What I Learned from Ratatouille and Why Anyone can Blog
by Ellinorianne, Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 01:07:58 PM EST
Crossposted from OC Progressive
This has been another eventful week for me and I wanted to share something I wrote for our new local blog, I think it's universal and true for many here so that is why I share it.
Orange County, California is still a solidly red County but those of us living in "The OC", who are proud progressives, want to find a public space to voice our ideas and to push our agenda locally and eventually on the state and federal levels. Not only that but we want to encourage our fellow progressives to run in local elections and support them up that harrowing climb to higher office.
As we all know, none of this can happen though until many things are fixed about our election financing process and so on, but the progressive blogosphere has somewhat leveled the playing field but supporting such candidates and generously funding their runs for office.
Anyone Can Blog?
I thought of Ratatouille and the line that "Anyone can cook" when I read Paul Anderson's piece Blogging Done Right...In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
So, just because anyone can blog does not mean the product put before you will be the highest of journalistic standards, it doesn't have to be. There is a reason that Freedom of Speech is in the First Amendment, anyone can blog.
I think there is a misnomer about bloggers in general. I don't think many of them feel they are creating news or reporting on news in an original way but I do think they are taking what's out there and attempting to make sense of it.
The past eight years has been filled with a lot of misery for progressives. It was a bitter fight in 2000 and many felt cheated and that the "system" failed them miserably. The media was not doing its job to ask the right questions, if it had been, maybe there might have been a different outcome.
You see the blogosphere in many ways thinks the Fourth Estate failed Americans by not asking enough questions, they felt that they were not doing their jobs either.Too many blogs these days just deconstruct some news organization's content and spew out a bunch of conspiracy theories. Most of the time I think, who cares what you think? And that's because a lot of the bloggers aren't very informed. I like the Atlantic bloggers, like Andrew Sullivan, because they're journalists and they have informed opinions when they comment on someone else's work. That's called perspective.
This is true, I read it often on the Daily Kos but because blogs like this are on the "rating" system, the readers are able to separate the wheat from the chafe and those diaries rarely make their way to the Recommend list. Usually when they do, the comments themselves are far better than the gaggle of quotes from other news sources and the sorry excuse for commentary.
But blogs have become more than just this, they've become a place to gather and collectively scratch our heads. There are so many who felt completely ostracized by our last Administration that this was what was needed to fill that gapping maw of information or any really intelligent questioning of flawed policy.
But that's just it. The news, those "journalists" have an obligation to remain impartial, yes? Isn't that the point? It's really not that they didn't comment on what was happening; they just didn't ask enough questions.
Bloggers don't have the obligation to keep their point of view a secret. There is no unspoken vow of impartiality (which, if you've read the content of the Register, you'd realize that it's non existent in some places) to the subject matter. We are able to rail against the questions asked, the answers and the disappointing outcome of the whole ordeal.
Blogging was born out of a need to fill in the gaps and those "conspiracy theories" such as torture is illegal and the war in Iraq was a mistake, those aren't theories, those are realities that many on the right refuse to recognize.
Universal Health Care? The stories we share about young girls dying because they've been denied treatment from their insurance company and those who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions, those stories are meant to push people into action. Those stories are put into a context to where many can understand that a Country such as ours should not allow anyone to die because the free market deems it a necessary loss.
I could go on and on about the topics of concern to bloggers who have, through their tenacity, made voices like mine relevant. Elected officials pay attention to the blogosphere because they know that there is a knowledgeable voting block behind the stoic lines and blocked in quotes. They know that the power of these free media outlets has driven the most important issues to the headlines and to the chambers of Congress.
And when the local means of news gathering refuses to recognize an entire voting populace then that "free market" will create an alternative such as the OC Progressive. Concerned citizens believe it's time that the right questions were asked of those who represent us and that our opinions, even if in the minority (Although I'm starting to think that's not the case either) are valid and just as important as those of the editorial board at the OC Register.
And I'm honored to be included in the same breath as Joe Shaw and Gus Ayer as fellow bloggers. Both showed tremendous support for Gary, my husband, when he ran for State Senate (As did hundreds of others, to us that election was a huge win)and have encouraged me to keep writing and pushing my own unique point of view. I just hope with my limited time (Working parent) I can contribute, just a bit, to this new community and encourage others to do the same.