Friday, October 28, 2005

Ablogalypse Now

An anonymous comment posted onto this blog plopped into my inbox a couple of days ago...

yawn you're shit

Sadly, I didn’t have the energy to trawl through recent posts and see what anonymous was referring to but I’m sure someone so expressively gifted had a fair point.

I, and many other bloggers I read, have had a strange time of it since July. The bombing in London and all that followed them had a profound impact on many British bloggers. Some sites are slowly resuming normal service, others still seem shagged-out and muted.

And always in the back of my head there’s the sense of the sheer ludicrousness of commenting on current affairs.

Bloggers, the Internet equivalent of taxi drivers, putting the world to right from the comfort of their driving seat.

Consuming news, and commenting on news, is usually as much a form of vacuous entertainment as watching televised sport or reality TV. Most people have never been to Iraq, or Africa, or Pakistan, or wherever. Forming and expressing an opinion on events in those places makes as much rational sense as, say, being one of those Manchester United supporters who has never been to Manchester in their life. It’s a vicarious, masturbatory passtime.


The bombings in July don’t fall into that category. They could have killed me or people I know. At one point in July I was sitting at home on the wrong side of a police cordon as they searched for the man who allegedly tried to blow up my local tube station.

That’s fucking real alright.

Even if you choose to disregard the questionable morality of things being done in far off lands in our names. This stuff is on our doorstep.

And there is a growing list of other issues that are very real and in our faces; the rise of a police state, an illegal war in another country that has turned my home into a target, fucking lunatics in Washington and the Whitehouse looking to start another war which will make me and mine even more of a target...

Call me a bore but this stuff is uppermost on my mind.

So I blog about it

And, as much as I’d like to, it’s hard to work many knob gags into this material.

Admittedly my output has slackened of late. That’s down to a very British sense that once you’ve said something once it’s impolite and tedious to repeat yourself. Reading American blogs that, for example, map out the details Plamegate affair in excruciating detail, you immediately notice that American bloggers have no such compunction. I lost the plot on that stuff weeks ago.

Ah well, hopefully the knob gags will return to this site sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I either have to write my way out of my current one-track mindedness or put this blog on hold.

I think I’ll write. It helps silence the voices in my head and that has always been the point.

And if anonymous people occasionally feel the need to tell me that I’m boring and shit, well, I’ll just have to find some way to deal with the pain.


Anonymous said...

Knob gags??? let them speak freely I say, nobody should be gagged ;)

Keep blogging mate


Robert said...

I'm not sure I agree with your suggestion that people who don't live in Iraq (or Manachester), yet have a vocal opinion on the war (or Manchester United), is irrational or masturbatory. In both cases, the internet and telecommunications mean that we can get news and views from around the world that was unthinkable a generation ago.

The atmosphere of the Stretford End can never be replicated by SkySports... but that doesn't stop me forming a valid and considered opinion on whether Rio Ferdinand had a good game, or whether Wayne Rooney should have scored twice. Likewise, I may not be able to predict the mood of Iraq from my living room, but I can scrutinise the actions and reactions of the main players closely, and form an opinion as a result.

Blogging provides alternatives to the main stream, and it can and does change minds... or at least makes opinions better.

Chin up!

Stef said...

Andy - ta, knob gags will follow

Roberto - this is something people could discuss for a long time. Of course you can have an opinion about a situation you have no first hand experience of but, even with the internet, you are reliant on other people's agendas and senses of priority. And even if you do manage to form an coherent opinion about something I honestly believe that we live in a world where there is less and less you can do about it. Be it cheer from the terraces or change your government's foreign policy. There's no doubt that people interact more virtually but our interaction with the 'real' world is reducing.

Having said all that, I agree that it does pay off sometimes. Take the bombings in London for exampe. The police and government have clearly been responding to what people are talking about by word of mouth and in blogs. They're certainly not worried by anything the newspapers and TV channels are saying


David said...

I read a book of Ian Collins' hate mail from the radio a while back, and it seems it comes with the territory of public writing or speaking the wallies come out and diss you. But as all the radio presenters add, hang on, if you come on and diss the presenter it means you're choosing to listen, and these guys don't come and do it once and piss off, they do it regularly. So it's another form of fandom, just one where the fan feels the need to appear superior by trying to lower the status of the writer (especially as none I know of would manage to write a blog of their own).
Mine has now taken to threatening me and had the law covered both the internet and people operating from abroad I'd chuck the whole book at her. But she still reads every word I write as if shooting up heroin. They're just the sad dregs who we can't do much about besides acknowledge and ignore.

Apprentice said...

I was in the vicinity at the time of the Birmingham Pub Bomings in 1974, lost two friends. It is strange what random bombings do to all our lives, and enough drivel has been written about that for me especially not to want to add naff cliches or pretend to feel your pain.

Stop, carry on. Do what you must. It's all the same pointless twaddle in the end. I think a book of my hate mail would in fact make a much more interesting read than any of my actual blogs. My stalkers' sites about me are more interesting than my own. In a way, I feel I have a duty to continue just to help them in their efforts. It's performance art, in a way, and I love it all.

Someone farted in my little shoutbox the other day. Neither amusing, nor un-amusing. But leaving it there more the duration is more entertaining than taking it off, especially as it is perfectly clear that my site is updated several times a day.

Rambling now, which I believe is the whole point of these isn't it?

Stef said...

apprentice - yes ;)