<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d32209663\x26blogName\x3dSideways+Mencken\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d7682481423868601741', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Blog Death

No, not mine. Not yet. Although you could argue I'm circling the drain.

I'm talking about Done With Mirrors. Callimachus -- not his real name, surprisingly -- is calling it quits. He fears he'll do himself some financial injury if he keeps going. He's probably right. The newspaper business is in trouble. Too easy for the guy who is about to lose his own job to point a finger at Cal and say, "Why not him? He's not even one of us."

Rule #1 when you have kids, a wife and a mortgage: keep the income flowing.

I killed off The Mighty Middle at a time when it was doing rather well because I had imprudently left the door open for kids to hear me using language I shouldn't be using in front of kids. (My own excepted, of course: they've heard it all.) When I started this blog I first wrote under a pseudonym, then made sure I kept it scrubbed of most -- not all, because I'm careless -- references that might lead a casual underage Googler from PG fare to this PG-13 blog. So I understand the importance of not screwing up the real world and real life for the sake of a blog.

But this is a bitter thing to me, to lose Callimachus. I tend not to read blogs by people who reliably agree with me. I read blogs as a corrective. I read Dave Schuler because on most issues he is absolutely cold-blooded and clear-eyed in his analyses. I read Annie because she's heroic in her personal life, (great soap opera, the Jacques and Annie show,) and because she's spiritual and I'm, um, not. I read half a dozen blogs on a daily, never-miss basis. Only one comes close to mirroring my own views. The rest are the opinions I need to hear not the things I necessarily want to hear.

I read Callimachus every day because in addition to providing a different perspective, he provides an education. And he's a damned good writer. Setting aside politics, the man can write.

But Callimachus' blog is depressing in one sense: it reveals both the potential richness of the blogosphere and it's utter financial pointlessness. If Cal can't make money from thoughtful, intelligent, compelling blogging, then I don't know that anyone can. It remains a vanity press, at least for those who, unlike Ms. Huffington, don't have a few million dollars to pour into it.

The day of the lone blogger has come and gone. You can feel that the moment has passed for this particular medium. The economics are beginning to bear down. After the first rush the reality has set in. And the reality is that the real world pays the bills and blogging doesn't.

Done With Mirrors is a serious and major literary accomplishment. There ought to be a paycheck in there somewhere.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

“Blog Death”

  1. Blogger Randy Says:

    Like you, I was saddened to learn he was closing up shop. I expected it to happen sooner or later, though. As to your point about individual blogging, I thought that moment passed by 2006. It takes a serious commitment of time that most individuals just can't spare and, without the time commitment, the community can't be built up to large enough numbers to provide even minimal income from advertising.

    As the print media continue imploding, there aren't many with deep pockets willing to underwrite opinion columnists on websites that barely meet overhead. The Atlantic is one of the few making the effort. Their stable is rather unimpressive, though. And it proves the adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know that matters."

  2. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    Although you could argue I'm circling the drain.

    You bet I could.

    But, please, can you not?

    Really, please. Mark's gone, Cal's gone ... , almost (at least, too many of) everyone's going-going-gone. Couldn't you just stay, even sporadically (as you have been doing, anyway, 'yea [yo], these many months)?

    Don't leave, please, Side/Lucky Bastard/whatever.

  3. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    And--

    For the record, I pretty much agree with almost everything you said here, and as for the "pretty much" and "almost" parts, I think they're covered by the whole "variety is the spice of life" idea[l], that thang on which we pointedly intersect. And not just because of the "ouch."

  4. Blogger amba Says:

    Mark's gone?? Mark Daniels?

  5. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    Annie: (e-)Mail call.