On Why We Blog-- by J.
Why is it, this basic human inclination to blog? What has motivated our species since a couple of years ago to record our thoughts publicly, post idiosyncratic remembrances, and smear emotional residue all over the electrified wonderworld known as the internet? Nature? Nurture? Rampant pretension? Schools of thought abound.
Geneticists cite their experiments in Papua, New Guinea, where nude aborigines presented with the opportunity to blog, did so at a 75% rate of the total populace. Many of these little people, after the roasted wombat was consumed, quietly excused themselves from the tribal bonfire, eschewing the ritualistic dances and healing ceremonies that formerly formed the spiritual and social backbone of their culture, to instead slip stealthily back to their huts and discreetly log in. There is increasing evidence that children in particular are more inclined to view the sacred communal honoring of the Gods on YouTube, rather than actually drink the lizard's blood or reenact the day's hunt with a spear and a guy wearing a dingo skin.
Experimentation with other primates produces similar data. Though their efforts remain crude, a significant sample of Rhesus monkeys have blogged when provided with a reward system, similar to CVS‘ Extra Bucks, though evidence is mounting that the male with the most hits gets greater access to females, thereby creating a "natural" incentive. Though at a glance their incoherent ramblings seem the equivalent of electronic paw-prints, they may eventually provide clues relevant for understanding our own species. Even primates raised by wire-mesh mothers have demonstrated at least a curiosity about the medium, though their posts contain few embedded videos or MP3 files.
But what of highly-evolved western man? Why is he neglecting the dishes, the lawn, the checkbook, to instead hunch, type, and click. The tiny beams of light and electrical impulses that run the machine are lost upon him...they are a means to an end, superfluous details in the primordial urge to blog.
In search of answers, I offer myself as an example. I am a single man, and whilst I have numerous friends in the area, I still return home to an empty apartment. Some evenings, after listening to people at work all day, I am disinclined to pick up the phone. I need my space, thus the blog serves as surrogate spouse, family, or gerbil. It listens, it absorbs, it obeys most commands (except for the damn font key; I can never get it to change font. It sucks). Often artists, actors, musicians, and poets, working sickening day jobs, find that time for creativity at day’s end is lacking. A blog post - in essence a colorful poop- provides immediate satisfaction and relief.
Then there is the media and its warped attempts to determine what art is "good" and which artists receive attention. Commerce is the ultimate motive, not objective acknowledgement of talent or originality. To those who swim in the mainstream's most distant tributaries, alienation sets in when they realize that the media isn't there for them. We learn the truth at 17 that Britney will always get more press than Arthur Lee.
Therefore the blog serves as home-made magazine, a place to be editor-in-chief, graphic designer, gossip columnist. Perhaps 10 loyal friends will skim this gazette every couple of weeks, just to cover themselves for when they next see you… Nothing is more offensive than “loved ones” who don’t read your blog.
Like spores these machine 'zines multiply rapidly, the phenomenon spreading to corners previously considered unbloggable. One need merely check out some of the sizzling new Amish sites (I particularly recommend Barely Amish) to get a sense of the pandemic proportions. Who will be the first to blog in space? (and here, am I blogging in my tin can). In Texas? (not until the war is over). In church? (a reading from the blog of Mathew to the Phoenicians).
I know these answers no more than you but believe blogging marks a milestone in human evolution. We no longer need to write or call anyone. Even cell phones collect dust once the computer is turned on. One small step for the mouse, one giant leap for mankind. We have found the missing link.