To Blog is to Blurt

More

Rabbi David Wolpe:

Seeing something I have written in print always evokes the wish that I could snatch the words back, if only for a moment, to correct or change them.  Manuscripts of notable novels and poems are almost always indecipherable squiggles, cross-outs, arrows, editing marks.  Second, third and fourth thoughts are essential for clarity and elegance of expression.  As the great Thomas Mann put it, "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people."

But the Internet puts a premium on speed.  To blog is to blurt. Quick, you got an email, so respond.  If you were responding in a letter, you might take time to think and think again.  Speed is the friend of reaction and the enemy of thought.

For years I played tournament chess.  The first move that occurs to a player is rarely the best move.  Chess players learn to sit on their hands, to force themselves to slow down.  I fear we are raising a generation that has never learned to sit on its hands.  Our children are learning to respond instantly rather than thoughtfully, and assume spontaneity is always to be preferred over deliberation.  At times the true path is the one requiring patience.

Jump to comments

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Saving Central: One High School's Struggle After Resegregation

Meet the students and staff at Tuscaloosa’s all-black Central High School in a short documentary film by Maisie Crow. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

From This Author