I refuse to use the word b–g from now on

Not to onanistically discourse too much about the very medium that I am using to inflict my thoughts on you all, but this article interested me for partaking of the category of “people writting resentfully in response to technological developments that represent a perceived threat to the economic viability of their profession” pieces. Basically, a guy at the The Financial Times lashes out at “the blogosphere” (God I hate that word), which he perceives as completely over-hyped both in terms of economic viability and journalistic potential. But it seems to me that he’s taking a very narrow-minded view of what blogs are or can be. He seems to think that they stand or fall insofar as they represent a profitable alternative press or fail to do so.

I mean, sure he’s a journalist so that’s what is important to him, but are blogs really only valuable as profit-making journalism? Basically, to me all they mean is that the entry costs to publication have been lowered to virtually nothing. With very little effort you can make your thoughts available to everyone with Internet access, at least in theory (unless you live in China). When he writes: “yoked, as bloggers are, to the unending cycle of news and the need to post four or five times a day, five days a week, 50 weeks of the year, blogging is the closest literary culture has come to instant obsolescence,” he’s pretty much setting up a straw man. The only people I know that actually come close to this caricature are the big mainstream political bloggers, and even they tend to follow much more idiosyncratic, irregular schedules than the newspapers. For most people, the very economic marginality of bloggers means that they are free from any particular obligations as far as posting goes. To use a personal example, I (and my brother, as far as I know) don’t make any money from this site, and I know only a few people are reading it anyway, so I can write about whatever the hell I want to. And even if I were trying to make the site economically viable, I would be pretty stupid to “yoke” myself “to the unending cycle of news,” because I know tons of blogs are doing that more diligently anyway, to say nothing of the mainstream media. It’s the newspapers and the money-making press that is “yoked…to the unending cycle of news.” So the writer is pretty much just imposing the newspaper model on blogs, as if we all took as our motto “all the news that’s fit to print” like the New York Times. I personally couldn’t give a shit about the news; the only task I take for myself is cultivating a coherent worldview. Whether or not blog postings tend to be verbally diarrhetic and lacking in structure, it’s not the fault of the technology, which after all could just as well accomodate A la recherche du temps perdu as the ravings of Arianna Huffington.

2 Responses to “I refuse to use the word b–g from now on”

  1. Dave Says:

    Actually it is the newspaper columnist, not the blo—er , who treat each “news? event as manna from heaven. Otherwise why do boilerplate editorials, featuring each writer’s political prejudices, appear as predictably as maggots on a dead rat a few days after each news story breaks? You almost don’t have to read them to know what they will say. In fact if I had time I could write a simple algorithm, a sort of editorial generator, where you could put in phrases such as ,( Cheney shoots lawyer, or Bush sells Port to Arabs) for each newspaper or magazine writer. One click of the computer and out comes a complete editorial containing all the usual buzzwords

  2. Curt Says:

    Right, that’s why I think the guy was sort of stupidly imagining that everybody with a website would be trying to run a one-man newspaper. If that were the case, I would indeed be quite harried. I’d also do a lousy job at it and not get anything else done. I’d look at it as a kind of degradation too.

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