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Martin Luther Was A Blogger?

There’s a debate out there about blogs, particularly blogs in the sporting world. Traditional journalists often get upset about blogs; from their perspective, blogs are only done by morons sequestered in their mothers’ basements as they hastily post one uninformed opinion after another, clad only in underwear. What credentials do they have to write about sports? After all, they don’t have a press pass and they definitely haven’t been to journalism school.

Well, in some cases, these people are morons and they post inappropriate things. In other cases, they’re quite educated and successful and just happen to be using the medium of the Internet. Blogs themselves aren’t the problem — if you’re a bad blogger, no one will read you. The fault lies more in people’s resistance to change.

In a way, there have always been blogs, as Joe Posnanski, a very good sportswriter for the Kansas City Star, points out on his blog.

(Quoting a colleague about W.C. Heinz, a sportswriter in the ’40s):  “In (Heinz’s) day, with multiple editions and lots of friendly competition, newspapers were the blog equivalents.” 

This is really a great point, and one that just gets overlooked. There have always been blogs. What do we think Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was? He wasn’t working for any mainstream media — there really wasn’t a mainstream media. It was a blog written long before the Internet. It was a published as a pamphlet and published anonymously — and James Chalmers … called him a “political quack.” You could certainly argue that Paine’s blog, more than any single work, spurred the Colonies to break from England.

What do we think Martin Luther’s “95 Theses“ was? A blog. Of course. There was no WordPress for him to post, so he nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg. The door, he found, was a better operating system than Vista.

It isn’t that I miss what people don’t like about the blogosphere. I get it. There are some dirty words out there. There are some rather embarrassing photographs. There are some nasty and unfair rips out there. Hey, I would love to see the tone lighten up a bit. I would love to see people enjoy sports more and scream less. But that’s not the blogosphere. That’s just America. It’s been that way for a long time. In 1975, people vented by throwing whiskey bottles at players and fighting on 10 cent beer night. Now, they write angry blogs.

As he said, it’s a great point. Thomas Paine and Martin Luther didn’t have the Internet, so they used the equivalent — a public venue that would reach the highest number of people.

Fabulous analogy, and great justification for blogging.




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