A writer lives to see his words in print, they told us when we were young.
Then we hear that print is dead. Newspapers are dying. Books are supposed to follow along shortly after, and things like the Kindle – while still seeming like gateway technology – are threatened to be the future.
Many would make the argument that the book will never die. The tactile sensation alone will keep it alive for us. The feel, the smell, the taste, the creation of memory from all of those senses… I’m not going to argue that because the idea of holding an actual book in my hands will always be me, and what I do, but…
I’d rather do a bit of bargaining in this season of death: If I were to fully embrace electronic reading – a kindle, or a handheld whatever the fuck that comes down the line – then here’s what I want: A jet pack, a hover car, and a holodeck. In short, the future. Give me that and I’ll laze about reading my shit on a datapad, all Star Trek-esque.
The blog is the new thing, the thing that’s sticking around, they tell us.
But bloggers are universally looked down upon, by myself included. A couple of jackasses with too much money and too many stupid opinions – worst episode evar! – and given too much exposure by the unwashed retard masses. Crowdsourcing gone wild, those unwashed retard masses weaponized and turned upon the very public that created them.
Simple example: Perez Hilton.
And yet, not all bloggers are bad. The ones that transcend their simple or maybe not so simple beginnings and become the real deal. Some can write extremely well, or, even better, some think extremely well, and in the best possible way: Critically. When the going gets weird, as Hunter Thompson said, the weird turn pro. The best blogs to me aren’t the ones talking about “Why can’t my ex see that I’m a person here dammit and take me back and love me and dump the other guy because I want to cut his head off and do some weird Conan shit there and win her over and conquer an army for her love” or whatever, but become a real website, a real thing.
Clearly, this is just me rambling. These thoughts are just half formed. Ask me about any of this tomorrow and I may have a different take on it altogether. I contain multitudes.
Also, put simply: I don’t know what the future of journalism is. I don’t want know the future of the internet, of online writing, or the way that human beings connect and rub up against each other, be in online or in the real world, is. And I’m not qualified enough to even venture a guess.
But every once in a while I’m smart/dumb/brave/cowardly enough to not let that stop me.
Every day it seems that I’m reading about more and more blogs that are getting gifted with book deals, dropping onto them like manna from Heaven. Print is dead and we’re turning blogs into books. A small sampling:
Stuff White People Like.
Stuff Black People Hate, I think?
This Is Why You’re Fat.
Look At This Fucking Hipster will soon be a book. (A shame, since I’d like to have seen Look At This Hipster Fucking beat it to print, but oh well.
Garfield Minus Garfield.
Texts From Last Night.
Postcards From Yo Momma.
Fancy Fast Food.
Even Boner Party have been threatening to shit out a book version of themselves, which is scary, especially when denying claims of sexism and objectification.
GIF Party. I’m just joking about that, a joke that several others have made before me, but dammit, I believe in you, GIF Party! But I’d also love to see Fan Secrets, Fantasy Art, and Text Messes get more recognition too, if you sense a common theme there.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, these blogs bursting out of their electronic cocoons into the real world. That’s not what I’m trying to say. Some of these are really interesting and funny and nice distracting blogs. They’ll make cute little books and lovely gifts for friends and house warmings for people you work with. And some of them will be just plain good and interesting and I’m rooting for them.
But, let’s not forget that we live and breathe in a world where a nine year old boy wrote a book on relationships and Lauren Conrad has a three book deal. The saddest part? People are going to buy the shit out of both of those properties. Also don’t forget that Pitchfork even has a book out there and as much as we all like/don’t like (at times), they’re essentially just a blog.
I respect the people who write for free. “The real people?” Maybe. But there’s plenty of people out there who are real and paid to be as awesome as they are. And they probably deserve more money, definitely. But that’s why I respect the people who do their song and dance online for free, for the pure thrill and craft of it. But maybe they’re not weird enough, and haven’t turned pro enough. Maybe their moment in the spotlight is right around the corner. Maybe they can afford to do it while they live off an advance on a book deal.
I mean, hell, give Counterforce a book deal and we will bend over backwards to give you the sexiest, weirdest, most amazing little trinket of a book you’ve ever seen. All the blogs listed above have a very specific and hardened niche and so do we: being awesome. The book would be so good you’d have an orgasm from it. You’d lose weight reading it, food will taste better after it comes into your life, and the next day, I don’t want to spoil too much, but you’ll probably get a raise at your job.
But that’s just a given, right? Not speaking for the rest of my cohorts here, but would I like to go on to a different kind of success based on Counterforce? Fuck yeah. Offer me a job. I’m yours. I’m a wreck with a keyboard, but hey, I’m cheap and easy.
A dorky interlude: In my perfect fantasy world, a Counterforce book would be much like the Primer from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age.
Of course, we don’t have the weird niche that some of those above listed blogs/books have. Or do we?
But this blog – to me, at least – started from a slightly more pure beginning. I think originally we were against something. Something undefined out there in the world, especially in the world wild web. We saw something, Benjamin Light and myself, and we were against it. Maybe it was a way of thinking, a way the world works, I don’t know, and I really don’t because obviously I’m just talking out my gorgeous ass here. But we saw something and we thought, Hey, we could do that, but more than that, we thought, Perhaps we could do that better.
I think originally we were counter to something, and slowly, very slowly, I’ve started to feel that I’m for something. Maybe not the same old thing, or perhaps a new way at looking at the same old thing. Internal or external, I don’t know. I’m very proud of this blog, some times more so than others, and I love where it’s been, I kinda like where it is, and I’m very excited about wherever it goes.
Which is really my way of saying that I’m happy to be doing this fucking thing with the people I do it with. I just hope they’ve been having a little bit of fun along the way. And I especially say this as I spy that the one year anniversary of this beast is approaching. It seems just like yesterday and it seems like it’s been years.
If you have any worries about print dying, then Dave Eggers would personally like to tell you to “buck up!”
Turn your blog into a printable zine or book!
Also, it’s NaNoWriMo month, or National Blog Posting Month. Wow, a whole month!
Anyway. Enough of this semi pomo blog post. I don’t know what’s modern anymore, let alone postmodern, let alone postpostmodern. And I especially don’t know what’s postblog.