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  • Lance Mannion
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Congratulations on being America's blog sweetheart. ;-)

As for being a swooper or a basher, why must that be limited to writing, why can’t that extend to how one deals with life in general? I know there are days when I swoop through and hope I have hit all I am supposed to, but know I will have to go back and pick up the pieces of numerous things. On other days I bash… I do one thing until it is completed and crossed off of the list before moving on. Those days are rare especially since children. Children have turned me into a full-blown swooper.

Kevin Wolf

Very interesting. Something to think about. The pre-blog, printed blog. Leave it to Vonnegut to scope that out first...


A writer's habits and his style are not necessarily symetrical, but most blogs, rushed and timely or not, seem mostly monotonous and repetitive (in the strict senses): copy, paste, rote argument, aspersion, insult, snark, pop culture reference, link. Blogs are popular and populist, but sometimes I wonder whether the potential of populism has already been exhausted. Sometimes it seems like every possible blog entry has already been written, posted and linked. A valuable blog might depart from the linking-and-linked model and attempt to revive the aphorism for a new era: taut, saturnine, ironical, metaphorical. But who would read even a new Nietzsche or E. M. Cioran or even some modern Marcus Aurelius (which seems pretty unlikely, now that I think of it), if he (or she, setting aside sexist assumptions) did not reflect the populist values of existing blogs? Who would read a blog that told people that blogging is futile?

Michael Bains

... but sometimes I wonder whether the potential of populism has already been exhausted.

That's an impossibility. The potential of populism to resolve any given issue is now, always has been, always will be, extremely limited. What it is not, is exhaustable.

As long as there are sentient beings with the tools to communicate, even on the localist of levels, populism will will continue to provide an avenue of research for thoughtful folks.

And I'm a swooper who really wants to bash, but, well, got some strong emotions frustratin' my nose-to-the-grindstoneness.

Excellent "report" Mr. Mannion!

The Heretik

Link. Snark. Snark. Link. Symmetry. Exhaustion. Sleep. Wake. Link. Snark. Oy.

harry near indy

there are two groups of people in the world.

the first group divides humanity into two groups.

the second group doesn't do that.

The Heretik

Father Tiresias told me ambivalence about dividing people into two groups was a natural characteristic of the third group.


Lance, you've articulated pretty well why I think you're a good blogger. Your posts almost always feel like you've just sat down and informally started writing about something. I have no idea whether that's an accurate description of the genesis of your posts, but that's what they feel like. And I think that aesthetic works quite well in this medium. It also explains why I probably won't ever blog. I'm a basher, and indeed, worry tremendously not only about what I'm saying, but over whether anyone else needs to hear it.

Neddie Jingo

I've spent quite some time blogging on the futility of blogging as an agent of change, Rasselas, and I like to think I avoid the "copy, paste, rote argument" trap you describe (which I quite agree with you about, by the way).

Lance's point about the monolithic perception of blogging among journalists is a very good one: Every time I hear some mention of "the bloggers" in traditional media, it's one very specific kind of blogger they're talking about -- the very ones who fall into your trap. They are concerned with the immediacy of the effect they have on the world -- of effecting change, of convincing, of creating polemic. Others, the ones Lance is talking about (and among whom he was kind enough to number me) concern themselves with the longer term, the less immediately obvious effect that living-through-this-thing-we're-living-through has on us.

I suppose you could call it Art. I certainly don't think of myself as an artist -- but I do have some sort of weird faith that putting a readable and occasionally amusing self-portrait of Life Under Bush has in its own small way more of a positive karmic effect than all the "gotcha" posts exposing whatever hypocrisy-of-the-moment happens to be current.

Tom W.

My exclusive research has shown conclusively that in blogland, swoopers outnumber bashers 14 million to one. nice post.

blue girl

Jennifer, wouldn't Mannion be America's Blogging Blockhead? Kidding, Sir! I must be a blockhead, too -- because I would definitely label Vonnegut a Swooper.

Speaking of swooping...I keep coming over here for new swooping and it's just yesterday's swooping! Don't you care about my swooping needs?

I've been swooping AND bashing today, but it's got nothing to do with blogging.

Back to work...


Interesting distinction. I'm trying to figure out how well it fits, if only because I am resisting the notion that I am a "mere" swooper (the mere seems to be implied in his original catagorization). Granted, when blogging, I tend to "swoop," but that's because I'm not Trying To Write but just sharing the ideas that have been batting about my head -- it's more like a text version of late-night musings in the dorm hallways than anything else.

But what makes me wonder a bit is that when I'm trying to do something carefully, something I know will be picked apart, I don't quite "swoop" but neither do I "bash." Rather, I think about the topic in enough detail so that I can rush out a quick, all-of-a-piece draft, and then I go back through it with a fine toothed comb, repeating several times until it is tweaked into perfection. Is that "swooping"? Is that "bashing"? I can't tell, because it seems like the former is a variant of the kind of "barf on a page" stuff we do in timed essay exams, while the latter is what we do when we want to write an Impressive Poem. Neither, I would argue, encompasses the fact that writing is about more than just the act of laying out words on the page: it's coming up with and playing with the ideas behind them. Sometimes the two actions occur simultaneously (bashing?) and sometimes the playing comes first (swooping) and sometimes it comes before and after (which would be... what?).

Still, an interesting set of ideas of chew over.


Ah, so that is why I liked Timequake so much when it first came out!

Swooper? Yup. 100%. Every blogger I know, including myself.

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