There is nothing new under the sun

I just ran across this fascinating piece about what looks like the precusors of blogs. It begins:

Blogging brings out the hit-and-run element in communication. Bloggers tend to be punchy. They often hit below the belt; and when they land a blow, they dash off to another target. Pow! The idea is to provoke, to score points, to vent opinions, and frequently to gossip.

Anyone thinking about the function and future of blogs ought to give their history some attention. It points out that 18th century newspapers were little more than blogs themselves in that they consisted of paragraphs that were unrelated to each other, untitled, and without any indication of authorship. Each was a tidbit of information, often salacious or vindictive but always informative even if unfair or in error.

They were rampant in France before the Revolution and the observations about them reinforced the short article I read last night in my American Heritage Magazine about Ben Franklin’s successful efforts to prompt a French alliance that helped the colonies win the war of independence.

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