Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mediocrity = Integrity

Spurred not at all by his jealousy of the whippersnapper crowd, Mickey puts the leftovers from his 2006 Townhouse blogging in the microwave and hits 'reheat'. It's worth it for this fantastic bit of projection:

I always thought one of the big ideas of the Web was that, to the maximum extent possible, these deliberations and revisions and improvements could now take place in public, where everyone could follow along and maybe contribute.

So, to Mickey, the revolutionary aspect of the internet is that everyone could -- nay, should -- write things that are poorly thought-out, half-assedly researched, and sloppily composed? That Kausfiles becomes the pinnacle of achievement according to these criteria I'm sure is sheer coincidence.

(Also coincidental is the fact that in Mickey's ideal world -- where kicking around an idea with friends represents craven compromise, and a private process of revision and editing is somehow deleterious -- the only writers worthy of respect are the triumphantly self-regarding.)

What's truly ridiculous -- aside from the fact that the blogger calling for a public-as-editor model just so happens to lack a direct commenting feature -- is the presumption is that the same force tearing down the barriers to the distribution of thought somehow also tore down the barriers to the production of thought. This wish is understandable -- anyone who has ever put pen to paper dreams of the time when the ratio of effort expended to worthwhile result is 1:1 -- yet it is entirely delusional. The web made publishing easier, not writing; that something is more easily read does not mean it is more readable.

Mickey does get one thing right, though. Thanks to the web, I *can* follow along with the deliberations and make my own contribution for improvement and revision:

Fire Mickey Kaus.