Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mass Media vs. the Bloggers

The genesis of my descent into what I'll call Internet Pop Culture extends several years back, and goes roughly thus:

Roommate The Fighting Irish tips me off to Television Without Pity > TWoP is headed by Sarah Bunting, who writes fabulous blog Tomato Nation > TN linked at some point to Quizlaw > Quizlaw ran an ad for and referenced movie review site Pajiba > Pajiba linked and referenced the blog of fantastic writer and hilarious dude, Chez Pazienza, called Deus Ex Malcontent.

Obviously, this progression includes zillions of offshoots and wormholes, but that's the direct line to what I'd like to talk about today.

I complain a lot about a variety of topics. I occasionally worry that this blog, though it's read by a sparse smattering of people, almost all of whom I know personally, is too negative. I do a lot of bitching. However, usually when people talk about it, they say that part of that unabashed ragetasticness is what they like. So that's nice. Most of the stuff I unleash the beast on in here is flash in the pan stuff that I just need to uncork a little bit of pissiness on to get over it, and then I'm just that - over it. But there are a couple themes that deeply worry me and that I continue thinking, talking, and complaining about even after the post has gone up and the moment has ticked by.

Two of those constant themes are the decay of quality writing and the state of mass media today. Recently, the two converged in an unexpected way.

Chez Pazienza is a fantastic writer. His comedic timing is impeccable, and his expression is masterful. I would shank at least half my family for half his talent. While I realize that I am crouching alligator style on my way to becoming prehistoric and bitching about how no one can put together a coherent sentence any more, I still believe that clear expression is one of the most essential traits a person could hope to have. The ability to express yourself can take you everywhere that your birth, breeding and circumstance never can. I would and do consider those with superior writing and editing skills to be amongst the best employees and coworkers, and those with piss-poor grammar and communication to be the worst.

Recently, Chez was fired from his job as a producer at CNN for blogging. While CNN has been no-commenting all over the place, Chez has posted an explanation of his version of events on the same blog that got him canned...a personal blog he started during recovery from some pretty major surgery. I'll let him tell the story.

Say What You Will (Requiem for a TV News Career)

Now, there's a lot of interesting stuff in there, and obviously, it's one side of the story. I hope he gets snapped up immediately by someone who appreciates his talents, and I feel pretty confident that that will happen. I ALSO hope that he continues to write his excellent blog, because it's one that really shows the benefit of the openness and accessibility of blogging. There are GENIUS writers, out there, brilliant people who will never get published and never get a journalism career, just because the antiquated system is intent on screwing them and they don't have the in-roads you need to even get your shit read. To the benefit of all of us, they can get their words out there into the ether, and while we all shudder at the ranks of illiterate, all-caps-ed dipshits on the loose, the truly sublime writers who can now have people reading their stuff more than make up for it.

That again being said, I found Chez's comments on the traditional media's (and particularly "internet-friendly" CNN's) view of and relationship with the blogosphere to be utterly fascinating, and very true. Anyone paying even an ounce of attention to modern news media can see that they still think of the Internet as being kind of from the future. It's...here, guys. I love me some punditry as much as the next nerd, but you're working some serious delusion if you think Wolf Blitzer is the only person who has anything to say about election stats. The media need to learn how to deal with the access the Internet brings and the power it grants to individuals. Chez says all of this roughly eight billion times better than I have, so just read his article and imagine me nodding my head frantically.

The story has fizzled out for the most part, but I was hoping to see a serious Mass Media vs. Blogger cage match to air some of this out. I mentioned this to Racer X at work, who - probably correctly - said something to the effect of "oh please, it's all going to get brushed aside." As I say, he's probably right, but it's nice to think that anyone or anything could bring the fight to the fore and get this stuff resolved so we can get some REAL news back out there.

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