Over on Diversely We Sail, Peter says that “the British press seems to be going through a period of introspective fixation on the issues of marriage, family cohesion and youthful dysfunction.”
This post isn’t about that, but it is about the British press: in particular, the British newspaper opinion column.
This in an area where Britannia still indisputably rules the world. In terms of quantity, the US dominates the political/social blogs of course, but a vastly disproportionate number of cut-and-pastings on them come from the hacks at The Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Independent.
The instant editorial comment on contemporary trends and zeitgeists seems to be a British speciality. This is not an unqualified Good Thing, but it is a great thing for the way that the blogosphere works. It helps that all the British broadsheets have terrific websites of course, but British newspapers do just seem to be in a different league when it comes to quality of writing.
Bryan Appleyard observes that the best US writing is to be found in magazines rather than papers. For some reason, whereas US magazine writing is top-notch and in-depth, the American newspaper hacks don’t seem so able to discover that happy middle ground between extremist shock-jock polemic on the one hand; and bland statement of the factually correct and the uncontroversial obvious on the other.
The British are in danger of completely monopolising this blog-friendly middle-ground of thoughtful but forthright daily hackery.
For proof, take a look at Daniel Finkelstein’s 'Daily Fix' round-up of all the journos.