Blogging: The Root of All Evil.

July 31st, 2008

Root of All Evil - Comedy Central

Root of All Evil - Comedy Central

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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9 Responses to “Blogging: The Root of All Evil.”

  1. 1WineDude Says:

    I find that hilarious!

    It’s very similar to what I was getting at with the OWC discussion about wine blogger “insecurity”:

    Here’s hoping we get the opportunity to discuss it facet o face at the WBC!

  2. Arthur Says:

    I’ll be there , Joe! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Michael Wangbickler Says:

    I love this show. While your point about public perception of blogging may be accurate, this is unlikely to be a good case study. The fact is, this show is comedy and focuses on the extremes at either end. It is a bit of satire and stand-up rolled up together. Personally, I found it hilarious. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to take us seriously?

    My $.02.

  4. Arthur Says:

    Hi Mike

    I agree that it is satire. But in every joke is a seed of truth and bashing blogs seemed fertile ground. Interesting how energetically the audience voiced their support of Oswalt, though.

  5. Morton Leslie Says:

    “Anthrax (my goldfish) isn’t feeling well. He’s resting at the surface of his tank”… a Twitter Feed from Stephen Colbert

    Excuse me, Stephen, but I don’t give a flying @%$# what your goldfish is doing or, for that matter, what any of you Twitterers are doing.

  6. John Kelly Says:

    Now, Morton – don’t go bashing the future we won’t be part of. Haven’t you seen WALL.E?

    RE the audience reaction in this episode of TROAE: maybe it was an expression of the distrust many ‘Murricans feel for people who read and write for fun, rather than to make a living, Or maybe it’s that most blogs seem to be put up by haters, trolls and other malcontents. Perhaps this shapes the public perception of blogging in general?

    The stereotypical image of a blogger is some unshaven guy in his underwear with a Red Bull and Cheeto-stained fingers. Me? I haven’t found a wine that goes with Cheetos yet. I shopuld probably Twitter the question.

  7. Morton Leslie Says:

    John, I am a malcontent, unshaven, and caffeine laden, but I never blog in my underwear. Regarding Cheetos….Champagne, of course. Silly you.

    Three decades ago my wife and i were staying at the Kona Village on the big island. A friend who knew our preference for the Champagne/cheetos wine and food pairing, called the hotel and asked both be delivered to our hut. Unfortunately, they misunderstood and sent a box of Cherrios with a bottle of Moet Brut. That particular combo doesn’t work, moreover I have found Cherrios much harder than Cheetos to pair with wine.

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  9. » Blog Archive » 40 days Says:

    [...] I wonder, at times, if this is a form of journalistic snobbism. Do traditional (print) journalists see themselves somehow above media like blogging? Certainly, there is some negative preception of blogging in the public consciousness. [...]