Tuesday, May 27, 2008

THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. Megan McArdle is away from her desk for reasons unknown -- from this photo it seems she may have at last found honest work as a telemarketer -- leaving a bunch of young guest-bloggers to romp and play in her stead. Peter Suderman -- at 17, the elder statesman of the group -- does big-boy blogging; they rest try to get away with the same shit that flew in their college newspapers.

Tim Lee lays out the case for Technology is Awesome. Here he explains that companies sometimes give away digital content because "giving away information goods (which have zero marginal cost) can expand the market for other goods that can then be sold at a profit," but cautions, "Figuring out what to give away and how to monetize the resulting attention is a difficult problem that everyone, from Facebook to the Atlantic is struggling to solve." Yuh don't say! Next he'll be telling us about the challenges facing our next President.

Lee follows up with that evergreen of the neverlaid, How Blogs Will Totally Replace Newspapers. Folks who reflexively assert that the New York Times does a better job of covering world events than a guy with a Wordpress account and several college buddies studying abroad are mired in oldthink:
There are fewer organizations that aspire to cover "all the news that's fit to print." But while that might worry people who are used to the predictability of 20th-century organizational methods, the new system is likely to be better. Specialization allows publications to develop deeper bench of talent in the topics they cover. A swarm of smaller organizations gives the system more flexibility. And the lower barriers to entry allow a proliferation of new voices that provide unique perspectives on the news.
And the great thing is, our Citizen Journalists get paid in buzzwords! I bet Lee prefers Taster's Choice to real coffee because it uses advanced freeze-drying technology.

My favorite is Conor Friedersdorf. First, there's the name: can't you picture him, peachfuzz painstakingly sculpted into a French Beard, smoking jacket carrying a crest of his own invention, snifter filled with Pibb Xtra? And Young Friedersdorf has a poetic streak:
Consider Las Vegas after 12 hours: already there is an urge to escape. The once quaint sounds of the casino floor clank against the nerves. You discern wrinkles beneath the caked-on makeup of haggard cocktail waitresses and paunch on black-jack dealers whose slouches gradually deepen.
Well, timor mortis conturbat me silly! Can't wait for the next installment, in which cackling crones of 28 are compared to witches and someone puts a cigarette out in a plate of eggs.

Friedersdorf also has posts about how New York is exciting, and conservatives aren't racist, look at Clarence Thomas, but really anything he writes is worth savoring. I hope McArdle is thinking legacy, and not only because that would mean she was leaving.

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