Are You a Chronic Meta-Enabler?

META-ENABLERS!A number of us (and I am thinking her and her in particular) are sometimes mounting, and sometimes are not, an opposition to what Yahoo! News’ Andrew Golis is calling “meta-enabling,” in a coinage that isn’t really going to stick but is fun for a while. For more explication: “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).” Meta-enabling, and its prettier sister, the treatment of the highbrow in a pop culture way (which is, not at all incidentally, our own more-frequently-employed method here), are the hallmarks of our ironic, sarcastic, I-can’t-actually-tell-what-you-really-mean age and it is causing a problem.

One of the problems, as we ALL have experienced, is that people can’t tell when a regularly ironic person is being serious, and boy have I dug that hole deeper and not been able to climb out sometimes.

The other problem is people unhappily writing about things that they don’t care about, because they are getting paid. This we see regularly in the land of TV recapping, which, for the most part, should be abolished. I don’t really understand the TV recap, except in the cases of Doc Jensen or some of the TWoP people. Like, didn’t we already watch that show, if we did, and if we didn’t, well, then we didn’t want to? It baffles me!

Except, Golis is wrong-ish to toss all this kind of writing in the same bag. There is a long, pre-blog history of critical thought devoted to popular culture, and there should be! Of course we have to care about the popular, and critics always have. (Also, maybe we like the popular! I have some pretty popular tastes.) Taking this as a new iteration is barely sustainable; it’s barely a new iteration at all. It’s just extremely prevalent-IF you even read blogs. And not all coverage of the popular (which is often equivalent to “lowbrow”) is concerned with SEO! Some of it is derived from actual interest. It’s just that people have a really hard time writing earnestly about something they like. (It’s the hardest thing in the world to do! Try it today!)

His ideas (presented as they are 140 characters at a time, of course) don’t take into account the division in blogs between ownership and production. Writers at big websites aren’t out shaking it for pageviews and high-end ads because they want the blog to be a success; they’re hustling pageviews because they want to not get fired. Its the publishers who are the ones hustling popular topics for high-end ads. The rest of us? Maybe we just actually like our blow-’em-up movies and cheesy TV shows.