Good stuff on Slate today.
First, the online mag takes a look at the dark genius of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who died over the weekend. As Slate points out, Syd’s idiosyncracies were great for the band, but we probably got a better Pink Floyd for him having left when he did:
It’s a deeply quaint and provincial worldview, perfect for Barrett’s twisty little pop songs but miles from the space-rock grandeur that Pink Floyd would achieve on post-Barrett classics like Dark Side of the Moon. Rock snobs like to say that Pink Floyd lost it when Barrett freaked out and left the band, but the truth is Floyd would probably have gone down in history as a curio had Barrett stuck around—and what’s more, there wouldn’t be any such thing as Radiohead.
From one English madman to another, Slate takes a look at Gawker guru Nick Denton. Nick, just how is it that you manipulate the press so?
Denton garners attention for additional reasons, ranked here from least important to most: 1) Charming and approachable, he puts people at ease and makes himself a sympathetic source. 2) By portraying himself as a nasty, libeling, privacy-invading, copyright-infringing scalawag, he’s good copy, even though his blogs about electronic gadgets (Gizmodo), tech and life (Lifehacker), and cars (Jalopnik) are embarrassingly ethical and fair. 3) He’s British, and the press loves to make pets out of Brits. 4) He’s accessible, providing a link on Gawker to his contact points. 5) He responds to queries promptly, or at least he did to my request for a photograph of him. (I declined to ask Denton for an interview. Oh, and this disclosure: He spoke at the Slate retreat last month and we chatted for a few minutes.) 6) The press loves to write about people who write about the press. 7) He made a mint in earlier cyberenterprises, so he’s not just talking out of his hat about the Web. Finally, 8) He’s the most (only?) interesting boss in a niche business.
And from blogging to, er, vlogging, we have the case of Amanda Congdon, now dearly departed from Rocketboom. Was she really the revolution everyone thought she was? And by everyone, of course, we mean geeky dudes in their 20s:
While it’s axiomatic that every new medium requires a new breed of personality, what the vlog Rocketboom—a daily three-minute fake-ish newscast—required of Congdon was strikingly similar to what any number of old-media outlets asked of the buxom and obnoxious Jenny McCarthy.
Pink Void – The psychedelic legacy of Syd Barrett. By Jody Rosen
Nick Denton, Publicity Cat – How the Gawker Media guy reaps so much media attention. By Jack Shafer
All the News That’s Fit To Vlog – Amanda Congdon leaves Rocketboom. By Troy Patterson
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