Sunday, May 22, 2005

Belly Button Blues

It is an ancient and honorable art—gazing at one’s navel and reporting on what one finds. Music, painting, literature and the blogosphere as well as the art of psychology contain many examples of this escapist exercise. Two hallmarks of navel-gazing come to mind. One is that the output of gazers seldom reaches classic status, and the other is that it often attracts only a small audience.

To some, the blogosphere is personal, a bit of cyberspace that should be dedicated to navel-gazing. To others, and I am one of them, the blogosphere is an opportunity to spread new ideas and new information. Frankly, lint in the navel is an old idea. It is chewing gum for the eyes.

Sure, the blogosphere may be a “voice for the voiceless,” but the voiceless may well have something new to add to the very small supply of ideas that support society’s daily struggle to survive.

Daniel Conover, a newsman in South Carolina, is using his blog to provide insight into to the news business (and sometimes to respond to general complaints about its real or imagined biases). He is also using his blog to explore new concepts and he is causing his newspaper to reach out in new ways with its own blogs.

After all, news people are in the information business, not the newspaper business.

I wish them a great deal of success, not only because they are offering a valuable service, but also because they are offering relief from belly button blues.

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