If you want to delve into the never-ending “Mommy, mommy — look at me!” plea of the blogosphere, then you might want to read this exchange between uber-blogger Jeff Jarvis and Bill Keller of the New York Times. It’s all about the need for attention that so-called A-list bloggers crave and often demand.
This stems from the fact that too many bloggers take themselves oh-so seriously and have failed to realize that they are not journalists, but media critics. And, for some reason they think that being a media critic is somehow less important than being a reporter. This is part of that American desire to be seen as a professional rather than a tradesman. Or in the case of media critic, a plain old bullshit artist. I’d like to ask all these jokers: “Who gives a crap about journalism and blogging?” What difference does it make? If it’s an attempt to get into events for free as a “journalist” then I can kind of understand it. But I can already tell you that bloggers will never get the rights and privileges of print or TV writers. There are just too many bloggers and if the most influential bloggers have their way then everyone would be a blogger. Everything would be free for everyone under this pretense. So forget getting credentials. “Yes, by day I’m an auto mechanic and by night I blog about cars. Can I get into the car show free?” I don’t think so.
Here Jarvis demands that the Times listen to the bloggers. Try and read the whole post. It’s hilarious.
And my greatest hubris in this is not to represent bloggers but instead to think that I can defend bloggers to journalists and journalists to bloggers. You see, I’m not a world dominator. I’m something even harder to bear: a polyanna. I do earnestly believe — as someone who straddles both worlds: mediaman by day, blogboy by night — that we must work together to improve news, inform the public, and even save journalism.
What I found even more amusing was the fact that Keller cited his experience as a boy in the Model UN exercise in Berkeley. Jarvis, not to be outdone, tells his tale about being in the Model UN. Hey, I was also sent to the Model UN at Berkeley when I was in high school too. This ludicrous event was an exercise in futility in every way. In fact it was just plain silly and mostly peopled by blowhard high school wonks — as I recall. Anyway, within three or four years I had long since forgotten the country I (and a friend of mine, Bill Kadi) represented. France maybe. Gabon? I don’t know. In fact I forgot all about the event until today when I read the entry in the Jarvis blog. What I find creepy is that both guys recalled the country they represented and details about the event. This is like recalling the number of stars you received on your 9th grade English test and bragging about it when you’re 50.
Keller’s experience at the Model UN:
I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit. When I was in high school, several classmates and I were assigned to represent Peru at a Model United Nations conference in Berkeley. One member of our delegation, who shared your gift for bold opportunism, proposed that when the gathering broke into committees to draft resolutions on the issues of the day each of us should walk to the head of our meeting room. Then we should casually take charge of organizing the selection of a committee chairman. Naturally, chutzpah was rewarded. We were all selected chairmen of our respective committees. Peru took over the United Nations.
Jarvis follows with his story:
My college Model UN team from Claremont (Len’s alma mater) was Romania. Exhibiting, as you put it, bold opportunism, I practically led a world takeover. Good thing (a) it was only the model UN and (b) I didn’t stay at Claremont with all the conservative poli sci majors and plot a real world takeover or at least an invasion of Iraq. I went into journalism instead.
Gee, these guys were into taking over the world. Go figure. And they recall it fondly. Ack!!