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Last night I read Ed Morrissey’s farewell from Captain’s Quarters. He’s headed to HotAir.com where he’ll Michelle Malkin and others. Not that I’d missed the trend to move from solo blogging to group blogging, then to extremely commercial blogging, but Ed’s voluntary consolidation saddened me. Not that it should.
Consolidation seems a natural tendency among human beings and their institutions. Remember the CLECs? (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers were the new phone companies like Allegiance, Onvoy, Big, McCloud.) They were independents who consolidated then sold to the Baby Bells. It was the end of competition in local phone service.
Remember Eastern Airlines? TWA? Ozark? America West? They’re gone, too, along with the neighborhood coffee shop and corner grocery store.
In fact, assimilation seems as natural among our species as cell division. That makes me wonder whether evolution theories are just plain wrong. Evolution would seem to indicate that one species becomes two then twenty. The number of species would tend to increase. When we look at human behavior we might conclude that the opposite occurs.
For example, imagine wolves and another carnivorous species sharing a common hunting ground. The two coexist while they maintain some distinctions. Finally, the wolf adapts the behaviors of its competitor, and the competitor flocks to the wolf pack for protection and food. They merge. What’s left is the wolf, only the wolf, but slightly changed from the wolves of the past.
In all of human endeavor, the natural process seems to be: individuals begin competitive enterprises, then merge into consolidated enterprises, then cease to be what they were. The only exceptions are TV sitcoms and rock bands.
But “Laverne and Shirley” was never “Happy Days,” and “Petticoat Junction” was never “Green Acres.” Though Paul McCartney and John Lennon were successful and prolific after the breakup, they were never Beatles alone.
Would Notre Dame football still be Notre Dame football if it joined the Big 10?
HotAir and Ed Morrissey both stand to benefit from the merger. Running one’s own blog is a lot of work. Were that I needed only write. Ed can now concentrate on what he does so well–research and blog. He’s from the management concerned that played on his mind until yesterday.
But blogging loses, at least one voice.
When I launched The Hennessy Report in 2000 on software I wrote, I did so because I liked the idea of the lone voice yelling reason into a chaotic and ignorant world. Previously, I’d learned the art of bookbinding in order to craft the first edition of my book. Benjamin Franklin, after all, was printer before he wrote the contents of his books and pamphlets. Craft before art.
I read today that more and more people get their news from the internet. They distrust the mainstream media. How many mergers, consolidations, and assimilations will it take before the internet becomes the mainstream media. Will it, then, be the voice of the individual?
The burdens of running my own site distract from my writing. But the internet is my craft. I don’t really want partners or collaborators in this endeavor. I balance my job and its clients, my kids and their need for rides to school or practice, my wife and her need for attention and love. But blogging feels too individualistic a thing to leave the administration to others.
I wish Ed Morrissey and HotAir all the best. I do not criticize Ed in any way. Being true to myself, though, requires that I go it alone the way I started eight years ago.