N.Y. Times Compares Bloggers to Pamphleteers

· Weblog Concepts

In a Think Tank sidebar in the Arts section of today’s Times entitled “The Ancient Art of Haranguing Has Moved to the Internet” (link requires free signup), Emily Eakin discusses the tradition of independent political discourse from Tom Paine to George Orwell to today’s bloggers:

Of course, in today’s media-saturated environment, these latest endeavors can hardly expect to sway opinion the way the pamphlet did in its glory days, the 17th and 18th centuries, when master rhetoricians like Milton, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Thomas Paine regularly swamped the public sphere with two-penny treatises on burning social issues. (Published in January 1776, Paine’s “Common Sense” sold half a million copies within a few months and is credited with transforming untold numbers of ambivalent colonists into ardent revolutionaries.)