Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Confession, A Theory, And A Hope

This post begins with a confession: there were things I did as a younger man that I no longer do, and feel no desire to ever do again. In this case, I'm referring to writing well-researched essays [footnotes included]. I did a goodly amount of it in high school and college and, while I feel I got reasonably good at it, I don't feel the need to do any more. I still enjoy writing, of course; otherwise this space would be held down by someone else, one Potiphar Breen, possibly [or maybe not; in an alternate universe, the blog "AFTER MIDNIGHT" is devoted to endless reviews of the old Eric Clapton song of the same name].

There is a point to all this nonsense; sometimes it's easy to write the beginning of an entry, other times, the middle or end. This time, the beginning is going nowhere FAST. So, let's move on to the middle. All you really need to remember from that convoluted beginning is: I don't want to work hard on these little items [Do you?]

O.K. It's Senior Thesis/Major Paper season in Universities around the world. I'm going to throw out an essay topic, free of charge. It occured to me recently, while waiting for a bus. ANYONE IS FREE TO USE THIS, WITHOUT CHARGE OR FURTHER OBLIGATION [I would ask for a copy; if you do decide to use this, e-mail me and I'll send you my address]. Basically, the proliferation of what is known as "Web 2.0" had to come from some model. I suggest that the model was Hollywood. From its earliest days, Hollywood owned the product. It created it, promoted it, and sold it, hopefully [from its perspective, anyway] for a profit. Then, beginning in the 1950's, studios became little more than distributors. They marketed movies made by small companies, again, hopefully, at a profit. Nowadays, it's rare to find a movie conceived, produced, and marketed by one of the traditional "major" studios. Now, compare this to the Internet. The major ISP's were in the business of creating an all-inclusive environment for their users [think AOL]. Then, they began marketing products and services created by others [think Google]. I'm sure there's more on both the "Yeah, he's on to something", and the "Oh, Lord, he's NUTS!" side of this debate. But that's where research, and the process sometimes called "creative interpretation" and sometimes "bullshitting" come in. I'm honestly curious what my fellow denisens of the Blogosphere think of all this. Even if you're not writing for a grade, leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Finally, regular readers of these posts have noticed a sign in the right-hand margin, showing support for writers of TV and movies in their strike with production companies. As this goes to the electronic world, there is word of a tentative settlement. As soon as the strike is declared over, the sign will be removed. I, for one, am hoping we will be rid of it shortly. I want more new episodes of "House", and I want them NOW...

-Mike Riley