What are we to make of the grumpy young men (and woman) of n+1? Their new issue opens up with a barrage of fire against the interweb and those who use it: Email (Bad! Intrusive! Only properly used for flirting with people you don’t dare talk to!); Cyberporn (Everywhere!); Blogs (Soooo not thoughtful!).
On that last point, well, I’m as guilty as anyone; even a quick analysis of posts found in this space will show that they mostly fall into the category of “Hey! Look at this shiny YouTube video. So shiny!” On the other hand, well, sometimes you want to share your enthusiasms with the world. Is that so wrong?
Still, I’m a little taken aback by the assault of the opening 10 pages, in which everything about this new world of connection and creativity means nothing but bad things for the future of thoughtful discourse. Because the point of most blogs isn’t, as the n+1 people say, to provide “5,000-word critiques of their favorite books and records”—as if sheer word count is an indication of seriousness and worth. Blogging is mostly a fast-twitch muscle—look at this thing I just found—and much of its value is as a guide to things you might have missed.
All this, of course, comes from a place of total respect; there’s much in n+1 to admire (I’m subscriber); Nancy Bauer’s “Pornutopia” in the new issue is particularly good. Mostly, though, I’m just a little disappointed; railing against new (or at this point, not-so-new) technologies isn’t all that interesting, or helpful—we’re here, we’re blogging, get used to it—and sounds more than a little like something the McSweeney’s folks would do. Isn’t n+1 supposed to be in opposition to all that?