Charles Homans recounts the too-brief history of Culture11. As a former contributor, I found it strange to be reading about the site’s demise in a magazine profile. The contrast Homans makes between C11 and Big Hollywood is instructive, and tends to confirm my rather jaundiced view of the inverse relationship between success and quality. Essentially, on one site you would find intelligent cultural criticism, and on the other you would find a lot of the cultural whining that seems especially concentrated among actors who have a political grudge with the rest of their own industry. In the former, there would be smart takes on new films by Suderman, for example, and in the latter you get Dirk Benedict complaining about how feminism corrupted the new BSG or Breitbart going off on another one of his insane rants. One site was challenging, the other flatters its audience’s prejudices. Naturally, the second one survives and thrives.
For the most part, the profile has elicited a number of sympathetic comments, but the comment I found most telling was Dan Riehl’s remark:
I never even heard of this Culture11 site until I read that it was gone. If someone wants to know why it failed, extrapolate that out to other bloggers and web surfers, that was it.
Of course, this has the ring of “no one I know voted for Nixon” as an example of how thoroughly isolated inside a cocoon some conservative bloggers seem to be. It might just be the case that, if someone has never heard of something, this is a function of his interests and the focus of his attention. Then again, if this is any indication of how cut off conservative bloggers tend to be from broader conversations I wouldn’t be surprised if this response is typical. However, it does make the embargo on linking to the site by RedState take on some additional importance. In the profile, David Kuo mentioned that moment as a point of pride, but it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the decision at RedState not to link to C11 had something to do with the site’s apparent obscurity to other bloggers on the right.