Mixing It Up With Your Readers
As a blogger, this fracas between Joe Klein, Glenn Greenwald and Klein's readers has been pretty amazing. I can't really think of an instance where I'd publish someone's off the record e-mail. I'm a Greenwald fan, obviously, but I don't see much difference between what he did and what Mickey Kaus did a few months ago. The problems inherent in a list like journolist (confidentiality, chief among them), is another discussion, in and of itself.
That said, I think if you came up in a time where only a select group (mainly other writers) can take shots at you, writing in this age, is probably a little maddening. In general, I think the proliferation of voices is a good thing--writing isn't an elite endeavor, it's a democratic one, and its essence, to my mind, originates among people, not among editors and publishers.
Still, I know I lose my cool from time to time in comments here. I try to walk it back, when I do. I think I benefited from having editors in my younger years who said the sort of things to me, that I would never allow one commenter to say to another. And these were people who could fire you, or kill your stories.
Anyway, hopefully watching this will make me a little more self-aware. Writing publicly in an era when anyone can take a shot at you is rough business, but not wrong business. The writer still has the bigger gun, and its worth acting accordingly. When wading into comments, I try to remember that. I think it might be worth trying a little harder from here on out.