In my essay, Why I Blog, (which I’ll be discussing tomorrow on NPR for On Point at 11 am EST, by the way), I cited early non-blogger bloggers such as Pascal, Montaigne, and Karl Kraus. Allan Massie made the case for including Orwell this summer (his son, Alex, emailed me about it). This should push Leon Wieseltier over the edge:
The decision to publish in this way makes one wonder whether Orwell would have been a blogger if the internet had existed in his day. The answer is surely yes. Though, as Eric Blair – his real name, which he never changed legally to George Orwell – he was a very private person, he had the journalist’s urge to record and publish whatever was in his mind or had caught his eye.
He delighted in trivia: "C, of my section of the Home Guard, a poulterer by trade but at present dealing in meat of all kinds, yesterday bought 20 zebras which are being sold off by the zoo. Only for dog-meat, presumably, not human consumption. It seems rather a waste" (April 24, 1941). His Tribune column, "As I Please", could switch from comments on international politics to reflections about the drudgery of washing-up. And he was happy to instruct readers on the correct way to make a pot of tea.
Always an inspiration.