Someone, and I won’t mention who, for fear that Smirnoff is going to start challenging folks to duels next, told me to skip ahead to the Grant Alden piece and it’s thought-provoking. The stuff he writes on music criticism and what the role of a music critic does is extraordinary. And then, as you might guess, from the tone this whole conversation has taken, it turns to a discussion of how the internet is ruining everything and writers who write on the internet are basically the cause for him having to work at a coffee shop.
And, of course, I both feel for paid writers who feel that way and am a little angry about it. Does it suck that it’s harder for writers to get paid because so many people are giving it away for free on the internet? Yeah, I think it sucks for writers who need to eat.
But I wish that we could talk about that without putting down people who write on the internet. I mean, when I write about music, I’m not sitting there being all “Bwah ha ha! I hope this means that Grant Alden’s children have to eat generic Pop Tarts!” and twirling my gigantic moustache. I’m writing about music for the same reasons kids play stickball in the streets, because I love it and I love seeing people do it, and I want to share in that.
It’s hard to see what you’re doing because you’re inspired by the writing of someone like, say, Grant Alden or Marc Smirnoff, derided by those same people as somehow ruining what they’re doing. Spoiling it for them.
I mean, who wants to be told that you’re fucking it up for the people who inspired you in the first place?
But, on the other hand, the world is changing. Even if we all stopped writing and just left it to the people who have decided that it’s their turn to be the taste definers, the way that information is transimitted has changed and all the complaining about the internet in the world isn’t going to change that.