My holiday weekend reading wandered into an early Renaissance vein and I found myself reading Erasmus' The Praise of Folly. (John Wilson's 17th Century translation is conveniently available for your online enlightenment here.) The introduction to the edition before me remarked that many Americans seemed to confuse "Erasmus" with "Nostradamus." I thought that was a silly confusion at first, but I was wrong.
Behold the awesome prophetic powers of the wily wonder of Rotterdam! Speaking through the Goddess of Folly, it is beyond question that Erasmus foresaw the rise of the Blogosphere:
But how much happier is this my writer’s dotage who never studies for anything but puts in writing whatever he pleases or what comes first in his head, though it be but his dreams; and all this with small waste of [bandwidth], as well knowing that the vainer those trifles are, the higher esteem they will have with the greater number, that is to say all the fools and unlearned. And what matter is it to slight those few learned if yet they ever read them? Or of what authority will the censure of so few wise men be against so great a cloud of gainsayers?Heh?