Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I didn't attend this panel at Transformer. Looks like it was pretty entertaining, though--current CP arts contributer Kriston Capps and former CP editor and gallery critic Glenn Dixon were there. I like those guys.

My current editor posted to the CP blog about it here--and was immediately pounced on by Dixon in an e-mail.

I have mixed feelings about this. I was always a big fan of Dixon's writing in the CP. For years, I read his gallery reviews, thinking to myself, "Boy, I'd love to do that."

Once I did start, you know, "doing that," I could always count on my first editor, Leonard Roberge, to send me links to Glenn's older articles about whatever artist I happened to be writing about that month. No matter who the subject was, it seemed like Dixon had been there first--and he had been both smart and richly digressive in treating the subject.

Leonard was quick to dissuade me from making Dixon's large-to-small arguments, though, or constructing his kind of trademark introductory paragraph. A Dixon review could start with a scene in which a bunch of astronomers are chatting in the Mojave desert--before abruptly depositing the reader in a gallery in Dupont circle. Kind of like Dave "I'm writing about fine art, but I'd just as soon write about Chet Baker" Hickey--but not in an annoying way.

It worked for Glenn...but we decided early on that my focus should be much narrower. Not that I couldn't conceivably write about, say, music. I do play four or five instruments.

But does the world need another rock music critic?

The breeze whispers a gentle "No."

So anyway. The thrust of this dust-up between CP editors past and present is that Glenn doesn't like blogs. This is fine. Frankly, I still prefer seeing my stuff in print to seeing it online. Of course, I also continue to think that spreading colored mud around on stretched rectangles of canvas is a good way to make pictures. So I'm kind of quaint that way.

But, you know, I'm writing a blog. And it isn't easy. Hey, I'm only doing this for myself. Nobody's paying me for this stuff. As a result, half my entries are just musings, or links to what I happen to be reading at the moment--but even this content takes up a lot of my time.

Editing, proofreading and thinking don't go out the window just because someone isn't tidying up behind you. Blogging well is not easy. The best bloggers are working hard and delivering a decent product, I'd say.

I wouldn't characterize MAN as a "crap fountain."

Now, if Dixon's vitriol is really about the fact that most print publications treat their blogs as little ghettos of cultural production, where writers don't get much oversight, compensation, or respect, then I understand. If we really are moving away from print media, toward more and more online content, then the same vetting, concern for stylistic continuity, and money that go into creating a magazine's identity ought to be put in the service of all of its online manifestations as well, right?

It either is the same thing, or it isn't.


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