Do Linguists Have Fun, too?

Fresh Air is get­ting stale

ok, some ran­dom stranger per­son called me on my cell phone to tell me that NPR’s Fresh Air was doing a piece on blog­ging. (lis­ten in Real Audio) This Nun­berg guy’s pieces always have this strange fatal­is­tic tone to them– as if the evo­lu­tion of lan­guage over the years has specif­i­cal­ly con­tributed to the debase­ment of civ­i­liza­tion. err some­thing. But then, as if he had­n’t spent the past two and a half min­utes rip­ping up what­ev­er sub­ject he’s talk­ing about, he always has some hope­ful thought for the future of such-and-such… you get the sense that this guy does­n’t spend time enjoy­ing the here-and-now.

…the only thing blog­gers seem to have in com­mon, is that they have a lot of time on their hands, and an exhi­bi­tion­ist streak…

god, his tone of voice when he says that betrays his elit­ism and, dare I say, his gen­er­a­tion. We know which side of the cul­ture war that he’s on.

Still, I’m not going to deny his points, nor am I wor­thy of mount­ing a com­pli­cat­ed defense of ‘blog­ging’… I think that blog­ging is just anoth­er demo­c­ra­t­ic exten­sion of the spir­it and free­dom that the inter­net offers. Nun­berg admits this, but you get the sense that he does­n’t see in it much inher­it val­ue. I know there are good blogs, bad blogs, depress­ing blogs, and joy­ous blogs.

Yet, there is some­thing inher­ent­ly Amer­i­can in it, I think. In so far as any­thing can be such a thing.

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