Monday, June 04, 2007

One for Mimi

This post has prompted better comments than I could have hoped for. I can only hope I've given replies worthy of them.

Back to you, Robert. You have more readers than I, but neither of is even a blip on the screen of the blogscape, so why can't we just do what we like and pray that we do a little good on the way? You've done good by me.
Grandmère Mimi
Blogs in left blogistan tend to fall into four categories: the "group blog" of Kos and FDL, where everybody posts and rants about what they want to rant about, and the audience is huge because all the bloggers love to see their words in print, and everybody else's words, too; the "Digsby" blog, where one blogger rants and everybody raves about what they rant about, and the audience is huge because Digsby/whoever catches the zeitgeist and says what everyone already things, and everyone loves to think they're as clever as that, and as right; the Atrios blog, where everybody rants and raves about everybody else's comments, largely regardless of what Atrios posts about, and the audience is huge because everyone loves the sound of their own voice and each other, and like the other three groups, the community created tends to be self-affirming and self-reflexive and self-supporting (and besides, Atrios scoops up what everybody else in blogistan is ranting and raving about); and then there are all the other bloggers, doing whatever they're doing, and garnering or losing audience, based on the number of friends they have, acquire, or how they manage to catch the attention of Google and Technorati.

The first three categories seem to be the models for success and popularity, the last is the catch-all of "everybody else." And if this post ever gets noticed, partisans of the first three will slam me for not "getting it" or being a "wanker" or whatever new designation of shame and outrage is de rigeur at the time, or just claim I'm jealous. Because partisans of blogs protect their turf with the ferocity of a junk-yard dog.

But I'm not jealous; I'm cynical. There's a huge difference.

All of which otherwise has bugger-all to do with me, except that even the mitey cheese that stands alone absorbs odors from everything else in the refrigerator unless it's left to suffocate in plastic; and all human endeavors are ultimately not sui generis but an imitation, pale or hale, of what everybody else is doing. And so the question I'm really asking is not: Is Pastor Dan a wanker for dissing me? Nor even: am I worthy any longer? Nor the old chestnut: Does a blog make a noise if there aren't enough people around to hear it?

Because truly, I only care that this is worthwhile, once in a while, to the handful of people who comment here, or who regularly read it. Tena is right: I care very much about "getting it right." What I don't really care about, is getting it broadly accepted and approved; being "popular," in other words.

So why all the agonizing? Not because I am in anguish, but because I'm wondering: can I do this without ranting and raving? Without seeking an outrage du jour I can put my "spin" on? Can I provide something meaningful to the conversation (which is all I really want to do) when the conversation seems to be solely about how annoying it is that there are so many stupid people in the world because they don't think like us!

And because of all the other stuff in the refrigerator, mitey cheese that I might be, I'm not sure I can. And if I can't, what's the point? Because outrage is cheap, and frankly, it's tawdry, and honestly, I'm tired of it. It makes me feel good, briefly, to exercise my thoughts and prove, once again, how right I am. But beyond that, what's the point of it? I'd be better off emulating The Wounded Bird (no, seriously!), but that would be carrying coals to Newcastle. I can provide my own, far too serious, far too scholarly, far to theological and intellectual and philosophical, notes to the conversation (and probably I will), but it's getting harder and harder to have anything to say.

And then I write a post that prompts me to write three posts, any one of which would sustain an invaluable conversation (for me, anyway!) for weeks if not months. But I find that kind of conversation doesn't last long on blogs, either. Either you'll get bored, or I will. It's not like a chess game, after all, where we both have the same board and can take plenty of time to think about the next move as it interests us. Mine is a jackdaw mind; I swoop down on shiney things. And this is a jackdaw intellectual's blog; more of a public notebook, really.

Which means it'll be here for quite awhile, I have no doubt. But sometimes it will say less than it seems to, and sometimes more; and I'll probably never be finished with anything. Because if I could just once bring something to a conclusion, I'd probably keep it to myself and look for a publisher. And if I could just keep the right kind of company (friends of this blog excepted, please!), maybe I could quit re-inventing the wheel and get back to something useful. Of course, that solution wouldn't solve my archy the cockroach problem.

"expression is the need of my soul."--archy the cockroach

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