Or, as Sean Abbott coined it, "Bloggers Have Destroyed the Fabric of Society."
The subject matter is one Dr. John Lachs, distinguished "Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, where he has taught since 1967." Right off the bat, let's just get past the rather embarrassing fact that he used the opinion section -- now tantamount to a blog -- of The Tennessean to publish the message that, well, opinion pieces are crap. But not just that. He's indicting the whole foundation and structure of what has become a rather "power to the people" phenomena most notably characterized by blogs. It's hard to pin it down, but judging by a number of sources there are more than 100 million blogs (putting this one in the top 1% of blog traffic).
OK, this is going to be a post where we eviscerate, chop up, season, roast, and consume. We're eating liver tonight, folks. But, before I do that, here's the full context: Internet bloggers’ uncrafted output completely self-serving. You might want to read the whole thing, get the context, and then enjoy the fun.
So here we go.
There once was a time when education taught perspective. We learned what was of significance and what did not need to be remembered.
Sure. And that's still being taught in institutions of "higher learning." It has also always been taught on the streets, too. Book smarts, funded by means of public predation. Street smarts, funded by dark alley predation. In the middle, the victims of both.
Education placed us in the midst of intellectual giants and did not permit the illusion that we were of much significance.
Nonetheless, Dr. Lachs, you believe you're significant enough to render blanket judgment over more than 100 million writers, at least 100,000 of which have attained audiences of thousands of readers and page views per day.
So, let's say you do two semesters, 50 students per class x 3 classes; so you directly influence about 300 students per year. And you've been doing it for 40 years or so. Whoa!!! Stop the horses. You have directly influenced a whopping 12,000 students, Mr. Professor. That's a fucking average two to three days of visitors for me, dumbshit. So who's the fool?
Those days appear to be gone. With the aid of ready access to the Internet, anyone can memorialize any set of worthless experiences.
Worthless to whom?
...But yes, anyone can. They can also memorialize deeply and objectively meaningful experiences, and everything in-between. It's the very nature of the thing, Mr. Prof.
The mystery to me is, why that chaps your hide. Well, perhaps it's not a mystery at all...
This is one of the awful consequences of the new power to publish one’s own writing, no matter how jejune and thereby call attention to one’s ideas, no matter how infantile.
So in order to be valid and potent as a writer, one must only be "jejune" and "infantile" (redundancy alert!) in an institutional setting, in hopes that one might eventually become practiced, complex, profound and mature by the time they get their stamp of approval from such institution? And what of those such as I, who always aced English and writing and in fact, tested successfully to skip base requirements upon college entrance? I'm one. And there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of others.
Can you hazard a guess, dear Mr. Prof., how many of them might have applied their natural writing skills -- indeed love and passion for writing -- to blogging?
And this is a bad thing? Yes? Because you and those of like mind no longer have control -- nor the audience? Yes?
Not so many years ago, publication required convincing other people that one’s work had merit.
Indeed. And it still does, in dying media. How about you stop and ask yourself why that is, Clueless? Seriously, are you so daft as to fuck up cause & effect on something so obvious and simple? Jesus C. already, professor. What, is there, some magical force drawing people to blogs over institutional media? Or, were the physical barriers to entry such that institutions had a strangle hold on what got published, and now that they don't, people enjoy their niche choices? Or what? Is it that dumbshits can revel and persist in their ignorance? Have their ignorance affirmed? And when in history has that not been a phenomena of the human experience?
This constituted a check on the apparently limitless appetite of people for self-display. Editors and publishers exercised two central powers: They brought good work to the attention of the public and suppressed the self-indulgent lucubrations of ordinary minds.
Don't make me laugh. You're so full of shit. There was and always has been "good work" produced by institutions, and that is not in serious question by serious people. But the good work has forever been drowned by the twaddle, influenced (bought & paid for) primarily by institutional media's two primary bedfellows: advertisers and the top dog institution that favors those same secondary bedfellows by statute and regulation: government.
...You silly, silly duped fool.
What we're left with are institutions still producing good stuff and crap, and individuals producing/blogging good stuff and crap. But here's the rub, Mr. Professor: the individuals are not only producing more crap, they are producing magnitudes more good stuff.
But you can't see that, because you think everyone needs spoon feeding, as did you, and that they can't see good, sweet smelling shit when they see and smell it. And, it's voluminous. Your ignorant, stupid error is to focus on a tremendous volume of stinky crap, ignoring the fact that the gems outpace what the institutions produce by huge orders of magnitude.
The obstacle they represented was actually a vital safeguard so people would not embarrass themselves by their simple ideas and inferior prose.
So that's what this is all about, eh? You're just concerned that there may be folks out there embarrassing themselves? How touching and, I'm sure you're nothing but sincere.
Blather fills our heads.
Indeed it does, Mr. Professor...
Today, by contrast, anyone can start a blog and fill cyberspace with a torrent of ill-chosen words. Mundane experiences, incoherent reflections and ignorant theories can be advertised to the world.
In other words, nothing's new, just more of it. But it's not "under control," anymore; right, professor? That's the base, niggling issue, right?
I mean, c'mon, you're not seriously going to argue that institutions don't publish dreck. You know they do. So what is it, that there's now more of it? Nobody listens to the anointed "authorities" anymore (presumably, because they prefer an anonymous blogger's dreck)? Or, is there something else to it that is unrecognizable to you, perhaps because you like your daily dose of the spoon fed and it pisses you off that others hunt their own food?
Prejudices may be presented as considered judgments and untutored feelings are permitted to seize the focus of attention.
God forbid anyone's judgments and feelings ever be "untutored" by institutional PhDs; or that they, for whatever reason, outshine your practiced, canned, reviewed, edited, sanitized, outlined, and approved for mass consumption "judgments" and "feelings".
Ah, oh: "permitted." That's really the essential bugger. Isn't it, professor? You were never "permitted" by your own authority because you've always lived on the institutional teat, however financed -- such that you have had to spend your entire life seeking someone's permission. And now it just frosts your balls good that other's don't have to. Makes you look like a fool and a patsy. Well, some of us just fucking do, and worry about permissions and apologies later. Too bad, silly man.
So go fuck yourself. It's a new day, and I'm glad for it.
Apparently, there is no one to tell these bloggers to rethink and rephrase because what they produce is a draft in need of craft. The only thing that seems to matter is the satisfaction of the blogger, and people without standards are easily satisfied.
Oh, my. You don't get out much do you, sir? Scan my blog and the blogs of those I regularly link. Check the entries and see the number of comments in the hundreds and read them (there are tutorials in "cyberspace" -- or, "on the Internet" in 21st Century speak -- that can help you with that). Then consider how ignorant you wish to remain by asserting that "there is no one to tell these bloggers to rethink and rephrase."
Christ. Blogging is indeed a chore. So many ignoramuses to put up with.
If all this detritus survives, what will future generations think of the condition of the human mind in our day?
Well for starters...perhaps...and let me think here of a decent descriptive...OK, how about: unleashed. How about that? That's what you're afraid of, isn't it, professor? You're no longer at the controls. Even worse, no one is at the controls.
...Must be terrifying for an institutional authority sycophant, such as yourself.
Alright, I'll set aside his last bits of "pure profundity."
In the end, yea, this was unnecessary; just fun & sport. "Cyberspace" marches on in spite of his ignorant protestations. So yep, his original charge is valid: self indulgent.
On the other hand, this was unnecessary mostly because the institutional gatekeeping of what get's published by any means, and what doesn't, is dead as a doornail: and god fucking riddance. Professor Lachs is merely but one of thousands of such dying whimpers we'll have to endure as the old guard of privilege, political and corporate influence, backscratching and all that goes along with it gets kicked to the curb.
What he and the rest of them ought to be asking themselves is why? Again, this whole thing was quite unnecessary because of the why. It is a priori obvious (don't even have to get up off the couch to know it's true) that people like the blogs and other self published & small enterprise media, news, and opinion better. That's why we're having this discussion and that's the reason for the professor's whine, and that's why this is all unnecessary.
This guy simply laments the old days where his PhD was more valuable than the average clever blogger paying $4.95 per month, and commands orders of magnitude more influence.
Let's all shed a collective tear for the professor's lost world. Or not.