Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Promised Myself I'd Never Do This

When the word 'blog' was invented, back in the late '90s, I wasn't a fan.  The World Wide Web was just coming into its own back then, so every stupid thing that happened on the Web was hammered relentlessly by news outlets who were desperately attempting to appear technologically hip.  The word 'blog' was no exception.  A reverse portmanteau of the word 'weblog', blogs were the hottest thing since fire - in spite of the fact that no one had the first clue what the hell they were for.  It was a bit like hyping the spreadsheet before the invention of numbers.

On it's own merit, it's an ugly word.  Blog.  Remove it from it's now well-established context, and it sounds like a childish word for a particularly brutal shit (you know...  like a 'Big log').  I probably could have come to peace with the word, but the concept of blogging (and hence the word blog) got more media coverage than O.J. Simpson — for at least two years straight.

So for the last 13 or 14 years — however long it's been — I've avoided blogs like Orson Welles avoids marathon training.  O.K., like I avoid marathon training.  Instead I've written endless volumes of original content on forums, review sites, comments pages - anywhere but my own site.  And I'm not talking about quick little five minute posts.    We're talking about some pretty hefty essays here.  To make matters worse, I don't really write, so much as continually rewrite.  Every post ends up being edited and rewritten scattershot, as new insights hit me until I've rewritten the entire post 3 times.  Countless years spent bringing other people literally tens of thousands of hits.

Screw that noise.  I'm putting my hat in the ring.

Of course, I'll never get tens of thousands of hits on my own.  I'm ok with that.  Between the few dozen people I know personally, and spambots wanting to ply links to malware in the comments section, I'll probably hit the high single digits somewhere around June.  I'm not going to get a lot of hits, but dammit, they'll be my hits.

So I'm blogging now.  I prefer to call it 'writing', but the name of this webpage says I'm full of shit.

This leads us to the obvious next question:

What kind of blog is this?

A personal blog?  

I suppose there will be some content about myself, and most of it will be written from my perspective, because it's the only perspective from which I am qualified to write.  I could try to write from your perspective, but I don't think you'd appreciate me putting my words in your mouth.  People generally don't like it when I put things in their mouth.

That said, I absolutely refuse to be one of those vapid cunts that insists on polluting the web with a constant barrage of personal anecdotes about what I had for breakfast, or how my cats are doing.  I will certainly be a key character in my blog, but I am not the subject.  If I ever tell you about my lunch, it will be because I've discovered some amazing new kind of food that makes every other food you've ever tasted seem like bullshit.

An over-the-top shock blog?  

I'm certainly no stranger to colorful language, and I am very likely to post things that will offend others, but I absolutely don't want to fall into the rut of posting outrageous shit strictly for the sake of trying to offend.  Ironically, writing exclusively about things which are deeply offensive to most people is limiting - because most things aren't offensive.  If I post something offensive, I'd rather there be some sort of underlying complexity to it.

Aside from which, people who write exclusively about edge of the envelope shit - even in a satirical sense - invariably attract the absolute worst people in the world like some kind of alpha-loser homing beacon.  You start with a a reasonable and empirically sound statement like "Some gay people have really gone overboard in trying to restrict what language people can use,"  And you'll discuss how you can't even call something 'fruity' anymore without offending someone, but you can use the word 'denigrate' all day long, in spite of its legitimately offensive etymology.  Then some short-bus jackhole is going to jump into the comments with something like "Right on brother!  I'd like to kill all them fucking faggets, and send 'em back to Africa where they done avented the AIDS from buttsexing the monkeys and niggurs."

Fig. 1:  You know the type.

Let's make one thing clear:  I want nothing to do with that kind of discourse, and I will delete it from my comments section.  When you say shit like that, and all the people around you are laughing, it's not because what you said is funny.  It's because you're so indefensibly fucking stupid and backwards that you are a walking punchline.  They are laughing at you, you shit-headed fuckwit.

So again - I don't think that's quite what I'm looking to do.  When I say things that offend normative sensibilities, it will most likely be an act of satire, or an attempt to uncover some hypocrisy inherent to the status quo.  I mean, sure, I'm going to say 'fuck' alot, but I like to think that's simply because I've adopted a more earthy and humble mode of speech so as to suppress my inherently sesquipedalian loquaciousness and keep me from sounding like a pretentious grammarian.

Sesquipedalian like a motherfuckin' boss.

A science & technology blog?  

Probably not.  I do love technology (read: I am a massive nerd), and with huge advances in quantum computing and artificial intelligence on the not so distant horizon, I am quite likely to put up the odd technology post, but to be honest, I just don't have the kind of sustained interest or discipline that it would require to maintain a steady stream of tech commentary.

At the end of the day, I am far more interested in speculating about the possibilities of technology, or contextualizing it than I am simply reading off specifications from industry white papers.

A philosophy blog?

Fuck.  No.

An angry blog?

I find it odd that this is so common a format, since only a handful of people have successfully pulled it off.  I do (and will) spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about wildly irrelevant minutiae.  Additionally, there's a lot of real things in the world to be angry about.  As I have said, though, this kind of thing has been done to death.  It's too easy to paint yourself into a corner if you make it the format.  Spend too much time at the 'pissed-off well' and you wind up just another hack who's worn a hole in the word fuck, fucked the hole, and then wore that out as well.  Sooner or later, there's just nowhere left to go.  If the guy who messed up your drive through order by giving you 9 instead of 10 tacos is the most epic assbag in the history of the universe, what do you have left next week when someone shoots and wound-rapes your Cocker Spaniel?

If you crown a new 'all time biggest douche' every single week, it loses some of its impact.  There's nothing wrong with being a miserable bastard, but at least try to establish some kind of context instead of just launching straight into 'fuck horses!'

A humor blog?

I'm not exactly setting out to tell a bunch of jokes, but I would contend that humor is the common thread for anything I am likely to write.  Whether I'm writing about the forestry industry, living conditions in retirement homes, or child pornography, you can rest assured that I'm going to work in a line about 'old wood'.

So I'm not doing anything original here.  At the end of the day, I'm not even that funny.  But at least this will provide a context going forward.  Given all of the terrible crap I'll end up posting, the last thing I want is to be taken too seriously.

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