When I was a fellow at NYU, I moderated a panel on the topic of Sources Go Direct. My panelists didn’t buy it. So we wandered in an unsatisfying way (to me at least) around various ideas of what media is about.
One of the speakers was Nick Denton, founder, publisher and ego of Gawker. Nick says that media is about gate-keeping. Your power and value is in what you let through and what you don’t. He said that at the beginning of the blogging era, I had that power (me, as in Dave). He recounted a visit he and his partner made to Palo Alto, probably around 2001 or 2002 or so. They were running a startup called Moreover, and according to Nick, they wanted me to write about it on Scripting News. I didn’t know.
And I sure didn’t want to be a gatekeeper! To me it’s a silly idea, and antithetical to what blogging is about. I want you to say what you have to say and if I’m interested or when I’m interested, I’ll read it — and not because I have to or because there’s nothing else to read. We were going from the time of scarcity to overload, and that’s what I wanted. Not gatekeeping. Because look who’s doing the gatekeeping, some miserable person who will be dead in at most 70 years and probably a lot sooner.
I once wrote about how we’re all barking, farting Chihuahuas pretending our will means anything. I was thinking about the wonderful character in the Taco Bell commercials. I guess he didn’t sell burritos and tacos and challupas or whatever, but I loved the dog, and now that I think of him, I miss him too. I wish they’d bring him back. I’d trade the dog for a million bankruptcy attorney ambulance-chasing mesothelioma profiteers.
- “The universe is so damned big. Billions and billions of galaxies. Every one of them filled with chihuahuas and captains of industry. None of them get out of it alive. What’s it all about? Who knows? No one.”
- I was thinking of Bill Gates.
Nick is now a gatekeeper, I suppose — and I guess he must have a soft spot for me, because anytime I want publicity from Gawker I seem to be able to get it. I wonder who he’s turning down and why.
And then I think of people I know who really are gatekeepers. And then I think of the great scene in The Godfather where all the bosses get together to tell Don Corleone to share his politicians with them. He says if you let my son come back to America you can have the politicians and judges. Now that I can get behind. An old man, in his final years, wants the comfort of his son, to drink wine with, and to tell stories to. What could be better than that! 🙂