A Voice from Inside the Castle


Mike Arrington responds to Nick Carr’s The Great Unread post by asking “Is Nick Carr the new Robin Hood, or Just an Asshole?”

That sounds to me like an annoyed king trying to scatter the peasants that have gathered outside the castle walls. Perhaps the great conversation that is occurring in the comments to Nick’s post sounds to Mike like the rumblings of an angry fiefdom who should simply throw down their torches and return to the fields.

If the king opened the gate to the castle, I imagine a conversation something like this:

King Mike: I am your king.
Peasant Nick: Well I didn’t vote for you.
King Mike: You don’t vote for kings.
Peasant Nick: Well how’d you become king then?
[Angelic music plays… ]
King Mike: Cory, Steve and Hugh, their blogs plastered upon Techmeme held aloft their linkcounts from the bosom of Technorati, signifying by temporal providence that I, Mike, was to join them. THAT is why I am your king.
Peasant Seth: [interrupting] Listen, geeks sittin’ at computers distributin’ links is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical journalistic ceremony.

Mike says that Nick “has no idea what blogging is all about” and that “at the end of the day those people with interesting things to say tend to get listened to. Those that don’t…don’t.” You’ve got to be kidding me. Yes, you can muscle your way into the club- no one is denying that. But if Mike thinks that a blogger’s audience is determined more by how he writes than by how many of the castle dwellers throw him bones, then it is he, not Nick, that is confused about how blogging works.

There are a lot of people who can think and write a lot better the Mike, Nick and me, who will never be read because they are stuck at the bottom of blogger’s hill looking for the trail. Too many people on the hill start believing their own bullshit and forget that.

Then Mike goes on to say that, as long as you’re allowed to talk, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at the table enjoying the feast or taking a 5 minute break from working the fields:

“It’s not so much about how one blog can rise through the ranks and get popular. What I love about blogging is the fact that an ecosystem exists, where conversations spring up about anything at all, involving all who wish to participate (through blogs, comments and trackbacks), evolve and move on to other things.”

That is a text book example of talking one’s position. It’s easy to say money doesn’t matter when you just won the lottery, just like it’s easy to be on a diet when you just ate. I don’t think Mike would be so philosophic about all of this if he were stuck out in the fields and not at the head of the table.

Mike chastises Nick for being bitter. I sense much more bitterness in Mike’s post than in Nick’s. I guess the king is allowed to be bitter.

The rest of us are too busy plowing to be anything but tired.

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