Are You a Tasteful Blogger or an Original One? ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are You a Tasteful Blogger or an Original One?

This from the brilliant Joseph Epstein:

Strong character is required to assert one’s true taste. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein makes a distinction between taste and originality. “Taste,” he says, “can be charming but not gripping.” Taste, in his view, “is refinement of sensitivity: but sensitivity does not do anything, it is purely receptive.” He believed that ‘a great creator has no need of taste; his child is born into the world fully formed.’ (Shakespeare, when you think about it, was weak in the line of taste – thank God.) Taste refines and polishes, but creates nothing. Wittgenstein’s own fear was that, as a thinker, he himself had taste merely. - Joseph Epstein, Snobbery

I tend to think that blogging is a medium that lends itself to tastefulness, and rewards tasteful bloggers--those adept at sifting cool from uncool and pointing to rising attractions. Originality, on the other hand, is not necessarily rewarded at the blogosphere. What do you think?

When I started blogging three years ago, I saw blogging as a creative outlet, first and foremost. Now I see it as more a way to share and polish ideas, a medium that facilitates the diffusion of various lifestyles that people find interesting. Point to an innately original blogger, wantonly posting creative content of his own imagining, who is also "successful" in terms of a large readership.

What's that? You can't think of any?

Increasingly, I'm thinking that books are the proper refuge of originality. Just thinking out loud...

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Tom said...

So what books do you find original? And which blogs tasteful?

I have a blogging friend who I think is both original and tasteful, with a decent readership. A depressed British Atheist and Philosophy teacher, living in Scotland, blogging about loosing 100 lbs, depression and raising a daughter with Down syndrome.

Ariel said...

I could've been more specific. My point is, blogging as a medium doesn't necessarily play into the hands of people who want to pour time and energy into posting "original" content.

Unless the writer is posting for personal satisfaction, there's almost no way the dividends will be worth the creative investment (if you tally dividends by the traditional marks of "success" - readership, popularity, revenue, etc).

That's not to say their aren't very original voices in the blogosphere. Your friend looks to be one...and I'm aware of others, and try to link 'em. I'm simply saying that those "original" (read: creative, whimsical, imaginative) bloggers are not the ones with thousands of readers.

Having said that, I still think that blogging creatively--working hard to write a unique piece from one's own thoughts--as opposed to commenting, reviewing, comparing, linking, etc., can be rewarding--even if a handful of people see it.

Bloggers who want to be original, in the Epsteinian sense, as opposed to tasteful, just shouldn't expect to become rich and famous. :)

Will Robison said...

Well, that explains my lack of an audience. ;)

Regi G said...

Lack of readership is a blessing for me. :)

I post original content, because I'm not blogging for others, but for myself. I just wish I could get on a roll with that, posting my own thoughts and opinions that might find their way into the right hands--er, on the right screens.

If I don't get world-famous from blogging, I think my ego will survive. But, maybe not.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife