Thursday, December 11, 2008

Inspiration and Free Minds

New article of mine on Inspiration:
I'm not big on inspirational dailies (last one was Far Side), but as of last week I now get Seth Grodin's blogcast. I quote him from today, in reference to his prediction of changes in society due to the internet:

What an opportunity (for someone) to start taking advantage of the huge pool of talent and passion that is moving online, and to work to raise the bar. We don't need more gossip sites from celebrity magazine editors. We need to identify and reward voices that push hard against the status quo, that report eagerly and accurately and that speak truth to power.

Here's what we're going to miss, and quite soon: the cost of having a printing press and the money to run one meant that there were newspapers with gravitas. Newspapers that invested for the long haul, that stood for something, that spoke up. When you can launch a blog for nothing and disappear quite easily if it doesn't work, the gravitas is a lot more difficult to find. When the newspapers are gone (and it's happening a lot faster than the people in the industry are able to admit) that's what we're going to miss the most.

The opportunity, then, is to organize and network and identify and reward that activity when it happens online. Not because the site is owned by a paper or because the founder has connections to the old media. No, because they're doing work that matters.

I think what Grodin means is a branding of a collective. When people work in tandem to produce community, coupled with tolerance for dissent and a vision for the future, the demands of cooperation will necessitate policies insuring their continued stability and trustworthiness. People will come to trust you, and believe in your vision.

For an example of a great writing style, take a look at this article re: Gary Larson's The Far Side. In my opinion, it is a work of art. Note the richness and depth of the content, cloaked in a satirist' wit:

"The Far Side" was eventually picked up by 1,900 newspapers and translated into 17 languages. Twice the Dayton Daily News inadvertently translated it into "Dennis the Menace," by switching the captions on the side-by-side panels. (It didn't do much for "The Far Side," but greatly improved "Dennis the Menace," as in the cartoon in which Dennis tells his doting mother, "I see your little, petrified skull ... labeled and resting on a shelf somewhere," a line that had been intended for a Neolithic fortune-teller.)

If you want to read some home-grown examples of art in words, read our own CoCo's Blog, and Gary's Armageddon Okies. How could I pass up this talent?

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