Though I work in the weblog industry and preach the gospel all day, I realize that this new medium isn't really a utopia. Indeed, it's just new. But there are some parts of having a weblog that really do make writers seem more human, more real.
The thought occurs to me because I took another look at Ty Longley's weblog. I don't know much about the guy, and I clearly don't have anything in common with him except that he used Movable Type. But amidst all the attention that's been focused on the band Great White since Longley and almost a hundred others died in Rhode Island, almost nothing has been done to give voice to this man who died. Now, thanks to his site, he's got a voice of his own, even after his death.
It was pretty striking to me (and I'm not alone) that the Grammies overlooked the deaths of dozens of diehard music fans, along with a member of the band they went to see. The reason why is obvious, of course. Despite having been nominated for a Grammy at the peak of their success, Great White is a band well past its prime, in a genre that's currently out of favor. They're Not Cool.
But the web is the native soil of the obsessive, and anyone with a website is not only able, but encouraged to give free rein to their oddball fixations, their guilty pleasures. Uncool is cool on the web.
So no replacement guitarist for Great White will get a moment of silence on the Grammies, let alone the fans for this guy. But it's probably a better tribute to have his own words represent him. And it's not something any other medium would allow him to do. I'd mark it as a victory for the weblog format, and as a triumph for all of us webloggers who have bizarre idiosyncrasies that we fixate on.
I'll be the first to admit that I made snarky jokes about the fire, since I didn't know anyone affected and the band was never my cup of tea. But I've been forced to reconsider my lack of connection to the event due to the first-person nature of this site by someone who perished in the fire. So maybe weblogs do have a leg up on other media in some ways. No, it's not journalism, of course. It's something different, and just as necessary.