frailty, thy name is blog

of late the questions have come with an uncomfortable urgency. why? what’s the point? who gives a shit? the answers are predictably reactionary. a waste of time! a mistake! could be doing more important things! yes folks, that’s right, it’s another blog-life crisis. these are different from their counterpart in a human life, the mid-life crisis, mainly because a blog’s life span is indeterminate, and so a blog-life crisis must present itself more frequently as not to miss it’s mark. another difference: sink or swim i have no intention of growing a pony tail. so if doubt is a storm cloud, turbulent and whirling, and misgivings / angst / regret / disappointment are the bits of grime at the center of each fattening rain drop, then consider this post an engineered afternoon storm seeded in the hopes of hastening a return to clear skies.


Thanks for that excellent essay - that so perfectly reflects my own thoughts as well.

I love to blog or better say - I loe to publish, like to be ‘read’ ... but cyberspace is a black hole: the more you throw in the stronger it sucks ... but nothing ever comes out of it. Actually publishing books is pretty similar. Being a writer is a lonely job somehow ... at least for me.

The blogging bug is a sickness that eludes any logical reason apart from your own ego and the urge to do it.

posted by orangeguru  on  03/20  at  08:37 AM



I make a lousy blogger, because I run hot and cold; some days I have a lot to say, others little or nothing. (Writing is, after all, like breathing; one cannot always breathe out, one must also breathe in).

Although it’s necessary to write a lot in order to be good at it (like anything else), I lean more to the Laotze school rather than the stephen King or Isaac Asimov school. In other words, I think it’s better to write one really crucial book less than a hundred pages thick, and not a wasted word, than kill a million trees. This is not only a reflection of how much time I have as a writer, but also a reflection of how much time the reader has, and how much time I have as a reader.

Even presenting only essentials, there’s too much material for any normal human to master, and info-glut hurts the chances that someone will actually read what matters. For example, the comment, almost in passing, in the article about Godel and Einstein, that Godel had found a flaw in the Constitution that could allow a dictatorship, deserves to be followed up aggressively (I will post about it later). How many people were aware of this, and how many will be aware of it after I post on it? Too few. Blogs are not ‘push media.’ Joe Citizen can go his whole life without reading any particular blog; there are just too many of them. If you want to force your views on people, you buy a news network. Brother, can you spare ten billion?

posted by .  on  03/20  at  01:15 PM



on the other hand…

posted by .  on  03/20  at  01:28 PM



On the other hand, I read many fewer books than I used to and much, much more online; it may be said that I am doing the same amount of reading, but something about reading on the internet has outcompeted the dead tree for my eyeball-hours. So what is it that is different?

And no, I do not buy the ‘you can’t believe anything you read on the internet’ meme. There are degrees of reliability, and even the Britannica has inaccuracies. The internet truly is a mirror, and what you get out is very well-matched to the intelligence you bring as a reader; that includes knowing what to believe.

What I get as a reader is a massively searchable availability of any topic; seldom do I fail to find much on a given topic, though it does happen; some topics, at a certain level of detail, are quite grainy.
Another thing I get is freshness. Information has to be a year old, or more, before it finds its way into a bound book at the library or bookstore. If I want to know about a recent event, the web is my go-to tool.
And there is something ‘distributed’ about online content; this is becoming especially true of entertainment as opposed to info. Distributed in the following sense: SETI at home uses distributed computing, wherein millions of home computers host copies if software which analyze radio signals in small chunks and return the results to SETI. Similarly, peer-to-peer software such as bittorrent distribute distribution of files. So it is in creative/entertainment arts, so that instead of devoting two hours to a single film or a few nights to a single book, one flits like a hummingbird across a figurative meadow of online songs, flash animations, essays, blog posts, and so on. The creation of entertainment and opinion and info is distributed among millions of small-scale creators, and a meticulous, expensive music video filled with exploding cars and diamond-covered titty holsters has the same potential audience as a flash video that might have been made on one dude’s laptop, such as Lodger’s elegantly minimalistic and cynical ‘I love Death’.
http://gprime.net/flash.php/ilovedeath

And you, mr. jmorrison, are one of the heroic blogsoldiers of the people’s blog army, carrying your share of the distributed metapointer architecture of the internet: a reconnaissance scout, shouting ‘hey, look at this’ and ‘hey, look at that,’ and some of us do, because we know a good scout when we see one. We know that when you want us to look at something you found, it won’t be dross.

posted by .  on  03/20  at  07:36 PM



“And you, mr. jmorrison, are one of the heroic blogsoldiers of the people’s blog army, carrying your share of the distributed metapointer architecture of the internet: a reconnaissance scout, shouting ‘hey, look at this’ and ‘hey, look at that,’ and some of us do, because we know a good scout when we see one. We know that when you want us to look at something you found, it won’t be dross.”

well, that bit of wordsmithing is very kind. it ought to keep me reporting for duty a good while. i can run on the fumes of that explanation well into the spring i think. thanks tom.

posted by jmorrison  on  03/21  at  08:43 PM



i dig the birthing analogy (have used myself wrt creative drive). but i have always been suspect of notions of community. my impulses are usually driven by differences—it’s a big scary world out there with a lot of crazy rhetoric and i rarely see any connection between my life and the lives of others. not to say that warm and fuzzy feelings of belonging can’t sustain those who have them, i just think the power to question, stimulate, and provoke are far more powerful and long-lasting. [returning from tangent] the amount of art involved is wholly dependent on that birthing process—its shape and its depth. the form (what requires audience or community) doesn’t require that personal investment to work (it’s great when it does, but there are other avenues to “success”).

posted by CitizenX  on  04/07  at  11:21 PM



Digital information isn’t more impermanent than a physical object, because it can be printed onto a physical object. People can, and often do, print onto a sheet of paper words or images that they stumbled upon on the internet and that they liked. The fact that the original information is digital merely means it’s easier to publicize and divulge all over the world—thus greatly increasing the chances it will become very permanent in people’s memories, unlike so many works of art and thoughts that fall into oblivion.

posted by Mariana  on  08/21  at  06:18 AM


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