The River

Thursday, September 04, 2003

You want a revolution? Move!

Frank Paynter points to an SF Chronicle columnist bemoaning the death of blogging in America. It seems since mainstream politicians are doing it, it can't be "cool" anymore.

The columnist, Jon Carroll, says:

I suppose blogs have had their day as a populist phenomenon. Democratic candidates for president have blogs now, and that's pretty much the death knell for cutting-edge status. If John Kerry has one, it's not a trend, it's an appliance.

But I think that's true only of blogs produced in the United States. In other countries, the Internet is still a revolutionary tool, a place for information censored in every other medium in the nation. Vox populi, and no pop-up ads. It's 1991 all over again.

That's right Frank, Yule, Jon. et. al. (you know who you are), as soon as Howard Dean began blogging you changed. I noticed it, but I wasn't sure what happened. Just a vague sense that you'd lost your edge. Now I know. You can't be cool anymore. Because you're engaged in a (gasp) MAINSTREAM activity. (The last two above are new, but regrettably pedestrian, friends. Check 'em out, anyway.)

People on the cutting edge won't have anything to do with computers anymore. They are so over in the U.S. What was once a populist phenomenon has been absorbed by the forces of conformity. Try as you might, you're blog posts cannot break this prison. Not anymore. It's okay. It's John Kerry's fault.

It doesn't help that everyone has added pop-up ads to their blogs. What? You haven't? Guess Jon Carroll meant the ads from commercial sites had infected you anyway.

The Internet and blogging are no longer trendy, hence they can't be interesting. No, it's an appliance. These words, for example, have about as much depth as a toaster. I'm sorry if you thought you saw anything else.

But hang on. Jon says, "Some of the best blogs are coming out of Iraq...." If the words are typed in Iraq, they can once again have life. That's Jon's thesis, it would appear from the excerpt on Frank's (crappy U.S.) blog. Hmm. I could send my rants, screeds, sensitive reflections on life in these United States, crazy flights of fancy, and sarcastic jibes to Riverbend of Baghdad Burning, get her to publish them, using, interestingly, the same blog template as me, and my blog posts will once again achieve cutting-edge status as in the days of yore (last year).

But she probably wouldn't agree. She has more important things to worry about. Like leaving her abode without getting shot at by roving criminals or jittery, trigger-happy soldiers (I wish her well). Her country is under occupation, after all, and the situation is volatile. It's still up in the air with these occupiers.

Here in the U.S., it's accepted. That must be the difference.

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