Now that Time Magazine has dubbed the internet person of the year we might think the age of blogging is over. Isn't that what it usually means when mainstream media crowns anything? And of course neither Time Magazine, nor Lev Grossman can be faulted for yet another representation of the internet..and the blog...as a male space....can they?
By LEV GROSSMANOh, how many times I bite my tongue. It's boring, boring, boring...and non-stop. And yes, I know they added pictures of female bloggers...cheerleaders and knitters.
From the Editor: Now It's Your Turn
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006
The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.
To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.
But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
Blogs like Kate Greenstreet's with their first book interviews are great, and Silliman and Jordan Davis with their daily posts give a sense of reliability. This blog gets more hits a day than I can comprehend. Clearly folks are looking for something. But what is that? And is the internet the place to find it? I'm not convinced...and I'm not convinced that it's a good thing for poetry either, though places like Penn Sound and UBU clearly are.
This Christmas I wanted to buy some CDs for someone and I didn't want to order them online. That was something: the kids at the Apple Store thought it was a hilarious request. Tower is gone, so and so is gone...it's all very well to save a few dollars but I wanted to walk to a music store and buy a CD. I won't even begin to trace the impact on books...
And that "amiss" is what I'm onto next. After 18 months of blogging I find myself scattered, my thoughts fragmented, my sense of the world strangely off-kilter, and I can't help but wonder the timing...maybe it's better to view the world through the limited scope of blogosphere? Maybe we can't handle what's happening out there in the real world?
In any case, I'm off to bury my head in books, and in the world of brick and earth and scent and rain, and hopefully to see people in the flesh, poems, art and music in hand. Happy New Year. I will post upcoming readings etc., and I hope to see you in person, on land, sometime in the new year...or perhaps in another incarnation.