Don’t quit your day job.
Don’t quit your day job.
On December 1, 2009, ex-Talking Points Memo Deputy Publisher Andrew Golis (whose new project will be to helm the soon-to-be-launched Yahoo! news blog) tweeted about the online business model he’s “most entertained by”: meta-enabling. Meta-enabling is, in his words, “writing about lowbrow things in a highbrow way to get the pageviews without sacrificing the high-end ads or self-regard.” This concept seemed oddly familiar to all of us here at The ##, and for no unsound reason: we have been unabashedly endorsing meta-enabling ever since our conception (which was, admittedly, only about 2 weeks ago, but that’s like a decade in blog years!).
Via his Twitter, Golis has hit put to pixels an idea that has been gestating in all corners of the blogosphere, the meme-osphere, and (if you will) the meta-osphere: content is no longer just contingent upon the style that it is presented through, it is wholly derived from its style. Here at The ##, we not only practice meta-enabling, we write meta-enabling posts ABOUT meta-enabling (see: this link). We not only recognize our role in the meta-enabling-osphere, we champion ourselves as the CENTER of it. Everything we write is reflective of the philosophy evident is meta-enabling, and this is fuckin’ awesome.
The crux of Golis’ definition of meta-enabling (writing lowbrow things in a highbrow way) is one of the central elements of The ## modus operandi (as we mentioned here) and, of course, a central element of the most successful blogs of the aughts. Meta-enabling allows blogs to treat the way in which the posts are presented as the thesis of the post itself (hence, the necessity of the prefix meta- to the term). This does, in fact, accomplish what Golis sees as the primary reason for the adoption of such a strategy: it allows a blog to write about pop culture trivialities under the auspices or intellectualism because the irony inherent in intellectualizing something transient or inconsequential makes the entire ordeal an intellectual pursuit.
Somewhat bravely, Golis offers his support for the onset of meta-enabling, and this is why his analysis becomes audaciously and presciently awesome. The Aughts have been somewhat defined by the way its auteurs within art and media have seized upon the concept of irony as a predominant tone, and this version of irony is the one that has infused meta-enabling with its unparalleled relevancy to the way blogs are conceived and operated. Through the use of what Golis has called meta-enabling, blogs can get away with posting about the most inconsequential pop culture detritus as long as the style in which it is written creates an adequate distance between how this item should be discussed and how it is discussed. This is nothing more than a standard definition of irony, but when a blog abides by this rule of discourse while simultaneously acknowledging the existence of this system, meta-substance emerges as the primary topic at hand, creating a vortex-context that the “content” of the post is inevitably caught in.
And, to turn the screw of self-awareness once again, this is exactly the kind of content that The ## is attempting to create. We’ve been working the highbrow-lowbrow circuit for a while now (see: here, and here) and when we engage ourselves in this sort of meta-enabling, it is always for the purpose of recognizing the way in which we are deriving this content. Even our name (##, or hashtaghashtag, or, in the most relevant iteration, #hashtag) is an example and commentary on this type of meta-content. By hypothetically inviting the idea of a Twitter post in which a hashtag (#) is put before another hashtag (#), we are recognizing the cultural significance of the concept of being culturally significant.
Did you see what we did there? We took something lowbrow (hashtagging) and wrote about it in a highbrow way (by describing it cyclically and in obfuscatory terms). In fact, you could say the explanation of our name is a microcosm of the meta-enabling at play in this entire post. Or is it a microcosm of the meta-enabling at play on all of The ##?
Today is #worldaidsday, and Twitter is as red as a Starbucks cup in November. The ## has been cooped up inside our windowless blogging lair, so we haven’t seen any marches or demonstrations, but I assume they are happening in most Blue States right now! (I don’t believe “Real America” celebrates this holiday). We did, however, prick ourselves trying to put on those annoying red ribbons. We got blood on our oxford/polo/American Apparel tee shirt! What gives!
Anyway, in honor of #worldaidsday, Chad Ocho Cinco wants you to practice safe sex with his personal brand of condoms. (The tagline: “Catch everything YOUR Johnson shoots.” Is that a reference to some “sports” figure?). How nice of him! Seriously, I bet his Twitter page could cure Aids all across Africa. C’mon, NIH. Why haven’t you thought of that yet?
I grew up in Connecticut. My childhood was pretty sweet. I might wake up in time to see Dad walk out the door to catch the 6:34 AM train to the Wall Streets. For a while I thought he sold bombs. Mom would pour milk in to my Frosted Flakes and slide the bowl across our granite counter-top on to my Presidents of the United States place mat. Some times the pool was too warm. Then Dad would come home with his briefcase full of money and if it was still light out we’d play baseball on the diamond out back.
But Christmas was the best. The boats were all stored for the winter and everyone got to wear their fun scarves and hats with pom poms and say “Merry Christmas!” to each other as they walked under white string lights shopping for loved ones. Christmas music would play through the in-ceiling speakers in every room of the house. We’d laugh at our yellow labs trying to eat the fresh white snow.
On Christmas Eve we would always drive up to New Canaan for our family friends’ annual bonfire and Christmas party. The bonfire was in their backyard, next to the 18th century barn that they kept a few horses in. Every year I thought I wouldn’t need gloves but then I would need them. Mom always brought an extra pair.
I’ll always remember how crisp and clean the air felt in my throat and the smell of hot cider - the crisp white caterers’ aprons and the old wooden boats that had gone out of style burning late in to the night and past my bedtime.
Merry Christmas y’all. Let’s do the train thing some time.
Interviewer.: John Lennon, Lady Di or Elvis Presley?
Roberto Bolaño.: The Pogues. Or Suicide. Or Bob Dylan. Well, but let’s not be pretentious: Elvis forever. Elvis and his golden voice, with a sheriff’s badge, driving a Mustang and stuffing himself full of pills."