Monday, August 21, 2006

Blogging is retarded.

Admit it. Not just the writing part. The publishing part. The instant gratification of something which could be exposed to potential millions. As if anyone cares. (We don’t.) So why waste the time in the first place? Why this narcissistic contention that what you have to say is actually in any small way interesting to others? How many blogs do you see that start out: “I d0nt even NO why Im starting this bl0g, do U?” (I’ll tell you…a lot.) People who wouldn’t keep journals, private thoughts just as banal, will line up around the block to offer up even worse musing to strangers. It’s irrational and childish and often boring.

But understandable.

Writer Chuck Palahniuk noted in an interview "…if you haven't already noticed, all my books are about a lonely person looking for some way to connect with other people." Isn’t this what the internet, its forums, its social networking sites, its anonymity are truly all about? A cry in the wilderness, and the hope of one returned? Palahniuk’s characters are notoriously alienated. They find through embracing their most ugly, personal dysfunctions a sense of connection with other, similarly afflicted. I suspect this drives the urge to hit the “new account” button on blogger and begin to spit out your useless shit along with 12 million other sorry motherfuckers. (37% cite "my life and experiences" as a primary topic.) But see, the thing is...most people just aren’t very interesting. Or at least what they choose to write about isn’t.

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Let me tell you a story. It’s a quick one, I promise. I was recently at a dinner where people continued to refer to a young lady present as “a writer”. She is 25. She is not a writer. She is not published. She hasn’t written a short story, much less a novel. She writes a journal. But people glowingly make comments like “oh, you’re sensitive because you’re a writer.” That throughout the evening people continued to provide such sycophantic supplication brought out the worst in me. I turned red. I frothed at the mouth. I hated myself for it, but I could hardly control how annoyed I was. (Yes, I'm a petty little shit.)

The young lady in question watches Sex In The City and sees writing as a glamorus and respectful thing to do, but with all the time in the world, I'm not sure what she has to show for it. I suspect that when she places her little words on a page they won’t amount to a literate effort because she hasn’t experienced enough to have any true understanding of what people really go through in life. Those things which make for literature, or even interesting anecdotes are beyond her grasp. Shit, they're the beyond the grasp of most young people.

I’ll say this first, the problem with writers is a part of the problem with bloggers, there is a pretense there. A self-absorbed sense that you’re any good. That’s why you practice. That’s why you pour over the work of real writers in deep examination and contemplation of their craft. Chances are, you’re a hack. But to see that and aspire to something else, through work…at least it’s honest.

What pissed me off about this “writer” I met was that she didn’t seem to be trying in any way. She speaks of the journey the way celebrities do when contemplating a tell-all expose. She doesn’t understand that writers try to create literature. Something that has meaning, as a text. Bloggers publish diaries and hope people will read it. That said, in the world of best selling chick lit,The Devil Wears Your Ass, Candace Bushnell bullshit I am sure it is only a matter of time before the young lady in question lands a book deal. Bitter am I? You bet your sweet ass.

The disease that inflicts this broad is the disease that makes people create weblogs versus a writing a journal or writing a book in the first place. People don’t want to write. They just want to BE WRITERS. Morons included. Myself included. (Yes, I’m aware of the irony of this rant. Go fuck yourself. Isn't it obvious?)

In a society where fame comes devoid of true accomplishment, often to the very young…the allure of easy-found notoriety is compelling. But no less retarded. Or fruitful.

There is already a good expression to cover this. In a corruption of Warhol’s often quoted remark “in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”, Scottish artist Momus was the first to point out that “In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people”. And the patch-eyed weirdo said this in 1991. Prescience indeed!

New York Magazine recently reported on “the haves and have nots of the blogging boom” . It makes the following interesting points:
  • “There is enormous inequity in the system. A very small number of blogs enjoy hundreds and hundreds of inbound links…but almost all others have very few.
    “…there is a scientific explanation…the social dynamics of the internet, including ‘network theory’: a mathematical model of how information travels inside groups of loosely connected people, such as users on the Web.
  • “In scientific terms, this pattern is called ‘homeostasis’ – the tendency of networked systems to become self reinforcing. ‘It’s the same thing you see in economies – the rich get richer problem.’”
  • “…’it’s still possible to create a top-ranked blog…The bad news is the way…now seems to be public relations’…Just posting witty entries and hoping for traffic won’t do it. You need to actively seek out attention from the press.”

So you see, much with almost anything there is no real point in starting a blog. And, much as with almost anything, this lack of a point is unlikely to dissuade people. Those with something to say and those without it. This is America after all. If a no-talent person can’t make it here with little effort, where the hell are they supposed to go? Fucked if I know.

Of this, I am sure: Few people will see this comment. Which is probably for the best. It is also likely that my own blogging experience will be the closest I get to seeing my shit in print anywere. It is likely that, like so many other hacks, I long to create connections, but having failed, continue to try. It is a disease without a cure. This is a stroke of luck, as I am a right sick fuck.

I gave up aiming to be part of the solution years ago. There is no solution. So, I will continue, stupid as it is, boring as I am, to remain part of the problem. But you, however, may want to do some serious thinking.



Blogger Helen Sparkles said...

I guess there have always been different kinds of writers, though I don't think that young lady at dinner was a writer at all, because most of all writing is hard work and not very romantic. I'm not sure which genre blogging would fit into, just because I haven't given it any thought, but it surely isn't where anyone attempting to write the great American novel would be found? Even Will Self, a great English writer, has a blog which is entirely different to anything else he publishes. We have to realise that people really DON'T all have a book inside them, and mostly when someone tells you that you couldn't make up their story and it would make a great novel, you could but it wouldn't. Then we have to admit we find narcissism in all aspects of our life, the partner we select because their beauty/handsomeness/intelligence/charm etc. provides us with reflected glory. Funniest thing I read recently was someone who had sent their blog off to be published … as a book, I was tempted! Well I would be if I had written anything on mine. One of the things that stops me writing is that I haven’t loosened up enough to not mind that it is entirely mundane and anything I think off is mostly rubbish. If I can write, my blog isn’t where any writing talent would be found, so you just putting your 2 cents worth out there is admirable in its own way.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Laura June said...

Wait... I don't get it?! How dumb am I? Your blog is smart and funny, considering that you hate blogging. Me too.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Sergio Manghina said...

Thanks for your post about Basquiat on my blog. However, I like that you write on your.
And Chuck Palahniuk is GREAT.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Bdogs said...

Because it's retarded, have you stopped?

6:57 PM  

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