Thursday, June 02, 2005

Blogs: Corruption & Writing

I spoke with a friend about blogs. I told him I had one. "Really?" "Yeah." He then asked if I thought that the spread of blogs bodes well for writing. My answer was definitive: "Yes and no, but more no." I explained it this way:

There was a time when writing discharged into the public generally assumed that it went through some kind of editorial rigor, that someone decided, based on merit, that the writing contained useful information and was presented in a compelling way. The blog is a rigor killer. None better.

There is a subtle aura of authority that we perceive in something that is set free into the public ether. In newspapers, speeches, books, broadcasts, and the like we anticipate a degree of responsibility, justified or not. When your uncle says something absurdly untrue at the dinner table, we smirk it off. But if he is a columnist for the NYT and said the same thing, we'd all rush to change our names, and the reading public would foment in social opprobrium.

Blogs are not the same as journals or periodicals. True. We all know what they are. We can say anything we want, true or false with some degree of impunity (libel is a very difficult thing to prosecute). There's no governing standard. Like right now I can change the subject and bemoan the stupidity of the male black widow spider, how it lusts, finds repose, and then is murdered by its mate; and how obviously there's no shared knowledge among these very shallow, dumb, thrill-seeking, but venomous arthropods; and then raise the larger issue of how Canada is so big, and that many believe that it should still attack, occupy, and usurp Alaska.

Blogs can give their owners a false sense of writing skill, often by those (family members) who leave rave reviews and (prodded) comments. Without the Serengeti, writers do not really grow through natural selection and do not perceive the necessary pressure to take the skill to the next level.

Blogs are a little more than piffle and winding musings, but also ego pills. Some will be useful and others not. But soon, blogs will lose that mystique of public presence, no matter how many millions of people have access to them. Like reality TV, blogs are "reality composition," interesting at first then annoying. Things wear out, and ultimately, the blogs that receive consistent attention will be those that do go through rigor and offer something.

I say all of this to buy time to get a short short story (flash fiction) up that I had written some years ago but can’t find the most recent mutation.


Anonymous Nadia said...

I'd trade Alaska for Prince Edward Island.


6/02/2005 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Nadia said...

Cats eat spiders. Yay for cats. Another good reason to have one.


6/02/2005 10:22 AM  
Blogger umoguy said...

I'll eat my hat if Canada ever attacks anyone again

6/02/2005 10:05 PM  
Blogger NotInCOmmanD said...

Interesting point, Ibrahim. I suppose it depends upon your goals in the venture of blogging - some more altruistic than others.

Perhaps the proliferation is another symptom of a population generally thought-repressed trying to find itself again. Albeit some more elegantly (and proliferously) than others, granted.

I do love Starlatch's publications, but am enjoying your unofficial musings almost as much - I suppose one should hope so, your being the editor of yon esteemed edifice. :)

6/03/2005 9:14 AM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Thanks, notincommand. You raise an interesting point about repressed people finding voice through the blog. I just read this morning that Farsi and French tie for second as the most prolific language of blogs. Blog scholars (blogologists) say that there are more than 100,000 Iranian blogs and much of these are inspired by folks trying to say what they can't utter publicly due to fear of prosecution.

6/03/2005 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So that may explain it for the Iranians-- what's the French explanation?

6/03/2005 9:39 AM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Anon asks: "what's the French explanation?"

Fromclay answers: "Wine"

6/03/2005 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fromclay said: "all of this to buy time to get a short short story (flash fiction) up that I had written some years ago but can’t find the most recent mutation."

H Said: any luck with this- been checking the blog every day in anticipation.

6/07/2005 9:01 AM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Thanks for asking, H. God willing, I'll find it soon. It's on one of those tiny usb drives that I misplaced.

6/07/2005 9:06 AM  
Blogger Safiyyah said...

I agree with your commentary on blogs, though yours is clearly of a higher calibre than most other blogs. I find blogs that simply detail people's lives dull and narcissistic. But there is some benefit in sharing one's writings and opinions and using the blog as a sounding board and a means to improve oneself.
By the way, your writing is superb. I'm very impressed.

6/17/2005 3:21 PM  

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