The Danger of Reading Blogs by Alun Thomas

I read shameful amounts of political journalism online. If a mouse sneezes in Downing Street, I know about it before Larry the cat.

Blogs of any kind can be addictive. I think the appeal of political blogs is that, in comparison to much of the academic work I read, they are short, incautiously written, and full of familiar vocabulary. This makes them easy to follow. But a disadvantage of my reading habits is beginning to become clear.

If he'd been here today...

I first noticed it when I was learning about the Kazakh Communist Party’s desire to forge ahead with collectivization policies which were only just being considered elsewhere in the Soviet Union. Embarrassingly, the phrase which immediately came to mind was ‘fourth sector pathfinders’, a reference to The Thick of It which beautifully sends up the relationship between politicians and the press.

Next, my supervisors noted the overtones of Blairite managerialism in my use of the phrases ‘incentivising settlement’, ‘valuing nomads’ and ‘managing nomadism’. Was this Soviet Communism or the Third Way?

It stands to reason: you’ll find what you read in what you write:

During a dramatic U-turn, Filipp Goloshchekin, former dentist and newly-appointed head of the Kazakh Communist Party, underwent a violent lurch to the left. Feeling pressure from civil service bureaucrats and private sector fat cats, the no-nonsense technocrat has implemented a maverick new policy designed to placate public opinion and traverse choppy economic waters. But nomadic interests must be tackled pragmatically. Going forward, the bien pensant Establishment are expected to respond with accusations of weakness and incompetence, sources suggest.

It could be worse. Chapter Two of my thesis might end up titled ’20 Photos which will make you wish you were an Agrarian Communist’. LMAO.

The slightly serious point to this is that even our most casual choice of reading material changes the manner in which we express ourselves. Obviously the blogosphere won’t do me much harm, but every time I click on instead of picking up Dickens, I hazard a pasquinade whenever my patois is inconsonant.

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