Monday, August 29, 2005

To blog, or not to blog...

In this age of the instant-publishing, anyone can express an opinion, and have people read it. You’re reading this right now, aren’t you? Some music blogs out there are by people like me - professional critics. Others are from everyday people, who simply have something to say. So, what makes my opinion any more valid than theirs?


Well, not entirely nothing. As far as my blog over theirs, there isn’t much to distinguish them. There is no process – no vetting for who can say what online. No one is endorsed, so there is complete equality. But equality in mediocrity hardly means much.

I have to distinguish what I say through content and context. Both what I write, and establishing where I am coming from. So, my credibility comes from outside of the blog – a name that is attached to actual print pieces.

So, why bother doing this? Why blog at all?

Because the thing that gives me the authority to say what I please is the last place I can ACTUALLY say what I think.

Take, For example, a review of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra I wrote for the Washington Post. I was completely incensed by the performance of the cellist - and my first draft of the review basically slapped him into oblivion. He was being disrespectful and childish – goofing off during the performance. I was also deeply bothered by a woman sitting behind me, who rustled a plastic bag during the whole thing, and then proceeded to not only have her cell phone ring, but answer it, simply to tell the person several times that she couldn’t talk – the music was too loud.

Of course, very little of that made it in to the paper.

Oh, I still whipped the cellist a bit – but it was hardly the vicious tongue lashing he deserved. But a rant like the one I wanted to write has no place in a paper like that. If I had just been writing for the internet, I could have said what I liked. But who would have cared?

With print, although I was restricted by both space and a responsibility to the paper itself, my words had a far better chance of reaching the source - that the cellist, or someone who knew him, read the piece and took it to heart.

But it is still cathartic, occasionally, to be able to say exactly what you want, without holding yourself to any standards but your own. That is the wonder of the blog - so that things I write or think that don't belong anywhere else can have a home. So that I can represent myself, not a paper or magazine, and exactly what I think.

This is just me.

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