My most interesting perception from BlogNashville is that the "blogosphere" is an institution no different than most others. It was cutting edge and vogue for a while. But the vanguard seems to be giving way to the specialization and professionalization that sociologists and anthropologists tell us all institutions eventually undergo. Bloggers, like most writers, researchers, and cataloguers, are an elite (in the nonpejorative sense of "elite") group of people organized by their community into a more complex division of labor as time goes by and as online publishing grows. That is both a blessing and a curse. For local bloggers like myself, I see it as more curse than blessing.
The truth about blogging lies somewhere between the romantic myth that blogs have revolutionized politics and journalism and the realistic cynicism that blogs are irrelevant to most people's everyday lives. I did not find exactly where that truth lay at BlogNashville, but I did not expect to either. I assumed, as I do now, that bloggers may be too close to their own activities to see exactly where they stand. That's why their work will be fodder for future elites to evaluate.
Now on to other thoughts on weekend happenings (and speaking of being self-referential; but without taking myself seriously) ...
During Friday night's story about Enclave on WKRN's News 2 at 5, I believe that I received just as much face time on the newscast as did country music star Mindy McCready (who was arrested again); at least as much face time if you also count the "back-of-my-head time" as the camera shot me scrolling through my blog and taking pictures. If you put the story and the teasers about the story together, I got well more than the Warholian 15 seconds of fame that anyone should have, and I probably got more airtime than I deserved.
After dinner at Acorn Saturday evening as part of the BlogNashville "Food for Thought" dinner with a presenter, I am now prepared to present my list of best places to get Shrimp & Grits in Nashville:
- Red Wagon. Low Country Shrimp & Grits. Meg works wonders with a huge bowl with large shrimp (tail shells on) at the reasonable price of about $10.00. And I consider these grits and gravy "everyday" (hence, "low country") rather than the sophisticated grits (is that an oxymoron?) you get elsewhere. And I could eat them everyday.
- Acorn. Shrimp & Grits. This is basically "breakfast for dinner," since the shrimp (tail shells off) & grits come with fresh green beans on top. It's got a great spicy balance to it. Grits are alloyed with ingredients that make them taste expensive. Consequently, the price tops out at $24.00. There's something just plain sinful about paying that much money for grits.
- Germantown Cafe. Shrimp & Grits. Just a slight step down from Acorn. Grits are just as good and about the same smaller size serving as Acorn's, but you'll only pay $10.00 for them. Shrimp (tail shells on) are just a bit too salty for my tastes, but that's not a fatal shortcoming.
05/09/2005, 5:00 p.m. Update: Mike Sechrist, WKRN Station Manager and a helluva nice guy, e-mailed to let me know that he has asked that Neil's video piece on Enclave stay on the video section of the WKRN site until Wednesday. Anyone who might be interested can go to the "Recent News Headlines on WKRN" and click on the link, "Blogger uses technology to give neighborhood a voice" to watch the video. Thanks, Mike.