The Mainstream Is Addicted to Itself, or I Have Met Narcissus and She Is Journalist

  • The Mainstream Is Addicted to Itself, or I Have Met Narcissus and She Is Journalist
    Meta-blogging alert: Yet another tired mainstream press article about blogging has appeared, this time late in the trend cycle at the SF Gate. This one was triggered by U-C Berkeley’s addition of a course on blogging to their journalism school this semester (frankly, a dumb idea — what’s next, a course on diary writing?). After duly including the usual team of opinions from journalists, big-name bloggers and other pundits, the author must nonetheless jerk her knee in the name of journo-self-preservation:

    Will blogging change the way mainstream news sources report and comment on
    the news? Will blogging be ruined by mainstream attention? That’s yet to
    be seen. Similar predictions were made during the zine craze of the 1980s.
    Today, with the photocopied-and-stapled-zine fad just about dead, most
    magazines look and read much like they did before the zine proliferation.
    The same arc may occur with blogging, with mainstream news sources
    sniffing around them interestedly for a time before reverting back to the
    same-old, same-old.

    Oh, worry. What’s so damned annoying and miscalculated about these attempts at covering the latest trend is that the only way journalists seem to be able to contextualize blogging is by comparing it to their own enterprise — a much more well-funded and well-distributed enterprise I might add. It’s like that obnoxious guy at the cocktail party who has a comparable experience or anecdote for every single one you tell — “well, you think that’s cool/crazy/weird/fuckedup, let me tell you about the time I….” In the course of making such a comparison, blogging must come up deficient, or at least unproven.

    The comparison is dumb and illconceived. It’s just the kind of salacious but empty grandstanding that gets attention but produces misunderstanding rather than contributing to any sort of constructive dialog.

    But the real neon sign advertising the journalist’s self-importantence is the need to compare the blog hype with the hype once surrounding the “just-about dead” “photocopied-and-stapled-zine fad.” And how does said journo know that ‘zines are dead? Well, because nobody’s reporting on them, silly. If they’re out of the mainstream, well, then, they can’t be too vibrant or important, right? Tell that to the 800+ people who showed up to the Underground Publishing Conference in June.

    It just goes to show that coverage of independent and grassroots movements by the mainstream media is a mixed bag. Currying their favor is like trying to popular in high school — you have to sublimate or alter so much of what makes you unique that you’re subverted and homogenized in the end.

    Blogging, zineing, Indymedia — they’re all outside the mainstream for a reason, and that’s where they’ll thrive. That is, until we usurp the dominating media mainstream. The mainstream is not inherently evil, but the current strictly controlled, homogenized, corporatized and sanitized one is. Why play ball with the enemy? Staying underground is not underachievement, it’s cultivating a new way of doing things and making it self sufficient. Fuck mainstream dependency — I’m glad to be part of a dead movement in their eyes. (thanks to Anita for the link!)

    Previously on mediageek:

  • A Brief Meta-Blogging Indulgence / Microcontent 3/18/02
  • Blogging, “Warblogging,” and Punditry. Is There an Effect? Is There a Point? 1/16/02

  • Posted





    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *