Saturday, May 07, 2005

Australian Book Review - May 2005

Every month I receive in the mail a little magazine called the Australian Book Review. This months issue has an interesting article in it about blogging by Richard Johnstone. There have been a plethora of articles lately about blogs (it must be the new slasher film) but I this article really interested me - on several different levels.

The bit that really stood out was Johnstone's observation that "Blogs, like home pages before them, are choc-a-bloc with favourite songs and films, as though taste were the key to the self".

And he's right. Taste is how we define ourselves in a blog. By listing our favourite books, movies, songs, hobbies, food we are effectively locating ourselves within a particular group. Our favourite things are how we orient ourselves - my favourite films include "Three Colours - white, blue and the other one", therefore, I am an intellectual. My favourite writer is Dostoyevsky, therefore I am an intellectual. My favourite music is some obscure dance music that you will never have heard of, therefore I am cool. My favourite singer is Britney Spears, therefore I am (well, you can fill the rest in).

This is all a bit of wank really - like some bizarre sociology experiment run rampant. We've become like kids in the playground "hey, my favourite colour is blue", "so's mine", "yay, let's be best friends". But how else can we define ourselves? Your 'very essence' isn't a transmutable thing. Do we need to define ourselves? Why would we care at all if a reader thinks we're dumb, strange or pointless.

Because no matter what our interests are, no matter what we choose to write about, none of it is really 'us' because we are still writing for an audience. Therefore we are choosing a persona to present to the world. We are choosing what we want to be, not what we are.


Blogger Craig said...

My favorite color is blue, too! Unfortunately, you spell color all funny with that u in there for no reason, so I'll have to continue eyeing you with suspicion. (And I lied about the blue part, too.)

The bloggers may not truly be us, but they are some small portion of our essence that we are willing to put on display for the world to see.

12:10 pm  
Blogger L said...

I never really thought about it, I suppose; I'm quite sure that most of my readers think that I'm "dumb, strange or pointless"


10:31 am  
Blogger Ali said...

CK, we spell colour that way because our language hasn't been intentionally dumbed down the way yours was ;-P

LG, I think that my personal preferences say a lot about me, and have changed as I have. I wish I had a history of them because I think it would be quite revealing. Mind you, to tell you the truth I'm not averse to a bit of a wank.

And my favoUrite coloUr really is blUe :-)

11:22 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home