by Scott Miller
I was having dinner recently with a trusted collaborator who said to me (I am paraphrasing here): “The difference between journalism and blogging is that you can be more raw, less polished, even a caricature of some aspect of yourself”. Like Ginsberg, right? First thought, best thought?
I had decided to give it a go – that is, until I realized that the raw, unedited caricature of myself is snobbish prick who thinks he lives in England, circa 1810.
This led inevitably to a mawkish display of self-pity and a dollop of gen-u-ine soul-searching (read: quality time in the bathroom with the Southern Poverty Law Center newsletter).
Inside, I stumbled upon the verbal defecation of some cretins from World Net Daily (link not provided – waste your own time; not affiliated with WAR, NWO or NWA).
These guys probably make a good living being caricatures, I thought. And if there is a silver lining to their miscreant speech, it is that historians will have a good handle on the lizard brain underlying human behavior – right down to how many hits an idea generated.
But how much elucidation does the lizard brain really need? Fight, flee, feed, fuck. There ya go.
After all, first thought / best thought may only demonstrate that one’s collection of thoughts are usually of piddling quality. Try it: sit down a few dozen times over the next few days and write your first thought on a piece of paper. Then count the good ones. Be honest!
Don’t feel bad, it happens to all of us (I call this experiment my “writing process”). But don’t feel too good either. Because try as we might, the lizard brain runs our lives too much of the time. The last thing we need is to do as a species is to conflate reflex with honesty.
Rather than lambast some subjective list of “worst offenders”, I would rather make the humble suggestion that there is nothing more “honest” in knee-jerk reaction and bloviating rhetorical anger than there is in reflective, well-reasoned discourse – even when it not proudced on demand, but only after moths, or even years of processing. True honesty requires analysis and consideration that usually cannot be brought to bear in the span of a sound byte.
So, can I back up this assertion with evidence? Well, I suppose I could. I could apply for a grant with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, scan the brains of volunteers while they blog, measure serotonin levels, plot graphs and do statistical analyses.
Instead, I’ll just prove my point by throwing these thoughts out without any basis in evidence – because it feels good.
It’s not that I find no value in the impromptu or the spontaneous. Live music, interviews and debates can all foster the best thinking humanity has to offer. But the quip and the riff are nonetheless at the shallow end of the intellectual pool. If you want the brass ring at the bottom, you have dive deeper.
In short, that’s my excuse for taking so long with this article. I will close with another paraphrase, culled this time from the evil genius Sideshow Bob:
I’m aware of the irony of blogging order to decry it. So don’t bother pointing that out.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);