The unannexable value of blogs as parish, not province…

On what by recent standards is a slow news day, Norm’s observation that the pessimism of some ‘progressive’ bloggers is entirely misplaced… Despite an impressive level of take up amongst the UK’s MSM they are still some way off ‘getting it’:

…they [the MSM] have not killed off the amateur blogosphere. Far from it. Think about it like this. If the only blogs were those attached to the mainstream media, blogging would have become an extension of the operations of those media. This would have been a real change of a kind – in making the mainstream media somewhat more open and various.

It put me in mind of Chris Agee’s first editorial in the first editon of the excellent Irish Pages magazine and his qualitative distinction between the parish and the province. The parish (as a unit of collective imagination) has a unique, vibrant and unreplicable life of its own, whilst the provincial merely apes the pretensions of whatever capital culture its in orbit to.

The best blogs are parishes, not provinces.

  • Alias

    Nice contrast, even if it qualitative and probably imaginary. I suppose the reality is in a dynamic community of sorts and whatever emerges from that, and some blogs have it and some don’t. Slugger seems to be a parish then. But some solo blogs have an interesting maverick or individual giving his own take on some matter or other. There is a qualitative difference between John Redwood’s blog, for example, and Dan Hannan’s blog but it is impossible to say that one blog is somehow better than the other or to say what exactly that difference is.

  • aquifer

    Interesting comparison. Maybe the parish can be a holon, something complete in and of itself, with it’s own cultural genetic code making it more directionally self sufficient and more capable of independent action than a bigger unit. The province may be governed on the principle of subsidiarity, where as much as practicable is done at the lowest level, but this also awards initiative to the higher level. The parish may have the capability of reacting to local necessity, with the principle of residuality, where if a job needs or wants doing there are a number of people with the capability to do it. British or Irish nationalism may try to make their cultural hegemony feasible with subsidiarity, but the parish could still be their graveyard if physical or emotional need can drive self organisation. Happy heretics building a well, waiting for the next toff on a horse.

  • I no longer read any of the MSM blogs as I see them as little more than spoilers which add very little to my day. Apart for a wage, (not to be scoffed at for sure) a blogger gains nothing from tying themselves to the MSM and more importantly nor does their readership. It is fine to go down this road if an individual wants a career path into journalism with the MSM, but not only is that not what makes blogging a thing of value, it also allows the MSM to get off the hook by not employing apprentice journalists, etc.

    However it is my experience if a MSM blogger writes something of real interest it will appear in the paper, not on the blogs section. The fact is a blogger pays dearly for their place at the MSM table as they are restricted as to what they can write.

    In time they begin to act like a MSM professional journalist and self censor themselves, knowing full well what is expected of them by the MSM management if they wish to keep their spot.

    Thus what you end up with is mainly waffle or gutless crap, A bit harsh perhaps but I am sure you get my drift, by the way, how many of us actually read MSM blogs? (when I say mainly gutless crap I am talking about MSM political bloggers)

  • Mick Fealty

    Mick,

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” – Dr Johnson… I have to say you are the last man I thought would scoff so volubly at the idea of a living wage…

  • RepublicanStones

    In time they begin to act like a MSM professional journalist and self censor themselves, knowing full well what is expected of them by the MSM management if they wish to keep their spot.

    I think you might be being a little hard on those MSM bloggers Mick. Blogging is still a relatively new concept and the laws pertaining to it are a work in progress. So to present self-censorship as simply wanting to keep their feet under the table ignores the ever increasing possibilty of them not wanting to pay fines or worse still visit ‘exercise yards’. Parish blogs will not be immune to this over time either, but as they wouldn’t have the luxury of a legal dept to wag the finger, it’ll be fun to watch.

    http://ianburrell.independentminds.livejournal.com/8357.html

    And when does a popular parish blog cross over into the MSM sphere? Where do the lines blur?

  • Come on Mick, if you keep being naughty I will revert to calling you Michael again 😉 I did not scoff at the idea of MSM bloggers being paid a living wage, indeed I went out of my way here when I said,

    Apart for a wage, (not to be scoffed at for sure)

    Republican Stones

    I see blogging as a liberating force, a good blogger should never self sensor in the MSM sense, but write to his/her own values. The raison d’être of the MSM is to corral its bloggers within its own moral ‘code,’ which is that of the gutter.

    Take the Guardians CiF, there is very little free thought or spontaneity from those who blog there, as their work is bounced back and forth between themselves and the sections editors before it goes on line. That is until those who blog get the hang of the place and learn to self censor and write within the papers unwritten guidelines.

    As I said, In time they begin to act like a MSM professional journalist and self censor themselves, knowing full well what is expected of them by the MSM management if they wish to keep their spot.

    I am not ripping their heads off for acting like this, as good stuff slips through; my point is those who blog for the MSM and those who work on its main outlets will eventually become indistinguishable.

    All the best

  • Mick Fealty

    Michael, I can live with… Not that other thing… which I am (rather carefully) not mentioning…