Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why I Blog

The quick answer is 'it's my hobby'.

If I settled for the quick answer though, I wouldn't be a blogger, now would I?

A friend of mine posted a link to the following list of blogging euphemisms to my facebook page the other day. Over all they were funny, but a few of the cliches were a little bit stingy. Not 'stingy' as in unwilling to share, but 'sting-y' as in sharing a trait with the rear end of a bumblebee. Bumblebee's butts are stingy, but they have to be stingy with their stingers because they will die if they ever choose to use them.

The stingy (not stingy) parts of the list were that I was made aware that I have been engaging in cliched blogging. I hate that. Everything I do should always be completely novel and brilliant, and you shouldn't be able to say, 'there goes Spencer, counting his eggs before they hatch'.

But there it was. I had been lampooned.

 'Pre-humiliating yourself': of all nerdy undertakings, blogging is perhaps the easiest to mock. There's an element of self importance involved in blogging that pisses some people off. To blog--in some people's eyes--is to say, 'I am so smart, I have all of the answers, look at how smart I am'. There is some truth to that perception. Secondly, there is an element of vulnerability in blogging that makes the  aforementioned element even juicier: bloggers need validation. Why else put stuff out for public consumption? Either they don't have the will, or don't have the talent to write for a living, yet they persist on putting their stuff out for all to read. Bloggers--like amateur musicians and stand up comedians--are saying 'judge me'. Not only are they saying 'judge me', but they are saying, 'judge me kindly. Like me.' Seeing this coupled with element one (I am so smart), you are practically inviting scorn. I know I have been gently mocked for my hobby. A few folks have indicated--usually after losing an argument to me--that they would write more in response to my stupid, evil arguments if they only had more time. 'I'm too busy to talk about this longer. I don't have all this time to sit around and blog', they say. Although I know many of these people watch sports, and many of them play video games. When all is said and done, writing this post will take me about half an hour. How long does it take to watch a football game? How long to beat Modern Warfare? Exactly. The final reason that blogging is easy to make fun of is that there is an element of intimidation in it. Bloggers--on the whole--are usually smart people. Smart people who can kick your ass in a debate. People hate to lose in debates. Especially the stupider people.

So there you have it: Arrogant, vulnerable people who can kick your ass in a debate. Who wouldn't hate bloggers?

Then there's the 'Sabotaging the job hunt' euphemism. This is a real possibility. On the whole, however, I think it's worth the risk. If someone is turned off of hiring me because of my charming, clever, intelligent blogging, then balls to them. Everyone lies on job applications and resumes. If you're turned off by seeing the inner workings of a real person unafraid to be themselves in a wide-open kind of way, who needs you? I wish more folks would blog. This is supposed to be a country that supports freedom of expression. I say 'call them on it'. You want freedom of expression? Here it is.

 'Spilling the blandest beans': That's me all over. I am capable of being very boring. Blogging is an endurance game, and they can't all be brilliant. If you're going to write one or two blogs a week, every now and then you're going to have to pull an Andy Rooney. It's unavoidable.

'Reacting to what Dad said 20 years late': We live in a patriarchal society, so I think 'Dad' is an appropriate metaphor for whatever system you grew up in. 'They fuck you up, your mum and dad', Philip Larkin said. And they do. The system fucks you up. Mom. Dad. Aunt. Uncle. Teacher. Doctor. Priest. Preacher. Laws put perimeters on our instincts, and the people who make laws sometimes misjudge which instincts need to be checked. It takes time to process some of the wounds we receive as we grow, so it makes sense that we might be 20 or so years late on some of our rebuttals.

Finally, there's 'Alienating your cousins': I link to all of my blog posts on Facebook, and the number of family members (and old elementary and high school friends) has definitely fluctuated over time. One of the joys of Facebook is that it allows people to get an insight into the lives of people they haven't talked to in years. One of the horrors of Facebook is also that it allows people to get an insight into the lives of people they haven't talked to in years.

My hobby is fun, but it's also a public service. Not because what I am saying is so wise and wonderful, but because if I didn't write, I would be cranky. And if I didn't post what I write, I think I would rant at people a lot more than I do. I am the kind of person who is only palatable in small amounts. I would exhaust you if I was up in your face all the time. Blogging allows me to say what's on my mind in a public forum without harassing anyone. If someone is interested in reading my thoughts, here they are. If not, here they are.


Lodo Grdzak said...

You are real-deal blogger Spence.

Spencer Troxell said...

Coming from real-deal blogger Lodo Grdzak, that is appreciated.

Willie Y said...

I love blogging. My joy is when someone leaves a comment, good or bad, I love to hear what people think.

I make sure that I check my favorite blogs every day and your in the rotation Spencer. I love to hear whats going on in that head.


I read this on Daily Kos, and as a new blogger myself, I loved it, especially the connection with job hunting, as someone who's also unemployed. Anyway, I subscribed and am looking forward to enjoying your blog.

Spencer Troxell said...

Willie: Thanks! I promise I'll shield you from some of the weirder stuff that goes on in my head.

http: Welcome aboard! I hope not to disillusion you too quickly.

the elegant ape said...

why do I blog?
because it's there....

Why do I blog?
because it feels so good when I stop.........

Why did I blog?
because the nuns told me it was bad...