[lit blog wars...or some such thing]
"In remarks at last month's National Book Critics Circle Awards — when his family memoir The Lost was honored as best autobiography — Daniel Mendelsohn said that he was especially proud to receive recognition "in an era in which anyone who owns a Dell laptop is a published critic." The NBCC prize, he said, comes from "people who know what they're talking about." Mendelsohn was quickly denounced by one popular blogger (presumably using a Dell laptop) as one of the "elitist fogies who just don't get it." But Mendelsohn has an apparent ally in the pages of the upstart literary journal n+1. The current issue carries a short but potent attack — titled "The Blog Reflex" — in which the n+1 editors dismiss blogs about books and literature as little more than a publicity tool of the big publishing houses. This broadside has set off a sometimes cranky discussion about the purpose of blogs and the amateurization of literary criticism."
"The Blog Reflex"
Imagine a grandfather clock that strikes at random intervals. You can't tell time by it and yet you begin to live in constant anticipation of the next random chime.
Number Five, Winter 2007.
Excerpt from "The Blog Reflex" from Long Sunday:
"The accident waiting to happen to bloggers was most visible when they turned their attention to literature and ideas. The hope had been to democratize the intellectual sphere. Freedom of the press is for those who own one. But now all you needed was a laptop and some time on your hands. The idea was especially attractive in light of the consolidation of media holdings and the destruction of intellectual life in the '80s and '90s, when people began to work longer and harder for less, available public spaces and quiet cafes dried up, and argument in the academies gave way to 'respect'.
The blogs salved this ennui and created nourishing microcommunities. Yet criticism as an art didn't survive. People might have used their blogs to post the best they could think and say. The could have posted 5,000-word critiques of their favorite books and records. Some polymath might even have shown, on-line, how an acute and well-stocked sensibility responds to the streaming world in real time. But those things didn't happen, at least not often enough. In practice, blogs reveal how much we are unwitting stenographers of hip talk and marketing speak, and how secondhand and often ugly our unconscious impulses still are. The need for speed encourages, as a willed style, the intemperate, the unconsidered, the undigested. (Not for nothing is the word blog evocative of vomit.) "So hot right now," the bloggers say. Or: "Jumped the shark." The language is supposed to mimic the way people speak on the street or the college quad, the phatic emotive growl and purr of exhibitionistic consumer satisfaction - "The Divine Comedy is SOOO GOOOD!" - or displeasure - "I shit on Dante!" So man hands on information to man."
Mary Dell offers her opinion on "The Blog Reflex"
n+1 vs. Lit-Bloggers; or, on with the Resipiscence, already - Scott Eric Kaufman
See the comments on Gareth Risk Hallberg’s post
A Response by Edward Champion
The editors of n+1 talk about the theme of their new issue, and why the world needs their work.
The Literary Saloon reminds Keith Gessen (one of the editors of n+1) that not all bloggers are alike.
Daniel Green on Blogging Sensibilities