In the next short while, this blog hopes to define itself as clearly as a manifesto ushering in a new era of, in this case, reading things.
Unfortunately, like all manifestos, it will inevitably fail to be enforced in its entirety. The Magna Carta, good ol’ 1200’s civil rights document that it was, would have prevented many a political killing, had it been taken seriously. The Communist Manifesto, or roughly half of its platitudes, hardly line up with the capitalist-communist hybrid that is China today.
But, like the Bill of Rights and much longer list of Amendments, its power lies in its ambiguity. Read the First or Second Amendment twice, and tell me it doesn’t seem to imply entirely different things when read while squinting with one eye.
Yet, an entire third of the United States government is dedicated to deciding just what it means. The whole Judicial Branch, a wing of Washington with as much hypothetical power as the President himself (and his administration), just to decide what the old page of parchment means. It seems like the department ought to be filled with Philosophy majors, and the poor souls that studied post-Renaissance literature for four years but could find no practical application for their skill in pontificating.
But, this is part of our Manifesto, one which we still add on to when we feel women should vote, or marriage should be defended from the gay menace.
It’s a good thing publications don’t have to set laws restraining their own power. They can keep it short and sweet.
The New York Times: “all the news that’s fit to print.”
Chicago tribune: “World’s Greatest Newspaper.”
Mason valley News (of Yerington, Nevada): “The Only Newspaper in the World That Gives A Damn About Yerington.”
One sentence. One safe, simple sentence with no legally-binding contract or board of judges to enforce it. Just as powerful as a permanent MySpace name or Facebook status. The one day the New York Times missed a piece of news that was fit to print, the world moved on, infringement of Mission Statement though it was.
This blog, blog though it may be, will tonight rise and choose for itself one defining statement, a solemn declaration of purpose that will follow it like a (hazy and hard-to-verify) promise for the rest of its days:
“The 361st Degree: A Newfangled News Angle.”
Because you wouldn’t be reading this anywhere else.
(Join the blog tomorrow for the continuation of this ever-expanding miniseries on the self-realizing of a blog finding its place in the world… wide web.)