' ' Cinema Romantico: Keep the Blog Running

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Keep the Blog Running




Some time last October was Cinema Romantico’s 15th anniversary, not normally a cultural recurrence worth lingering over, situated as it is between the more precise 10th and 20th. But hey, in Internet years 15 is like 30, right? Why not? So we will say that some time last October was Cinema Romantico’s ersatz 30th anniversary, still blogging in an age when most of the blogs, big, little or in-between, have shut it down, gone dormant, rarely post, or let their domains expire. And while there have been many times throughout those 15 (30) years when I have felt like walking away from this blog, 2020, for obvious reasons we need not rehash, is the one that left me closest to blogging exhaustion even as, paradoxically, 2020 was the year when I needed this blog most.

Like a lot of things in life, I came late to blogging, right around the time it was becoming mainstream, as sure a sign as any that you were tardy in reading the cultural tea leaves. I did not really round into top blogging form until the twenty-tens, maybe because my life didn’t really round into form until the twenty-tens, just as blogging was becoming out of date. That was the same point I took a stab at film criticism for a couple legit sites, even making a few bucks along the way, just in time to learn that film criticism as a means to make a living was on its way out too. If another blogger might have called it quits, I kept blogging, and kept blogging, and kept blogging. I think I have managed some of my best blogs in the last 5 years, some stuff I’ll put up against any ten-cent Tomatometer approved joint, ironic given how my readership has dwindled, reminding me of Helen Rosner observing a couple years ago that she could not “shake the feeling that (she) wasted (her) best writing years on bloggy ephemera that’s already platform-obsolete.”  


In 2019, Deadspin fell apart. (It still exists, but not really.) It had been a blog since 2005 too, albeit one with a slightly stronger foothold [sarcastic font], and it felt like the emblematic end of the blogging era. By their finish, perhaps, they had become something more, though that old blogging spirit remained, not sticking to sports even as it wrote about sports, housing both David Roth’s pre-eminent pieces of the godforsaken T*ump era and looking at moments in the sporting arena in a hyper-specific, passionate, profane way. Its core contributors reunited last year and formed the aptly titled Defector, of which I am a proud subscriber, and which Colin McGowan lovingly described as “just some idiots with a blog, following their interests.” He continued: “A lot of Internet stuff should be this simple, but almost none of it is.”

In a Defector post last week, Drew Magary went through something like the rise and fall of blogging, the outlaw-ish quirks of the early Internet but also how social media consolidated the collective Internet into something less fun, more corporate, as is the American way. At the same time, though, he speculated that perhaps the Internet was coming full circle, re-splintering into a cavalcade of niches. That’s what Cinema Romantico has always been: niche. Of course, Magary was referring to new niches, subscription indie joints like Defector, privatized social media and Substack, the current platform du jour. I have briefly considered – well, let’s say: thought about – Substack, beamed directly to your email. But I dunno. Substacks don’t get me going, aside from Katie Heindl’s Basketball Feelings, where you receive personal essays by way of poetry, much more preferable to me than newsletter round-ups, where too often the individual voice is strained out, like they’re trying to impress someone, like all the world’s brand management or resume writing. 

And that is when I realized that Cinema Romantico has, in its own way, come full circle too, just without ever leaving the same place it started, closing my eyes and tapping my blogging heels together three times. For me, it’s never been about the platform. Like John McClane incredulously, irreverently wondering, “Glass? Who gives a shit about glass?”, I ask “Who gives a shit about the platform?” It’s the words, stupid. More of those presently.  

2 comments:

Derek Armstrong said...

Let's keep it going Nick! I'll stick around if you will.

Unknown said...

15 years is amazing! As Derek above said, keep on going. My blog would have been 11 years old last year, but I did have a four-year break at the end of that. I'm back into the swing of things now!
What I've learnt is that you write a blog because it makes you happy. Don't do it for anyone else. It's your hobby.

Claire @ Cinematic Delights
(really annoying me that I keep coming up as unknown!)