I won’t lie to you: I haven’t even started reading the thing yet. I just wanted to celebrate the fact that they run interviews like this at all. (Charlie Hunter was another recent subject.) In this age of dying media, long-form magazine-like content is rapidly becoming a casualty.
It’s partly because of the shift to the Internet — yes, you have an infinite number of pages at your disposal, but publishers can’t command the same level of ad rates as they could in print, making it difficult to pay the writers who have the talent to produce compelling, long-form stories.
On top of that, you have an audience that’s increasingly geared toward quick-hit, Digg-style news bites, or dumb short blog entries like this one, rather than nonfiction as a form of literature. But that’s too easy a target. More of the blame goes to the monetary side. The audience is there, but the avenues for creating the content are limited.
So, the publication of an extended interview like this one — or the long interviews and analyses that Ethan Iverson has been doing on Do the Math — is cause for celebration.
Now, I’d better stop procrastinating and go read the thing. And congratulations to Iyer for what’s been a spectacular 2009, at least in terms of recognition. It’s well deserved.