In Renata Adler's wonderfully sardonic Gone, an account of her time at the New Yorker during what was probably the cultural high-water mark of the magazine, she writes that when it was at its best (under the editorship of William Shawn) the magazine was completely and unapologetically itself. What does that mean? It means that a readership (however small) was expected to coalesce around the magazine instead of the magazine imagining and then aiming for an "ideal" readership. The benefits of this are at least twofold. For one, readers are more complex, interested/interesting, and hungry for the idiosyncratic in real life than they are as they exist in the mind of an editor. Chesterton would say something like "reality is always more interesting than fiction because it doesn't need to conform to our minds as a prerequisite."
Not writing to an "ideal reader" is more respectful to actual readers. To write "to" often means to write "down". We don't mean to, but it happens naturally and unavoidably. But even more problematic than writing "down" is writing in a voice which harmonizes perfectly with every other cliché conversational Internet syntax. So much writing on the Internet is conversational. So much real life conversation is Internet writing. Voices, styles, and modes, blend into a muddy and indistinguishable puddle.
I'll try to do something else entirely.
Subjects for Forthcoming Posts:
Japanese ambient playlists on Youtube
Yves Klein, Jack Kerouac, and The Ecstatic Real
A Punctum and A MacGuffin
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor