Thursday, May 19, 2016

Blogging today


If you noticed this, you might be one of the handful of people who has noticed I've gotten back to blogging.

I'm as surprised as anyone.

I have a confession. In a weird way, this is my favorite time blogging, at least since I first starting doing this 12 years ago, at least by the reckoning of my first blogoversary post.

Yep. It's really because no one seems to notice and those that do make hardly any deal of it at all, just like way back then.

I did enjoy that weird zeitgeist when a bunch of us bloggers were all reading each others blogs and commenting and having blog-a-thons. It was fun. It was challenging. It was inspiring. I'm glad it happened, and I had some small part of it.

I don't miss it, though.

There was a weird pressure, though. I never really wanted to be an essayist. I just like having an outlet to release a certain amount of my thoughts into the world. The zeitgeist made everyone think that it was the path to doing something, I guess, bigger. Some part of me grew into thinking that sounded good to me, too, but really, the more it got to that, the less I enjoyed it overall. I'm sad for my friends and fellow bloggers for whom all of that meant a lot, and I know actively miss that time.

That's not enough to make me miss it, though. I like just unloading some thoughts and being about done with it. I'd turn off comments if Blogger had an option to turn off comments and still leave the comments that have already been made. Luckily for me, commenting on blogs seems to become a thing of the past and I don't much have to worry about it as an issue.

I don't know if this little blogging trend will continue. I'm just writing as I think of things. I'm not trying to think of things, just writing them when I do, and apparently that's what I like best.

Shrill


I reckon I'm, in some way, one of Lindy West's first trolls, back before she took on personal and social issues, and was just reviewing movies for The Stranger. I took issue with some of the writing at the time and wrote about it here.

I amused myself over the idea of her being my arch-nemesis. I'm not sure even then I liked the idea as much as I liked saying it. It's hard to say. Even saying I'd like a an arch-nemesis doesn't seem like much fun to me now.

Of course, I quickly soured on it, because it turns out she's fucking brilliant. Not, mind you, because I'd be intimidated coming up against a brilliant writer, but because it was just so hard to keep coming up with ways to criticize her writing. It's just so damn good. In fact, now I can't bring myself to read the reviews I made fun of, because I'm certain it will just prove I was totally wrong in the first place. I kind of like the idea that I had some kind of point and she was still finding her voice as a writer in those reviews, so there's some room there, but I'm skeptical of myself on this one.

Since then, she's become kind of an icon, including, of course, for her having to deal with jackasses trolling her, and I've continued following her. Mostly quietly, I suppose, but that's only because I've been quieter about most things for a while now.

I just read her book, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, though, and felt the need to say how wonderful it is. It's a funny and charming memoir of the issues she's become famous for, fat acceptance, rape jokes and comedy and internet trolls, all woven through a very thoughtful view of her own life and how it affected her stands, as well as how the stands affected her. It manages to take the voice she's built in her writing and made it fully human.

I just finished it, so I certainly don't have an extensive review to offer. I just wanted to take this opportunity to offer a great big kudos to her for this very smart, funny, touching book.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nerdy new things


I was reading I Will Pay to See The New Ghostbusters Twice Because of This Person by Neil Miller. It refers to If nerds won the war for pop culture, why are they so angry all the time? by Drew McWeeny, as I did in Nerd conquest.

It has a number of really good points, but I think the most important is "without the optimism to discover new things, he never would have ended up where he is now. I know I wouldn’t have."

Me, either.

There was a shock for me somewhere in trying to embrace nerd culture. I guess it wasn't so much a shock, in that it took forever for me to really realize it, but whatever nerd culture is, it's not for me. Weirdly, my take is that I'm too damn nerdy for it.

I'm a guy who is generally on the hunt for new things. I have lists of new things I want to check out and much of the reason I don't get to so many of them is that I get distracted by some other direction I want to try new things from.

Growing up, my feeling of being a nerd came from trying things that weren't cool. Things that were old or low budget or experimental or lo-fi or foreign or avant-garde.

It took me a long time to realize that much of what exists and existed as nerd culture opposes that. Sure, they like one or two of these, but each individual group tends to only like one or two and reject the others quite firmly. In that way, they are very often more rigid than mainstream culture, because people in the mainstream have generally not defined as clearly the lines that make their group what it is and what is acceptable within it. It happens with all outside cultures, whether comic nerds or punk rockers. They set their ground, and it's usually set within a specific group, involving generational differences and some perceived philosophical differences.

After spending much time with them, I generally find myself tired of them all. I'd rather spend time with people with whom I have very little in common, but who are open to differences. I find this culture incredibly tedious.

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