This reminds me of an aside in Barbery's "The Elegance of the Hedgehog": "The only purpose of cats is that they constitute mobile decorative objects". I agree 100% about being turned off by perpetually needy hard-sell dog media, but the downside of cat media: it's more difficult to socialize around. I have yet to have a water-cooler conversation turn to last night's Charlie Rose. Alas! My cultural cross to bear.
And Justin Wehr:
Can one be both a cat media person and have a 10,000 subscribership goal? I suppose so if the purpose of the goal is not “hey, look at me” but rather more like “I want to do this, but if it doesn’t feed me by this point, time to move on”.
Justin refers, of course, to my 10,000-or-bust drive for The Marketplace of Ideas. I consider his a valid question, though one basic objection rises quickly: would you really call 10,000 subscribers such a big number? To my mind, 10,000 remains safely on the segment of the media spectrum between “niche” and “very niche.” If I can’t even reach that, then I deem the world itself officially wrong: I’ll move to a fortified compound in Wyoming and start cranking out webisodes about jeggings or something.
The next logical question: do I mean The Marketplace of Ideas to be “cat media”? Readers and listeners seem to suppose so, but I can’t see my own intentions quite so clearly. My main drive tells me to make the best, most interesting conversations I probably can, but, like Peter Greenaway, I want to be MAINNNNNSTREAMMMMM. (Note for Peter Greenaway, if this ever gets back to him: my link to that Exiled piece by no means implies endorsement of that Exiled piece. And while I’m at it, note for Elvis Mitchell: my link to that New York piece by no means implies endorsement of that New York piece. Let’s straighten this out.)
Justin addressed this issue in his own post:
That is probably generally true, but it is not necessarily true, as Colin himself writes in a previous post:I've recently come to find that making something interesting and popular is the only creative goal worth pursuing. Sure, you can gun for popularity alone, but the easiest way to that is to crank out something bland that zero love but millions find acceptable. On the coin's other side, you can make maximize only interestingness, but then you risk making something obscure that your potential audience, the pool of people with pre-existing proximity to the work — dwindles to zero.A quote from Anne Sexton comes to mind: "I am in love with money, so don't be mistaken. But first I want to write good poems."
Posts within posts within posts: things just got vertiginous.