2006-07-20 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

Blippety blobbity blah blah blog
By Sam Bari

A couple of years ago I swore that no matter how tempting I would never address the following subject. However, it has gone way out of control and I must concede to temptation before a simple observance turns into a rant. I didn't want to write about this subject because I do not believe singling out those who are sanity-challenged, brain dead, just plain stupid, or really dangerous psychotics is in good taste. Columns written for shall we say, bathroom reading, should be used to talk about things that are amusing, entertaining, and sometimes thought provoking - but not annoying, lest they defeat the purpose of their intended function.

The unspeakable subject, I am sure you have guessed by now is - the blog. Unfortunately, "blog" is a real live 21st century word. Merriam-Webster declared that based on lookups in their online dictionary, the "#1 Word of the Year for 2004" and still holding strong was (drumroll and eye roll) . . . "blog."

Blog is a noun coined in 1999 that is short for Web log]: a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. They forgot to add: "as if anybody cares."

Blogs give anyone with access to the Internet the opportunity to pretend they are real writers with messages the world cannot wait to hear by allowing them to electronically publish their, and I use the term loosely, "thoughts" - at first, a frightening concept. They fill Web pages with seemingly endless monotonous drivel that people with a life cannot possibly consider wasting time reading.

Personal blogs allow the blogger (person who writes a blog) to write any kind of inane personal information, opinion, or insane rambling for all to view. After creating said Web site, bloggers have a history of writing to everybody they know with an e-mail address to give them the hyperlink to their blog so it can be visited on a daily, or at least a weekly, basis. Then they call the unfortunate people they have written and check to see if said person has been following their blog. I cannot think of anything more annoying. Why, you ask? Because personal blogs contain material like the following that posted while I was writing the above paragraphs. I omitted the name of the blogger to assure that some sane person who knows him doesn't read this and become a willing assassin:

"Question: How do you mark the beginning of a three week summer vacation, in such a manner that you know it will be unequalled forever?

"Answer: You eat a cluster of taco's, drink ice-cold Coke and watch 'Roadhouse.' That, my friends, is how."

I swear - I did not make this up. That is the way the blogger wrote it, including bad grammar and incorrect punctuation. An alleged human being published those sentences in a blog and attached his name to it. He should be presented with a presidential citation for courage as well as equal recognition for stupidity and ignorance.

Now, not all blogs are bad. I would be an irresponsible journalist if I made such an implication. Some blogs, created by talented, knowledgeable writers, publish readers' opinions and comments concerning topical subject matter. The creators of these blogs select the best from submitted material and post the writers' comments on a Web site. These blogs are informative and often thought provoking about pertinent issues. However, publishing public opinion is an old and successful journalistic technique that has apparently been renamed as a blog in the 21st century.

The blogs that cause me pause have names like, "Hermie the hamster - my best friend," and "Surviving the perils of life as a soccer mom." And I would be remiss to omit the insufferable, "Owning any kind of gun you want is an American right," from that list.

However, I do see a glint of purpose for mindless blogs. They clearly identify those who should be avoided in social situations, offer concrete evidence of mental instability, and possibly provide information useful to law enforcement. They also allow real nut cases to vent, which could avoid their pursuits of more dangerous methods of recognition. Additionally, blogs give those who are literarily challenged an opportunity to publish their work so they don't inundate real publishers with bad material, making it more difficult for those with actual writing skills to have their work read.

I don't know why bloggers believe that because they can talk, they can write. That just isn't true. The ideology gives strong support to Abraham Lincoln's famous quote: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt." Most blogs and bloggers are just part of that system we can't understand.

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