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Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The Rebranding of a Blog
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:11 pm is currently semi-closed (there is currently only one post and I think that the archives are inaccessible) as Steve seeks to “rebrand” away from general punditry:

I’ve pretty much decided to rebrand by repositioning it as what it started out to be; namely, a niche blog focused on business law and economics.

It is an interesting move. I wonder how much of it is a response to the general malaise that is settling over politics these days and how much has something to do with blogging burnout and the intermixture between academics and blogging and how such a person wishes to present themselves to the general public.

While I still enjoy “punditry” (although I prefer to think of it a analysis and commentary) I have for some time felt less and less interested in partisan discussions, per se-something which I engaged in more in the earlier days of this blog. While I remain more than willing to engage in philosophically-based commentary, I find myself less and less “partisan”-indeed, I believe that blogging has made me less partisan (at least in my own mind) than I used to be, even though it initially made me, I think, more-so.

Some of this is, no doubt, a reflection of the various messes made by this administration and the current congressional leadership. However, I really do think that daily blogging has made me think more about a panoply of issues, insofar as I have had to deeply examine why I think what I think if I am going to be making arguments in public. Further, reading a great deal of rabidly partisan blogging (from both sides of the aisle) has enhanced my distaste for such approaches to politics. That distaste has extended to other media. For the longest time I was quite the consumer of political talk radio, but for almost two years I have found my interest in such to have radically waned. I mostly listen to sportstalk now.

Further, I would far prefer to be taken seriously as an analyst (even if one known to have certain philosophical predilections) than to attract an audience of red-meat devouring partisans. Part of that is simply my own intellectual temperament, and part it is my academic orientation.

I wonder how much of these issues play into Steve’s decision.

And to be clear: while there is plenty to be frustrated with in terms of the political at the moment, my perspective on these issues as outlined above have been present in my mind for over a year. See, for example, there older posts:

Those posts are mostly about the mean-spirited nature of overly-partisan blogging, but fit my evolving point of view on the issue of partisan lenses in general, and specifically as they apply to blogging.

Filed under: US Politics, Political Philosophy/ Theory, Blogging, Academia | |Send TrackBack

Outside The Beltway | OTB linked with Drowning in a Sea of Blogs


  1. Or perhaps UCLA has been asking some questions about his uses of time that SB would rather not answer.

    I strongly suspect that we will soon start to see universities, especially public universities, start to crack down on faculty who are running populist rather than strictly academic blogs.

    Tenure does not include the right to spend all day goofing off via a blog.

    Comment by KipEsquire — Tuesday, October 17, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

  2. True (the right to goof off part), but I question the supposition that because one blogs one is goofing off, unless one is literally blogging all day long to exclusion of all else-and the proof of that would not be in the blogging, but in the other work produced.

    I would argue that your premise is, therefore, somewhat flawed.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, October 17, 2006 @ 9:19 pm

  3. I want to say that his chair has actually been positive about the blog (as, btw, has mine), rather than the reverse. And to test your hypothesis, we will have to see if Euguene Volokh makes similar moves.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, October 17, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

  4. It’s funny you should mention your change to a less partisan view, because I had recently commented on that exact fact to my husband. It was in a conversation about how much more I enjoy reading Poliblog now than I once did.

    Comment by Jan — Wednesday, October 18, 2006 @ 9:57 am

  5. Bainbridge (and Volokh) don’t work for the Chair. They work for the taxpayers of California and the tuition-paying students.

    All you need is one activist politician to turn it into an issue. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    Comment by KipEsquire — Wednesday, October 18, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

  6. This is a recurrent conversation-the whole working for the taxpayers bit-and it is a bit more complicated than that.

    Regardless, I honestly don’t think that it is the issue at hand for Bainbridge.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Wednesday, October 18, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  7. It seems to me that reading the news could easily be considered within the job description of a political science professor (or any professor for that matter). To then comment on it in an open forum hardly seems like “goofing off”. It’s sorta like an informal conference that goes on all year long. The sharing of opinions and ideas is an active part of acedemia.

    However, the comment about a politician making a big deal about it at some point could happen. It seems unlike, to me anyway, that it would have a major effect even if one did. Maybe if one of the blogging professors was running for office it would cause a stir, but otherwise it seems unlikely.

    Comment by Jan — Thursday, October 19, 2006 @ 8:03 am

  8. Drowning in a Sea of Blogs

    Stephen Bainbridge has grown weary of the day-to-day grind of maintaining a blog of political commentary.
    With the blogging “market” increasingly crowded, the model of an eclectic, general interest blog is a less viable one. Perhaps more im…

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway | OTB — Thursday, October 19, 2006 @ 11:52 am

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