Sunday, July 28, 2002

This notion of the divinity of the word is intriguing to me. Getting back to the staggering volume of words in the age of the blog, it certainly is exponentially more difficult to think of words as sacred or even slightly special when they are so cheap and so plentiful. I'm not saying we should return to the age of deifying words and reserving them for the elite, but cherishing words is an idea I would hope is retained in this century.

I suppose some would want to read all sorts of spiritual things into the fact that the founder of Blogathon is an athiest, who posts athiest news headlines at her blog (it turns out she's very sweet to talk to), and although I'm a firm believer in God (it seems to me it takes incredible faith to be an athiest), I'm going to call off those dogs. Here it is the dead of night and I'm talking about the spiritual side of blogging... back to longtime blogger and word treasurer James Lileks to steer us back on course, from an e-mail reply to my question about the McDonald-ization of writing a couple years ago.

This is the golden age of text. More words fly over the net in the course of a day than were published in the entire 19th century. (Rough guess, unscientific.) The level of disquisition isn't great, but for one glorious moment in human history millions of people are banging out millions of words every day and millions of people are reading them. Most of those words, of course, seem to be an effort to prove correct the million-monkeys-typing-Shakespeare-by-accident theory, but if I can judge from the scrawls on the back of my substantial old postcard collection, people have been committing drivel for a long, long time. Chat rooms are nothing but bilge pumps. E-mail is as good as the sender. Web pages permit the publication & dissemination of ideas and projects that would have languished unread just 15 years ago. On balance: it's good. Of course, I ate at McDonald's today, so that should tell you something.

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