Some good, some bad. Take this post from two years ago, for example. It mocked the proliferation of blogs. I claimed that “like much else on the Web, blogs would dry up if readers had to pay for them.”
Bad guess. Blogs are more popular than ever, paid and unpaid. Rabbits are less prolific.
April 12, 2004
A friend asked (this is true): “How’s the blogging life?” My reply: “Underpaid and overrated.” The overraters tend to be johnnys-come-lately who believe they’ve had a revelation when, in fact, all they’ve done is plugged in.
The underpayers are everyone else — in other words, the readers. The truth is that, like much else on the Web, blogs would dry up if readers had to pay for them.
They might dry up anyway. Blogs are said to be proliferating and their influence spreading. Yeah, like stardust. I’ve noticed lately that even at no charge some of the best blogs have already gone silent. For instance, the literary MobyLives went into hibernation many months ago. Earlier this year, on Jan. 5, readers were told that “Moby is almost done resting.” It’s still not back.
Moving right along:
One of the savviest and earliest of the personal culture commentators was Marc Weisblott. His Weisblogg always seemed to me ahead of the curve in style and subject. Then he quit. Why? “I gave up the blog with grander heights in mind,” he says, “specifically a project where the blog will be sponsored and have a print mag affiliation — and, of course, those have been slow to reveal themselves … a meeting a month ago and then … well, waiting.”
My question prompted him to bring back his URL, I’m glad to report. Weisblott says he’s “dipping back into the action, but meanwhile reconstituting some of [his] past efforts.” So go look. …
Bad guess again. (Here’s why.) But Weisblott is nothing if not persistent. Which makes it a good guess. He’s back once more, this time in total gossip mode with the longed-for print affiliation.
Finally, an unmitigated good guess (although not mine):
Postscript: From a reader: “Golly, a man in a snit — and Goddamit!, well done & good for you and whatever slim justice there is in these mean times! But I feel exempt from the general firestorm, as you’re the only blogger I read. Still, a little inconsistency in the argument — Paul Krugman is nothing more than a paid blogger, as was Edmund Wilson, or Malcolm Cowley, or Mencken and other assorted smarties. You guys do the work for us dummies. I mean, I didn’t have to be a whale to get a fix on ‘Moby Dick,’ but I do praise Big Herm for the effort in my behalf, and he helped a lot.
“Furthermore, as an advocate of Chaos Theory, these are glad and pleasurable days. The disintegration of the Bush cheap-jack-C.B-DeMille-plaster-board-and-plastic-executive stockade is lousy special effects but wonderful spectacle. May it prevail, although instead of Vic Mature and Hedy Lemarr we have a cast from Todd Browning’s ‘Freaks.’ Strictly Republic Studios, but great entertainment. He Is Risen!”
The reader signs himself “The Baptist John” to distinguish himself no doubt from the Bible guy.