GOOD, whether the print edition or website, has never been my cup of tea; I'm not a big fan of the liberalism of pep rallies. (I've often thought they should change the name to Groovy People, Feelin' Fine.) But I have respected the individuals there and what they've been trying to accomplish. So it comes as a major surprise to learn that the editorial leadership-- including Ann Friedman, Cord Jefferson, Megan Greenwell, Cord Jefferson, Amanda Hess, Tim Fernholz, and Nona Willis Aronowitz-- has been laid off. It's particularly strange since that regime was really only begun in the last year and a half or so.
Honestly, I wonder if this isn't prelude to a lot of this sort of thing. I'll be honest: I think that paid online political commentary has been living on borrowed time for a long while. Internet advertising rates are subject to relentless downward pressure thanks to an almost unlimited supply. The cool kid crew is, I'm sure, rallying for these people, and I'm glad for that, but I do wonder if a lot of that set are in for tough times. The American Prospect is in dire straits as well. I don't wish that kind of uncertainty on anybody, and I hope that the laid off GOOD staffers find new positions quickly. Particularly Ann Friedman, who's the business.
Because my readership is so vast and my influence so enormous, I'm sure they'll all see this post and hang on every word. For them, I offer this video of my new kitten, Suavecito, and the powerful reassurance that a broke, disliked part-time rageblogger and grad student thinks they're all talented people who will land on their feet.
Update: If I'm right, and a lot of paid online commentary starts to go away (in part because there's an army of people who will do it for free, and honestly some of the ones who do it for free are better than any who do it for pay), it'll be really interesting to see how the how social dynamic plays out. The essential condition for people in that world has been, for this first decade or so of blogging and Internet commentary as viable professional opportunity, that if enough people like you, you can get work. I'm not saying that's unique to this field, nor am I positing it as any less legitimate than other, subtler forms of networking and patronage. But if there are just less and less chairs to sit in as time goes on, what happens to an occupation where the fundamental mechanism for success has been popularity within the in-group? It'll be interesting.
Fernholz responded to the layoffs by Tweeting about creative destruction. Honey, you have no idea....