Sunday, March 22, 2009

In Memoriam

This is in memory of all the newspapers like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that are leaving behind the printed word in favor of the internet. It seems evident that Blogs are one source of the difficulty for the newspapers. Everyone is writing! These writers may not have many readers individually, but the sheer number of them has contributed to the demise of the old-fashioned newspaper. In 1936, Walter Benjamin writes prophetically in his essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibilty": "For centuries it was in the nature of literature that a small number of writers confronted many thousands of readers. This began to change toward the end of the past (19th)century. With the growth and extension of the press, which constantly made new political, religious, scientific, professional, and local journals available to readers, an increasing number of readers-in isolated cases, at first-turned into writers. It began with the space set aside for "letters to the editor" in the daily press, and has now reached a point where there is hardly a European engaged in the work process who could not, in principle, find an opportunity to publish somewhere or other an account of a work experience, a complaint, a report, or something of the kind...At any moment, the reader is ready to become a writer." With so many more writers, and the same number of readers, there is now a phenomenon that has been called "internet solitude" by a friend. Those of you who are posting blogs know this feeling!