7/07/2002

blogosophy

I was on the internet last night, looking at blogs.

There seem to be two types (and people are people, even in cyberspace, so the distinction is very, very important online): there are proper blogs and journals. The former consist mainly of very short entries with links to something sort of kooky the blogger saw somewhere on the ‘net. This type seems to be a favorite of programmers who spend all day in a cubicle surfing the ‘net, and want to share all the kooky stuff they find there with other bloggers.

It becomes a sort of competition (like I said, people are people) as to who can find the kookiest stuff. And that’s basically the extent of it. The mentality is much the same as with otherwise clever people who watch too much TV, and justify it by their constant criticisms of how stupid it is. Well, of course it is. We don’t all that proof. For example, one blokes got a site, and recently he posted a link to another site with the URL geekissues.org, which is just a huge storehouse for scraps of hacker dialogue that hackers thought were particularly funny and quoteworthy. The snippets run from the rather esoteric (absolutely indecipherable script for the uninitiated) to the mundane. And example of the latter:

weDge: So I had a girlfriend for all of 9 months. She dropped by one afternoon when I was sick with a pan of brownies and a video tape with the simpsons on it (my favorite show). so I start eating the brownies and turn on the tape. midway through it, it cuts to her sucking off some dude. he nuts in her mouth, she looks at the camera, and says ‘you're dumped. enjoy the brownies’ - and spits the mouthful of cum into a bowl of brownie mix. fucked up huh? I want to die.

This is actually the snippet the blogger had linked to for our amusement. He wondered if it wasn’t just a sort of urban legend. Maybe. I’d never heard the verb ‘to nut,’ so that was interesting. And it was amusing, don’t get me wrong. So I had a look at some others. There were some quite funny ones, I thought, like the following:

madthink: what does putting sugar in someones gas tank do
maff: I heard when you start the engine cinnamon rolls come out
maff: with frosting and everything
madthink: i need to get revenge in the worst way
maff: cinnamon rolls arent really revenge

But after reading ten or fifteen, patterns started to emerge, and you started to see certain motifs, and the motifs quickly turned into clichés, and then it was boring. First you had hackers, and they were all about breaking the rules. They had this sort of outlaw mentality. But now you’ve got all these kids who want to be hackers, so, like, the original hackers had to think up some sort of rules of etiquette that you had to follow if you wanted to join their little club.

There’s a particular type of hacker humor, and you should adhere to it. If you don’t know the secret handshake you can’t logon to their club. I mean, people are people, right?

But blogging on the whole is like that. There is a certain sensibility, and a certain sense of humor amongst ‘real’ bloggers, and it’s partly to distinguish them from the imposters, the Johnny-come-latelies, who think all you’ve got to do is jot down your thoughts on any given day, and then call it a blog. So, as you’d expect, there are bloggers who’ve appointed themselves judges of the best and worst blogs online. It’s like that.

Then there are people who actually have a life, or seem to, and their blogs (which aren’t considered blogs by ‘real’ bloggers, but rather ‘journals’) are much more interesting, on the whole. I mean there’s only so much to be gained from yucking it up over fake pics of the president nude, or links to sites selling prosthetic foreskin (‘the man hood’ it’s called). Yes, it’s funny, but it’s not that funny.

The ‘journals’ are only as compelling as the personalities of the people keeping them, of course, and the stories they tell. But the main difference is, you feel you’re actually getting a glimpse into someone’s world, and not just their cubicle. The tone also varies a bit, according to mood, whereas it seems a lot of blogs are stuck in smarty-pants mode.

They really are apples and oranges, when you think about it, though, with utterly different aims. I guess I favor the so-called journals because they’re about someone. You can see pictures of their friends, their dog, or pictures of trees, or the sky, or the sea, from their eyes. While proper blogs seem to be stuck in one groove, the journals can be unpredictable. They’re proof of intelligent life in the universe. And that’s a damn sight tougher to prove than that there are a lot of silly, stupid people out there selling buttsicles, for example, or prosthetic foreskins, or whatever. I mean, so what?

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