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Why We Blog

October 20, 2008

Every Friday, while I’m doing web work (which requires nimble fingers and technical prowess but not my full cerebral attention) I listen to Slate’s Political Gabfest. They provide me with the deliciously pretentious and scandalously liberal injection I need once in awhile to remind me what I was like in college.

This week the crew drew my attention to an essay running in this month’s Atlantic Monthly entitled “Why I Blog.” The author is Andrew Sullivan, a longtime and well-respected blogger (who I actually don’t read, but am familiar with) and as well as a “dead tree” journalist (that term makes the environmentalist in you want to cancel your New Yorker subscription, doesn’t it?), and you can tell he is in love with the medium about which he writes.

I agree with a lot of what Sullivan says, being a big fan of blogging myself, and a lot of Sullivan’s reasons resonate with me.

Sullivan describes the freedom of blogging, as well as the immediacy of it. He notes its contrast to writing for a print publication (to my fellow interns, some of this may seem familiar to you..):

“And in all this I’d often chafed as most writers do, at the endless delays revisions, office politics, editorial fights, and last-minute cuts for space… Blogging-even to an audience of a few hundred in the early days- was intoxicatingly free in comparison. Like taking a narcotic.”

Now. We at FCNL do not condone narcotics. Nor, however, is this office exempt from the realities of publication that Sullivan describes above. That is why I was first drawn to this blog, and why I decided to embark on a crusade to bring it back from the one-post-every-two-months land of the dead. As I learned to write in the FCNL voice and to cope with being at the very bottom of the FCNL-editing-process food chain, I found that this blog was a space in which I could be expansive, quirky, funny, and yes, myself. Hurrah!

It also, as I soon discovered, helps me do the rest of my job better, because I have a place where I can both experiment with rhetorical flourishes and work through FCNL issues for myself, away from the grip of editors. This process of “figuring out” makes my official prose for the website, email communications, or newsletter more clear, and less fraught as I try to express some of my own opinion as well as FCNL’s. I don’t need to…I already got that out of my system on the blog.

What Sullivan enjoys that Of Peace and Politics does not, of course, is a robust debate in comments on his posts. But we’re getting there.

I hope you all get a chance to read Sullivan’s piece. It reminded me why I like blogging so much, and got me excited anew about posting on our blog. Enjoy!

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