Wednesday, May 25, 2005

On Speaking on the Street Corner

The BostonGlobe warns about self-indulgence when writing a blog. It also notes the infiltration of the big players. Does the New York Times really need a blog, “that promotes a give-and-take with readers while satisfying the standards of our journalism.” Do we really need the Times to tell us how to communicate with each other? Will we need to drag out the Chicago Manual of Style?

This is a chance to sit around the pot bellied stove, or stand on a box in Hyde Park, or gossip over crumpets, or attend a quilting bee and share the bits and pieces of town lore. Once, eons ago, I heard Lenny Bruce, or I think it was Lenny Bruce, evoke the passion of his listeners. He stood on a street corner in Greenwich Village and spoke about language. Some folks emphatically denounced his language as bordering on vulgarity or simply lewd, over the edge, while others applauded his pushing the envelope. I was too young to enter the discussion. Now I’d say, “Can’t you find other words?” “I see, sometimes only those words will do.”

Two weeks ago a street preacher in Cambridge proclaimed everlasting damnation for anyone who had not been saved. His fluorescent colored sign promising salvation for all who believed. A young man stopped and took a tract, another walked away. No one screamed at the man—they just kept going.

Now this is a street corner. Blogs intersect. Some voices provoke outrage; some voices demand the reader to reassess, to give more thought, to challenge the ‘way things are done’.

What standards do the Times want to promote? Can’t we all speak with, to, one another. I like when the Globe editorial refers to the blogs as a funky neighborhood. We need to be careful about succumbing to the glamour of the established voices.


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