Newspapers & thinking the unthinkable

Whoo-whee, here’s a top-hole analysis of newspapers’ present dilemma. Clay Shirky, astute observer, takes a clear look  at the “problem” (a.k.a. the revolution) in this blog post. A text bite:

Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.

With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.

Well worth a read if you’re at all interested in the place of journalism in a healthy (as opposed to what we have now) society.

Art = suffering: Snicket

Author Lemony Snicket

[Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket] said people are attracted to dark and subversive stories this time of year, in part because of the dark and cold outside.

“In real life, I prefer miracles and goodness. In a work of art, I prefer the opposite. I think people often get confused over what they like in one versus the other,” he said.

“When you’re travelling on an ocean liner, you would prefer it to be iceberg-free. If you’re watching a movie about an ocean liner, you would prefer it to run into the iceberg as soon as possible, drowning whatever good-looking actors are aboard.”

… “I think holiday stories don’t necessarily need to provide lessons and stories and reassurances, but should be entertaining and engaging,” Handler said.

“If you set out to teach a moral lesson, you’ll probably make a tedious story. If you make a good story, it will probably end up to have a moral lesson.”

— From the story Lemony Snicket has lump of coal for holiday reading.

Urban chic, with a side of Toff

So i’m walking back from the book launch at the planetarium and i think, Hey i should blog this for all those poor saps now staring at their TVs in Tofino for lack of anything better to do, late on a Friday night.

I’m on the corner of Broadway and Kingsway and lo, there before me is the Our Town cafe, open late (Are you listening Tofino? Are you listening Ucluelet?) with free wireless (Are you listening, etc.). So i pop in for a $1.80 (Are you …) ginger vanilla tea and sit at a funky table watching Broadway roll by and blogging about the Vancouver launch of Margaret Horsfield’s Voices from the Sound — Chronicles of Clayoquot Sound From 1899-1928.

Margaret gives good slide, and the planetarium theatre was over half full with, at a guess, 150 people. It was a weird experience to sit in the city, watching a historical picture show of my sorta home town a world away with a room full of … well, who were these people? Grey-haired to a man and woman. Margaret seemed to know several of them so maybe it was the home-town crowd. Maybe it was all those absentee owners whose rampant appetite for condominiums is turning the town upside down. There seemed to be no lack of ready money, for at least a third of the attendees bought a copy of the book. The evening’s proceeds went to The Land Conservancy, more power to Margaret.

And now the tea is drained and i’m off to Commercial Drive, theredown to stroll. Who says you can’t have both urban and rural?