Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On Keeping Politics Out of Non-Political Blogs

This is a blog about technology and programming, that is its mission, and why readers find it*. They do not come for my political opinions. As far as my readers are concerned, I don't have them. It would be betrayal of the trust between me, and whomever visits my blog to insert snarky little bits of politics. I certainly feel betrayed and imposed upon when an otherwise fine blog or podcast feels the need to sneak in something political; do it too often and that podcast is out of my iPhone, i.e., Grammar Girl. Same with blogs, i.e., Roughly Drafted.

This comes up because of the last several minutes of the Engadget Podcast of Christmas 2010. Now the Engadget Podcast is my favorite podcast, I will actually re-listen to some episodes. It can be very funny, although the Engadget Bingo thing is lame, and it's about gadgets, so what's not to love? Well, when Joshua Topolsky and Nilay Patel decide that doing their actual job of putting on a gadget podcast and making amusing pop culture references is too unimportant and start verbally abusing Paul Miller, who disagrees with them, but more to the point, would rather talk about gadgets.

If Joshua or Nilay would like to build up an audience for a political podcast, that would be swell**. But taking their pre-existing audience, who's only shared interest is the love of devices, and subjecting them to their views is a breach of the compact that comes from their podcast being listed in the Gadgets section of iTunes.

Is this post an imposition on my readers? Well a bit. In it's defense, it is a meta-post about political content, not that content itself. And I have few frequent readers to offend.

* I'm not claiming I have regular readers, or many readers. I have people Googling specific technical problems and never coming back. If I'm lucky, this post will be read by a couple friends of mine, as it serves no practical purpose other than me venting.

** I wouldn't actually listen to such a podcast, because for whatever reason I have no interest in podcasts or TV shows about politics, although I read a large number of political blogs.