The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 September 2007

Michael Wolff thinks I'm old

He wasn't thinking of me personally, of course, but apparently anyone who values news qua news is damned near antediluvian:

[M]ost of the people I know who are interested in news, rather than, say, social networking, or solitary blogging, who believe news media might thrive, online or in more classic forms, are old.

Barry Diller, the former Hollywood kingpin, who has remade himself as an Internet titan, has talked about his desire to start a new news thing online (indeed, I briefly try to convince him he should help start mine). But is his interest in news the result, I wonder, of his Internet acumen, or just an older mogul's hobby, similar to the interest of his friend the mogul David Geffen in buying the Los Angeles Times? Diller is 65. Geffen is 64. Rupert Murdoch may have paid billions for Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, but he is 76.

Arianna Huffington, the gadfly and publicity hound, has, at 57, actually succeeded in starting her own online newspaper, the Huffington Post, a kind of left-wing broadsheet competing with the right-wing tabloid Drudge Report (Drudge himself must be getting on in years). Then there is Jeff Jarvis, one of the original bloggers. He is an implacable believer in all things Internet, but, at 53, also no spring chicken.

Drudge is reported to be forty, which qualifies him for poulet du printemps, at least compared to this bunch.

I note here that I am older than Jarvis, who has been 53 for all of two days at this writing.

And after three pages, Wolff eventually gets around to making his point, which is this:

My civics-class generation continues to put high value on public life: the president, the Congress, the courts. But increasingly these dysfunctional bureaucracies are of interest only to strangely fixated people. Politics itself is, more and more, a kind of obsession. (Indeed, people who do want news are people who seem dysfunctional themselves — obsessed, narrow-focused, militant, A.D.D.) Whereas a new generation, through the magic of the Internet, dispenses with this old idea of the commonweal and converts its private life into its public one.

In my capacity as someone who once sat through a civics class, I must demur: politics, at least to me, is less an obsession than a form of entertainment. And it's not just the cynicism talking, either; having rejected out of hand the notion that "the personal is political" and the inversion thereof, I find that I get the same buzz watching the candidates that I get watching dinner theatre, train wrecks (cf. Spears, Britney Jean), and other decidedly low-tech amusements.

Michael Wolff, incidentally, is two months older than I am, and gets far more traffic at Newser, which name proves he's around my age: he didn't spell it "Newsr."

Posted at 6:20 AM to Almost Yogurt , Political Science Fiction


he didn't spell it "Newsr."

Actually, these days that would probably be Ny00zR

Posted by: McGehee at 12:13 PM on 14 September 2007