December 16, 2004

Earth to Bloggers: Seek Professional Help

Bad magazine.Rotten Idea. Worse Logo.

Would the last blogger leaving orbit, please ignite Steve Rubell's retrorockets?

Don't get me wrong. Steve's a nice man and I generally enjoy his insights, but a stopped clock is wrong all but twice a day, and Steve is not in either "Now" with his boosting of bloggers for Time's "Person" of the Year.

For 2004, I cannot think of a single person or persons that had a greater influence on society than the bloggers. Let's remind them by making our voice heard. If you think about American politics, media, business - no one, no one had a greater influence for better or worse than the bloggers. Not Osama Bin Laden. Not Sadaam Hussein. Not John Kerry. No one. The bloggers absolutely deserve to be this year's People of the Year. -- Micro Persuasion: The Bloggers Should Be TIME's People of the Year
Other than being stark raving mad, what's just so wrong with this picture?

We can just mention and pass right over the psychosphere's "abusive relationship" meme, where the abused and scorned member of the relationship compulsively seeks approval from the abuser. Andrew Sullivan's got that covered and he'll be along as soon as he figures out it will boost his hit count.

We can also spare you the 3,589 words of exposition on how the secret, dark, and compulsively neurotic decisions about the Time cover are made over bong hits in the back room at Michaels. PressThink will slap that one up in less time than it takes to type it.

We could mock up an internal memo, complete with valid typefaces, but why bother ? Romanesko will have the real one with his standard disclaimer that says it should go to Tina Brown this year and every year.

We'd point out that the whole thing is just a puff piece for the dominant magazine of Time's group, People, but Jonah Goldberg has beaten us to it.

Instead we merely remind everyone out there on a keyboard and a shoeshine that "Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make insane." (Not that there aren't plenty who got into this game because

they are insane to begin with. It is an equal opportunity medium after all.)

Dear Bloggers,
"I don't want to get off on a rant here, but...." the Time Life Fortune People are not your friends. They never have been your friends, they are not your friends now, and they never will be your friends.

You might think you need them, but they know they do not need you -- unless they can make you over into something like them. The MO of MSM is to co-opt, assimilate, take a bow for, and then ignore, or worse still, degrade everything they target.

Let's look at Time's last choice: The American Soldier. What a selection! What guts to choose "The Troops!" What an "honor."


Have you noticed a continued and sensitive and probing search for the truth about American troops on the part of Time and the rest of their lunch buddies in the MSM in the year since? Did we see insightful coverage of Abu Garib? Have we seen in depth and balanced reporting on Iraq in any extended coverage. Have we seen deep understanding of the shooting in Fallujah? Did they really get what was going on in detail behind the Question to Rumsield? I think not.

The irrelevant icon of this Time Cover just puts something up to knock it down. Happens every time. And yet, every year, because even bloggers' attention spans are short, people forget and the whole nutty round of "whose it gonna be?" starts all over again. And this year, because everyone likes the celebrity spotlight trained on them, bloggers are beginning to hyperventilate over the mere mention that gee-whiz, it could be, IT SHOULD BE.... US!

But ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please take it from me that you DO NOT WANT to be in the celebrity spotlight. It first lights you up and then it burns you down.... to the ground and leaves you in a pile of smouldering cinders and smoking ash. Every. Single. Time.

If you want to have real influence in the world, get yourself behind that spotlight and choose where to aim it.

I know the recent election has left many in a state of perpetual victory lap just as it has left a lot of the left in a state of perpetual "grind our teeth to stumps" rage. But we need to slap ourselves upside the head with a baseball bat and take some attitude adjustment medication about our need for continuing validation from MSM.

But to paraphrase Hugh Hewitt in The Year of the Blog: "MSM was then. The blogosphere is now."

We don't need validation, we're self-validating. We don't need to be crowned by Time, we need to put Time OUT OF BUSINESS! (It's really the only merciful thing to do.)

Awards and honors conferred by, or hyped by, MSM is a manifestation of everything that's rotten about the culture. Just step away from the vehicle, chill dudes and dudettes, and take a good look at the position of the blogosphere in the media ecology.

The top 100 blogs in the Blogosphere Ecosystem have daily circulations far in excess of large numbers of newspapers, magazines, and televison shows -- network & cable. The top 10 pull in a huge chunk of that. And don't tell me the old schtick about "visits aren't the same as readers." Do you know how many publishers of magazines like, say, Time, would love to show their advertisers that a single reader comes back to their magazine two, three, five, six times a day? Cable news stations run their entire operation, from hour to half hour to the crawl along the bottom of the screen, on the assumption that people tune in at any time and come back at any time. I could go on, and I will go on, but for now please understand this one thing. Put it on a Post-It and slap it to your bathroom mirror:

You've come a long way, baby, and you're only getting started.
Get over, beyond, and above needing, wanting, wishing, or sucking up for any award from anything that looks, walks, or talks like MSM. Mainstream Media knows what you don't -- i.e. you are the new mainstream media and you get bigger everyday. You don't need them. They need you.

They might want to play kissy-face with Blogosphere today, but giving it an award is just MSM's way of saying "Nice doggy" while looking for a stick. Did I say looking? They've got it already run off on the lathes that make Louisville Sluggers.

Don't be worried about Time (The Dentist's Office Official) Magazine making you "Person of the Year." Make it so next year, speculation at the Time offices will be what the blogosphere is going to designate as "Magazine of the Year."

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Posted by Vanderleun at December 16, 2004 8:30 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Recognition would indeed be the kiss of death.
Who reads Time anyway? Same folks that read
Reader's Digest that's who. Or USA today. Like
they REALLY matter hereon. Right.

Posted by: Steel Turman at December 16, 2004 10:11 AM

Have Time give it to Mr. Sullivan. It would be... appropriate.

Posted by: P.A. Breault at December 16, 2004 3:49 PM
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