More Journalism

Something new? You decide:

To continue my tirade about journalism, while reading McKeon’s book on the novel I was struck by an eerie similarity. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that when journalists write about the “blogging phenomenon” they always bury a provoking insult in there somewhere? That way, their article will be linked by bloggers, promoting their rise to fame on google. Now that’s crafty. I never linked or commented on the “cockroach” thing, because unlike most bloggers I was flattered by the comparison. I also enjoyed Oscar Zeta Acosta’s Revolt of the Cockroach People, a novel about the rise of Chicano militants. Acosta, by the way, was Hunter S. Thompson’s Samoan attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (another of those “rites of passage” novels). Cockroaches are survivors. I think survival is a good thing.

The insults are really getting keen and specific now. In Reading, Writing, and Blogging Jonathan V. Last begins with a positive tag line, spouting the now old party line that blogging makes journalism better. Then he gets in his jab:

But these noble effects of blogging are marginal, and if bloggers were able to be dispassionate about their medium, they would admit that the bad cultural artifacts the blog leaves behind easily balance the scales. For one thing, the blog encourages instantaneous reaction, not serious reflection. And for another, it often degenerates into daisy-chain navel gazing.

Ben Jonson apparently wrote a play about the newspapers of his day,to provide a mirror:

Wherin the age may see her owne folly, or hunger and thirst after publish’d pamphlets of Newes, set out euery Saturday, but made all at home, & no syllable of truth in them.

Another writer in 1642 complained about of abuse of printing, in publishing every item that comes to their presse . . . Yes, I suspect the major complaint that could be made about blogs is that they will publish just about anything. Sort of like a newspaper.

Daisy-chain navel gazing? Sounds great. Where do I sign up?