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December 2, 2008


Every week New York magazine divides a page into four quarters, filled with snarky squibs of text and bite-sized photos referring to cultural events or persons or trends as chosen by the page's hipper-than-thou editors. The further left you go, the range moves from "brilliant" to "despicable." From top to bottom, it's highbrow to lower brow.

This week, in the lower right corner of the upper left quadrant (meaning tending toward the despicable and pretty close to low from high), is the item: "Journalists pontificating endlessly about the future of journalism."

For "journalists," read "arts journalists," especially in this blog. We tend to navel-gaze, and there is lot to fret about. But excessive self-involvement is not likely to win sympathy or jobs or foundation grants.

Taking advice from the wit and wisdom of this page of New York magazine is a little like planning your future based on a fortune cookie. But we do have an inclination to whine, and the occasional corrective is always salutary. 

December 2, 2008 8:49 AM | | Comments (1)


I saw that too, John, and it made me crack a (wry) smile. Given the climate, it's not hard to see why the foxhole mentality persists, especially in a forum such as this. Interesting to note the wording of the item, though: not "lamenting" or "whining," but pontificating. And not about the "state" or "crisis" of journalism, but the future.

Incidentally, the Cultural Approval Matrix came up in conversation during the Getty Fellowship. We were discussing our general antipathy to "charticles" -- those dumb, colorful graphics that used to be relegated mainly to The USA Today -- but agreed that NY Mag was one outlet that gets the format right. It's usually the first page I open to, with guilt and glee.

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