I read with some fascination Andrew Sullivan's article in the November 2008 Atlantic, "Why I Blog." Among the many interesting things he's got to say is that the blogger is more free with his/her thoughts than the writer whose work appears in paper format. The blog is more a record of the momentary, the ephemeral, the happenstance, of one's reactions to the event in virtual real time. Moreover, the blog creates the possibility of an immediate conversation with the reader. But unlike paper publications, there is also the chance of that conversation deteriorating into the low-level vituperative. The probability of this latter possibility appearing on this blog will remain low to zero. Nevertheless that's the risk one takes in the blogospheric medium.
For example, if I claim that Leonard Bernstein's Colombia/Sony recording of Mahler's Third is the greatest, someone else may answer, "Oh Yeah? Sez who?!" But if I support my claim by pointing out that in the last movement it is Bernstein's symphonic forces who rise to the highest emotional peak, then anyone who might otherwise argue against my position will be forced to listen to this recording. My opponent will now have to point to his/her candidate recording, to which I will now be forced to listen. The conversation becomes reasoned discourse. Not only that, but in a short while the conversation will turn from "best" to what is a far more interesting question, for example, whether Mahler intended the kind of wrenching emotional response that Bernstein elicits, or the cooler approach of, for example, Pierre Boulez. And that discussion will hopefully give way to another, say, why audiences at any particular time will opt for the emotional, and why audiences at other times opt for the cooler approach. I have my theories about this last question; I'll devote a future post to what think.