Klosterman: I am not sure if I necessarily agree with the scope of your generational analysis. What will be interesting about the coming generation of people (at least if you're a writer) is that they will have a twisted concept of what the word "media" is supposed to mean. A term you hear people use a lot these days is "New Media," which really just means, "Electronic Media, Minus the Actual Reporting." This is what the Internet is, mostly. I constantly see all these media blogs that just link to conventional "Old Media" articles and pretend to comment upon them, but they add no information and no ideas. They just write, "Oh, look at this terribly archaic New York Times story. Isn't it pathetic?" But that sentiment is being expressed by someone who's never done an interview and has no tangible relationship to journalism. It all seems kind of uncreative. My favorite blog was always chaunceybillups.blogspot.com, but I think the dude who wrote it went on some kind of sabbatical.
New Media will never replace Old Media, because New Media couldn't exist without Old Media; they would have nothing to link to. But the net result is that all people are starting to assume that the media is inherently useless and that there is absolutely no difference between news and entertainment. This will make the coming generation even more cynical than the current one, which is mostly bad (but not necessarily tragic). I think this is why so many teenagers are obsessed with things like myspace.com: They have lost interest in the world at large, so they've decided to just build an interior culture where they are the sole focus. The can live without the world.
My writing will change as I get older, but it won't have anything to do with how audiences evolve. It's impossible to anticipate that sort of thing in any meaningful way; it would be like when Skid Row suddenly tried to sound like Soundgarden. I have a few ideas for movies and television shows, but I'll probably never pursue them. It would be satisfying to create an especially good TV show (like the original BBC version of "The Office" or "Freaks and Geeks" or "The Wire" or "Twin Peaks"), but I would be nervous about turning over so much control to the producers and the actors and the network. When TV is bad, nothing is worse. And that stuff gets even more complicated when it comes to film, because -- if you want a movie to be remotely decent -- you pretty much have to allow the director to do whatever he or she wants. I would really have to trust the people I was working with. That is one advantage I've had in book publishing: My editor at Scribner (Brant Rumble) appears to be the last honest man in all of New York.
Simmons: I liked your point about New Media. Everyone keeps talking about the Blog Revolution, but what does that even mean? If you were in film school and wanted to make movies for a living, would you create a movie from scratch, or would you just make documentaries about other filmmakers and how much they stunk? You'd make the movie from scratch, right? Well, what's the point of writing about people who write about sports/movies/politics/music if you're not backing up your words with your own columns or features? How do you have credibility then? I could write for a living, I just choose to rip everyone else. What? How does that make sense? What's the ultimate goal there? Why not come up with your own material, angles and thoughts? Wouldn't that be more rewarding? How do you get better? That's what I don't understand.