Given that this Josh Levin article in Slate is one of the biggest wastes of virtual ink that I've ever encountered, I don't know why it amused me so much or why I'm spending time blogging on it. If you want to skip this entry entirely, I won't blame you, but I still found his take on bloggers amusing. Why? Because he compares us to Rappers.
P. Diddy gargles Cristal as his yacht sails from San Tropez to Ibiza. Atrios stares at his computer screen and ponders the effect of "increased central bank diversification out of dollar holdings." Nelly takes in the NBA All-Star Game from the first row while gabbing on a cell phone made out of a giant shoe. InstaPundit digests the latest developments in the Dartmouth board of trustees race and takes note of an update to C-SPAN's early morning schedule. What, do I need to draw you a Venn diagram? Rappers and bloggersthey're the same!Yes... while you'll find it hard to believe, he does have an explanation for this simile. Here's the nutshell version.
For starters, both groups share a love of loose-fitting, pajama-style apparel. Still not satisfied? Bloggers and rappers are equally obsessed with social networking. Every rapper rolls with his entourage; every blogger rolls with his blog roll. Women can't win an audience in either profession without raunching it up like Lil' Kim or Wonkette. Essentially, blogging is sampling plus a new riff. Political bloggers take a story in the news, rip out a few chunks, and type out a few comments. Rap songs use the same recipe: Dig through a crate of records, slice out a high hat and a bass line, and lay a new vocal track on top. Of course, the molecular structure of dead-tree journalism and classic rock is filthy with other people's research and other people's chord progressions.But leaving aside this thinly veiled attack on bloggers' credibility, I still have to urge you to read his article, if only for the humor. Josh does get on a roll and dish out some pretty funny stuff.
But in newspaper writing and rock music, the end goal is the appearance of originalityto make the product look seamless by hiding your many small thefts. For rappers and bloggers, each theft is worth celebrating, another loose item to slap onto the collage.
Sure, there are a few differences between the blogosphere and the blingosphere. Although bloggers have a certain buzz about them these days, they'll never be cool the way rappers are cool. The blogger lifestyle is dangerousstaying up all night and eating Cheetos will eventually kill youbut not sexy dangerous. Rappers can afford to be more conspicuous with their triumphalism because selling millions of records is more financially rewarding than getting millions of hits. But if that blog ad gravy train ever comes in, I guarantee you that Josh Marshall will pick up his mail in a gold-plated tank and Nick Denton will put a hit on any linkmonger who looks at him cross-eyed.The article has prompted some predictable responses. Atrios, for example, having been mentioned in the article, simply asks, "Does Slate actually pay people to write this stuff?"
Shakespeare's Sister poses the moral dilemma, " Where can I find someone who will pay me to write articles outlining all the idiotic ideas I come up with when I'm high?" Excellent question, my lady.
That's about it for now. I'd blog more, but I need to run out and order some gold plating for my mouse and diamond inserts for my shift keys.