Sunday, September 17, 2006

Good Morning, Mr. Siegel

In this morning's New York Times Magazine, Lee Siegel says in an interview: "Seriously, the blogosphere strips argument of logic and rhetoric down to the naked emotion behind it."

The sentence is a little difficult to parse, but I think it means that the blogosphere (which in this case is not a blog but the bulletin board over at The New Republic) takes well-written ideas and turns them into insults. Other comments in the interview support this interpretation; he talks about how as Sprezzatura he could "abandon [his] intellect."

Is that your vision of what we do here, Mr. Siegel? It is true there is no shortage of people looking to blow off steam, and apparently you are one of them.

I'm here for the ideas. It may surprise you, Mr. Siegel, that I find plenty of them. This thread on portraiture, for example, or this one on the meaning of place, or this one on how to understand one's own experiences. There is also emotion in these posts, sir: the deeply-felt friendships (and, yes, animosities) that develop here, the intensity of commitment to our positions, the frustration of grappling with ideas that seem just beyond our capacity to articulate them.

That you sir are so willing to dismiss these aspects of our community in favor of the mudslinging makes me question your critical judgment. Do you read Fraywatch? Do any of the editors? What do you think of our enterprise?

Seriously. I'd like to know.