Thursday, June 01, 2006

Catherine Bennett: A response

If I were to write a piece on this blog saying that women used to meet up in coffee shops whenever they wanted to get away from "the hubby" and swap smutty jokes, but now they just text eachother on their mobiles, I would probably be regarded as a bit of a misogynist.

So why is writer Catherine Bennett allowed to get away with this sort of thing in today's Guardian?

I think this piece highlights what some of us have suspected for a while: that while the Guardian is clearly fascinated with the political blogosphere - some think it pays us far too much attention - it is a fascination that is mixed with contempt.

In this context, I am still not quite sure what to make of the Comment is Free uber-blog. Is it really about pluralism and free speech, or is it just an attempt to put the rest of us out of business?

If the latter, it seems to have failed spectacularly. As Ms Bennett herself notes, the comments section of CiF has already been largely annexed by what she charmingly terms "the virtual men's room."

So what if men are more inclined to take up political blogging than women? After all, it's surely healthier than drinking, less harmful to animals than fishing, more constructive than wanking, and more interesting than reading The Guardian.


stalin's gran said...

Seems like the usual pile of self-referential Guardian bollocks to me. She should go back to her old job.

Paul Linford said...

Which was?

BondWoman said...

The question is, is the gran a woman or a man? We've long wanted to know. Anyway, speaking as a woman who blogs and who does some politics, and other stuff, I say "BOO" to Catherine Bennett. Actually, I haven't read the thing yet, as I haven't had enough time online yet, but I think I get the gist from the first paragraph and from what you say here. It's the worst sort of "women's page" journalism.

skipper said...

I generally agree with the gist of what you're saying,Paul, but it's a bit severe to accuse the Grauniad of not being interesting. It provides us bloggers with lots to spark off from afterall, and, in my opinion is still the best quality daily by a mile.

Ellee Seymour said...

Well Paul, it is not only men who blog, I am addicted too, a full blooded working woman with two lovely boys, a husband too and many other interests, including gardening, walking, playing the clarinet, sailing, socialising, reading etc, etc.

My husband is a keen angler, at
championship level too, but he is addicted to eBay, he hasn't even seen The Little Red Book.

In many ways, blogging is the new emotional infidelity, it takes us away from our spouses. I know one man, a dear friend, whose wife divorced him because she said he preferred blogging to being with her. He admitted this was true. How can we explain its endless fascination and stimulation?

You are either a born blogger, or you are not.

MatGB said...

And some of those that aren't "born bloggers" are "born livejournallers"; I have a lot of female friends who use LJ, and make copious use of the ability to hide most of their content behind the protection of the "friends only" function.

She's both been reading a big pile of crap blogs, selectively quoted from them, and ignored the top ones.

Besides, blogging is self selecting, it's a free, open to all medium. Maybe we're finding out why there are less women politicians; less womoen, proportionally, are interested in "high" politics?

Completely vacous article. Completely missing the point. "Oh noes, there are nasty people out there, and sometimes (if I say something particularly stupid), I get called up to account for it".

Gah! Someone needs to give Natalie Solent or similar a job at the Guardian writing, at least we know she's actually switched on...

Paul Linford said...

Crap blogs, Mat? Which ones do you have in mind - surely not Guido or Harry's Place ;-)? And who is Natalie Solent?

Skip - do lighten up! My comment about the Grauniad was an attempt at an amusing pay-off line, not a statement of hard fact!

Paul Linford said...

Oh, and Bondwoman - if you think the Gran could possibly be a woman, you've clearly never read his blog!!

I have a good idea who he is but it would be bad netiquette to offer clues....

Anonymous said...

Ah. I meant Natalie Bennett, but I keep getting her mixed up with Natalie Solent name wise, even though their politics are very different (the latter is involved with Samizdata amongst other things).

Anyway; she dislikes the commenters at Harry's Place, so assumes all bloggers are like the most anonymous of commenters. Also, she assumes normality. My job is mostly afternoons/evenings; in the summer, I sometimes won't finish work until 10pm. So being awake at 2am and online isn't something to critique; how does she know whent my spare time is, what my working day consists of, etc? Same applies for any other blogger, male or female.

But still; Harry's Place, Gauche and a few others she namechecks. Europhobia? Chicken Yoghurt? Guido is writing in a Private Eye style, you write in a journalistic style, Justin writes in a columnists style.

To critique all blogs because of some, to assume all are the same because the avarage are full of memes and quizzes, utterly pointless.

It's very apparent that they pay attention to blogs, but they miss the difference between the good, high traffic blogs and the average to low "personal soapbox" styles.

Also, she describes herself as a liberal, but is making distinctly illiberal observations. Anyway. Like I said, work is afternoon/evening. So I should get back to it.

Anonymous said...

She is writing a load of cobblers. I'm certainly a women with all the curves to prove.

I write as therapy to alleviate stress. I'm certainly in tune with the goings-on within the Lib Dems specially at a national level.

Admittedly there are more men than women blogging, especially political ones. It's ironic that on the other side of the coin, many male bloggers don't take women seriously either. I don't see many comments on my blog but the hit counter is going great guns so people are reading it.