Praise is difficult to manage–for me, at least. Generally, I look around to see who is being talked about. Can’t be me or my work! When my work is compared with what I see others doing, I’m generally awed or abashed. Knowing a little of what it takes to produce even small books like mine, I’m astonished by the abilities and insight of writers of much more agility of mind and pen than ever I’ll possess.
So, naturally, I didn’t know how to react when my dean emailed today me about an article on The Rise of the Blogosphere in the “BookTalk” section of the Fall 2007 issue of CUNY Matters. By Gary Schmidgall, “Exploring the Long Pre-History of Blogging” is full of the nicest possible words about my work, making it seem much more grand than I, even in my most swelled-headed moments, ever imagine it.
He writes, for example, that what I have:
actually produced, in under 200 pages, is a remarkable short history of journalism in the U.S.
Schmidgall, somehow, manages to see deeply into my head and what I was trying to do, even recognizing the centrality of:
the continuing debate, begun in the 1920s, by Jown Dewey and Walter Lippmann, about the purposes of an ideal citizen-serving press.
Simply put, Dewey wished for a press that helped educate the public while Lippmann felt it should lay out options, preferably two, that the populace could easily understand.
Schmidgall captures the motivation behind the book:
Bloggers, Barlow argues, in the late 1990s crashed the rather boring party that was playing out between an increasingly feckless fourth estate and an increasingly passive and alienated readership. “Blogs,” he writes, “have shown us just how deep the divide has become between the commercial and professional news media and the people of the United States.”
He’s got that right. Err…
Guess all I can say is, “Thanks.”