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.