Outted by the Doc, Take Two

My first blog last summer was titled “Outted by the Doc” since he was my blogging mentor who convinced me to post my speculations. Today, in a post about No-Fi in Boston, he notes that, compared to Manhattan, Beantown is a 2.4GHz wasteland:

Here in Boston? Zero. Nada.
From Britt Blaser‘s apartment window in Manhattan I got 12 signals. From here on the 15th floor of the hotel, with high buildings nearby all around… Nothing.
Not sure what gives. Must be around here somewhere. It looks like a civilized place.
Of course, I’m writing this from the bed, before crashing using my own little portable wi-fi access point, which is hanging off the hotel’s broadband.

The subtle message sent by Doc’s subconscious is the interesting subtext here. The link (as I write this) doesn’t point to this blog, but rather to an article by someone named Andrew Orlowski in the Register, Most bloggers ‘are teenage girls’ – survey:

Those raginghormonescapricious tantrums, those endless hours devoted to navel gazing … the helpless feeling that world is conspiring against youthe frustration of trying to use grown-up words, but failingpopstar fantasiestoe-curling slang … those nightmarish swings between binge eating and dangerous, faddish diets. It’s all there. And don’t even mention the first, awful encounter with alcohol.

“What am I,” asks David Weinberger, adjusting himself to the medium, “a 12-year-old??”

Cute but pointless. I hadn’t spent any time reading Orlowski and wouldn’t have read this if Doc hadn’t turned me into an accidental tourist. If the rest of his stuff is as parlous and soft-headed as this, Orlowski’s clearly a waste of time. Perhaps everybody else in the blogging mini-world has already tarred him, but I arrive with a clean slate, sort of recognizing the name but with no particular bias.

And then I read this foolishness:

The reason that 99.93 per cent of the world doesn’t blog, and never will, is because people make simple information choices in what they choose to ingest and produce, and most of this will be either personal and private, or truly social. Blog-evangelists can fulminate at the injustice of this all they like, but people are pretty smart and make fairly rational choices on the information they process.

Interesting people run interesting blogs, but it’s remarkable how few of them there are.

Clearly, this guy assumes he’s interesting or smart or informed or some combination thereof. But let’s take his pompous little absurdity apart. He proposes that only .07% of the world will ever blog because no one cares about what they have to say. Aside from the obvious fact that only idiots make predictions about new phenomena, he’s saying that blogging is a function of reader demand, rather than writer reflection. Of course that’s just silly. People have always written to work out ideas for themselves, and bloggers seem to appreciate the appearance of being a global voice more than we expect it. What surprises most bloggers is that anyone reads us at all.

(Hoo-Ha! I just now googled Orlowski and discovered that everyone knows he’s blowing smoke. Sorry to be so shut away here. I feel like a kid in middle school who, minding my business, has been convinced to look at something in the dumpster by Andy the class clown, followed by screams of infantile delight: “Neener-neener, made ya look! Ha Ha Ha!” There are a lot of journalists like that who, since they are paid to write for the calendar rather than the intellect, often put out nothing dressed up as something.)

So I won’t waste any more time taking Orlowski apart, and wouldn’t have gone this far were I more plugged in. Orlowski’s just a smoking clunker driving 45 in the fast lane, loving all the attention. Such writing has no purpose other than circulation, and the Register should know better.

There’s an old warning against challenging anyone who buys ink by the barrel. Mr. Orlowski may understand, when his 15 minutes of fame is past, that you shouldn’t fight anyone who buys ink by the bit.


12:08:05 PM    

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