Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Ah, All in the Family, that should set the mood nicely for what I'm about to say.
So, there was a little announcement made elsewhere yesterday, something that sent a few impressible souls into a tizzy. Apparently, from what I've gathered, some were a bit upset and saw it as "a passing of an era." Others, a bit more cynical, saw it as attention-whoring that was a bit off-putting. There was some nodding and shaking of heads, seemingly from those old, grizzled blog veterans of a couple of years about "the old days." I see Mark Newton even got in on the act with a post.
OK, it seems some people value a "sense of community" and seem to think "something's gone wrong." It is rather odd to me, I suppose, seeing all this fuss over an announcement that I thought was more worthy of a parody than of any real comment. "Men come and go, but earth abides." - that Biblical passage pretty much sums up my reaction. Maybe it's because I've worked in a profession where I've seen thousands of students come and go, or over a dozen of them come and go in the sense of shuffling off this mortal coil. Maybe it's because a great-uncle of mine is being buried today and I never knew him, but it's hard to feel attached to something distant and ephemeral.
I've never believed in blogging "community." Rather, it just seems to be a series of associations, often predicated on the business negotiations of who covers what and when and how materials are shifted from publicists to reviewers. Pardon me if it's hard to get weepy-eyed over some companies losing a prime source for promoting their materials; there are other sources, of course. A hundred blogs, this size or larger, could go out of existence today and within a month, any "gaps" in book promotion would be more than filled. There are so few 'unique voices' in any field and it is baffling to learn that some are mourning someone who may or may not be taking a break due to burnout or whatever reason he might have.
Things have hardly changed since the 1920s in terms of "communities" and connections. When the technological accoutrements are stripped away, it's just basically just people blathering and becoming maudlin at times over matters that years later they'll either regret or laugh off as being so picayune. But maybe I'm just a cold-hearted, cynical bastard who just doesn't think that "those days" were really any better than the current or possible futures.