In a group of about 10 kids there is always one who has to spoil the fun for everyone. It's usually the kid who has no sense of humor, but not always. Some things in life were not meant to be taken seriously at all, some things such as blogs. Before any one of you jumps to the conclusion that this is going to be some half-assed postmodern diatribe about blogs, it pretty much is, but stay with us anyway. My point is this: if there is one person in 10 who will overevaluate something that is just as superficial as it appears, and beautifully so, then there will be millions among the hundreds of millions. In the more specific case I'm referring to those who take blogging seriously. There is nothing serious about blogging; or there wasn't until these people started showing up. Case in point:This Guy
I don't question his talent or his creativity, he has both in spades, but I question his purpose. Blog efficiency? Reaching your market? If there is any indication that the metaphorical and somewhat literal death of an artform is occurring it is the shift in purpose of that artform from expression to advertising.
Take the visual arts, and by that I mean mostly painting here even though painting is a small part of the visual arts as a whole. The majority of prominent visual artistry in our time is being dedicated to graphic design. Graphic design is marketing. It is the creation of art for the purpose of selling something, be it that art itself or a product whose makers have commisioned the artwork. Here again, don't take this as my lambasting artists for not expressing themselves, because they are without a doubt still very talented and expressing themselves in their chosen style. The message behind the words is that soem serious kids went and ruined the whole thing for the rest of us. Somebody decided that Van Gogh paintings were worth millions and some other people decided that they could keep their market appeal current if they hired fresh young artists out of school to do their adwork. They don't need to research marketing trends because their target demographic works for them. Internalize your market. Great for advertising, but terrible for art. It makes for a vicious trend-following, limiting, and an overall lack of passion in popular art. Popular art of course being the form which the most people in the general public will see, and not that which the obscure collectors in the art world adore.
Advertising is the death of an artform.
And here is blogging coming into its advertising phase. It started small with the popularity of blogs leading to little sidebar ads. Then corporate blogs started cropping up. And then of course everything turned to politics except for a very few amazing blogs run by people who just could care less about what anyone else says to them. I wish that I could say that even the small ads on a blog are ok, but they aren't. For one thing I don't agree with the "screw you, suckers" mindset that is so prominent in modern society. The idea that "I am just doing this for fun and you want to pay, well then it's your loss, buddy" bothers the shit out of me. It's like taking as many little sausages as you can at the free-sample table in a grocery store. It's not only tacky, but a disgusting for of gluttony. Anyway, the minute that you allow someone else to put their ads on your blog you begin to take yourself and your blog seriously. You admit to the popularity of your blog, and therefore to the existence of an audience. An audience has things they want and don't want from your blog. They exhibit some form of control over your expression. Welcome to the death of blogging.
I'm blowing through all of this very quickly because it could take forever to lay out all my arguments in a decent manner. So keep up.
The serious folks start everyone else taking blogging seriously, and then it is considered by many to be more important than whatever else, and then it becomes highly influential, and then we have no joy or fun left. We're left with a bunch of imitator douchebags out to make a buck or become more popular and a powerful minority of persuasive writers who use their popularity to follow through with their own agenda. Hey! Welcome to every major government in the world!! You see how this goes? Then scholars create themselves, making the subject even more serious until everyone is analyzing every aspect in such minute detail that no one even knows what the hell the point of it all was in the first place.
Well I'm calling Shenanigans on that, because it hasn't happened quite yet, and it shouldn't if people play their cards right. It probably will, but it doesn't have to. If it were up to me I would stand at whatever virtual boundary there is between the good and the evil in such things with a big stick. I would beat everyone who approached with a grimace or a sly look and shout, "Go away. There's nothing serious here. Not a damn thing to take seriously. We're all smiles and we're keeping it that way." I would laugh the whole time.
And in case you're thinking that this whole thing is hypocritical because it is a serious rant about not taking things seriously: you are absolutely wrong. If I took any of this seriously I would never have written it here for everyone to see. I keep those things to myself, and they are a scant few things indeed. So enjoy, enjoy because in the immortal words of a blogger who bought into his own image and let me down: Nothing in here is true.