The most quotable quote comes early on:
Let me put this bluntly, in language even a busy blogger can understand: Criticism — and its humble cousin, reviewing — is not a democratic activity. It is, or should be, an elite enterprise, ideally undertaken by individuals who bring something to the party beyond their hasty, instinctive opinions of a book (or any other cultural object). It is work that requires disciplined taste, historical and theoretical knowledge and a fairly deep sense of the author's (or filmmaker's or painter's) entire body of work, among other qualities.So you get he point. He's rude, sure, but he's also irritated the many readers and, on the other end, publishers are giving bloggers equal weight to reviewers. I agree with him. As with books and their publishers, we need to trust the source of this information. As he says smartly later in the article regarding why we read critics, "We do not — maybe I ought to make that 'should not' — read to confirm our own prejudices and stupidity. "
He later quotes writer D. J. Waldie, who says that blogging is a form of speech, not of writing. Youch... but fair. As someone blogging right now, I realize the impermanence of these comments. I recognize the short shelf life of this piece. I have made peace with the fact that this most likely will never be archived. It affects my approach, and therefore affects the quality of writing. If a blogger denies that, then there's a problem - and many people are struggling to deny that.
I was following a friend's links to two bloggers, both of whom were writing very personal chronicles of their lives online, who have gotten book deals out of their blogs, and I was kind of horrified. I was willing to read a post now and again, but the fact that they had been told that their lives were interesting enough and important enough, having been blogged about to death, to warrant publishing, having in print for years to come... it seemed tragic.
I suppose that gets at issues of deserving. Does online journaling make one deserving, or is the journal a possible way to work through issues and feelings, possibly to develop writing skills or at least approaches? That's what I think. Then take those developed skills, concentrate, and write something new, and interesting, and worthwhile, and beyond yourself. That's more of what I'd like to see, as that would be more substantative and engaging to me as a reader.