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BloggingOn 11.1 - What I Was Doing When I Should Have Been...

There's something about the end of the semester. As the tension mounts and responsibilities pile up, my motivation wanes and the only thing I really want to do is sleep and watch movies. As my good friend Lupus was fond of saying "the less time you have, the less time it takes." Sage advice from a seasoned procrastinateur. So, on Saturday when I should have been reading this book, writing a final paper, or culling the internet for juicy tidbits, I decided my time would be better spent going to see this play and this movie.

Trinty College's production of "S" was conceived as a "multi-media adaptation" of Richard Linklater's inexplicable film Slacker. As Colin is fond of saying, we are usually celebrating something at the same time it's being destroyed, which means that Linklater's tribute to Gen-X slacker culture was a minute too late when it moped onto the scene in 1991. That makes Trinity's "adaptation" over ten years late for the party (arguably in true slacker style, but I don't think purposefully so). I can't say that it wasn't enjoyable at times, but I couldn't help thinking how totally out-of-date the whole thing was. No doubt, lazy directionless yewts will be lingering about for years to come, but true slacker culture is of a very particular time and place, long since co-opted, repackaged and resold to new markets (due in part to Linklater's film I suppose). The "slacker's" of today are probably more educated and "upwardly mobile" than any of the characters from the film. "Recent college graduates" is probably a more fitting handle for ne-slackers. Not quite as catchy, I know , but certainly a more honest appraisal. Slacker culture was a do-or-die way of life, that I would argue is wholly incompatible with "conflict-averse, iPod-wearing metrosexual MBA’s from Planet Starbucks, who think podcasting is activism".

So what in the hell does any of this have to do with blogging? I'm afraid my diagnosis for "the future of blogging" has been colored a bit by viewing "S". As culture mutates more and more rapidly I can't imagine that blogs will retain their present influence or popularity. At least not in their present form. I believe there will always be a core of devoted bloggers, posting away in spite of impending cultural irrelavance, but in order for blogging to really become an unquestioned part of American life (with the ubiquity of cable tv or the internet) it will probably need to shake loose from its moorings. I think blogging will need to become easier to do and more immediate. Perhaps moblogging is a step in the right direction. Audioblogging (via cell phone) is an interesting variation, but without the interactivity (and searchability) of hypertext/hyperlinks... hypermedia, audioblogging is just a step backward (from tv to radio?).

If it doesn't become more accessible to the general public (and those not inclined or able to take a semester long college course) blogging will most likely be a cultural footnote (think: woefully underqualified pop-culture talking heads making quips about pajamas and laptops on shows like this). With more potency than the 8-track, but less mass appeal than disco will blogs really keep on truckin'?

So what about the other two and half hours that I threw away this weekend? Maybe more applicable to last week's discussion than this, early on in that Johnny Cash biopic, Cash's older brother Jack (looking forward to a future in the pulpit) says: "how can you help people if you can't tell them the right story?". Woohoo! That was about as much as my geeky little heart could take (keep in mind that this book about rabbits is one of my favorites), and so I hunkered down for a welcome lesson in the power of "myth".

To what avail? Other than trotting out that old indominatible-human-spirit trope, Walk the Line made me feel like being part of the human race isn't such a bad thing sometimes, but more because of everyone in the movie who wasn't Johnny Cash. At any rate, the film was beautiful to look at, it sounded great, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were phenomenal... time and money well spent (all neglected-responsibilities considered). If blogs are art, I want to start seeing stuff with this impact in the blogosphere. But Cash is the anti-blogger in a lot of ways (most of which I don't think I quite understand). It has to do with subtlety on the one hand, and sincerity on the other. These things just don't translate so well into the blogosphere. Welcome to our whiz-bang post-ironic times.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Blogger shante 

    Maybe you're right that Cash would be a good blogger, but I'd enjoy an inebriated audio cast from him. In the mean time, I'll continue to enjoy yours.

  2. Blogger Transgenderedtrash 

    You have pinned down in one sentence what I have been blathering on about for weeks. It is a lack of subtlety and sincerity that makes me so skeptical of the future of blogs. I mean, outside of Brett, how painstakingly honest is everyone? There is no need to be gut wrenching. How much of it is for show?

    "If blogs are art..." The other missing ingredient is intelligent art. I tried to incorporate that mpeg I sent you, into my blog, but failed. That mpeg is the kind of thing I love, I have watched it 1000 times and have yet to tire of seeing it. It is just so out of my realm of creativity...give me 5 years and I could not do anything like it. That is why the blogosphere is ultimately so dissappointing...it is just too boring.

    I guess it is that lack of imaginative creativity that turns me off. Everyone is so busy trying to be clever that they will go to any lengths to be noticed. Give me meat and potatoes. I love the political commentary on the blogosphere, as long as it is from someone credible and I love the instant vetting process. The power of the bloggers will keep journalists and politicians in line forever! No more fudging as the consequences are HUGE. I am sure Bill Richardson recanted before bloggers got interested.

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