Prepare your bladders for imminent release! Because everything you thought you knew about knowing everything, is cast into doubt by this piece about the craigslist founder: "A Guy Named Craig"!
There is much excitement as the writer flogs the current state of journalism. On the one hand: next time try to hit a moving target, okay? More sportsmanlike that way. On the other hand: oh, okay, why not, it's cheap thrills.
[Scott Anderson, a "blogger for the Tribune Company" asks:] "How come Craig organically can touch lives on so many personal levels--and Craig's users can touch each other's lives on so many levels? It's just frustrating that even when we [newspapers] try, we more often than not find we are absolutely losing what may be one of the most important parts of the business as it more and more moves online--the ability to connect people to one another and to activate conversations. To not just be the deliverer of news and information... but the catalyst of connection."
At the convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors last spring, two panelists at a session on the crisis in the industry flashed a slide of Newmark and asked the editors how many of them knew who Craig Newmark was. A faint show of hands. Craigslist? A few more.
"The shocking thing is that this was someone who was not only a threat to steal their business but was in the process of doing it," says Jay Rosen, a blogger (the name of his blog is PressThink) and professor of journalism at NYU. "What industry could survive in which you don't know the name of the person who is taking away your business? They're mystified. They don't know who this guy is and where he came from. And it just shows--that it's easier for Craig to learn journalism than it is for these guys to learn the Web."
Meanwhile, the SF Chronicle editor stops by to write his own epitaph in the form of a Sideshow Bob rhetorical question:
«It's hard to escape the sense that the architects of the new media are less likely to be [SF Chronicle editor Phil] Bronstein's (and my) crowd of ink-spotted kids who grew up reading the Pentagon Papers and All the President's Men than they are to be tech nerds like the Craigslist people.
"Jim and Craig are engineers," says Bronstein. "I'm an editor. I'm paid to make choices. My work still has meaning--but does it have value?"»
Translation: LARPez-moi, le déluge!
Like its founder, the [craigslist] site had a straight and unpretentious look, without graphics, like an early Internet application.
Funny, I think of that as the new style, compared to achingly dated things like this.
(BTW, here's a thought, for you to make of what you will:
The page http://www.latimes.com/ is 119KB.
The page http://nytimes.com/ is 96KB.
The page http://losangeles.craigslist.org/ is 7KB.
Just something to think about.)
All throughout the article we are reminded ooooover and oooooover that Craig is a Tragic Geek. I guess the piece's writer, Philip Weiss, seems to think that this is the way to distinguish himself from all those 90s New Media Success Story pieces, where all the CEOs were super-wacky and whimsical!
Weiss further demonstrates his ability to be trapped in yet another 90s-ish Time mag premise, in his new cover article "The Cuddle Puddle of Stuyvesant High School" which is about how today's generation are totally gay. Except that by today's generation he means "the hot 17-year-old girls at an achingly exclusive Ivy-League-feeder school in Manhattan" -- and by gay, he means "totally lezzing it up for their boyfriends and stuff".
We are then offered this tableau of high insight:
« To these kids, homophobia is as socially shunned as racism was to the generation before them. They say it's practically the one thing that's not tolerated at their school. One boy who made disparaging remarks about gay people has been ridiculed and taunted, his belongings hidden around the school. "We're a creative bunch when we hate someone," says Nathan. Once the tormenters, now the tormented.
But dating gay girls isn't really an option either, because the cuddle-puddle kids are not considered part of the gay community. "One of the great things about bisexuality is that mainstream gay culture doesn't affect us as much," says Jane, "so it's not like bi boys feel that they have to talk with a lisp and walk around all fairylike, and it's not like girls feel like they have to dress like boys." The downside, she says, is that "gays feel that bis will cheat on them in a straight manner." »
I don't know which is worse, that, or this; and I don't know which is worse, the possibility that people write that bad, or that they think that bad.