When you’re a secret redneck like me, an only-partially reformed small-town Norther BC boy, and you’ve got 10 or 11 beers in you, it becomes clear that “Can’t You See?” from the Marshall Tucker Band is one of the greatest songs ever written.
Then again, the next random-shuffle Winamp playlist entry started just as I was hunt-and-pecking that out, and now I’m gonna have to vote for “I’m Right You’re Wrong” by Vancouver stalwarts DOA as the pinnacle of (punk) Rock And Roll Bliss. Songs of my youth…

i’m right, you’re wrong – and we both know it.
i’m right, you’re wrong – and it’s no secret.
i’m right, you’re wrong – but you got the power.
what do ya mean – when ya stare at me?
you think we’re nothing – but things will change.
we may be crazy – but we’re not insane.
i’m right, you’re wrong – but you got the power.
i’m right, you’re wrong – and we all know it.
i’m right, you’re wrong – so let’s break it.
you’re gonna fall – you set yourself up.
you can’t stall – it’s crumbling down.
out of the way – it’s been standing too long.
i’m right, you’re wrong – but you got the power.
i’m right you’re wrong – and we all know it.
i’m right, you’re wrong – so we’ll have to break it.
i’m right, you’re wrong – but you got the power.
i’m right, you’re wrong and we all know it.
i’m right, you’re wrong – so we’ll have to take it.

Best Asian Weblog? Hooo-hah. f–k that noise.
Edit : Another beer, and I changed my mind again. This! Is! The! Best!
Tom Waits – Heart Of Saturday Night

Well you gassed her up
Behind the wheel
With your arm around your sweet one
In your Oldsmobile
Barrelin’ down the boulevard
You’re looking for the heart of Saturday night
And you got paid on Friday
And your pockets are jinglin’
And you see the lights
You get all tinglin’ cause you’re cruisin’ with a 6
And you’re looking for the heart of Saturday night
Then you comb your hair
Shave your face
Tryin’ to wipe out ev’ry trace
All the other days
In the week you know that this’ll be the Saturday
You’re reachin’ your peak
Stoppin’ on the red
You’re goin’ on the green
Cause tonight’ll be like nothin’
You’ve ever seen
And you’re barrelin’ down the boulevard
Lookin’ for the heart of Saturday night
Tell me is the crack of the poolballs, neon buzzin?
Telephone’s ringin’; it’s your second cousin
Is it the barmaid that’s smilin’ from the corner of her eye?
Magic of the melancholy tear in your eye.
Makes it kind of quiver down in the core
Cause you’re dreamin’ of them Saturdays that came before
And now you’re stumblin’
You’re stumblin’ onto the heart of Saturday night
Well you gassed her up
And you’re behind the wheel
With your arm around your sweet one
In your Oldsmobile
Barrellin’ down the boulevard,
You’re lookin’ for the heart of Saturday night
Is the crack of the poolballs, neon buzzin?
Telephone’s ringin’; it’s your second cousin
And the barmaid is smilin’ from the corner of her eye
Magic of the melancholy tear in your eye.
Makes it kind of special down in the core
And you’re dreamin’ of them Saturdays that came before
It’s found you stumblin’
Stumblin’ onto the heart of Saturday night
And you’re stumblin’
Stumblin onto the heart of Saturday night

A-list Ruminations

Steve has some interesting thoughts, and beautifully-expressed, about some metabloggy issues that have been on my mind lately as well. Go, read.

“I absolutely think that the blogosphere reproduces the mechanisms of reward and reprisal that we see in the offline world. Like rewards like, as I said. But not absolutely: I think there are more potential routes to ‘success’ as we define it in this unspace than there are in that other space; we may yet fall victim to offline patterns but we are also more able, I think, to reject them and work toward new patterns. I hope so, anyway.”

The Floggies

Ed takes the piss.
[this is good]

“On Thursday, January 16, a panel of 50 prerigged voters received an e-mail. It listed the weblogs that the Weblog Conspiracists wanted you to link to. They had only 45 seconds, time measured on the Gregorian Calendar, to privately give us five favorite weblogs that they had never read, but that they had linked to (six for Weblog of the Year, twice removed) for each category. The five (or six of two possibilities, for Weblog of the Year) receiving the most votes, the ones that managed to link to Jason Kottke, became finalists. I (Nikolai Nolan, Head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.), having long since lost track of the intricate rules, attempted to conduct this elaborate ceremony on my spare time. That was when I began receiving the hate mails. It wasn’t by accident that I had set up the Floggies Headquarters in a giant volcano and began stroking my cat on a regular basis.”

Masks and Mirrors

This is going to be one of those posts that starts : “So, I….”
I usually hate those kinds of posts.
So, I get an EGR send in my inbox today. Rageboy – or Locke, or whichever mask he was wearing when he hit ‘send’ or ‘go’ or ‘cry havoc’ or whatever the button said (assuming that both personas are masks, to one degree or another, and assuming that it was an actual button he pressed) – included a couple of quotes in the header, and I got as far as

“Sentimentality is a superstructure covering brutality.”
– Carl Gustav Jung

before I got distracted, as seems to happen so often to me. All that youthful experimentation has left me with an attention span that is somewhat unreliable, I’m sad to report. Don’t worry your pretty heads, though, dear readers : I make do.
So, this Jung quote (I did read a lot of Jung when I was young – har!) is one that I’ve never run across before, oddly, unless of course I did run across it, but forgot about it because I was in the middle of one of those youthful experimentation sessions I mentioned above. My memory has a few holes in it too, unfortunately. Again, though, I make do.
It resonated in the echo chamber behind my nose and I was keen to see what had been said, and when, and by who. It seemed to apply to something I’ve been turning over in my mind lately : one thing that a filthy foreigner in Korea who spends any time watching his hosts will learn quickly is how inspidly sentimental these folks can be. I loathe sentimentality, but I’m keen to understand more about it, ’cause, you know, I’m such a groovy guy. The other bit of data is the fact that Korean soldiers, in the Vietnam War and elsewhere, were universally feared for their ‘casual brutality’.
So, off to Google. Shiver me timbers, boy wonder, who should be at the pole position for this interesting phrase, gunning his virtual engines, but the excellent Jonathon Delacour!
He was talking about warbloggers in his post, which interested me not at all at that moment – “We’re on a mission from God, ma’am.” – but he does quote the equally splendid Joseph Duemer :

Sentimentality is the substitution of emotion for intelligence; sentimentality requires of the reader assent to heightened feelings not legitimated by the matter at hand; sentimentality seeks to manipulate the reader’s emotional response by calls to conventional wisdom or attitudes; sentimentality seeks approval by reference to the vast warm blanket of majority opinion; sentimentality never, ever risks the disapproval of any member of its intended audience.

Now this sounds like the kinda dirt I’m trying to dig up, here, tonight. This sounds like words I can get behind, and apply to something that at least has the odor of insightfulness.
But then, I notice this in the comments :

At least part of the problem here is that Duemer’s, and Jung’s, definition of “sentimental” is contrary to the definition held by 99% of Americans.
“Sentimental” has positive connotations, not negative ones. We associate it with things we know are not necessarily true but things we would love to believe.
Things like Santa Claus, things like joyous Thanksgiving reunions with loved ones, even if we only love them at a distance, are considered “sentimental.” Even when we consciously know these things are not entirely true, we would like to believe them and see nothing wrong in believing in them.
Kitsch at least comes closer to the meaning Duemer is assigning to “sentimentality” because it has somewhat negative connotations for most, though certainly not all, people.
People are going to resist transforming a word they have positive connotations with into a negative idea, even if they might otherwise be convinced that the argument itself is sound.

and I wonder if that’s true. Does sentimentality have a positive connotation for most Americans? And how about for Koreans? And am I unusual in hating it so?
Back to Google I went, feeling the need to dig some more, and came up dry. Serried ranks of quotable quote pages, with no commentary to sink my nose into, truffle-hunting webpig that I am.
Then I tried a bit of wiggling with my search terms a bit, and found this :

In his overview, [Dr. Luke Kim, whom many regard as the godfather of Korean American psychiatry says] Koreans regard cheong (he spells jeong) as “one of the most important ingredients that would make [Korean] lives enriching and meaningful.” He agrees there is [no] equivalent English word that translates the meaning exactly.
“However,” he says, “Jeong itself embraces all the meanings to such words as feeling, empathy, sympathy, compassion, emotional attachment, trust, pathos, tenderness, affinity, sentiment and even love.
“If I were to choose one English word among these, I would choose the word empathy.”
Kim observes that Chinese, Japanese and Koreans all share the general concept of jeong with a somewhat different emphasis in its concept.
“For example,” he observes, “Koreans tend to stress the aspect of emotional attachment and bond, while Chinese emphasize the aspect of loyalty and reciprocity.
“The Japanese equivalent word – Jyo -tends to emphasize sentimentality.” Jyo-ni-moroi means one is weak and vulnerable with sentimentality.
Jeong among Koreans denotes a special interpersonal affective bond: a trust and closeness between two individuals. That’s why, Kim believes, Koreans attach great importance to the presence or absence of jeong in their relationships with a person such as mother-child (mo-jeong), two lovers (ae-jeong), or two friends (woo-jeong).

This set me back for a minute or two, and led me to remembering my wife’s stated reason for sticking with me, when asked why she had a couple of years ago, despite her parents threatening to disown her, in the face of her friends’ avowals that she was nuts to shack up with a nasty foreigner, ignoring the stares we got when we walked arm in arm down a Korean street. She said that she remembered me saying one night not long after we first got together something along the lines of :
Love is love is love. Mother for child, friend for friend, lover for beloved. It’s all one, even if it is different in the ways that it is shown and shared.
That simpleminded belief of mine dovetails micron-close with this ‘jeong’ idea, doesn’t it? Not that I had the faintest idea at the time that such a belief existed and was so important to so many Koreans. It’s not particularly insightful, certainly, but it’s true, or true at least for me, and that’s more than enough. It was enough for her, too, it seems.
So. At this point I kind of ran out of steam. I lost track of what I had been thinking about when I went off searching for some background on the Jung quote (which was probably going to end up in something mean-spirited anyway) but I ended up remembering something that has made me a better man.
And Rageboy? Well, I guess I gotta thank him, for starting me wandering down that track this evening, which ended for me in a happy memory and a cuddle with my woman. And feel ‘jeong’, a bit, for the guy, because the very public road that led him to his pressing that ‘send’ button today hasn’t – at least as far as I know – as happy an end as my short road did tonight.

Big Fat Pipes

After having lived in Broadband Sibera (the land down under, where techies moan and telcos blunder), and paid extortionate prices for competely inadequate service, Korea has been a pure joy in terms of bit aquisition. Reading this, I was reminded that even porn-thirsty America is way behind the curve : US$95 for 3.5 Mbps? I get that now, for about US$20, with no download cap.
Shortly, though, I’m moving to the recently-introduced VDSL service. It comes in 10, 20, 50 Mbps speeds (and higher, I think), and the 50 Mbps pipe will cost me around $US30 a month, unmetered.
Of course, Korea’s way out ahead in terms of wireless broadband, too. There are some compensations for the hassles of living here, if you’re a geek. Sorry to gloat, but wheeee!
[in a brainfart almost completely unrelated I recall my Grizzly-Adams-esque mountain-man friend and roommate (with whom I have since lost touch, sadly), back when I lived in Whistler BC for a few years, insisting that almost anything was forgiveable while skiing (or doing anything else for that matter) except saying ‘wheeeee!’. Sorry, Brock.)

Imaginative Pastures

“At Imaginative Pastures, we’re trained to think outside the commons.”
I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds good to me! Strong, and good, and right! Make no mistake. Our mission is to stop the bad people, and protect the good American public and their strong copyright freedoms. We are strong, and good. Really really good. Strong, too.

Whiskey Is Good

I guess I should be blogging my tits off, here, proving to all those visitors from the bloggies that I’m The Hardest Working Blogger In Show Business, but f–k that noise.
I got me a bottle of cheap whiskey, it’s Friday night and I’m on the elevator gooooooin’ up. Leave me be.
All the kafuffle about this bloggie stuff makes me giggle like chrome-plated steam-powered giggling machine, though, I gotta tell ya. Go, look how worked up some people get about these silly things. [via OWhere] I don’t know who these people are, but they really need a tall cool glass of perspective and soda.
Hey, you big boneheads! If you’ve got all that energy to spare, why not try getting worked up about the bumbling corporate turd masquerading as a president, sitting in the White House, chuckling like a waterhead, and jerking off over his (laminated, crayola-bright) plans for war, instead? Or the continuing determined erosion of your rights and privacy by his wingèd minions, maybe? Or even about the fight over copyright law, which is a massive wank as well, in this wonderchicken’s opinion, but not nearly as gargantuan a waste of time as these awards. Save your vitriol for the things that merit it, kids.
And have a drink, on me.
Edit : Or if you’re not the drinking type, amuse yourself by reading this semicoherent ramble from last week, which in light of this Bloggie nomination, is Ironic As f–k (now featuring Comedy Capitalization©).
Edit again : Or : what the ever-reasonable mathowie said.


What I don’t need is another shiny thing to distract me, but this is some kinda fun, pilgrims. I know it’s been around for a bit, and the alpha is almost over, but it’s new to me, and it’s very cool, and scary addictive. Reminds me, in a good way, of IRC (to which I’ve never been that attracted), crossed with the mind-expanding, imagination-tweaking, eyestrainy old days of all night text-adventuring on my big grey TRS-80.


“Warning! These are poisonous oranges, not meant for human consumption.
– Farmer Bozbar”
Aaarrrr! It burns your tongue and your throat!
***You have died***

I really sucked at text adventures.

Holy Crap

I’ve discovered thanks to my gadgetry over on the right that I’ve been shortlisted for a Bloggie this year, in the Asian Weblogs category, along with such noble and noteable friends and neighbours as BWG, Cheesedip, Weblog Wannabe and Geisha Asobi. Last year, when I was nominated but didn’t make the cut, I threatened to perform acts of random and extreme violence on anyone who actually voted for me. Which had a certain chilling effect on my popularity, I’m guessing.
This time around I’m not sure how to react, given my recent semicoherent rantings about popularity and such. The cool kids all feign disinterest, I know. Me, I guess I’ll just sincerely thank whoever nominated me, and thank those who put me on the shortlist, and have a celebratory beer or 12.
[Jeez, now I feel like I oughta actually write something more about Asia….for those who are interested in that stuff, my musings about Life in Korea are here.]
Edit, the next morning : I guess I should make clear that even though I am pleased to be given some recognition for my fiddle-f–king around here over the past coupla years or so, I am firmly aware that popularity contests of this kind are a massive wank, and destructive to community feeling in a multitude of ways.
I do not take this seriously. What I do take seriously is the conversations among very smart and very kind people in which I’ve been allowed to take part as a result of having this weblog, the things I’ve learned, the skills I’ve honed, the friends I’ve made.
I’ll let my nomination stand, and I will gladly accept your vote, with thanks – because, goddamnit, I kick ass – but I say to you once again, with flashing eyes and floating hair, I do not for a freaking second take this seriously. If I win (which I’m pretty damn sure I won’t) it won’t be because I’m better than any of the others nominated, or better than a multitude of other creative people out there howling into the void, it’ll be because I bribed people with sexual favours I have way too much free time, and spend it on this pointless but enjoyable hobby, and have settled in for a wee drink or two with friends all over the virtual place in my time.
But it’s life that counts, and the careful stewardship of your soul, my friends, not pretty words and tricked-out css. And beer, of course. Crikey, let’s not forget about the beer.

There must be a way…

I wish there were some way that some sort of reliable device for parsing out and evaluating text could be created, one that was capable of remotely applying painful shocks to the testicles based on the results.
This device – let’s call it the Fiery Parser of Comedy Justice™, for lack of anything else that comes to mind – would deliver the scrotum-singeing amps say 7 out of 8 times that it caught someone posted an ‘amusing’ one-liner to Metafilter, just to help them be certain that they were indeed posting Comedy Gold and it was worth the risk.
(I feel comfortable in choosing the testicles, as I’m pretty certain this is a Boyzone phenomenon.)
Ideally, it would be 6 or 8 metres high, with a huge On/Off lever, be topped with buzzing Tesla coils, and throw off random crackling bolts of electricity through the darkness. A tiny almost circular 50’s-style cathode ray tube would sit at its foot, connected to the main apparatus with monster alligator clips and greasy, wrist-thick cables, casting a small, comforting, #006699 glow on the broken concrete and piles of skulls nearby.
I’m aware that this probably won’t happen. Pity.
I am also fully aware that (pot, kettle) probably 80% of my MetaSchtick for the first year I was there was rubber-chickening and merry pranksterism, but that was before it became an epidemic. The monkey house (and god bless its every byte) was created to siphon away all that stuff, but now there’s a whole new generation in the blue, this growing and seemingly unstoppable crapslide of quipsters who seem bent on being The Wackiest MeFite, and they’re beginning to give me the sh-ts.
OK, I’m done now with my little rant now. Just had to vent. Back to the (much-beloved) ‘filter I go.
Edit :

“It’s funny how the colours of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen. Now, all the time I was watching this, I was beginning to get very aware of like not feeling all that well. And this I put down to all the rich food and vitamins. But I tried to forget this, concentrating on the next film, which jumped right away on a young devotchka who was being given the old in-out, in-out first by one malchick then another, then another. When it came to the sixth or seventh malchick, leering and smecking and then going into it, I began to feel really sick. But I could not shut my glazzies. And even if i tried to move my glazz-balls about I still could not get out of the line of fire of this picture.”

Things like this, over at MeFi, are part of the reason I keep going back there, even after I have a little half-serious spaz-out like I did earlier. It may be a hoax, but if not, I am fascinated in equal measure with being repelled. It’s a strange, wonderful, horrible new world we’re building ourselves.
Another Edit : See, this MetaTalk discussion about the previously mentioned thread is a great thing too.

Scraping the Resin

Dong! Resin! Speaks!
[May not be suitable for children. Void where prohibited by law. Do not operate heavy machinery while taking dong_resin.]
I voted yes, yes it is unpatriotic to protest against killing, just ’cause I like to play the irredeemable asshole. Apparently about a thousand other wacky funsters had voted the same way. Oh those effervescent yanks, full of happy hijinks. God bless ’em, eh?
When I actually tried to leave a comment about how patently undemocratic (if predictable) the very implications of posing a question like that were, I got this :

CDO.Message.1 error ‘80070005’
Access is denied.
/m/inc/, line 433

That’s about right.

[excised strip-bar reference]

Steve and Alex have revealed their novels-in-progress, and I know some other friends and neighbours are girding their loins to do the same.
I’m just drunk enough at the moment to be tempted to open the kimono too on the humble beginnings of my thus-far-unrevealed (except to a few blogly amigos) semifictional tale of the vida loca del pollo magnifico, but it’d be deeply embarrassing if it sucked, so perhaps I’ll just wait a while on that….
I’m still trying to figure out if I stole the cheeseriffic title, which has been circulating in my brain since the early 90’s – The Night Smells Like A Dog – from the Beatles of Surrey, No Fun, or if they stole it from me.

You scratch mine, I'll scratch yours

Recently, Burningbird, who’s been having some major stresses in her life and thus can be forgiven for being a bit cranky, had this to say about blogrolling and linkloving, and the whorespiders like Daypop and its ilk :

It’s about links and popularity and one upping each other, and posting and running around seeing who links to us and checking our ranks. How many of you check your popularity in the morning before you read your so-called ‘favorite’ weblogs? There’s no ethics or honor, friendship, pathos or beauty in the hypertext link; it just is. But we use it as a judgement of worth, and that’s the saddest thing I’ve seen since high school. And I quit high school.

After being a smartass :

I will not rest in my endless search for *more and MORE* recognition and pointless linkage, until I am Supreme Blog Overlord, and can direct the meaningless lives of all the little net people I stepped on in my egocentric rush to the top!

I actually started to think about it, again, and why I…well, if not disagree precisely, see things a little differently. Part of the reason it was on my mind this morning was that the night before, I’d made a post here, linking to the PBS show on blogging (starring OW™ and Anil Dash and others), with the sole comment being ‘Oh, f–k off.’ (There was also some goofy sh-t about Orson Welles eating your soul, but that’s not germane at the moment.)
I deleted that post almost immediately – there goes my blogging verité credibility – but my unthinking nasty response, seemingly at odds with what I believe about the no-impact socialization implicit in what we do with links, continues to disturb me a bit. I’m happy for Anil and Oliver, although I think they are two very different kinds of blogistanis, in many ways, which was perhaps the point, in part.
I’m not attempting to characterize either of them, here. I’m just following my somewhat muddled thoughts where they take me.
Where they take me first is on a bit of a tangent : there are those with ‘personal web sites’ or journals or blogs who pay little to no attention to what others are doing or saying. There are those too who whore themselves – who use links exclusively to curry favour, or elusive popularity, or the strangely compelling ghostly yardstick of blogly self-worth that is measured in hits. There are bloggers – a lot of them – who seem to do give recognition to others primarily – or exclusively – to increase their ‘juice,’ and spend most of their time trying to attract that sort of attention from others.
I mean, most of us do a bit of that sometimes, probably, and sit somewhere on the fence. But the true ‘look at me! look at me!’ folks – amusing and enjoyable as their antics may be – are the ones who spoil the game, because when some people start to think they can win a game that in its very nature is designed not to have winners, it starts to poison interaction. It’s just like Real Life™, ain’t it? Having a drink with a group of folks, one (or worse, two) of whom will not stop jumping up and down and pulling faces, or steering the conversation inexorably back to themselves – that just ain’t no fun, and it kills the joy of socializing.
I guess that it’s this kind of behaviour that set BB off. It’s this kind of behaviour that makes me want to withdraw from the whole game, too, sometimes. But I don’t. ‘Cause there will always be folks who are more into self-aggrandizement than conversation, and folks who are more into grandstanding than socializing, and you have to choose to get with ’em, or ignore ’em. Hell, get a few drinks into me, and I can be one of them myself. But one can choose to ignore the siren call, and the bleating of the self-nominated popularity contest participants, and get on with the hardcore relaxation, and the slow to and fro of languid conversation.
I think my kneejerk reaction to the PBS thing was somehow spawned both out of my utter contempt for the Old Media and my feelings about blogging and bloggers in general : that we’re people who are sure that we have something to say, whether or not anyone else thinks so too, and damnit, we’re going to say it, and self-promote so that as many people as possible are going to hear it. If that’s one of the core motivators for all of this for many people, it’s only natural, annoying as it may be sometimes, that there is going to be a subset that push the envelope, and cross the line into Human Brands. And I have always been resentful of people who are recognized for jumping up and down and shouting ‘look at me!’. I’m not accusing Oliver or Anil of doing this, I hasten to add. I’m just thinking this through, aloud.
Despite this, I do still think the blogosphere is a meritocracy. Merit is most assuredly not measured in hitcounts or rankings. It’s pretty clear that hitcounts and blogrankings are a factor of how good a self-promoter you are, how much juice your virtual neighbours have, and only in small part how much merit can be found in your actual creative output. There are bowel-looseningly good writers out there who get little to no traffic, and there are determinedly mediocre ones who are inundated in visitors. This, we all know. Life ain’t fair. But merit in this place (an old discussion about what kind of place it is comes to mind), one way or another, whether it’s quality of ideas or writing or simply the honest goodness of the person behind the words shining through, well, it seems to me that that’s recognized eventually, organically. Mostly.
Back to the issue of linking and blogrolling and Blogdexery, again taken from my comments on Shelley’s post of a few days ago, and written in part in response to this comment from Mike Golby, who said :

[…] Blogdex and [P]opdex and the other crap is lowest-common denominator stuff. If necessary, warn others not to be seduced by it but, jeez, don’t let it get to you. It’s just not worth it. It’s not what this is about.

I said, in semi-rant mode :

Sure it is. It’s *precisely* what it’s all about, Mike. Anyone who tells you otherwise is at best disengenuous and at worst a liar, or would be better off writing privately, or paying for therapy.
The *mistake* is to take it seriously and allow it to be anything but tangent to and very much secondary to your writing, and to the rest of your life. Unless it’s your *whole* life, in which case good f–king luck.
It’s like the old saw that madness is an in-joke of one. If one is writing one’s heart out and no one is paying any attention, blogging is probably not the best outlet for one’s creative urges or demonic possession or whatever is pushing one to create.
Bloggers are self-selected from the ordinary population to be attention-seekers, self-regarders, self-promoters, needy f–kers to a fault. To claim that the act of giving and receiving recognition for these avatars of ourselves we present online is ‘not what it’s about’ is rank silliness, I reckon. It’s human nature, pure and simple, and it’s something we do every day in our regular lives. This medium simply uses different mechanisms. Ones that reward and reinforce the kind of behaviour that Shelley bemoans in her post.
Shelley is quite probably an exception, and I love her dearly, so I’m perhaps biased, but I tend to believe that many a blogger annoyed with linkstroking and linkwhoring and the automated tools that have appeared to foster them is a blogger who feels they are being undernoticed and underpraised by those very mechanisms.
I should acknowledge that it’s entirely possible that I’m seeing this too much from my own perspective – that linking and being linked is *fun*, is a social activity, is not freighted with massive significance, and is certainly not massively important to my sense of self-worth, but is the coin of the realm, as it were – and erroneously believing that that perspective lies somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between utter linkwhores at the one end and those who totally ignore the existence of other bloggers at the other.
Although I do tend to think the bell curve is weighted more towards the former than the latter, for reasons I went on about above.

I don’t think of this as a zero-sum game, smart-assery aside. It’s an infinite game – a game in which one of the tenets of play is that the game should never end, and in which a goal of play is to keep everyone playing.
The more observant amongst you might notice that I’ve got, if not the longest, at least one of the longest blogrolls in christendom blogaria. This is due to simple policy : if you link to me, I reciprocate, when I find that link. If you pull me off your blogroll, I don’t care. You linked to me at some point, and that hasn’t changed. If you publicly declare that I’m a lame goat-blowing sh-tweasel, I might pull you, but then again, I might not. It’s not a zero-sum game. There are no winners, and that’s the way it’s meant to be. It’s not political, it’s just common courtesy. When someone speaks to you, you acknowledge them. If they engage you, you have a conversation. If not, you make eye contact, nod, and move on.
In weblogging, the nods leave tracks, is all.
[Edit : I sense that this is a bit disjointed, but I don’t have time to edit it right now, so I’ll just leave it up, with apologies if I have been unclear.]

Now be nice, or Orson Welles will eat your soul!