READING ACROSS THE BLOGOSPHERIC SPECTRUMCheryl "CKR" Rofer
had a kind word for me in a lively discussion in the comments section at American Footprints
( much appreciated Cheryl !) in a post by Blake Hounshell
entitled "Who Reads the Right?"
. It is a short post that sets up an intriguing dialogue, so here it is:"A short post of mine yesterday on Tapped -- asking "why read conservative blogs?" -- spawned a pretty good discussion, with thoughtful contributions from Ben Adler and Sam Rosenfeld. Even K-Lo noticed that Sam labeled the Corner "the Conservative Id." Ben and Sam agree that the Corner is a particularly good place to check the conservative "pulse"--a microcosm, if you will, of a movement gone off the rails. There seems to be consensus among Tapped readers that the thoughtful conservative blogs are those that have spit up the Kool-Aid and broken with the Bush administration. I read a few of these, such as Greg Djerejian, who has morphed from a tepid advocate to a must-read critic of Bush and his team (especially Rumsfeld). I don't read the American Scene too often, also recommended by readers, but I was pleased to see that Ross Douthat had recently dealt with what he calls "the Conservative Cocoon." So, do our readers here still check up on what they're saying on that side of the 'sphere? I know Eric does, but perhaps only when he's looking for hanging curveballs?"
Some of the commenters were quick to recognize the danger of cocooning, a phenomenon that is as prevalent among bloggers as it is deleterious. It's dangerous to read things that make you feel too comfortable - even if you are largely correct on some issue, it dulls your wits not to expose yourself to a different perspective. By " perspective", I mean political, philosophical, methodological, cultural and so on.
Most "big name" blogs, Right or Left, I read off of Memeorandum
. My current favorite "liberal" or " progressive" sites, BTW, include Whirledview
, Progressive Historians
and Kevin Drum
-most of Kevin's commenters these days are parrots and trolls, but Kevin lost control of the mob a long time ago, so I don't hold it against him. The price of popularity is an increase in the nut factor. Better discussions occur at smaller blogs.
Even diversifying the spectrum of political blogs you read still leaves you stuck in a "political" frame of mind, so I like to peruse blogs or sites dealing with the sciences, information technology, psychology, area studies, futurism and business. I particularly favor anything brain or network theory related and I sometimes cruise over to Gene Expression
and -increasingly -tdaxp
for genetic/Ev psych commentary. After enough of this esoterica or equally abstruse miltheory 5GW discussions, I'm ready to return to my roots and read some undiluted historical writing.
If I had more online time, I'd make an effort to vary the domains I explore even more widely, but, alas, there are only so many hours in a day.