Tough day in the rain for Craig Munro and Joel Tunbridge.
Where has the density gone? It’s all fluff now, drivel gone soggy, mundane milquetoast…there used to be cutting and thought-provoking journalism front-and-center. Now, it’s gone off down the dark alleys of person blogs, nom-du-plume’d or vague and incognito, as to agitate the hornets nest of advertisers, would be like penning one’s own murder slip. The analytical and insightful words, hammered out on a keyboard after some sort of mind-jarring experience or revelation, those provocative sentences and soul-scratching pieces of craftsmanship are now fading relics on bookshelves, the bottom of browser bookmark lists.
The mainstream media has forsaken the loyalists who stayed on through freeride, past neon race kits, and into the muted color pallette and soul-searching post-work rides. We’ve waxed past the brash punk years and are waning through the faux poet years, where everyone’s insight is heartfelt, bleeding from the edges and touches each and every reader. That’s not a good sign.
Good work stirs, great work moves, memorable work sticks. The Good; The Great; The Memorable. It’s hard to pull off any of the trifecta, writing is hard in general, and to conjure up something that pokes the bear without getting mauled is increasingly challenging…or to think up some string of words that aren’t another rehashing and/or accidental plagiarism of a past-read piece. The information age made it possible for everyone to have a podium behind which to stand and preach.
From said perch, everyone screams into the echo chamber, a deafening cacophony of emotions, ideas, silly stories, and epic successes/failures. But, with the reverberation of all these voices, the good, the great, and the memorable get lost in the ether. If by chance someone is heard and published, there is little and less guarantee that their message will be received. In the day of print, there were less than a handful of places to seek out the good, the great, and the memorable. Now, the best stuff is often unknowingly overshadowed because the masses demand bite-sized chunks of information – not because they can’t handle the full-course copy, but because there is a greedy undercurrent of must-have, akin to eating fast food.
The benchmark is low, very low, for what passes for journalism in the world of today. One must avidly seek out information, true “news”. The greater percentage of what constitutes information on sites doling out articles, reviews, and visuals is all just grab-bag, to-go… stuff. It’s not filling, it lacks heft and foundation – as if digital wasn’t already hollow enough. Pixels and scrolls get you very little now, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
Superficial subjects should be eschewed in favor of what lurks in the shadows. Learning about the darkness is far more intriguing that loafing in the light, which is easy. Getting inside, up close to the subject(s) and digging in, that’s where the “cool” factor is…but it’s harder, takes more time, and it’s tough to sell. There is a changing in the winds of late, which gives hope to this subject and those who want to dig. It would be nice to see fewer sites trying to cover everything on a mediocre level, and instead diversification and specialization. The one-stop-shop has to blanket too much, details get lost in favor of speed of delivery and reach.
It would be encouraging to see more pointed writing, opinionated paragraphs; people need to stop assuming that everything they will read will leave them with “warm fuzzies” or a “super stoked” attitude. Thinking is cool, theory is neat, and taking a stand, taking a position on an idea is fantastic. The basic rule of “don’t be a dick” will always apply, but it would be refreshing to put eyes on text which forces me to think, for better or worse.