The "Your Own Private Idaho" Micro-Revolution || Open Thread
- Writers are rejecting the hard to get into publishing houses and cashing in on self-publishing.
- Comedians are rejecting the club/TV/movies circuits and cashing in on direct access to the laugh-hungry masses.
- In our own industry, what many pundits seem to miss is how the explosion of art fairs recently ( here are two brand new ones in Miami: Miami River and Miami Project [in addition to the 4,382 already there] ) is in part a response by dealers themselves (who are launching or collaborating on most of the new fairs) to the fact that that's where the sales are happening.
- There are even still people rejecting the governments of the world and establishing their own micronations. (Don't miss this fabulous story of the island nation of Sealand.)
The trick with all these efforts, of course, is offering something that people will actually like or care enough to participate in, and then defending it from those who would swoop in to co-opt it. Sealand, for example, had its sovereignty undone by a 1987 extension of Britain's territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles, swallowing up the tiny kingdom.
What's most attractive about establishing a micro-version of the network or system your industry relies on is the freedom and purity of intent or message, of course. Consider the revolution in comedy:
Youtube has also been an important tool in the micro-revolution of wrangling power away from the long-established gatekeepers of taste and access. In fact, YouTube is such a well-established path to your own private happiness and success, there's even a WikiHow outlining the six steps need to "Be a YouTube Star." The fact that all six are either obvious (#1. Get a video camera) or much easier said than done (#2. Develop an idea or get lucky), shouldn't discourage you. WikiHow is also its own Private Idaho, circumventing the stranglehold by certain publishers on "How to..." books or seminars.
The turning point arrived in December, when the comedian Louis C. K. released a stand-up special, “Live at the Beacon Theater,” that was sold only as a $5 download, without electronic copy protection, from his Web site.
Louis C. K., who stars in the FX series “Louie” and has performed in comedy specials on HBO, Showtime and Epix, said that he was seeking minimal outside interference and maximum ease for his audience.“I don’t have to go, ‘Here’s this product,’ to whatever company,” Louis C. K. said, “and then cringe and shrug and apologize to my fans for whatever words are being removed, whatever ads they’re having to watch, whatever marketing is being lobbed on.”
As it suggests, though, referring to these micro-revolution as one's "own Private Idaho," does mean to indict them for the pitfall they most often fall into: myopia-induced shorter shelf-lives. By not being connected through the larger systems (which overlap and are frequently inter-dependent), the micro-versions lack the resources (and support networks) to withstand the tougher times or capitalize on shared interests. Just like Sealand, you're literally out there on your own.
Still, the freedom is pretty damn sweet, I must say. ¡Viva la Micro-Revolución!
Consider this an open thread on taking matters into your own hands.