Much of my downtime here at work, of which there seems to be less and less, I do my best to keep myself informed of the happenings in the world. I actively watch the BBC, listen to NPR podcasts, have finally repaired my links to use the Economist online (thanks, Dad!) and have been delving a bit when I can into what is strangely called the blogosphere. I suppose it’s a better term than ‘bloggernet’ or ‘blogmania’ or other concoctions. However, I do think that blogs, and how they are handled by the majority of heavier users, is nice. I think it’s an amazing resource for writers, artists, and thinkers to share more directly with a wide audience, and makes an easy pathway to written debates.
As I have mentioned before, the internet’s promise does come with a price. If you check anywhere with a message board or blog reply system, you’ll very readily find the knee-jerk, foolish, and grammatically-lacking reply. I got a clean view of it when reading a review of Roxio’s Toast 8, and the responses to the review were empty to the point of being vacuous. Responders would rarely add in their two cents to the review, but would instead tear into one another’s poor responses. It was almost painful to look at, because my train of thought always goes to questioning the quality of humanity and why bother continuing to work at being upstanding and thoughtful.
I sure do get sidetracked easily. The point of my writing this blog is to point out a blog Ben had recommended to me a while back. I’ve taken to reading Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish regularly throughout the day. Not only is he a great writer and reading him will link you out to many other wonderful things in the world, but he does epitomize the thoughtful courtesy in a blogger that I am writing about. It’s amazing what happens when someone touting themself to be a proper conservative. I start agreeing with a great deal of the ideas they put forth.
An awesome thing that happened while in Mr Sullivan’s corner of the blogosphere has been a debate between he and another writer, Sam Harris. Sullivan has a strong Christian faith, and Harris is a vocal Atheist, and somehow, somewhere, they wound up in a debate, Is Religion ‘Built Upon Lies’? All the content aside, it’s a grand thing to see two people, who obviously enjoy one anothers’ writing, have two different views and manage to politely tear into the other man’s arguments without coming to a terrible standstill. My father and I have long talked (debated, yelled, whatever) about the idea of proper discourse between people of different values and ideas. My dad and I do our best to keep in touch with how the ‘other side’ reasons, ‘the other side’ being just whomever happens to have a contrasting opinion. It is grand work by Messrs Harris and Sullivan, and I hope to find more of it in the future.
Oh, and as a final note, I would like to mention how much I love my Apple computer (specifically PowerBook) and the Dashboard with Widgets that exists in OS X. I cannot count how many times I have hit F12 and typed directly into the dictionary. Aside from all the other nifty things I use, that dictonary access has sped up my writing and research, and I especially like the etymology that is included with most definitions. It definitely (ha!) lends itself to more accurate usage.