Chris Lydon has taken us big a step forward toward audio blogs with his exceptional piece on Ralph Waldo Emerson. If you can, make time to hear it. Dave Winer, Ben Walker and others at the Berkman Center have been pushing us ahead on audio blogs, and I’m sure they’ll persevere.
I wrote my senior thesis in college on Emerson. I spent lots of happy hours in my college’s rare books library, reading Emerson’s letters to his colleagues, like Thoreau and Bronson Alcott and the local abolitionists. The essential Emerson, to me, is very hard to divine. I couldn’t give you a one-liner on “why Emerson.” I can’t even tell you my favorite essay (“Self-Reliance,” maybe?) But I have a sense that the essential Emerson is something that Chris Lydon, like few others, gets. Maybe, even, the essential Emerson is something that Chris Lydon, like few others, *is*.
Chris Lydon puts himself in the mix. He’s driven, in no small part, by his constant striving for serious public discourse — for what the news media should empower. He does not yield to fashion or passing fancy or conventional wisdom, unless it so happens that this fashion, in his view, is right and good. He is the best of Emersonia: self-reliant, reflective, public-spirited, always on, always provocative.
Chris has embraced weblogs like few others in the past months. Urged by Dave, Jim Moore, Mary McGrath and others who haunt the Berkman Center — and with Emerson his guide — he’s got a powerful sense of why blogs are not just passing fancy. His step forward with today’s audio blog is a small thing, but the sort of small thing from which great ones grow, for where I sit.