Hocus Focus

In his now-famous attempt to link liberal bloggers and fascists, Lee Siegel also wrote

The blogosphere’s fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus.

Today, reading Richard Hack’s Clash of the Titans, a book about Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch, I came across a quote from Turner that, well, puts Siegel right in his place:

Wait a minute!  Wait a goddam minute!  You think it lacks focus?  What is focus anyway?  If you’re live all the time, how can you have focus?  Focus means that you know where you’re going.  You can’t focus on something unless you know what you’re focusing on!  Focus is something a newspaper has, because there’s a day to think about it.  Or with a magazine there’s a month.  Whoever said that is a yo-yo.”

Turner, of course, was not talking about blogs, but about CNN.  The point’s the same, however: like CNN, the blogs are “on” all the time.  There’s no “issue,” as with a newspaper or magazine, and no time or desire to create a focus.

This is one of the things that frightens old-fashioned “journalists” like Siegel: there’s an anarchy on the web!

Thing is, it does a better job of reflecting the real world than do his newspapers and magazines….  And guess why?  There’s an anarchy in the world, too!

Life doesn’t make neat little stories with foci and themes.  It’s messy and shifts direction just when you least expect it.

Siegel wants a neat little fantasy, and is unhappy when he can’t have it, so starts throwing out accusations of “fascism” or “blogofascism” when the anarchy of a real reflection of human existence is thrown at him.

Turner may be a nut and something of a clown (and I do believe he is), but I’ll take him any day.