I’ll be 40 years old next year, but I don’t, despite my worst fears, feel anything like that ancient. Thanks to my greatly reduced intake of things that are bad for me (from apocalyptic to merely terrifying), I feel physically better than I did throughout most of my 20s and early 30s. Ten years ago, my friends and I were already referring to ourselves as ‘aging punks,’ and possibly the only thing that has changed in that description, for me at least, is that ‘-ing’ has become ‘-ed’. This will become relevant, trust me.

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
this ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Mudd club, or C. B. G. B.,
I ain’t got time for that now
Talking Heads, Life During Wartime

I’ve been casting about for a way to frame my thinking about weblogs and weblogging lately, as I’ve watched with a mild dismay apparently shared by others down the street about the way in which the tang and tenor in our neighbourhood of neighbourhoods have been changing in these post-blogdiluvian times. I hadn’t found the key I needed until this morning, and it was, amusingly, courtesy of Dave Winer.

(Now I have had my run-ins, as have many, apparently, with Mr Winer, for reasons I won’t bother detailing, as I am trying in many ways to be a better man — angry, cantankerous and likely to erupt in spontaneous ranting at any moment, sure, but a better angry man — and there’s no need to re-open old wounds. Suffice it to say that what follows has nothing to do with my personal feelings about Dave. No part of it should be construed as an attack on him, although it is always possible he might perceive it as such. That happens sometimes, I’ve noticed. The truth is that I’ve quite happily avoided thinking much about him, and presumably him about me, since back in October 2002. And that’s just fine. )

I have to thank Mr Winer for dripping that last droplet into my mental beaker, the one that supersaturated the solution and turned it crystalline with a barely audible thwonk!
When I got into the weblogging thing, yaar, back in the year of our lord 2000 I think it was, somewhat late to the party but carrying a few six-packs of the good stuff to ease the trauma of my gatecrashing, I was totally unaware that there were communities of people that had banded together, and who were as taken as I with the promise of it all. I was unaware that there were already stars in the personal-website firmament, unaware that there even was a firmament. I just stumbled onto Blogger somehow, drunker than a cheesetester on good scotch as I recall, and my geek cilia started wiggling, and off I went.

I didn’t know there were people building their own tools to make it even easier to become part of the revolution, to fling open those doors, to take over the world by giving everyone who might have something to say a way to say it and a stage on which to do it, regardless of how or how well they were going to say their piece. Voice, all of that. Access to the internet was the price of entry, of course, but the democracy of it all was breathtaking, even if it was democracy for rich kids, for the most part. That’s always been the way of it, after all.

It reminded me of punk rock. When I first encountered punk, back in 1982 or ’83, after having grown up in a tiny, media-starved and desperately uncool (if green and pleasant, at least away from the sawmills and clearcuts) northern village and having moved to Vancouver to go to university, the proverbial scales fell from my eyes. Thtink, plink. Berserk autodidact that I was, I’d already developed an effective sneer, a deep distrust and dislike for authority and political chicanery, a habit of arguing mercilessly and cruelly if the matter at hand was something I believed in and merely arguing vociferously if it wasn’t, and a nihilistic, risk-addicted, maniacally-boozing demeanor. I had, at the age of 18, though, not yet discovered that there were tens or hundreds of thousands of others with the same sorts of unpleasant societally-discouraged aberrations, and they’d been gathering together and making this mad, loud, ramshackle, gloriously angry music for years already.

I loved it. The music, not so much the fashion. I knew folks who went in for the whole ‘punk look,’ and I thought they were a bit laughable, but harmless, as long as they loved the music and the community. Pose(u)rs, was the word, but I kind of felt that those who called other people posers were almost as destructive to the spirit of the thing as the fashion-victims themselves. (Mark me, here. I’ll come back to this.) So I wore a leather jacket, and messed-up jeans, in pretty much my only concessions to the fashion side of the scene, and grew my hair hippy-long, which was anti-punk to be sure; I drank and did scary stupid dangerous things, and went to gigs, bothered my neighbours with bootleg cassettes cranked to the nuts, and papered my walls with gig posters, and made friends with musicians, and ate chemicals, and reviled the nazis, and generally gloried in what I’d been missing in my sh-tty little northern town throughout my teens — a sense of community, and more specifically a community to which I was happy to belong. Not a community of redneck wife-beating millworkers, this time, although it must be said I had many friends back in that segment of society too.

I felt much the same way about the weblogging thing, a couple of years back, especially when my writing began to get noticed and linked and emailed-about and commented-upon by people whose writing and thinking I in turn respected, and I started to understand how many communities there were within the greater world of the webloggers. There was a wild spirit of creativity running through the wires, it seemed to me, and I found myself a part of a loosely-joined (nudge, wink) group of dauntingly smart and well-spoken people, who didn’t seem, for the most part, to object to my more outrageous turns of phrase. I joined Metafilter, not long before it stopped becoming a Name Brand Weblogger Hub and grew into more of a general in-love-with-the-web community weblog in its own right, which introduced me to a whole constellation of bright webby people. It was exhiliarating, in much the same way as the World Of Punk had been as it opened up to me almost 20 years earlier.

It was welcome, too, because having lived the life of a real-world wanderer for the previous 15 years, a sense of community, community less transient than a group of backpackers coming together randomly in a bar in Indonesia or somewhere… well, that was something I was sorely missing. This parallel I felt to the alt-rock scene in which I forged my young identity all those years back was in no small part, I realize in retrospect, a driver for my over-the-top reaction to a nuts-and-bolts piece of writing by Megnut way back when (here, here, here). It was to me, I see now, as if a snide critic — no worse! a punk-rock luminary — had described the essence of punk as ‘play loud, fast and sloppy, behave outrageously once in a while, and throw in some random lefty politics and unfocussed anger, and bob’s yer uncle!’ It felt like the kind of reduction to appearance over substance that has always enraged me, and is something that even today I rail against as a core failing of Korean society, for example. Not that that’s what Megnut was guilty of in any sense, perhaps, but it pushed my buttons, and now I see why.

Anyway. These weblog people I found myself (virtually) amongst had banded together, it seemed to me, in part because people do that when they’re exploring new frontiers, when they’re not entirely sure of how to proceed but are in love with the new potential they see for a life lived in a way a little less ordinary, and when they suddenly find that there are other people out there who are doing the same thing. Out on the fringes, singing their songs.

Of course, bands break up, and personalities clash, and egos swell, and guitar players want to be front-men, and drummers explode, and new bands form, and old bands fade away and re-emerge years later to do farewell tour after farewell freaking tour. It is natural.
The weblogging gangs of old, the ones I felt a part of, well, they still are loosely bound, but the threads are so thin now that they are almost invisible.

It was, for a while, as if we were all fans of the punk, you see, together out there on the floor, drenched in sweat, pogoing, hurling beer cans, singing along, not really caring which band was up on the stage, just loving the hum and the throb and the tribal feeling of it all. Now it feels as if many of us have become fans of various specific bands, or have started our own and are struggling to gather our own crowds, or have decided to just keep it in the garage where it belongs, and damn having an audience. We don’t have time to go to each others’ gigs anymore. When everyone is in a band, there’s no one left to watch the shows.

That almost inevitably leads to irrelevance, though. Survey says. You sell yourself to the record company to try and get a distribution deal, you start to watch what you say, you suck up to the Big Boys, and try to be seen in the right places with the right powder dusting your nostrils. You lose the holy fire, you start thinking in terms of ‘product’, you tell yourself you’re going to ‘change it from the inside,’ but you’re part of the machine now, and it’s too late for you.

Okay, it might be time to try and pull the threads together, here.

Now, Dave Winer said

More proof blogs aren’t parties, they’re publications. If you try to make it social, about friends, and parties, you end up with a party where a lot of pre-adolescent males bark at each other, and a few hawkers try to sell penis enlargers, and no emotionally whole adult would be caught dead at. I been down this path. The road leads to Slashdot.

Aside from being primly elitist, this is just plain wrong from all sorts of angles, but I think provides a decent illustration of what I’ve been trying to say. Again, it helped me figure out my misgivings about the current State of The Blogs, so I thank him for saying it. So, you know, it’s good, even if I think it’s completely wrongheaded.

Let’s look at it – first, the idea that weblogs are anything that can be expressed in one word (like ‘publication’), or even in the air pocket that sits in the middle of a falsely dualistic opposition between two unrelated words (like ‘party’ and ‘publication’), is bollocks. But never mind the bollocks, here’s the wonderchicken.

What really bothers me is that Dave is generally perceived, with good reason, even by those who dislike the man, as an Elder Statesman of sorts. Hell, he’s been anointed by f–king Harvard, right? What else would I expect him to say? That weblogs are like snorting coke off the bellies of teenage hookers? You can’t get much further from the punk DIY ethos than Harvard, right?

I would expect, I suppose, that rather than saying ‘weblogs are not X, they are Y’ that he’d say ‘Weblogs are whatever the hell you want them to be. Go mad with creative ferment, young ones, unleash the furies, rewrite yourselves and the world, make what you will of these tools and this time. Now, my weblog, that’s a publication, not a party, but your mileage might vary.’
Perhaps that’s what he meant.

Look, I agree with Dave Eggers about saying ‘no’ —

No is for wimps. No is for pussies. No is to live small and embittered, cherishing the opportunities you missed because they might have sent the wrong message.

— it’s something that I wrote about in the sort-of eulogy I wrote for my friend Rick, who died after the Bali bomb in 2002, something that he believed, and something I have believed for many, many years too. Say yes, say it again, sing it, scream it, or get out of the way, grandpa. It was not the shouted nihilistic ‘no!’ that attracted me to the ideas underpinning the flowering of punk rock decades ago, it was the implied bellowed ‘yes! we’ll rebuild our lives the way we want them!’ that I loved. And that I mourned, as it became a fashion, a commodity, and sank back underground again. But the lesson never left me.
Weblogs are a party, damn it, and sometimes they’re publications too, or instead, and sometimes they’re diaries, sometimes they’re pieces of art, sometimes they’re tools for self-promotion, sometimes they’re money-maknig ventures, sometimes they’re monuments to ego, sometimes they’re massive wanks, sometimes they’re public services, sometimes they’re dedications of faith, sometimes they’re communities. Always, they are a public face, one chosen and crafted to varying degrees, of the people who write them. They are avatars, masks, or revelations of our deepest selves. They are political or philosophical, merrily inebriate or sententiously sober. Do not listen to those who would tell you what they are not.

These people will destroy your soul. Classification is for insects.

My name’s wonderchicken, and I am a wild party.

It is the rising current of feeling that weblogs aren’t a party (or aren’t journalism, or aren’t a floor wax, or aren’t a dessert topping), that they’re something important and serious, that is seriously harshing my buzz. “Let’s all take this more seriously”, is the message I get from far too many these days, “because then, well, what I do must be Serious Stuff, right? We’re all adults here, aren’t we?”
Stop it, you bastards.

Your $500 blog conferences, your NeckFlex For President consultancies, your sad tawdry whoredances with the old media moronocracy devil, your repetitive linkery to the same tired wanna-be self-declared pundits you met at the last convention, your careful management of a media face that is, in the end, marketable, it makes me want to puke. It kills the spirit of this thing that I was so in love with, and turns it, as avarice and self-regard always does, to sh-t.

I’m not actually saying stop it, when I say stop it, of course. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, and all that. But I am regretful, and resentful, even though I know that it’s inevitable. It is the way things go, in this cashed-in century.

I also know that, as with the music, those who became part of this wild whirlwind, not for fashion or self-aggrandizement, not for power or money (although perhaps for the blow-jobs and free drugs, for which, it must be said, I’m still waiting in vain), but because they had burning gods inside them that were clawing at the inside of their foreheads screaming to get out, well, they’ll continue to create, and more and more they’ll point and chuckle indulgently and ignore the Self-Selected and the Sententious. And the SSS will recede, blithering, from the core of the living culture, until, once again, they are irrelevant. The script-kiddies are right, you see, but only about some of us.

Punk can also be about Wittgenstein. Don’t get me wrong – housewives can be punk, and librarians, priests and, crikey, even known homosexuals can be punk! Can Harvard be punk? Well, yeah, maybe it can be too. Maybe.

Jeneane suggested that the scriptkiddies enjoy more sense of community than us old compatriots do at the moment, and you know what? She’s right. Why? ‘Cause they’re still punk, and our little revolution is being marginalized and co-opted by the climbers.

I’m not suggesting that weblogs should literally be punkrock, right? OK? Geddit? I’m just talkin’ here.

I have no problem with Joi Ito either, although I point at him above — I listened to the Chris Lydon interviews a while back, and he is someone I think I’d very much like to know, based on what he had to say. I haven’t been reading his writing, much (or much of anything blogly until I started again recently, to be honest) although I do plan to start. I found myself nodding as I listened to him talking, and backtracking to listen to some bits again. I rarely do this. I’m not used to people being smarter than me. He represents a new bird, to me, and one that is punk in the best way, in the way I loved the most way back when, in the smart-as-hell Hüsker Dü kinda way. At least I hope that to be true.

In the end, it probably doesn’t matter, as the wave of co-optation and consolidation swings through the communities. But what he had to say and the elegance and clarity with which he expressed it was, for example, in stark opposition to the way that Glenn Reynolds, who, although he may or may not be a plodding thud-dullard, certainly sounded like one when he parried an unwanted political observation of Chris’s with ‘No, no, that’s…no. No. Durrrr.’ Repeatedly. I imagined him with fingers in his ears, going ‘nyah nyah I can’t hear you’. (I exaggerate for effect, a little, perhaps.)

We could use more like Joi Ito, I reckon.

Still, there is something he wrote recently and that I am compelled to disagree with that must be woven into my story here. Joi echoed (and Shelley pushed back against) that old chestnut from Rebecca Blood (amongst other ‘write better’ type stuff), and proposed that those who are ‘serious’ about their weblogs should endeavour to write well. I say the hell with that. Write well, write badly, whatever, just create. If you are saying things that stir people, they will respond.

If you can’t write well, write with such passionate muscularity that people stand back and go ‘whoa!’ Make things, reach out to people. If you write well, keep doing it, and get better, and don’t kiss ass for personal gain. If not, just go, bash that keyboard, make a hideous, amateurish squall, one to which, if it has some kernel of glorious truthtelling, people will respond. The mass amateurization of nearly everything is good. If you’re a gifted amateur, the world will beat a path to your, er, door.

But let me return now to my mention, far upstream, of how I had little love for alternato-types who pointed, all j’accuse-y, and called other people ‘posers’, back in the day. It is, and was, almost as lame as calling someone a ‘sell-out’. It may seem that that’s what I’m doing here, pointing the Big Foam Sell-Out Finger, but I’m not. I’m just stirring the pot. Things have gotten f–king boring around here lately, and some egos are way out of control, and who better than the wonderchicken to try for a little reality-distortion-field adjustment?

If David Weinberger (to pick an example) wants to shill for Dean, more power to him, by crikey! I’d give my left nut to see the Bushbot gone, too, of course, but I’m not so sure that Howard Dean is the solution. Armed insurrection, now, that might be a noble cause…anyway, I still love reading what he has to say, when I occasionally swing by JOHO. If Dave Winer wants to ponce around Harvard (as long as he’s not telling me what a weblog isn’t), then I say ponce away! You go, girl! If this guy thinks blogging should be all about ‘creating value’ and ‘return on investment’, well, why the hell not?

OK, on second thought, that last guy needs to be slapped in the head.

Still, my point is that even if you are puerile enough to believe that someone else ‘selling out’ hurts you somehow, well, that’s pretty hard to justify, son. See also : nuh-uh. When someone stops fighting against the current, goes limp, and, you know, gets a hog rectum implanted where their mouth used to be, or goes the full cortical advertising-augmentation route, starts serving the Machine and wiping their chin with toilet paper, well, hey, it makes the rest of us look better by comparison, doesn’t it? Hell, at least I’m not one of those pigbuttmouth people with those creepy whipcord antennas, right?

Another quote from Eggers —

There is a point in one’s life when one cares about selling out and not selling out. One worries whether or not wearing a certain shirt means that they are behind the curve or ahead of it, or that having certain music in one’s collection means that they are impressive, or unimpressive.
Thankfully, for some, this all passes. I am here to tell you that I have, a few years ago, found my way out of that thicket of comparison and relentless suspicion and judgment. And it is a nice feeling. Because, in the end, no one will ever give a sh-t who has kept sh-t ‘real’ except the two or three people, sitting in their apartments, bitter and self-devouring, who take it upon themselves to wonder about such things. The keeping real of sh-t matters to some people, but it does not matter to me. It’s fashion, and I don’t like fashion, because fashion does not matter.
What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand. What matters is that the Flaming Lips’s new album is ravishing and I’ve listened to it a thousand times already, sometimes for days on end, and it enriches me and makes me want to save people. What matters is that it will stand forever, long after any narrow-hearted curmudgeons have forgotten their appearance on goddamn 90210. What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who’s up and who’s down, but what someone has done and if they meant it. What matters is that you want to see and make and do, on as grand a scale as you want, regardless of what the tiny voices of tiny people say. Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a f–kload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.

And that, my friends, is Punk f–king Rock.

Punk got co-opted and marketed and corporatized, and it damn near died, as all Big Ideas do. That’s not to say that small-p punk is not still alive. It is, down in the ditches, where the spirit that drove the rage has morphed and moved on and dropped back under the monkeymass radar. Music and community is being made now that might not fit so easily into the same easy label, but there are folks out there making stuff that builds on and extends the best of the punk alt-rock scene from 20 years ago and more. Some of ’em are more relevant than others, sure, but the passion’s still out there. The anger, the love, the frustration, the woohoo. The party rolls on, even though the faces have changed.

Weblogging is also being co-opted and marketed and corporatized, but it won’t die either. The small communities that grew out of earlier days are being diluted and voices are growing fainter, partly because of the natural life cycle of these things, and partly because there are those who are making it palatable and bland for the media moronocracy to digest, and that’s what the media moronocracy wants, so that’s what it gets.

Jeneane said it too, and Shelley echoed it

You see, there was nothing to gain through blogging in the early days. It was my voice informing her voice informing his voice: our whole was greater, but our parts were pretty cool too. There was nothing to lose, specifically, or to benefit from. There weren’t as many pundits and VCs and CEOs and politicians and top dogs playing. WE were all top dogs by virtue of being someplace those types weren’t.

Although its public face may suck pretty bad for a while, and you may need to dig a bit deeper to find its soul, there will always be those in the Fields of Blog who will tell you what they really think, and some of those will move you while doing it, regardless of how well they write. And they’ll do it without having to look over their shoulders. ’cause it’s a f–king party, pops, and you’re invited.

Metablogging, Uncrappy
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Join the conversation! 128 Comments

  1. w00t!
    go wonderchicken go!
    and thank you, thank you for reminding me what I should be doing: writing from the heart because I have to.

  2. Emptybottle.org : Down with America, up with people, and off with your pants! Whee!

    Any sort of introduction to this link seems lame but too bad: Stavros the Wonderchicken writes with ferocious ability, passion, intelligence and humour. He writes like I like to think I’d write, if I ever rediscover my ability, passion, intelligence

  3. Blog on cobber.
    It is good to hear your voice again.

  4. Oh just write something, dammit

    Entry spins out of control and strikes telephone pole. There were no survivors….

  5. Stylish, fluent, gonzo! I really liked your overview of the blog scene. I agree that there are all kinds of blogs, including blogs-as-a-party. My blogs are like life-and-death-conversations, serious stuff written each day in an encouraging, affirming tone to share a sense that life is wondrous, important. Check it out sometime.

  6. Preach on, brother Stav. I’ve mulled over the blogs-as-punk-rock analogy in my head without putting fingers to keyboard (and I doubt I could write it so well.) Hearing all the sanctimonious bullshit going around about what is or isn’t a “true” weblog is just incredibly dull. It reminds me of when I’d go see punk shows and people were making fun of me because of my khakis and polo shirt. (Either I’d just come from work or I didn’t give a shit.) It seems to me that giving someone static based on wearing a polo shirt to a punk show is exactly the same ethos that these supposed rebels were rebelling against, and that always bugged me.
    But like anything else, blogs are a tool, a means to express yourself, a means to make money if you so choose, a means to howl at the moon about things that piss you off. You’ve hit the nail on the head — and anything that stands for rampant individuality can’t be bad. (And also anything that stands for rampant individuality can’t, as you point out, be nailed down or classified in tidy little boxes.)

  7. The co-opting of blogging

    Everything that catches fire in the publics attention eventually gets co-opted by those who think they can make a buck off it. Baby boomers in their 50’s can tell you how flower power anf hippiedom etc got co-opted pretty quickly,…

  8. Never mind the bollocks

    Party at wonderchicken’s. Yes….

  9. Blog’s not dead no it’s not

    EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken, says Satvros at great length. Word is, blogs are like parties. Mmmm. I folla. Not sure I agree. He, of all people, will understand my reference in the title here. I get the whole blogs…

  10. As far as I’m concerned you’ve just written – and presented with style – the 2004 State of the Weblog Nation. Well done. It fucking rocks.

  11. first!
    oh wait, no… what i meant was, fucking genius awesome sandwich.

  12. Bravo, well said old chicken.
    “Its *my* party and I’ll write what I want to.”

  13. http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/links/bloggy.html#001012

    EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken :: Screw George Bush, this is the State of the Weblog Nation [via plasticbag.org>/a>…

  14. Beautifully, powerfully written. And good food for thought.
    The librarian in me, of course, winces at the “classification is for insects.” And I don’t believe that the unexamined blog is not worth writing.
    Thanks for inviting us to your party.

  15. the 2004 State of the Weblog Nation

    the wonderchicken goes incandescent – R4WK.

  16. It occurs to me that entropy applies to human culture in the very weirdest way (and, I suppose, how else could it be?)
    Follow me: normalized role-models yield scrambled offspring… every generation is the story of the previous generation run through a cut-up.
    However, because the new, scrambled generation has been imprinted with the unscrambled role-models, it collectively chooses representatives from its own ranks that most closely follow the pattern of the previous one.
    From an outside (or outsider) perspective, this appears to be a tendency to admire and encourage boredom. It is, objectively, our biological disposition to hold age in esteem.
    See, generations no longer last the full course of a lifetime. I’m twenty-three years old, and many of the people I went to high school with are already dinosaurs. The acceleration of information and technology produce an acceleration, too, of ecological change–they produce a new sort of world that requires a new sort of animal. And an animal is only fully effective in an environment it has, essentially, “grown up” in, which is an environment it has been imprinted in.
    Since a lifetime can span an increasing number of generations, the only limit to increased youth, which is a continuing grasp of where the culture is going, is to maintain the sort of imprint vulnerability that allows initiation into the new generation, when it happens.
    It’s not that the blog is dying, it’s that most of the first-generation bloggers are getting old.

  17. addendum
    So, to draw conclusions: in order to be respected by the generation after you, you must act your own age; and in order to draw respect from your own generation, you must act your parents’ age.

  18. Responding

    I am somewhat disappointed that my response to Bush’s speech has not received many comments, though the comments I have received, agree with me or not, are of the type one hopes to attract when making strong statements. Ah me, that’s the difficulty of …

  19. “and life is grand/and i will say this at the risk of falling from favor/from those of you/who have appointed yourselves/to expect us to say/something darker.” -david lowery (camper van beethoven)

  20. Beware of Strangers

    If they don’t come back, it is not possible to have a two way conversation, is it? Robert Castelo: Um, the fact that you are getting paid is supposed to make me feel better? I don’t think so. And I have to agree here with what Doc said about conten

  21. Punk rock, a hooker’s belly, blogs, & Dave Winer

    Stavros the Wonderchicken is the James Lileks of the metablogosphere….

  22. “Boring. Sidney. Boring. Boring. Boring.”
    The reason to pound drum in the 3am garage is to wake the dead suburbanite. The reason to pound keyboard to pen the mad script? Create. Regurgitate. Restate. Pan for diamonds in daily shit.
    Punk was/is/will be about doing. Just damn well doing. My personal Punk is just that. Mine.
    So, if anyone wants to classify, codify, rectify, and solidify the Capital B log…let them. If they create pabulum it will sell to safety conscious consumers. It won’t touch Me ((c) Me)
    Jazz, Rock, Punk, Rap, Board, Blog; each nipping heels of predecessors; each claiming to be the end all of personal expression.
    The loudest voices are just dinosaurs screaming. The popular clawing to hold position. Turn over a blog and find the “I was there when it started.” post. Last entrench before the dying breath.
    But the parties, the anarchists, the unique voices, the Henry Darger’s will continue on the periphery, in the .net nooks, on the broken glass covered dance floors. And some will be noticed and shared and grow and die.
    Then the children will discover the Next Thing.

  23. basically, yes. other comments sent privately.

  24. Y’know, I don’t normally swear, but…
    Fuckin’ A!

  25. “Your $500 blog conferences, your NeckFlex For President consultancies, your sad tawdry whoredances with the old media moronocracy devil, your repetitive linkery to the same tired wanna-be self-declared pundits you met at the last convention, your careful management of a media face that is, in the end, marketable, it makes me want to puke. It kills the spirit of this thing that I was so in love with, and turns it, as avarice and self-regard always does, to shit.”
    I’ve got only this to say… So lies the path of all social phenomenon. First come the Bellwether(s) then come the sheep, finally the ‘shephards’ with the marketing creep.

  26. weblogging in 2004

    Chris, a.k.a. Stavrosthewonderchicken, has a phenomenal post on his blog about blogging, not selling out, punk rock and it is…

  27. Damn!!!!!!! Yes, the State of the Weblog Nation is STRONG! So says the wonderchicken. Go Stavros.
    I’m home, baby! I’m home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. preach it, brother

    Stavros The WonderChicken has the best “take” on the whole weblogging “scene” so far….

  29. Saint WC- Yes, yes and again: YES.

  30. Come work for me, and I will make you famous, Stavros.

  31. What’s a Blog you ask?

    Blogging is Punk Effing Rock….

  32. Wow. Just that. I think I would cut off one of my own testicles to be able to write the way you do. I try and try, but nothing comes out or, at best, a stream of crap that nobody understands, least of all me.
    Sir, I take my hat off to you.

  33. Blogindus on leebe küberseks

    Tristan Priimägi vist juba jupp aega tagasi kirjutatud lugu (ilmselt nüüd siis värskendatud) “Ära ainult küsi, miks ma blogi kirjutan!!” ilmus tänase Ekspressiga kaasas olevas Areenis. Homme peaks ka veebi lisanduma. Lugedes Eesti ajaveebe tekib õige p…

  34. Duodiptych at the underground altar

    Yesterday when I reached work I announced I’d lost the will to live and left. I didn’t go home, I wandered around with my camera. And I ended up admiring the Platform for Art exhibition at Gloucester Road tube….

  35. http://dongresin.katgyrl.com/#001069

    Punk ain’t dead, it just weblogs. The Mighty Wonderchicken sums it all up perfectly….

  36. I quit partying so much with others. Like masturbation, blogging needs some good solo time every once in a while.

  37. “punk in the best way”….
    Can I put that on the marquee?
    Thanks and admiration, Chris Lydon

  38. Thank you. Back in the spring of 2001, I decided to have a little fun with Blogger myself. I decided to create my own commentary on Day by Day, itself a daily commentary on the Episcopal lectionary reading for the day. Meta? Yes. But why not? I enjoyed it.
    Recently, I began to worry that my Day by Day commentary wasn’t a “proper” blog. I don’t link to articles; with only a basic Blogger account there’s no mechanism for me to have comments, trackbacks, or an RSS feed. It’s just me, my thoughts, my scribbles, and the same two links every day. But you know what? Who’s the one telling me what’s proper? I like my blog, and plan to keep it the way it is for the time being. Thanks for the encouragement.

  39. http://randomwalks.com/flux/emptybottleorg_never_mind_the.php

    EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken. I don’t think this is worth reading, but it’s worth noting….

  40. I can’t believe I just took a shit in my bathing suit at the beach. What the fuck? I cant stand up and take it to the ocean, because I am wading in a puddle of feces at this very moment. Any change in my seating position will send my poo spilling down my legs and into view of every sunbather within 30 feet of me. There is no way I can play this off as a fart.
    It doesn’t help at all that I’ve been spun out for 3 days. I can hardly see straight! How am I possibly going to explain this to my wife when she comes back from getting chili dogs to ask me what the fuck I just did in the presence of my children? She’ll make me drop trau in front of everyone again. There it is. The family on the blanket to the right of me just asked if I could smell “that”. I gotta go
    blogging is still just glorified journalized bullshit

  41. Please….the over-analysis of blogs and blogging is getting really old. Blogs just ARE…and blogging just IS…that’s what makes them BLOGS.

  42. personal publishing as punk rock, redux…

    The amazing Anne Galloway calls this spirited rant the best story about weblogs she has ever read. That’s enough for me to take a look… I do groove on the perspective: Weblogs are a party, damn it, and sometimes they’re…

  43. A Monkey, A Chicken, A Penguin

    Sorry. I’ve not written lately. I’ve posted, but I’ve not really written. Life has been frothing a bit. Nothing horrible…

  44. Got your invite?

    Now, anyone that goes by the monicker of “Stavros the Wonderchicken” is bound to be entertaining on some level. As…

  45. Ridiculous. That anyone participating in the middle-class circle jerk that is Metafilter should compare their nerdish activities to punk is just so affected. Go home to mommy, whiteboy.

  46. Explode or Die part II

    A while back I wrote, in response to what I considered a misguided attempt to define the danish blogging scene,…

  47. Punk.edu

    Y’know, this is absolutely marvelous.

  48. YES! *orgasm* *orgasm* *orgasm* 😀

  49. Sheer fucking genius

    Weblogging just got its Lester Bangs. EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken It is the rising current of feeling that weblogs aren’t a party (or aren’t journalism, or aren’t a floor wax, or aren’t a dessert topping), that…

  50. Anne Galloway Celebrates

    The Wonderchicken! And T. Chicken, he says: Although its public face may suck pretty bad for a while, and you may need to dig a bit deeper to find its soul, there will always be those in the Fields of

  51. Ah, yes, Burnsie – that’s the ‘tude, son! Well done. Of course, I made the point in my essay that punk was, and still is, the domain of spoiled white boys rebelling against their whitebread and mayonnaise upbringings, for the most part. So, you know, with all possible respect and kindness : fuck off, you silly bastard.
    And Mike, you may not care to think about stuff. It’s hard. Makes head hurt. Big head hurt much. I understand, boopsie.
    Me, I prefer thinking. You don’t like it, you don’t have to read it, amigo.

  52. Holy crap. Punk was already dead by ’82 when you discovered it. Sid had been dead for four years, and they were already running ads for the Subaru Impreza (“it’s like punk rock”) on TV. But I’ll accept your point of view, blogging is now like the johnny-rotten-come-latelys that missed the party and spent their wasted youth trying to recapture the greatness of the PRIOR generation. Too bad ya missed it, it was some good times.

  53. Well, Charles, Sid was indeed dead, but if you think Sid Vicious was the apotheosis of the whole thing, well, fair enough.
    I’m not interested in debating rock history though. I said in the piece “I’m not suggesting that weblogs should literally be punkrock, right? OK? Geddit? I’m just talkin’ here.”
    It’s amazing to me how people read what they will, regardless of what’s said. Ah well.
    I didn’t miss anything, Charles. The scene, punk and post-punk, was alive and well throughout the early and mid-80’s in Vancouver, and the spirit counted more than the details of fashion and the small-minded purists who pointed and said ‘poser,’ counted more than those pinched, parsimonious losers who closed off community rather than encouraged it, like you do in your post above, people who talked like Dave Winer did in the comment I quoted from him in my essay. That was the point, or one of them — how deliberate limitation-imposing and spankmonkey tribalism is pissing in the pool — but it clearly sailed well over your head.
    You have no idea what I missed and what I didn’t miss, Charles, but based on your attitude, I have a pretty damn clear idea what you missed.

  54. Best weblog definition so far

    I had a very earnest proto-journalist from the school paper come and interview me about weblogs today. Naturally, she asked…

  55. Righteous barbaric yawp, my dyood. Wonderchicken vs. Shirky the Turkey! Being on my 5th decade myself, I have to say that what sticks with me from my punker youth is the amazing discovery that you didn’t have to play the instrument with professional finesse to be able to make it up onto the bandstand, and that you didn’t have to play the Hollywood Bowl to get in on the experience of feeding back abusively into a stack of Marshalls. The idea that the blogosphere ought to simply reproduce the market economics of publishing is such a big missing of the point. A culture industry is not a culture.

  56. some-a you warts are really pissing me off here with your less than apt reading comprehension skills and lame comments.
    Okay. Let me help you. Please write 500 times one of the following below (just pick the one that best fits you):
    1) I will shut the hell up when I have no idea what I’m talking about.
    2) The next time a two-syllable word is too hard for me to read, I will push my mother off my groin and ask her what it says.
    3) I will not come here and piss on the best post of the year ever, ever again.

  57. This IS a party!

    EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken Yeah – go baby go!…

  58. Stavros sums it up

    EmptyBottle.org: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower sums up, in brevity, wot the hell the ol’ canuck was yammering aboot the other day. If you didn’t take the time to read the whole thing (and you should, it was a doozy, and I was …

  59. Jeneane, thank you for that great comment — you expressed exactly what I was feeling. Stavros, this is a terrific essay and, as Jeneane points out, the one or two nay-“all is lost” critics in this comments thread are missing the point. I haven’t jumped into the discussion, but blogalvillager’s attempt to apply the “culture industry” critique here is so off the mark that I had to comment. Dear Blogalvillager: Stavros’s aim is to resist the cooptation inherent in culture industry. Ok? Maybe you don’t like or agree with how he’s doing it, but don’t accuse him of being part of it. We’ve been down that road, and it leads nowhere. That’s the famous APORIA (i.e., dead-end) that Adorno himself wrote about. You’re getting dangerously close to the kind of totalisation which can let repression thrive because all venues of action seem cut off, dead-ended. I think that instead it’s really important to *differentiate*. You have to be able to see that there’s a difference between the corporation and the individual living under corporate rule — no matter how slight — otherwise you may as well just shoot yourself. And there’s no point in reifying Adorno or the Frankfurt School or their critique of culture industry. If you do, you might get shiny knees praying to the dialectic, but you’ll also let the other side win. There is no heaven for hold-outs. Life is here. One on one, regardless of all the goddamned filters that “culture industry” does indeed to put on our experience of the world. It’s still a world, though.

  60. Blogger – Be a Punk Rocker! Not a Sell-out…

    Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken [via Classy, provider of golden links]…

  61. You’re missing the point. Sid had been dead for YEARS. Punk wasn’t like hippie communes full of solidarity for the masses like you describe, it was us guys who were rejected by everyone and in return, rejected everything. We were together only because nobody else would have us. And now you want to turn it into some romantic notion about your idyllic past in Vancouver. Gimme a break.

  62. Maybe no one else would have you, Charles (and I can see why, perhaps, based on your attitude here)…but simply because your experience was unlike the one I describe doesn’t mean that mine didn’t happen.
    Once again, Charles, buddy, you’re the one who’s still missing the point, though.
    Here : for you, and for those who are having the same sort of trouble digging the points out of my big ol’ dog-chokin’ mess of words, I’ve distilled it down to a short list.

  63. And thank you to Yule and Jeneane for jumping into the (mild) fray, BTW.
    That was beautifully and cogently said, Yule, but I didn’t think the blogalvillager was accusing me of being complicit in co-optation, though, was (s)he? I can be a bit of a thicko, at times, I admit…

  64. This is off our first record, most people don’t own it

    Well my Fractal Blogosphere concept seemed to generate some interest this week.

  65. Beautiful. True. Powerful.
    yeesh, just plain good stuff. thanks!

  66. Blogging and punk

    Here is an exuberant and already much-linked-to post about the punk rock of blogging. Punk can also be about Wittgenstein. Don’t get me wrong – housewives can be punk, and librarians, priests and, crikey, even known homosexuals can be punk!…

  67. Oops, you’re right, Stavros — I was blinded by what some of the other comments raised and misunderstood Blogalvillager’s lingo in the opening sentence. Sorry, Blogalvillager — put it down to a generation and media divide (although we’re in the same decade chronologically ;-)– “Righteous barbaric yawp, my dyood” sounded (in the speed of the moment) like a crit, not a praise in my cursory reading, and I let it colour my interpretation of the rest. My bad! — which is another phrase I don’t understand, but one of my nieces (who is 30) assures me it’s something like, “sorry.” I always thought the expression was hers alone and that its paradoxical sound (to my ears) had something to do with the fact that she’s Japanese, but I guess it’s just getting harder to teach me new slang! 😉
    I stand by the rest of my comment above, of course. Constant vigilance (Madeye Moody??) and criticism, yes, but no more aporias.

  68. I still think masturbation, like blogging needs some solo time. Hey, wait. I reversed my foundation.
    Damn. Seems I have other issues going on.
    Someone email Winer and ask him if he thinks blogging and masturbation need solo time.
    (If no one gets this post it is because you don’t masturbate. You also are a liar. That means you don’t blog.)

  69. Think of the Maneaters

    Actually, the reason why the above were unlisted is that they defy easy classification.

  70. Think of the Maneaters

    Actually, the reason why the above were unlisted is that they defy easy classification.

  71. Sometimes all you can say is wow

    Reading this, courtesy of Biz Stone – it’s long and seems to drag on at times but there is a powerful message inside it. EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken…

  72. What starts to worry me as of late is the general rise of metablogging, as if with the increasing number of bloggers there requires a requisite increase in bureaucratic communication, of examining and talking about the phenomenon as opposed to actually blogging. This only worries me because it seems to muddy the waters so to speak, taking the focus on the core of what makes blogging unique and powerful.
    What exactly is blogging then? I’d say it’s the introduction of memes, ideas, analysis of events, introspection, divulgence of the self’s secrets, basically a pure brain core dump for each and every individual blogger out there. What’s surprising to me is how vast this creative outpour is becoming, in terms of blogs, even in the physical size of the data being created every day by an army of bloggers. Is any of this important? I believe so, and I know that every blogger out there believes so as well or they wouldn’t commit to themselves the time and energy it takes to contribute. Herein lies the frustration I believe, because the rest of the world does not read, does not partake, in fact seemingly has no interest in this new paradigm of social complexity. It’s maddening to say the least.
    I think it has to do with the fact that blogging is a very decentralized activity whereas we’re programmed to tend towards centralization. It’s almost like a clash between two ideologies so fundamental to the roots of human behaviour that we don’t see it or even think about, we just know that there exists this rift and it can’t be expressed. I think so at any rate.
    Anyways, there I’ve added a little bit more information pollution to the world with this little unfocused, probably useless rant. Despair and ectasy go hand in hand.

  73. the rest of the world does not read, does not partake, in fact seemingly has no interest in this new paradigm of social complexity. It’s maddening to say the least.
    Nah, it’s all good.

  74. oh, you know i love you wonderchicken. you know ruzz loves you and your clever writing.
    still, the post was tasty whip cream on an empty plate.
    sorry man.

  75. Read this.

    Any attempt at an introduction or pullquote wouldn’t do this justice, so just go read it.

  76. Nah, it’s all good.
    That makes me think you wish to keep this little treasure trove of insight away from the general masses. Either that or you think that it’s inevitable and there’s no point in worrying over how much time it takes. Or I’m over analyzing. It’s all good though because I’m certifiably Insane.

  77. Never mind the weblogs

    More party than publication. EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken Turn it up!…

  78. why we fight blog

    EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken: “Punk (with a large P for marketing –ed) got co-opted and marketed…

  79. Very Well Written Piece About Blogging

    Found this over at . Michael always finds great stuff. I am passing it on as it should be read by as many bloggers as possible. An excellently written piece on what weblogs are, what they are not, and why

  80. Honestly, Chef, and ruzz too : I mostly just write this stuff for myself. If anyone else takes anything away from it, that’s fine and good and makes me happy. If not, well, that’s just dandy, too.

  81. i like that. you know i dig ya and maybe some of my aggression came from all the talk about the post more than the post itself..
    nonetheless, even when i don’t agree with your posts i still hope you keep on writing them 🙂

  82. What Blogs Are

    EmptyBottle has a great (long) rant on not so much what blogs are, but what they aren’t. Go read the very creatively titled Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken….

  83. http://www.ataxia.net/archive/000113.html

    I have a new hero. The second trackback sums it up… “Entry spins out of control and strikes telephone pole. There were no survivors.” I have a lot of thoughts on this issue — particularly given the comparisons made by The Wonderchicken between weblo…

  84. Comments are closed now. Thanks for playing along. And Fozzie Bear? You can kiss my shiny metal ass.

  85. Blogging, Punk, and Militant DIY

    I’m frantically busy planning a course and finishing off some outstanding articles, all without my sexy home PC which has some fried hardware and is in the shop, so I haven’t had much time online lately. Nevertheless: From the pistols-esque Never Mind …

  86. rockin rhetoric

    Thanks to wood s lot I caught up with the inspiring blog credo at empty bottle and a reply by Joseph Duemer on the emerging rhetoric of the weblog as a genre and the call to anarchy. It is the…

  87. Never Mind The Bollocks

    Last week, Stavros the wonderchicken wrote one of the best posts about weblogs I’ve read in quite a while .

  88. Do It [i]Your[/i] Way!

    A subject that seems to come up regularly in the blogosphere is what blogging actually is. An excellent post on the subject is Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The

  89. Do It [i]Your[/i] Way!

    A subject that seems to come up regularly in the blogosphere is what blogging actually is. An excellent post on the subject is Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The

  90. Whisky Bar Does Davos

    In my opinion Billmon of Whisky Bar nails it: I suppose the key question is whether the technology of the Internet will be enough to keep the blogs from going the way of the ’60s counterculture. Rock bands and radical…

  91. Generational Entropy

    The following is in response to the Stavros the Wonderchicken’s excellent article, “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Wonderchicken.”
    It occurs to me that entropy applies to human culture in the very weirdest way (and, I suppose, how else could …

  92. Reading

    Many things to read these days in maths. Many other things to read elsewhere as well. The Guardian on the advent of the Mac, covering both the glorious past…

  93. Another essay.

    Yet another essay link, this time to “Nevermind the Bollocks: Here’s the Wonder Chicken”. Awesome title aside, this is one of the best blog-centric papers I’ve ever read. Go read this. If I didn’t have a blog, this would motivate…

  94. Fuzziness

    What thread, what quality to the flow of electrons, joins such distinctions?

  95. Fuzziness

    What thread, what quality to the flow of electrons, joins such distinctions?

  96. Punk as blog

    I’m a little late linking to the party, but check out this great essay…

  97. Articles I didn’t fall asleep to while reading.

    I have a large number of open pages on my browser all of which I think I intended to write about, I will fall back to the sufficient of simply mentioning them now that they are two or three weeks old – kicking it Robot Wisdom style.

  98. 20040206 // Link Dump

    Link Dump // 2004.02.06

  99. Blog Track Rock Back?

    Just been reading a very interesting article at Emptybottle.org. A bunch of the stuff makes a lot of sense and got me thinking about a post in a similar direction. Then I realised that without as much experience as this…

  100. Fanboy

    Bob Mould liked what I had to say about weblogs and punk rock. My life-as-web-scribbler is pretty much complete, now. [/fanboy]…

  101. Fanboy

    Bob Mould liked what I had to say about weblogs and punk rock. My life-as-web-scribbler is pretty much complete, now. [/fanboy]…

  102. Reflective Reflections: Weblogs and RSS

    Learner Group: Any Group Size:

  103. 25,483 razones para tener un weblog

    No suelo citar ni enlazar páginas en inglés en este sitio —bastante es con que el resto de betobeto.com esté en ese idioma y haya incluso un espacio apropiado para ello. Sin embargo, en vista del artículo "5 razon…

  104. 4 años

    Cuando empecé a bloggear hace cuatro años nunca imaginé encontrarme aquí escribiendo esto, ni que los weblogs se convertirían en algo importante en el web o en mi vida, que tendría un lugar donde pueda expresarme y que algunas otras personas lo encuent…

  105. No 2003 Medley Medals

    As regular readers may have guessed, there will be no Medley Medals for this year.

  106. No 2003 Medley Medals

    As regular readers may have guessed, there will be no Medley Medals for this past

  107. emearGnc!

    This is an emearGnc.

  108. Apparently, I need a slap in the head

    What the hell was that for? Because my other blog is purely about business?Never mind that it really IS what I feel passionate about, and that I really AM just one guy expressing himself, that’s apparently not good enough. Seems inconsistent with t…

  109. Kankei: relationship or connection

    Contrary to expectation, drastically reducing my consumption of alcohol triggered a corresponding decline in my weblog output: my previous post was a couple of months …


    The heart of things has been silent since the end of last year and Glosses.net has been hibernating since October, but I’m pleased to report that both Jonathon and Renee have chosen the bissextile day to return to the fray….


    The heart of things has been silent since the end of last year and Glosses.net has been hibernating since October, but I’m pleased to report that both Jonathon and Renee have chosen the bissextile day to return to the fray….

  112. Slumming with the Likes of You

    Posted by The Happy Tutor Wonderful piece of writing by Jonathon Delacour on weblogs, loss, life,

  113. Echo chamber

    One problem I find with “so many” people writing weblogs is that I find, after I’ve posted something, that any number of other people have covered it much better than I did. Through Halley Suitt I found Jonathon Delacour’s discussion…

  114. Party on, dude!

    I know I should get out of my cozy blog neighborhood more often, so it was only this morning that I came across this post from January by Stavros The Wonderchicken. The post is too long to reprint, but here

  115. South Park Agonistes.

    “Conservative Punk Rockers?” I said, befuddled. “Well shit, Toby. It must really just be all about the clothes and the belts at this point, huh. I mean, if some kid can listen to a top ten pop song that sounds…

  116. The People vs. The Technology… Why I hate listservs continued

    10RW has been quiet of late and that’s a shame…

  117. IWP Week 10 – Building the Learning Community – Part 1

    For the next two weeks we’ll continue our regularly scheduled blogging activities, with a particular focus on building a Personal Learning Community (PLC) by using RSS and aggregators to tap into and organize relevant feeds of news and information, as wel

  118. Readings

    Cool. My ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ piece from a while back is apparently amongst the readings for a course given by the East Asia Centre in Kyoto. Greetings, studentfolk – pay no attention to all the cursing!…

  119. Readings

    Cool. My ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ piece from a while back is apparently amongst the readings for a course given by the East Asia Centre in Kyoto. Greetings, studentfolk – pay no attention to all the cursing!…

  120. Brain Dump

    There are a number of things that have been piling up in the “Blog This Now!” folder in my dock, so I thought I’d drop them all here. How To Debate Creationists Without Being Boring. Darwin speaks to me in…

  121. This is off our first record, most people don’t own it

    Well my Fractal Blogosphere concept seemed to generate some interest this week. I think it’s the first article I’ve done that got picked up by the populace without the support of an A-Lister. By that I mean, it got linked to…

  122. Brain Dump

    There are a number of things that have been piling up in the “Blog This Now!” folder in my dock, so I thought I’d drop them all here. How To Debate Creationists Without Being Boring. Darwin speaks to me in…

  123. When media worlds collide: Comparing weblogs and discussion boards

    What Are the Differences Between Message Boards and Weblogs?::There seems to be a lot of discussion around this post, at least in the Knowledge-Management-Social-Software-Markets-Are-Conversations sphere. I appreciate the analysis, and I think that Lee…

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