January 17, 2008

OLD MEDIA HACK ATTACKS BLOGOSPHERE, GETS PRAISE FROM OLD MEDIA: Janet Maslin offers a charitable review of Lee Siegel’s Against the Machine, but even she has to include this part:

The vindictiveness and disproportionate influence of the blogosphere is a particularly sore subject. Who is it that “rewrote history, made anonymous accusations, hired and elevated hacks and phonies, ruined reputations at will, and airbrushed suddenly unwanted associates out of documents and photographs”? Mr. Siegel’s immediate answer is Stalin. But he alleges that the new power players of the blogosphere have appropriated similar powers.

Mr. Siegel himself became a great big blog-attack casualty when, in what he wishfully calls “my rollicking misadventure in the online world,” he was caught pseudonymously praising himself on the Web site of The New Republic, where he had been a particularly savage and reckless blogger. One of the improbable virtues of “Against the Machine” is that it presents a rigorously sane, fair and illuminating incarnation of its more often hotheaded author.

If all bloggers had the low standards evidenced by Lee Siegel — and, more recently, The New Republic — maybe he’d have a point. But some people just weren’t made to blog, and they seem particularly angry at the blogosphere. Meanwhile, I guess we should brace ourselves for an onslaught of Andrew Keen-style young fogies.

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