I was talking with a friend who was struggling to get a post out on a deadline for her job. I tried explaining why I think we who blog are fulfilling a moral obligation. I started with a quote from Will McAvoy, the tetchy protaganist of HBO’s excellent Newsroom answering a question about why America is or is not great:
We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. [Pause] We reached for the stars. Acted like men.
We aspired to intelligence. We didn’t belittle it—it didn’t make us feel inferior.
We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn’t, oh, we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men.
Again and again in Newsroom Aaron Sorkin lectures the audience about the role of newsmen being to ensure the electorate is informed. That’s what newspapers used to do. (And some still do). But what we do, as writers, as activists, as bloggers, is fill the informational hole that newsmen used to fill. I’m getting paid to write every day about human rights in the United States. That used to be somebody’s beat and I know it still is. I’m not unbiased, though my favorite Lexington columnist for The Economistis not either. I don’t try to represent exactly two sides of a story because I don’t honestly believe two is very often the right number of sides to a story.
I write to entertain and inform and think through type and do a little public therapy and keep in touch with my friends and change the world. It’s all mixed together.
And we’re not newsmen. We’re bloggers. We’re women. And we’re doing the hard lifting in this information economy.
“Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”–Franklin Pierce Adams