Now, I’m as weary of smug blog triumphalism as the next guy, but good lord is this Doonesbury strip clueless. Gary Trudeau speaks via his radio host character (whose name escapes me) reporting from “the tail end of the media’s fascination with blogging.” Which is probably a fair description only in the same sense that the media (or rather, the *other* media) stopped being “fascinated” with television or the Internet. That is, it stopped doing stories about them as novelties and accepted them as another ordinary part of the media landscape. The implication that blogging is one more pet rock on the way out just reads stupid and grumpy.
Then there’s the notion that blogging is “for angry semi-employed losers who are too lazy or untalented to get real jobs in journalism,” which is the kind of thing that could only be written by someone who doesn’t follow blogs much at all. For one—and I say this as a journalist—it seems like the more popular blogs tend to be written by folks in careers more prestigious and/or remunerative than journalism: Lots of academics and lawyers and such. Second, if you skim the pages of (say) the New York Times book review or op-ed pages, it sure seems as though blogs are the single biggest new source of writing talent for old media venues, to say nothing of bloggers who either are already professional writers (Sullivan) or got hired as journalists largely because of their blogs (Yglesias or yours truly). I hate to play mind-reader, but you’ve got to wonder whether something this silly and bitter isn’t just the product of the realization that more people probably read Daily Kos than Doonesbury on a daily basis now—or if it’s not the case yet, it soon will be.