I hope Andrew Sullivan's
comments about partisanship in the blogosphere get a wide audience. Being a bit naive, perhaps, I thought things would begin to calm down after November's election. No such luck. Surely the one thing that Iraq has taught us is that nobody, Left or Right, can ever be 100 per cent right on any issue. I still support the war, but I didn't foresee the insurgency taking hold the way it has. Anti-war campaigners who issued dire warnings about the Arab street and Stalingrad on the Euphrates were mistaken too. (I don't think the final proof will be in, one way or another, for a few years yet.)

I could go on and on. As a newcomer to blogging, I'd say the one obvious problem with this brilliant medium is the blurring of public and private. Lots of uncharitable thoughts pop into my head all day long. In the old days I'd have brooded and brooded on them; as a last resort I might have written some down in my diary. Now I can type them up and send them out into the wide blue yonder. That's a good thing on the whole, and very good for my blood pressure, but the drawbacks are obvious too.

Even face to face, it's hard to have a decent conversation with many of my friends. I try to explain why George Bush is not the Anti-Christ but sometimes I don't listen hard enough to them. (Actually, I think I try more than they do, but then I would say that, wouldn't I?) In the end we all get too exasperated and start looking at each other as if we're strangers.

I had lunch the other day with two American couples - distinguished academics and authors - who come to London every year to catch up with the latest plays. They have a great time, but I've discovered that they also have a rule: no discussions about politics. One couple supports Bush, the other can't stand him. They're in their autumnal years now. It depressed me a little to think that political differences may keep trailing all of us around for ever. On the other hand there was some consolation in seeing that there is a way of keeping the peace, however fragile.

Then again, you can't ask the blogosphere to stop talking politics, can you?
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/whose-side-are-you-on-i-hope-andrew.html|||1/19/2005 10:33:00 am|||||||||