Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout

May 3, 2006 at 12:00 am
Brian J. Bowe recently made an astute observation in one of his Beat Reader columns when he commented that rock writing "covers a lot of ground — from Lester Bangs’ Boy Howdy heights to the banal bullshit of bloggers."

These words he speaks are true; it’s all journalistic stew. But a quarter century after St. Lester’s canonization, is there a call for quality rock writing anymore?

Glenn Danzig is most emphatic that there is. "We need it," the hardcore rocker told me last year. "But unfortunately, I have to say, one out of every one hundred interviews I do, I get a real journalist. And the other ones are just some morons out there. I’d rather talk to the kid outside my bus, and he knows more about music than this guy who’s writing either a review or an interview for a magazine and doesn’t know what he’s talking about."

Now we all know what opinions are like and how everybody’s got one. But these days, whether it’s via a posted consumer product review, mass e-mailed newsletter or personal Web diary, everyone’s also got a heretofore-unprecedented public forum to immediately express whatever he or she is feeling about any particular topic at any given time.

Consequently, more people are using the writing process right now than at any other time in history — which isn’t to say that they’re actually writing. I don’t know which is worse: that a disproportionate number of them don’t know how to correctly spell the contraction "you’re" or that they have nothing to say and incessantly insist on saying it.

As a validating means of self-expression, the personal weblog phenomenon is nothing but a cheaper instant gratification alternative to going the traditional vanity press route. But whether you self-publish or self-post, the truth is that you’re probably not a good enough writer to have a professional publisher pay you and print your work, so instead you end up paying to do it yourself.

So will today’s chat room-reared, emoticon-generating generation of self-centered, unedited, amateur bloggers — who delusionally believe that every vapid thought that occurs to them is worth typing out and then shared with the rest of the world as required reading — spawn tomorrow’s quality rock writer?

Don’t make me ROFL. Jeffrey Morgan is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]