The Ancient Art of Haranguing Has Moved to the Internet, writes the New York Times:
If Orwell had lived to surf the Internet, for example, he might have been cheered to discover a flourishing new breed of pamphleteer: the blogger. Like its ink-and-paper antecedent, blogging is quick and cheap. Anyone with access to a Web site can post a weblog (or blog) linking readers to other online sources and promoting all manner of original opinion – serious, scurrilous, seditious and otherwise.
Today, according to Cameron Marlow, a doctoral student in electronic publishing at the Media Lab at M.I.T. and the creator of a weblog index, Blogdex, the number of blogs %u2014 liberally defined %u2014 has probably passed the half-million mark. That’s up from just a few dozen five years ago, a spike that blog watchers say owes much to the events of Sept. 11, which spawned a whole new subgenre: the war blog. And while most online harangues presumably lack the public profile and scathing eloquence of history’s most redoubtable pamphleteers (a typical passage from one of Milton’s famous antiprelatical tracts, for example, refers to the Anglican church service as “the new-vomited paganism of sensual idolatry”), some bloggers, including the neoconservative journalist Andrew Sullivan, (Andrewsullivan .com), and Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee (InstaPundit.com), routinely draw more than 20,000 visitors a day.