The “angriest Jew in show business” (and one of my favorite comedians) – Lewis Black – has a Comedy Central show called “The Root of All Evil” the format is a hybrid of a kangaroo court and a debate. Black presides over the proceedings where two of a line up of stand-up comics argue which of the evening’s two items is The Root of All Evil. Last night’s episode pitted Ultimate Fighting against Blogging and arguing against blogging was Patton Oswalt.
What follows, below, is a live, as-it-went down summary of the highlights from the argument why blogging is the Root of All Evil:
Oswalt, in his introduction, calls blogging “first-draft, brain leakage” and continues to say that blogging takes “…one of the most essential activities – communicating – and degrades it to ‘pooflinging’”. He goes on to say that blogging “weakens the foundation of the greatest American dream: fame”. The reason for this, he argues, is that anyone “lacking genius … can earn fame by typing a few badly-worded fragments”.
The show then transitions to a segment called the “Inquisition” where Black poses specific questions to each of the “advocates”. Leading in, Black says that in both ultimate fighting and blogging “…you use your hands but not your brains. At least blogging involves reading & writing”. To which oswalt affects a scoff and launches into an attack on the “newest form of blogging”: twittering, which he describes as:”retarted half-thought sentence fragments”.
“Why should we take bloggers seriously?” Black asks. Oswald retorts: “Everything about them is half-assed!” invoking a comparison to the ideal of the diligent and intrepid journalist.
In the concluding arguments segment, called “The Ripple of Evil”, Oswalt postulates that if left unchecked, blogging will “reduce all human expression to abbreviated grunts, emoticons and pictograms”
The format then leads to a “Final Verdict” segment where Black decides which of the night’s subjects is “The Root of All Evil”, after summarizing why each deserves the title. In tonight’s show, Black asked the audience’s judgment – as indicated by intensity of applause. The audience was much more emphatic about blogging being the “Root of All Evil”. Black concurred calling blogs the “shallow end of typing pool”. I’ll leave the additional (and gratuitous) simile to the discretion of willing viewers of the video linked above.
It’s understood that for this show, each side has to argue with zeal, contriving much and simplifying much. However, this episode is profoundly telling of the perceptions of blogging in the general public’s eyes.
There is much bloggers as a whole must overcome before they can be taken seriously and seen as credible sources of information. I have argued this point before.
I would hope that at the coming North American Wine Bloggers Conference (taking place in Sonoma in October) all participants take a sober and honest look at how the general public actually sees bloggers and responds in a manner which reflects a genuine desire to gain credibility and the publics’s respect.
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