"If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger" and the Death of Pop Culture Blogs

"If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger" and the Death of Pop Culture Blogs

I'm very sad to discover that Tom Sutpen's essential pop culture photo blog "If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger..." has closed down. I don't know exactly when this occurred, but the author's Twitter page was last updated on March 29.

Every week, I am reminded that the golden age of movie and pop culture weblogs has now passed, as people have devolved from engaging with culture to merely consuming it. People once shared their love of movies and music and the arts, often sharing a spotlight to more obscure, left-of-the-dial subjects. It was always such a joy to discover these cultured, educated fans as they blossomed on the new online frontier of the 21st Century. Now it's nearly all gone extinct, and the few remaining holdouts are fighting over table scraps.

It appears that most people today are perfectly fine with just clicking on images on social media sites. They're not really engaging or bonding or coming together in any meaningful way. They're just sitting like a lump on a log, clicking buttons in a techo-digital drugged-out haze, like animals in a cage who press a button to receive their sugar pellet. Here's another pellet. Here's another.

This isn't interesting or even remotely fun, either as the rat in the cage or the one dispensing the sugar pellets. I tried keeping up with that on Ghibli Blog Twitter, and was modestly successful for a while, but it became so much work for so little payoff. One never makes friends or builds careers. Nothing grows or builds. You're either the sucker stuck inside the cage or the sucker stuck outside the cage.

I remind myself that nothing lasts forever, and it can become fairly difficult to endlessly curate and manage a website when there's virtually no money involved. That's often the reason why many of us quit in the end. We love doing this, but we also love to eat and have clothes on our backs. The internet age has been a great opportunity for writers, but it has also created a race to the bottom that results in stupid, useless clickbait that makes you want to hit someone over the head with a Whiffle Bat. It also results in websites that pay next to nothing for freelance writers, including many who pay nothing for "internships" that will lead absolutely nowhere. I recently replied to an ad for writers, and the company offered $100 for 4,000-word essays. There are beggars on the streets of Chicago who earn more money than that.

So, once again, I find myself saying So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright, and goodbye to another beloved pop website that made me feel more connected to the world and its boundless possibilities.

Also, I would like to politely point out that I need writing jobs that actually pay the rent! The work has to be out there. You can't all still be living with your parents.


Unknown said...

Daniel, please don't end your own blog. As an animation fan, your blog isn't the only active one I follow, but it is certainly one of the very best (still active or not), and the most frequently updated. I check for updates on an almost daily basis, and always read new essays when they pop up. I've learned a lot through your blog, and really hope you stick with it.

Isabel said...

Oh, please, don't ever shut down Ghibli Blog! At least give us an one month notice if you ever do that, so we can download the blog's archive.

I don't interact too much with your blog for I'm mostly a lurker on the Internet, and it's a bit difficult for me to write in English as I'm not a native speaker. However, I check your blog and Twitter at least once a week, I read your newsletter and I've bought your books (still haven't read them all, 'tho). I really appreciate your love and dedication to Studio Ghibli. It's impressive that you've been doing that for over a decade. You always bring interesting points and insight on Ghibli movies and animation in general. If I ever start my own blog, you'd be one of my primary sources of inspiration for sure.

Thank you very much for your hard and passionate work. Keep it up!

Vinicius Pires said...

Yeah, things are really difficult for blogs like yours. But seriously, I admire your work A LOT! I may not comment much in your posts, but I read every single one of them. Thanks a lot for sharing with us all your passion for everything Ghibli-related. I hope you continue on doing so for the future!

Rüsben said...

I'll join the chorus here and ask you to keep up the good work on maintaining this blog. You said it all with the "rat in a cage" analogy. It's great to read and discuss the movies or other art forms that we love. Unfortunately this kind of activity is fading out, but maybe everything changes as people are starting to give up on Facebook? Let's see.

brandykruse said...

Your blog is a gem!

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