Happy Birthday, Dear Opinionators

By Shawn Selway
Published April 12, 2013

Today is the 304th anniversary of the blog.

This grand old democratic tradition, under which the enlightened individual offers their knowledge and guidance to their fellows in regular installments, began with the first number of The Tatler, which appeared in London on April 12, 1709.

Glorious day in the annals of the political animal! From the very first sentence, the Tatler displayed that generous spirit of advice and correction which has continued unbroken, through many technical mutations, down to the present day and our own RTH, The Hamiltonian, Undustrialism, Jelly Blog and the like.

The blogging ethos is already fully present in the proud declaration with which Richard Steele announced his thrice-weekly periodical:

Though the other papers which are published for the use of the good people of England have certainly very wholesome effects...they do not seem to come up to the main design of such narrations, which... should be principally intended for the use of politic persons, who are so public-spirited as to neglect their own affairs to look into the transactions of the State. Now these gentlemen, for the most part, being men of strong zeal and weak intellects, it is both a charitable and necessary work to offer something, whereby such worthy...members of the commonwealth may be instructed, after their reading, what to think; which shall be the end and purpose of this my paper.

Tatlers, spectators, ramblers, idlers, eye-openers, gossips, fans, experts, amateurs, amateur experts, keyboard prophets and public opinionators of all stripes, salute yourselves!

Happy birthday to (almost) all of you, and may there be many more.

Shawn Selway is a Stelco trained millwright who runs a consultancy in the interpretation and conservation of historic machinery. He lives in the North End with his family.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2013 at 15:39:46

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