A reader writes:
No. You don't need them. See your own honest and chastened posts on bandwidth-saturation and obsessive-compulsive tendencies in blogging and blog consumption.
Comment threads can be revelatory (cf. the essential avalanche of scathing and incredulous responses to Sean Wilentz's bizarre reverse-racism essay at The New Republic's website). But more often they are blathering and toxic sumps. I like the lean, mean linear simplicity and lone-d.j. voice of The Daily Dish. Don't open up rabbit holes along the excellent trail of breadcrumbs you're already giving us.
"Lone DJ." That metaphor has occurred to me recently, as blogging continues to evolve as a medium and as a profession. It is a little like DJing: you wrote your own tunes, but you're always sampling others, and mixing it all up with the techno potentialities of the new media. Yep: DJing is a pretty good way to look at it. Oh, and don't forget to vote. Latest results available here.