generalized castigations sans examples, proponents of both mediums might find ways to learn and benefit from each other. Which seems to me a more constructive use of the Internet.

[6/21/06 UPDATE: Interestingly, Lesser has amended her post and removed the offending remarks from her blog. While it’s good to know that Lesser is reading the blogs and responding accordingly, one would hope, however, that Lesser (or another critic) could simply offer an explanation of where she’s coming from instead of a wholesale deletion. Perhaps one print critic being honest about the way she feels might lead to both sides understanding why there’s this continuing divide, driven by a fey animosity, between print and online mediums. As I suggested in my initial post, I believe that both sides have a lot to learn from each other. And wouldn’t the willful antagonism of the Sam Tanenhauses and the John Freemans of our world be better expressed with open communication and respectful conversation? (Thanks for the tip, Scott.)]

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One Comment

  1. I’ve made a posting on the Elegant Variation site to explain the deletion. As for the odd structure of my blog in the first place: well, I guess I didn’t think there was a great need for yet another place where everyone could vent their opinions in front of everyone. I kind of hoped for a more intimate level of response, in the form of email and such, whereby criticism and discussion and agreement and disagreement could be carried out in a private context and not under the eye of the ever-reacting public. But then, perhaps I was wrong to call it a blog at all. Still, it seems to me that the definition is not yet frozen in stone (as another communicant in this controversy put it), and therefore my weird version of a blog should count as one too. But what do I know?
    –Wendy

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