Like Tristram Shandy, but with more cursing…
All the blogs (okay…not all of them) are atwitter about Billmon’s piece in the LA Times (which is very perceptive) and about the New York Times magazine article on blogging (which made me want to have sex with Ann Marie Cox). Among those that are twittering (for lack of a better word) are Daily Kos, Digby, and Kevin Drum. Part of what interests me about this kerfluffle (having moved on from atwitter) has been the speed with which blogging has become so…meta. If there was any money in it, blogging about blogging would be a cottage industry.
In most cases, writing about writing is the domain of professors of literature at small midwestern colleges who, when not maintaining their lit street-cred in postmodernism (with a side order of semiotics), write novels about professors of literature at small midwestern colleges who can’t seem to finish their novel but do manage to have a fling with a student or three. But, for some reason, there seems be this confessional compulsion that impels bloggers to come clean about what they do and why they do it. For some it’s the daily outrages of a country gone bull goose loony (thank you, Mr. Kesey). For others it’s the culture ( or dumbness of it) and for yet another it’s a place to publish something that’s so unique that it might not find a home anywhere else (as David Neiwert pointed out over dinner last night). Mostly we blog because we can and some will go pro and some will not and most will keep nattering into the void and their readers will follow or not. Nothing new there.
Something Billmon wrote did strike home with me:
In the process, a charmed circle of bloggers â€” those glib enough and ideologically safe enough to fit within the conventional media punditocracy â€” is gaining larger audiences and greater influence. But the passion and energy that made blogging such a potent alternative to the corporate-owned media are in danger of being lost, or driven back to the outer fringes of the Internet.
There’s ample precedent for this. America has always had a knack for absorbing, and taming, its cultural revolutionaries. The rise and long, sad fall of rock ‘n’ roll is probably the most egregious example, while the music industry’s colonization of rap is a more recent one.
Lately I’ve caught myself self-censoring some snotty little remark I was about to type for fear of alienating longtime (or newer) readers, and there’s really no reason for that. I don’t do ads or derive income from this blog so what have I got to lose other than a reader or two? I doubt anyone comes to this blog and has their mind changed by anything that I’ve written. I do what I do because it’s my way of amusing myself and you’re welcome to come along for the ride.
If blogs are going to mirror the “long, sad fall of rock ‘n’ roll” I want to be SubPop records or I don’t want to do it at all.
And that’s my confession and I’m sticking to it.