Now which blog did I read an "out of the mouth of babes" comment? The blogger's kid doesn't want to keep a diary since we all know someone is gonna swipe it and read it.
"Why don't you write a diary that you don't mind being read?" asks the parent.
"Oh, you mean a journal."
In this big "Is Blogging Journalism?" debate we can always fall back on the fact that we're the journalists of our own life experiences.
But larger than merely chronicling minutiae, I sense we're harking back to the days of ordinary art. And bloggers are (utterly) ordinary journalists.
...I'll now bet you'll be hearing your neighbor on some form of radio and seeing your coworker on some form of TV just as you are reading your friends in this, some form of publishing, sooner than you can imagine. - Jeff Jarvis, "Exploding media: creativity", Buzzmachine blog
I've begun calling myself a writer. (I call myself other things too.) Most writers have been told repeatedly: "Write what you know."
Yet last week at a non-profit board meeting to propose a fiscal sponsor arrangement for a citizen journalism / grassroots media project (see About), I'm asked what my journalism credentials are.
That's my point!! I don't need credentials to write, produce, create, publish, distribute what I know. And you don't need credentials to journal what you know. Or to tell our stories in our own words. With blogs, we've become producers of our own micro-channels (ok, micro-micro-channels in my case).
(And Stowe contrasts hirelings to artists in the NY Times to boot:
The point, Mr. Boyd said, is that blogging is unique because of its spontaneity and individualism, and that bloggers, like dancers and sculptors, are most interesting because they are "pursuing their muse." )
Aren't we all artists?
Artmaking has been around longer than the art establishment. Through most of history, the people who made art never thought of themselves as making art. In fact it's quite presumable that art was being made long before the rise of consciousness, long before the pronoun "I" was ever employed. The painters of caves, quite apart from not thinking of themselves as artists, probably never thought of themselves at all. - David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear
Bayles and Orland make a solid case for ordinary art in their book, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (Kevin Kelly's review & excerpts).
Greek theater attracted audiences of fourteen thousand because in those quaint ancient times the "distance from art issues to all other issues was small. The whole population counted as audience when artists' work encompassed everything from icons for the Church to utensils from the home."
The authors say that today's artists have divorced themselves from the times and places of their life choosing instead the "largely intellectual challenge of engaging the times and places of Art."
I suppose there are parallels between the Art establishment and MSM.
They quip: "Apart from the readership of the Artforum, remarkably few people lose sleep trying to incorporate gender-neutral biomorphic deconstructivism into their personal lives."
Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people - essentially (statistically speaking) there aren't any people like that. But while geniuses may get made once-a-century or so, good art gets made all the time. Making art is a common and intimately human activity, filled with all the perils (and rewards) that accompany any worthwhile effort. The difficulties artmakers face are not remote and heroic, but universal and familiar. - David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear
Pick your excuse: "It's just little ol' me", "I'm certainly no artist/journalist/creator/whatever." "I have nothing to say of any consequence." Those could have marginally worked in the age of Art.
Your excuses have vanished: This is the age of ordinary art. This is the age of ordinary journalists.
That book was written in 1993. Things have changed. We can now use the raw materials of our lives, the times and places immediately around us, the ordinary, the mundane, the out of the ordinary, the everyday happenings and rumblings in our heart in our art. And everyone can do it.
One charge that could be laid at the book's door is that it lacks geopolitical perspective. It rarely ventures outside Iraq and it does not offer a theory of why the Bush administration deemed it necessary to invade the country. I think it is fair too say that the world's media, mainstream and alternative, are not lacking in these kinds of analyses and theories. What they do lack is the voice of an "ordinary" Iraqi, resident in Iraq, to tell us what the invasion feels like. This is the function that Baghdad Burning fulfills uniquely and with power and elegance. - foreward to Baghad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq, a book based on entries from Riverbend's blog, Baghdad Burning
Thank you, thank you, thank you Riverbend for not giving me your analyses.
This is the function that art fulfills: Show me in any medium you can what does your journey feel like? What have you witnessed? What do you know directly and intimately of life?
Truth in writing is something more intuitive that has to do with a work’s ability to become timeless in its timeliness and universal in its particularity. – Jeff Davis, The Journey from the Center to the Page
FYI: I'm speaking on the citizen journalism panel ("but, I'm not a journalist" backfired) at BlogHer conference July 30th.
AND: Hugh says (more or less): Ordinary artists don't require publishers or art galleries or ad agencies. Not saying you cannot go this route, but it's now entirely optional.