As I was shopping for a new public radio MP3 stream for Writers Almanac that would be a little more consistent on start times, I came to WPSU, the Penn State station. Looking at their schedule grid for tonight Jan 25th, they have special called “Blogging of the President” on at 9 PM EST. It is hosted by Christopher Lydon and now I see a blurb about it on his site.
Although I like Lydon and I’m going to record and listen to this special, because I’ve listened to a lot of his interviews recently I think I have an idea of how it will go. He has this way of talking about blogging that is the opposite of the “when did you stop beating your wife” question. His question is “The internet and blogging will transform life and bring about an infotopia. How long do you think this will take?” The biggest disconnect thus far was listening to him ask much of his standard line of questioning to Gore Vidal who was having none of it.
It was also weird to hear him interview Tim Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee had to continually reign Lydon back into something resembling reality. Faced with questions like “The web is transforming our lives, isn’t it” he would answer “The web is a set of protocols. People effect the change, the web can’t do anything in and of itself.” In many ways, the zeal of Mr. Lydon for all things internet reminds me of the way converts are the biggest zealots for any cause. He is so hyped up on what the net can do that he isn’t bounded by reality or pragmatism, even when faced with the guy who invented it and who knows way more about what he’s talking about. He had a very Terry Gross-like approach to this interview, knowing what he wanted to hear and asking the same question until he got it. I think he is bordering on being a “devangelist” on the subject.