Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | February 23, 2009


You know, for a blog about “Alcohol and American Life,” New York Times’ Proof blog seems to spend very little time publishing essays about alcohol and a whole lot of time on other subjects. While the blog has two people that no longer drink writing about it and has devoted some attention to alcoholism, I find it odd that last week’s post by Brian McDonald uses alcohol fueled addiction as a metaphor for reading novels.

One of the challenges of running a group blog is keeping it pointed in the same direction. Sadly the Times’ blog doesn’t seem to have much of a compass. There are a couple great writers – notably Paul Clarke – who contribute, but the pace, subject, and attitude of the blog on whole is very uneven. I’d say that, from memory, a plurality of the posts are either about alcholism, stopping drinking, or stopping going to bars. Only a few posts are dedicated to specific spirits or cocktails or cocktail bars. There’s also a healthy number of posts on nostalgia and romanticized drinking. As I said above, Proof doesn’t really always run in the same direction.

I raise this because I find it frustrating as a reader to see a rudderless blog. The microphone the Times affords its writers is one of the biggest online. It would be great if it came across as one where the editors read each author’s work and created a unified thread in the content of the site.


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