Monday, August 08, 2005

Says it all. Or just about

For some time past I'd been ruminating a rumination on "why blogs". Fortunately for my 11 distinct readers, that will not come to pass.

As an exploration of personality, the voice of the blog world is a voice much closer to Bukowski than to Eliot, much closer to Kerouac than to Woolf.

demonstrates the superiority of an educated mind. In a voice, one imagines, quite level and perhaps faintly clipped, with the occasional pause for a drag on a cigarette.


Heh Heh said...

Not quite clipped, and most certainly without the cigarette.
Would love to hear what he has to say on the matter...

Falstaff said...

JAP: Thanks. Glad you liked it. Would say I'm honoured, etc. but am too busy trying to draft the charter for the Mutual Admiration Society.

Oh, and do put the blog about why blogging anyway, would love to hear what you have to say.

HWSNBF: Dude, did you not read the part about how blogs allow us to reinvent ourselves? If man pictures me with cigarette, let man picture me with cigarette. Next you'll be telling him how I laughed like a hyena through Kung Fu Hustle. Wait, did I just say that? NNNOOOOO! So much for superiority of an educated mind.

ozymandiaz said...

Yes a well written article though I do not agree with the analogy of the so called “reality” TV. It does not blend with the rest of the supposition. Reality TV is cheap sensationalism of abhorrent human behavior (read: perturbations amongst the most socially inept bunch of freaks the producers could muster). That and there is of course no connection with these freaks. It is more akin to the effect of talk shows. It normalizes weirdness and gives the viewer an easy sense of superiority. Albeit there are veins of this imbedded within the blogosphere, the true fruit of the vine is well depicted in Falstaff’s following points. I've only other point of contention. Falstaff writes “I'm almost entirely unconcerned with finding an audience or actually communicating with other people. This blog is, in a sense, a purely artistic enterprise: an opportunity to give free rein to my imagination, my intelligence and my writing skills…” This I find contradictory. Although Nietzsche states the intelligent mind is contradictory, I don’t believe he meant with in the same statement. Art is communication. If this is an art, it must be shared to be complete. Otherwise it is masturbation. That and I believe that everyone who blogs wishes to be read. Otherwise, why put it out there. There are many other medium with which to work.
Oh, and J,what is so superior about the educated mind? Intelligence, wit and wisdom are voices of the soul, not echoes of instructors and criteria. Be not so blinded by academic pomposity.

Heh Heh said...


I am not sure I entirely agree with you. That is probably why I remarked that although most *forms* of art begin as a means of communication between individuals, or between indiviuals and society, art itself is an exploration of a particular medium by the artist himself/herself, with no purpose other than the creation of art itself.

In some sense, I think the audience itself forms part of the picture that emerges out of a blog, but this is a consequence, rather than the intended purpose.

A blogger can be perfectly justified in being entirely unconcerned with finding an audience or communicating with other people, even though the audience itself becomes part of the eventual whole. I find no contradiction there.

Falstaff said...


Agree with you that the reality TV analogy is not necessarily perfect - in fact, now that you say it, maybe talk shows are a better analogy (now why didn't I think of that!). Frankly when I sat down to write the thing I wasn't planning an incisive article or anything, I was pretty much just putting down whatever came into my head (and my pre-coffee Sunday morning head at that).

Do not agree with you that art is communication. It's true that art needs external perception to be realised, but that perception can come entirely from the artist himself, and need not include another person. In fact, in an earlier post on 2x3x7 (see 'On Genius' from July 5th) I argue, working off Schopenhaeur, that pure genius requires no external reference and would in fact, not be accessible to anyone else.

Why put it out there if you don't want to be read? you ask: partly because the fact of putting it out there enforces a discipline that you couldn't get elsewhere - the threat of being read by someone else is an important emotional crutch; and partly because, well, it's a convenient way of organising things. I could do what I do on blogspot on my laptop but it would be so much harder to manage. And yes, there are many other media to work with, but why not choose one that is relatively young and untrammeled.

Plus, I did say 'almost' remember. Personally, it's not so much that I don't want to be read, as that I don't want to be read badly enough to change what I'm writing. My primary concern is to write what I like and what I think is beautiful / interesting. If other people enjoy it, I'm not unhappy about this, but I wouldn't change my writing to accomodate other people's tastes.

Oh, and finally, could we not make deprecating remarks about masturbation please - it's something very dear to my heart!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't quote Woody Allen - "Don't knock masturbation, it's sex with someone I love."

I agree more with your response to Ozymandiaz on wanting to be read, but not enough to have to change what you write, than with what you said earlier about not caring at all. Essentially, it goes back to the value/happiness you get from being appreciated - if you didn't see any value there, you could either completely refuse all social contact, or embrace all social interactions, not caring whether people 'get' you or not. Blogging just makes it easier. In real life, you have to 'select' people you think it's worth spending time with, people with whom you can express who you are and how you think, and who will appreciate it. You would like to express yourself, but it's a waste of time trying that with just about anyone. With blogging, you just sit back and express who you are and write what you want, and those who are interested will read. So, even if type II errors (false positives) happen, you wouldn't have invested incremental effort for them.

Falstaff said...

Let me put it this way:

You drive to work every morning. You do this because you need to work and you have to get there to do it. Now some days it's sunny out and some days it isn't (sunny being a good thing, in this case, though you could take it the other way). On days when it is sunny you appreciate the good weather. But the weather isn't fundamentally important to your drive. You're not going to skip going to office because it happens to be overcast / raining. The fact that it's sunny is just a bonus, it's not the point of the drive. Now, does this mean you 'care' about the sunlight or not?

I agree completely that there's a perspective from which blogging makes the search for appreciative readers / interlocutors way more efficient by setting the marginal cost of the search to zero. That could be an important reason for blogging (and probably is for a number of people) - my point is simply that it's NOT my reason. My main satisfaction comes from keeping a blog that I approve of / enjoy (okay, so I'm an egoist) - the public nature of the blog is just an excuse for forcing some discipline on myself, a way of forcing myself to articulate the images / ideas in my head. Other people enjoying it is pure gravy.

Let me put this another (one last) way: If no one, absolutely no one, were reading my blog - if every single day I checked Site Meter and the count of readers hadn't gone up by one single solitary person - would I still keep writing? I'm saying I would.

Blog ho said...

that's quite clever.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

*great hot tears silently plashing on to calf-skin Ferragamos with pointed toes*
He doesn't care whether I read him or not. He doesn't CARE! Oh, the agony!
(Is it only I, or have others found that certain women take EVERYthing personally?)

Dan, don't knock the educated mind. A rare few may have intelligence and perhaps even wisdom without a good education, but for most of us, an education widens our vision, adds to our armoury and sharpens our skills. I should know, because I've tried to get an education and given up on it. Twice.
I grant that there appears to be no direct correlation between education and common sense; that's where the intelligence makes a difference.

Falstaff, M-Rose, re: masturbation. Check out Woody Allen's Love and Death. After passionate love with the Countess, she says "You're a vohnderful loffer". Whereupon Woody pushes back his glasses, blinks and says "Yes, I practise when I'm alone".

Oh, and Falstaff? I want every single reader, I want my Site Meter going through the roof. There's no chance of a book deal and an early retirement until I get at least a thousand hits a day. (For that, of course, I have to discuss more universal subjects of deep relevance. Like S-E-X)




ozymandiaz said...

Falstaff and He Who Shall not be Flamed
This could turn into a very lengthy discussion. I see two questions here. What is art and is blogging an art form (to wit, I dare say, my blog will never be accused of being or harboring either)? Both, I believe are interpretative and rely wholly on the observer. As for the “drive to work” analogy, I generally call in on the sunny days myself. Never waste a sick day on being sick I say.
I do see your point about wanting or not wanting to be read. If truly I wanted people to visit and moreover come back to my site, I would attempt to structure my pros as my present esteemed company (you guys), as it is I just kind of throw my stuff out there in a meager effort for a kind word (validation?). I guess it isn’t really that important to me. I put more effort in commenting on other peoples blogs than my own.
And J, albeit there have been several “educated” minds I would have enjoyed bashing, literally, I do not mean to bash education as a whole. I do have my issues with the institution and curriculum, but I shall not go on that tangent. Now when I was a Taoist…

Falstaff said...

JAP: Aaargghh! Two Woody Allen quotes that I should have remembered but didn't. That's it. I'm officially old now.

Oh, and if we're doing hysterical lines: [tearfully!] "If you really loved me, you'd love me for who I am, not who you wanted me to be!"

Ozymandiaz: Let's not turn this into too lengthy a discussion. I might miss my carpool. And it's raining outside :-).

On your first question, I don't think blogging is necessarily an art form or has to be - like any other communication medium it could be. And without getting too much into what is art - I guess my definition would be something that stimulates me, sharpening and heightening my awareness of the world - and naturally, that's entirely subjective. Which is why I'm quite willing to think that many people may not consider what I write art. As for the caring bit - I think the difference between you wanting and not wanting to be read and my 'not caring' is largely a semantic one.