doc searls defends weblogs against an (unlinkable) attack by jimmy guterman:

First, so what if blogs aren't mainstream? Why should The Mainstream exclusively confer legitimacy? And what the hell is that legitimacy anyway, other than a big media stick for whupping on stuff that isn't? And what makes bloggers any more elite than the next 2% slice of some survey?

Second, one big reason I blog (speaking self-referentially, terrible me) is that it doesn't take ample free time. As I've said before, it's like answering email in public. Guess when all those bloggers get jobs they'll stop writing email too.

while jimmy's attack was a tad inflammatory, most of his remarks were more accurate than doc is giving him credit for. "so what if blogs aren't mainstream?" asks doc. i don't know if blogs are or are not mainstream, and it's not a problem if blogs aren't mainstream, but we shouldn't continue to talk about how important weblogs are in the mainstream if they're not. the mainstream doesn't exclusively confer legitimacy, but we can't have it both ways, praising weblogs both for how successful they are in the mainstream and how revolutionary they are for bypassing the mainstream. it's just not true.

what is legitimacy? it's subjective, but that doesn't make it unimportant. the small circle of friends description of webloggers is mostly accurate, and it's the same small circle that get listed by default in popular weblog readers. some even pay their way in. these people then become the voice of the community because they are the most read. the rest of our ideas are at a disadvantage in being heard, even if and when they are equally or more valuable. whatever happened to "Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy"?

what makes bloggers more elite? having computers for one. and having free time to read and write. heck, having electricity. what doesn't make bloggers more elite? doc's suggestion that "it doesn't take ample free time" is simply not true. it does take ample free time. i know this from personal experience publishing a weblog, but also from reading weblogs in which the authors apologize for the lack of writing, saying something like "i don't have time to write".

i'm sure there's a response to jimmy that goes beyond rhetorically questioning him just waiting to be written, but doc hasn't written it.