Boston Theater and Beyond
A funny summary of the recent round of 'controversies'! I left the following comment on Nick's blog:You're definitely on to something here, Nick - but wasn't it inevitable? Theatres want to leverage the power of the web as a promotional tool, and want to strike the same bargain with it that was struck with the print press. But said bargain was always made with the unseen editors, not the writers - and there's usually no "editor" on the web. So the theatres - and the artists - have to exert pressure directly, with no invisible proxy. I think in the end, though, the project is doomed - the web is just too polymorphously perverse, and its freedom too tempting, to be controlled. The web, of course, has its own pitfalls - it's no more "honest" intrinsically than the print media. And again like the dead-tree media, it's essentially self-policing. Still, most bloggers I know are quite a bit more upfront about their connections and conflicts of interest than the print critics I know - perhaps because, in the end, there's really no financial incentive for cultural blogging (and it's hard to believe for what small amounts of money print critics will sell out). Ironically, however, that very honesty generates more controversy than the silent corruption that reigns in print.
What is "honesty," though, when the commenters themselves admit they are arguing from the perspective of various online personae -- of fictions that serve as contexts for the commentary? What does that admitted disconnect say about the quality of reception, or of the validity of the content?I'm not saying that there isn't some kind of self-presentation involved in any interpersonal relationship, a la Erving Goffman's "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life." But obviously it's a self-conscious choice on the blogosphere and not an unconscious impulse (just as it might be in print). The same questions above apply.
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