Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Internet celebrity, Flannery O'Connor and MakeFive.com

One of my favorite quotes is this from Flannery O'Connor:

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

If O'Connor could see the flood of crap that we consume today, she would have enrolled us in private classes at Andalusia. And stifled us all. To death with a pillow, if necessary.

The traditional media gatekeepers are gone or leaving, victims of technology, lethargy and their own poor taste. But they withered away ostensibly attempting a great service: filtering out the bad, the amateurish and the tasteless.

One of the great myths of the adolescent is that there is a huge raft of talented filmmakers, actors and artists out there, ignored by the mainstream and forced to create genius in and for the underground. But there's not. And today all the world has access to YouTubes and MySpaces and Seesmics, content creation encouragers that have enabled a wave of celebrities whose only claim to fame is their own shamelessness.

I keep waiting for a killer critic to do for Internet celebrity what Pitchfork does for music and Josh Spear does for product design. But the deluge of wannabe celebrities is probably too great for anyone to comprehend, let alone manage.

Maybe if we all put our heads together, we can figure this thing out.

I've been playing around in MakeFive, a new online community based on lists. The site was launched by smashLAB on November 5, 2007. Its irresistible tagline is "You are what you think." And at the risk of stating the obvious, making lists at MakeFive is less time-intensive than at 43 Things.

My first list is of the five Internet celebs who actually deserve it. Join the community, vote on my choices and add your own, if you're so inclined.

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