Bloggers are losers!
So says a University of Calgary prof – and who can ever argue with a tenured, publish-or-perish academic, since such people are so much brighter than the rest of us?
According to Prof. Michael Keren, as stated a few years ago in his timely tome, Blogosphere: The New Political Arena (catchy title, that), bloggers are living in a world where emotions may be real but everything else is make-believe.
Damn! Here I was going along, thinking I was a relatively well-adjusted and affable fellow with a petty wide array of real-time friends and acquaintances, who does a decent job of whatever I’ve turned my hand to, and have served on countless ‘real’ boards and committees, and have even earned some ‘real’ writing awards, and have traveled to ‘real’ foreign countries, and even make ‘real’ love to my ‘real’ wife, and yet I find that only my emotions are real, and everything else around me is a wispy hologram.
Yes, the good professor argues that individuals who bare their souls on blogs are isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships or helping to change the world. Shit, I guess I better give up my committee and board work since it seems that by being a blogger I am doing nothing whatsoever to change the world – unlike overpaid academics are wont to do for putting in what? Fifteen, maybe 20 hours of work a week for about eight months of the year.
“Bloggers think of themselves as rebels against mainstream society, but that rebellion is mostly confined to cyberspace, which makes blogging as melancholic and illusionary as Don Quixote tilting at windmills,” the author says.
Well, I must confess, labouring hack writer that I am, I am impressed by such literary allusions as “Don Quixote”, and finding it necessary to mention the “tilting at windmills” cliché, just to make sure everybody ‘gets’ his drift.
But, metaphors notwithstanding, I am more impressed by those who make sweeping generalizations about not only their findings, but about those whom they might choose to indict.
Or maybe we, my friends, are just failures as bloggers. I haven’t noticed a great impulse among my friends here to carry out a lot of rebelling against mainstream society. Oh, we may be pissed off about certain things – and probably should be pissed off about much more, but I have yet to notice any cry of “Aux barricades!” or even slight suggestions that blood should be flowing in the streets. I guess some of us aren’t with the program that Prof. Keren suggests we are.
Oh, and not to be outdone by his Don Quixote reference, Keren adds (I suspect to show how ‘hip’ he is) a reference to Father McKenzie in the 40 year old Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby, who is writing a sermon nobody is going to hear.
“Some of us (bloggers) are going to be embraced by the mainstream media, but the majority of us remain in the dark, remain in the loneliness,” says Keren.
Oh, woe. Not just loneliness, but ignorant and dark loneliness. OK, come clean, how many of you, when you got the impulse to blog, foresaw a Pulitzer around the corner, or maybe a desk job at Newsweek? No? Me either.
So, why do you write your blog?
I write mine because I really enjoy doing so. It gives me a space in which to express myself and to hope that others find some tiny germ of truth in what I write. I also write it because I am a professional writer, and blogging is like callisthenics. It warms me up for my day. And finally, I write it because it has allowed me to connect in a very pleasing way with people from throughout North America and the world in general. I like my blogging friends, and have made some valued associations here and I like my ‘real’ friends. I have also met some of my blogging friends in real-time and found that I didn’t notice a huge disparity between who they are as breathing human beings, and what they present themselves as being on their blogs.
At the end of it all, however, I’d like to be an academic. If you are an academic you can make relatively unfounded assertions, disparage a good section of the populace, and still bring home nice bucks.
On the other hand, I bet those Calgary winters are cold and lonely. Maybe Prof. Keren should try blogging.