Monday, January 03, 2005

So this is the new year...

Welcome back to On the Fence after a week and a half of bloggio silence. It was hard to keep away at first. Then less hard. Then I started to imagine how beautiful and productive life could be without a blog.

I could write a novel! thought I.

I could spend more time with my loved ones! thought I further.

And yet, here I am.

Despite having chosen journalism as my vocation, I sometimes wonder: Why? Why all this communication? What is being communicated?

"What do you read, my lord?" asks Polonius. "Words, words, words," replies Hamlet.

Or, as Hawkley Workman puts it, "Words I think are just / a noisy dirty wind, / makes the trouble we get in, / so why do we speak?"

During much of the time I was not blogging, I also wasn’t watching television, listening to the radio or reading the newspaper. I was on a diet from my daily media diet.

I was checking my e-mail, though. And on Boxing Day an e-mail arrived from a friend vacationing on an island in the Indian Ocean. The subject line was "Disaster." She described how she and her mother were on the beach and made it to safety just in time. Her resort survived, but others on lower land nearby were destroyed.

What tsunami? I thought.

I immediately set about getting myself up to date. And then, perusing through the blogs I link to on the left, I was pleased to find that most if not all of them had linked to aid agencies -- like the Canadian Red Cross -– and the South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog.

(Sure, this was occasionally accompanied by a little minor sniping about which Canadian politician did or did not respond fast enough, but what do you expect people to do with their anger when there’s really no one to be angry at? In a culture addicted to blame, what do you pin the unblameable on?)

Anyway, the point is this: I’m sometimes very pessimistic and/or cynical about blogs.

And journalism.

And speaking.

And humanity in general.

But sometimes I’m not. And the beginning of a New Year is as good a time as any not to be.

Have a safe and happy 2005!

No comments: