One of the characters in a book I'm reading publishes an underground paper. I used to do that- it was pretty okay. We covered a lot of local news, distributed newspaper-looking newspapers in churches and convenience stores, made a fairly good show of staying on top of stories in the scene and out. I don't think I could do that again. Not the hours or the arguments, that part was fine. I just don't think enough people read. Or rather, I think they read blogs instead, mostly written by their friends, and regardless of the value of the content. I don't think you can get anyone's attention any more. And that was five years ago. What happened?
There's a new movie made by a local kid called Young Jewish and Left that was panned in the free paper. The reviewer quoted the filmmaker saying "we're trying to build a movement where we can be ourselves" and responded "we see the being ourselves part, where's the movement?" It reminds me of dance parties and identity masturbation and the idea that "if I can't dance I don't want your revolution" can stand alone as a guiding principle. I mean, why bother with the rest of the stuff when the dancing is so fun? Americans have substituted identity consumption for discourse for two and a half generations, why stop now?
Dance parties? Five years ago. More or less.
Is it totally trite to blame MySpace? Or Friendster? Or hell, livejournal? The timing is right. They keep everyone "connected" without having to, y'know, do anything together except catechise our daily living and fuck. Memoirs are now the best-selling genre of new book. Coincidence? We can get all the kudos and sexiness we need without ever leaving the house, without ever extending ourselves beyond our individual choices of which job, which identity, which sound card, which sex act we prefer. Narrativize it, publish it, let the appreciative comments pour in...
Shall we dance?