Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Upstream Reviews Alan Chartock - Blog

One of the most positive things about Alan Chartock’s blog is the simplicity of its style--no photographs, no links to other web sites, no pop-up ads, no flashing text, no rolling eyeballs, no clutter--just plain black text on a vanilla background. That’s more important than you think. One reason I don’t bother to read a lot of blogs, as interesting as they might be, is I have a hard time reading purple text on a green background, and I have a hard time reading a 6 point font. There are several reasons why most books are published using a simple 10 or 12 point black font on a white background, not the least of these being it has proven itself to be very readable.

Moving from style to substance, there is another reason why Chartock’s blog is worth reading. Chartock, like his nemesis Fred Dicker, is an astute, albeit very biased, political observer of New York State politics. Whatever you think of his politics, if you are interested in New York State politics, Chartock needs to be listened to, keeping in mind his liberal bias.

Having said that, the question comes up as to whether Chartock’s blog is even a blog. While it purports to be giving us Chartock’s thoughts for the day, most of the posts are warmed over material, cut and pasted from the pages of The Legislative Gazette and The Berkshire Eagle. Often it is material that was published two or three days earlier, so the posts can hardly be called Alan‘s thoughts for today. Chartock doesn’t even post his own material, someone named Ken does.

I sense also from reading many of these “posts” that they are not extremely well thought out. I get the feeling that Chartock dictates them into a tape recorder on the drive home from work and doesn’t bother to revise or edit them. Someone does spell and grammar check them.

Finally, with all of the talent at WAMC, couldn’t someone have come up with a better name for the blog. The name of the blog is not even Alan Chartock’s Blog. It is Alan Chartock - Blog. One thing that makes me a little jealous sometimes is the incredibly creative names people come up with for their blogs. Maybe Chartock’s blog could have been called Char Talk (a take off on his name and the very popular WAMC program Car Talk not to mention that char is the material leftover when the fire goes out) or When Alan Mesmerizes Chartock (WAMC).

In spite of all this, if you don’t subscribe to The Berkshire Eagle or The Legislative Gazette, Alan Chartock - Blog is a good way to keep up with “Alan’s thoughts for yesterday, or the day before.”

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