OVER the last few years, as the traditional print media has fallen into a tailspin, a number of observers — including very smart, canny ones — have predicted that blogs would replace print as well as the more established websites. Andrew Sullivan, whose site The Dish was updated often and drew an enormous readership, was often mentioned as the model. In January, the indefatigable Sullivan admitted that he was fatigued.
…I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me.
While I’m glad to say that some of Sullivan’s other explanations for quitting blogging — he worked himself to the point, it sounds, of significant health problems — don’t resemble anything I’m dealing with, I certainly know what he means.
And it’s a good time for me, as well, to step down as a more-or-less daily blogger. Attentive readers have probably noticed my falling down on the job, and becoming less consistent, over the last month or two. CultureCrash will continue, but I will now post once, maybe twice, a week, and will track breaking news about the economics of culture and issues of creative destruction less attentively. CultureCrash has been up for 15 months, it’s drawn more than 100,000 hits (chicken feed by Sullivan’s standards), and the book it is named for and build around has been out for just over three months.
The reasons are twofold. First, I don’t make a dime from this blog, and as a hard-working freelance writer, author, and father it’s been tough to keep this going as a pro bono experience. The blog, like the book, has been a blast, but neither has made my finances — still bruised by my layoff — any better. I just paid a month of bills, barely, and I simply can’t keep doing this.
(For all the faults of the print media, which has been roundly criticized by both left and right, it led to editors and scribes getting paid, which for those of us who need to make a living is pretty important. The blogosphere, and the web in general, mostly — so far — does not.)
Second, on Monday I begin a full-time writing/ranting job at Salon. I’ll be their staff culture writer, and will be writing about a wide range of things, with, probably far more attention to popular culture than the fine- or performing arts. I hope you’ll follow me over there. The first week or two will be extremely busy, and CultureCrash may go fallow for a while; I can’t tell.
So goodbye for now. This blog will continue in some form, and I hope it continues to speak to people and provoke discussion. It’s been fun, and thanks to everyone who’s been part of it.