Wednesday, February 27, 2008

[some smart-arsed blogging title like "Maxed Out" or something...]

You remember that Max Gogarty thing a few weeks ago?

To summarise: some 19-year-old guy was planning on blogging his gap year experiences (P.S. I'm kind of technically on a gap year and I'm also 19 years old) through The Guardian.

Guardian Unlimited and CiF being what they are his first post (which was to a reasonable standard, certainly better than my own scrawlings) was soon inundated by sneering comments.

The usual hazing then turned into a flaming of thermonuclear proportions as it emerged that Max Gogarty was the son of The Guardian's travel writer Paul Gogarty.

I read Max's blog post after reading Andy Pietrasik's response at the time and my immediate response was anger directed not at Max himself, but rather at the troops of anonymous drones who spent their day writing venomous comments about the Gogartys, The Guardian, and how this was as foul a piece of nepotism as the world has seen since James Murdoch was appointed CEO of BSkyB (and I'm not just saying that 'cos I didn't get the job).

I even wrote a blog post about how annoying I find the majority of the commenters on CiF (which I didn't publish because I felt it lacked panache).

But now I've changed my mind. I've decided I find the majority of commentators in The Guardian more annoying than the idiots who comment on CiF.

There's something about the London-centric, hand-wringing, do-gooder, middle-class, Radio 4-listening-to, we-should-be-in-charge, Save the Polar Bears, Gordon's All Right Really, pompous, Oxbridge, media intelligencia that really sets my teeth on edge.

But what exactly is it that I find so irritating? I listen to Radio 4 and I like London and I think Gordon's all right really. So why do I find Polly Toynbee and George Monbiot and David Aaaaronovitch (or however many as he has in his damn name) so irritating?

Maybe my irritation stems from the fact that I feel I ought to be tribally loyal to these loudmouths in the face of the Richard Littlejohns and Melanie Phillipses of this world and my rejection of their values constitutes a heretical offense.

Maybe it's because, like all bloggers, deep-down I secretly long to be a London-based urbanite intellectual?

Or maybe it's because intelligent bloggers like Chris Applegate at qgwhlm whose views I respect and agree with also think this is damn nepotism and so do random but pretty good blogs that Applegate points to here like The Last Bus Home.

Although I broadly agree with Rafael Behr that this constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment targeting an innocent I also agree with CiF commenter oniongravy here. This storm in a nanocup does demonstrate one of the little faultlines in the UK today - that between those who live in London and write articles for quality newspapers (and most of the crap newspapers as well) and everyone else.


Cocktails said...

Hello, I know exactly what you mean - there is something really annoying about the commentators in national newspapers and the world that they inhabit. And I'm saying that as a bleeding heart middle class liberal who lives in London and works in the 'cultural/creative' sector. I can't put my finger quite on what irks me, but I suspect that it's their smugness and righteousness.

In any case, I've found myself reading less and less of the columnists and more blogs. For all the 'research' and thought that goes into some highly paid columns, the blogs of 'everyday' people are quite often just as valid, if not more so.

TJ said...

This is a good point cocktails: many columnists have precisely the same qualifications as many bloggers.

Judging the validity of someone's point of view on the basis of their platform is wrong.

What matters is the strength of their arguments.