This week, Ted Gioia and Mike Solana are in conversation about reasons for optimism in a time of rapid technological change
Great definition of counterculture by Ted. It’s not enough for a writer to be hipsterishly arrogant and dismissive of the mainstream; for their writing to have any value, they’ve got to provide an alternative to the mainstream. Otherwise, they’re just naysayers, and we have got enough of those, don’t we?
So much here! I particularly like what they said about “content.” It’s become a loaded term, we all hear that content is king and so on, meaning that you just need to put out more more more, record everything and post it online, get clicks and eyeballs, all that garbo. Unfortunately, in some contexts, on some algorithms, that is the way of it. I appreciate substack because that isn’t the case, and I love how Ted said that you need to be careful for people who use the term “content” and aren’t looking for originality, quality, creativity, these kinds of things. I’d rather watch 3 good minutes than 30 filler minutes.
And that’s how I run my ‘stack. Might post 3 times a week or 3 times a month, but it’ll be something I poured myself into, not spit out for the sake of content.
I try not to listen to two men talking but damn this was a fantastic, nuanced, insightful conversation.
This is a great conversation. I came in as a subscriber to Ted and found myself subscribing to Mike as well. These are such important discussions, even for 70 yr old poet/musicians like me.
I have always written about my experiences of being an imperfect human, experiences not generated for SEO or to influence or sell products.
Due to some of those chaotic life experiences, I took a two year hiatus from writing online. I came back in December 2022 to bots telling me my sentences are unclear." Good. My life is unclear. It's messy. It's fucked up. It's beautiful. It's emotional. It's not roBOTic.
I don't write "content" for bots. I write for me--what makes me laugh, cry, rage... I write for other twisted humans who feel life and are willing to admit life's not easy.
I'll keep doing what I do.
Early on, growing up in what was considered the "counterculture" to young San Franciscan parents in the 1960s, I paid attention. When masses try to counter a culture, they become just as manipulated as what they were trying to flee (1950s conformity, aka robotic life).
I'll just keep writing those things that get me (a fucked up human) excited to write.
Absolutely adding this in my list.
i enjoyed the conversation / hope you do more
it seems to me that what we're talking about is wisdom
i don't mean that as a platitude or a religious or even philosophical term but let's call it authentic insight / that's what people crave and that's what is so often missing in our media 'content'
it can be very simple / infact wisdom is often simple
it can also be book length like 'the dawn of everything' or to beat my own drum 'the ancient book of magic secrets' which i'm releasing soon as a self-published title / all about being human (hey what else do i know)
off to subscribe to pirate wires
Loved the bit about ‘content’ being something people do to get lots of attention without adding too much value. I hope that our attention as consumers of online ‘content’ will get more refined with the time and we won’t be as easily manipulated. It’s a paradox that we people generally dislike attention seekers and at the same time support them everywhere, be it online or offline.
Was sort of interested in Ted Gioia as a writer abt jazz, but reading a dialogue (kind of) like the above, in which the other participant is barely literate let alone understandable, makes you realise how much of Substack time is time wasted on ego-centred ranting. (Yes, you don’t have to read everything but finding what you want to read takes time.)
Is there a transcript, please?
While I enjoy some of Ted’s Jazz stuff, he should write about House Music and I’ll be happy to collaborate 😃
Great conversation. Love the definition of counterculture and how it applies on Substack. And really painfully resonate with the aspect on “content” because I am a writer first but in order to make a living have also had to be a content creator and these are different things. I’m glad it’s changing even as I sometimes get nervous about the financial side of that for me.
Anyone who feels the need to use the F word in his twitter timeline has immediately lost my interest.
And as for authors— I would argue that YA and fantasy writers now have the most influence, not literary fiction writers. This seems appropriate.
Lit fiction has long been captured by MFA/elitist doublethink/thought police.
Great compass. Adopting. Be F*cking Amazing. BFA.
"Content" is the flattest word ever created. It's like "boutique" but with a lot more downside.