TCS Daily


Should I Blog or Should I Go?

By Marni Soupcoff - February 7, 2003 12:00 AM

No matter where you go on the Internet these days, you're bound to stumble across a few web logs, those non-commercial sites where people journal their observations and thoughts for the pleasure of others. In fact, these popular pages of personal musings and live links have become so ubiquitous that pretty soon Al Gore is going to claim to have invented them.

I've been on the fence about whether the web log revolution is a good thing. Part of me thinks it's a very cool idea. Anyone, from the famous (e.g., Dave Barry) to the completely anonymous (e.g., Joe Shmoe) can start up a blog and share his particular view of the world (and the web) with interested parties. Some people end up being so interesting and clever that their web logs actually help make them famous (e.g., the excellent Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds). The immediate access to a wide range of ideas is very appealing. And blogs can be excellent vehicles for passing on both humor and information that would otherwise be overlooked.

On the other hand, there is a reason we don't generally pay attention to the inner workings of the minds of everyone we meet on the street. Most of them just aren't that interesting. Do we really want to read about the bad dates and dirty socks and macaroni and cheese dinners of every guy with a computer? Was there really a shortage of semiliterate rants before blogs became a big deal? And if there was, did it really need to be rectified? Will blogs continue to become more and more incestuous until one day they're all just linking to each other in a never-ending chain of self-obsessed navel gazing?

I haven't made up my mind.

Personally, I have tried to resist creating my own blog because I think I would be an insufferable blogger. I have the two telltale characteristics: 1) Just about everything annoys me; and 2) I feel the need to tell people about it. I usually resist this impulse in person because there I have to face bored looks and rolling eyes, but there are no such restrictions on a computer. So, my blog would probably end up full of whining complaints about not being able to find decent timothy hay pellets for my pet rabbits and death threats to people who put an apostrophe in the word its when they're not supposed to. Cyberspace could probably do without this.

But there I was today, going about my business, and the thought kept creeping into my head over and over again: Maybe I should start a blog. Maybe I should start a blog.

You see I had some important things to say that I couldn't find any other way to express. For example, I was wandering around Toys 'R Us and I found a Barbie doll that comes with a peeing cat ("It wets!") and a litter box you can really clean up. This information was so disturbingly bizarre to me that I felt I had to share it with others - but how? I couldn't very well call up a friend and say, "guess what, Mattel's come out with a pissing feline!" It's not phone call material. At least not for people you ever want to call you back again. I thought of trying to write a whole article about it, but really there's only so much you can say about whether or not Barbie uses litter box liners. But if I had a blog...

Yes, if I had a blog I could share all the little tidbits I want other people to know, but can't be bothered to tell them because they're too small or stupid or just don't get a very good reception. (The tidbits, not the people, mind you.) Like my story from the other night when dotty Lou Dobbs introduced CNN's "Crossfire" as "Enron." "Enron begins in five minutes," Lou said, "let's go to Paul Begala, Tucker Carlson in Washington." Then Tucker Carlson came on and welcomed everyone to Enron. It was so peculiarly surreal and funny. I tried to tell my friend about it, but she didn't know who Lou Dobbs was. Then, I sent the story to the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web newsletter with what I thought was the very clever subject heading, "Lou Dobbs loses his mind." But they didn't use it.

If I had my own blog, though, I could put the Dobbs anecdote up there, with a link to the CNN transcript and a funny little quip for people of discerning tastes to appreciate. Heck, why stop at Lou Dobbs? While I'm at it, I could go all out and alert people to the moronic "literacy is a right" campaign here in Toronto (which I am convinced is logically unsound), give everyone daily updates on the behavior of my Sea Monkeys, ponder the comparative strengths and weaknesses of assorted Lush bath bombs (complete with live links to the Lush website), and lament the demise of the Starbucks raspberry mocha chip Frappuccino.

O.K., I know. I shouldn't start a web log.

But sometimes the fiction of an audience rapt and captivated by my inane musings and favorite web clips just seems too hard to resist. For the sake of everyone in cyberspace, however, I will try to withstand the temptation to fulfill my delusional blogging dream.

Too bad some of today's more recent snooze-inducing bloggers didn't resist the urge, too.
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