I’m enormously gratified that I’ve received (and continue to receive) so many responses — ranging from ‘you rock’ to ‘you suck’, more or less, but primarily on the rock side of things — to my post the other day. I’m happy that so many people are taking away so many different things from it. That tells me it had some depth, maybe (or that it was just a sprawling mess, which might also be true). But when so many old blog-friends and new faces besides tell me that my writing inspired them, and when folks like Tom Coates, for whom I have nothing but fanboy-esque respect, calls my piece ‘the 2004 state of the weblog nation’, and Christopher Lydon shows up in the comments thread, too, well, it makes me go all woobly. In a good way.

Still, I find that the points I was trying to make are, by some, at least, being misinterpreted, and this pisses me off a bit. I blame myself entirely, of course, because if I’d written more clearly, perhaps that might not have happened. That’s Life, sang Joey Shithead, amusingly, as DOA was beginning its mid-80’s nosedive into irrelevance.

So, anyway, here’s the executive summary, for those who are following along at home :

1. Weblogs are anything you want them to be. A party and a publication, an orgy or an oration. Whatever. Those who would tell you what they are not can take a flying f–k at a rolling doughnut.
2. My neighbourhood of blog-friends feels more and more tenuously connected as time goes by, and I wanted to explain that to myself.
3. Weblogging reminds me of punk rock. It is not the same as punk rock. ‘Punk’ is my shorthand for an attitude towards creation and self-invention and taking no bullsh-t. The connection between the two might exist for me only. Your mileage will probably vary.
4. You don’t need to write well or design well to join the band, just some divine or diabolical inspiration, some energy, and something to say. If you have a gift, people will recognize it.
5. Corporatization and co-optation are inevitable, but they cannot kill the spirit. They may drive it underground, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
6. If you are one of those who want to drag weblogs into respectability and stodginess, that’s just fine. I might even throw in with you, sometimes, if I feel like it. There’s no such thing as ‘selling out’ (but there is such a thing as being irredeemably lame). See also, #1.
7. Beer is good. Very very good. I like it.

Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. 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 …

  2. Boxing clever

    EmptyBottle double-distills his essence of blog from a tun to a shot. And I had temporarily forgotten, yesterday, another illuminating category contemplation which I’d meant to link to alongside the wonderchicken. It’s The Problem of Categories at this…

  3. Guinness is good; real ale is good, Asahi is not bad; Cascade Premium Light after a couple of hours concreting in hot weather is fucking magnificent.
    But the too-cold, too-fizzy, too-sweet mass-produced horse piss that passes for beer here in Aus is not good.
    And I cannot countenance the thought of life without red wine, transcended though it may be by the smell and taste of Laphroaigh in a darkened room late at night.

  4. I’m stuck with Korean beer. Weep for me, friend, weep for me.

  5. Korean beer, no doubt, is infinitely preferable to no beer.
    Augmented surely by the odd bottle of single malt.

  6. Nice job, HST Jr. I haven’t been by in a while, and when I do I find you have covered yourself in some well deserved glory (as opposed to the usual stuff). Well done, and illegitimi non carborundum.

  7. Thanks, Geodog. I had to delete your ping, by the way – it was breaking my template (my fault for not dealing with long long unbroken strings inside the div (your ‘excerpt’ was the URL for the essay)) and I’m on the run and didn’t have time to fiddle with the HTML.
    Also, Andrew, you’re right. Very right. Although I haven’t had a decent sip of the uisgebagh since Jan 2003, when I was back in Canada for a memorial service, it’s not for lack of love of the stuff.

  8. 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

  9. I enjoyed your Howard Beale-esque rant, but I wish you hadn’t trotted out David Eggers’ cheesy “don’t be a book critic unless you’ve written a book” rant.
    That an author of such talent would resort to “those who can’t, criticize” is deeply disappointing. Critics serve a purpose; you don’t have to know how to make an omelette to know when you’ve eaten a bad one.
    I can’t believe Eggers really wants a world in which logrolling is hunky-dory but sharp criticism is frowned upon unless the critic has produced work in that field herself.
    It’s a thoroughly idiotic notion. Would he really dismiss the judgment of a critic like Stuart Klawans, a great film reviewer for The Nation, because there’s not a single film credit to his name in IMDB?

  10. Thanks, Rogers. But like I said at Metafilter, the key part of the passage from him that I quoted, and which I wanted to quote without leaving bits out, was probably this, at least in terms of my essay:
    “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.”
    I don’t think that bit is wrong at all.
    The fact that he also said the stuff he did about not criticizing X unless you’ve done X — I think there’s even some truth to be found in there (at least in relation to my musing in the limited domain of my ideas about the overlapping natures of weblogging and the Punk Thing) but that he didn’t say it well at all.
    “Critics serve a purpose; you don’t have to know how to make an omelette to know when you’ve eaten a bad one.”
    Oddly, that would indicate to me that there really isn’t much of a need for critics (or at least as many as there are), rather than the reverse…
    That said, your point is taken, and I agree, with qualifications, but Eggers’ hyperbole on that specific matter wasn’t really central to what I was trying to say, I don’t think.

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