After the Gormangate Blog People fiasco, I briefly wondered if the strong reaction against Michael Gorman’s rant might be a chilling effect that would stifle other people from criticizing blogs. I have now decided that I need not have been worried. Making uninformed sweeping negative generalizations about all blogs is actually a pretty good racket. The immediate effect is that you attract an awful lot of attention, which must be intoxicating for certain kinds of people. Yes, much of the attention will be quite negative, but if blogs and blog people are stupid, it doesn’t matter if they criticize you or call you silly names like “asshat.”
I found Blaise Cronin’s second anti-blog rant extremely amusing, although probably not for the reasons that he was intending. He writes about the reaction to his first anti-blog diatribe. He selectively quotes (without links or any form of citation, tsk tsk, Dean!) some of the insults he received and then laments that blogs have lowered the standards of civility and public decorum in public debate.
Wow, all I can say is that this was a masterpiece in hypocrisy, artistic in its bold lack of self-awareness. Blaise Cronin pointedly ignored all the criticism (e.g., by K. G. Schneider, as well as this temperate response) that he received about the actual issues, so he could concentrate on the personal attacks. Why would he do such a thing? Who knows, but I’m guessing it’s so he can play the martyr, and portray bloggers as crazies who resort to cheap insults when they’re losing an argument. Finally, it helped distract attention from the holes in his arguments and his lack of cited research.