Thursday, July 27, 2006

Malcolm Gladwell Takes a Swipe

Malcolm Gladwell of Blink and Tipping Point fame takes a swipe at bloggers in a post entitled "The Derivative Myth" :

"I was on a panel sponsored by Slate magazine a few weeks ago on the future of print journalism, and I found myself the lone voice defending the continuing relevance of things like newspapers. At one point I said—half in jest—that without the New York Times, there would be nothing for bloggers to blog about."

Chris Anderson, of The Long Tail, took him to task for this, and he responded:

"I’m not sure why this statement should be controversial. Has the level of self-regard in the blogosphere really reached such dizzying heights that it can’t acknowledge the work that traditional media does on behalf of the rest of us? Yes, the newspaper business isn’t as lucrative as it once was (although it’s still pretty lucrative). And it doesn’t seem as exciting and relevant as it once was. But newspapers continue to perform an incredibly important function as informational gatekeepers—a function, as far as I can tell, that grows more important with time, not less. Between them, for instance, the Times and the Post have literally hundreds of trained professionals whose only job it is to sift through the mountains of information that come out of the various levels of government and find what is of value and of importance to the rest of us. Where would we be without them? We’d be lost."

I posted the following in his comments box:

My area of expertise is theatre and the arts. With traditional media increasingly cutting back on space for the arts, and usually assigning reporters to cover it that have little or no background in the arts (this has been the case since time immemorial), the blogs are actually a place to find BETTER, more informed, and more thoughtful commentary thatn I can fine in any traditional newspaper, the NY Times included.

It isn't that the blogs are going to REPLACE traditional news media, but rather that it can provide knowledgeable viewpoints on topics that traditional media deems "niche markets" and ignores.

If you want to read real theatre criticism, I recommend Mathhew Freeman (http://matthewfreeman.blogspot.com/) and Isaac Butler (http://parabasis.typepad.com/blog/) and George Hunka (http://www.ghunka.com/index.cgi). Believe me, these guys couldn't care less about the NY Times.

Damn snotty New Yorker types. Lost without the NY Times. Kill me now.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Maybe I Was Wrong

I know I made a Big Deal out of how I wasn't going to make negative comments in any other blogger's comments box, and I hope that others would do the same. I know I said that, and I believed it at the time. But doggone it, it's gotten quiet on the theatre blogosphere lately. Everything I read says that blogs should be engaged in a conversation together, a dialogue, but all I see is a bunch of monologues. It's not that I think we all ought to start sniping again, but anything would be better than this monotony!

I loved Isaac's idea of Blogosphere Day, which I think will be a great balance to the major traditional media outlets. I suggested that there be a connected wiki where links to all the posts live permanently, so that the artists involved can link to them in the future if they're doing grant applications or looking for something to put on a publicity postcard. We'll see if Isaac feels like this is a good idea.

In the meantime, I'm rescinding my hands-off approach, and I hope others will do the same regarding my blog. Although I would like to suggest that, if someone posts something about A + B, that it is possible to contribute A + B + C, and not just A - B. (OK, that is probably the most obscure sentence I've ever blogged.)

Anyway, for God's sake, let's wake up! If it helps, I'll try to post something really extreme in the next week. Just to get the ball rolling.
Tags:theatre audience