Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Biting the Hand That Doesn’t Feed You

I’m not sure if it’s the word itself: blog (which is graceless) or the concept that I find so unappealing. The unappealing aspect of the concept, I suppose, is its not so subtle apparent aim of self-promotion. But one does not want to look too closely at this, since ultimately, you can arrive at the question of what makes blogging different from other forms of writing? In which case, we find self-promotion lurking always somewhere beneath the surface. I suppose one of the criteria for good writing is subtlety, ¬the self-promoting angle must appear to be non-existent.

Further, what could be more obvious than that I was not made to blog? Blogging is about speed and the appearance of spontaneity. I don’t even consider myself a writer; more accurately, I am a re-writer. I revise grocery lists. My first drafts are ugly; with work I can make them serviceable, and with some more work, and luck, occasionally elegant. Thoreau said, “It goes too fast.” I love how he, and Emerson too, seemed to get away with using pronouns for which there is no discoverable referent. “It” here, I concluded means “life.” But the internet moves even faster.

The other objectionable aspect of the internet writing is that anyone can do it. Why does that “scare” me? Ahhh, it must be related to that same ego which doesn’t wish to appear self-promoting, but is nonetheless. If anyone can do it, why would I bother? The trick, of course, is to do it well. You set your own bar, as always.

Still, I tend to believe as shitmydadsays: “YOU, a published writer? Internet don’t count. Anyone can throw shit up there.” By the way shitmydadsays will soon be a television program. The book is advertised as “The memoir that came from twitter.” I check in on facebook and it’s one funny line after another. The lines are funny enough that they make me wonder, how exactly, they find a narrative line that magically turns them into a memoir. But, I can’t say I’m curious enough that I’ll buy the book.

I remember the old (now) metaphor to describe deconstruction: a person is sitting on a tree limb sawing the branch on which he sits. The idea, I think it was Jonathan Culler’s image, is that those theorists used language to describe how meaning derived from language is arbitrary or, unknowable. They were chopping down the tree of language with an axe made of language. A little like the person who announces,” I am a liar.” Or not. Anyway, I am using a blog to interrogate blogging. Now I am finished and vow to never use the word blog again.

1 comment:

  1. David, you are sooooo irreverent. (And I like that in a writer.) Did you see Julie & Julia yet? If so, you'll appreciate the scene where she comes to the kitchen door and says to her husband, "I could write a blog. I have thoughts."

    So a penny for your thoughts. Or not. Or more! Glad to find you here, slogging it out with the rest of your comrades. By the way, I love these photos. Very appealing.