Monday, July 20, 2009

blogs suck -- now here's another one (or, hello)

Dammit, how the hell did I end up here?

There have been a number of times in my life when I've muttered this choice phrase.

  • Drunk and shoeless, giving a graduation speech at the ol' alma mater;

  • Sober and nearly crashing a stolen car into a mailbox on a foggy Ohio road at sunrise (sans drivers license);

  • Luring, via subway, an attempted transvestite kidnapper into a police sting that may or may not have been set up in time on the other end.
All true stories. But blogging? Definite Cake taker. (Cake topper?) Cake something.

Back in my wayward and wasted youth of five years ago, around the time of George W. Bush's re-election, I started a short-lived "broadsheet" as a means to channel the collective despair many of us felt as we discovered after Election Day that most Americans actually believed:

  • Elvis was still alive;

  • the moon landing was faked;

  • the Earth is flat; and

  • all in all, things were going pretty darn well with the Bush administration in power.
(This was the same year Britney Spears released "Toxic," and seemed to really have her stuff together again. How naive we all were, not just the red-staters...)

The "broadsheet" was really an Adobe Acrobat file with articles, poems, and script excerpts by some of us. Stream-of-consciousness writing unfit for any mainstream (print) publication? Check. Self-published? Check. Posted to a website for download? Check. You know what this sounds like. And yet, for some reason, I went out of my way to differentiate what we were doing from a blog, forgetting that if it walks like a duck...

It's hard to remember what exactly it was that made me act such the idiot curmudgeon when it came to blogs. I was buying domain space on the Internet. That's like an old man buying a house next to a skate park and then shrieking at the teenagers to get off his damn lawn with their skateboards and their baggy pants and their music.

I think it had something to do with its (perceived) lack of editorial refinement. Because running spell check makes your writing better and more ethical (right, Judith Miller? Sorry, that's another 2004 reference. See, closer to the turn of the century, there were these things called WMDs...)

Five years ago, dinosaurs like me thought that the real world and the digital world were on equal footing; that newspapers and magazines were just experiencing a dip; that Tower Records would be replaced by another bricks-and-mortar record store. I still called them record stores.

Five years ago, I was an idiot. I was also an obscure wannabe actor with too many opinions about things that are not theater, not enough opinions about things that were, very few friends, and no dramatic work to speak of. Today all of those things are still true. But the one big difference is that I work as Coordinating Director for Conflict of Interest theater company, and so now I have colleagues who do outstanding work, some of it with COItc, some not. We're going to talk about those things that they do.

And the not theater stuff. I still have some opinions on that. [sb]

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