writer, editor, girl of the creative persuasion.
Do you think it’s more rigid? [re: the distinction between memoir and criticism] I don’t know. I think that Dodie Bellamy, Eileen Myles, and Chris Kraus have really radicalized a vernacular criticism that involves the self, that invokes confessionalism to some degree. Eileen and Dodie who used their blogs as incubators of their criticism. For me memoir and criticism are commingled, comorbid maybe, to borrow a term from psychiatry. Maybe this comes out of the blog, the aesthetics of it. Documenting the quotidian, and also trying to describe the highly subjective experience of confronting literature. I’m really starting to interrogate how and why I use the self in my writing, whether there’s a sense of commodifying the confessional in our current, highly public culture. Yet I think it’s really important to involve the body, the messy, undisciplined body, in our writing. I feel that’s a radical, feminist thing to do. Part of my project that Heroines came out of was a personal, intense diary, which was also about confronting what I censored, what I scratch out, what makes me not write.
We live in a World where losing your phone is more dramatic than losing your virginity. We live in a world full of people who are pretending to be something they’re not. We live in a world where entertainers make way more money than people who save lives. We live in a really messed up world so appreciate the little bit of good you do see in people. If you think faking an orgasm is bad, wait until you meet someone who fakes a relationship.
You can read Stillmann’s craft essay “I, Twitter Curator” re: how he wrote the piece here.
Slutty, unlikable, passive, drunk, poor decisions, doesn’t make a lot of sense, dirty, has too much sex, has sex, is probably thinking about sex, poor, brown, wrong body, wrong gender, at the wrong party, didn’t say the right kind of no, couldn’t say no, didn’t know how to try. What are we talking about, here? A book? A girl? A human body? One another? Me? It gets harder and harder to tell.
Media people who feel smug because they have a Twitter handle, an about.me page, and 500 friends on Facebook often seem to think there is something magical about their ability to navigate social media. There’s not. Social media is easy to use, the barrier to entry is almost zero, and it’s not at all impressive in the larger realm of what constitutes “new journalism,” or whatever it is we’re supposed to call journalism that involves the use of Big Data and interactive infographics.
Journalism skills, however – those antiquated intangibles that fusty old out-of-touch Columbia tries to teach – are non-trivial. Journalists have to be able to not only write, but to also process and synthesize complicated ideas in a short time, structure narratives, master the art of interviewing, take notes really fast, self edit, research in places where others don’t think to look, speak truth to power, ask ballsy questions that might otherwise get their teeth smacked in, construct arguments, dismantle other arguments, see through bullshit, and think on their feet. You can learn those things by yourself through hard work and experience, but it’ll take more than 40 seconds.
Hamish McKenzie, PandoDaily, So Columbia Journalism School’s new dean doesn’t Tweet. So what?
FJP: We’d argue that Twitter and this overall social media thing takes more than 40 seconds to learn but Hamish’s argument against Michael Wolff’s criticism of the Columbia J-School — and its appointment of Steve Coll as its dean — is well worth the read.
Bonus: Jihii Jolly’s Why I’m Paying for J-School.
AshleyBethard: While I agree with FJP (re: it takes longer than 40 seconds to learn social media), I also think McKenzie makes an excellent point with regard to developing journo skills.
I think this also applies to, say, creative writers who are more concerned with “Internet presence” than they are the actual work. A nugget of truth, for all writing worlds: no matter how big your Internet echo/siren call/social network, the work will, at some point, have to speak for itself.