Walter Mencken 4:15 p.m., Dec. 12
- Community Blog
- Earth, Fire, and Water
Rather than plumbing the depths of the potential of the Internet and its denizens, editors have commonly looked upon the blogging phenomenon as a grand opportunity—FINALLY, a way to sweep all that wannabe stuff that used to come over the transom or through the “snail” mails down the drain. Relief!
Seriously, folks, look at the very name. Once an insider, a “geek” term if you will, “blog” has become sort of synonymous with clog, as in obstruction. But, as in “The Ugly Duckling” and “A Boy Named Sue,” we’re stuck with it. We must make lemonade from this unfortunate accident, right? Maybe. But how?
There’s probably no going back to “essay.” That would rob blog of its note of contempt. It could be that the originators saw the beauty in the ugliness of the word—and embraced it in a rush of irony-appreciation. The poetry of a kind of victimless yet universal perversity. I have often wondered if Lotfi (I call him Lofti) Zadeh might have selected “fuzzy logic” for similar reasons, yet it is more likely that he was just trying to be descriptive of his mathematical theory and that’s the way it came out.
So “blog” it is, warts, clogs and all.
“Blog” is still rejected by my spell-checker. (Boy, do I have fun with it—the grammar checker too; my old one used to lecture me when I tried to use the generic term Homo, but I never tried to put erectus with it just to see if it would pop its cork!) In its very illegitimacy lies much of it’s appeal; truly free minds are more than mere non-conformist for non-conformancy’s (see what I means?) sake.
Arising from and warp-speeding through cyberspace, blogging was something like the languages invented by siblings—people ENGAGED at several levels. It was originally used between colleagues.
Now everybody and his/her brother/sister can blog. Even though we know that “brevity is the soul of wit,” (Shakespeare) and thus, with the addition of technology, have drifted into a conformity of non-conformists with “tweets,” a sometimes-beautiful birdsong shorn of its bird, we too-frequently end up with kooky banality clogging almost every pore of cyberspace. The Internet cup, indeed, runneth over.
But, if I read the tea leaves correctly, the odd creative spark, the occasional incredible insight, the informative revelation lies gleaming amongst the muck. If that’s true, is the question “how to wade through the excess to get to few jewels imbedded therein” or something to that effect?
I know not what others may say, but as for me, all I’ve found useful is to forward a link or a file to those I know whom I think will be interested and will perhaps be able to compound the value of the gem of writing through their own insights and contributions, and share them, not only with me, but with a number of their own friends. The result will be the ultimate in a synergistic on-line democracy and quality will then rise gloriously up through the stinky stuff, and ride the wave of intellectual (if not actual) progress.
On the other hand, how to find the time to find the gems in the first place?
‘Scuse me—I gotta go try Homo erectus on my grammar-checker!