Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Is satire always an attack?

Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury poked fun at bloggers this week (though I don't know any who are cat food eaters, quite a few blog about their cats with surprising intensity) and some of them are a bit upset. But he's also done sequences in which blogs were featured more benignly (around the Howard Dean campaign, for example) as well as critiques of "mainstream" media outlets of all sorts, from Fox to NPR. He's also satirized families, presidents, diseases, dictators and colleges. Does he hate them all?

No, you overweening nuts: he's a satirist: his job is to find the humorous kernels of truth and expose them, to "strip off the comforting veneer of half-truth" as Michael Flanders said. Some of us bloggers are really intense, socially and economically disfunctional, neurotic/maniacal geeks.

Humility, a friend of mine once suggested, is one of the most important aspects of making progress. Let us be unashamed of our selves as long as our achievements are duly noted along with our quirks. Let them ridicule us, knowing that they also read us; we ridicule them the same way.

We're not all nice, normal, high-functioning sorts. If it doesn't apply to you, then fine; you've got a nice life. But rest assured, some of us (and I'm not necessarily excluding myself here) are weird, fanatical, unfit loudmouths who would be (just) muttering on streetcorners or bloviating in bars if we didn't have blogs. How can you blog and not know that?

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