Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Destroying public discourse, one blog at a time

Two caveats before beginning my rant.

The first is I don't want to become a shrill, screaming blogger who shrieks every time somebody takes a potshot.

The second is I am a big fan of The New Yorker. I've subscribed for years and have no intention of stopping.

In the May 14th issue, writer Lauren Collins has a feature on the English graffiti artist Banksy. Banksy has been around awhile. His m.o. is to drop into a location in the dead of night, leaving a politcally scathing painting on a building, or perhaps on some of the wall dividing Israel from Palestine. He declines interviews, hides his identity, and has cultivated an enormous following. He is now very, very rich, and feels hugely guilty about moving from the fringes to the hot art mainstream. He continues to hide his identity, even as Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves attend his openings.

Banksy is a talented guy. Nobody is arguing that. Some people are little pissed about his choice of medium--buildings that, um, arent't his. And though he's a great artist, I can sort of understand people being upset....kind of how I feel when I see graffiti all over my city. Only we Oaklanders don't have guerilla political artists. We have gangbangers conversing amongst themselves in an ugly, violent territorial scrawl.

This all by way of background. Fine, okay. But then:

"The graffitist's impulse is akin to the blogger's: write some stuff, quickly, which people may or may not read. Both mediums demand wit and nimbleness. They arouse many of the same fears about the lowering of the public discourse and the taking of undeserved liberties.'

I'm feeling a little shrill.

I never write on buildings, or anything else that might be construed as another's property. Nor do I write quicky. How I wish I did. In terms of people reading or not, we can safely say that about any writing. I mean, nobody reads everything. Some people don't read anything at all--not The New Yorker, not me, not even goddamned People.

Wit and nimbleness. Yep, I do strive for those. What writer doesn't?

In terms of lowering the public discourse, in reviewing my posts over the past ten days, I see entries on trashy writers like Wendy Lesser, Jim Harrison, Calvin Trillin, and Anna Gavalda. I see I've neglected some of the more popular current celebs, classy folk like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Brangelina.

Stupid me.

I forgot to watch CNN last night, or check in for a dose of reality with Fox News.

I haven't listened to Michael Savage.

I think Wolfowitz is a public embarassment and should be fired.

I guess I've taken some undeserved liberties.

As for you, my kind, wonderful readers, well, you're complicit in this lowering of "the public discourse."

What are these people so scared of? Don't worry, Lauren, most of us bloggers still need our day jobs.


Anonymous Carolyn said...

I think you should get points for reading the CURRENT New Yorker and blogging about it. Nimble!

(I just pick mine at random from the stack - now February 12, then April 23...)

May 15, 2007 12:55 PM  

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