Friday, November 11, 2005

The Rich

Not one but two blogger carnivals point this week to my article on Vanessa Redgrave's philosophically putrid film, The Fever.

Hans Mast at The (not so) Daily Me has the tenth Virginia Blog Carnival (rated "X", it seems -- or is that a roman numeral?), while The Unrepentant Individual is hosting the nineteenth Carnival of Liberty.

In blogger news, the Associated Press reports that blogging is becoming a new pastime for senior citizens:

Forget shuffleboard, needlepoint and bingo. Web logs, more often the domain of alienated adolescents and home to screeds by middle-aged pundits, are gaining a foothold as a new leisure-time option for senior citizens.
The article (published in the Washington Post as "Senior Citizen Bloggers Defy Stereotypes") continues:
Three percent of online U.S. seniors have created a blog and 17 percent have read someone else's blog, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Compare that to online 18- to 29-year-olds: Thirteen percent have created blogs and 32 percent have read someone else's blog, according to Pew.

Joe Jenett, a Detroit-area Web designer who has been tracking the age of bloggers for a personal project called the Ageless Project, said he has noticed more older bloggers in the past two years.

"Isn't that phenomenal? And their writing is vibrant," Jenett said. He noted that sites such as give step-by-step instructions and free hosting, making it simpler to self-publish on the Web.
Among the popular blogs written by retirees, OAPs, and seniors are the Oldest Living Blogger, My Mom's Blog, Dogwalk Musings, and Dad's Tomato Garden Journal.

In last Sunday's Washington Times, British blogger and political commentator Clive Davis reviewed a new book, Blog! How the Newest Media Revolution Is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture, by David Kline and Dan Burstein. In his review, Davis notes:
So where are we heading? In one sense, it's impossible to say. The phenomenon has grown at such a headlong pace that only a fool would try to forecast what the next few years will bring. One of the most eye-catching statistics in Dan Burstein's and David Kline's book indicates that more than half of all bloggers are aged between 13 and 19. It is a fair bet that very few of them take much interest in Dan Rather, typewriter fonts or who spoke to whom in the Valerie Plame case. In their hands, the blog world could take a radically different turn to the one we have known. That celebrated line from William Goldman's "Adventures in the Screen Trade" comes to mind: Nobody knows anything.

It is quite possible, for instance, as one of the insiders interviewed in this book observes, that the word "blog" could fall out of our vocabulary just as suddenly as it appeared. As interactivity becomes a more and more common feature of daily life, as we shift further towards a multimedia existence, "weblog" may come to be seen as a bizarrely archaic term. By the same token, newspapers could end up being driven out of business by blogs, or they might just find a way of beating them at their own game.

All we can be sure about is that we are entering a period of profound upheaval. Big business has not yet shoved the free spirits aside; media titans such as Rupert Murdoch are still trying to work out how to tame the unpredictable new beast. Everything is in flux. As the publisher, journalist and blog evangelist Jeff Jarvis puts it in his interview: "Think about it: we in the so-called cathedral of journalism have owned the printing press (and later the broadcasting tower) for centuries. Now the people own the printing press."
I must admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I cribbed some of what Clive Davis wrote in his article for my comments on the panel in front of Larry Sabato's class last Monday evening. I knew I was repeating something I read; I just didn't remember where or when. Now that I've reviewed the Davis article, I know the source and credit it here.

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