Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Eco-equality - saving the world for all, not just the rich

Apologies - yes, it's been a while since I last posted. Things have been very busy at work and home, so besides the crush on the demands on me, there just hasn't been the time to sit and write all things that have been swirling in my head for this blog. But I thought I'd share a few notes.

One thing foremost on my mind is the Tim Flannery keynote address for the Melbourne Writers Festival last Friday. I promised to blog on the Festival where I could, and Flannery's speech on global warming has given me much to think about. While I don't have the time to work through all the issues I'm reflecting on regarding Flannery's key approach to dealing with global warming (which can be summed up as 'green consumerism'), I can at least share as a first response these compelling ideas about eco-equality by Van Jones that has posted on their site:

This new green wave of technology... of opportunity... lends itself to a question: will the green wave lift all boats, or will we have eco-apartheid? Will we have some communities with solar-this and bio-that and organic-the-other, and other communities like Oakland, with cancer clusters and pollution pockets, kids with asthma... or will we have eco-equity?

[What if] we make a decision as a movement to say 'no, no - we have to rescue life on this planet, and we have to do it collectively. We have to build an ark, so we can put the failing communities on it. Then you begin to have a new politics; it's a politics of real solidarity. It's a politics that says: The only way for these new environmental solutions can work is if the majority of people can embrace them. Suddenly the young people who don't have any jobs have a reason to talk to the environmentalists - why? Because you can offer them jobs. Putting up the solar panels. Retrofitting the buildings. There're jobs and opportunity that you can offer to young urban youth that right now don't care about environmentalism... dignified work that can help save the planet. Making a declaration [that] those communities that were locked out of the last century's pollution-based economy will be locked in to the new clean and green economy.
Right on. It is worth remembering that those who will suffer the worst affects of global warming will most clearly be those disadvantaged socially, economically, and culturally - not just geographically. As a reminder, on this first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, let's remember how it was predominantly poor, African American and Hispanic people who were most tragically affected.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

States action on greenhouse gases exposes Howard's failure

I think what the State governments are proposing – a carbon 'tax' on industries linked to their greenhouse gas emissions – is a big step forward in Australia dealing with its impact on global warming.

For one, it is certainly a
direct challenge to the failure of the Howard federal government to seriously tackle global warming.

It is also
a step in making industry take responsibility for their role in global warming.

While it strikes me as somewhat repulsive that industry could trading, and possibly make a profit out of, their carbon impact on our environment. Nonetheless,
we need action – Australia produces the highest per capita carbon emissions compared to the rest of the world. And the green groups seem prepared to back carbon trading.

What is unfortunate is that we can only convince industry to do something about their greenhouse gas emissions by convincing them that
they could make a buck out of it.

I think that all people must do what they can to examine the way their lives and actions affect our planet. Am I prepared to pay for it?
You bet. The predictions are a rise of $30 a year in electricity bils – that's about the cost of one new-release CD, or a book, or a take-away meal with a little extra something for my family. Not much, compared to costing the earth. I want to give my kids a fighting chance.

Update: with a little more digging around, I've foundthat not all environmental groups are supporting the State's carbon trading approach to reducing greenhouse gasses. Friends of the Earth yesterday condemned the initiative:
Friends of the Earth Australia spokesperson, Emma Brindal says “The adoption of greenhouse gas emissions trading as a solution for climate change entrenches the idea that markets can solve environmental problems, but it is in fact the market-based approach that has been largely responsible for environmental degradation and global climate change.”

Strangely, in all hoo-ha over the plans,
the media nicely overlooked the people who cried out, 'you can't fix the problem by using the thing that made the problem in the first place!' [Updated 17 Aug, 3:55 pm]

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Nuclear power will not let us off the hook

The unfortunate thing about Howard’s current nuclear agenda is not his inquiry into the viability of expanding uranium mining and developing a nuclear power industry in Australia.

Nor is it that the inquiry has the appearances of a done deal, with an outcome tipped towards supporting the nuclear gravy train so desired by the Howard government and the mining, uranium, and nuclear lobbies.

What is unfortunate is that business and political interests are hijacking the global warming crisis to protect their financial future and power interests. Seeing the writing in the coal dust, they determined to protect their industries and financial futures from demands that they make the necessary concessions to reduce their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Nuclear power has become Australian industry’s saviour – this white steed promises them a way out of cutting energy consumption and cutting emissions to reduce their global warming debt. By pursuing the false promise of nuclear power as a clean, green and low carbon dioxide emitting energy source, industry hopes to continue consuming as much energy as it wishes, and believes it is forestalling a future climate disaster – or rather forestalling any criticism that it isn’t doing enough to tackle the crisis.

It’s also no coincidence that nuclear power helps open up more profit opportunities for industry. It also redirects many environmentalists’ criticism away from industry’s CO2 emissions and ties-up our energies in the nuclear debate.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t some sectors of the business community that accept the reality of the global warming crisis and the need to do something about it – legitimately. However, the agenda setting argument is about whether nuclear power can deliver us from global warming – or rather deliver us from the hard choices and sacrifices this crisis demands of us.

Global warming has become the key to making nuclear power more palatable to an Australian public hungry for quick-fixes to the crisis we’ve helped create for over a generation. It also offers powerful spin opportunities: if we are against nuclear power, then we must be ‘climate change deniers’. How the tables have changed.

Howard’s nuclear agenda is also unfortunate because we are missing the opportunity to seriously examine – and change – our consumption habit.

Global warming initially put the spotlight on the CO2 impact of our cars, our households, our lifestyles, even our offices, and industry on our planet. Meanwhile so long as the focus was on domestic energy wastage and changing consumption habits, industry was able to avoid greater scrutiny on its own role as a greenhouse gas culprit.

Industry wants to maintain the status quo: to keep on making more stuff, shipping it vast distances to ‘markets’ across the globe, convincing people that they are ‘consumers’ who really couldn’t do without this stuff (i.e. creating those markets), then joyfully selling it to ‘consumers’, who in turn keep borrowing more money to buy this stuff, and dumping previous stuff to make room for new stuff.

Of course, this means being able to use as much energy they want, as cheaply as possible, with as little inconvenience as they can.

The danger, I think, was when industry realised the possibility of real, widespread consumer change in our energy behaviour and consumption. They want the vicious cycle of consumption and production to continue, and resent the few gains that the environmental movement’s been making in convincing us that our consumption habits are costing the earth.

I suspect that industry is threatened far more by the possibility that our consumption habit would change fundamentally (and by how the change would bite into their profit margins), rather than the changes that may be imposed on them to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

Reduced consumption today would hurt industry more than any imagined, future climate disaster.

That is why nuclear power is their white stallion – it promises business as usual, and lets us – personally and collectively – off the hook for how our consumption habits and energy wastage are warming our planet.

We can’t afford excuses like this.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Why Howard is no friend of Indigenous people

It is hard to imagine that exactly 40 years after Vincent Lingiari led Aboriginal workers at Wave Hill Station to walk off in protest against work and pay conditions, leading to the campaign to have their traditional land returned, that Australia could be taking another giant step backwards in Indigenous Rights today.

The Senate has passed the changes to the Land Rights Act. ABC News online reports:
Attempts by Labor and the Greens to have amendments, including the provision of 99-year leases on Aboriginal land and a reduction in powers for land councils removed from the Bill, failed.

In that iconic 1975 moment, Gough Whitlam poured sand into Vincent Lingiari's hands to symbolise handing back control and rights of the land of Wave Hill Station to the Aboriginal people. The next year, the government passed the breakthrough Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

30 years later, the Howard's government has put another nail in the coffin of land rights with this Bill.

The opposition are claiming that the whole debate of the bill is disrespecful to Aboriginal people, because so little consultation – especially with the traditional owners – was held. Of course, if the Government had consulted fully and openly, they would have been told outright that their changes to land rights law was wrong.

This legislation is really disrespectful because it undermines sovereignty and land rights of Aboriginal people affected by the Bill.

The Howard government started dismantling any possible advances to the rights and livelihoods of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as soon as they came in power: they de-railed the potential for healing between Indigenous Australia, and white and non-white non-Indigenous Australia through the Reconciliation movement, refused to acknowledge the true extent of and say sorry to the Stolen Generations, and used Wik to water down Native Title and protect their pastoral mates' leases.

Some people then saw these moves as eventually honing in on undermining land rights, but I'm sure they would be just as shocked today.

Yes, this is a grubby land grab. Yes, it is outrageous. But this is no aberration. Unfortunately, is totally in keeping with Howard's anti-Indigenous agenda of the last 10 years. And all of us will bear the costs.

[Image from Wikipedia: PM Gough Whitlam pouring sand into Vincent Lingiari's hands to symbolise the handing back of Aboriginal land at Wave Hill.]

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Labor attempt to delay land rights changes in Senate fail

This disturbing news is on ABC News Online:
A Federal Opposition move to delay proposed amendments to the Northern Territory Land Rights Act has been defeated in the Senate today.

Labor wanted controversial changes to the legislation delayed to allow more time for consultation with Indigenous people.

The changes include the provision of 99 year leases on Aboriginal land and a reduction in Land Council powers.

Consideration of the amendment Bill itself will proceed later tonight.
After the great win for assylum seekers today, this is a great kick in the teeth. It seems that the government members on the Senate are less concerned with the rights and livelihoods of Aboriginal Australians than it is inclined to defend the rights of assylum seekers (thought rightly so). Perhaps there are no Senate votes in Indigenous issues to be risked.

No matter the few success in getting around Howard, this government controlled Senate is the worst thing for us. For more on Howard's land grab, see here and here.

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A win for assylum seekers!

Indeed, this is a win for all of us! The ABC has reported that Howard will pull his 'migration Bill' – i.e. the anti-assylum seeker legislation!

With two government Senators intending to abstain, if not outright vote against it, and Senator Fielding finally declaring he will oppose it (after playing footsy with the PM), Howard is now trying to save face rather than have his inhuman bill voted down in the Senate.

It's amazing what good-'ol campaigning (and the internet) can still do to get results. I think that the GetUp! campaign getting 90,000 signatures on its online petition plaid no small part in this win for human rights in Australia.

Great work, everyone!

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Irrigation is the biggest water loser

WorldChanging has this excellent post on water and irrigation, Saving The World, Drip By Drip, with an interesting discussion in the comments about irrigation and water wastage. (I made a point about Australia's drought situation and cotton's water inefficiency, which I've posted on before.) The post's author, Jeremy Faludi, insists that:
inefficient irrigation wastes more water than all the people of the world use (efficiently or inefficiently) for all their drinking, bathing, manufacturing, and industry.
Sobering thought, considering my last spray about nuclear power and water missuse.

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Drought-struck Australia cannot afford nuclear power

Hah! I knew it! While I've been thinking and reading and blogging on why nuclear power is not the solution to global warming for a long time now, I've been growing more and more concerned about the issue of water – nuclear power's (and uranium mining's) reliance on abundant water.

This World Changing piece, Our Nuclear Summer, confirms my belief that nuclear power generation is far too reliant on water – a resource that is dwindling in our warming planet!
For all the arguments made by the opponents of nuclear power -- that it is uneconomical, unsafe, a potential boon to terrorists, poses waste-disposal issues, and all the rest -- nuclear's biggest threat may come from the one problem it is purported to address: climate change.

If, as many climatologists suggest, the heat waves in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere are an indication of shifts in global climate patterns, it could spell doom for nuclear power, whose viability is directly linked to the availability of adequate water supplies.

Consider what's happened lately on both sides of the Atlantic.

'The extended heat wave in July aggravated drought conditions across much of Europe, lowering water levels in the lakes and rivers that many nuclear plants depend on to cool their reactors,' reports the Christian Science Monitor…
Nuclear power generators in "France, Spain and Germany were forced to take some plants offline and reduce operations at others", while a U.S. utility had to cut the power at a plant because a heat wave affected cooling water supplies from the Missippi River valley.

While World Changing acknowledges these are short-term problems, they argue that global warming's threat to water supplies poses long-term dangers to nuclear power generation.

This must be considered in responding to Australia's growing fascination with nuclear power – we don't have the water to spare for it. It's also huge irony that nuclear power is touted as a saviour to Australia's water shortage – a way to provide the cheap energy needed by water desalination plants pomoted by some in New South Wales and Queensland.

Hah. Throwing good water after bad.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

It hangs on one Senator next

Just a quick post to update you: the anti-assylum seeker legislation has been passed by Parliament despite three(!) Liberal MPs voting against it! Now it will be test in the Senate.

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Anti-assylum seeker law to force Lib MPs to cross the floor

In what looks to be a historic break in the Liberal Party, four Liberal MPs will either cross the floor and vote against Howard's draconian assylum seeker legislation, or abstain from the vote.

GetUp! and other refugee rights groups have been campaigning against the legislative changes , which will see all assylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat shipped off to Pacific Island detention centres (like at Nauru) for 'processing'.

GetUp! has this update on their website:
The Coalition Government says it will cut off debate on the Migration Bill at 12:30 today to force a vote in the House of Representatives.

The PM is meeting with Family First Senator Steve Fielding this morning in a bid to secure his support in the Senate, but one look at Family First's policy on asylum seekers shows spruiking this law is one tough sell.

Despite months of pressure to tow the party line, Liberal MPs and senators are still reserving their right to cross the floor.
Petro Georgiou, who led the dissenting Liberal MPs in their earlier challenge to have assylum seeking children released from mandatory detention, told Parlieament yesterday that this was the most troubling piece of legislation to come before him in his time in Parliament.

The question is whether enought Liberal Senators will be willing to cross the floor to stop the legislation being approved in the upper house.

The ABC also has the story online here.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Howard's land grab UPDATE

GetUp! has posted an update on their blog to the campaign to get the Australian Senate to defer voting on the ammendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights legistlation in Northern Territory (which I blogged on yesterday):
More than 23,000 Australians have put their names to GetUp's petition since the weekend, calling on Senators to delay their vote to allow more time for proper consideration and consultation. This is one of fastest-growing campaigns yet.
According to their update, Labor's Senator Trish Crossin, Greens' Rachel Siewart and Democrat's Andrew Bartlett will be jointly tabling the petition in Parliament Wednesday afternoon around 3.30pm – i.e. as I post this, if things are going to plan.

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Count this

Last night was Census night - where each person in every household in the country must be 'counted'. Considering how involved it was, I can't resist the impetus to blog on it.

The ABS's census form appears basic, but is surprisingly difficult in parts. And highly intrusive - a fact I had forgotten after the last one. As someone who relies on stats for work and my writing, it's very instructive to feel what it's like to fill one out. At least we didn't have to travel vast distances to be counted!

In a twist only Kafka may have imagined, the Senate was deciding that same day whether to snatch land rights from NT's Aboriginal people - on Census day. It's only 39 years since this nation voted to include Aboriginal people in the Census in that famous 1967 Referendum that was a turning point in Aboriginal rights.

Huh. A case of 'We'll count you, but keep taking your land.' Hideous.


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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Stop Howard's attack on Aboriginal land rights

I received this very urgent appeal for action from GetUp! about the Howard government's latest attack on Aboriginal rights – and attack on Aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory:

Something dangerous is about to happen to the very heartland of Aboriginal Australia - and neither the traditional owners, nor you, have been warned.

Under the guise of promoting economic development for indigenous Australians, the Federal Government wants to ram through new legislation this Tuesday that actually jeopardises future generations of Aboriginal livelihoods. It's quite possibly the most important law you've never heard of.

The law will amend the iconic Land Rights Act, stripping away power from one of the only true representative bodies, the Land Councils, while pressuring Aboriginal communities to hand over control of their lands for 99 years. With profound disrespect, many of those who this new law affects most have not even been told.

Only your senators can put the brakes on this legislation, to allow time for real debate and understanding. Tell them now these seismic policy changes are too important to rush through.

While the government claims the 99-year leases are voluntary, traditional owners are being cajoled into signing away their rights to their land just to secure basic services that we all deserve, like houses and schools.

The original Land Rights Act was an iconic piece of bipartisan legislation. This is a rush job - scarcely understood and widely contested. A scant one-day Parliamentary inquiry should not be permitted to rubber stamp a policy that will leave four generations without land or leadership. Even Government senators expressed 'alarm and concern' at this totally inadequate debate.

Got to the GetUp! campaign website to sign the petition, and pass on the word to others:

The campaign hasn't made much headway in the news other than this report on ABC News Online.

However, there is this excellent opinion piece by three Aboriginal traditional owners from Arnhem land in NT in today's The Age.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

When is a catastrophe not a catastrophe?

When it is only a 'change'.

It is very important to be clear in the language we use to talk about global warming.

Steven Poole, author of Unspeak, refers to strings of words such as 'collateral damage', and 'climate change' as attempts to persuade by stealth – or 'unspeak'. He took apart how the term 'climate change' came to supplant 'global warming' to refer to the changes to our environment caused by human produced greenhouse gasses.

This was done with the express purposes of softening the sense of threat in 'global warming'. Poole argues that a decade ago the US began their push for the language switch to 'climate change' because 'global warming' is too alarming - too threatening to their interests in coal, oil and industry.

Poole told a forum on language at the Sydney Writers Festival in May:
America and Saudi Arabia and other countries, lobbied to replace the phrase 'global warming' with 'climate change' in the early 90s in the UN because they knew that 'global warming' sounded too frightening, and it sounded like maybe burning oil maybe was to blame. 'Climate change' sounds very vague, it might be a good change, it doesn't have to be a bad change. We know that Frank Luntz, a pollster who works for the Republicans, reminded them ten years later, 'We have to say 'climate change' instead of 'global warming' because 'global warming' is too alarming, too emotional, and we had a focus group about this and one lady said that climate change sounds like you're moving to Fort Lauderdale.'
Arguments about how our language twists and veils what is really happening aren't new: George Orwell explored it, and Don Watson (wry, as usual, at the same Sydney forum Poole spoke at) has looked at how managerial language has invaded our public sphere.

I have made it a deliberate practice to refer to global warming, rather than climate change, here in this blog, in my conversations with people and when I visit and comment on other blogs.

I think it's very important. We aren't talking about lovely summer weather at the beach, here. Deliberate obfuscation must be met with deliberate clarity in our words and meaning.

ABC Radio National's Bookshow broadcast that forum in June. Unfortunately, the podcast I first heard is no longer online. However, you can find the broadcast transcript of that excellent forum here.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Peace/anti-nukes rally on Sunday

Sunday 6 August will be Hiroshima Day, the day we remember how Hiroshima was bombed by the US with an atomic bomb to force and end to World War 2 in the Pacific.

If you're in Melbourne, there will be a commemoration and anti-nuclear/ peace rally in Melbourne at the State Library Lawn at 1 pm on Sunday.

[Image of nuclear fireball from a US nuclear test, from Commons Wikimedia]

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Act now, so our children won't dread their future

A range of environmental and anti-nuclear groups in Australia are encouraging the general public (that's us) to make personal submissions to the Howard government's inquiry into nuclear power and uranium mining and processing.

The deadline for submissions, which should address the inquiry's Terms of Reference, is 18 August 2006.

There are some very useful resources on the green groups' websites to assist people in preparing their submissions, including notes on what to consider and how to tackle the terms of reference. I recommend Friends of the Earth's resources, especially the publication Yellowcake Country? Australia's uranium industry (PDF 3.7 MB), and some of the points from the Nuclear Free Australia site.

I think it is very important for as many of us to make personal submissions to the inquiry, and I'm hoping to make the time to write one. Since I've been blogging on the dangers of going nuclear for a while now, and how we should resist it, perhaps I should put my words to action.

PM Howard set up a taskforce to hold this inquiry into whether Australia should expand its uranium industry and pursue nuclear power generation. Early indications were that it would be a rubber stamp inquiry for Howard's nuclear ambitions because they desperately tried, and failed, to find an environmentalist who believed it was impartial enough to participate in the inquiry commission. Also, critics claimed the inquiry is stacked with pro-nuclear specialists and scientists.

At the time the inquiry was announced, there was a lot of talk – mainly by the nuclear lobby – that what the issue needed was 'clear-headed', informed, objective thinking and arguments based on solid science.

There was a lot of related talk that there was too much 'emotive' argument in the debate – that people were responding with subjective, irrational fears and prejudices about the dangers of nuclear power and weapons that are out of step with current achievements in nuclear technology.

Bollocks. I would rather accused of being unthinking that thought unfeeling on this issue. Not having a scientific background or expertise in nuclear-physics should be no deterrent to my (or anyone else) contributing to the inquiry.

We are allowed to be angry that the mining multinationals and Australia's politicians want an easy ticket to wealth and power. We should be fearfull that this will lead the government to push through its uranium and nuclear ambitions despite our opposition.

So many of us think that expanding Australia's uranium industry is a bad idea: a Newspoll from late May found that 66% of Australians polled said that there should be either no uranium mining at all or no new mines opened, 46% opposed uranium enrichment, and 51% were against nuclear power stations being built in Australia. The danger is that we'll complacently let the specialists do our thinking and talking for us!

So, get out that pad and pen and write to the nuclear inquiry!
We should all make it clear that nuclear power is not the answer to global warming, or to anything else!

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ghost in the machine

If you were one of those rare, diligent, regular readers of this blog and came across a mysterious post on the programme for the Melbourne Writers Festival, and how I hope to blog as much as possible from the Festival, that is because I had one of those unfathomable technical gliches of email, mobile technology and blogging that is the web. I've deleted it now.

I had originally posted that news from my mobile phone email account whilst on the road with my family to Hepburn Springs last Saturday (no, I wasn't driving) – hoping that the steps I'd put in place to enable email blogging via my phone would work. They didn't – most likely a Blogger issue, or the fact that I lost 3G reception minutes after sent that email...

Well, the post didn't surface when I checked on Saturday night, so I posted this
replacement. Little did I think that the original email post would finally filter through, FOUR days after I'd posted it!!! Ghosts, alright.

I just hope that this doesn't keep happening, and that I will be able to post reports from the Melbourne Writers Festival live via mobile phone emails. It would kind of defeat the purpose of 'live posts' if they took four days to publish, wouldn't it?

[Image by AndyArmstrong]


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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I, blogger

Laura's post at Sarsaparilla on the panel on memoir and truth at the recent Mildura Writers Festival sparked a very interesting and lively discussion on diaries, blogging and the 'selves' we portray in our diaries/blogs. I took particular interest in the question of whether diarists and bloggers project a 'preferred' reflection of their/our selves in the comments, but thought to post my ideas here as well.

I have said previously that bloggers are very like authors: we want our readers to think well of us, and we write with our audiences in mind, in a way that we have a 'blogger self'.

It was actually something Kerryn Goldsworthy said about authors and that 'author self' that got met thinking about it in relation to my ‘blogging self’. I had posted her quote previously, but I think it is useful to include the salient bit here:
“The notion of the ‘implied author’ is a useful one: it’s what might be called the writer’s best self, her wisest, her most adult, her most knowing and self-knowing self."
I suspect that I blog in a way that reflects positively on myself, that would convince my readers that I have something ‘worthy’, if not ‘worthwhile’ to say. Yes, we mediate what we say and self-censor in case our loved-ones read our blogs, but it is the other readers whom we hope to attract that we project our ‘blogger self’ for.

Even what Galaxy, in one of the comments at Laura's post, calls the ‘trivial, ugly and banal bits’ in blogs I think play a role in keeping readers happy, and so are deliberate. Even some of the more extreme statements and attitudes that bloggers post are mobilised to draw readers.

If I were to blog about how wonderful being a father is, and/or how wonderful I find spending time my eldest son, aren't I presenting my ideal 'parent self' in a preferred light? I am omitting the moments of frustration, the annoyance and anger, and the 'growling at a helpless child when grumpy', fearing that my protestations at really loving fatherhood would go unheeded by readers.

Alternatively, some bloggers are honest about these things, and their readers appreciate them for it, and find it re-assuring that other parents also struggle with being short-tempered, impatient and frustrated at the lovely children whom they'd joyfully kill for. I, in turn, struggle with being honest about such things.

Because blogs are written for an audience – knowingly or otherwise – I suspect that blogs are closer to letters than diaries, though some diarists may have written with an eye to some day publishing them (Latham?) and seeking an audience. Blogs today are like what letters – i.e. the 'collected letters' and 'letters between' genres – of the previous two centuries were to readers then.

Does that make blogs less truthful? Does this make the things bloggers say about their lives and the world they bear witness to less meaningful?

I think not. Ideas such as this help to clarify what each of us takes blogging to be, and helps us to take what others say in their blogs with a pinch, or a pound, of salt. And importantly, to think critically about what is said.

And as long as we continue to hit that note that resonates with readers – and other bloggers, who will engage in conversations with us – and as long as we think that we still have something interesting to say about the world we live in, then we will have our 'blog selves'.

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