Monday, February 09, 2009

Oh, yeah, I BLOG.

The subtitle of this site, indeed, the entire domain, is a mocking of anyone who calls themselves a 'blogger'. As if the medium (RSS enabled text feeds) is of any importance. It's like a writer calling themselves a 'typist', or a 'quill and ink afficionado'. What the thell, right? I find all terms around 'blogging' as if it, in of itself, means a flying shite, to be ridiculous.

If you write, then you're a writer. But even that term I find slightly pretentious. IMHO, unless someone has paid you cash money to do write, even if it's for a series of Erotic Poetry featuring a busty elk and 27 different types of fruit flavoured chapstick, you can't really call yourself a writer.

We all think of the same thing when that heavy term is rolled out: New Hampshire, the stormy sea, a rusty functional type writer, a stuffy man in a turtleneck with workman hands and a Pall Mall hanging out the side of his lip.

A real goddamn writer. Someone with life experiences and rejection letters HE writes to the New Yorker.

We don't think about pasty desk jockeys writing their thoughts on hairballs and kitty litter and having the following things in their blog title: "Screed", "Scribblings", and the most ultimate of words ever to be included in a blog title, "Musings".

Amateur. That's what I am. I'm an amateur and this is amateur hour and I happen to post it over HTTP to website anyone with too much free time can access and read while wondering if my spellchecker really is that broken. Amateur writer is what I'd call myself, if pressed, and to be honest, even if I was pressed, I'd mention something about video gaming or something equally horrifying cocktail conversation killer and keep my eyes on my shoes.

Another thing about blogs. What is the deal with corporate blogs? Isn't the purpose of a weblog a personal account from one person? I mean, when a large corporation or institution starts a blog, they should just call it a 'recently updated PR news site'. You know?

I'm listening to Rage Against the Machine at the moment. This post might be 139% more angry than usual. My apologies.


Chris B. said...


The first "blog" I saw was the notes from the Propellerhead Software team (still posting here.) They opened it to the public, and the posts went from mostly software dev to mostly cultural stuff. They talked about company outings and other stuff which I found fascinating for some reason. This was still a little ahead of the Google age.

Anyhow, I think sites like Blogspot made it accessible to the masses, and now everyone has a blog (or three). Mine started as a way to keep my family apprised of what we're up to, but eventually became me waxing philosophical on any number of topics. I don't hang out at the bar anymore, so that's where I spew my bullshit.

The part I find maddening is that bloggers (no experience/credentials necessary) get quoted all over the place as sources. There's little or no recourse, it seems, for random bullshittery.

Anyhow, I enjoy your blog like I enjoy most of my music collection - skilled but a little raw. I'll take something meaningful over something with a high-gloss finish any day.

monk said...

There was a great early 80's doonsbury with a character posing for a book jacket photo--almost exactly what you describe, except you omitted the swirling leaves in the background.

Niteowl said...

Oh that's interesting ChrisB. The inner workings of companies CAN make a cool blog, for sure.

I have nothing against blogs, obviously. I'm against, as I'm sure you are, the title of 'blogger', as if that's infinitely different than 'writer'.

Oh god, yes, bloggers quoted in the news. On the other hand, no different than a pundit, TBH.

Raw and unedited, that's the way I roll (actually, it's not, the post you see up is usually the product of much editing and thinking, it just LOOKS like a first draft).

Niteowl said...

Monk : I thought EVERYONE had that thought of a 'writer' when the title comes to mind. No? But hey, I'm siding with Doonesbury, not horrible company.

Greg X Graves said...

As I read more author biographies, I've come to think of authors as less of tortured, artistic souls who struggle in a tiny coachhouse with an old Underwood (my conception) and more as abusive alcoholics.

Then again, maybe I've just been reading too much about Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I like that you point out the "blogger as pundit." It depends on what is meant when someone says "writer," which can mean anything from technical writing to poetry.

Monkfish said...

Surely that $20 i gave you to write my reference now makes you a writer.

Niteowl said...

Greg:Yeah, all the 'romantic' ones were alcoholics and tortured and shit. All the ones I respect are real workhorses, 8 hour workday, shoulder to the wheel sort of people (Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Terry Pratchett). It's less romantic, and more dusty, down in the dirty work, as it were. King had a great quote about muses, actually. Lemme find it. Ah, here he describes his muse from "On Writing":
"basement guy. You have to descend to his level...he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or spirit-world we’re talking about here..."

Monky : that just makes me a shill, not a writer. Did you ever get that position at "Erogenous Butterflies Inc." ?