I was chatting with a good friend of mine today who went to high school with Jack Abramoff and remembers him simply as a "weird fat kid" and we got sidetracked onto the subject of blogs and cultural energy in general. We both concurred that the blog world has the feel right now that the punk rock scene of the late 70's had, and for much the same reasons.
The music business in the 70's had grown bloated and moribund and disconnected from its audience. Record executives busied themselves buying Rolexes for REO Speedwagon and paying millions for Casablanca records and nobody cared. They were perfectly horrified at the spectacle of kids paying $3 to see the Clash play a benefit for Marxist youth at the Geary Temple in 1978, but even as a kid it was perfectly obvious where the energy was, where the zeitgeist was shifting. Punk rock became a beacon for creative people of all walks, and oh so many years later the shadow it casts looms far greater than the corporate culture merchants of the time were able to envision.
So I was thinking about the cultural energy of punk, and the cultural energy of blogs, and I have a bit of an addendum to Jane's point.
It's true, as she notes, that, "We thought punk rock and the energetic counterculture it produced would last for ever, but it didn't. It was over quite quickly." But, I would argue, the impulse of punk always exceeds the ability of the established forms to coopt it. Thus the long shadow: something remains.
(Jane Hamsher, btw, is a screenwriter as well as a blogger....)
More on this later, after I think some more about the parallel.