Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In defence of Jason Cherniak...

Is it just me, or is it a bit rich of a professional pontificator, who makes a living giving people his opinion in national newspapers and national television programs, to insinuate that a blogger is being too "self-involved" on his own blog!?!?

I like Andrew Coyne and all, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a nationally published columnist taking pot shots at some guy's personal blog for being too "self-involved" as though that wasn't kinda the WHOLE POINT of blogging.

Cherniak's blog may be widely read, and he may be "in the public eye" to a certain, limited extent but if "too self-involved" is a legitimate criticism of some random Canadian's personal blog, then maybe we should shut down Blogger. It feels to me, kinda like reading someone's autobiography, and complaining that it's all about them. Or of a nationally recognized literary critic taking time out of their busy day to negatively critique a book of poetry published by some young aspiring poet on a vanity press somewhere, and publishing the review in Toronto Life.

I guess Cherniak should be flattered, Andrew Coyne is concerned about what he's writing about.

Me, I'd think it was a little creepy.

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Goodwin Ginger said...

It is true though that Cherniak has placed himself in the public eye and like Kinsella there is a distinctly myopic and self indulgent whiff about their blogs. That said Coyne is a big time narcissist so it is kinda like a pot calling a kettle black.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

My other concern (and this isn't the perfect test case, but still) is that, it seems to me, notwithstanding how well-known Cherniak and his blog are (debatable), that there is a significant power imbalance between Coyne and Cherniak.

It's one thing for Coyne (or Wells, or Ibbittson, or Simspon, etc... etc...) to point to a blogger and say "Look at this interesting point" or "So and so makes a great argument", and quite another, imho, for a big-time nationally syndicated columnist to slam (in good fun even) a regular old blogger for being "self-indulgent".

I realize Cherniak is a big boy, and wouldn't have been in the slightest bothered by this, and Coyne was just poking harmless fun, but something, to me, felt a little "off".

Has the blogosphere really made us all (or some of us) so noteworthy that we can expect to be attacked by actual paid professional journalists and columnists? Are we that important?

The context of the post (that a BLOG could be too "self indulgent") seems to me to be kinda an oxymoron and to pretty fundamentally misread what blogging is all about. But, more importantly, while I'm sure Cherniak will laugh, and feel tickled pink to have appeared so prominently in a post by Mr. Coyne, I could see another Joe Blow blogger being shamed out of the blogosphere by being put down by a nationally recognized figure like Coyne. Now, I doubt Coyne would post something about someone who couldn't take it, and he's aware of his target here (and it IS all in fun, I know) still, the imbalance of power in the interaction disturbs me a bit.

Andrew Coyne's blog is his blog, and he can write what he likes, and Cherniak's blog is public, so he's open to public criticism, of course. It's just, the notion of a nationally recognized paid pundit going after (however good naturedly) an amateur political junkie with a blog (however well-read) seemed a little, I don't know, off.

Getting needled by CalgaryGrit, or Cerberus, or Steve Janke is one thing, it seems to me, while it's another if it's Paul Wells, or Andrew Coyne, or Rex Murphy. Am I drawing too arbitrary a line here, or is there something to that?

Again, Cherniak's not the best test case, as he's quite vocal, somewhat prominent and heck, let's cop to it, maybe a bit self-absorbed. I guess the post just felt a bit to me like a cat toying with a mouse (no offence Jason), and I'm not sure if I would be more proud, or mortified if Andrew Coyne wrote an unflattering post about my blog, but I know it would make me think twice about my next post. I just can't come up with an analogy to state my case particularly well. Perhaps, it would be something like writing a letter to the Editor at the G&M, and having their editorial the next day be all about how ill-thought out my letter was. Or calling in to Larry King Live and having Larry role his eyes at my question for all of North America to see.

Am I TOTALLY over-reacting here?

Saskboy said...

While I often disagree with Jason, it's amusing for a blogger to harp on another for blogging about themselves. I mean, it's a riot reading Garth.ca right now too because of that. All those BloggingTories harping on Garth being too sensationalist. They are seriously just jealous that he can get the media attention for his blog (and thus constituency) while they are ignored by the media. Jealousy at its most blatant.