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Nice Michael Kinsley piece on Ego and the Web

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RokSki, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. RokSki

    RokSki New Member


    Saw a link to this while browsing Drudge.

    Nice snapshot of web culture and what you have to do to get noticed in the web jungle. Great characterization of MySpace, etc. social networking sites. Kinsley at his cultural observation and critiquing best.

    Enjoy. I'm sure we all can relate to what he's saying.
  2. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    kinsley says nothing new here and i don't see anything remotely original about his opinion. the internet is a way for people to stroke their ego. huh, no kidding.
  3. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    I agree with most of that. Nothing new, yes. I still think it's a worthwhile piece if for no other reason than his discussion of the changing nature of what is deemed 'immodest:' JoeJournalist seemed brazen 10 years ago, now it doesn't even register a blip on anyone's immodesty scale. I enjoyed the historical contextualization the piece offers to those who aren't hip to how quickly and drastically things have shifted. I guess it's the old fart in me.

    For many web - jaded hacks, it's old news, sure. But if you know someone who isn't as plugged - in as most of us are, and who doesn't understand the changing nature of how you have to present yourself to make it in new media, it's a nice encapsulation of the phenomenon.

    I was editing a web biography for a friend of mine the other day, and I wanted some input from another source. I ran it by my mother, a hardened proofreader. She was like "You can't say this stuff - it sounds ridiculous and grandiose. Totally unprofessional." I wish I had had Kinsley's piece to just hand to her. It would have saved me a lot of time.

    I see your criticisms, Leo. Nothing Pulitzer - worthy in Kinsley's piece, to be sure. Sorry if I wasted your time with the link. Just thought it'd be a nice change - up for some folks.
  4. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    He also uses the word "solipsism" three times in the space of about 650 words.
    OK, Mike. We get it. You know a big word. Based on that, I'm guessing he thinks as much of himself as anybody on myspace.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yeah. He lost me at solipsism. Thrice!
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I'm not alone in thinking there's a flaw at the heart of his argument. It's clear he's talking about Andrew Sullivan, but Andrew Sullivan had an enormous ego to start with, blog or not. It's just that now the ego has such a bigger stage to operate upon.
  7. It's a little bit late in the game for Michael (Bill Gates Bought My Soul) Kinsley to start worrying about web triumphalism.
  8. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    No doubt about it. Kinsley is an A-Level putz, showoff, and score-settler and always has been. No argument there.
  9. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    Damn right; Sullivan has an incredibly enormous ego. I didn't know who the subject of Kinsley's rant was, thanks for filling that in, HH.

    Oh, yeah. True again. This is going to sound crass, but Kinsley is probably bitter that Sullivan gets as much television play as he does. Kinsley, with his tragic Parkinson's, likely cannot do the amount of television he might like to do, and that he used to do. So he brings easy mark Sullivan in front of the firing squad.

    I have always enjoyed Kinsley, back to his early "Crossfire" days with Novak. In 2004, he delivered a devastating book review of David Brooks' On Paradise Drive
    (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02EEDB1F3CF930A15756C0A9629C8B63), which remains one of my all-time favorite book reviews. He takes apart Brooks, his methods, his ambitions and his book with the skill of a surgeon and the seeming effort of a person lazily breaking an egg.

    Kinsley is arrogant, but he's also one hell of a writer. The current piece, the one which this thread was started for, admittedly isn't his best work, but you can still see the 'paw of the lion' in this work.

    I admire Kinsley for his erudition, his keenly observant mind, and his sophistication. Simply put, he brings a lot more to the keyboard than most writers do. He is not a master technician in his writing, but he's highly skilled. Where he excels, however, is in the extensive intellectual artillery he can bring to bear on a subject. He eviscerated Brooks, and he did it in an elegant way. I have a lot of respect for that ability.

    If I had to think of one person to compare him with, it would be Sydney Blumenthal. Blumenthal is not as succinct as Kinsley, and his style is more pedantic, but his breadth and depth of intellectual background reminds me of Kinsley's. If you like to learn something new every time you read a column, these are two of your guys. It's kind of like how I view Easterbrook vs. Simmons - Simmons style if far better suited for discussing sports, but I know every time I read TMQ I will learn something I don't know. I like that in a writer.
  10. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    I only knew the word because it was a friend of mine at college's favorite word. He used it any possible time he could, like a guy at a bar with a fancy new lighter. So thanks, Jeff, I owe you one for the preparation!
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