Monday, December 29, 2008

One person's decline in "belief in the message" is another's "democratisation of doubt"

The new nihilism? Or something more Promethian?

Thanks to Tony Curzon Price for this by Geert Lovink.

We're operating in a post-deconstruction world in which blogs offer a never-ending stream of confessions, a cosmos of micro-opinions attempting to interpret events beyond the well-known twentieth-century categories. The nihilist impulse emerges as a response to the increasing levels of complexity within interconnected topics. There is little to say if all occurrences can be explained through post-colonialism, class analysis, and gender perspectives. However, blogging arises against this kind of political analysis, through which a lot can no longer be said.

Blogs express personal fear, insecurity, and disillusionment, anxieties looking for partners in crime. We seldom find passion (except for the act of blogging itself). Often blogs unveil doubt and insecurity about what to feel, what to think, believe, and like. They carefully compare magazines, and review traffic signs, nightclubs, and t-shirts. This stylized uncertainty circles around the general assumption that blogs ought to be biographical while simultaneously reporting about the world outside. Their emotional scope is much wider than other media due to the informal atmosphere of blogs. Mixing public and private is essential here. What blogs play with is the emotional register, varying from hate to boredom, passionate engagement, sexual outrage, and back to everyday boredom.

There's much here to consider.

So how do blogs relate to independent investigative journalism? At first glance, they look like oppositional, or potentially supplementary practices. Whereas the investigative journalist works months, if not years, to uncover a story, bloggers look more like an army of ants contributing to the great hive called "public opinion". Bloggers rarely add new facts to a news story. They find bugs in products and news reports but rarely "unmask" spin, let alone come up with well-researched reports.

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